Last Saturday March 25 I did my first race for the 2017 season with my daughter Tara here in Arizona. It was a great weather day just a bit cool at 7 am at 50F with the sun rising over the Catalina Mountains for the 800m serpentine swim up and back each of 8 lanes in the Olympic 50m pool at the outdoor Oro Valley Aquatic Center. Then 2 loops on the bike course with a couple of decent hills and 2 loops on the flat run course on the road and park around the pool in quite warm weather by then 70F going towards 80F in the afternoon.
Tara and I started about 7 min apart in the wave time trial like start, but finished with exactly the same time. Actually we were 0.7 seconds apart similar to the Toronto race last year. Guess that’s what happens when you train together.
I did win 2cd in my age group and Tara was 7th in hers.
All in all a great day followed the next day with 2 of my grandkids Natalie and Adam doing the half mile kids race and my son – in – law Jason doing the hilly half marathon in the Arizona Distance Classic. Tara and Joanne and I were cheerleaders for that.
Sadly we head home this week after 2 months in the sun in Arizona just before Greg Pace’s training camp here. We’ll spend a few days in Utah on the way seeing where John Wayne and others shot movies in Monument Valley and the to Moab and Canyonlands.
But looking forward to training outdoors at home and racing with my other daughter Kerri who is getting more serious about triathlon and doing a Sprint in Mont Tremblant with my son Mark in his first ever triathlon.
Today I finished my very first Century Ride. Something very cool and humbling about setting a goal and achieving it. Especially, when it involves others with the same goal.
The first 38 miles were fine, albeit with some wind to deal with. A short stop and off again to 54 miles.
Because of the distance I really focused on nutrition and electrolytes ( the temps were hovering around 85 degrees). I set my Garmin to alert me every hour so I wouldn’t get behind with fuelling. I also went into the ride fully hydrated and carbed up’! The last break we stopped a bit longer to eat. We were at 76 miles. As we headed out for the final push my legs and mind were not in harmony. This was pay back time. So I pushed a super light gear until I felt better and we had a reprieve from the stronger winds.
I kept saying to myself ‘one more mile’.
Staying as present as possible, relying on one another and listening to my body got me through every one of those 103 miles.
So that was my first Century Ride. But what follows is the reason I was able to complete the distance. My longest ride had been 96 ish kilometres in July at 70.3 Muskoka.
First, I think we are all Stronger than we think we are. We ride all year.
And Greg Pace consistently implores us 1. Find a pace you can ride all day and stay with it. 2. Keep that cadence steady. Strong. 3. Move around the seat. Stand up. Do anything to change positions 3. Ride relaxed.
So with those lessons firmly implanted in my mind and body I completed my first Century Ride.
First , can’t believe I did it!! I really had doubts about the run.
Thank you everyone for all the encouragement, support and kind words along the way.
Pre Race Day
Miami. Always exciting to visit. Biscayne Bay is where the swim took place. Saw some manatee in the bay and was comforted at the thought of swimming along side. Water temp warm. Will we be allowed wetsuits? Hmm.
Took a cab to Southbeach. Was going to walk on the beach but my plantar fasciaitis was acting up. Choose to put that out of my mind along with the stomach issues from all the carbs I had consumed. Trial swim for googles in ocean water. No leaks. Hurray!!
Found some great numbing ointment for a persistent sit bone bike seat issue. ( sorry if that’s too much info)
Everything seemed to be falling into place.
Great weather report. What else could go right?
Put all Race gear out. Double checked it all. Decided to give my 2 garmins an extra charge before bed. Set alarm to James Browns song “I Feel Good”, 4:30 AM. Bed at 9:00. Excited for the morning. 😀
Wake up happy and ready. A little worried for my feet. Decided to bring freezer bag filled with ice .
Oatmeal in blender and I’m good to go. Remembering my boys Last words “You got this Mom.”
Make my way to transition area. It was a bit overwhelming. Everyone looked so strong and serious. Felt like I didn’t belong. Was getting very nervous. When I saw Anna I felt better. She really knew what she was doing.
Go back to my bike for final check before leaving transition. Someone is adjusting their Garmin. Felt sick to my stomach. My Garmins were at the hotel plugged into the wall!!
20 minutes till transition closes. Should I go back? Too stressful. Decide to just get over it and concentrate on what’s ahead.
They announce no wetsuits. Ok. Not a problem.
Find Deb, Sam and Anna. Sam is nervous too. I tried to focus on the water. We were following the Pros (except Sam). Having the girls beside me helped with my nerves.
Swim was wonderful in that the water was warm and route clearly marked. Being with younger 45 and up women was more competitive. Punching,kicking, and shoving the entire swim. These girls were out to win. At one point during the swim I noticed no one was kicking me. It was a nice few minutes until I realized I was off course. All in all was a pleasant swim. On later review I thought my time was a bit slow. Looking at all the times I realized all were slower probably due to the current.
