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: K-Town Long Course Triathlon 2019

While I start every triathlon hoping for an uneventful swim in which I also manage to swim straight, this year’s K-Town Long Course Triathlon was anything but!

Lake Ontario the night before the race.

Once again, Alasdair and I stayed at a Queens University residence the night before the race and biked 2k to the race site. Things were a little different this year, with Multisport Canada partnering with Somersault to put on the triathlon – body marking was different, and we had to show our race bib to even get into transition.

Pre-race [Photo by Zoom Photo].

We got ourselves set up, and prepared to get into the water. I would be starting 8 minutes ahead of Alasdair.

Almost ready to go!

For some reason, I often find this swim course difficult to sight.

I’m in here somewhere in a pink cap. [Photo by Zoom Photo]

2k Swim

My race began and right off the bat I had trouble seeing the buoys. I got kicked or whacked in the eye, my goggles were too tight, I had to pee, I was swimming to the wrong buoy at one point (I was not alone), and I had to swim around a patch of weeds about 3 feet wide! For at least the last 750m I felt pukey (despite the waves not being very big), but just had to keep swimming to get out of the water. Basically it was an awful swim. Given how it went I was expecting to see 50 minutes on my watch… and then I saw 54 – yikes! Unsurprisingly, Alasdair had beat me out of the water. While swimming I actually considered pulling out of the race, but I felt much better on dry land.

56k Bike

With such a bad swim (I was just so glad to be done!), I knew things could only get better from there.

Because my swim was so slow, there were very few people starting the bike after me. This meant that for most of the bike I felt like I was riding mostly on my own. I did pass a few people, and a few men passed me too. Overall the bike went okay. It was hilly, but the wind wasn’t too bad.

15k Run

I set out on the run, which for once (at this race) wasn’t a hot one!! There were lots of people cheering for me as they waited for other athletes to finish either the sprint course or long course. Unfortunately I got side stitches after about 2k, which felt like sore abs from a lack of swimming lately. I didn’t stop at the first aid station, but at every other one I grabbed water and/or electrolyte as I went through. Once the side stitches were gone (it took a few km’s) the run was okay. I saw Alasdair when I was at around the 7k mark (I had gained on him, because he was having calf/Achilles issues). I was lucky to get lots of cheers when I finished too.

I crossed the finish line feeling that I could have run further.

After the race we rode back to Queens and went for a dip in Lake Ontario at the Gord Downie Pier at Breakwater Park. So refreshing!

Kingston, we’ll be back!

Race stats:

  • 2k swim: 54:35 (2:43/100m)
  • 56k bike: 1:59:12 (27.43 km/h)
  • 15k run: 1:34:56 (6:19 min/km)
  • Time: 4:35:20 (9/13 women 45-49)

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Race report: Gravenhurst Olympic and sprint triathlon double header 2019

Jumping off a steamship is so fun we decided to do it twice in one weekend! Alasdair and I headed to the Gravenhurst area to stay at our friends’ cottage the night before the Multisport Canada Gravenhurst Olympic triathlon. With a midnight arrival and our alarms set for 5 AM on race day, it was going to be a short night!

Saturday: Olympic triathlon

We have done this race quite a few times before, but this year, there was only one steamship ferrying athletes out to the swim start, and we would be on different “runs” of the boat. I would start 50 minutes before Alasdair.

We went through registration, got ourselves organized, and headed for the boat. Alasdair and I said our goodbyes, and I joined the pink cap wave on the boat. We would be the 3rd wave to jump off the ship, which would then return to pick up waves 4 and 5.

1500m swim

I was one of the first to jump off in my wave, swimming over to the start line and treading water for a few minutes while waiting for the horn to sound. Once we were all off the boat, it headed back for shore, which caused one man to yell, “No! Don’t leave us here!” And then, “I guess we’re in now.” Everyone laughed.

The race began and we headed for shore. My swim was pretty uneventful (how I like it!), and I was pleasantly surprised by my time. I ran along the dock, crossed the street, ran all the way around transition, and headed into transition and straight for the portapotty!

40k bike

I ran out of transition with my bike, getting caught up behind slower riders in a narrow no passing lane at the beginning of the ride. Eventually, I passed them and took off. This race course has rolling hills, and is a straight out and back. It too was pretty uneventful, although it did start to rain in the last 5k. This is also where I saw Alasdair for the first time, as he was starting out on his ride. The worst part of the ride was at the very end, where traffic was backed up because of cyclists, and we had to ride along a narrow shoulder in between the vehicles and the edge of the pavement. In that narrow space someone came flying by and passed. It was a pretty dangerous section but thankfully everyone around me made it through unscathed.

