Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Welland Sprint Triathlon Race Report

How do you write one of these race reports again? Well, screw that. There are no rules. But I should talk about race day at least... and mine started early. Like really, really, really early. Something like 2am.. That's about right. It's around the time that I stopped sleeping. I pet the cat. I checked my phone multiple times. I watched my hubby sleeping. I listened to the sounds of the house. I wondered if the boys had gone to sleep. I brought the cat a little closer, asked him to purr some sleep into me. Didn't work. I was super nervous, but not as much about the race as I was about a last minute decision to drive back in town right after the race and attend my Taekwondo's school belt grading. And it didn't help that I had not talked to my instructor about this and I sent him an email just before going to sleep and I was expecting him to say not to bother, but instead he said it was my call. Doesn't he know I suck at last moment decisions?? Aaaaargh. Keep calm and try to sleep. One, two, three sheep.

I had no choice but to get out of bed once the alarm clock went off... It was 5am. I hopped in the shower, then had breakfast with hubbs. A slice of bread with prosciutto and a chocolate croissant. We stopped by Tim Hortons for coffee, then started the 1.5h drive to Welland. Made it there with 1h to spare and I was the one to be cool as a cucumber while Zin was the Energizer bunny. Dude, chill... it's just a sprint distance. It'll be over before you digest your toast.
We lined up with Emma for registration, then we grabbed our paperwork and hardware, aka bib and chip. I don't know about the others, but I also got a semi-permanent tattoo on my calf, judging by the fact that 3 days later I still have a big fat 42 sharpied on. In transition I found myself a little spot on a rack in the middle of everything, just to get confused enough to see my synapses firing early in the morning.
I went to a portapotty to put on my tri bottom and take care of a last minute business, then put on my wetsuit. Given that I don't fit in my TRS tri top, I decided to swim in a sports bra under my wetsuit, then wear my bike jersey on the bike and run, which will be the modus operandi for the rest of the season. That's what happens when you get fat(ter) and Coeur decides to change the fabric and make the tops smaller.

Fast forward to the swim start, this was going to be a time trial with each athlete starting 5 sec apart. I was number 167, so I had some time to warm up and chat with a few friends from our FMCT tri club. Oh, look, it's Bob Hatcher the photographer! Let's take a picture in our rubber suits. Zin, take your hand off my boob!! What is it now, "touch a boob" for good luck? (Jeez, I can't take him anywhere.) Bob captured the moment just a second later.
Aren't we cute in our matchy-matchy caps and goggles though? Too bad that I don't fit in my ROKA wetsuit either. *Sigh* We would have been perfect for advertising. Anyway... swimming on... 3.. 2..1.. GO! I went straight for the first green buoy, found the sighting line, hugged the line, turned at second green buoy, then third green buoy, found the sighting line again, hugged the line, made a last turn towards the exit. The End. Most uneventful swim evah. I stayed in the zone, swam happy and made it around the pond in 14:39 with zero contact. I think the course was a little short, or maybe was for those who knew how to swim straight. I don't remember coming close to anyone in the race... I often wondered if they knew about the line and why they were swimming way over there when they could have swum way over here where the buoys and the line were.
I was a little confused coming out of the water because I thought we were going to turn right and take the stairs up to transition like at Barrelman, but instead I was instructed to go on the grass, around the building and through the above passage that made for some crappy pictures and longer swim times.

In transition I had a hard time closing my bike jersey and it seemed like it took forever. Lesson learned, over the head it goes next time. I went sockless in my bike shoes as usual, but another surprise was the run out. So freaking long, all the way to the road, which is another difference with Barrelman, where we took the path along the water instead. This also skewed our averages but thankfully someone created a Strava segment for the road portion only and we can all hang onto our pride for a little longer.

Despite my lack of training, I managed to push enough watts for a 31km/h average. I'll take it. I remember having a lot of fun trying to bring my heart rate down, but to no avail. Average 177bpm, yikes! Is that called riding the red line or I'm making things up? I'm the queen of false idioms, so what the hell do I know. Someone will tell me that my English sucks eventually. But I do look good on the bike, so there.
I remember passing a bunch of people, none in my AG though, then being passed by the fast dudes who made me feel that I was standing still. I ate a gel at km 10, drank some water. It was freaking hot out there, but somewhat enjoyable thanks to the headwind on the way back to T2. It took me 38min to ride the 20km and overall I had a lot of fun. However I knew that once I'd start running my joy would disappear in a heartbeat, pun intended.

