Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Day of Discombobulation: The Belwood Triathlon

G and I made a last minute decision to do this race and sometimes that works out well and sometimes not so much.  G was in Chicago for most of the week.  He came back Thursday and then took our nephew out to the Jays game on Friday night.  They didn't get in until around 11:00.  I think it was 11:30 by the time G came to bed.  I had fallen asleep on the couch around 8:30 while trying to watch the Tour.  Oh yeah, I know how to live it up on a Friday.  And that was without my customary frosty beverage.  I finally pulled the pin and went up to bed around 9:00 pm.  I had packed my bag as soon as I got home from work so I knew I had everything ready.   I think I was sound asleep by 9:30.

Like I said I know how to live it up.

It was just as well as my alarm was set for 4:45 am.  We had to be on the road for 6:00 at the latest and I need time to wake up.  I'm not a jump in the car and go kinda gal.  I got up, spent about 10 minutes trying to force my hair into 2 pigtails.  2 elastics and 11 hair clips later, it was all secure.  I had a quick shower, got dressed and headed downstairs for breakfast.  I was so not feeling it.  All I wanted to do was go back to bed.  But we had spectators coming out so there was no bailing now.

G got up, made breakfast and then woke up Drew.  While Drew got ready, G packed up the car and I double checked everything in my bag.  Drew gobbled up some granola, I made up my water bottles and we headed out the door.  Quick stop at Tim Horton's for coffee and then we were off.

The humidity had finally broken and it actually felt cool out.  It was 20 degrees Celsius.  Funny how your tolerance changes after a week of scorching hot temps.  We drove up the 427 into ominous clouds.  I hoped that it wasn't going to rain.

Not looking very promising
As we started heading along the 401, the clouds seemed to be clearing.  Once we started driving north, the weather looked much better.  As the clouds lifted, so did my spirits.  It looked like it was going to be really nice day.

We pulled into the Conservation area, found parking, unloaded all our gear and made the long walk back to transition.  We found our numbers and then went to rack our bikes.  To my surprise my rack was already quite full, probably because transition was quite small.  There weren't a lot of folks racing, probably because the majority of folks were doing the Toronto Triathlon Festival the next day. We picked up our kits, chips & caps, got body marked and went back into transition to finish setting up.  With all that done, it was warm up time.  On our way down to the water we ran into G's family.  Of course my folks were nowhere to be seen yet.  They have a slight issue with punctuality.  There is a running joke amongst some of my cousins that all of our parents run on R.S.T also known as Rodrigues Standard Time.  If you want a Rodrigues to be on time for something you need to tell them it starts an hour earlier than it actually does.

G and I headed down to the water to do our warm up.  As I got close to shore I had the sneaking suspicion that the water was not going to be nice.   The algae and weed covered beach and brown water kinda gave it away.  Sure enough when I walked in my feet got sucked into muck.  Muck with rocks strewn through it.  So. freaking.  awesome.  It was also really warm.  They had announced that it would be a wetsuit optional swim due to the temperature.  I am much more comfortable swimming in open water in a wetsuit so if I have the opportunity to wear it, I will, regardless of how hot it is.

I did my warm up swim and floated around for a bit, trying to let water into my wetsuit to cool me down a bit.  I found G and we swam back to shore.  As I was swimming back I saw my new found friend Heather coming into the water.  We chatted for a bit and she went off to do her warm up.  I got out of the water to see if I could find my folks.  After a quick look around and no luck, I got back in.  My wave was the last to go so I gave G a good luck kiss and wished Heather luck - they were in the same wave before me.  Once they left, I wandered into the water to try and find a good spot.  I wanted to situate myself off to the side but out front again.  That worked well for me at Binbrook.

