Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Wasaga Beach Olympic Tri Race Report - 10 Sept 2011

I DID IT! I completed my first Olympic Triathlon!

This is me with my bib!  The race was sold out but I showed up anyway hoping for a chance to race.  Early this week I was half way to Washington DC to race the Nation's Tri on Sept 11 when I found out the swim was cancelled due to the heavy rains and flooding.  I had trained all summer to do an Olympic Tri and I wasn't going to happy with a bike-run.  I turned my truck around and headed home with the hope of racing a local race.  I knew Wasaga Beach was sold out.  But I held onto the hope that I would be able to race.   We left Toronto at 6am and arrived at the race site shortly after 8.  I got my bib around 9:55am with a swim start of 10:27. 
This is me (on the right) finishing the Wasaga Beach Olympic Triathlon on Sept. 10, 2010 in 2:55:15! My First Olympic Triathlon!  While I am still very sad I was not able to run the Nation's Tri as my first Olympic Tri - if they hadn't cancelled their swim I would have never had the great opportunity to race at Wasaga Beach this year - and it was a perfect race!

The 1500 meter swim was in the beautiful waters of Lake Huron right off Wasaga Beach (just about a 2 hour drive from Toronto).  The water was perfect!  The temperature was just right for a sleeveless wet suit. the water was fresh,clear and clean and you could see the sandy bottom for the entire swim.  Not a piece of sea weed in sight!  The sandy bottom had perfect little ripples and with the sun shinning so bright the water was just gorgeous.
I took a hammer gel and  onza performance gel about 30 mins before my swim start.  I was in the second to last wave so we waited 12 long minutes for our start.  It was a little intimidating looking out at the first green buoy which was 610 meters away.  Swimming has not, in the past, been my strong point.  I went into this swim with one goal - to swim the entire time without resting.  I'm happy to report I swam the entire 1500 meters in 33:38.  I don't think I could have asked for more perfect swim conditions!
The water was very shallow so we started about 100 meters off the beach.  But we had to run in the water for the swim exit.  When I touched my right foot down in the swallow water my right calf seized up - it was breath taking pain that I quickly worked through but I would feel for the rest of the race.  I was happy to see 33 minutes on my watch and even happier to see Barry and Carole and hear them cheer me on.

There was a short run up the beach into T1 which took me 47 seconds. 

My official time in T1 was 1:49, nearly a minute faster than my last Race in Bracebridge.  I had to rinse and dry my feet but had my shoes set for me to just slip on, snap on the helmet and off i went. 

I had a hammer gel in the back pocket of my shirt and an Onza Gel taped to my bike along with 20oz of NUUN for the ride.

The bike course was very challenging for me.  There was a u-turn at the 5km mark and then many other turns along the single looped course.  To add insult to the course, it was an incline for the first 30km with a couple short steep climbs.  As we were coming up to 10km mark we climbed to the top to see a screaming downhill ahead of us - I was so happy to get some momentum and then I saw at the bottom the cop directing us to turn right at the bottom so I had to slow down quite a bit at the turn and then boom - right in front of me was another steep climb.  I have a lot to learn about biking and think i could really shave some time off my bike leg.  I finished the 40km in 1:23:25. 

I spent exactly 1 minute in transition 2.  I grabbed another Hammer Gel and another Onza Gel to take on the course.  I also had a bag of Honey Stingers in my bib pouch.  I was pretty sure I didn't take the entire 20oz of Nuun that was on the bike so I was a bit worried about dehydration as the sun was hot and there were stretches of the run right along the beach that provided no relieve. I did not have an water or NUUN to carry on the run course.

