Wednesday, June 18, 2014

3 for 3

Anyone who tells you that winning a race is easy- is dead wrong. It doesn't seem to matter how small or how remote a race is, when I get on that start line I'm giving it absolutely everything I have. The Grande Prairie tri is our local race and I decided to line up finally after sitting out for 2 previous years because of injury in 2012 and Ironman in 2013. There were only 30 people in the Olympic distance but you never know who is going to be there and if a speedy triathlete from Calgary or Edmonton is going to run away from everyone else. That being said I had no real concern about what place I was going to finish but I did want to try to race to the best of my ability.

It's been a long time since I'd done an Olympic distance race and I wasn't sure how my legs would respond after a hard 40k ride. I'd done a few tough 40k rides in training but the one time I tried a brick I think I was fighting something because I only lasted 1km before I had to call it a day. So the morning of the race everything was going perfectly, I brought my trainer and warmed up for 20 minutes in transition and completed all the necessary pre-race rituals.

Paul and I coming into transition
The swim went absolutely perfect, there was a female swimmer in front of me and we traded drafts on and off for about 700m until she started to fade and I just held my own pace. I was shocked to see at the end I had the fastest swim but I guess getting up 3 times a week at 6am to swim is finally paying off. It wasn't a stellar time from a swimmer's perspective but for me doing a 23:49 in a 50m pool is very good. On the bike I felt like I just couldn't get any speed for the first 10k and I knew that it was a slow steady climb with a slight headwind but I just tried to maintain my rhythm and get to the turn to head south. I passed a few people who were doing the sprint in the first 5k but after that I didn't see anyone until the turn around. I knew I was riding fairly well but after a hard initial 10k I thought that my chances of setting a PR today were over. I kept pushing while not going completely anaerobic and now I was seeing the 44-45kms/hr I was expecting during the first 10k. I felt really good during the rest of the ride and when I got to the sprint turn around I was elated to start passing other riders again. At the end of the ride my legs were dead but it was a race and I just needed to block out the pain and have a fast transition. I was thrilled to see Amber and Ryder there cheering me on and it got me going for the run.

Trying to get my shoes on after a hard 40k is tough
Chasing after Paul
The run was very painful, I normally don't think the Musko trails are that big a deal even though they are gentle rollers but today they were sucking the life out of my legs. I passed some more sprint racers and saw a lot of the fast guys at the sprint turn around. After that it was pretty lonely out there and hard to stay motivated but I kept telling myself to keep my rhythm and maintain my pace. The turn around was completely unprepared and they didn't have any water ready... ugh. The run back was painful, I wasn't prepared for 2 hours of racing and my body was breaking down. I felt like I was shuffling and didn't have much left to finish the final 5k but when you see the other athletes running toward you, you suck it up and keep pushing.

I ran through the finish completely thrilled to win and was ecstatic to find out later I set a new Olympic PR by 9 seconds with a 2:05.20! All the other Speed Revolution racers were doing the Sprint distance and everyone had a great race. It was an incredible experience and one I'll remember for a long time, winning is always rewarding and winning 3 races out of 3 is beyond all my expectations. I hope to do the rest of the Pomeroy series races in Prince George and Peace River, it's going to be a great summer.

$150 Gift Card for the win!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

2 for 2

Robert and I pre-race

This weekend was the first Tri of the year, the Fort St. John Sprint. Having kids has definitely changed not only the amount and way that I train but also my pre and post race routine. Robert and I drove the 2+ hours to Ft St John the morning of the race instead of spending the night and bolted back home right when it was over. Of course our wives didn't want us to waste the whole day racing so it was okay with us to drive, race, drive and get home in decent time.

Racing with Robert is always a good time and we spent the 2hrs talking about how the race would go, what we wanted from the day but also the fact that no matter what the result we are incredibly lucky to still do the things we love at this stage of our lives. Although our Ironman days may be behind us we still are very fortunate to still be able to compete in some Sprint and Olympics during the year. I think things will change dramatically at the end of July for Robert (he and his wife are expecting their 2nd) but it is a great feeling to still be active and healthy in our early 40's (me) and late 30's (him). We had a few Speed Revolution racers with us and it was a great time had by all.

Ross and Sonya coming out for some Ft St John fun
A race this size is always a ton of fun and there is absolutely no pressure but you still get the 'pre-race adrenalin' rush- one of the feelings I love before a race.

A crowded swimming pool made getting out to T1 tricky
I started at the back of the swim heats and it was in the format of once a lane empties, 5 of us fill up the lane. It was a 750m swim and I paced myself fairly well, passed Robert within the first 2 laps and once near the end and surprised myself by coming out with the fastest swim of the day at 11:15. Yes it's true the non-swimmer has actually trained into a 1/2 decent swimmer but if you do races small enough you are bound to get lucky once in a while. It's unbelievable to think about the fact that I once was just hoping to get through the swim without loosing too much time and now I'm actually seeing it as one of my strengths, crazy! There have been races where I wouldn't have won or placed as well if it wasn't for my swim, that just blows my mind.

The bike was a lot tougher than I expected, I've been training on fairly flat fast courses and I think I just wasn't prepared as well for the rolling nature of the course and didn't really have the bike I was looking for. Irvin was right behind me at the bike turn around and was closing fast, fortunately I barely held him off before the transition and as I started running out he was just riding in. He has been gearing up for a 1/2 Ironman this weekend so he is in incredible bike shape and I haven't had as much time in the saddle as I usually do but I managed to be within 40s of his time, 43:08 bike. Considering this is his home course I'll call that a victory, he also started racing with the Speed Revolution crew so it was okay with me to have the 2 fastest people in the race battling it out.

When I started running my legs had the usual, holy crap what the hell is wrong feeling, but I looked at my 1st km split and it was 3:34 so I know it was just my mind telling my body to stop. The run went up this trail that was a little rise and single-track gravel so it got the heart pumping immediately and made it tricky when people were running at you as you were running out. The 6km run was a bit of a leg burner and not as flat as I've been training on but I still managed a decent run with a 21:27 6k. All in all a 1:15.49 was a great time and although I was hoping for a sub 1:15 I didn't expect the bike to be that challenging. Great start to the tri season and excellent way to shake the rust off for the GP Olympic this weekend.

11:15 Swim, 43:08 bike, 21:27 run- Great Race!