Thursday, September 15, 2016

Girls Weekend!

What.  A.  Weekend.   I know it's Thursday but I finally got around to putting my thoughts on "paper"

Seriously.   It was filled with so much awesomeness.   G was away at his annual Fall Classic golf weekend with the boys so I decided to have my own girls weekend in the city.  On Saturday, I did my first multi-sport event of the year in Georgina at the Ontario Women's Triathlon and then on Sunday I drove out to the east end to do my second D'Ornellas Girlz Ride.

SO.  MUCH.  FUN.

I feel like I've been toeing the "sick line".  I've dialled things back a bit this week so I should be healthy for my portion of Barrelman.  I don't think the Double D's would be pleased if I bailed.

Anyway....

On to the first fun part of my weekend:  the RACE!

I had been watching the weather for the week and hoped that the rain that was forecast would magically disappear.  At one point Saturday didn't look too bad.  But on Friday the forecast was back to being kinda crappy.  Overcast with rain.  Boo.  At least it was going to be warm.   I packed everything up on Friday night so all I had to do Saturday morning was roll out of bed, eat breakfast and pack up the car.

I headed out at around 7:30.  Thanks to the awesome 10 am start, I didn't have to get up at the butt crack of dawn.  YAY.    It was overcast and a bit muggy.  But cooler than it had been.  As I made my way up the DVP, I noticed the clouds breaking up a bit.  Would the sun come out?  Ohhhh...I was hoping it would!

I pulled into the parking lot to overcast skies.  The sun had decided to hide again.  Nothing I could do about the weather.  And besides, I was going to be RACING...FINALLY!   I parked the car and went in to find my bib number and pick up my race kit.  I went back to the car to grab my bike and made my way into transition through the swim exit.  I found my rack area and got myself set up.  I went to walk out of the bike entrance and realized that I forgot to check my bike in with security.  Ugh.  So I had to run back to where I set myself up, grab my bike, run out of transition and around to the bike entrance to go through security.

Whoops, ha ha.

With that sorted, I left transition to go see if I could find a race belt.  I have about 7 of them SOMEWHERE  (more than likely in a box in storage) and I could have sworn I left one in my tri bag but alas, I didn't.  I got one and made my way back to transition when I ran into Deirdre.   Can I just say that I love this girl?  She is so sweet and so lovely.  I feel like I've known her forever.

Pre-race selfie snagged from her IG account.  Thanks Dee!   Oh and you guys should check out her You Tube channel!




Speaking of people that I love, I also ran into Irina.  I have been so pre-occupied that I completely forgot that she would be racing.   Pre-race we didn't get a chance to selfie so it happened afterwards.  This picture makes me laugh.  So good.


There was so much socializing and chatting going on pre-race, there was no time to be nervous.  I think the fact that it was a Women's Only event contributed to that big time.  There's such great energy at these sorts of events.  It's a much more relaxed vibe than at a regular triathlon.   Deirdre and I spent so much time yammering that we didn't realize people were making their way down to the water.  Gotta love that.

I wedged myself into my wetsuit and Dee and I made our way down to the water.   I wanted to do a warm up so we headed into the water and started swimming.  I stayed relaxed and focused on my breathing.  Stroke, stroke, breathe.  Stroke, stroke breathe.  The water was beautiful and fairly shallow.  It got deeper as you got closer to the first buoy but I don't think it ever got too deep.

I did just under a 10 minute warm up and got out of the water to find Dee.  I found her, wished her luck and watched the waves go off.   My wave was up next.  I found Irina and got a big hug.  The 40-49 year old women all lined up on the beach and waited for the horn.  It went off and as per usual, I let the crowd go.  I wandered in slowly so I didn't get my heart rate up too high.  Eventually I dove in and started swimming.  I stuck to the outside so I wasn't in the fray.  I paid attention to my breathing and made sure I wasn't holding my breath underwater.  So far so good.  No panic.  I was sighting fairly well.  I think I've finally gotten the hang of it.  Before I knew it, I was at the first buoy.  I had passed a lot of ladies.  I could see a few more orange caps ahead of me (other ladies in my wave) so that spurred me on to push a little harder.  I caught a few more ladies and then hit the next buoy.  I could see one more orange cap so I pushed the pace a bit harder.  I was definitely working.  But I felt surprisingly in control.

I passed that last orange cap but she stayed on my heels for a bit.  I swam until I was almost crawling along the bottom.  Then I got up and ran.  As soon as I got up, I started pulling off my wetsuit.  I ran like I was being chased by a rabid dog.  The run up to T1 was a long one.  I forgot to glance at my watch as I exited the water so I don't really know what my actual swim time was.  All I knew was that this long transition was going to be added to my time.

