Thursday, August 22, 2013

Turn that Frown Upside Down - Bracebridge Sprint Race Report

We came back from our vacation early so we could do this race.  I had originally registered for the Olympic Distance which was on the Sunday but decided that I didn't want to swim 1500m in a race and G had decided to register for the sprint, so I switched to the sprint distance about a month before we went on holidays.

We got home from Lake Placid around 6:00 pm, dumped everything in the laundry, packed up our race bags for the next day and then decided to go out to get something to eat.  G had emailed a friend of ours who is the rep for Zoot to see if she happened to have any Zoot tri shoes in his size that he could try out.  She did and she also happened to have a pair in my size.  So after dinner we headed over to her place to try on the shoes.  We both ended up with a pair of the Zoot Ultra Kiawe's.  They fit like slippers and that's kind of the point as they are meant to be worn without socks.  Both of us were planning on giving them a go in Saturday's race.  I figured it was only a 5km run which is short enough that no real damage could be done in terms of blisters.   They are probably the brightest shoes I own.  This picture doesn't do them justice.  Seriously.  That yellow borders on neon.



It was late by the time we got home from our friends place.  I was hoping to be in bed my 9:30 since we had to be up at 4:30 am.  That didn't happen and it was closer to 10:30 by the time I hit the sack.  Not ideal but what can you do.

4:30 am came really quickly.  I got myself sorted and ate breakfast but felt scattered all morning.  Our plan was to leave at 5:30 am which would ideally get us to Bracebridge by 7:30 am give or take, which would be perfect as the race started at 8:15 am.  We didn't leave the house until 5:45 am.   Definitely off to a rough start.  We get in the car and program our destination into the GPS.  It then tells us that we won't arrive until 8:19 a.m.  Um.  REALLY not good considering our race starts at 8:15.  Now, I know the navigation system in the car is not the most reliable when it comes to calculating accurate travel time but I let it get to me and I sit there stewing for the first 45 minutes of the drive.

Since we left late, we didn't stop for our morning coffee.  We made a pit stop at the first En Route on the 400 for a bathroom break and G figured we could grab a coffee there.  He got in line while I used the facilities.  I came back out to find him still standing in line.  He stalked away complaining that that was probably the slowest line he'd ever been in.  It didn't move at all.  So we left empty handed and un-caffeinated.   So not good.

While we were driving I realized that I hadn't packed a pre-race snack.  Nothing I could do about it now.  At least the race was short so I figured I'd probably be ok.  I then started to think about registration.  I had hoped that there wasn't going to be any issues when I arrived.  Sometimes there is when you change races but that usually only happens if you do it at the last minute.  I switched about a month in advance so I figured they'd have everything sorted out.

We made it to Annie Williams Park at 7:40 am.  The race was a time trial start like Welland was so I figured I'd still have a bit of time to get myself sorted and get a warm up swim in.  At least I thought I would until I walked up to the board where you get your race number and saw that mine wasn't on there.  CRAP.  This meant I had to go line up at the registration tent.  I looked over and saw a line up of about 6 people and only one person at the table.  I started cursing under my breath and I could feel my blood start to boil.  I had originally suggested to G that we leave at 5:15.  I like to allot enough time to get up to the site, get myself sorted and deal with any potential issues that may arise and most importantly, not feel rushed doing it.  That was not the case today.  G came over and took my bike for me and racked it in transition even though I had no idea what my race number was going to be. He could tell I was stressed out.

The guy in front of me had also made the switch from the Olympic to the sprint about 3 weeks ago and he was also not registered.   This was the kind of thing that I like to make sure I have enough time to deal with race morning.   I got up to the table and let the girl know my situation, she made a note and then gave me a new race bib.  I then hustle off to pick up my kit, get body marked and then find my appropriate rack.  G had put my bike on a rack that was for bib numbers higher than mine so I grabbed it and went over to the appropriate rack, which of course was jammed.   I found a small spot and wedged my way in after a lovely lady offered to move her bike over.  It was almost 8:00 am at this point and I was completely frazzled.  I frantically set all my stuff up in transition and threw all my other stuff in my bag, dumped it against the fence and grabbed my wetsuit to get down to the swim start.  I missed most of the pre-race announcements which stressed me out even more.

The only good thing about not being properly registered was that I was seeded towards the back of the time trial start, which meant that I still had a bit of time to warm up.  I got in the water and started swimming.  I didn't go far.  I don't even think I managed to get 200m in before I decided to stop.  I didn't feel good and I really wasn't feeling into this.  I think my head was still in a bad place from my lack of good swimming in Lake Placid.  I found G and hung out with him in the water until it was time for him to get in line.  I was freezing.  The water seemed chilly but apparently it was fairly warm.  I think I was just really apprehensive.

