After finishing 2nd overall [female] at three of my triathlons this season, yesterday I finally achieved that coveted overall win at the St. Albert sprint tri!! :) This race is at the top of my favorites list. The course is awesome, the atmosphere is FUN, and the people are great! This year was even better, as my lovely sister Alice was the race director! She spent countless hours organizing volunteers and taking care of all of the many details that go into planning and executing a triathlon. And I must say she did a wonderful job! Well done!
My preparation for this race was far from ideal since first of all, on Thursday i flew to Toronto for work and was there for 2 nights. Don't worry, it was not all work - on Friday my company hosted the other directors and i at the Skyline restaurant in the Skydome for the Toronto Bluejays game. I must admit, I'm not much of a baseball person, so most of the time I didn't really even know what was going on! Pretty much all i know is that the Jays won the game. It was a fantastic evening, though! On Saturday morning I flew to calgary (4 hour flight), and attended the wedding of a friend (Mike K. - congrats!). Geoff and i stayed until about 7:30pm (it was an early wedding - 1pm start, early dinner), then drove home to St. Albert, arriving around 11pm, which felt like 1am to me. Whew - long day! So I did no training at all on friday-saturday due to lack of time.
I dragged myself out of bed at 5:45am on Sunday, with a minor incident occurring at home while pumping my tires and snapping my valve extender for my rear Zipp wheel, leaving the end of it stuck inside the wheel! whoops. Wasn't sure if I would be racing after all at that point and i was totally okay with that. Anyway, I arrived at the race by 6:30am (okay, I was about 10 mins late), as I was also a volunteer for the morning. I helped with some body marking, then donned my fluorescent yellow vest and parked myself in the transition, directing swimmers/bikers in and out. It was a fun job and we really lucked out as we could not have ordered better weather!
Around 9:30am I gave up my volunteer position and made my way to the pool to get ready for my race. While I was volunteering, the wonderful bike support from Cranky's had fixed up my rear wheel and salvaged the valve extender (temporary fix - now on my to do list is to get a new one, and also a new chain!), so my bike was good to go!
I didn't have time to do a run warm up, so i hopped in the second (and very hot) pool and swam about 400m as warm up. My heat was supposed to start at 10am but was a little behind schedule. my swim was pretty terrible, and it felt waaayyy harder than it should have. This seems to always happen with the pool swims - I always feel like $h!t and have a crappy swim! Luckily there were just 2 of us in the lane so there were no issues with passing. So the slow time was all me! Perhaps it had something to do with me only swimming 3 times in the past 3 weeks! Ha! My time for 750m was actually much slower than the pace I held for 1500m in the Hinton tri pool swim!
My swim to bike transition was seamless and I got out before anyone else in my heat (of course the heat did not all start together so that is deceiving). My bike computer did not work after I switched my race wheels onto my bike, and I stopped wearing a watch in my races, so it was all done by perceived effort. I went as hard as I possibly could, with worry creeping into my head a few times that I was perhaps going too hard and wouldn't be able to run after - but i pushed those thoughts out and kept pressing on! I was passed by the eventual male winner maybe around 5km, and then several km's later a junior guy went by me, but didn't get far. Those were the only 2 that passed me during the bike. After the turn-around, we were into a slight wind, and I was able to re-pass the junior and stayed in front of him until just prior to the dismount line when he went by me again. At the end of the race when i talked to him, he said he was surprised as he thought i was a guy! Uh.... okay...? Do I really look like a guy? Hahahaha!
Off the bike and my second transition was a little more sloppy. I racked my bike on the other side of the bar than my shoes, so I had to duck under the bar to get to my stuff. Once onto the run, I didn't feel great, but after about 500m I got into a good rhythm and felt like I was doing pretty well and going fast. I was able to find that extra gear for the 5km run and push hard right to the finish! The most important thing was that I gave it my hardest effort possible and left nothing out there on that course. Most of my runs in the triathlons this year have not shown the hard work that I have put in this year in that discipline, until now.
swim - 10:54 (1st female, 5th overall)
bike - 34:52 (1st female, 9th overall) - includes both transitions
run - 21:49 (2nd female, 19th overall)
Total time: 1:07.34 (10th overall, 1st female) = a personal best!
The encouraging thing for me is that I was about 1 minute faster than last year's time on this course, and my run time alone was about a 40 sec PB. So all that time focusing on the run has eventually paid off (as it sure hadn't seemed like it during my last 3 races)!
I'm back in Calgary today (for work, again!) just for one night... excited to get home and get back into a routine of hard training... 4 weeks until Banff!