Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Race Reports from Heather and Martin

From Martin on the Ottawa Marathon:

Ottawa is a great venue for a race, it is well organized with great volunteers. I am a bit disappointed that I came out too fast. My Garmin was not working (user error, imagine that) and I had to use my Timex and the course markers. I was focused on the kilometer times but not the cumulative time. I do not know why I was not cognizant of the cumulative times, I certainly know better. Other than that, how could I be disappointed. My half marathon pace was a P.B. I knocked off close to two minutes off of a full-marathon from my previous P.B., that was achieved in February (kudos to you). Most importantly I qualified for Boston (again, thanks to you). At the finish line I knew that I had pretty much given it my all. I was done, what better way to finish!

Is there room for improvement, definitely. All things considered, am I satisfied with my performance, without a doubt!

From Heather on WASA Triathlon:

Hmmm… Where to start??? Last year’s tri season was so emotional for me, it seems weird to be racing again, just because I love it, and to finally NOT feel the need to convince myself that I could get my strength and confidence back. Well, with the help of one pretty awesome coach, they are definitely back.

The days leading up to Wasa were tough. I wasn’t sleeping well all week and the allergy season seemed extra bad this year. So Saturday night was the same, poor, interrupted sleep, and a stuffy head, runny nose, and fits of sneezes. Gross!!

Once I got vertical again in the morning, washed my face and got some coffee, I started feeling better.

I got to transition nice and early, and got a sweet spot for my bike. Now I only had 2 ½ hours to wait for my race! I tried to relax, got in a bit of a run warm-up, continued pacing and sipping water, feeling a little flat, but optimistic.
I watched the sprint start and saw them coming out of their “750m” swim in 7:00 flat. Wow – Charlie’s new course is FAST. (and maybe a little short) hee hee.

Then it was time for the Men’s Oly start – yes, separately from the women – Nice. I watched them go, then headed into the water for my warm-up. The lake was beautiful – maybe a little too warm to go hard, but I wasn’t complaining. I felt good in the water. My stroke was smooth and strong, and I was in a good state of mind. Not as hyped-up as I usually am at the start line, but positive and happy to be there.

Then it was time go… I guess it must be something about Wasa Lake that makes people evil in the water, because that swim, even starting without the guys, was NASTY! Elbows were thrown, faces were kicked, heads were dunked, I even heard about some girl who nearly had her wetsuit ripped open. As usual, everyone calmed down after a couple hundred metres, and I got into a good rhythm with a small pack. We broke a few times, then reformed and finished up the swim, which I’m guessing was closer to 1350 or 1400m. I hit the beach in under 20min. I like this new course!!

T1 was tricky. My lovely new Sidi tri shoes are tight, so I had to wrestle with them a bit to get them on my wet feet. I’m glad I opted to not have them attached to my pedals, because there’s no way I would have got in while rolling. All the T1 practicing I had done was with socks on. Brutal. I swear… I’m turning into a dumb jock.

Anyway, shoe issues were dealt with, and I was out on the bike. The weather was immaculate. Wasa is notorious for wind, but there was nothing today, and my legs were ready to hammer. I started catching people right away. Some of them were the weaker men, who started their swim earlier, some were women, and some were really fit-looking women! That made me feel even better. Usually I’m the one getting passed on the bike. Less than 5km in, I fumbled and dropped my only bottle. Oops. I decided not to stop to pick it up. Those seconds are precious in short-course racing. I may have gone the other way had it been a ½ iron, but today there was no stopping. Nearing the turn-around, I started to see the lead women – a few that I was expecting, and a few that I didn’t recognize. I was determined to catch some more of them, so I kept hammering, and surprisingly, kept feeling really good. Around the 30km, my legs started to get tired. Had I pushed it too hard, too early? I tried to put it out of my mind. And I tried to use it to my advantage - It’s 40k TT. It’s supposed to hurt!

The woman who ended up 3rd passed me with about 5km to go on the bike. That sucked, but she had a great bike split, so props to her (Sheila from Calgary). I hope I made it a little bit tough to catch me!

T2 was interesting. The dismount line sneaked up on me a bit, and almost didn’t make it off the bike in time. It was definitely my fastest dismount ever.

Very important bit here: I got tangled up with another woman on the way out of T2. I think it was Kelly-Lynn from Edmonton. She apologized to me – very nice of her. I had my race-blinders on and just ran away. I tried to find her after the race to express my embarrassment for being such a bag, but I couldn’t find her. Kelly if you some somehow come across this, please accept my sincere apologies, and congratz on a great race.

And off on the run I went. The first kilometre was normal. I had a decent pace going on my jello-legs and I was happy to be into the 10k. As the bike-legs began to fade, my run was not coming around like it usually does. It just felt like something was missing. It was fairly hot, and the air was a bit stale, so I kept pushing. Maybe I was missing the sugar I normally take in on the bike. We rolled through pathways, some rough gravel and a bit of uneven pavement. This new route felt a bit tougher than last year. Around the 5k mark, the 4th and 3rd place women were in my sights. This gave me a bit of momentum. I moved into 4th before 6k and set my eyes on 3rd. But very quickly, things began to turn bad. I was hurting. Not just fatigue from racing, but sick and awful. I don’t know what was wrong. My mind wanted to go so hard and catch the next woman, but my legs were stiff and heavy. My head was aching, my stomach was cramping and knotted. All I could think about was finishing. At about 8km, we made a loop around transition. There were so many people cheering, and someone told me the gal ahead was less than 20 seconds up. None of this made me feel better. I ran around the sandbar (which I think Charlie added as a cruel joke) and headed towards the final 1.5km out & back. It seemed like an eternity. By this point I had given up on 3rd place. I had to use all my power just to keep running.

I thankfully crossed the line at 2:10:58. A PB for me, and good enough for $300.

I wish I could have felt better at the finish, to celebrate my race a bit more, but everything felt horrible.

Looking back, I couldn’t have asked for a better swim or bike. Transitions need a bit of practice – sans socks!! And the track at Haley Park will be my new best friend. Kelowna will be sub-40. Looking forward to a painful summer.

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