10k run

After another quick portapotty break, I headed out for the run, which is always hot, humid and hilly! But not this year! Instead, it rained, there were puddles, and I loved it. No heat and humidity! I was pretty thirsty though, and wondered if I was drinking too much at the aid stations – at one point I was on the verge of getting a side stitch, but I’m not sure if it was related. I think I saw Alasdair when I was at 7k. I remembered this run route as being downhill at the end (it’s an out and back) but it took forever to reach the last downhill! A final run through the park and I was done!

There was pizza, oranges, pretzels, Martin’s apple chips and juice/pop after the race.

We headed out in search of a bit of relaxation before doing it all again the next day.

Race results:

  • Time: 3:13:43
  • Swim: 36:47 (2:27/100m)
  • Bike: 1:25:28 (28.08 km/h)
  • Run: 1:04:13.5 (6:25 min/km)
  • Women 45-49: 9/15
  • Women: 58/126
  • All athletes: 212/355

Sunday: sprint triathlon

Our morning view.

The next morning, we headed back to the race site for round #2! My calves were tight, and I wasn’t sure how they were going to respond to racing again. Time would tell!

Alasdair and I were in the same wave for the sprint, which hardly ever happens! This meant that we got to go on the boat together, and jump off the boat one after the other! Because of the wind, the boat was having trouble holding in place, so for our wave, they turned the bow of the boat toward the start line and had people jump off both sides of the boat. This got everyone off the boat faster.

Ready to head to the boat.

750m swim

While we were treading water waiting for our race to start, the megaphone being held by the lifeguard in the kayak at the start line stopped working. She tried to yell, but it was really hard to hear. However, athletes who heard her say “2 minutes to go!” yelled to everyone else. After an inaudible 10 second countdown, the race began and I lost sight of Alasdair, who started just to my left. I felt like I was swimming pretty straight, and as soon as I realized that I was swimming the same speed as someone doing the breaststroke beside me, I stuck behind and to the left of her so that I could draft, knowing that she was looking up and knew where she was going, so that I had to sight far less often. For the second day in a row, I was pleased with my swim time. As I got close to my bike in transition, I could see Alasdair sitting on the ground getting himself ready to bike. I took my wetsuit off as fast as I could, grabbed my socks, shoes, sunglasses, helmet, and race bib, struggling to clip it together. I took off, dashing around athletes who were running too slowly for me – I wanted to catch Alasdair, who was just ahead of me (20 seconds?).

20k bike

At the beginning of the ride, I could see Alasdair, but then I lost sight of him. I pushed as hard as I could on the bike, and found that my calves weren’t a problem. Within approximately 250m of the turnaround, I spotted Alasdair coming towards me, so I yelled to him (because he had his head down). I hadn’t lost much time to him so far. I continued to chase him, but didn’t see him again on the ride.

I approached the end of the bike route, which was way better than the day before – there were hardly any cars and it was easy to ride by. I reached my spot in transition, and headed out on the run as quickly as I could.

5k run

I hoped to be able to run at a slightly faster pace than in the Olympic race, knowing that I only had to run half as far. It was a hotter run, but it felt like it was going well. I had no side stitches, and only grabbed a drink once or twice at an aid station. Just before I hit the turnaround, I spotted Alasdair. I figured he was still about 500m ahead of me. This was unusual, though he was being careful not to run too fast because of a lingering Achilles issue.

My pace actually sped up toward the end, even before the last big downhill. In the end I crossed the finish line in 1:34:43.1, about 5 minutes behind Alasdair. It turns out I was slightly faster on the swim, bike and run compared to the Olympic the day before!

I was amazed to discover that I had finished 5/25 women 45-49! And I was in the top 1/4 of all women. I don’t usually place that high!

Clearly I should do back to back triathlons more often!!

Race results:

  • Time: 1:34:43.1
  • Swim: 17:55.2 (2:23 min/100m)
  • Bike: 42:35.5 (28.18 km/h)
  • Run: 28:59.7 (5:47 min/km)
  • Women 45-49: 5/25
  • Women: 40/184
  • All athletes: 136/382

If you’re looking for a unique triathlon to try, this is a great option. We’ll be back!

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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.
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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!
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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.
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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!
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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.
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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.
IMG_6990
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!
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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!
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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.
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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: 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!).
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GoFor Cover fleece oversized hoodie.
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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!
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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)
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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.
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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!
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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!
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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.

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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.

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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

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Zoom!

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

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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.

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With the CN Tower in the background.

And then, this happened!

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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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