Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Race Report: Cornwall Triathlon Sprint

The best feeling is watching things finally fall into place after falling apart for so long.
Yes. It sure is a good feeling. My Sunday in Cornwall was full of warm, fuzzy, good feelings.  It was an amazing day full of friends and fun and most importantly for me - a FINISH line.  After being injured and missing out on crossing two finish lines this summer, the finish in Cornwall was pretty sweet.  See below for more evidence of how much fun I had crossing that line.

The day couldn't have gone much better.  Racing with so many friends out on the course was a dream.  A second place finish was the cherry on top.  And I couldn't be happier going into the last few weeks before Chicago.

Cornwall Triathlon was my very first triathlon ever, just two short years ago.  My life has changed in the most amazing ways since that first race.  Cornwall has a very well organized race, with wonderful volunteers, great food, and an even better atmosphere. It is a small, but mighty race.  It also attracts a huge contingent from Ottawa, including many of my friends and teammates from the Ottawa Triathlon Club.  I'll never forget the conversation with Geordie that I had post-race two years ago, and am forever grateful for it, since that race and that conversation brought me into the OTC family and allowed me to meet some incredible, inspiring humans.  Naturally, I had always planned to return to race in Cornwall.  This summer, the timing was perfect and I signed up for the race at Christmas (thank you Grandma!!).  I received a Christmas card and a birthday wish from the race organizers.  Returning to Cornwall felt great and I'll certainly be back there again soon.


On Saturday evening, Dale, Jenn and I went to Whole Foods to grab some dinner. It turned out to be perfect.  And yes, my pre-race meal has changed this year. On Saturday night, I loaded up a box with kale, roasted sweet potatoes, roasted beets, shredded chicken, red curry vegetables, topped with almonds and balsamic dressing. We ate our meals out on some benches in the sunshine (it was 5:30 pm) and enjoyed a bit of dark chocolate that I had picked up at the store.  Then we had a beer. Yep, a beer.  Mine was a Kissmeyer from Beau's and it was delicious.  After dinner and beer, Jenn and I went home to clean and prep our bikes, and pack our transition bags. Before bed, I painted my nails (the same as in Cornwall two years prior) and I watched Dreams of Glory.  We would get to sleep in our own beds, since Cornwall is only about an hour and 20 minutes from Ottawa.

Race day essentials: Coeur Sports kit and team hat, Mizuno Wave Sayonaras, Oakley sunnies, Garmin, race belt, Pearl Izumi tri shoes, ROKA F1 goggles in two tints depending on the weather, Honey Stinger chews, Clif bar for post-race, Hammer gel just in case, baby powder, Vaseline, body glide, sunscreen for body and lips, and my band for muscle activation pre-race! Not pictured, but so essential: Osmo Hydration!

Race Day:

I woke up at 5:30 and organized myself to pick up Lauren for the drive to Cornwall. Gilly, Jenn and Colin had left in the earlier wave since they were doing the Olympic, which started earlier, and Dale would meet us there.  Before leaving the house, I drank some Osmo Hydration Pre-load, since it was supposed to be a hot day.  Lauren and I stopped for coffee and gas, and had a nice, easy drive to Cornwall. On the way, I ate overnight oats as an experiment.  Before we knew it, we were unloading the car and heading in to pick up our race packets.  Our bikes had to be in transition by the start of the Olympic, so we hustled to get racked and set up.  I did a quick change into my kit in the ladies room, then we went down to watch the swimmers come out of the water for the Oly.  After watching our many friends come out (very strong!!) of their swim, we got to business doing our own warm-up.

Swim: 10:25

Cornwall has a deep water start, so we were all able to get in the water beforehand.  I did a few strokes and got myself used to the water. The water was warm enough that a wetsuit wasn't really necessary, but everyone else was wearing theirs, so I had mine on too.  The men started first and five minutes passed quickly before they sent the women and relays off to swim.  As usual, I positioned myself in the front, and started out with a bit of a sprint to find some clear water and pull ahead of the masses.  I had spoken to a young guy in a relay cap before the start and told him that we should race, since he said he was a swimmer, but I guess I left him in the dust.  My number one goal on the swim was for it to feel hard. I wanted to race.  I wanted to feel the water and the burn in my arms.  And I think I was successful.  The first turn came quickly and before I knew it, I was at the mats and the volunteers, ready to run up the hill toward the T-Zone.  I was shocked and so, so happy to hear the announcer say my time - 10:25 - and that I was in the lead!! That is over a minute faster than any of my swims last year and five seconds faster than my goal time for Worlds.  As I ran out of the water, I couldn't help but smile and think that it was going to be a great day!