And just like I thought, after changing into my running shoes, it hit me. This was going to be my first brick of the year!! Happy happy joy joy! NOT. Are we done yet?? Wait, is this a HILL on this path? (it was just a bump, but it felt like a mountain) And where is the first kilometer marker dammit!? My watch was in multisport mode and it was not showing my pace. I had no idea how fast I was going, just that it felt dreadful. I decided to hit lap at each km marker to see my average. First km, 5:58, but effort level was feeling like a 4:58. I decided not to look at my heart rate and go by feel. By death feel that is. I kept pushing and started the mind games and inner monologues. At TKD I ran 5:15 for 6km, this is freaking slow. I can do this. Yeah, I know that my HR had been in Z5 for 45 min, but it should only take 20 more minutes. I won't die in 20min, I promise. Look, I can almost see the 2km marker. I even saw the top athletes coming back, so I am not THAT slow. I will pass out before I die and there are enough people on the path, one of them must know CPR. I can do this. Look, someone calls my name. Oh, right - I am wearing my bib.

Here comes the turn around, but wait... why are these people running on this parallel road? So this isn't the turn around after all. Fuck. I take a bit of water at each station, mostly on my head and down my back. I am SO glad this is just a 5km race. I cry for hubbs and our friends who are going to do the long course the next day. I finally reach the turnaround and think about the rest of the people on my way back. I did not see anyone in my AG passing me. This is encouraging. I can't be in front because I'm a slow swimmer, but where are the other athletes? Behind me I hope. Just STAY there. I can do this. I started feeling sick. Stitches left and right: one from the stomach, one from the ribs, one from the spleen, most likely another one because it can. I must stay under 6min/km. I MUST. One more km. I should pick it up now so I look good running down the chute. Boom chakalaka!
These people behind me look impressed. Or maybe I farted really loud, I don't remember.
Two steps later... OH THE AGONY
Happy to see Bob and the finish line. No matter what, he'll make me loo good. 
Dramatic, eh? Just wait.
I shake John's hand, I take three steps towards the girl who removes the ankle chips. She takes it off, then I say... I GOTTA PUKE. I lean above the gate and leave it ALL on the gravel. It felt like never ending, so the folks from the medical come over and ask me if I was ok. They bring me water. I drink 4-5 cups, I don't remember, then I make my way towards the exit. Now that's how you end a race, although I don't wish it to anyone else. Gives a literal meaning to leaving it all on the course I guess.

I finished the run in 29:57, mission accomplished to stay under 6min/km, but with a HR average of 180! The overall time was 1:27:21, which is 4 minutes slower than my PR on this distance, but for a first race and no training it's quite the accomplishment I'd say. From the beginning until the end I was 9th/16 in my AG, so that explains why it felt like I was racing alone.

I met with Emma and Zin, we took a pic, then I lied down because I was not feeling right.
Is it hot as balls or is it just me?? Why aren't there more naked people in the picture??
Yup, this hurts. And no, I am not giving birth. And don't ask me while my knees are blue, I have no freaking clue.
I took a few minutes to collect my pains, then noticed Zin and Emma had jumped in the water. Now, that's a brilliant idea. I took off my jersey and dove in as well. What a glorious, glorious feeling. I must have spent a good 10 minutes in there, doing the starfish and feeling the aches leaving my body miraculously. I may or may not have peed as well. Then we all went back to the transition and asked someone for a "fresh" picture. What a difference a cold swim makes!!
Let's do it again!!
By that time it was already 11am and too late to drive back to Brampton for my Taekwondo grading. Besides I was starving and dizzy and I hadn't even started packing. The grading plans went flying out of the window and I told myself "what the hell was I thinking??" I could not imagine a single minute driving back and spending another 5h in the dojang. One more lesson learned. I'll have to wait two more months. I already waited 12 years, who is still counting?

I went to grab some food while these two started packing. We found out that Zin had placed second in his age group, so we decided to hang around for the podium and the prizes. He won a Timex watch too, yay! I think we finally left the race site around 1pm and went to Swiss Chalet for lunch, then to the residence to check in for the weekend, since these two were going to do it all again the next day. Crazies. And this is where my first race report of the year ends. Hope you had fun watching my descent into agony and rising from the ashes, hahaha. It's all good, triathlon is fun!! Over and out.


  1. Great return, puke and all....congrats :)

    1. Thank you Robin! I love it when you stop by with a comment.

  2. You always have so much fun racing! I mean, even when you throw up! Great to see you back racing and doing so well, even without training.

    1. Well, I have to remind myself every so often that this is my hobby, so it's supposed to be fun. If not, why would I do it? I am not a masochist despite the appearances, sometimes. It is really a gift and privilege to be able to race, and every single one of these events will be a celebration from now on, that of being able to get to the finish line. Injuries bring new perspectives, right?

  3. Hahah both of your expressions in that 4th pic are hilarious. Congrats on a great return to racing - crossing my fingers we get to see you do this a lot more!

    (I think the swim course might have been a bit short, too. My time was certainly a hell of a lot faster than I anticipated)

    1. I know, Emma! His devilish look is something. I hope to be able to keep on racing, even if I'll have to keep the training to a minimum.