Sunday, September 19, 2010

Lakeside: After

Chad has a new term for me, and that term is: Sandbagger. To sum up my race, it went awesome, much better than I expected it to. I hearby vow to stop selling myself short in this whole business.

(Can I just say, before I go any further, that wetsuits have to be the least flattering garment on earth? They squish your boobs together and down to make you look completely flat chested, yet somehow still emphasize your gut and thighs. It's awful. I also look a lot thicker here than I hope I look in real life. Please remember as you view these that there is 5mm of neoprene on all sides of me.)I was nervous all day on Friday, but that went out the window as soon as we arrived at the venue on Saturday morning. Really, my only goal for this race was to have fun. And by the time we pulled into the parking lot around 8 a.m., I was just excited to get out there and do it. The venue was awesome - the perfect combination of a small, calm lake with great water quality; a bike course that was scenic, and rolling enough to make it fun and challenging without leaving me begging for mercy; and a run that was probably the least spectacular of the three disciplines, but fine enough for a run to wrap things up.

The thermometer on the car dashboard read 16C as we arrived. Still not exactly swimming weather, right? I had some reservations. But with a wetsuit on, I actually thought the water was fine. My arms and face were a little cold to begin with but nothing that I thought was complaint-worthy. After the race I heard a few grumblings from participants that there was no way the water was 72F - it was much colder than that. I don't consider myself experienced enough to know about these things. It was definitely swimmable, so it was fine by me.The buoys did not look threateningly far out in the water and I was actually looking forward to the horn sounding to start the race - what was wrong with me? It took a few minutes to settle into a stroke, and for those minutes I did have a couple of "What am I doing here?" thoughts, but by the time I rounded that first buoy I was into a rhythm and knew I could do it. I even passed a few racers from the waves that left in front of mine. I sighted really well and only veered off a straight line a little toward the end of the swim. I came out of the water ahead of schedule. Yay!Here I am doing just that, coming out of the water and looking surprisingly similar to The Swamp Thing while doing so. Ack. Is that a look of determination on my face or what?
The transition area was really well organized and nice and compact. It was a lot less intimidating this time around, having done it all once before.
My transition times were slow, though. I took the time to put on a shirt this time rather than swim in it, because I thought I'd be too cold coming out of cold water on a cold morning and hopping on a bike. In hindsight, it probably wouldn't have been too bad.
At the bike mounting line. The bike course that I had dreaded for so long was actually the most fun part of the day. I enjoyed the change of pace of having to gear up/gear down as I went up and down hills and I hit a max speed of 46.6 kph on a downhill. I think my previous fastest speed was only in the 35 kph range. I was slower on this leg of the race than any other, relative to the overall field, but I surprised myself with a great time. I think I probably made up more time on the downhills than I lost on the uphills.
Coasting into the dismount area... I knew my run was going to be slow because the hills were pretty taxing, and I ran the 5k slower than I typically do, but I still was faster on the run than I thought I could be under the circumstances. Aside from the first few hundred meters out and back, the run was all rolling hills too, but I made it through.
I came across the finish line in 1:31:02 which put me 11/23 in my age group. My secret goal time was 1:45 so I was blown away by that. After I saw my finishing time, I also saw that the 20k bike course was really 17.5k. I don't know what happened there... the race was advertised as 20k and I don't know if it was an error or what... last year it was definitely a 20k bike. So my time was great partly because of that. However, had I stayed on pace and ridden the extra 2k I still would have stayed well below 1:40. So I am still mighty proud of myself. (Make no mistake, there is still plenty of room for improvement... I finished 190th overall in a field of 279. I never said I wasn't slow... just better than I thought I could be.)
Mostly I am proud that I overcame the nerves, went out yesterday and had a lot of fun. I was standing waist-deep in lake water, watching the elite waves go off and waiting for my own start, when it occurred to me that I was already having enough fun to want to come back again next year, and I hadn't even seen yet what the course had to throw at me. I felt that same feeling the whole way through the course and I can't wait for my next race now, with a bit more experience and ready to challenge myself to whittle a few minutes off my previous best time.

Today I feel a bit sad that the Ontario triathlon season is officially over, and a bit lost as well. Normally I would be in the pool at 6 a.m. on a Monday morning. I think I'll take tomorrow off because I'm still a little tired from the race, but as for my Tuesday morning brick workout and my Wednesday morning long run... it feels strange not having a plan to follow any more. I hope that I can change course somewhat over the winter so that I don't burn out, but still maintain what I was able to build this summer. I have a few races on the 2011 calendar that I am eyeing, but the first one isn't until June, and it's a long time between now and then. I guess I never really expected that something that I did this year in order to cross an item off my bucket list would become a passion that I plan to continue to work at.


Dawn said...

WOOT WOOT!!!! Congratulations! Awesome!!!!

Jennifer said...


Anonymous said...

Congratulations! It's an addictive sport. You need a new race goal to stay motivated through out the winter. It's time to ramp up your running mileage and train for 10k or 1/2 marathon. The other winter sports triathletes love is x-country skiing.


Carrie said...

Thanks for the well wishes. I promise that the novelty of this will wear off sooner or later and I will stop posting play-by-plays of each race. As well as terrible, grimacing, neoprene-clad photos of myself!

Carolyn - I already asked Chad to start scouring some wintertime races for me - he came up with the Burlington (?) 1/2 mary in early March. I think something like that is the logical next step, though I got into triathlon this year because I felt like I was due to run a race of that distance again but kind of wanted to avoid it!

What other tris have you done and what were your impressions of each - any that you recommend or don't recommend? And no, nothing M-dot is in my future, immediate or otherwise!

X-country skiing is probably not going to fly... not enough snow cover around here!

Anonymous said...

Send me your email address. The Burlington 1/2 marathon is a great race, the course is lovely. It's also a race that sells out early. I'll email you other races.


Carrie said...

Carolyn - it's firstnamelastname at cogeco dot ca. Burlington sounds promising! I'm curious to see what else you recommend... I am thinking maybe one per month from June through September.