Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Simply Smashing - Woodstock Race Report

I wasn't sure what to expect for this race given all the issues I had been dealing with over the last several weeks.  I had been getting regular ART work done and making friends with my lacrosse ball in an attempt to loosen up my hips and glutes.  I didn't feel 100% but I felt much better than I had in a while.  My running off the bike certainly isn't what it was last year but it's not horrible either.  I've still got some decent speed that hopefully will get better as the season progresses.  And then there was the swim.  I had done exactly ONE open water swim this year before Saturday.   I was much calmer about that this year in comparison to last year.  I was totally freaking out before last year's race.  It definitely showed in my swim time too.  This year I was much more relaxed.  Of course I was still nervous but it didn't seem to be as bad which was a first for me. 

We got to the Pittock Lake a little later than I would have liked but what can you do.  I dumped my stuff in transition and went to pick up my bib.  The line up to get your race kit was unusually long which unnerved me a bit.  I ran into Irina who saved me a place in line.  After I got my bib, I joined her.  Tara Postnikof came by and said hello.  She said "I had no idea you were racing today.  A lot of ladies were really disappointed to see you walk into transition."  That made me laugh out loud.  I said that I wasn't 100% and that I'd been struggling with a lot of niggling injuries over these last few weeks.  I figured I'd do well, but I certainly didn't feel like I was my usual self. 

I got body marked, grabbed my chip and went back to transition with Irina.  I cleared a space for her to rack her bike right beside mine.  I started laying out everything.  Even though the sun was shining, it was chilly so I had opted to pack my lightweight Mizuno running jacket for the bike just in case.  I was wearing my lovely new Smashfest Queen kit and the top is a tank vs. a tri top so there is less coverage, especially in the shoulder area.  I had no idea how cold I'd feel after the swim so I thought it was wise to have a jacket just in case.  I finished putting everything out and started to get into my wetsuit.  I then went to find G.  I ran into the Double D's (my friends David Lamy and David Bhumgara) as I made my way over to the water.  David L and I were in the same wave, which was unusual, normally they seed the 40+ women with the older guys, not the younger ones.  Last year my wave went last.  This year we were first after the Elites.   G zipped me up and we both went in.  The water was warmer than last year but still a bit on the cool side.  I ducked my head under and started swimming.  It was super choppy.  I didn't feel relaxed at all.  I kept forcing myself to swim out a bit further.  The further out I got the choppier it got.  I had to breathe to my right if I wanted to avoid getting slapped in the face with a wave.  Awesome.  Nothing I could do about that.  I swam back and forth a bit more and then made my way to shore.  It definitely wasn't a long enough warm up but I had to get back to shore as the race was about to start.

I found Irina and Dana and we hung out and jumped around.  I kissed G just as the first wave went off and then seeded myself right at the back.  I let everyone go, stood there for a bit, then went.  I quickly caught the pack so I veered off a bit to the right.  My breathing was ragged and I tried to calm myself down.  The choppy water didn't help as I was breathing to the right every other stroke.  I usually breathe every three strokes, sometimes every four strokes but because I was gasping for air, I kept it to every two.  I couldn't calm myself down.  I stopped and breast stroked for a bit to catch my breath and I realized that I was a fair bit off course.  So I turned and started swimming towards the green buoy.  I got closer to the buoy and ended up in a big fray of people.  Lots of kicking ensued.  I made it around the buoy but had to stop again shortly thereafter to catch my breath.  I couldn't get into a rhythm no matter how hard I tried to relax.  The next thing I knew I was at the second green buoy.  Perfect.  I got around that and started swimming, only to get totally smoked by someone.  I stopped and looked up and thought "wait a minute, that looks like David".  I swam up beside him and stopped again.  Yup.  It was him.  I started swimming beside him.  I then remembered that we started together and that there was no way he was going to beat me out of the swim.  So I started to push the pace.  I had to get out of the water ahead of him.  I stopped once more to get my bearings and then hammered it home.  As I stood up to get out of the water, I looked down at my Garmin:  13:42.  WAY better than last year.  As I got out of the water I noticed a woman with a yellow cap in front of me.  Oh boy.  Time to boogie.  I ran into T1 pulling off my wetsuit.  I got to my bike and was surprised to see the girl that came out in front of me run up to the bike beside me on my left.  Now it was a race to see who could get out of T1 first.  I got out of my wetsuit really quickly but fumbled a bit with shoes and helmet.  She unracked her bike before I did.  As I was unracking my bike I heard the announcer call David's name as he came into T1.  Geez that was close.  I followed the other girl out of T1 and passed her running up the hill to the mount line.  I stopped to get onto my bike and she was right beside me.  She started riding first but I caught her on the hill on the way out of the park.  

Courtesy of my Sports Shooter
 T1:  1:12.  Hands down the fastest T1 I've ever had.  Normally I'm around 1:20-1:30. 

