Race report: Lakeside sprint triathlon 2019

It may have been the last triathlon of my 10th year of triathlon, but the Multisport Canada Lakeside sprint triathlon saw me do something I’ve never done before!

This year, Alasdair and I set out for Lakeside with lots of time to spare, because last year it took forever to get into the farm parking lot near the race site, and we were all stressed out before the race began. This time we were all set up and ready to go when an announcement was made that the race was being delayed by 15 minutes because of the number of people still trying to park.

Pre-race with Sunova Lake behind us.

It was chilly out, so I stayed in my fleece top for as long as possible! While I was standing at my bike before the race, another competitor sprayed talcum powder in his shoes, which blew onto my shoes, socks, and into my goggles! He was very apologetic, and when I told him that if my husband beat me in the race I could use the talcum powder as an excuse, he said to just tell him some jerk in transition sprayed talcum powder all over my stuff.

750m swim

Alasdair was to start in wave #3, and me in wave #5. I usually swim a tiny bit before the race begins, but I opted not to, with the air feeling cooler than the water.

The horn sounded, I started my watch, and I began to swim. Almost immediately I had water gathering in my left goggle lens. I had to adjust my goggles 3 times in the first 100m before they felt fine! After that, my swim was pretty uneventful. I encountered a woman doing the backstroke, who apologized to me (maybe because I had to go around her?). I was predictably slow but I think I swam pretty straight.

20k bike

I decided to push my bike pace and see what I could do. It was a new course this year due to construction on the usual route, so I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but we were told that there were rolling hills. I passed a lot of people on the bike, and I spotted Alasdair somewhere between 5k and the 10k turnaround. I felt like my ride was going well, but my watch wasn’t cooperating so I had to do the math every 5k to estimate my pace. Turns out I rode my fastest race pace this season.

5k run

I know this run course well, and once again decided to push the pace and see what I could do. I knew if I got side stitches I would have to slow down. My watch wasn’t sure which sport I was doing, but after pressing a few buttons, I managed to see my run pace. It’s an out and back course, and at one point, I was running faster than a car, which didn’t have room to manoeuvre around all the athletes. I said to the woman in the passenger seat that I’m not used to passing cars while running, and she said it must make me feel like a goddess!

With about 1km to go, I noticed that a woman who passed me was in my age group, and her name was Caroline. I was pretty sure that someone named Caroline always beats me. I decided that I would do what I could to not let that happen this time. Normally, I would have just let her go, and not even tried to keep up. I’m not really sure what was different this time. I picked up the pace and overtook her, hoping to increase the distance between us. When I heard her coming, I sped up again. I’m pretty sure she caught me again at one point, as I seem to remember running just behind her, wondering if I could stay with her and then make my move just as we hit the finishing chute. That last km was my fastest one of the day. With just a couple hundred metres to go, two other women in my age group passed me, and maybe Caroline too. In any case, I picked up the pace yet again, running at 5:15 min/km, faster than I ever run, and attempted to stay with them or pass them. I wondered how hard I could run before I would feel like throwing up! Looking back now I’m amazed I didn’t get any side stitches. I managed to stay ahead of 2 of the 3 women, with only Maja getting away. When I looked at the results later, it turns out only Caroline was in my age group! In fact I think one of them was in the duathlon. In any case, it was my very first time jostling for position, and it was hard work, but super satisfying!

In the end, I finished the race in 1 hour 30 minutes and 23 seconds, which was pretty much the “best case scenario” when I was doing the math on my bike and trying to figure out what my finish time might be.

It wasn’t my fastest run pace of the season, but it was my fastest sprint this year (of 3 races).

I was thankful for my fleece after the race! We got into the longest triathlon food line ever, stayed for the awards, and then headed home! Looking forward to the 2020 season already!

Race results

  • Time: 1:30:23
  • Swim: 19:47.1 (2:38/100m)
  • Bike: 39:59.1 (30.01 km/h)
  • Run: 27:59.4 (5:35 min/km)
  • Placing women 45-49: 8/26
  • Placing all women: 61/204
  • Placing all racers: 203/456

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Race report: Welland sprint triathlon 2019

In May of 2018, Canadian Simon Whitfield, winner of the very first Olympic gold medal in triathlon at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, drew my name in a Triathlon Canada contest – I won a trisuit designed by Indigenous artist Carey Newman (or Hayalthkin’geme)! Unfortunately, the trisuit didn’t arrive before I managed to compete in 11 triathlons in 2018! But this meant that I got to start the 2019 season with a new look.

Wearing my new trisuit for the first time.

Little did I know what people would think of me in that suit…

Alasdair and I arrived at the Welland International Flatwater Centre with lots of time to go through registration, prep our stuff in transition, and head for the water. Since this race has a closed bike course which we had to ride 5 times, swim waves were very spread out to avoid congestion on the bike course. This meant that I started 50 minutes after Alasdair. Because of this, we wouldn’t see each other out on the race course at all (at least not while we were both racing).

I was the first person to rack a bike in the 258 to 278 bib number range, so I decided to pick the prime spot – closest to the bike out so I had to run as little as possible with my bike. I usually avoid that spot because it’s where the most competitive athletes go. Pretty sure my bike doesn’t look like it belongs!

