Friday, July 31, 2015

2015 Belwood Sprint Triathlon Race Report

Where did July go?? Yikes! It feels like I was racing just yesterday! Oh wait, that was the race simulation day with our club... So I better get this race report written before another one comes looming over me. Here we go!

*scratching head* Wait, that was quite a while ago... Where did my memory go?? Jeez, I'm getting old.

Belwood, Belwood, Belwood... I think I remember now...

Second race this year for me in the Multisport series. As I said a few months ago, I decided to take the year off from long distance racing and focus on getting stronger and faster (maybe). Less pressure, more fun. And get the hips and knees working again! That's THE mission.
This race came just one week after the IM Muskoka 70.3 swim and relay/volunteering adventure and needless to say, I was pretty pumped about it. However, a little cautious and nervous too, because I had not run more than 5K this year and this was going to be a longer type of sprint tri, with a 30K bike and a 7.5K run. *gulp* But I have to trust the process and put faith in my body's ability to overcome. I could not have been more careful until now, and worst case scenario I'd have to walk a few kilometres. No big deal, it's not a marathon after all.

With this "plan" in mind, I managed to let go of most of the stress and embrace the "whatever" attitude that has been driving my season thus far. Zin was going to be my sherpa for the day and together, we woke up at the crack of dawn to drive the 70km from our house to the Belwood Conservation Area. This race is of my favourites and I could not wait to get the day started! Once on site, I was surprised to see so many people compared to last year. The field was packed and as usual, my AG is one of the most competitive. Of course, all my expectations went out the window.

I racked my bike in transition and set up my little mat, then went to pick up my bib, chip and get body marked. A lot of members of our club were there, so I was chatting left and right, which kept me relaxed. A girl told me in transition that she knew me from reading my blog. Well, hi there stranger!! Leave me a comment *wink wink* (ok, this happened after the race, but most likely I'll forget to talk about it once I get there, so I am taking the opportunity now).

Then I squeezed myself into my wetsuit and joined the troops by the lake. I was going to be in the second wave, along with the older guys, and from my experience at the races that I've done this season, it's been working pretty well for me. These guys aren't the most aggressive, and they swim rather carefully. Once the horn went off, I put on my best motor boat impersonation and tried not to swallow too much water while grunting underwater. It felt like a super hard swim catching feet here and there but mostly a solo effort. I looked at my watch coming out of the water: 15:00 min - very happy with the result! Quite the difference from the first swim in Woodstock.
My heart was beating out of my chest and it didn't settle for a while, especially with the long-ish run to transition. I got on my bike in a jiffy, but I was gasping for air with each pedal stroke. To say that I was racing hard was an understatement. I was wondering if I wasn't going to blow up at any moment!
After a few minutes I looked at my watch, I was going over 33kph. I passed a girl in my AG within the first 5K, and it gave me a mental boost. Someone called the fast bike gods and didn't tell me? But then I remembered why I liked this race so much. The bike IS smoking fast!! By the mid-point, I was averaging over 35kph. I could not believe it, but then the reality hit me in the face just like the head wind that was waiting around the corner. BAM. Slow down, girl. You get to reeeeaaaaaally push those pedals now. I took a gel as usual, then got back to work. This whole time I was breathing hard, definitely pushing all the watts. Looking at my HR average (175bpm) on Strava, this ride was a true sufferfest. Graph below says it all.
I could not say that I wasn't racing my heart out. I remember one girl from my age group passing me, but overall I was passing a lot of people and doing awesome. Beast mode ON! I continued this trend thanks to the good amount of caffeine that just hit my system (that's why I stopped drinking coffee last year, haha) and finished strong with an average of 32.5kph. I kept my expectations in check though. I was there to give it my all, but not die trying to beat my PB.

Back in T2, I did a quick body check - all systems a-ok. It was a scorcher of a day, so I decided to take my cap with me. I was also racing in my brand new Coeur Sports team kit and I was feeling all kinds of fast and fabulous in it, just like the pros (hey, guys, have you seen my logos?? ;-)). The cap was, of course, matching my kit and my nails, which I had done for the first time this year - just for the occasion. I may not be a girly girl, but I could not pass on the opportunity to wear ALL THE PINK. Did I just say that out loud??
The legs didn't feel good at first... But of course, I can still count the number of bricks I've done this year on my fingers. But I pushed on. My secret goal was to finish the run under 6min/km, but given that I was running 30 sec slower/km, it didn't feel like an attainable goal at the time. However, my love for this race kept my spirits high. I was having a blast and no way I was going to let the negative thoughts invade my zen space.

I stopped looking at my watch and went by feel. I've started doing this more and more lately since I don't have a lot of expectations and it's been quite liberating. I am learning to stay in the moment, listen to my footsteps and my breathing, taking it all in and just enjoy being able to move, you know. If I were to start thinking about the heat, the wind, what could happen to my legs, what happened last year, what went wrong, etc, I find that it completely ruins the experience. Who wants to run cranky anyway?

I took water at each station - one cup to throw on my face, and one to throw on my back. Whatever I managed to drink was good enough. By the turn around, I had put on the turbo and I was feeling awesome. Let's take a look at the effort thanks to Strava...
Dang. Looks like I could have pushed harder. Joking... That's what a negative split looks like.

Eventually I saw the finish line and I was pretty relieved to be reaching the end of my longest run without pain in my knees. I kept running strong and I was so glad to reach the chute, when all of a sudden a lady passed me and I saw that she was in my age group. She was sprinting hard and I tried to stay with her, but I had no more gears, alas. I finished just a few seconds behind her, without regrets.
You can see me running down the chute in the picture above. Once I reached the finish mat, the photographer was busy checking his iPhone and did not take a picture of me. I was a little bummed, but I wasn't going to yell "Dude, what about me??". Maybe whatever caught his attention was really important. Oh well, this one will do.

Julie waited for me and told me that she chased me the entire day and thanked me for making her work hard. Remember the lady I passed on my bike in the first 5K? Well, it was her and she had made it a mission to beat me. This absolutely made my day. Knowing that I was someone's competition made this race even more special.
I finished 6th in my age group and exactly 5 minutes slower than last year, all lost on the run. At the end of the day I had an awesome swim, an awesome bike and a decent run, and I met my goal of running under 6 min/km. For my longest run this year, it was not too shabby, me thinks.

And that's all folks! A little abrupt, I know, but I've delayed this post long enough, plus I'm too sleepy to keep writing. See you next time!!


  1. I love your race recaps - you always have fun, you take risks, and you're competitive. So happy to read about you racing again. Maybe this is the year we leave all our crap injuries behind!

    1. That's one of the nicest things someone said to me. Thank you so much Gracie. Indeed, onward and upward from here!! Fingers crossed our bodies are going to cooperate.

  2. That kit is fierce. Fantastic report and race as always - I love your enthusiasm for triathlon really shines through!

    1. Thank you Emma! I do love this sport so much, I cannot imagine my life without it right now.

  3. Irina, it's me, Kyra, the girl in transition! :) Thanks for coming over to chat with us at K-Town today! You can check out my blog at

    1. Good to see you!! Even better than someone who reads my blog is someone with a blog of their own. It was awesome to read about the same races from a different perspective. I think we'll race again in Wasaga. Can't wait!

    2. Agreed! I love reading race reports for races I've done!