Monday, July 21, 2014

Canadian Nationals Race Report (Trimemphre de Magog Sprint)

AHHH!  Well, I did it!  I achieved my goal for the season of qualifying for the Canadian team for age group World Championships 2015!  I'm so excited, proud of my hard work, and thankful for all the support that I've received from my family, friends, teammates, and coaches!


The drive to Magog seemed to take FOREVER.  Traffic and construction through Montreal made my 3 hour 15 minute journey a nearly 5 hour journey.  But I made it to Magog in time to check my bike and pick up my race kit.  Then I drove the bike course... yikes!! Hills and super scary turns (at the bottom of hills)!  A curve with mattresses lining the ditch, you know, just in case.  As I drove to check-in to the B&B, I questioned my sanity and whether maybe I shouldn't do the race.  The bike has always been a source of fear for me and those twists and turns had my stomach twisting and turning.  But, we have to face our fears, right!?  So after checking into the B&B, I got dressed and drove back over to the bike course for a quick ride and run.  After only doing part of the course, but also the part with the mattress curve, I felt a little bit better and resolved to that the race must go on!  I changed and went out to find the restaurant that I had chosen for dinner. On the way, I ran into Lucie and her friend Catherine.  We chatted for a bit about the bike course, then I was off to dinner all by myself (definitely missed my support crew).  My dinner was Chicken Franchese (they wouldn't make me chicken parm) and salad.  After dinner, I went back to the B&B to pack my race bag, paint my nails (blue for the OTC), and watch "Dreams of Glory"!  The best part though was that my parents had sent me beautiful flowers to the B&B to wish me good luck!

Race Day:

The B&B that I stayed at was lovely, but I didn't really think about what breakfast meant, and I had planned to eat at the B&B.  My stomach was still really upset with me (nerves, stress, too many carbs?), so I didn't end up eating much of what the B&B served.  Feeling even more nervous, I decided to take a walk to see if I could find a place serving oatmeal.  No such luck.  So I went to the grocery store, bought a box of oatmeal packets, turned the water on as hot as it would go, and made oatmeal in my room.  Luckily, I remembered that I had a spoon in my car from the yogurt I ate on the way to watch Bring on the Bay (yes, I really should clean my car out!).  I added my Justin's maple almond butter and banana. Success! 

By that time it was almost 11, so I gathered my stuff and packed up the car.  I decided to leave my car by the B&B instead of trying to find parking by the race site, so I had a bit of a walk ahead of me with my bike and my backpack.  But, I made it with lots of time to set up my T-Zone and was very happy I had on my OTC shirt, because Simon's wife recognized me as I was leaving T-Zone.  I hung out for a bit with them, and borrowed some sunscreen, since I left mine in the car.  Such a lovely bunch! 

I had a huge jug of water with me, and managed to drink it and a bottle of Gatorade.  I found some shade and laid down to rest for a bit while waiting for the start of the race.  After a chat on the phone with my mom, my nerves finally settled and I felt ready to race.  A little warm-up and then I wandered over toward the start to wait for my wave.


Swim: Goal Time: 11:30, Actual Time: 11:30

It was an extremely warm day, and with our swim start at 2 pm, I expected that we wouldn't actually be allowed to wear wetsuits, so I left mine in the car and didn't even take it with me to transition.  An hour before the first sprint wave, they announced that wetsuits were allowed.  After a quick hesitation - "should I run up to the car to get it??" - I decided that the time that I would save in transition was worth more than wearing a wetsuit.  Plus I was already sweating and hot, and I knew that the water was significantly warmer than in Chicago. 

The swim had my very first beach start and I was completely unsure of what to do.  I positioned myself in the middle of the beach, right on the line.  When the horn sounded, I "sprinted" out into the water, then attempted to swim too soon.  After realizing that others were still running, I stood up and ran some more in the squishy, soft and very shallow water.  I finally got to swimming and settled into what felt like a reasonable pace.  The course was extremely well marked with lots of buoys, so I didn't actually sight very much, except to periodically check how much further I had to swim to the turn.  I managed to keep a steady pace and not have anyone around me to draft off of me, but that meant I didn't get to draft either. The water was really quite shallow, but I swam as far in as I could before running up the stairs two at a time.  I actually sprinted to the T-Zone and was so happy not to deal with a wetsuit!

