The day started really early. 4:10 am. On Saturday, in between seeing Susi and Julie off on the Road to Nepal, and having Indian food with them after, I scurried around getting all ready. Essentially the only thing I had to do in the morning was dress, take drinks and nibbles from the fridge to the car, and get going.
We arrived in Canmore at T1 in good time. The parking was tight, and some idiot in a big-ass pickup with a hitch that stuck out THAT far had to park right at the bottle of the bottleneck, bottlenecking things even more. This idiot made a bunch of people park on the road and walk in. I say, he (not likely it was a she) should be told at the finish line that he was disqualified before he even started, for parking like an idiot. That's an offence right up there with littering and creating a nuisance. The Group W bench is too good for him. I digress.
It was cold out. Probably 5 C. People were huddled up and looking at the pond dubiously. ('Quarry lake' if you know it.) Water vapour was coming off it, and you couldn't really see the far end, a whole 250 m away or so. I got Estela set up in T1, where I wouldn't have to go off the carpet. It was pointy gravel, and they had laid down not quite enough carpet.
Then up to the Biathlon building for T2 and all the other good stuff. Not much to set up in T2. Shoes. Hat. Chocolate milk in a thermos. Extra water. Milled around getting marked (cute body marker, almost as cute as Susi and nearly as tall as me.) But she just put my number (24) on me, not hers. Briefing, wetsuit on, then get a bus ride back to the lake. There was a bunch of people standing at water's edge, saying, "after you", and similar such things. Finally someone poked a toe in and said it really wasn't so bad. Then most people got in and swam around a bit. Really, it wasn't so bad at all. Standing around on the cold ground waiting was much worse.
In the water start. 3 laps counter clockwise in a rectangular pattern. Got one kick that grazed my cheek, since I saw it coming. Traded a bunch of elbows with others. The buoys were tiny. I didn't even try to sight them. Just followed the herd. Tried to swim smooth and long. I just can't breath alternate sides in a wetsuit. Just not enough air, and I'm not swimming much faster than in a pool.
Out of the water carefully, since this was where I cramped up last time. Handed in our safety swim strap, then up the long (300 m or so) carpeted pathway. I walked most of this, trying to relax my legs. No strippers. Sat on a rock just outside the tranistion area rather than flounder and thrash around surrounded by expensive bikes. This is where I badly cramped my right calf for a few minutes. Finally got the suit off and rubbed and stretched my leg. Into T1, dried my feet a bit, into socks and shoes. I thought about sockless, but it was still cold out and I haven't ridden without socks. The conversation in T1 revolved around jacket or no jacket? Arm warmer or no arm warmer?
Out of T1, right turn down the hill, and down to 3 Sisters Parkway. I was pretty cold here, and at one point I seriously checked to see if I was wearing shots. My thighs were burning and it felt like I wasn't wearing anything. I was pretty sure that had this been the case someone would have pointed it out to me. This is actually a nice road to ride on. The shoulder is pretty wide, and was mostly in good shape. I'd heard a rumour that Canmore had put the town sweepers on the road, but that wasn't true. There were a couple bad spots. Lots of volunteers dealing with motor traffic for us. The course runs along a mostly flat route, past where you'd turn off to get onto the highway, up a little hill, then turn around. I thought that there was really only two hills, at the beginning and end. Other people though it was really hilly. Maybe it was if your most recent ride wasn't road to Nepal. I'd love to see a tri use that road as an out and back. After about the first half hour I warmed up and never really thought about it again.
The ride was good. Greg had told me to not wear a heart monitor, and don't pay much attention to speed, just race by how I feel. We went back and forth, around the loop 4 times. There were several firsts. Estela was passed on the down hill several times. Just about all of them were wearing the sperm helmets as I think of them, so I didn't mind so much. I was really suprised at how much noise some of the tri bikes made! I'd go crazy if I had to ride that. There's a nice bit of stream at one point with some very soothing water sounds.