The run was 2 loops of a nice 5km along the boardwalk, through the park and a quaint cottage neighborhood and along the stretch of Mosley Street.  Psychologically I don't really like the 2 loop course as you come to the end of 5km you are right at the finish line and there is a lot in you that says goodness I wish I was just finished.  Instead you go back out for the last 5km.  It is however, nice to see your adoring fans half way through the run too.  Barry and Carole were both screaming for me "you got this, you got this baby"  I know they meant I was going to beat my 3 hour goal.  By my watch I was pretty sure I was going to beat it too but with 5km of a hot run on tired dehydrated legs - anything could happen.  I'm pretty sure I took my Onza

With about 500 meters left you turn back onto the boardwalk and run for the finish.  I was happy to see Carole and she ran along with me for a bit.  I think this was when she talked about beer.  Or maybe it was on the first loop. I was overwhelmed with emotion as I saw the clock said 3:07 - I knew it had to be under 3:12 for me to beat my goal so I knew I had accomplished what I had trained for all summer.  I made it to the start line, I swam the entire swim course, I didn't fall off my bike, I ran the entire run course and I made it to the finish line in under 3 hours.  I only failed in drinking my entire 20oz NUUN on the bike.

The finish line of the particular race is not the best laid out area.  I'm sure this has something to do with the popularity of the public beach but also the Try-a-tri was still underway and the swim exit cut off the finish line from the finish festivities.  After wandering around a bit I found a banana and inhaled it.  I was unable to eat more than a bite or two of the delicious Hero burger, couldn't even take a sip of chocolate milk and I couldn't even swallow the water.  HOWEVER, we found a nice patio on the beach and surprisingly the Stella on tap went down perfectly!  It was a perfect end to a perfect race!

I'm registered to run the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half marathon on Oct. 17 with a few friends in support of Cottage Dreams.  I will probably run it with the notion that I won't push myself and just run for the fun of it (sure, that's very much like me - more likely I'll be running for a sub 1:50 PR).  That will mark the end of the season up here in Toronto.  We have talked a bit about winter races down south but I think we might leave the winter racing season open and get strong and healthy for next years season.  My goal for 2012 season will be to run a 70.3 Ironman - my 2 choices for driving distance 70.3 are Syracuse and Muskoka - both are September races and both have challenging rides and runs!  Other option is Miami ...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Nations Tri 2011

I'm coming to the end of my training for my "A" race - The Nations Tri on September 11,2011. I have been asked many times why i chose this race and my off the cuff response is "I'm running it with an old friend from high school".  Which WAS true until she just informed me she wasn't about to swim in the Potomac under trained and I SO understand!  So I'm fully expecting her and Barry to be my biggest cheerleaders and cheer me through my first Olympic Tri.  And if anyone else is in the DC metro area come on down and scream me on!

But I also choose this particular race because it is the 10th anniversary of 9/11.  A day I know we all remember as if it were yesterday.

I was in my new house in Sunnyvale, CA - had just moved in in August as my company has closed East Coast operations and relocated me from my home in Washington DC.  I had just spent the past couple of years living in Washington DC but commuting to NYC every Tuesday - Thursday.  I worked from home the rest of the week and went to UMD Business School on Monday and Thursday nights.  It was a fun and busy time in my life where little stood still.  That Spring of 2001 the Company was downsizing and closed my NYC Office but offered to relocate me to California.  So off I went.

On the morning of 9/11 my phone rang, I answered to hear Barry say "your country is under attack".  I turned on the TV in time to see the second tower hit.  My life changed at that very instant.  That day passed so slowly.  I remember speaking to my friend Jason who called me from his cell phone as he walked up Broadway.  It was surreal. I remember talking to my mom on the phone, in tears relishing the fact that I was NOT in NYC.  I remember going to a church and sitting for a long time.  I remember going to Neil's pub with Jeannine.  I remember being glued to the TV.  I cried a lot that day.  And over the days to come.  Life changed drastically for me after that day.  6 weeks after officially relocating me to California my company let me go, I returned to the DC area to finish my MBA full time in one semester so that I could graduate with my Part-time class in May of 2002.

When I saw that Nations Tri was being run on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, I knew that had to be my "A" race.  I will never forget that day 10 years ago.  And on September 11th, 2011 I will race my heart out and I will dedicate this race to all those who lost someone that day, especially to my classmate and friend Michele who lost her brother that day.  I will utter those words as I'm entering the Potomac - Let's Roll.  And I will push myself in honor of all those who died.