T1: Time: 1:26

My fastest transition to date!! Whoohoo for no wetsuits! I chugged some warm Gatorade and only fumbled a little bit with my bike shoes.  (Swim time was also exactly the same as Chicago, but transition was way faster.)

Photo Credit: AthImage

Bike: Goal Time: 42:00, Actual Time: 42:13

Driving the course on Friday night had me extremely nervous for the bike portion, but I told myself I had to just kill it on the "flat" and straight parts of the course and take advantage of the downhills when I could, so that is what I attempted to do.  When I got on the course, I knew that there weren't that many women ahead of me, but I could already see some of the men starting their second loop. The first long gradual hill was killer and I wondered what I had gotten myself into.  Then came the crazy, technical part of the course.  I took the first downhill fast enough that I was able to almost make it up the other side (imagine a steep descent that immediately goes up just as steep...kind of like a rollercoaster), though I had to slow down significantly to keep from wiping out as we turned right and then turned left on the way up.  I took the rest of that part of the course very slow, even reassuring the volunteer at the turn with the mattresses in the ditch that she didn't need to t ell me to slow down.  After getting back to the "easier" part of the course, I was very happy to pick my speed up again.  Not much to report for the second loop, except that at the very end I almost missed the dismount line because 3 other people were getting there at the same time as me.  The official said, "that was close" to me and I nodded and ran away before he could decide that maybe I didn't get off my bike in time.  Needless to say, I'm quite thankful for Gatineau Park and the training that we've done there!

T2:  Time: 2:17

A bit of trouble with my running shoes, but overall another decent transition. Gulped some of the cold water that I had left (I really love my CamelBak Podium Chill insulated water bottle!!).

Photo Credit: AthImage

Run: Goal time: 22:30, Actual Time: 23:15

My only goal on the run was to leave everything out there.  I had been warned by one of the elite women that it was a tough, hot course with no shade, so to save something on the bike for the run.  Well, she was right. With the heat, I was so thankful for every single water station and for all the lovely people of Magog who had their sprinklers and hoses out along the run course!  My first mile felt pretty good, but then my pace started to slip on mile 2 and then a HUGE, killer hill popped out of nowhere.  I didn't remember seeing that when I mapped the course elevation on!  It was a brutal slog and the downhill wasn't very kind either.  But as I saw the 2 mile mark tick by on my Garmin, I told myself that this was my last chance and that I had to give it my all.  I picked up the pace, concentrating on getting the most out of each stride and picking people up ahead that I wanted to try to pass.  One of those girls that I passed had an "S-25" on her leg and I was happy that I started that game with myself.  My pace kept getting faster and my goal became to get it under 7:00/mile before the finish.  With 500 meters to go (thank you to those kind spectators who told me that!), I saw my pace dip to 6:57/mile!  With no one within catching distance I just focused on sprinting to the finish. 


It was so nice to again run into Simon and family and to watch his daughter participate in her very first triathlon! Just the cutest thing ever.  I also ran into Linden (first place in his age group, what a rock star!), Jen and Lucie.  It is always so nice to see familiar faces post-race.  My Instagram friend Betty was timing the race and she came to find me in the athletes' area to let me know that my unofficial result was 3rd in my age group!  After waiting for what seemed like forever, with the excitement of it all, I actually ended up missing the awards, but Simon grabbed my bronze medal.  It is so exciting that all of the OTC crew that raced in Magog, both sprint and Olympic races, qualified for Worlds! What a great weekend, full of amazing performances!  I can confidently say that I left it all out there and I'm proud of the result.  Plus I had a lot of fun!  Again a HUGE thank you to everyone for sharing your knowledge and for your support!

Final Stats:

Place: 3/16 (age group), 31/223 (women), 120/466 (overall)
Time: 1:20:38.9

Swim: 11:30
T1: 1:26
Bike: 42:13
T2: 2:17
Run: 23:15

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