Monday, July 6, 2009

My Season So Far...

Hi Zooters,

First, I would like to congratulate you all on your performances and inspiring reports in your blogs.

Given that I live North of the border, our season starts late and finishes early, unless I find a way to extend it like to going to Florida and California in the Spring and going to more tropical places in the Fall.

This year I started my season off by participating in a charity race weekend called the Bytown 171. It is called that because the mileage for all of the riding and running during the weekend adds up to 171km. Bytown is the former name of Ottawa. This year the charity we raised the money for was the local food bank. The event consists of riding 100km and then running the Noridon 10k on Saturday and riding 40km and running the National Capital half-marathon on Sunday. The 10k was exciting because there was a world record attempt made in the men's race. The lead male was under the 8km world mark and then ran out of gas at the end. He ran 27:23! I ran 38:03 and was the third master for the 10k and 1:26.39 for the half and was 2nd overall and 1st master. By the time I ran the half on Sunday, my legs felt very "ironman-like" ,so it is a great training event. I put on my recovery tights after the race, which made for a quicker recovery.

On June 20th I ran a 5km all women's race known as Emilie's Run. It is named in honour of a former Canadian olympian who had run sub-15 for 5K. Sadly, she died in a car accident several years ago. The race atracts a very competitive field as there are a lot of cash prizes. I got a little excited just before the half way mark and started to push the pace in a large group I was running with. At 4km when it was time to respond to a push in the pace, my legs responded with a "no thanks, i think I'll pass on this one." I was happy with my time of 18:15 and as the third master, I was in the money as well!

On June 27th, I competed in the Tupper Lake Tinman (Half Ironman) in Tupper Lake, NY. Tupper Lake is under 3 hours from Ottawa. It is a good tune-up race for Lake Placid because it experiences similar weather and has similar terrain. Like a lot of tris I have done lately, the weatherman called for some potentially severe weather. During the drive to the race site, the heavens opened up. I wanted to turn around and go back to bed at that point, but once I got to the transition area, the weather had passed.

Tupper Lake is a wave start race so since I am in the 40-44 wave, I start at the back. While I was waiting for my wave start there was a bit of fish incident. A couple of ladies were pushing a dead fish along the start line. They were quite concerned about the presence of the dead fish. I decided to solve the problem for them: I picked up the fish and intended to throw it clear of the other competitors, but the funny thing about fish, and particularly dead fish, is that they are slippery suckers (although this was a perch). Before I intended to release the fish in the air, it slipped from my grasp and ended up hitting another competitor. Everyone, but the person the fish hit, laughed. I apologized, but boy did I want the race to start. Then it did and I was relieved!

The swim was fairly uneventful on the way out of the rectangle-shaped course. I had to do a big of dodging of bodies on the way back in, but I was really pleased with my swim and my new Zoot Zenith wetsuit. My split time was 26:33.

Not too far into the ride, the rain started to come down hard. The ride to the turn around on this out-and-back, hilly course, seemed to be long.I was looking forward to the net-downhill on the way back. The Orbea seems to be dialled in now and I feel very comfortable on it. My ride time was 2:38.19.

The rain cleared for the run, thankfully. This course features some big hills in the first part of the run and some single-track trails in the second part of it. I felt pretty good at the start of the run. I kept waiting for my legs to get going a bit more as the race progressed, but they seemed happy to stay at the pace they were going despite trying to push them to go harder. I finished in 4:40.39 which was a PB by 7 minutes and not bad for a tune-up race for Lake Placid. I was also very happy to finish 2nd overall and 1st in my Age Group.

On July 4th, I raced in the 27th Mike Collingwood Memorial Race in Gatineau Parc, QC. This triathlon is tied with one other as Eastern Ontario as the longest running, without break, trialthon in Canada. The swim is in Meech Lake and the ride and run is along the parkway in Gatineau Park ("the Gats") which is know for its somewhat steep climbs and descents (oh my favourite...).

Race morning was cold, wet and windy. Nice. The water was warmer than the air. This seems to be a bit of trend in the race reports I have read this year. The first 500m of the 1200m swim was like slamming my head into a wall repeatively. I was happy with my Zenith-assisted swim though. I swam the course in 16:08 which included the first transition of removing your wetsuit(the Zenith comes off nicely) and putting on shoes.

The bike portion includes a run up a 300m hill and around a parking lot before getting on your bike. You aren't on your bike long before you start a steep climb up the Fortune Parkway. I was working really hard but getting passed by all sorts of guys. A couple of them went by me and I decided to work harder to keep them in sight. I noticed I was actually making some ground on my friend Ryan who is a very good rider. Near the top I caught him and said, "I just have to do this (pass you) in one race...." This may have hurt me later, but it gave me some bragging rights at the end of the day. I also saw some wild life including a doe and her baby at the top of a climb. I finished the bike course a minute or so faster than last year so I was happy with that result.

As I was leaving the third transition on the run, I noticed another woman coming in. She was a sprint specialist, so I had to run hard. Ultimately, my run was a bit slower than past years, but it was good enough to win the race so I had to be happy with that. I also received a lot of nice compliments on my Zoot Team tri top and I received a lot of questions about the Ordu.

Next up for me is another short training visit to Lake Placid on July 10th and a "training" race (a half ironman) race on July 12th. The descent on the first part of Keen is now paved as is the out-and-back from the first bridge and well towards the turn around. The road around Mirror Lake was also paved in spots. the new pavement will make for a faster course.

The main event for me is Ironman Lake Placid on July 26th. I am getting close to the point where I am looking forward to doing it.


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