Monday, August 6, 2012

Calgary 70.3 recap

"Don't dream of winning - train for it" [Mo Farah]

What a fun weekend it was, but certainly not without its drama!  Alice and I drove up to Calgary on Friday evening and arrived just in time to meet our brother Donald for dinner at Milestones across from the hotel.  Saturday we hit up the hotel gym treadmills for an easy 20min jog, then picked up our race packets.  The logistics of this race were a little tricky, as the race starts at Ghost Lake, which is over 45km out of Calgary, and the bike is a point to point, with transition 2 in Calgary.  We had to bring our bikes out to Ghost Lake on Saturday to transition 1 and leave them there overnight.  Alice and I decided to take advantage of the shuttle service leaving the Hyatt to get our bikes to T1.  That was an unfortunate decision.

The shuttle turned out to be a yellow school bus (old school!) with a trailer behind it for the bikes.  There were no bike racks in there, though, so everyone cautiously placed their bike in the trailer, basically like sardines in a can (about 15-20 bikes).  The ride out to Ghost lake was super bumpy and by the time we arrived and opened the trailer, the contents had become a tangled mess of expensive carbon frames and race wheels.  #FAIL

I checked my gears and made sure everything was shifting properly and it appeared to be.  There were actually some scratches on my Zipp's, but it was just the decals.  I was kinda pissed but reminded myself that in the grand scheme of things it was pretty trivial and wouldn't have any bearing my time or ability to have a good bike leg.

 T1 - the narrowest transition I have ever seen, and one of the tightest- there was barely any room!  

Bike racked, all packed in there and ready to go

Race morning dawned at 4:45am.  Alice and I had borrowed a toaster from Donald so we could toast our bagels, which was a brilliant idea as toasted bagels are sooo much better than non-toasted.  We lined up outside the hotel for the 5:30am shuttle (we decided to take the shuttle to the race start, then we were going to have Donald drive us back to the hotel from the finish to get our vehicle, then go back to pick up our bikes at the finish to avoid the shuttle/trailer debacle).  Ten minutes later, we heard that the 5:30am shuttle had broken down, so we were informed we'd have to take the 5:45 shuttle.  5:50 rolled around, then 5:55, still no shuttle.  We were getting a little worried as it takes about 50min to drive to the lake and our wave was starting at 7:35am.  Just after 6am, a girl we happened to be standing with (Christine) said her husband was coming to get her to drive her out to the lake, and they had a couple extra spots.  Thank you, thank you!! Christine's husband Vincent saved the day! We rounded up a couple other people, including a guy from Europe (Alain) who had even less time than we had as his wave was starting at 7:25.

By the time we arrived at the transition, it was after 7am and the pro wave was just starting.  With our wave going off at 7:35, Alice and I had just enough time to pump the tires, get sunscreened-up, hit the bathrooms, and don our wetsuits.  It was the least time I've ever had before a race.  The good thing was there really wasn't any time to be nervous!

Swim - 1.9km - 26:38 (1st female, including pro's - yeehaw!)
-the swim was great, it was a rectangular, counter-clockwise course. Our wave was all women, and the start was clean and completely civilized. I had clean water immediately, and swam the 2k all on my own, just the way I like it! I had to swim through some men from the previous wave, but it was fine and didn't slow me      down.  The water was a little chilly (maybe 17C?), but I warmed up pretty well after about halfway.  I felt smooth and comfortable the whole way and was stoked to exit the water first female.

(These photos are from the race photographer and have the company's logo all over them -  sorry but it's all I have so they'll just have to do!)
 Coming out of the water

Transition 1 was uneventful.  Apparently there was some rule that you weren't allowed to have your shoes clipped into your pedals, but I always have my shoes clipped into my pedals and didn't want to run on the pavement in the cleats, so I ignored the rule and just did my own thang, starting with my shoes clipped into the pedals. Busted! haha.  In my defence, I missed the pre-race briefing and just heard this info secondhand so for all I know it could have been hearsay, lol.  

Bike - 94km - 2:35 (6th fastest of amateurs)
-I really enjoyed the bike course, it was beautiful.  There were a LOT of hills, nothing too crazy-steep but really just a ton of them.  The 2nd female out of the water went blowing by me within the first few km, but I kept doing my own thing as I knew I could not hold a pace like that.  About 5km in, my chain fell off, so I had to stop, get off my bike, and fix it. GRRR! Later on in the bike (about 45km), I dropped my chain again! Luckily, this time somehow I was able to gear up and it flipped back on.  Okay, this is getting annoying, it seems to be happening in almost every race.  Note to self: get one of those chain guards.  

