Monday, June 16, 2014

2014 Rose City (Welland) Half Swim-Bike Race Report

Run up: 2:44
T1: 2:18
Bike: 2:42:19

Yesterday was the newly renamed Welland Half Iron triathlon - now called Rose City Half Triathlon.  This was supposed to be my tune up half iron distance in preparation for Ironman Lake Placid in 6 weeks.  However, on Friday when I went out for my easy run I strained my right soleus (the smaller, lower and deeper of the two calf muscles).  The injury presented itself very early into my run and got worse quickly so I cut my run short and headed home.  I was able to get into see Tracey and she assessed it and worked on and told me to get myself to a Dr.  I was able to get in to see Kris Sheppard at The Runner's Academy on Saturday morning and he confirmed a first degree soleus strain, no running for 2 weeks ...

So my half distance triathlon turned into a swim-bike as long as I promised not to run from the swim exit to transition.  I was so excited for this race because many of my friends were racing and Barry was racing his first half distance run-bike.  I was looking forward to the wonderful run course where you get to see so many of your fellow racers on the double loop.  I won't lie, I was sad.

Anyway, we left Toronto on Saturday afternoon with a truck full of gear, three kids, two long boards and two bikes.  Traffic was brutal and we were all a bit grumpy.  Got to the hotel, unpacked the truck and head to the race site to get our stuff.  Everything went smoothly checking in and it was no problem switching me to the Swim-bike.  We grabbed dinner and then back to the hotel to settle in for the night.  A little too much stress for me pre-race with all the kids but we made it work.

Sunday morning we were up and ready to ride to the race site at 7:30.  I had a bowl of cereal I brought from home and tucked a gel in my pocket to eat before the swim.  We said our good byes to the kids (they were walking to the race a little later) and head out to the race site.  It was a quick and easy ride.  I got into transition and found most of the TTC racers.  I as a bit late to the set up and had to wiggle myself onto the rack.  As always, there are people who need to learn to take less space and for the love of all things triathlon, it's a bike rack people not a wet suit rack!
race day selfie!
I was sort of lost as I have never done a swim-bike and it was just strange not setting up for the full triathlon.  We headed to the swim start and half way there I had to turn around and go back as I remembered my brake was rubbing on my front wheel and wanted to adjust it.  I made it back to the swim start, got barry to zip up my wetsuit and gingerly made my way into the cold water.
that's me and Barry chatting
The pros went off at 8:29 and then the first wave of age groupers went off - it was a huge wave that included men 34 and under and women 44 and under.  We got started and it was pretty messy. Feet and arms everywhere - I took a pretty swift kick in the cheek.  I had forgotten how nice it was to swim in a wetsuit and I quickly settled into my swim stroke and felt good and strong.  I made the first turn, crossed the canal, and turned onto the back side.  I was having a very pleasant swim when the fast boys of the second wave caught up to me.  I must have been smacked on the head by at least 4 or 5 of them as they passed me.  All in all it was a great swim.  Being a canal sighting is a non-issue.  I took the last two turns and headed for the exit.  I would have liked to see 36 minutes but I was very happy with my 38 min swim.
Sure, Nineteen wetsuits, I'll model for you
There is a long "run up" from the swim exit to transition - about 400 meters.  It took every ounce of my will to not run (though when I tried by default my calf reminded me).  I felt like I wanted to hold up a sign that said "Torn Calf, Can't Run" but then I hear Fiona call out "you better get a move on it there LK" which gave me the opportunity to call back "I can't run remember?".  Yeah, in my head I just got to validate out loud why I was strolling up to T1!
longest and slowest post swim run up ever

T1 was a few fumbles. Struggled to get my feet free of the wetsuit, then couldn't seem to get the gravel bits off my feet and my feet into my shoes, and then I grabbed my bike before putting on my helmet!!!!  What was wrong with me!  I finally got sorted and headed for the bike exit and the mount line.  Of course I'm walking, which always irritates me when I get behind someone walking ... I will have patience and respect from now on.  I mounted my bike without incident and headed out on a very fast and flat 90k ride.
always smiling even if in pain

I love this course!  I think this course is a great course to emulate Ironman Florida's course. This course is flat and fast but open and very susceptible  to windy conditions.  Just like 2 years ago, I lucked out and the wind was not very bad yesterday (though some disagree with me - but I guess when you are averaging 38.5 kph even a little wind you feel it eh Hector?).  However, this was not a great ride for me.

