Friday, June 22, 2012

Wasa Lake Olympic Tri Race Report

I drove down to Wasa Provincial Park the day before the race and it was miserable outside!!  For us locals of the Elk Valley, there is a saying, "As soon as you go through the tunnel, the weather improves."

The "tunnel" is the one right before Elko.  And 9 times out of 10, the weather does improve when you pass through the tunnel.

But not that day!  The rain didn't stop and continued all the way.  YUCK.

Before I picked up my race packet, I went for a 30 minute spin followed by a little run.  It was so cold, I wore my big woolen mittens!  You know the kind -- the ones with that ubiquitous knit design?  And my MEC windpants.  LOL.  Those are the pants that don't quite reach to my ankle.  I don't know why they can't invent workout pants that actually REACH to your ankles instead of just above so you look like the biggest dork.  I mean how hard can it be?  lol.

It was cold after my little session and I kept hesitating and waffling about going in the lake for a swim.  I had quite the conversation with myself:

"Coach Sara says to do a swim."

"Yeah, but it is frigging COLD!!"

"Don't make excuses."

"Ok, ok, after I pick up my race packet, I'll try."

The community hall was filled with steamy humid air and crammed with just about every athlete that was registered.  lol -- something about staying out of the rain and people sort of lingering in groups.  Hahaha.  There was a whiteboard saying how cold the water was (I think it was 13 degrees C) and the current air temp was 9 degrees C).  There was talk that the swim might be shortened from 1500m to 750m.

Oh goodie -- that means it was COLD.  I HATE FRIGGING COLD!!  Have you ever done a race in cold water and then tried to put your helmet/bike shoes on after the swim?  It is almost impossible!  You are so cold and chilled to the core that your body simply refuses to respond to your brain.  You can tell it, "Put your hand on the shoe and put it on."  And no matter how hard your neurons fire, your body is like, "Nah.  I'm too cold for this CRAP.  I'm going to sit here instead."  lol.

Time of truth...

I drove back down to the lake and the debate continued in my head.  Should I even do the swim Coach Sara had posted?  Did it even matter, I mean really?  Surely to God she wouldn't want me to freeze up and injure myself (yes I was reaching here) the day before the race would she?  And plus, my wetsuit would get all wet and not dry out by tomorrow and then I would have to put on a cold, wet wetsuit on in the morning.  (You see I had ample excuses.) 

I am sure you guess what happened...

I trudged down through the rain with my wetsuit, shivering as I put it on and piled up my clothes and watched the rain fall on them too.  I have never been so reluctant to go for a swim before, I swear.

Another moment of truth...

I headed into the water and from the very first touch of the ice water on my feet I knew it was just as bad as I feared.  I ducked in and tried swimming and no kidding it was so cold my face was BURNING.  AAAARRRGGHH.  I stood up, thought about trying it again for approximately 1/16 of a second and then got the hell out of there.  Probably lasted about 15 seconds in there.  LMAO!

I seriously considered not racing it was that bad.  What concerned me was getting out of the water and then trying to cycle in the wind and the rain -- it would suck all the warmth from my body and I would just die on the side of the road.  lol.  But seriously, I really did wonder if I should race at all.

Well, I decided to just wait and see -- I was there after all!

Race morning wasn't as cold as it had been the day before, and when I went to "warm up" in the lake for my pre-race swim, my face didn't burn -- it was just frigging cold.  I decided to implement a new pre-race swim strategy too -- the water was so darn cold, that I couldn't (or maybe didn't is the more accurate description, lol) just keep on swimming.  What I did was walk in the water, swim for a bit, then turn around and then walk back onto the beach.  And then repeat.  I found that every time I walked back in, the cold was a bit more bearable and dare I say it....I grew a bit more comfortable with it.

Still cold, but doable.

Onto the race:

Women started 30 minutes after the men.

Swim -- only 750 m -- race organizers decided to cut the swim (THANK GOODNESS):  14:33
It was cold and my right hand started to claw up about half way through.  I don't know is you have ever experienced this but it is BRUTAL.  My hand was like a claw and I couldn't unfurl it -- so I just muscled my way through the swim with my clawed up hand.  lol. I had no feeling in it -- and just threw it forward and brought it back on some kind of swimming motion.  Hahahaha.

Bike -- 1:12:53
This was a first -- I decided to use my winter mitts!  Take a look at this sweet shot!  LMAO!!  Aero helmet and winter mitts -- BOOYAH!!  LMAO!!!!!!!!

 Run -- 46:49!!! YAY!!  This is a PB for me!! :D  :D :D

2nd place in AG group!  Yahoo!! :)

Total:  2:14:13

That's all folks!  :)


Lisa Graham said...

Nice work Julie! I can appreciate how hard it is to swim in outrageously cold water (the Banff race in 2010 was 12.something celsius and they shortened the swim!) - it sucks both physically and mentally. You nailed the race! Awesome job on pushing through a chilly day and running a PB, that is impressive! I'm exactly the same as you, I have my best runs in races on the colder days :)

You're on a roll so far this year, can't wait to see what you do at GWN next weekend (I think you're racing there!). And then you will CRUSH it this year at IMC!

Theia said...

Yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!! Way to go with the AG award and the run PR! Woo hoo!

I did one race that was cold and rainy. Ugh, never again! Total anxiety attack in the water (for bigger reasons than cold and rain, but the rain certainly didn't help), and then my feet were FROZEN on my bike. Wool socks did nothing to keep them warm. Bleh!

KK said...

Congrats, Jules! I love that placed 2nd in AG with those mitts on :) Most people wouldn't have even considered them because of too much drag. But you stay true to your unique and badass self, which is one of the million reasons I love ya! I hate cold swims too. THE WORST. Way to tuff it out and kick some major bootay!