The next person to arrive said to me, “Are you going to Lausanne?” At least I knew that this was the site of the 2019 triathlon world championships. “OMG no!” I replied. “I just won this suit!” In case you hadn’t noticed, it says PATERSON and CAN on the front and back. Later, I was asked at which race I had qualified. Clearly I can no longer blend into the crowd! The suit is a conversation starter.

750m Swim

Given that I have barely been swimming, and am a slow swimmer to start with, I wasn’t expecting too much of the swim. It was pretty congested at the start, and later I had to twice stop briefly to adjust my goggles, but then things settled down. On the last stretch of the swim I was able to follow the guy lines for the rowing markers, not needing to lift my head to sight.

20k Bike

The key for this bike course would be to not lose count of the number of laps I had done. Five was the magic number! Each lap would have two 180 degree turns. I was happy with how my ride was going, passing quite a few riders as I went along. I played leapfrog with another woman for much of the race, eventually leaving her behind. My watch was telling me that I was averaging over 30 km/h. The long run to start and end the bike segment, as well as a disparity in the distance (I had over 20k on my watch) dropped me below that. In any case, it was a great ride! Since Alasdair was done the race by the time I finished my bike, he was able to get some pictures of me racing.

I headed out on the 2 loop run course, which is on a paved path. I was pleasantly surprised with my legs, because even though they were still recovering from my 14 hour adventure race a week before, they let me run at a pretty good pace!

And just like that, my first triathlon of 2019 was done!

Race results:

  • Time: 1:30:44
  • 750m Swim: 19:02 (2:32 min/100m)
  • T1: 1:46
  • 20k Bike: 41:39.5 (28.81 km/h)
  • T2: 1:34
  • 5k Run: 26:43.5 (5:20 min/km)
  • Placing women 45-49: 11/23
  • Placing all women: 84/216
  • Placing all athletes: 250/477

As we were leaving to go home, a woman in the transition zone mentioned to Alasdair and I that she had lost her keys. “I found them!” I told her. I explained that while running my bike to the mount line during the race, I ran past a set of keys. I yelled at a spectator, who ignored me. I saw a volunteer further along and told him – he quickly ran towards them. She was so relieved, and wondered what the chances were of her mentioning it to us, and of me having found them! In any case, we left knowing that she would be able to find her way home.

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Race report: Barrelman 1/2 Ironman 2018

The 2018 edition of the Barrelman 1/2 Ironman was to be the 5th running of this race, and my 5th year participating (last year I did the swim/bike due to a foot injury). Alasdair and I arrived at T1 in Welland at the International Flatwater Centre in time for the 12 PM pre-race briefing, then registered and left our bikes, and headed to Niagara Falls, where we would spend the night.
With the Canadian falls behind us.
We arranged all our gear, and set our alarms for 5 AM! IMG_7032 We wandered around Niagara Falls a bit, had yummy pizza for dinner, and called it a night! On race morning, we caught the race shuttle bus from Niagara Falls to Welland, leaving our car close to the finish line. We arrived at T1 with lots of time to set our things up and chat with other athletes. 2k Swim Alasdair and I were in the same wave, and while I would have loved to draft off of him the whole way, I knew that I wasn’t fast enough to do so! He started near the front, and me further behind. I didn’t know when I would see him again on the race course. The swim start was quite congested, and not too far into the swim, I was kicked in the face. Thankfully, my goggles stayed on. I let the fast people go by, and then I swam over to the guy wire (that holds the rowing buoys in place), and used that to swim straight. It meant that I didn’t have to look up to sight, at least not until I got closer to the halfway point, when I had to swim off the guy wire to the green turning buoy. By this point, I really had to pee, but instead of doing so in the water, I suffered until the transition zone! (I did pause a few times, but would have had to swim out of the way so as not to have people swim into me. I have not yet mastered the skill of peeing while swimming!) I wasn’t surprised to see 50+ minutes when I stood up at the end of the swim. 100246-eab995-1003913148 At my spot in the transition zone, I packed up my swim stuff, put my cycling things on, slathered more sunscreen all over myself, and took off for the mount line. 90k Bike This year there were changes to the bike course due to road construction. It meant for the addition of a pretty section before we reached Lake Erie. It was in this newer section that I came upon a cyclist down in the middle of the road. Other athletes were helping him, and I confirmed with them that an athlete riding the opposite way was going for help, then continued on my way. During the ride I managed to eat a piece of homemade chocolate chip banana bread and 2 gels (I had to force the second one down), and to drink 1 bottle of gatorade and 2 full bottles of water. Turtle count on Feeder Road this year = only 2! At one point along Feeder Road I was cruising along at 34 km/h, which meant just one thing – I would encounter a headwind when I turned toward the East! At the first bike aid station, I stopped quickly to use the portapotty (“You almost done in there?” a man asked. “I’m peeing as fast as I can!” I replied.) I threw my empty gatorade bottle, grabbed a water bottle, and then tried to grab an Endurance Tap gel from a volunteer but the transfer didn’t work and it fell. Another volunteer ran to try to catch me, but I told him not to worry! At 60k I threw my water bottle and got another one, but forgot to grab another Endurance Tap gel. Around the 75k mark, I started to have stomach issues, but I managed to keep riding without having to drop my speed too much. From just after 75k to the end the course goes along the Niagara River Parkway, making the ride quite scenic!
What year is this again? I never noticed the old car – clearly I was looking at the water!
Once I reached the transition zone (T2), volunteers told me where to find my bike (though I had looked at the map pre-race and knew where to go). I switched into running gear, slathered more sunscreen on myself, used the portapotty quickly, and headed onto the run course. 21.1k Run Unfortunately my stomach was still bothering me, so I started the run by walking… but it wasn’t too long before I could start running. I carried an Endurance Tap with me, and had it just before the first aid station. It felt like 35C with the humidity, so my run quickly became a run/walk combo. I stopped at every aid station to drink water, get ice, occasionally have F2C (electrolyte drink), and pour water on my head. My legs were fine – it was just so darn hot. I chatted with a couple of other women for a while as we walked and encouraged one another.
Pouring water on my head while running past Niagara Falls!
I spotted Alasdair, who was having hip issues and had to do a run/walk combo too. On the second loop, there was slightly more cloud cover, which was a huge relief! I had a couple of gels during the run, as well as pretzels at one point (but I needed water to wash them down – my mouth was too dry to chew and swallow them!). Overall the run was quite disappointing, but given the heat and humidity, I was not surprised – I’ve been through this before!
Running to the finish line (that’s not my sponge, though the colour is quite the match!).
In the end, I crossed the finish line in 7:12:01.1, slower than I would have liked, but that’s how things go! I spotted Alasdair, and shortly afterward headed for the splash pad where I soaked myself – what a great end! Race results
  • Time: 7:12:01.1
  • Placing women 40-44: 28/34
  • Placing all women: 136/271
  • Placing all athletes: 425/685
  • Swim: 50:52.2 (2:32/100m)
  • T1: 4:20
  • Bike: 3:13:26.6 (27.9km/h)
  • T2: 6:40
  • Run: 2:56:44.3 (8:24 min/km)
That’s a wrap on the 2018 triathlon season for me! 11 races, 2 podium finishes, and a whole lot of fun! Follow me on Facebook: Kyra on the Go: Adventures of a Paddling Triathlete Follow me on Twitter: @kyraonthego Follow me on Instagram: @kyraonthego