Finally it was time for my group to line up.  I got in with a lot of older folks and a few people that seemed to be around my age.  I swam up to the edge of the dock and waited for Jason Vurma to count me down.  3-2-1 and I was off.  I felt crappy right from the get go.  Normally a time trial start makes for a much more relaxing swim start but I felt anything but relaxed.  My arms felt heavy and I felt horrible.  I tried to calm myself down but I could feel the panic welling up.  I stopped and did breast stroke for a while.  The good thing about this swim was that it was in a river so it was quite narrow so you were always close to the shore.  That helped a bit but the water was also somewhat choppy so I was having problems breathing again.  Once again, I wanted to stop and just get out.  But I put my face back in the water and forced myself to get to that first green buoy.  I made it there and I knew it was only about 30m across the river to the other buoy.  Once I rounded that other buoy I knew I'd be swimming into the current.  Sure enough the swim back seemed to take forever and I felt like I was working much harder.  I kept sighting the last buoy and it never seemed to be getting closer.  I finally made my way around it and swam like hell to the shore.  I got out of the water and glanced at my Garmin.

Swim:  13:39 when I hit the shore.  14:13 by the time I crossed the timing mat, which I seemed to be in no hurry to get to as I walked once I got out of the water.  I felt so out of it, I didn't think I could run.  Once I crossed the timing mat, I started to pick it up.

My bike was situated very close to the swim entrance so it didn't take me long to get there.  I had a lot of trouble getting my wetsuit off and when I finally got out of it I threw it on the ground.  I grabbed my helmet and put it on first, then my sunglasses and then my shoes.  No socks.  This was going to be my first sockless ride ever.  It felt a little weird but not as bad as I expected.  My feet did get a little cold on the bike though.  There is a long run out of transition to the bike mount line and I wasn't moving too quickly.  I finally hopped on my bike and started riding.  My legs felt as bad as my arms did in the swim.  Sloppy and heavy, although to be fair that's kinda how they feel for the first little bit on the bike.  I hoped that it would disappear like it normally does.

It didn't.  Obviously the week of hilly riding and the new bike position had fatigued my legs a fair bit.  I don't recommend taking a training vacation and then racing the day after you get back.  There are also two really good climbs on this course so I was happy that it was only 20km.  There were several times that I felt like I was flying so when I finally saw my average speed, I was a little surprised at how much slower than normal it was.  The bike was uneventful for the most part.  I passed a lot of people and went back and forth with one guy that I eventually dropped on the last climb.   I definitely busted my butt on this ride and my average heart rate proved that.  I rode up to the dismount line, hopped off my bike and fumbled into transition.  Running in cycling shoes is hard.

Bike:  38:43

I racked my bike, pulled off my shoes and to my surprise my feet were still kind of wet.  Awesome.  This was going to make getting my Zoot shoes on very difficult.  I took off my helmet and made my first attempt at getting my shoes on.  I got one on but the other one was really stubborn.  I almost gave myself a calf cramp trying to yank it on.  Finally got it on and bolted out of T2.

T2:  1:13.  The time I saved in T1 by not putting socks on just got added to my T2 but having to mess around with my shoes.  

The first part of the run is on grass and it goes uphill out of the park.  I totally killed myself getting up this hill.  I have to say, the shoes felt great.  I felt like I had good grip, even on the grass and I was definitely light on my feet.  My right knee wasn't sure if it liked them or not - it was a bit sore for the first 1.5km.  I was running without my orthotics so I figured there might be a few aches and pains.  Once I got out onto the pavement, I felt like I was running on a springboard.  I felt like these shoes helped propel me forward.  I definitely felt like I was moving quickly.  I caught and passed no less than 3 women in my AG in the first 2km.  In the last km, I passed another one.  I didn't know where I was in my AG because of the time trial start.  It would all come down to who had the fastest overall time.  But I figured if I was passing ladies, there was a good chance that I would at least be on the podium.  I pushed it hard on the flats, going sub 4:00 min km's at some points.  There was another uphill in the last km of the race and I was going so hard my breathing was coming in short raspy breaths.   I knew that once I got to the top of the hill and turned the corner it was downhill from there.  I rounded the bend and came barreling along into the finishing chute.  I saw G and waved as I passed two guys who were heading towards the finish line.  I crossed the line totally spent.  I checked my watch after I crossed and noticed that the run course was long by just over 1/4 of a km. 

5.25km:  21:43

I had no idea where I was in terms of placing so after we got our usual post race fuel and picked up our cool Apres Velo race t-shirts, G and I went to check results.  I was not listed at all.  Surprise surprise!  So I wandered over to the Sports Stats tent and chatted with the lovely French dude there who told me my overall time and my time for each leg and then said I was first in my age group.  Woohoo!  I said that was odd because I wasn't listed on the results at all.  He looked again and said Oh, it's because you're listed as doing the Olympic race.  Which wasn't scheduled until the next day, ha ha ha.  He switched me over and verified that I was still actually first in my age group. My frown was starting to turn upside down.

We stuck around for the awards and I found out that not only was I first in my age group but I ended up being the 4th place woman overall.  Woohoo!  Before we left I went over to the results page again to see if my results had managed to be posted.  I was curious to see how I fared in each discipline.  They weren't posted,  so on the way home, I checked Sports Stats and found out that I posted the fastest women's run split overall.  

My frown had officially been turned upside down.

Happy Happy Happy
G and I have one more race this weekend and then that's it for our triathlons this year.  After that it's time for me to re-focus on my running.  I'll still do the all the other things because that's just what I do, but running will take priority.  Sub 1:30 half or bust baby!! 






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