The gun went off and I hit start on my Garmin.  I had a nice clear path so I made the best of it.  Shortly after we started swimming, someone behind me grabbed my ankle and pulled on my timing chip.  Normally I have it partially covered by my wetsuit but for some reason I didn't today.  It felt like it was almost off so I stopped and grabbed it.  It seemed to still be hanging on somehow but because I was in the water, I couldn't actually see it.  I pulled it tight and hoped that it wouldn't come off.  I purposely didn't kick hard with that leg.  About 200m in I ended up catching a couple of people so I took the opportunity to draft.  I think that actually slowed me down.  I tried to get around them but to no avail.  I figured I'd try again at the first buoy.  Once I got around the buoy, I managed to pull around them and get ahead.  I got into a nice groove through here.  There was no one in front of me and one person off to my right.  Perfect.  I kept waiting for my watch to buzz at the 500m mark but it never did.  I thought that was weird but put it out of my mind.  I felt like I swam really well so I was a little bummed when I hit the shore and saw 13:19 on my watch.  Those couple of stops mid swim obviously slowed me down.  Little did I know that gear issues would be the theme of my morning.

Swim time:  14:33 includes the run up to transition.

I ran up the shore along the mats towards T1 and got stuck behind some dude who was taking a leisurely stroll.  I managed to get around him and sprint into transition.  I looked down at my timing chip and saw that it was turned upside down and somehow twisted around.  I pulled it off, pulled my wetsuit off, put it back on then got all my other things on.  I pulled my bike off the rack and hit stop on my Garmin when I was supposed to hit lap.  Ugh. I hit start again and then saw it switch to "run" mode.  WTF?  I then realized that it hadn't read any distance.

T1 time:   1:32.  Not bad considering the amount of messing around I did.

Awesome.  Apparently that's what happens when you turn it on inside.   It doesn't automatically pick up satellites as soon as you go outside.  Nope, that would be too easy.  It has to be re-started.   I was mildly annoyed but figured I'd have the data on the SRM to guide me.  As soon as I hopped on my bike I hit what I thought was "start" on the SRM.  I started pedaling like mad.  A few minutes later I looked down only to see that the SRM wasn't reading anything.  Occasionally the time would flash up on the screen but that was it.  GAH.   So, I turned my Garmin off, let it sit for a bit and turned it back on.  It located a satellite and I promptly re-set it to "bike" mode.  All while riding.  Obviously not as hard as I could but pushing none the less.  With that sorted, I put my head down and tried to make up time.  The first part of this course is flat and fast.  There were a few rollers but I'd say it was definitely more downhill.  Sure enough as we hit the first out and back I saw the first of 3 climbs.  It was short and not terribly steep.  I hit the turnaround at the out and back and started to climb.  Shortly after I was passed by a woman in my AG.  Crap.  I tried to hang on to her but she was really strong on the hills.  So the best I could do was try to keep her in my sights, which I did for most of the back half of the course.  Until we turned north into the wind.  That's when the chute came out.  The wind was blowing right out of the north.  I suck in the wind.  Really I do.  I hate it.  Add that to the fact that we were climbing pretty much the entire way back and you had one unhappy little lady on the bike.

I was so uncomfortable that I actually zoned out for a while.  I started thinking about work, what I was going to do on Sunday, anything but what I was actually doing.   I happened to glance down at my Garmin and saw that I was only doing 22km/hr.  I immediately got annoyed with myself and started to pick up the pace.  It hurt but I didn't care.  I kept pushing.  I just wanted to get off the bike.   I knew that once we crested the hill, we'd make a turn heading west and then the wind would be mainly at my back.  Once I made that turn, my legs finally said alright let's go.  I was already in my big chain ring so I pushed it to my hardest gear and went.  I got as aero as I could and hammered.  I am pretty sure I was cooking along at about 40kph through that stretch.  I passed a whole bunch of people.

As I made my way towards the dismount line, I put it in my easiest gear and tried to spin the lactic acid out of my legs.  I probably should have done that earlier.  When I got of the bike my legs really felt like jello.  I heard someone yelling Go Phaedra and I looked up to see my mom and dad right by the entrance into transition.  They were yelling Go Go Go Girleeeee and my dad was fist pumping everywhere,  which totally made me laugh.  I racked my bike and noticed that there weren't really many others around.  Sweet.   I switched shoes, took off my helmet and grabbed my visor.  I stopped my Garmin and re-set it as I was running out of transition.  Again wasting time.  I need to learn to not be such a data junkie.  Realistically I should have been fine with just my time and heart rate data but nooooo, I am stubborn so I actually slowed down the first 500m to fiddle with my watch and re-set it to "run" mode.