Race report: Lakesprint sprint triathon relay (team Triathalasaurus)

While Alasdair and I have done a few sprint triathlon relays before, this was our first with our daughter, who is finally old enough to do one leg of a sprint distance race.
Pinning the race bib on – “You’re going to poke me!”
Team Triathalasaurus was ready: Alasdair would swim 750m, I would bike 20k, and Ailish would run 5k. Never mind the fact that she was sick with a cold, and had only done one training run. She’s a fit kid with a summer of soccer behind her.
Team Triathalasaurus ready to go!
After a late arrival at the race site and somewhat frantic pre-race preparations, the horn sounded and Alasdair took off in wave #1 with the young’uns! 100243-abf8ec-1003840680 Ailish and I waited in the transition zone, and waved him down as he entered, since he didn’t get a chance before the race to see where my bike was racked. I struggled to get the timing chip off his ankle, but eventually succeeded, running my bike to the mount line, being cheered as I ran by at least one of the other relay teams. I reached the mount line and a volunteer yelled, “Great job!” to which I replied, “Thanks! I haven’t done anything yet!” This was my first time biking with people in the first wave of a triathlon, so it was definitely weird. The first few people who passed me just zoomed past – whoosh! I was actually a little worried that I would get in the way of people at corners, since I brake slightly before turning! I needn’t have worried – much. After rough road at the start, the course turned straight into the wind and hills, which immediately dashed my hope of maintaining 30 km/h, but I was still going to try. When I reached the turnaround, there were 33 riders ahead of me, when normally there would be hundreds and I couldn’t possibly keep track. I was a little surprised to have someone say “On your left!” as I was doing a 180 degree turn around the pylon at the turnaround point. I’m not sure if he actually intended to pass me at that point (crazy), or whether he was just giving me advance warning that as soon as I came out of my turn, he was going to pass me (reasonable!). In any case, we both made it around the cone safely. The last 5-7k were my favourite, because I had the wind behind me and it was a net downhill. Just before the end I spotted my friend Irina, who was taking official race photos. I finished the 20k ride in 40:28.5, for an average speed of 29.65 km/h. Not the 30 I was hoping for, but oh so close!
Thanks for the pic Irina!
I racked my bike, and then Alasdair grabbed the timing chip off my ankle and put it onto to Ailish’s. She took off for her 5k run. Alasdair and I went out to the road to cheer for other runners while we waited for Ailish. We weren’t sure exactly how long she would be. Alasdair eventually walked further along the road, while I waited near the finishing chute. And then there she was! She turned it up for the last 100m and sprinted to the finish (later telling me that this made her feel like she was going to puke). She did great!
Good thing I have dozens of race shirts, since she steals mine all the time.
We really enjoyed racing together as Team Triathalasaurus! IMG_7011 And Ailish is thinking she might do a try a tri next summer… 100243-3d3f05-1003846897
We stayed for the awards, and then headed out.
Swimming for 16 minutes is exhausting you know!
I’m looking forward to doing another relay – such fun! Stats:
  • Placing: 7/13 relay teams
  • Swim: 16:05.6 (2:08 min/100m)
  • T1: 0:44
  • Bike: 40:28.5 (29.65 km/h)
  • T2: 0:31
  • Run: 29:12.8 (5:50 min/km)
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Race report: Guelph Lake II sprint triathlon (with a 46k bike ride warm-up)