Bike: 36:24

The first time that I raced in Cornwall, I was petrified of the technical part of the bike course.  I am happy to report that this time, I had a blast on that technical portion and I felt like I was flying the rest of the way.  The bike course is two loops and there were still some athletes doing their loops for the Oly and the run course runs parallel to the main road as well, so I got to see so many friends out on the course either biking or starting their run. There were also huge crowds and a sign to show your speed near the entry/exit to the T-Zone, talk about motivation! The volunteers and police officers monitoring the course were fabulous and encouraged all of us as we rode along. My bike split ended up being about six minutes faster than two years ago, which definitely shows how far I have come in terms of my confidence on the bike!

Coming into T2

Run: 23:34

Mike instructed me to not go hard on the run, and to only run it at tempo pace.  I tried my best, Mike! Coming off the bike, I was in third place.  I saw the two women in the T-Zone and I made a pretty quick transition to my running shoes and shot off behind them onto the run course.  Within the first few minutes, I was able to pass one of them, so my goal became - "keep her behind you and don't let anyone else catch up."  The woman who won had taken off and I knew that if I was to follow Mike's instructions, I wouldn't be able to catch her.  And I really did try to keep things tempo.  My friends were almost done their Oly, so I got to cheer them on one last time as we passed each other on the running path. Again, seeing friends out on the course was awesome and definitely boosted the spirits (though I was flying pretty high on endorphins by that point).  It felt amazing to be running in a race.  At the turn-around, I saw the woman in third, and sped up slightly so as to keep her behind me. My smile grew and grew as I approached the finish line and I crossed with some jumps and fist pumps! The run included T2, so I believe it was also my fastest run in a sprint triathlon!

Final thoughts:

My injury and recovery have really made my summer an emotional roller coaster.  If you've been following along, you've read all about the ups and downs.  There were a few weeks in particular at the start of August where things were pretty dismal, but some great conversations with my wise, encouraging teammates/friends, coaches, and family helped me to gain some perspective and keep pushing forward. An attitude adjustment was just what I needed and I went into Cornwall happy and grateful to be able to race.  I was relaxed and I didn't put any pressure on myself, beyond just a reminder to go out there and actually RACE. The very best part was that I went out and had fun on the course. I got to see so many friends and I got to cheer people on the whole way.  The girl who finished third said to me as we collected our awards, "you were so cheerful the whole way, it was awesome!"  That is probably the best thing to hear after a race!

Thanks to my team Coeur Sports, ROKA for making awesome goggles, Osmo Nutrition for keeping me well hydrated, Mike for great coaching, OTC family and friends for being so supportive!

Congratulations to all my friends who raced in Cornwall! You are all amazing and inspiring!

Final Stats:

Swim: 10:25
T1: 2ish minutes
Bike: 36:23
T2 + Run: 23:34
Total: 1:12:26.9
2nd overall woman / 1st AG

So many OTC friends!

My TRI family!


  1. Hells yeah!!! What a fun race!!! Super motivating and extra momentum to take on your big race of the year!! Congrats 2nd woman...bad-ass!!! Very exciting!!!

    1. Woo! Thanks lady. I am so excited going into Chicago now :)

  2. It sounds like everything came together for a great race! I'm thinking that your cheerful attitude gave you a mental advantage. :) Killer run, especially given that you have been battling an injury over the summer. This must have been a huge boost in confidence. Way to go, Kelsey!!!

    1. Thanks Kristen!! It was a huge confidence boost. I'm really excited to see what Chicago brings now :)

  3. Fantastic race, Kelsey! Super speedy! Love that you're smiling in all your pics… that's what it's all about! Congrats!