Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Clearwater 70.3 Race Report

Leading up to Clearwater, I had some really solid training sessions. Coming off a great result at IMC, I had the confidence to believe that I could finish off the 2010 season with a great race in Clearwater. I switch my training focus from distance based to one that focused on quality speed sessions. In retrospect, I probably pushed my body a little too hard after IMC as I developed a nasty virus the week before we were supposed to leave.

Our trip down to Clearwater went really smoothly. Mark and I rented a great condo right on the beach and spent the days leading up to the race relaxing, trying to get healthy with a little training thrown in there with the Vancouver Lifesport crew.

Race morning came and I work up feeling excited to race. I got to transition with plenty of time to pump my tires (thanks Bjorn!) and relax before the start. My age group wasn’t starting until Wave 15, so I had a good hour to wait around after the pros started. I got in a good warm up swim and before I knew it, we were lined up and ready to go.

I had a decent entry into the water, especially considering all my prior races this season started in the water. I wasn’t quite able to stick with the top girls as they took off from the start, but I found myself in a good solid group. I had clear (but choppy) water until the fourth or fifth buoy where we started to catch the waves in front of us. It was a little bit of a “gong show” as all the waves started to get mixed up. As I made the turnaround, I got a little disorientated and swam a little off course. The buoys on the way back to shore were really hard to see with the swell, but I did my best to swim in a straight line back to shore.

T1 went smoothly and I was off on the bike course in no time. I spent the first 10 minutes getting into a rhythm and settling into my race heart rate. For the first 30 minutes, the course was fairly empty. I began to think that there wasn’t going to be nearly as much drafting as I anticipated. However, before I knew it, HUGE groups of 20-50 riders started passing me by. I tried to stay out of the way as the big groups blew by me, often time pushing nearly off course. At times I found the course really dangerous as there were a lot of tight turns and turnarounds – combined with too many big groups of drafting triathletes. I did my best to stay out of the packs and remarkably rode most of the race by myself. It was tempting to tag along with the big groups as they went by, but I really wanted to see how fast I could go on my own.

Finishing up the swim

I held a decent pace and effort until about the 60km mark when I really started to tighten up. In retrospect I have never ridden that far in the aero position. Training in Vancouver, there is always plenty of elevation changes, but in Florida, it was dead flat. I spent the last 30km trying to find a comfortable position to ride in, but unfortunately, I lost quite a bit of speed and momentum.

T2 went smoothly and I was off on the run. The run in Clearwater was a two loop course that went up and over the causeway four times. I wasn’t feeling fabulous on the run, but I tried to keep a high cadence and work the hills. The heat really started getting to me towards the end of the run and I probably didn’t have nearly enough fuel as I mostly stuck with water at the aid stations.

I had a solid finish of 4:55:08, which was good enough for a 5min PB and 35th in my age group (Swim 27:52, Bike 2:33.52, Run 1:48.18). Had I been healthy, I am confident I could have been faster, but I will take a PB for now.


This season would not have been nearly as successful without the support of my wonderful husband and coach. He stuck with me through the good weeks and bad weeks and was there to support me at all the races. He looked after my bike and made sure I had all the right equipment to be competitive with all the other girls.

Mark and I relaxing at the beach post race

I also wouldn’t have enjoyed the journey nearly as much without my fabulous training buddies. Special thanks goes out to the NSTC crew, especially Team S, Steph O, Allison and all the others who kept me company for all the early morning workouts and long training weekends.

I am now looking forward to getting healthy, resting up and getting ready for another great season in 2011.