Since I can't run due to a calf strain it has been hard to motivate myself to update my blog. I decided that when I felt that I accomplished something important I would write in it. Coming first overall (including men!) in the swim-bike at Muskoka has given me a reason to post. So here it goes...
Pre-race dinner @ 6:30pm:
1/4 loaf ACE baguette, 2 helpings of shell pasta with meatsauce, 2 chocolate cookies (it was my birthday...so this is allowed)
4:45am - Wake-up(approximately 6.5 hrs of sleep)
5:30am - On the road
5:32am - Encountered a slight problem, when going up a steep hill on the dirt road leading out of the cottage - the car would not go up it! Had to floor it up the hill - people in the car were slightly panicked...Rikki was thinking "Oh no my car is gonna break" while I was thinking "I need to make it to this race!" Luckily the car prevailed (bikes still on the rack) due to my excellent driving skills!
5:50am - Tim Horton's stop...my breakfast of choice was the usual, a 12-grain bagel with peanut butter and strawberry jam and a medium black coffee. I know I should have gotten a plain bagel to limit the fiber on race day, but I was worried about trying something new. I just really wanted to do well this race. Will try a "plain bagel" next time I do a "B" race. However, today I stuck to what was normal for me.
7:10am - Arrived at the race. A little behind schedule - ran to transition (luckily we picked up our race kits the day before) to set up my bike, clipped my shoes in pedals - right shoe forward and left shoe back (I like to run with the chain on the opposite side), with helmet upside down on arrow bars, sunglasses positioned inside them to minimize transition time. Quickly checked that the brake pads wouldn't rub against the wheels and put the bike in an easy gear so that I wouldn't struggle on that initial uphill right out of transition.
7:35am - Picked up my timing chip, got body marked and ran to the swim exit, had a "KICK BUT BALL" (38 calories, 40mg of caffeine!), put on my wetsuit and Christine Jeffreys (a pro) did up my wetsuit and I did up hers. A little pre-race excitement! I slipped into the water and swam an easy 750m with the current to the start site. I did some backstroke, some free drills, a little bit of explosions during this swim and got to the start 5mins before the gun. Good swim warm-up - check! After talking to Paul Bregin about how I'm always getting run over at the start of the swim because I don't have a fast start he told me to position myself to the outsides so that this doesn't happen. That's what I did for this race. The pros were gathering towards the left so I moved the the far right.
SWIM - 29:28
8:00am - Start time! Explode: fast arms and fast kick...GO GO GO...and what would you know...I didn't get kicked in the face, elbowed in the head, yanked at the ankles or swum over top of! It was the best start ever! I found someones feet and was off! During the first 500m I was trying to get ahead of the person who was in front of me but realized that we were swimming at roughly the same speed so I should just stay on her feet to conserve a little bit of energy. At one point I accidentaly touched them though at about 700m to the swim finish and wow, she picked up the pace. So I did too and was amazed that I still had the energy to stay with her - in the last 200m or so she did get ahead but only slightly. We exited the water about 10seconds apart (my time was 28:30, with about a 58s run to get to transition) for a swim time of 29:28). SWEET!!! That is super fast for this course and my best time before was a 32:10 in 2008, I swam a 32:36 in 2007.
T1 - 1:09
Uneventful really - hobbled along through transition since I didn't want to risk running hard to re-strain my calf.
BIKE - 1:40:24
Started out the bike with that uphill (glad I put my bike in an easy gear), heart still pounding away from the start of the swim! Legs felt looser than normal (thank-you Craig! - the best massage therapist ever from Athlete's Care). I could see the pro - Jenn Amaral (formerly Jenn Coombs and a long-time rival, she won Age Group Nationals in 2008) in front of me and I though to myself "OK, so long as you keep her in eyesight the whole race you are doing good" but for some reason I caught her and passed her! I expected her to pass me back but nope she never did. I knew the race was going well when not many people were passing me...no females even! And Ming caught me at 40km and he usually passes me much quicker! The hills seemed easier, the flats seemed faster! You can argue that I wasn't saving my legs for a run if you don't know me, but those of you who know me know that I only have one pace, regardless of what's coming up.
Finished the bike in 1:40.24! My best time so far. In 2008 my time was 1:56:50 (but my wheel came off and it took about 5mins to put back on so let's say it was comparable to a 1:51), and in 2007 it was a 1:44:36 (on a different, supposedly "easier" course). That is an amazing improvement in my mind...I couldn't have done it by myself either - I owe part of it to pursuit style biking with Paul up Dragonfly hill, but I mostly owe it to my coach, Adam Johnston, and Peter Oyler. They own WattsUp cycling in Toronto, where I have been cycling since last fall. Twice a week I am at a WattsUp group ride following a program specifically designed for each individual so that they can improve their power output on the bike. Adding power-based riding on the computrainer at WattsUp to my summer outdoor cycling has been the only way I could have improved this much (to put this in numbers: I started out cycling with a lactate threshold of 3.0 Watts/kg last fall and now my lactate threshold is 3.6 Watts/kg - only 9 months later!).
FINISH - 2:11.00
I was second woman overall at this point and I couldn't even do my favourite part of the race - the RUN!!! I immediately ran/hobbled right out of transition and into Rikki's arms...cried pretty uncontrollably for a few minutes until Bailey (Ming's beautiful Bernese) got loose from her leash and started running towards the run course! Thank you Bailey for the distraction!!!
Anyway, overall - a good race. I ended up winning the swim-bike (even beating the top male by 4 mins!).
Next race: who knows...recovery time!