What a difference 6 days and a calm Lake Huron can make!
I arrived at Wasaga Beach the day before the race with my husband (also racing) and my kids. We spent the afternoon at the beach, but I didn’t last too long in the water – it was quite wavy and after surfing the waves on a boogie board for a few minutes, I was feeling seasick! I was hoping that the winds would die down for race day. We picked up our race kits and headed to Owen Sound to stay with friends. For the first time, we opted to save $5 each and not get a race shirt – we have so many!
On race morning, our drive along Georgian Bay had me hopeful that the water would still be calm for our 10:30 AM race start. When we arrived at Wasaga Beach, we set up our bikes and other stuff in transition, did body marking and picked up our timing chips.I struggled into my wetsuit, careful not to make the crotch hole any bigger. The wetsuit needs to last just one more race this season before I replace it in the off-season. I will have gotten 8 years and more than 50 triathlons out of it – not bad! 1500m swim
I was so excited to see calm water.I was to be in the 5th and final wave, with Alasdair in the 3rd. I did a very short warm up swim, and then chatted with Alasdair and a man named Alex who was doing his very first triathlon.
Before long the first horn sounded, and soon enough, it was time for my wave to start. With higher water levels in Lake Huron this summer, there was less beach this year, but there were still the characteristic sand bars. You can be a long way out and yet still be able to stand.
I decided to start on the far right side to avoid some of the crazy congestion I have had to deal with in recent races. It worked. I swam fairly straight to the first turning buoy, drafting off another athlete for a while. I turned at the buoy, and while I felt the waves on that stretch a little bit, it was not an issue. I found the sun super bright as I breathed on the left side (next time, I would stick to right side only breathing through that section). As I made the final turn to shore, I thought I was heading for the swim exit, which in previous years I have aimed for by aiming towards yellow-roofed buildings, but I also seemed to be swimming alone. Finally, I noticed that everyone seemed to be on my left side, so I changed my angle slightly and headed their way. I suspect I wasn’t on the straight course I thought I was on and added distance. Not sure what happened. In any case, I didn’t feel seasick, so all was good!!! When I first stood up my watch said 38 something – slow, but not as slow as I expected. I actually did a few dolphin dives before standing up and walking to shore. Given that I was starting in the last wave, there weren’t many people finishing after me.
I ran up to transition, stopping at the portapotty before I reached my bike. I was disappointed, but not surprised, to see that only 3 bikes were left on the rack for women 40-44, other than my own. Two women were standing at their bikes, but I beat them out onto the bike course.
This year the bike course changed a bit, from a looped course to an out and back. With an out and back, I would be guaranteed to see Alasdair, who had 6 minutes on me starting 2 waves before me.
My ride started well, and as I reached each 5k marker, I maintained a pace of 30 km/h. I was pretty happy with my pace! Only a couple of riders passed me (there weren’t many people starting their ride after me!), but I passed quite a few bikes. I had a gel early on in the bike, and one at 35k. I also had a bottle of gatorade. For a while I leapfrogged a woman named Lisa, who commented that we should just ride side by side (that’s “blocking” and not allowed, however, we would have made good riding partners!). There was a bit of wind but I didn’t find it too bad. At about 17.5 km (a guess based on the time elapsed so far), I spotted Alasdair, but he was passing someone at the time so he didn’t notice me. The one thing I didn’t like about the out and back was that at times there were cars passing riders in the middle of the road, with riders also passing other riders (on both sides of the road) at the same time. So 5 vehicles across and a little too congested. Right until the 25k marker I was maintaining the 30 km/h pace. From 25-35k it dropped slightly, but was over 30 km/h for the last 5k. I pushed hard until the end, and wondered what my legs would be like when I started running!
I racked my bike, removed my helmet, switched shoes, and had a quick pitstop at a portapotty before I left the transition zone. Amazingly, my legs felt good. I spotted my daughter as I started my run along the beach (at the finish line), and wondered how long it would be before I saw Alasdair. This course is 2-laps of a 5k course, and is almost entirely flat. There is 1 small hill on each loop. I had no idea what pace I was running until I hit the 1k marker. I was pleasantly surprised to see 5:45! It was around there that Alasdair passed me running the other way. I kept running, and at the 2k marker, I was feeling good and saw that my pace hadn’t changed much. I couldn’t believe my eyes when at the 3k marker I saw 5:20. I don’t remember running a 5:20 km in my life! I was careful not to go too hard, because I felt a side stitch coming on. I worked hard to change my breathing and prevented it from worsening. At one point on the run, a woman running towards me pointed at me and said, “I think I read your blog!” It helps to have our names on our bibs! On the first loop, I don’t think I took water or electrolytes from any of the aid stations, but my lips were getting really dry so on the 2nd loop I did. I spotted Alasdair around the 1k marker again, and as we approached each other (at an aid station), I heard him ask the volunteers to “hit me in the face” with water… so I finished my sip of water and hit him in the face! At that point I didn’t even know if he had seen me, but he told me after the race that the volunteers thought it was hilarious – of course they would have had no idea what we were married!
I felt great on this run and while I did spot 6:02 and 6:25 at 2 of the kilometre markers later on in the run, I managed to hold a good pace and finished with an average pace of 5:48. Not a PB, but probably a season best pace.
I spotted Alasdair and the kids as I approached the finish line, and for once felt that I could have kept running!In the end, I finished the race in 3:03:53.1. I was happy with my result. My swim was slower than I would have liked, but I had a great bike (29.59 km/h) and a super run.
Over at the table with water jugs (really cold water!) and cups, there was a pile of medals for athletes. I remembered then that this year, all finishers at Multisport Canada races get medals. However, there was no one there to give them out, so I assumed they were free for the taking. It felt rather odd to put one on myself, so instead I asked another athlete – Dan – who was standing beside me, if he’d like me to present him his medal. He said yes, so I put his on him, and he put mine on me. I then offered to put another athlete’s medal on.
Alasdair wasn’t going to take a medal, but Ailish put one on him, so he kept it!
We packed up our stuff in transition, grabbed post race food, and then stayed for the awards.The draw prizes were at the end of the awards, and Alasdair’s name was called – he won an arm band cell phone holder. Then the watches were pulled out and I hoped that my name would be called. Nope. The last group of prizes were $150 credits for Rudy Project sunglasses. And my name was called! I am most definitely on a prize winning streak! Race Stats
- Time: 3:03:53.1 (11/13 women 40-44, 58/104 women, 223/322 athletes)
- 1500m swim: 38:57.2 (2:35 min/100m) (13/13 women 40-44)
- Run up: 30 seconds
- T1: 2:44 (includes pee break)
- 40k bike: 1:21:06.5 (29.59 km/h) (5/13 women 40-44)
- T2: 2:27 includes pee break)
- 10k run: 58:08.9 (5:48 min/km) (8/13 women 40-44)
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