Once I got out of the park, it was hammer time.  I knew David was close behind me and I didn't want him to catch me.  He'd been riding all winter, which was more than he usually does so I figured there might be a chance that he'd get me.  So I put my head down and pushed.  My right glute was feeling a bit pinchy and I hoped that it would loosen up for the run.  It was really windy out on the course.  I opted not to wear my jacket and I was ok for the most part.  My feet were actually the things that felt the cold the most.  I played leap frog with several guys on the way out.   I finally managed to drop one just past the 10km mark.  The other one stayed in front of me and eventually pulled away.  I had no idea what my speed was as I don't have my Garmin screen set for that.  It's all time and power.  I do know I was working somewhere in zone 4.  I was riding the pain train for sure.  I kept motoring along to the turn around.  I didn't pass any women.  I knew there were girls in front of me from the Elite wave but there was no way I was catching anyone else.  I wasn't sure if there was anyone else in my AG in front of me.  About 5 minutes after I hit the turn around, I saw David heading towards the turnaround.  I had put a bit of a gap on him on the bike.  I hoped it was enough to hold him off on the run.  He's gotten REALLY fast, especially over short distances so I knew he'd be chasing me down for sure.  As I made the second last turn, I finally had the wind at my back.  I hammered down the course and before I knew it, I was making the final turn onto the road that led into the park.  I caught and passed a girl in a younger AG and she was the only female I passed on the course.  I was hopeful that I was in top spot.  I glanced down at my Garmin as I rolled towards the park and saw 34:58.  Holy crap.  I still had to get down to the dismount line and run into T2 but I was pretty sure that that was WAY faster than last year. 

Bike:  36:37  Over 2 minutes faster than last year!

I ran into T2 and saw ONE bike racked and it was a guys.  I know because he passed me on the bike course.  I was pumped.  Now I just had to survive a 5km run with my aching glute.  I racked my bike, took off my helmet, yanked my shoes on and grabbed my sunglasses.  My feet were frozen and it felt really weird to run.  I knew this run was going to be ugly.  I took off out of transition and booked it along the dirt path.  I figured once I hit the gravel, I'd slow down.  Which I did.  Luckily it didn't lat too long and I was back onto the dirt and then onto the pavement across the top of the dam.  I could see a woman in a Toronto Triathlon Club kit.  As I got closer I realized it was Tara.  I caught her and she said something like oh you're really having a bad day.  I remember saying that my glute was killing me as I ran down the trail.  It was.  I could feel the pinching with every step.  Granted it wasn't as bad as it was the week before.  At least I wasn't favouring my leg.  I booked it along the trail and out onto the pavement.  The temperature was perfect.  I got to the turn around and still hadn't been passed by David.  I was definitely running in the red zone.  I was heading back towards the 3km mark when I saw David.  Shortly after I saw G.  I started to push a bit harder.  David was close but I wasn't sure he was close enough to make up the distance.  I didn't want to risk it so I pushed hard across the dam as I figured I'd slow down again once I hit the gravel.  I got across the gravel and back onto the dirt path.  I knew I was home free.  He wasn't going to catch me.  I crossed the line, hit stop on my Garmin and was greeted by Jason Vurma.  John Salt wasn't able to be at the race so Jason was doing the finish line greeting duties.  I wandered out of the finishing chute and saw Zindine so I started chatting with him.  I hadn't even looked at my time until he asked me how I did.  I looked down at my Garmin and saw 1:14:14. 


That was over 3 minutes faster than last year.  Holy smokes.  My final run time was 21:08.  15 seconds slower than last year.  Given my lack of running off the bike this year, I will totally take that.  I think my new Smashfest Queen kit helped me smash it out on the course.

David rolled in a few minutes after me and then G showed up shortly after he did.  The boys got chicked.  I think that's going to be the only time that happens this year. 

Zin checked the stats and said that I was second in my AG.  I didn't think that was possible.  Especially after coming into T2 and seeing only one bike racked.  We looked at the results again and figured that the girl that beat me was in the duathlon and was put in the triathlon by accident.  I went to Sports Stats to double check and they confirmed that I was first.  The awards ceremony took a while as I think there were a lot of issues with Sport Stats so people didn't stick around.  When they finally got to my AG, I was the only one left.  So I got this lovely picture, ha ha.

That was exactly the race I needed to have going into Eagleman.  Now I need to channel all this positive into some good, chilled out vibes for Sunday's race.  It's looking more and more like a non wetsuit swim.  So I need to put my fears aside and become one with the water, ha ha.  I took my swim skin for a spin this morning.  It's interesting.  I'm not sure I felt faster in it but who knows.  I was super tired this morning so perhaps that wasn't a good test.   I'll get in it again once we get to Maryland.   FUN! 

Since race season is officially under way, our next Tri Talk Tuesday will be happening next week (June 16) and we'll be chatting about race etiquette so tune in for that!


Victoria said...

Awesome! Is love your race reports because there is usually some really awesome parts and you didn't disappoint! Definitely an inspiration! Good luck at Eagleman!

Kelli said...

Congrats on the awesome race! I love that Smash kit. I just ordered the new one and fingers crossed it will be here before I leave for Tremblant. Good luck this weekend!

Wendy at Taking the Long Way Home said...

Great job, Phaedra! But I've been reading these tri race reports and I get anxious just reading about the swim. Anyways, good luck at Eagleman! You're going to have a great race!

macnic said...

Huge congrats! Love the photo as well! All the best this weekend!

Kristen said...

I'm always impressed with your race reports and fast finished. You never disappoint!!! Awesome race and improvement from last year. That's a big improvement when you think about the distance. I think you are going to surprise yourself at Eagleman. Can't wait to track you!!!

Abby said...

Wow. Amazing job. So freaking awesome.