Bike:  56:40 - way slower than normal.

T2:  00:59s - a bit slower than normal, probably due to my watch fiddling.

With that done, I started to push the pace.  My legs were having none of it.  My shins hurt and that hardly ever happens.  It was weird because we were running on a soft packed gravel trail.  I figured that would be a bit more forgiving than pavement.  I felt like I almost hadn't done a warm up.  I wasn't sure how that was possible given everything I had done up to that point.  I chugged along, hoping that it would pass.  At about the 2km mark I caught a woman in my age group who I don't recall seeing on the bike at all.  Turns out she is a super fast swimmer and was on the road well before I was so I never actually saw her.  That kind of caught me by surprise so I started to wonder if there was anyone else out there that I wasn't aware of.  That made me push harder.  I didn't get a good look at the woman who had passed me on the bike, all I knew was that she was wearing black and white and her number started with a 2.  I thought I might see her at the first turn around but I didn't.  I am pretty sure I saw her at the second turn around but I didn't know what she looked like so I was just guessing.  Once I saw her afterwards, I realized it was her that I had seen.  There was probably only about 500m or so that separated us.  If the course had been longer I probably would have caught her.  But alas, it was not.  I came barreling across the dam and into the finishing chute right behind another woman in the 35-39 year old age category.  I saw 1:53 something on the clock and started doing the math.  I figured I was around 1:45 and change.  I knew I was in the top 10 females overall because the announcer was counting them down out loud.

Run:  31:59

I met up with G after who had a horrible day.  He looked green.  I saw him on the run and he said he was feeling sick.  He ended up dropping out of the race.   I found my folks and G's family and we said we'd meet them over by the post race food after we packed everything up in transition.

We made our way over there and couldn't find anyone.  Surprise!  My dad was probably wandering around the park, checking out the public beach area.  We put our bikes down and G flopped down on the ground while I went and got food.  Then G went off and I stayed on bike watch duty.  Once he got back I went over to the results board.  There was one page up and I thought I'd be lucky if I was actually on it.  Much to my surprise, there I was!  I had just made it into the top 20 finishers overall.

Say what??  


I then looked to see where I finished in my AG - 2nd place.  Lo and behold the woman that passed me on the bike finished literally right in front of me.  27 seconds difference.  27 seconds that I'm sure I could have made up if I wasn't so busy messing around with my Garmin.   You live and you learn right?  Next time I'm just going to leave it well enough alone.

What really surprised me was the 3/72 stat that I saw.  I made the podium for overall women's finishers in 3rd place.  Amazing.  The best part was that of the top 5 women, 2 of them were over 40.  The rest were 34 or under.  Go Old Broads!

I wasn't the only one that had a great day.  My new found friend Heather netted herself a 3rd place AG finish in only her second triathlon.  She did Huronia a couple of weeks ago and got 2nd in her AG!  Look out ladies in the 30-34 year old age category, you've got some up and coming competition.
Me ruining a perfectly good picture by being a goof.
 Even though I had what I thought was a less than ideal day, I can't complain about the end result.   I do know I probably won't be back to do that race again.  I really didn't like the swim.  The water was incredibly gross.  G thinks that might have been why he got sick as he swallowed a bit of water during the swim.  I didn't particularly enjoy riding uphill into the wind on the bike, but if it wasn't windy, that bike course would have been alright as the roads were nice and smooth.  I didn't mind running on the rail trail but it was really isolated, there were no spectators at all which makes for a bit of a lonely run.

We've another race this Sunday in Bala.  This is always a fun one.  It's going to be a super gross early start for us though as it's a 2 hour drive from Toronto.  Looks like I'll be going to bed at 8:30 on a Saturday night.  Sadly it wouldn't be the first time.


 






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