Bike was great. Flat and windy on way out. Not nearly as humid as I expected. Nothing like the Welland Long Tri this past summer. Everyone was fast. I realized there were many groups of men that followed our wave. Decided to relax and not worry about the massive amount of people passing me. I concentrated on counting gels to figure out how much time was passing. One gel took 10 minutes to dissolve. Then counted 500 peddle strokes, followed by two gulps of water. Waited a minute or two then started all over. Half way through I had finished 7 gells. That’s how I figured out I must have taken about 1 hour 45 minutes on way out. About right going against wind. I really had no idea of course how fast or slow I was going but the counting kept me busy. A very pleasant 62 year old German woman passes me. I was thinking I probably was not doing too well considering I only passed about 3 women the entire way. Anna passed me early and Deb a bit later. Sam was a later wave. Overall I could not have gone faster so I decided to be happy with my unknown progress.
Once we reached transition I realized I had a problem. My legs were finished. Barely functioning to walk my bike. I hoped for the best. Finished my water, took another few electrolyte caps and a gel with caffeine hoping to get some sort of energy to finish. Remembered what Margaret said. “Just keep moving forward.”
Walked for a while then ran, if you can call it a run. Hobbled is more like it. I really missed my garmin now because I knew I could walk fast and was thinking if I was running slow I would rather be walking.
No more pity parties for me. I had to get this done. I thought of my new outfits just purchased with Miami 70.3 Ironman written across the front. I wanted to wear those clothes proudly !!
I had given myself max 2 hours 30 minutes for this run but was hoping for 2:15. Decided to let go of that thought. Concentrated on Margaret’s many mantras.
2 very long loops seemed impossible. Everything marked in miles. Could not convert. My brain would not work. Saw Deb and Anna. They were, I think, almost finished the first loop. Considered briefly hopping over to their side. It would be so easy to cheat in this Race. Decided to make a washroom stop instead. Just wanted to stop. Probably had two more hours to go. Considered quitting again but wasn’t sure how to get back.
I saw Sam. I was confused and was not sure If she was ahead or behind me. Didn’t matter it was just nice to see her. She looked as hot and tired as I felt but was still smiling. She just had a baby. She was going to finish. I had to finish.
First loop done. Lots of walking and two bathroom breaks. First half of last loop was unbearable. Decided to count my steps (think that’s what Greg does) up to 3000 between water stations?? I kept loosing count. Darn brain wasn’t cooperating. Then somehow got some energy. I ran the last 5 K without stopping. I thought I was going fast but actually was my slowest pace. Maybe I am a faster walker??
So happy to be nearly done. I saw Deb and Anna cheering me on. My eyes welled up and a few tears were shed. Couldn’t believe I had any fluid left in me. The Ironman bridge was up ahead. I passed under in disbelief. Final time about 6:47.
Next, directly to my ice bag, sat and sunk my aching feet into the cold. Bliss.
What a great day!!!
My race and experience with the 2016 Canadian ITU Triathlon World Championship Team was nothing but amazing. With the support and love I received from family and friends throughout the season right up to my race day and after was overwhelming! The Friday before we left my thoughtful husband had booked me a pedicure and then I was to meet him at my in-laws house for dinner so they could say bye to us….well when I got to my in-laws house I was surprised by all my friends and family from near and far dressed in red and white for a Canadian themed party! It was perfect!
Travel to Cozumel went smoothly on the Monday and I successfully put my bike together that afternoon. Tuesday morning I joined the Canadian team and went for a hot and humid ride/run workout, then went into town to get my race package where I met Kevin Brady and then we did a training swim in the ocean. Cozumel has a designated bike/run path (like the beach strip in Burlington) which runs parallel to the road, it was amazing for training and riding around the island! Wednesday we road 10km down to the race site and put our bikes in the transition zone. I was not feeling well with a head-cold and sore throat that day so I missed the opening ceremonies and team dinner that afternoon/night. The next morning, Thursday, was race day! I woke up at 5:30am to my husband handing me my phone saying I could use data on my phone for the day, he asked me to check Facebook (I had created private Facebook group so people could follow my race journey)…he had made a compilation video of friends and family wishing me good luck before my race! So overwhelming and now it was time to race! I walked into the transition zone at 6am and got ready as the sun came up. My wave was at 8am so I relaxed with Christine Walsh and waited for my wave. When it was time I got in the water and it was beautiful and clear, I was nervous about swimming in salt water but I thankfully didn’t drink too much of it! My swim was good, not my fastest time but the clear water sure did distract me. The distance from the water exit to the transition zone was a long 400-500m run and up over a walkway. I got on to my bike and had a great experience riding along the ocean on the designated path that was a flat 10km out and back, it was my first time doing a draft legal race. The run was hot, very humid and lots of turns around the marina….good for spectators but hard to get into a good groove running. I don’t normally stop at the aid stations but I stopped at all of them to pour water on myself as it was so humid! I was proud that I finished strong and completed it in 1hr 13min and came 20th out of 45 in my age group. Spent the rest of the week relaxing at the resort and cheering on team mates. All in all an amazing and memorable experience. Side note, I met Sister Madonna Buder, as she stayed at the same resort, what an amazing woman!