A 46k net uphill ride to the race site is not exactly the best strategy for getting oneself onto the podium; however, if you know me at all, you’ll know that that isn’t what motivates me to compete!
Early morning ride, because, why not?
And so it was that Alasdair and I set out in the pitch dark at 5:15 AM for the Guelph Lake Conservation Area, where we would compete in the Subaru Guelph Lake II sprint triathlon, a 750m swim, 30k ride, and 7k run. It was the perfect opportunity to get in a good training day in preparation for the Barrelman half ironman later this month while still racing and having fun. We even arrived before race registration started.
Arrived at Guelph Lake in the daylight.
After changing into my triathlon clothes, I went through registration and then set my stuff up in the transition zone. I had a banana and a piece of homemade zucchini bread to replace some of the calories I had burned biking.
Ready to go!
I tentatively walked in bare feet on the gravel of the parking lot transition zone as I headed down to the lake. I wondered how I would manage to run on it during the race! There were carpets down the main “aisles” but nothing down the individual rows. I did a super short warm-up swim and discovered how rocky the water was – big rocks that would hurt your feet if you ran into them. I resolved to walk until I could swim (this was not an “in water” start). Some of us removed rocks and threw them to the side of where we would be swimming. 750m swim I was struck by how short the swim course looked! After doing a couple of longer swims in races recently, this short swim course was a welcome sight! Alasdair was in the 4th wave, and me in the 5th. When my race started, I walked into the water as planned, not wanting to cut my feet open! I had a pretty uneventful swim. The water was the yuckiest we’ve been in this season, with goose feathers and other floating detritus. Not exactly appealing. For the most part, my sighting went well, and I was relatively pleased to see 17:07 when I stood up. I had swum until my hands started to hit the sand, but many others starting walking long before me – the water was quite shallow until the first/last buoys. I ran up the hill to the transition zone
Screen Shot 2018-09-03 at 12.13.36 PM
750m swim done.
30k bike After a quick change into cycling gear, I set out for the bike mount line, wondering how my legs would do after already having ridden 46k! It was definitely different starting the bike ride with somewhat tired legs. I wanted to push the bike pace as much as I could, while still remembering that I had to ride 46k home after the race! I found myself in much more bike traffic than I have been in lately. I passed a lot of riders, sometimes several one after the other. At one point, I saw another athlete in front of me crash. I’m not sure what caused it, but he fell in the gravel shoulder and appeared to hit his head. By the time I got there, he was sitting up, wiping blood from his arm I think. I asked him if he was okay, and he said that he was. I said “Are you sure? I think you hit your head.” “A little bit,” he replied. A couple of other people asked if he was okay as they passed us. I asked him again if he was okay, and he indicated that he was going to continue. I left him, but less than a kilometre down the road I slowed almost to a stop and informed the police officer at the intersection that a rider fell in front of me and hit his head, gave the bib number, general description, and said I wasn’t so sure about him continuing but he said he was going to. Now I can’t remember his bib number so I’m not sure if he completed the race or not.
Screen Shot 2018-09-03 at 12.14.22 PM
Fog but no rain for the 30k ride.
I spotted Alasdair a couple of kilometres from the bike turnaround, pretty much where I expected to see him. I had forgotten the awful condition of the road for the first and last 5k of the bike course – so rough and bumpy! I was glad to be done the rough stuff at the end. I wasn’t able to ride as fast as I would have on a normal race day, but I’m pretty happy with my 27.6 km average given the circumstances. 7k run I stopped at a portapotty just after leaving the transition zone, then headed out for the run. It had been a few years since I’d done this race, and I had forgotten how hilly the beginning and end of the course are. However, my legs felt surprisingly good after all that biking! I didn’t run as fast as I have in my last few races, but I think that was understandable. I think I was close to the 2k mark when I spotted Alasdair running toward me. In the last kilometre I started to get hungry, so it was a good thing my race was nearly done.
Screen Shot 2018-09-03 at 12.14.54 PM
Finishing the 7k run.
In the end I finished the race in 2:12:56.4, good for 9/18 in my age group.
Enjoying my non-alcoholic beer just past the finish line.
After the race, we packed up all of our stuff and headed for the awards presentation, where I promptly dropped my bike (specifically, the pointy party of my bike seat) onto my calf – ouch! We grabbed our post-race food and settled in for the awards.
Snow cone hit the spot!
Just before getting dressed back into my cycling clothes and heading home, I enjoyed a very refreshing snow cone! Then it was time to hit the road and cycle another 46k… we hit the first hill, and wondered how we were going to make it there! Thankfully though, my legs warmed up (or resigned themselves to torture) and things got better. We stopped after 10k for a quick snack at Tim Hortons, around 20k for a 5 minute rest in the shade on someone’s front lawn, and around 35k for a quick bathroom break at the library before finally reaching home! 123k of cycling in a day is my new record high. What a day!
Home! 123k of cycling for the day.
Race stats:
  • Time: 2:12:56.4
  • Women 40-44: 9/18
  • Women: 54/159
  • All athletes: 255/463
  • 750m Swim: 19:08.9 (2:33 min/100m)
  • T1: 2:18
  • 30k Bike: 1:05:04.9 (27.66 km/h)
  • T2: 1:38
  • 7k Run: 44:47.3 (6:23 min/km)
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Race report: Wasaga Beach Olympic triathlon 2018

