Overheard in our Kingston hotel: (father to 4 or 5 year old son) “You know what, Lucas? Tomorrow some people are doing a TRI-ATH-A-LON! They are going to do a MARATHON, and then CYCLE, and then you know what?” I have no idea what, since the elevator doors closed, but that was enough to make us smile! No wonder some people think we are crazy!!
Sunday morning we arrived at Confederation Park at 6 AM for the 8 AM start of the 33th K-Town Long Course Triathlon (“The Legend”). It was to be the 3rd year that Alasdair and I took part in this race, a 2k swim, 56.2k bike, and 15k run. Since we picked up our race kits the day before (swim cap, race bib, t-shirt), all we had to do was pick up our timing chips and get body marking done. I had my spot in transition set up pretty quickly, so I spent the rest of the time sitting on a bench, laying on the ground, or chatting with people. With less than 5 hours of sleep the night before, I was pretty tired.
The sun rising in the sky over the Royal Military College made for some pretty pictures.This race features an in-water start, with athletes jumping or diving off a floating dock and swimming to the start line. I didn’t want to get in too soon, knowing that I’d have to tread water until the race started. With about 10 minutes to go, Alasdair and I wished each other luck and I jumped into the water. I was in the 3rd wave (with all women), and Alasdair in the 2nd. There was one wave of swimmers after me.
The horn sounded, I started my watch, and off I went! I swam very straight to the first turning buoy, and shortly after turning had to stop to fix my goggles when I saw one of the straps dangling in front of my face. I swam fairly straight to the next turning buoy, but had to adjust my goggles – again – when they were really fogging up and I had trouble seeing the buoys. I was a bit surprised (and disappointed!) to see how quickly the wave behind me caught up to me (their blue swim caps became visible around me). I noticed a bit of chop in the water in this section too, and was having a little more difficulty swimming straight. The last long section before turning to the dock was likely my most crooked, as it seemed that I had to keep correcting my course. Just before the very last turn, I started to feel sick to my stomach when I saw the weeds below the surface moving one way with me moving another. It was awful! I tried to swim with my eyes closed but that didn’t help. Motion sickness is no fun. As I approached the dock, where volunteers were waiting to pull us out of the water, I hoped to see less than 48 on my watch (last year’s time) but would have been satisfied with 50 given the goggle-fixing and course-correcting. I was horrified to see almost 54 minutes!! At that moment I gave up on beating last year’s race time (4:22 and change).
After a very short run to transition, a quick pee, and a change into cycling gear, I headed out of the transition zone for the bike segment of the race.
Given that I was one of the last swimmers out of the water, there wasn’t any congestion at the bike mount line! For the first 27 or 28k of the ride, we were riding into the wind, and my speed was slower than I would have liked. I played leapfrog with an athlete named Caroline from 10k to the turnaround at 27 or 28k, at which point the wind was behind us and I took off! She was pretty excited at the turnaround and yelled to the police officer there, “Are you having FUN!?” I had such a slow swim that not a single person passed me on the bike! However, I did pass 6-10 people (who later all passed me on the run!). On the ride I noticed interesting things for sale: a dozen worms for $3.50, and antique wooden tables for $25. I also spotted some cool wooden carvings (an eagle, a witch, and I’m not sure what else), and I saw some sort of bird of prey way up in a nest at the top of a hydro pole. I think Alasdair was about 5k ahead of me when we passed each other. The second half of the bike was way more fun, and my speed rose to around 30km/h or so. Near the end of the ride, I caught the slower of the sprint triathlon athletes still out on the course. The most congestion I encountered was down the last hill, across the lift bridge, and where I had to cross into the “middle” lane of the road where we ended at the dismount line. I drank a bottle of gatorade, half a bottle of water, and managed to force down 2 gels and a mini granola bar during the ride.
I quickly changed into my running gear, made a pitstop at a portapotty, and headed out on the run course. I knew right away that I had no speed in my legs. I had hoped to try to run at a pace of 6 min/km, to avoid going out to fast and then fading as the km’s passed. But my first km was at a pace of 6:12, and for once, my legs were the limiting factor rather than my cardio. Only a few km’s in, I threw out any time goals for the run, and it became a game of “one foot in front of the other” and “just finish”! I was disappointed, but there was nothing I could do. I had a great run in Gravenhurst on a hot, hilly 10k course just a few weeks ago, so this time it just wasn’t my day! I do wonder whether the aerial ropes course we did 5 days before the race took more out of my legs than I thought (so much fun!!). It might have been around the 5k mark that I spotted Alasdair. Or maybe sooner. It was after I spotted Irina finishing her sprint run (thanks for the cheers Irina – sorry I had nothing to return!).
I have to say that the volunteers on the run course were FANTASTIC! There were frequent aid stations, with volunteers asking whether we wanted water, ice, heed, pretzels, fruit or gels. I drank heed a few times, water other times, and every time poured water on my head. It was far hotter than I thought it was going to be. I also poured ice in my tri top and ate it as I ran. Some of the volunteers were super enthusiastic. I loved the sign that one volunteer was holding around 11 or 12k that said, “Justin Timberlake is at the finish line with puppies!” (Or maybe it was Ryan Gosling!) It was just after this point that there was an aid station with a kid holding a hose – I got a total soaking and declared it “my favourite part of the whole race!”
At 12k I got a side stitch that I couldn’t shake, and my pace slowed until the end. I had to walk a couple of times too for a few seconds.
This was one race that I was very relieved to be done with! At the finish line I received a finisher’s medal and finisher’s hat, had a quick drink of water, then found Alasdair. He beat his time from last year by about 20 seconds, while I was 18 minutes slower (in fact, I was slower on the swim, bike and run segments). Next year!
After downing some chocolate milk and chatting with other finishers, we grabbed our post-race food (pizza, fruit, pretzels) and sat to watch the awards. Alasdair had a secret, which he revealed just before the awards – by being the 90th finisher (90 was randomly selected by the race organizers before the race began) he was the “racer of the day” and received a $310 credit for 2XU compression gear. Awesome!
And, according to the announcer Steve Fleck, the compression gear will put him on the podium in the future! If only.
Time: 4:40:56.8 -10/12 women age 40-44, 41/49 women, 135/155 athletes
2k swim: 53:58.2 (2:41/100m) – 11/12 women age 40-44, 45/49 women, 145/155 athletes
56.2k bike: 1:59.05 (28.32 km/h – last year 29.1 km/h) -9/12 women age 40-44, 38/49 women, 132/155 athletes
15k run: 1:43:13 (6:52 min/km – last year 6:14 min/km) -10/12 women age 40-44, 41/49 women, 135/155 athletes
Kingston, we’ll be back!