Do I Have to do it? Ironman Mont Tremblant
Caught up with the exuberance I signed up for IM Mont Tremblant. After less than a stellar and somewhat limited season of training, I was extremely reluctant to do the race. I tried everything to abort it (boob injury- thanks Kelly) and join some of my fellow non-racers (Gail, Roger and Shawna- sorry) but Greg said ‘no’. Found myself at another start line. Last wave of the swim, if you want a tough start try joining the 40+ women- goggles dislodged within 100 meters, soon after nose kicked, checked to see if it was bleeding– t’was not. Passed some athletes in each of the swim waves, many breast strokers and some back strokers– and you think front crawl is hard. Tough swim, the winning woman pro described it as the waviest swim she had ever done in a race. Happy to reach land (1:19) and run to transition. Then off to the bike in heavy rain—no worries I have this, practiced last year at IM UK. Rained continued throughout the bike, many many crashes—ambulances and athletes down at the side of the road and Greg’s persistent ‘slow down’ (yes he can’t stop coaching even while racing). Was very tough but no crash (which is somewhat novel for me) finished (6:35). At transition a volunteer asked for my bike – somewhat dazed (last two in Europe were a do it your self affair). Off to the run—well to tell the truth, a walk—legs were broken, perhaps I had left everything on the bike—after a stern bit of self talk—‘you are a machine’ running, running, running forever (5:01). Down the shoot to an incredible celebratory finish line. 13:11 slowest IM time, tough but not toughest—see IMUK. Notable things about the season and the race—a good start with my UCTC group in Calgary—maybe next year I will attend more practices– thanks coach Mark and team mates. TCOB including the most amazing group of powerful and generous women training partners – you are so inspiring and courageous (Margaret, Helene, Kelly, Katherine, Shawna, Wendy, Francesca). I aspire to be more and more like you. Wonderful to see so many of you on the course during the race. Your courage under duress kept me going. Great to share the journey with my seasoned Runners Den mentors the Pauls, Gord and Ester and their son Dan on his inaugural IM. Thanks Eric for bike transport. I am thankful for the best support and cheering crew ever Pat, Mary, Roger, Michelle, and Robin and so many other TCOB and Pace Performers, you kept me going throughout the long long day. Thanks also to all my friends supporting from a distance. IMMT is the best race I have ever done (great venue, fabulous volunteers, fireworks, music, and more–poutine pretty good too!). Grateful to Greg Pace for always knowing the right thing to say. And as my friend Gail said, ‘Heck of a way to do a sim for the sprint race at the ITU’s in Cozumel’.
See you on the next start line, my friends.
A view from a first time racer.
I arrived in Michigan on Friday ,At ironman village, just before athlete check in opened. I had no idea what to expect, I just knew I was excited for my first race experience. After getting checked in , it was on to shop! Wow. So much to choose from!
Saturday went back to check in my bike. The village was just buzzing with people now. Got into the water and it was wavy and warm… And was hoping that the wind would stop over night so that I didn’t have to swim thru the waves.
Race morning… It was still dark but warm. Got to transition to find out that the water temp had gone up over night and now the race had become a non wetsuit race .. Now a decision had to be made. After hearing the rules about what happens if you wear one, I opted to wear mine .. After all that’s how I trained! The wind had stopped and once the sun came out it was a perfect race day . The wetsuit wave (party wave as the announcer named it) was the last wave to go and had a lot of people in it. There was a lot of splashing and kicking and hitting for the first 500 m, but after that it seemed better. The bike course was great and then the run proved to be hilly. But I told myself this is an ironman race, it’s not supposed to be easy! I finished happy and strong and ready for the next one ! Although I did shed a few happy tears too!
I arrived at the race excited and finished happy, and have my coach, Bob Crate, to thank for that. His training plan enabled me to have the confidence in myself. My indoor training this winter , and Friday mornings with Larissa , TCoB team mates and friends, and my friends standing behind me, even though I was mostly MIA while training this summer, has been a part of this journey. I will always remember this race, and the journey to get to the start line. It was a great race!
Participating in Tcob is something I dont think i could do without. It offers a hugely supportive environment creating a team atmosphere for what most people would think is an individual sport. The feeling of community at any TCOB event is so strong I think of the group as my other family... My super fit family! I am not just a better athlete for being a member but a better version of me.