My final triathlon experience of the season has now passed and the result was a mix of emotions for me. I had a goal time in mind of 2:10 for the Olympic distance event but I was almost ten minutes off that target. Certain portions of the race went well, and I am proud of the effort I placed out on the Lakeside Course, but a few other aspects left me a touch dissatisfied.
The 1.5k swim was a two loop journey in the cool Lakeside Resort waters. My plan was to turn things up a notch and see what I could manage for a time. I had big expectations and would have been happy with anything less than 28 minutes.
Out of the gate, I got my effort up substantially higher than usual for a water start. The water was not very clear so I could not tell how the others were doing around me but I seemed to be moving well and my sighting was bang on so I was not wasting time trying to stay on track. For much of the first lap I was feeling strong and was getting excited about my progress. I was even tempted to stop for a second before starting the second loop to check my split but decided to carry forward.
My second lap seemed even better and I was breaking each side of the rectangular final loop down into small bits to help make it feel like they were shorter little wins. Even on the last stretch to the beach I found more motivation to press harder for the last few hundred metres.
That’s why, when I was able to touch the bottom of the sandy beach, I was instantly dejected when I looked down to see just over 30 minutes had passed during my swim. I could not believe it! For the effort I placed out there, I was sure I was going to see a good time. To make matters worse, I was getting dizzy and could not get my shoulders out of the wetsuit on the slow walk to my bike.
The zipper in the suit had snagged on the flap inside and was only down halfway so the opening was very tiny. The rental was also new and the cuffs at the bottom of the sleeve seemed glued on to my wrist. I was starting to get flustered and even more light headed. I finally wiggled free and took a seat on the grass to catch my balance and throw on some socks for the bike ride.
Getting out to the road, I had a good mount and was off along my way. I was tired at this point and moving up a slight slope was not helping me. I knew this section was not going to be fast but I was hoping to be moving better than I was. It wasn’t until we made the turn around at two kilometres (extra little piece to the east first to make sure we hit 40k) out from transition that I started to find my cycling legs.
This next section was down wind and downhill so I started to fly past many of the other riders. I was making very good time on the field now so I started to feel good about the race again. At the 10k mark, I turned north for 2k which was now uphill with the wind angling into my front, right side. I did not want to give back all the speed I had just built up so I pushed hard on this road knowing the next right hand turn was going to be the toughest stretch of asphalt.
Sure enough, this is where everyone started to give back time as the mighty headwind and uphill battle really hammered the legs. This 16k slugfest was quickly dropping my average speed but I just stuck to the heart rate plan and figured I would eventually enjoy some wind benefit for the last 12k of the race.
After getting through this tough section, I turned south (around 28k area of the bike leg) and started to pick up some high speed but it was short lived as the final 9k heading west were much tougher than expected, even with the assistance of the wind. There were several rolling hills that were not close enough to use the benefit of momentum to keep the speed consistent.
With one final turn south back to the park, I knew I was minutes off my goal for the ride and was sure I was not going to be reaching any pb’s on the day. For the last several kilometres on the bike I was all by myself so I had lots of room to safely dismount and run into transition where I could tell I had still made some movement on the rest of the field. This gave me a little spark to finish the race in style.
The run part of the course I was more familiar with as I raced the Sprint in 2009. The bike course is very different from the Sprint but the running roads are pretty much the same.
The 10k run was two loops on mostly gravel sideroads with some hills thrown in for good measure. One being right at the turn around that was steep and on a loose, rocky running surface. I had moved through the first 2k in pretty solid fashion and was knocking off some more positions. By the time I hit the midway point of this hill, though, my legs were ready to fall off. The last push up was almost a walk to get around the turn indicator before free falling back to the bottom.
While out on the run course, I could see that I was not going to be top five as many of those spots were being filled by familiar faces well ahead of me. I made sure to encourage them as I continued and only hoped that I was hitting a respectable time so that the other Age Groupers (in later waves) were not closing in on my time.
On the second loop, I really dug deep and gave it everything I had. Even the gravel hill near the turn around seemed to flatten out as I cranked things up. Finally, I had made it back to the park and was directed into the finishing chute in 2:19, well off my hopeful race time.
So, although, most of the race did not go as planned, I was still happy to finish 11th overall with the 6th fastest bike time and the 2nd quickest run time on a challenging course. Many said the run course was actually a bit long so this made me feel even better as my run effort was deserving of a quicker pace on paper.
MORE TO COME (DRAFT)