I was very relieved to see the calm water in Georgian Bay at the Multisport Canada Wasaga Beach Olympic triathlon on race morning! In previous years, waves had been so bad that they made me feel pukey and even throw up. Not this year. With an airbnb 20 minutes away in nearby Stayner (our first), we were able to get up at a reasonable hour on race morning. We parked our car at a nearby lot, remembered to pay this year, and headed for the race site. After registering and setting up, we were able to cheer on athletes in the sprint triathlon and duathlon while we waited for our race to start. Before the race, Alasdair picked up his new GoFor Cover hoodie, which he’s already sold on (one of its selling points is the ability to get changed under it in a crowded place!).
GoFor Cover fleece oversized hoodie.
Kristin was racing but not at all enthusiastic about that fact. She warned me that I might find her sitting on the ground in transition during the race. Of course I didn’t. And of course she had a great race!
1500m swim The horn sounded for wave 4, and I started to swim. After a very short time, people started walking again (sand bars), and then swimming for good. I was getting sandwiched between 2 women and having trouble getting out. Eventually one of them moved away, and I tried to pass the other one, but she was swimming crookedly, so there I was trying to pass her on the left, then on the right before I finally got past her! With brand new goggles this race (after having my last pair stepped on just before the Toronto Island sprint triathlon), I could see! After the first turn buoy, I was swimming parallel to shore. It was at this point that the wave behind me caught me – there were fast people everywhere! At the next and last turning buoy, I think I encountered a visually impaired triathlete named John, who was tethered to his guide. From there it was a straight swim back to shore, and for once, I had no sighting issues at this race! I kept my sights set just left of the yellow roofed building, which worked perfectly. It also helped that it was overcast, so there was no glare from the sun. I swam as far as I could, but many people stood up early and walked. I was pleasantly surprised to see 33+ minutes on my watch – far faster than I have been swimming lately. 40k bike After a quick change of gear and pee break in transition, I was heading for the bike mount line. The ride was pretty uneventful, other than an impatient woman near the start who yelled at a rider who was passing me – instead of waiting so that she could pass her, she yelled that she’s supposed to ride on the right (yes, unless you’re passing), and then passed between the two of us (unsafe). And then later, I encountered a poor rider pedalling with only one leg just before the half way point (looked like the other pedal had fallen off). I said, “That doesn’t look fun! Are you going to continue?” to which he replied, “We’ll see.” Somewhere on the back half of the bike course my speed dropped dramatically when I hit a headwind and hills, but overall, I was happy with my ride! In the last km, there was a burst of heavy rain, but then it stopped. 10k run As I prepared to leave transition to start my run (with a stop at the portapotty on my way out), a race official suggested to another woman that she might want to take her helmet off – 10k would be a long run with a helmet on. She threw it towards her bike, but the official made her go back and put it down neatly by her stuff. Understandable – otherwise, people’s stuff would be all over the place and it would be hard to get around. She wasn’t impressed. This year the run course changed slightly to remove most of the 2-way traffic along a narrow coned lane at the side of Mosley St. I liked the new course – it had us running on a paved path and then along a quieter side street. It was still 2 loops of a 5k course, which is kind of nice because you get to see other athletes more. I did spot both Alasdair and Kristin twice, though Kristin was in another world the second time! As usual, my 2nd loop was slower than my first (30 minutes for the first 5k, and 33 1/2 for the 2nd). I had a side stitch that forced me to walk for a short time. I managed to get rid of it though, and sped up in the last 500m. I crossed the finish line in 3:04:28.8, less than a minute slower than last year. However, my swim was 4 minutes faster, so that was a big surprise. My bike was just a few seconds slower, and my run 5 minutes slower. After the race, Alasdair and I chatted briefly with our friend Irina (who was taking race pictures for Zoom photo – thanks for the great shots Irina!!), and Cody Beals, who made his Ironman debut the week before at Mont Tremblant, where he not only won the race but set a bike and course record! He was at Wasaga representing Martin’s Apple Chips. I asked him if apple chips were the key to his success, and he replied, “breakfast, lunch and dinner!” At least I know what I’ve been doing wrong!
Trying out the F2C strawberry and vanilla flavours.
Race stats:
  • Time: 3:04:28.8
  • Women 40-44: 15/20
  • All women: 62/112
  • All athletes: 231/348
  • Swim: 35:12 (2:20/100m)
  • T1: 1:52
  • Bike: 1:21:19.8 (29.51 km/h)
  • T2: 2:29
  • Run: 1:03:38.0 (6:21 min/km)
Before the rain returned and the crowd dispersed.
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Race report: Toronto Island Triathlon 2018

