In early May, I had the opportunity of attending a bike camp with Aerobic Power/TCR in Penticton, which was awesome. The biking there is amazing. We got 4 days in - the first 2 days were long, 100-110km, the 3rd day we got rained out after about 50km, and the last day I got in about 50km riding out to Naramata, one of my most favourite rides. This camp was great in order to build a good base of biking for the season, riding with some fast people! I'd only been outside on my bike twice before this camp so it was a good wake up call!
Building bikes upon arrival in the hotel parking lot
getting ready for Day 1 riding
Running on the beautiful KVR trail
Later on in May, I headed to Jasper for 2 nights with my incredible training partner Ailsa MacDonald, her bf Barry, and Geoff. We got in 2 full days of solid riding in the mountains. It was pretty frickin' awesome. The hill climbing there is fantastic, and just what we need to get ready for the monster Lake Tahoe course in September. You can't train on anything like that around here! We'll likely aim to do another 2-day trip out there this summer, maybe two.
Looks chilly but we lucked out with the weather - barely any rain and no snow! LOL
Partway up the Maligne Lake climb, with Medicine Lake in the background
We even got Geoff out riding - he did the Maligne Lake climb!
With Barry, Ailsa's bf
Just last Saturday, I raced my first triathlon of the season - Chinook Triathlon in Calgary. My training has been going really well since January so I had some high expectations mixed in with some uncertainty of how I would perform. Sometimes even though you're confident in your training, predicting race performance can be a bit of a question mark. I felt that my fitness was at a pretty decent level but I ended up surprising myself a little bit!
Deborah and I drove down Friday afternoon with Nadia from STARRT, and hit the pre-race dinner and package pick up. I got a sweet deal on some rooms at the Marriott downtown, always nice to stay in a 4 star hotel! There was no breakfast in the morning so we hit the road at about 7:00am and made a beeline for a Tim Horton's drive-thru for bagels with peanut butter and coffee. It was a bit rainy/drizzly in the morning and quite cool, perfect for me.
Ailsa said I look bald in this picture... WTF I kind of do!!!
Post-race smiles - happy to be done with PB's all around, and looking forward to some wine!
While we were doing a little swim warm up, the rain finally stopped but the sky stayed overcast for the rest of the race. The water was a pretty nice temperature, but after doing a short swim warm-up and standing around in knee deep water, I got really cold and my teeth were chattering. I was glad to finally get the race underway!
Swim - 21:10 (1st female)
The start was uneventful and so was the rest of the swim. I went out hard and then settled into a good pace after about 400m. Then I probably got a bit too comfortable. I dropped the pack that was drafting me and didn't keep up with the couple of swimmers ahead of me, and swam the rest of the swim on my own, which I quite like. Nobody around to touch me! I was happy to hear someone call out 'first female' as I exited the water. Although I'll need to step it up and start swimming more than twice a week so I can get my swim fitness and speed up a bit.
T1 - 1:32
The first transition was uneventful - no mishaps = a success!
Bike - 1:03.31 (3rd fastest female)
After the first few kilometres, I wasn't really paying attention and saw a guy up ahead turn right to do down an off ramp. It wasn't super well marked, and I sat up and was really sure that the course went straight there, and almost just kept going, but at the last moment I turned right. Good decision! That was the correct route to go. Phew! Dumb-ass moment averted!
The first 10km or so of the bike I was feeling really fatigued and kind of crappy, with that lactic acid feeling in my legs. We had a bit of a headwind on the way out. I kept an eye on my garmin, which I had strapped to my bike, for distance and pace, although the pace is stuck in minutes/km and I don't know how to change it. I've actually gotten quite good at calculating km/hr from the min/km pace, though! I told myself that my legs would eventually come around and to just keep pushing. The legs did come around! I was able to push a bit harder going into the turn-around and noticed that we had a nice tailwind coming back.
Another girl passed me at about 30km, and we leap frogged a couple times but then she gapped me a bit and I kept her in my sights. With about 5km to go, Kelly Marcotte went by me looking super strong after having just had a baby in September. You go, girl! I hit transition just behind Kelly with the 1st place girl just a bit ahead.
This ended up being my best ever bike split by about 3 or 4 minutes. I can't believe it! This is the exact same race course as I did 2 years ago and my bike split at that time was 1:08.54 (including both transitions). So a huge improvement even with taking off the 2 transition times. All those trainer spinervals and biking in the mountains is paying off!
T2 - :52
Quick and smooth, nothing more to report!
Run - 44:02 (5th fastest female)
I got out of T2 in second place and wasn't sure how my legs would be holding up after biking so hard, but they stuck around for the run! I pushed the pace as much as I could and kept seeing the first place girl up ahead. The run course is awesome and I knew there was a large hill to run up around 8 or 9km. I was running scared and thinking there were girls close to me just running me down, which kept me motivated. There is a little out and back section around 7 or 8km which is when I got a glimpse of the next girl (Kelly), maybe a minute behind me. During the last 2km I started getting a twinge of a hamstring cramp, which has never happened to me before, and I was concerned that it might turn into a full on cramp. My pace slowed a bit during the last couple of kilometers and I felt like I was shuffling up that hill! I was so glad to finally hit that finishing chute and was quite shocked to see the time up on the clock!
This was my best ever run split in a race, and a PB on this course of over 2.5 minutes. I think I must have been on target to run a 43-something, if I hadn't slowed a bit near the end. This is awesome for me! Also awesome is that I didn't get passed by a single person (male or female), during the run. WOOT!
Total time: 2:11 (2nd female OA, 1st 30-39)
This ended up being a 5min PB for me in Olympic distance on an honest course. I'm thrilled to start the season off with this result! Everything sort of came together on the day and I raced as hard as I possibly could. I had to take the first half of last week as recovery, doing very little, as I really felt that race.
Next race for me will be the Heart of the Rockies tri in Invermere on July 13, another Olympic distance race. The training volume will be picking up now, keeping the Ironman in mind for September. I'm not sure what I'm doing in August yet for races, but September will be the ITU Worlds and Ironman Lake Tahoe. Lots of exciting races ahead!