Hello! I haven’t written anything in a while- working full time & training makes me very busy (and I LOVE it!). The changes I have made to training and life in general since last season I think warrant another blog post, or I’d never get to the race report, but things have been going very well and I was in a great head-space going into St. Anthony’s on the weekend. I was confident in my training and ability to execute a great race.
Florida was kind enough to have a heat wave over the weekend, with record setting heat and humidity from Thursday to Sunday. Coming from Ontario, it was a bit of a shock to the system, but I made sure to hydrate and stay out of the sun when possible.
Race morning dawned warm and windy, and as a result the swim was shortened to 900m (or so), with a long run from the swim exit to transition. I did not complain ?
At 6:53am the gun went off for the pro women to start. It was a beach start and a long way to go in shallow water before we could start swimming, which has never been one of my strengths (especially since this type of start disadvantages the short people). However, I just followed in the footsteps of Laurel Wassner and when the water got deep enough dove in and tried to stick to her feet. It was one of the best starts I have ever had and although I ended up doing the majority of the swim on my own, I exited the water with Jillian Petersen and Laurel, two people whom I would generally try to stick with in races. The thing I was most pleased with was my ability to stay calm in conditions that have in the past caused a good deal of anxiety. I found that being able to relax I was able to get into a rhythm with the waves rather than feeling like I was fighting it the whole time. Barrie had detoured his flight home from Tucson to come through Tampa to watch the race, and he informed me as I ran to T1 that I was 75 seconds down on the leaders. This may or may not have been accurate (if you know Barrie), but sounded about what I was expecting.
Onto the bike I was determined (come hell or high water) that I would NOT over-bike. I did that last year and it was not a fun run; it was dreadful actually. So I focused on settling into a comfortably hard effort and did not try to catch anyone quickly. I reminded myself to be patient and that I had about an hour and forty minutes left of racing. Plenty of time. In the first 5 miles or so I passed 3 athletes, had a moment of confusion around mile 7 where a ‘race support’ vehicle started yelling ‘go right!’ and a police officer was motioning to go straight (I needed to go straight), but overall a fairly uneventful ride. Around mile 20 I passed another athlete, bringing me into 4th place, although I knew there were athletes not far behind, and the people ahead weren’t very far away. Still I focused on my own race because I sure as hell wanted to run well.
My typical slow T2 saw Kaitlin Donner take off ahead of me with a couple athletes only a few seconds behind as we headed out onto the run course. I felt pretty good! (a later analysis of the power file would reveal that I didn’t bike as hard as I should be capable of). At first I thought that I would not see Kaitlin again, as she is a very good runner. However in the first mile the distance between us did not increase and my legs started to feel better, so I was able to make the pass around 1.5 miles. The athletes behind were falling further back. My goal had been to get under 38 minutes for the run, so I focused on staying at a consistently strong pace. At the turn-around I could see that I had made up considerable time on Jen Spieldenner, and the thought crossed my mind that I may be able to catch her over the next 5km. She had other ideas and also picked up her pace, so while I chased her down as quickly as I could, I came up short, 23 seconds behind at the finish line, but with the second fastest run split on the day!!!
Overall I am extremely happy with the race and it lets me know that the training I have been doing has me on the right track for a great 2017 season. My next race will be Chattanooga 70.3, although my training for the year will focus almost entirely on the Olympic distance. Gotta learn to go fast before you go long!
I want to extend a special thank you to my FABULOUS homestay, the Morrow family, who made my time in Florida thoroughly enjoyable, as well as the volunteers and staff of St. Anthony’s Triathlon who put on a spectacular race. Also thank you to Barrie Shepley, who detoured his flights to come watch the race, Alto Cycling, Skechers, Rudy Project, DKOS, and Riplaces for providing me the gear I need to train and race fast, and Royal Containers, C3, and Caledon Hills Cycling for their on-going support of my athletic adventures.
Thanks for reading!