I ran into T1 and quickly found my bike.  It had started to rain while I was out on the swim so my helmet had gotten a bit wet.  I pulled off my wetsuit, grabbed my race belt, yanked my shoes on and put my helmet on and then I grabbed my bike and started running.  There was a fairly large group of us getting on our bikes at the same time so it was a bit chaotic.  I skirted around the group, ducked int my aerobars and started pedalling.  Every time I yelled on your left, I made sure to say thank you and  nice work or looking good.   I did that until I couldn't get words out anymore.

The rain had started to come down quite hard.  I was really glad I wore my aero helmet with my visor as well as my sleeved Louis Garneau top.  It was just cool enough that I felt totally comfortable.  The visor kept all the water out of my eyes and off most of my face so I didn't notice the rain too much other than the fact that I was soaked.

The bike course is a big flat rectangle so I was really looking forward to seeing how hard I could push it on a flat course.  I haven't done any really targeted training since April but I have been riding my bike a lot.  I've been riding without my power meter, just my heart rate monitor, which I've only been using to record the data so I can look at it afterwards.  I've been riding on feel for all my rides.  Power wise, I felt pretty strong so I figured I'd crank out some solid numbers for the 15km TT.

I got through the first half of the course feeling pretty strong.  I was hurting like hell but I was loving it.  I made the turn onto the back half of the course and kept hammering away but I could feel my lack of top end fitness starting to affect me.  The lactic acid build up in my legs was making them scream.  I was breathing so hard I was almost gasping for air.  So I slowed up a bit.  I had to recover a bit before I could dig deeper.  I hit the 5km mark and figured I had about 8 minutes or so left.  I could hang on for 8 minutes.  It wasn't going to be pretty but I could do it.

The odd few times I glanced down at my watch I saw 35-36 kph, which was great.  Better than I had anticipated.  I pushed hard that last stretch.  The road has a few gentle curves so I kept hoping that the finish line was just past the curve I was coming up to.  After 2 curves, it was around the 3rd one.  THANK GOODNESS.  I was dying.  I sat up as I got close to the dismount line and then pumped my brakes a bit.  I love my hydraulic brakes!  Makes coming to quick stop very easy.  I jumped off my bike and felt woozy and a bit nauseous.  Wow.  That was new.  Guess I went really hard.  I started to run into transition and my legs felt like jello.   For the first time ever, I was honestly glad that I didn't have to run.

I stopped my watch as soon as I crossed the line.  The 500m swim and 15km bike took me just over 35 minutes.  I then paraded out to the finish line and did a little dance.  Dee had already crossed the line - no surprise there, she is a monster on the bike!  So we hung out and chatted with Paolina for a while.  Dee asked me how long my bike took so I then went through and looked at everything.  It took me just over 24 minutes to ride 15km.  The bigger deal for me was the fact that I set a new power threshold of 233 watts.  My previous power threshold was 209.  WOW.  I managed to average 36.7/kph for 15km.  AVERAGE.  In the pouring rain no less!  I am still in shock.

We chatted for a while and then I went off to find a something warmer to put on.  I then did a bit of shopping at D'Ornellas (new cycling socks, yay!).  I ran into a few other ladies post race - two of whom I met at the free clinic that Paolina had.  They had stopped me pre-race to ask me a few questions so I was happy to see them both post race.  They both had a lot of fun and, one of them ended up on the podium as well! Pretty awesome for a first triathlon!

I packed up all my soaking wet stuff, changed into a dry top, got my jacket and went in search of food.  The awards were starting soon and Dee and I were told that we were the top two finishers, we just didn't know who beat who.  I didn't really care one way or the other, I was just happy I was on the podium.  It meant that I still knew how to race.  I felt that because of my mystery injury, that I would have lost that competitive desire, that fire in my belly.  But I was very happy to see that it's still alive and well.

I went in to the pavilion, grabbed some food and found Irina.  A few minutes later Dee came and said she had been looking for me everywhere.  She told me that I had won the swim bike.  I had beat her by almost a minute.  Um.  What?  Ironically the swim was where I made up all my time, haha.  Our bike times were just over 30s apart.  I can't believe I got to within 30s of her on the bike.  That made me happy.

In the end, Dee and I both ended up with first place medals as they split the race into women 39 and under and women 40 +.    The finisher medals were super cute and the new Multisport Canada medals were also really nice!




Afterwards we stayed and chatted with Paolina and then of course there were photos.  Dee and I were some of the last people that left, ha ha.


On my drive back to the city, I couldn't help be smile as I thought about the morning.  There was so much good energy and everyone was smiling and happy despite the horrible weather.  I loved it.  It was such a popular even that MSC will be adding two more women's only events to their calendar next year.  WOOHOO - nice work Paolina and kudos to John Salt for seeing that the triathlon world needs more events like this.

Next up, the swim leg of the Barrelman Half Ironman.   This should be fun.











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