Two triathlons in two days: what could possibly go wrong? As part of our goal to do all of the Multisport Canada triathlons this summer, I would have to do the Ontario Women’s Triathlon and the Toronto Island Triathlon on the same weekend. Saturday’s Ontario Women’s Triathlon went great, with me ending up 2nd female aged 40-44. I wasn’t sure how my legs would hold up for the next race. It was another early morning, with a 4 AM alarm, 6ish race kit pick-up and 6:30 ferry to Hanlan’s Point. This time, Alasdair would be racing with me. With 800 athletes racing, start times were quite staggered, with the first athletes starting at 8 and the last at 9:20. This was to reduce congestion on the bike course. Alasdair’s start time was 8:40, and me 9:08.
Ready to go! Billy Bishop airport in the background.
After we were all set up, an announcement was made that the water temperature was too warm for wetsuits, so if an athlete wore one, they wouldn’t be eligible for prizes (and the official results would show an asterix next to their names). I had never done a triathlon swim without a wetsuit, but both Alasdair and I decided not to wear them, and see how much slower we were without them. And then, a few minutes later, the swim gods took pity on us and the decision was reversed. Wetsuits it was!
Everything ready.
We headed for the water, and after Alasdair’s race had started, I asked someone to zip my wetsuit up and I did a very short warm-up swim. Then I just sat on the shore until it was my turn. Unfortunately, while putting on my wetsuit a kid stood on my goggles. Fortunately, they seemed undamaged. Unfortunately, I later learned this was not the case. 750m swim My swim started out okay, but it wasn’t long before water was seeping into my left lens. I tried to ignore it for a while, but eventually I had to stop and adjust them. I resumed swimming, and sure enough, it happened again. I delayed fixing them as long as possible. On the home stretch, with about 250m to go, I decided to just close my eyes and swim like that – I probably should have adjusted them again, but I had had enough of goggle adjustments! After messing up my watch the day before, I was careful to press the right buttons this time. I was 18+ minutes in the water, which is pretty much what I expected. After the 400m run through the sand and grass to the transition zone, I quickly got my wetsuit off and put my socks, shoes, sunglasses, and helmet on. I took off for the bike mount line. 20k bike At the start of the bike, I was surprised at how good my legs felt, despite the race the day before. I decided to push it and see if I could beat my previous time. The bike course was 2 loops of a 10k course, slightly uphill on the way out. The difference in this race was that there were far more cyclists on the course at a time. I never had trouble with other riders. I passed many many cyclists, always saying “on your left”! with plenty of warning. I was passed by other riders, but far fewer than the number I passed. And for this race, the road was dry, with one very tiny exception. When I peeked at my watch, I saw that I was holding 30.6 or 30.4 or 30.3 km/h, so I was pretty happy. I never saw Alasdair, because he finished biking before I even started, having begun his race 28 minutes before me. On my second loop, just after the turnaround heading back there were 3 riders in front of me, 2 very close together. A race vehicle passed us, and a garbage truck approached us. There wasn’t room for the vehicles to pass one another, so the race vehicle stopped. The two riders that were close together nearly rode right into the back of the vehicle. Thankfully, no one crashed! Otherwise, there were no vehicles on the race course at all. Back at the transition zone, I racked my bike, then changed my shoes, and tried to put my running hat on top of my helmet – oops! I forgot that it was still on my head. 5k run I headed out for the run, which was an out, 4 times around a small loop, and then a back section. My legs felt pretty good starting out the run, so again, I decided to try to beat my time from the day before. As there were many cyclists on the course at the same time, there were many runners on the course at the same time, but I never found it too congested. When I glanced at my watched, I noticed that I was holding a 5:45 min/km pace, which was slightly faster than the day before. By the end I think I slowed a bit, but I still felt good. I crossed the finish line in 1:31:14, good for 3rd place in my age category! I was a little faster on the bike than the day before (40 seconds), but slightly slower on the run (25 seconds). Happy with my race!
3/12 women 40-44.
What a weekend! Version 2 Race stats:
  • Time: 1:31:14
  • Placing women 40-44: 3/12
  • Placing all women: 37/167
  • Placing all athletes: 204/490
  • Swim: 20:57
  • T1: 1:47
  • Bike: 37:36.3 (30.48 km/h)
  • T2: 1:36
  • Run: 29:19.5 (5:51 min/km)
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Race report: Ontario Women’s Triathlon 2018

I don’t know about you, but getting up at 4 AM for a sprint triathlon seems a little crazy to me! I registered for the Ontario Women’s Triathlon before I even looked at the logistics of the race, so when I later realized that it started at 8 AM, I remembered that there was a reason we’d never raced on Toronto Island before.

We were out the door at 5 AM, registering beside the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal just after 6, and on the ferry by 6:30. I chatted with a woman named Sue who was doing her very first triathlon. There were many others like her at this race, and I found myself answering questions from racers on the boat and in the transition zone.

On the ferry from the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal to Hanlan’s Point.

We reached the transition zone with plenty of time for me to set up and do a short warm-up swim.

Pre-race warm up.

500m swim

Just before my wave started at 8:15 AM, another athlete ran between several of us in the water and gave us high fives. With many new triathletes at this race, it seemed that no one wanted to be at the front of the swim start. I didn’t mind, although I knew that many of them would pass me. My swim was pretty uneventful. I felt that I was swimming relatively straight. I was expecting to see 14 minutes + on my watch at the end, but saw 12 something, so I was pleased. I pulled my wetsuit off to my waist as I made the run up the sandy beach and path to the grass and then into the transition zone. There were lots of bikes still on the rack, which is not usually the case for me.