I went back and forth, trying to stay strong and consistent. I gradually slowed a little throughout the ride, but not as badly as I had feared. When I was coming up to the end of the third lap, I got all excited and though I was done, but then was looking through bike computer and realized I hadn't gone far enough, around once again. Susi's gerbil paid a visit here, getting me thinking about T2, and the run, how I was feeling, and wondering how Susi and Julie were making out on Lochend. It took a while to evict the little bugger, but I got my focus back, and headed up the hill to T2. The last bit up to the day lodge was a bit of a surprise since I hadn't remembered that.
Into T2, change, pee, head out for the run. I'm feeling pretty good here. The course was quite hilly at the beginning. I was wishing I had one of those ski trainer things for the downhill. The course was a paved path through a forest and really quite pretty. Each kilometer was marked, which is nice. Just before 2 K my running legs showed up, and we chugged along. Up and down hills slow and steady. Walked the aid stations. Aid station, I suppose, since it was on an out and back. I was looking at my watch every K, and without doing complicated math, or pressing the splits button, I was steady and consistent, and at a very good pace for me. About the 5 K mark I realized I was going to be able to run the whole thing, and I might even have enough in the tank for a strong finish. Well, not really a sprint, but I picked it up for the last K, and did it a bit quicker than the others. Crossed the line, and started nibbling. Yay!
Out to T2 and guzzled most of the thermos of chocolate milk. Still cold. Did some stretching, and walked all my stuff back to the car. Hung around for a few minutes waiting for the final people to come in, and they went straight into the award ceremony. Leaha, your name was drawn, and you missed out on a prize. Then to the day centre for a yummy meal.
Chantelle showed up. She had seen me on the course and given me some encouragement. We chatted a little bit. I never saw Leaha at all. Home. Linda drove, and I stretched my legs, and rubbed my calf. Humped everything in, showered, did laundry. Stretched more. I'm looking forward to KS, my massage therapist, pummling me tomorrow. Wrote up blog.
Greg told me not to pay attention to numbers this race, but I did look at bike computer and kept track of times on stop watch. Official time may vary. Besides, it would break Julie's heart if I didn't put some numbers in here.
1500 m Swim 28 min 48 seconds
T1 6:19, including the 300 m waddle
40 K Bike 1:31:38 (avg speed started at +28 Kph, gradually dropped to 26 Kph or so)
10 K run 1:09:51 (split 34:35 and 35:16 for the two 5 K loops, which is essentially 7 min/Km pace.)
Total time 3:19:46
I'm thrilled! I'm not too pumped about the time itself one way or the other, but I'm thrilled about how strong I was on the run. For you guys, a 70 min 10K in an Oly might be cause for despair, but it's an excellent time for me for a run off the bike. My swim and bike times were right about where I thought they'd be based on recent training, but I haven't done much running lately. My run felt strong and steady, with little complaint from the legs. I never even thought about walking the hills.
In highsight, I could have pushed a little harder and maintained my pace on the bike. Or maybe I should have started out a little easier and pushed harder at the end. No complaints though; it was a super learning experience. Not sure I could have put more into the run, since that's the pace I've trained at, and I was trying to be careful of the right calf. Greg has already talked of breaking me out of that groove.
Of course, I got passed lots. That's just fine, since I was thinking of this as a shared heavy duty training day. I was just amazed at some of these people. At one point I'm doing 33 Kph UP a hill, and thought I was doing good. This guy with the most astonishing legs just screams past me. Seriously, you could use those legs in a commercial! And one girl just tearing through a gaggle of guys. "Passing left" she yelled, and totally chicked them. I had a really good time! I'd say I'd do it again, but the current date conflicts with Calgary Ironman 70.3, which I think is my 'A' race next year.
Weekly totals, including Oly.
Swim .5 hr
Bike 3.3 hr
Run 1.25 hr
Total 5 hr.