I decided I would race in Magog despite my less than desirable performance in Gravenhurst, if only to gain some more experience in preparation for Edmonton. I kept my training as usual up until Wednesday, and started my very short quasi-taper on Thursday. Thursday was the drive to Magog, leaving at 6am from Waterloo, meeting up with C3 members Patricia and Luis Lopez in Toronto, and continuing to Magog, arriving somewhere around 3pm. I spent a lot of time sleeping J
I stayed at a quaint little B&B just 600m or so from the race site. The host was lovely and provided delicious breakfasts in the morning. A couple of LPC members, Helen and Josette, were also staying there and we got to know each other well over the few days- they are lovely people! 😀
Friday I went to check out the course, riding a good portion of the bike leg (the scenery was spectacular), did my usual run on Friday (I decided not to taper my run at all), and swam a loop of the course. The water was lovely although the lake was shallow so I had to practice some dolphin diving as the first (and last) 40-50m were too shallow to swim.
On Saturday I did a little bit of training but spent the majority of the day watching the elite races and the age group sprint race in the afternoon. I was feeling pretty lethargic the entire time since Thursday so was unsure how this “taper” was going to work for me and was feeling pretty nervous going to bed on Saturday night.
After a night of little sleeping I was awake well before my alarm was to go off on Sunday morning, but I was excited to race! I went to get my coffee from McD’s and ate breakfast back at the B&B before heading to the race site. I made sure to eat far more than I did before the Gravenhurst race so that I didn’t run out of energy and have a repeat of that performance.
When walking to the race site I heard the announcer saying it was a no-wetsuit swim!! I did a little happy dance and knew this was going to be a good day. My copious amounts of swim training pay off a little more if we aren’t wearing wetsuits, plus I feel better swimming without them. Fingers are doubly-crossed that Edmonton is also no-wetsuits (although this is probably very wishful thinking). I did my swim warm-up about an hour before the race (my bike was racked the night before so couldn’t do that, and I felt I needed to save my legs as much as possible for the running in the race). Thankfully being on the varsity swim team at Waterloo got me used to doing a warm-up well before the event so this didn’t seem that strange to me.
I was in the fourth wave to go off, with each wave being 10 minutes apart (3 waves of men started before us, and the women 35+ were after). At the start of the horn we all rushed into the water and started to swim. I was prepared to swim on the inside of the buoys going out to avoid people, but that wasn’t necessary as most people were way to the outside. So I swam straight up the buoys, quickly catching those who had a faster start than I. Soon there was only one person ahead of me, whom I caught and swam beside for a bit and then decided to draft off her feet and basically did no work on the way back to shore. 😀 This is the first time I have ever drafted off someone in a race and it was fun! We had to weave our way through the men but eventually we reached shore and were off to transition.
I was nervous about the bike leg as it contained copious amounts of hills (mountains actually) but everything seemed to be working perfectly. I kept my effort steady, adjusting the gearing as necessary and felt like I was moving at a good pace, but keeping my heart rate fairly low (I don’t have data, just going by feel). Passing all the men was just so much fun, and motivating. Coming towards the turn-around we go up a very big hill and then down, and down, and down, and down, and then down a little bit more, before turning around to go back up. All I was thinking about on the way down was “oh no, I am going to have to ride back up this!!” (this section was not part of my ride on Friday). So then we go up, and up, and up (I think you get the point now 😉 ) but it wasn’t too bad. I saw I had a decent lead on the other females in the race so didn’t increase the effort on the way back. It was very exciting for me to start passing people from the second wave too (so yes, I was looking at the age on their legs).
I was extremely nervous about the run, given last weekend’s disaster. My goal for the entire race was basically to just not fall apart on the run. It took me about 2.5km to find my stride and start to feel somewhat comfortable. The run course was two loops, with only one large, but gradual, hill about mid-way through each lap. Lucky for us, some of the residents of Magog were out not only cheering us on, but they had hoses!! 😀 So a nice little cool down every so often- there were even a couple kids with Supersoakers who seemed to be having a blast. I gratefully accepted any water they wanted to spray on me. Towards the finish line/ where we turn to go to our second loop, not only Helen and Josette but the entire LPC crew as well as C3 members were gathered at the same spot so I got some loud cheers which was totally awesome. Finishing my first lap I could see Hans Porten, a fast moving 55-59 C3 member, heading out on his second lap. It then became my personal goal to chase him down, although it took until about the 8km mark for me to catch him. After that it was smooth going to the finish line, finishing in a respectable 2:14:15. I’m telling myself that T2 was included in the run time (it may have been in the bike time) so I was satisfied with the run. Still plenty of room to go until I get back to last year’s fitness, but I’m going in the right direction.
In hindsight I feel I could have been faster on all three legs, as I wasn’t super tired at the end of the race, however I was very worried about the run so consciously held back on the swim and bike legs and didn’t try to push it too early on the run. However, it is all in the learning experience and I am (knock on wood) remaining injury free so far.
All in all I felt like the entire weekend was well run- events went off on time, there were tons of athletes and spectators, the town really seemed to embrace the triathlon, and the setting was spectacular. Another thing I really appreciated was that there was plenty of space on the bike racks.
I had a great weekend, made some new friends, and got to see a new part of the country.
What I have learned though is that apparently I come across as very serious and intimidating?
I swear I’m not, but pre-race I am fairly focused and not very smiley. But post-race I am usually happy and very willing to chat!
A huge thanks goes out to C3 and especially Luis and Patricia Lopez for doing the driving to and from Magog, as well as the support I received from all members at the race, and for my new friends Helen and Josette from LPC for creating another cheering section for me. And a very special thanks to Ziggy’s Cycle for helping me out with a new helmet so that my head didn’t heat up like an oven.