20k bike


The bike course is 2 loops of a 10k course, which was slightly uphill on the way out, and slightly downhill on the way back. Somehow I messed up my watch so I wasn’t sure of my speed on the bike for much of the time – I just knew my elapsed race time. I passed a lot of riders, and was not passed once… until the very end when one rider overtook me. Darn! With heavy rains the night before, the roadway was still wet in places, with puddles to avoid in quite a few places, and at at least one point, to just ride straight through. The ride felt good.

5k run

Finishing the run.

My legs felt a bit tired at the start, so I wondered how the run would go, but I quickly settled into a good pace. This run involves an out section, 4 laps of a loop, and a back section. On the loop section, we ran over a timing mat and a screen popped up the number of laps runners had done (in case you forgot!). I didn’t suffer from any side stitches, and I was holding a 5:50 min/km pace, faster than I have run lately during triathlons. The run felt good. There were a couple of aid stations but I didn’t stop at all. I spotted Sue from the ferry and cheered her on, but didn’t recognize anyone else. Alasdair was cheering for me at the start/end of the run loop, so I saw him many times.

I crossed the finish line in 1:25:06.2.

With the CN Tower in the background.

And then, this happened!


I was amazed! Granted, there were lots of newbies at this race, but still, it was a great race for me, and an awesome result!

Race stats:

  • Time: 1:25:06.2
  • Placing women 40-44: 2/22
  • Placing all women: 36/170
  • Swim: 14:50.6 (includes 400m run to transition)
  • T1: 1:32
  • Bike: 38:14.9 (29.96 km/h)
  • T2: 1:34
  • Run: 28:55.2 (5:47 min/km)

We stayed for the awards and draw prizes (I won more Stoked Oats!), and then headed back for the ferry. We would be doing it all again the next day, with both Alasdair and I racing in the Toronto Island Triathlon. I wasn’t sure how my legs would do…


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Race report: K-Town long course triathlon 2018

With the K-Town long course triathlon held on the August long weekend each summer, my husband Alasdair and I have celebrated our wedding anniversary in Kingston since we first started doing the race in 2014, with the exception of last year when I was competing in the Canadian Orienteering Championships instead. This year, we celebrated 17 years! We arrived in Kingston in time for the Saturday afternoon race kit pick-up, a walk around downtown and through the market, dinner at Wooden Heads (super yummy pizza) and a walk along the water back to our accommodations at Queen’s University. On race morning, we rode our bikes 2k to the race site, and having arrived so early we were rewarded with a pretty sunrise at Confederation Park. IMG_6636 Walking into the transition area, we were greeted by automatic sprinklers soaking the ground and everything around, including the bikes and gear of the few people who had already set up! The sprinklers were turning on from West to East, so I decided not to set my stuff up yet in case the ones right by my bike were going to turn on. Some people tied plastic bags over the sprinklers (partially successful), and one clever guy cut the bottom off a plastic bottle and capped the sprinkler. It wasn’t long before someone else thought to cover them all with traffic cones. Problem solved! After setting up, Alasdair and I were ready to race. IMG_6639 2k Swim I was in the last wave, with Alasdair in the one before me. I jumped into the water from the dock and swam closer to the starting line, where others were treading water for the wave ahead of me. Once my wave started, I took off like a shot (ha!) and had another swim with almost no contact with other swimmers. Partly this was due to me being left behind, and swimming much of the 2k on my own! I had a very uneventful swim, other than having to deal with a bit of sun and some waves. When I turned and started heading for the final turn to shore, and realized that the waves were coming from behind me, I couldn’t figure out why other swimmers seemed to be benefitting from them and getting ahead of me, while I didn’t seem to be swimming any faster! Surely I should have been riding the waves too? When I reached the dock, I had a very ungraceful exit from the water. I put my hands out and expected to be helped/pulled out by the 2 volunteers, but one was less successful than the other (he apologized!) and I struggled to get my legs up and out of the water (without being able to use my arms). It must have looked ridiculous! I stood up and another volunteer reached for my hand so that I wouldn’t slip, then I was passed to the next volunteer who did the same. They were super helpful! It was a very short run to the transition zone, where I saw only a few bikes left (so disappointing!), got ready for the ride and had a quick pee break. 56 km Bike The bike course is mostly an out and back to Gananoque, with a short little loop near the end. I was not happy to realize that we had a tailwind at the beginning, which would mean that as we returned towards Kingston in the second half of the ride, we would have the wind against us as we would be climbing hill after hill after hill!! This was definitely not my finest K-Town bike leg. I spotted Alasdair when I was about 3k from the turnaround. At one point, I frantically brushed my chest several times to get a wasp or hornet or something like it off me! After quickly swapping my bike gear for running gear and making a quick pee stop, I headed out for my run. 15 km Run  On this hot day, I was grateful for each and every aid station, where I got ice to put down my top, splash water on myself, and drink water and/or electrolytes. The volunteers were fantastic. At the 1k mark, I got a side stitch, and spent about half of the run fighting it. While I ran the entire course – with the exception of the aid stations and the last real uphill outside the Kingston Penitentiary – I wasn’t running very fast. I was hot, and I just didn’t have it in me! I spotted Alasdair when I was about 2 1/2k from the turnaround. As I approached the finish line, I got lots of cheers from spectators and athletes who had already finished – it was great! In the end, I finished in 4:48:56.6, my slowest K-Town yet! After post-race food and awards, I won a bag of Stoked Oats as a draw prize. Then we packed up and rode 2k back to our car, stopping just before we got there at the awesome Gord Downie Pier at Breakwater Park. What a fantastic place to jump into the water and feel refreshed! Race stats:
  • Time: 4:48:56.6 (7/9 women 40-44, 53/60 women, 151/185 athletes)
  • Swim: 51:43.2 (2:35/100m) (8/9 women 40-44)
  • T1: 2:11
  • Bike: 2:07:12.3 (26.51 km/h) (8/9 women 40-44)
  • T2: 3:10
  • Run: 1:44:41.4 (6:58 min/km) (7/9 women 40-44)
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Race report: Welland sprint triathlon 2018