I have yet to mention that on Friday I had my bike re-fit - I had been having serious issues with shoulder pain on the bike so we tried to fix it and in doing so we did some radial changes to my fit including raising my seat by some 4 - 5 inches.  I am happy to report we have definitely helped the shoulder issue.  However, my hip flexors are not so happy.

By the 10th km I was feeling a sever tightness in my hips and across the tops of my quads.  I struggled with this for the rest of the ride.  I guess I had a great ride even with the issues in my legs and came off with a course record of 2:42:19 (basically the same as my distance record of 2:41:57 at Miami 70.3) averaging 33.3 kph.

It was nice seeing so many familiar faces on the course and I'm happy to report that there was no huge drafting issues like two years ago (2012 Welland Half Iron).  There were however two incidents I saw of male-female drafting.  I am 100 percent for sure that one of the 2 was full on partners but the other could have just been temporary.  But this one couple that passed me, with matching Ironman tattoos on their calf, they were full on cheating.  When they passed me, she was on his wheel, they passed and she free wheeled to drop back 2 - 3 meters.  Just enough to not draw too much attention.  And off they went.  Barry saw the same thing - and he remembered her name and bib number.  She won her age group.  Makes me sick.

I reprimanded a few guys for blatantly littering gel packs.  The first guy I saw had slowed down to take his gel and I was passing when he littered.  I said in a neutral voice "littering isn't nice.  in fact it's a dq".  Not a minute later he caught up to me and apologised.  Said it was his first race and he didn't know the rules.  He asked me what he was to do with the gel package when it was empty. I told him to put it in his pocket or discard at the aid station.  He thanked me and carried on.  He was very sincere at the time but looking back I wish I had asked him waht he does with them when he is training.

I had to stand and stretch my hip flexors quite a few times in the last 20 km.  I probably wasn't pushing as much power as I could have if my legs had been happier but over all I was happy with my bike split.  And then, with a Swim-Bike it is over.  Final time 3:25:29, 4th in my age group, missed the podium because I couldn't run 400m.
I'm done and I'm thrilled to see Calli Anna!

Being done with the race while most others are still racing is strange.  I got to hang out in the Recharge with Milk tent and spend some time in their recovery compression pants!

And spend some time with my race monkey that day!
me and my girl

Now, to the more exciting parts of the day.  Barry not only completed his first half distance Bike-Run - he crushed it!  It was exciting to have him out on the course with me.  They had a time trial start starting at 9:10am - 40 minutes after my swim start.  As I was walking into to transition I heard Barry scream "way to go Linda Kay" and I got to yell back "38 minutes!  By the time I bobbled my way out of T1 Barry had started.  I knew he was having a great bike as I wasn't catching him!  I passed a few guys who I thought were him but it wasn't until 50km in did I catch him!    He laid down a 2:45:55 on the bike so I got to see him in Transition.  He had a very long transition and then he looked good as he was off on the run.  He ran a 2:02:51.  He out biked and out ran the guy who took 3rd but missed the podium (perhaps he needs a refresher on transition).  With a time of 4:53:34 he crushed it!  Now he just have to realize he can swim and he'll be taking away all my Richard Family Records!  Way to go Barry!
Barry looking so strong at the finish!
I'm jealous - Barry crossing the finish line with Calli Anna!
A special thanks to our friends Leanne and Fiona who kept an eye on the kids for us so we could race. And Fiona for shooting some great photos!  To all my TTC mates - what a great race we all had and I loved sharing the day with you!
many of the TTC gang

 And a big thanks to Griffin for coming to see his dad race and for being in charge of Calli Anna and Jensen!  And to John Salt and the Multisport Canada crew who put on a great event and bring the long course to us locally.    Even with a hiccup or two, this is by far one of my favourite races. The staff is great (thanks for the multiple changes of T-shirts and making everything so easy).  And of course a HUGE thank you to all the volunteers who support this race.  It cannot happen without the volunteers - please remember to thank the volunteers!

Ironman Lake Placid is next, in just under 6 weeks on July 27.  I'm scared a bit.  It's been 3 days since the calf injury.  I'm moving away from ice and onto compression and TENS.  I'm taking to Chris and Michael to figure out what to do with my bike fit, and I'm getting ready to spend a whole lot of time in the pool and at therapy.  At this point I have to keep my fitness up and focus on getting healthy and to the start line!

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