Deborah (MIL) and I drove to Calgary the day before the race, arriving right around 6pm to pick up our race packets and for the pre-race dinner. The food did not disappoint! And the schwag did not disappoint, either! Deb and I managed to score ourselves a neoprene cap, which came in handy for the freezing cold lake the next day. Race morning dawned at a reasonable hour, as we were up at 6:30am (after a sleep that was anything but restful). We had tons of time to get organized once at the race site, as we had to be there by 8am and the Olympic race didn't start until 9:15am. I even had time to do a little jog (only a mile or so - that's all the warm up you need, right? Haha).
I got myself wetsuited-up just before 9am and waded into the water to warm up, which felt extremely chilly!
Water temperature was probably somewhere around 16-17C. Just before the start, I lined up front and centre on the beach.
SWIM - 26:08
Yes, that is correct. Although the course was definitely longer than 1500m (I would estimate 200m too long), the swim was a complete mess for me and the first 200m is where things fell apart. At the sound of the horn, I ran in and started out hard, as I usually do, and immediately became sandwiched between two incredibly aggressive dudes(both DB's if you ask me), who kept trying to push me and punch me. I've been in the midst of many aggressive starts before, and kicked and punched (e.g. GWN), but typically I am able to eventually push ahead of these extremely physical and aggressive guys. This time, I found myself completely stuck between the two dudes, where I was continually coughing underwater (damn you headcold), each breath I took was water, and I couldn't seem to swim myself out of it and push ahead of them. This continued on for nearly 200m, at which time I basically started having a panic attack and hyperventilating. It was so bizarre.
So I pulled back and starting doing some breaststroke, gasping for air and and I couldn't stop coughing, feeling like I couldn't breathe, then suddenly I moved all the way to the left side and swam to one of the boats. I told them I was dropping out and hung onto the side of the boat. The person paddling the boat was concerned and asked if I needed more assistance and/or another boat. I felt really stupid, and just stayed at the side of that boat for a few minutes, trying to figure out what the heck had happened and what exactly I was doing.
Finally, I decided I would just finish that first loop (the swim was 2 x 750m laps) and then just get out at the beach. So I told the boat lady I could keep going after all, and got back on my way, about 2-3 minutes behind where I should have been. I had to pass tons of swimmers during that lap, and the loop felt very long, but I ended up feeling not too bad, other than coughing. As I neared the buoy on the shore, I figured I might as well just finish off the whole swim in order to get some open water practice, and continued on the 2nd loop. I had clearer water during that loop, and continued to pass a bunch of people, deciding during that 2nd loop that I might as well just continue after the swim and do the bike and the run, since I had recovered quite well from the *incident*.
BIKE - 1:08.54 (includes T1 and T2)
I ran up the hill to transition, got my wetsuit off and headed out onto my bike, figuring I was well down in place and out of the game. I went as hard as possible for the duration of the 40km, and raced by feel as I don't have a working bike computer and don't wear a watch. I passed a female within the first 5km. The course was out and back so just before the turn around I was quite suprised to learn that there were actually only 2 women ahead of me (one of them was in the Aqua bike race). I passed the lead female in the Olympic race in the last couple of kilometers, and led into transition.
I was a little worried about how I would fare during the run, given my effort on the bike, but I discovered that my legs had shown up to the party within the first kilometer. The female I had passed just before the end of the bike went by me within the first few hundred meters and took off at a pace that
regrettably I could not match. Regardless, my run went pretty well and I used some positive self-talk to keep myself going and hold it together as it felt pretty darn hard! It is very likely my second 5k was slower than the first, especially since there is a b!t%h of a hill right at 9km that you have to climb up - I literally felt as though I was walking, I was moving so slowly! LOL. Luckily, I was not passed by any other women during the run and was thrilled to run through the finish chute in 2nd overall place (1st W30-39).
My new Saucony Kinvara 3's were perfect for the 10k - love them! They're so light and comfy they feel like slippers.
*Positives to take away from this race*
-My bike split was a minute faster than it was 2 years ago, despite not having ridden my bike for 3 weeks during my trip in May.
-My run time was almost a minute faster than it was 2 years ago
-Despite the difficulties experienced during the swim, I pressed on to finish the race, got some good race experience, and had a good result
-I had a really fun day! (other than the swim)
And Deborah won her age group as well! We had a really fun weekend overall, which included a birthday dinner for moi after the race with some friends and my brothers Donald & Mark at an Indian restaurant downtown (Nawab) - and of course lots of wine and cake!
Deb and me post-race. For some reason I forgot to take pictures of the birthday fiesta extravaganza, and I have no race pics as my sherpa didn't come!