With very heavy rain in the forecast, a closed bike course requiring many many turns, and my body only 1-week out from Ironman 70.3 Syracuse, I wasn’t quite sure how the Welland sprint triathlon would go! With race registration ending at 7:45 AM on race morning, we were up very early and out the door at 6 AM, aiming to be there by 7:15 and giving ourselves just enough time to get set up. We didn’t count on the big line-up at registration, and when I heard that the transition zone was closing at 7:45, I started to worry that I might have to do the speediest set up ever. Thankfully, whoever said that was wrong, as the transition zone wouldn’t be closing at all because of the super staggered race start. With a closed bike course (3 loops of 6.6k for the sprint race – and three 180 degree turns around cones per loop), the race organizers wanted to space people out as much as possible (just imagine if most of the athletes were biking at the same time – that would be very congested and dangerous). Instead, swim waves were spaced far apart, with the first going at 8 and the last around 9:40. For this reason, people were allowed to access the transition zone at any time, but had to watch out for athletes who were already racing.
All my gear hidden under a garbage bag.
After setting up, Alasdair headed for the swim start, and I watched some of the race from the transition zone and then from the start of the bike course. It was pouring by the time the first wave started, so I shared a huge umbrella with two spectators. I would have been cold had I not been wearing my wetsuit. IMG_6313 The bike exit became a flood zone, and one poor person’s gear in transition was in the middle of the raging river – I think their stuff was on an overflow rack (they were the only one using it). I was half expecting it to start floating away. IMG_6315 I missed Alasdair as he headed past me with his bike, but spotted him as he reached the mount line. I headed for the swim start, barely remembering to pick up my timing chip at the water’s edge (normally, you pick it up at registration). I did a quick warm-up swim, then headed to the start line. 750m swim I found the start of the swim extremely congested, with swimmers on either side of me squeezing me in the middle. I tried to get away but couldn’t at first, then finally accelerated and got out of that mess! The rest of the swim was fairly uneventful. I used the wires under the water as much as possible to sight, but eventually remembered that swimming right on top of them isn’t a great idea, unless you enjoy whacking small buoys or getting tangled in their ropes periodically! I was slightly disappointed to see how long the swim had taken me – oh well! 20k bike I had never done a triathlon with a closed bike course before, meaning no car traffic. In theory it sounded like a great idea, but I wondered whether the number of athletes biking at once would make for dangerous passing and riding conditions. I needn’t have been worried, as the spaced out swim waves really reduced the number of riders at any one time on the course. I decided to push the bike as much as my tired legs would allow, and was happy with how they responded. The course was flat, and while there was a bit of rain/mist during my ride, the conditions were far better than for the earlier swim waves! There were a few spots on the course where the puddles made us squeeze close to the centre line to avoid the water, but I never had trouble passing people and kind of liked the 3-lap course (a lapped course was also a new experience for me). I tried hard at the end to get my average speed up to 30 km/h but didn’t have enough time to do it. Still happy with my bike! 5k run The run was a 2-loop course along the recreational waterway, mostly flat with one short steep hill. I pushed as hard as I could, but it certainly wasn’t my fastest running pace. Alasdair had already finished by the time I started my run (his race started 35 minutes before mine) so he cheered for me as I set out, and as I started my second loop. There was one racer who was enthusiastically cheering for every single racer she encountered while running – I’m not sure where she got the energy! I was grateful for the short run and happy to be done. Time: 1:33:59.2. I found Alasdair, and we went over to the food tent – it was my first time having oatmeal (Stoked Oats) as a post-triathlon snack! For the first time, there was juice to drink instead of pop – yay! I rarely drink juice (and never drink pop), but after a race, a burst of sugar hits the spot! All in all, not a bad race considering my legs (and body!) were in recovery mode. Race stats:
  • Time: 1:33:59.2
  • Women 40-44: 15/30
  • All women: 92/218
  • All athletes: 255/470
  • 750m Swim: 18:49.6 (2:30/100m)
  • 20.6k Bike: 41:42.2 (29.9 km/h)
  • 4.8k Run: 28:56.2 (6:01 min/km)
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