The rest of the bike was great, I felt strong and just focused on powering through the course.  I passed a lot of guys which was super fun, and one guy I went by said 'damn, that's the second time I've been chicked today!'.  It was pretty funny.  Only one more woman passed me the rest of the bike, when we had about 20-30km to go, so I was 3rd off the bike. My legs definitely felt the ride as they were feeling fatigued and a bit sore the second half of the bike.  I feel like I rode pretty well but there's still work to be done as I know I can be faster than that.    

 Climbing one of the many hills on the bike course

Run - 21km - 1:48 (not sure of placing)
-The run was a pure mental and physical battle.  At the beginning, I felt not amazing, but just alright.  I forgot to start my watch and realized after about a minute, so was fumbling around with it.  I think I actually went out pretty fast the first kilometer or two.  The run course was spectacular, but at the same time very challenging. There were a few significant hills on the course and it was super hot and sunny as well.  I started walking just the aid stations after about 5-7km, and forced myself to not walk between the aid stations, except on 2 occasions (for part of 2 very steep hills!).  I focused on ticking off the kilometers, making it to the next aid station (where they had ice!), and managing the discomfort and pain.  


A bit before the turnaround, I noticed 3 girls were ahead of me coming the other way, and since I had not been passed yet I realized one of those girls had passed me around 4k when I ducked into a porta-loo.  She was the eventual winner and in another time zone with the fastest run split of the day including pro's - crazy fast!   I would check my watch occasionally, and tried to do the math to figure out what I needed to go under 5hrs. The rest of the run was survival, and I used a lot of positive self talk and encouragement to get through it.  My legs were incredibly sore and it was so hard to even turn the feet over the last 4km, but I kept plugging away and was running scared all the way to the finishing chute as I thought someone else would surely pass me!  

More runnin'

But I hit the finish line without any other girls passing me!

4:54 - 1st W30-34, 4th overall female

Turns out I was actually closing in on 3rd place, and finished only a minute behind! I'm thrilled with how this race unfolded - I've been training consistently and it's great to see that translated into race day.  My run was actually a PB, too - just a hair faster than my run time from GWN last year, which was on a flat course.  I know I should be able to run faster than that.  But it looks like most of the run times weren't super-fast, with just 2 amateurs under 1:40.

these are the nicest finisher medals I have ever seen!

Alice had a fantastic race as well, finishing strong, despite very limited bike training.  She just got back from working in Inuvik at the beginning of July, and only signed up for this race 3 weeks before!  Alice did awesome on such a challenging course with only 3-4 weeks of biking.  So proud of my sis!  After the race we headed to Donald's house to shower and then hauled @$$ to the nearest Dairy Queen for a double cheeseburger, fries, and mint ice cream/Reese blizzard.  It was soooo delicious! 

Alice and I post-race, pre-shower and pre-Dairy Queen!


runningman said...

Good job Lisa. I was thinking of doing this race right up untill the week before. Opted for the training weekend instead. Nice report and congratz on the age grp win!!

Mike Gerrie said...

Lisa, Lisa, Lisa....AWESOME job!!! What a great race execution -- you are a machine that keeps moving forward. YES!!

Congratulations on the AG win and the blazing fast swim time!! I am totally serious I want to come and swim with you for a week this winter. I'll stay at a Super 8 and buy you many toasted bagels! :)

I am so proud of you and excited that you rocked out such a great race!!! AWESOME!! YAY!!!

Julie said...

WHOOPS!!! The above comment is MINE! Not Mike's! LMAO!!!

He was still logged in and I didn't realize it until I posted. LOL!!!

mike said...

You are becoming world class Lisa, age group win here, nationals too. You were 15
Overall including Pro's congratulations on your amazing result. Vera and I followed online and it was pretty exciting to see you holding your own against the pro field.

Great to see you hammered the swim and got another running PB.

Again Lisa congrats

Lisa Graham said...

Thanks Darryl! Sounds like you got some good training done instead of the race.

Julie - you are hilarious! I was trying to figure out who posted that comment but then saw your other comment! lol. And you are on for a training camp this fall/winter! You should come here for a visit, you can stay with me and we will swim lots and run! Let's plan it!

Mike- as always, thanks for your comments and congrats again on your awesome IM result!