(**pictures to be added when my parents get around to sending theirs to me. could be a while…)
I should preface this by saying that my frustration and negativity with being injured 3 weeks out from worlds was evidently unwarranted, as although I don’t think it helped me any, it didn’t appear to do too much harm either. With some careful planning around training and some rehab I was able to put in a solid but short block of training before the race which left me ready to go on race day.
Race morning dawned a chilly 7 degrees or so, very reminiscent of London last year. Water temperature was slightly warmer though at 17.7, meaning we could do the full 1500m swim.
Bikes were racked the day before so there was little to do in transition before the race. Then it was down towards the swim start where we waited around for 20 minutes or so before our wave. Chatting with LaurenHeinken and Meg Lamers helped to calm the nerves and treat this as just any other race.
The swim start was on the sand, although there was an immediate drop-off in the water so there was only room for two steps into a dive to get going. The horn went and I dove into the water, did a couple dolphin kicks and began to swim. To my astonishment this left me clear of most of my competitors as they didn’t do the whole dolphin dive thing (I must thank the varsity swim team for teaching me these skills). This left for a fairly uneventful swim. I could see that there was a small group way ahead, but I was expecting this, as there is usually a small contingent of those who come from a swim background that leave the rest of us behind. I wasn’t worried about it because, (apart from Angela Quick) it has been my experience that most age group athletes that have a great swim don’t back it up with a strong bike/run. Two laps of the pond and we were into the long run up to transition. I have to assume that the timing mats were somewhere along the way and not by the water, as the swim times all seemed rather slow, but I don’t know for sure.
Transition went smoothly and it was out onto the bike course. It was a two lap course with one steep but short hill and a couple of long, but gradual hills each lap. One of my bike shoes had been giving me grief all week by not clipping in easily and race day was no exception. It took about 5km before it clipped in and then I started to pick off my competitors one by one. About 13km in I took the lead but kept up the strong pace, hoping to give myself as much of a buffer into the run as I could. Not much happened throughout the rest of the bike course- I got rather cold and could feel that affecting me, but knew everyone else was dealing with the same conditions so didn’t think too much about it.
First into T2 I knew the race was on. There were two girls only a short ways behind and I knew they were capable of running fast. Taking my sweet time in T2 they probably gained another 10 seconds on me, leaving me with about a 20 second gap. I set out at a fairly good pace but due to the layout of the run course (sort of like a “T”) I couldn’t see where everyone else was until about 4km in. Turns out I was putting in a small amount of time to 2ndand 3rd place, who were running beside each other. Making sure I looked like I was having a great time (I smiled at them) I increased the pace a bit as we crossed paths, not wanting them to think that they would catch me easily. I have no idea whether this worked or not, but by the turn around at 9km I had put in about 15 more seconds on 2nd place (3rd place had dropped back). Then it was into the final stretch on to the blue carpet and the finish line. The cheers from the Canadian crowds were amazing and it felt awesome to repeat as World Champion on home soil. Although I doubted my ability to run going into the race, I had the second fastest run split, so can’t have done that badly…
Although this was initially to be the end of my season, not racing Bracebridge means that I still need a fourth MSC race to qualify for the elite series awards, so I will be at Lakeside in a week’s time. After a short “break” in Jasper, it is back to regular training. After being on co-op for the past 8 months I am sincerely looking forward to going back to school, because it allows for a lot more training time! 😀