Friday, June 26, 2009

Victoria Race Recap

Well, I survived... better yet, I had a great first half ironman. I definitely still have a lot to work on, but it was great to get one race under my belt.

The weekend started off with a fun ferry ride with the NSTC crew. There were about 12 of us that either competed or cheered and we all had a fun time together. Once we arrived in Victoria we headed straight to the race course to get in a little ride and run. After testing out parts of the course, we stuck around for the pre race meeting to get all our last minute instructions. We had a GREAT dinner at Re Bar in downtown Victoria and then settled in for the night to try and get some sleep.

On Sunday morning I actually woke up feeling rested (which I was surprised about because of the crazy work week I had). We got to the race start nice and early and got body marked and chipped and I even made it to the bathroom before the line ups got to long!

The race start was a little hectic. We all started in waist deep water, but with 600 people all starting together, it was hard to tell where all the fast swimmers were. So, I just started out in the middle of the pack and hoped that I would find someone my speed to swim with. Turns out, I didn't. Out of 600 people, I didn't find a single person to swim with and swam the whole thing by myself. I still managed to have a pretty good swim and came out of the water in 25:02, the fastest woman! I had a solid transition and was off on the bike. I had a great first lap on the bike and even managed to stay in my aerobars for the majority of the ride. Unfortunately, my lack of training with the actual aerobars started to hit me on lap 2 when my legs completed tightened up and started cramping (not to mention it started raining and I got a little wimpy going around tight corners). I had to back off the pace quite a bit and finished the bike course in 2:54. When I came into T2 my feet were frozen. I racked my bike, put on my running shoes and headed out for the run. It took a good 3-4 km before my feet warmed up and I felt like I was running normally. I settled into a good solid run pace and managed to find a few people running my speed. Going into the race I was most worried about the run because I hadn't done anything longer than an hour run in months... stupid shin splints. Going into the 2nd run lap, I still felt surprisingly strong and picked up the pace a little and finished in a strong (for me!) 1:42. and 5:04:40 for the day!

Mark was there at the finish line to cheer me on along with the rest of the NSTC, including Nick who blew by my on the bike to finish 30 minutes before me. Allison also had a great first half and finish just behind me in 5:13. In fact, Allison and I even managed to make it to the podium with a 2nd and 3rd place in our age group!

All in all it was a fun race in a beautiful location. Mark was great coach and managed to get me much faster on the bike (although I still have a long way to go!). Even better, Mark is fabulous husband for putting up with all my training and supporting me all along the way. Now I have to decide what comes next!

Pictures of the race to come....

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

T-10 Days!

So... ten days until the Victoria Half Ironman. Yikes! Originally my plan was to do the Vancouver Half Ironman in July, but I was persuaded by Allison to move up the race by one month! My training has been going really well (as far as I know). I have enjoyed getting back into swimming, even the 5am swims with Karen, Steph and Shannon. Mark has been working with me on the bike and has set me up with a training program that seems to be working. He also bought me a pair of aero bars for my birthday, so I am desperately trying to get used to them so I feel confident enough to use them next weekend... we'll see. My running has slowly, but surely gotten better. After the Sun Run, I took a few weeks off of running to try and heal my shin splints. Since then, I have taken it easy and I am just running enough to get by. I did a 5km race on Sunday which gave me some confidence as I managed to finish in 21:30, which is just off my PB.

As for a race strategy for next weekend... swim hard, bike hard and try and survive the run. I have nothing to lose and this will surely be a good learning experience. More than anything I am out there to have fun. We have a big group of people racing from the North Shore Tri Club, so it will be fun and encouraging to see lots of familiar faces.

Oh yeah... I also bought a wetsuit on the weekend. I haven't actually tried it out yet, but I hope to do some open water swimming this weekend.