Sunday, September 15, 2013

Lucky Numero 13 -- Challenge Penticton Race Report 2013

I missed posting my race report from Calgary 70.3 -- in short I went 4:55 (one minute faster than GWN, whoohoo!), 4th in my age group.   But the biggest news was my athlete Tracey blasted her way to her first sub-5 performance and ended up 2nd in her AG with a blistering 4:52!!!  I was so flipping excited when she passed me on the run, I told her to GO!  And she did!

Tracey aka Dream Crusher Roemmele (pronounced ROM-LEE) went on to crush the inaugural Ironman Canada course in Whistler going sub-12 (IN HER VERY FIRST IRON-DISTANCE RACE) and executing a perfect race.  I am SO proud of her -- she was faced with a lot of adversity that day and each time a decision needed to be made, she kept her emotions out of it and addressed what needed to be addressed.  Now THAT is how an Ironman is run my friends!!!

Before the race start at Calgary 70.3.  Notice my swank patch-job on the wetsuit.  NICE.  Hahaha.

While Tracey was crushing dreams in Whistler on August 25, I was in Penticton at the first North American Challenge race!

I've done the Penticton course every year since 2005 and as I am a Taurean creature of habit, it was Challenge Family for me this year.  :)

Coffee required at all wetsuit swims.  :D

The first thing I noticed when me and The Momma rolled into town were the oodles of "vacancy" signs.  Down at the race expo, the vibe was completely different -- there were 2000 or so LESS people for one thing.  But, the vibe was so friendly and welcoming....It was low key but exciting at the same time.  I ran into one of my friends who is an experienced iron-distance and Ultraman competitor...he summed it up best:  "It's because everyone here actually LIKES triathlon."  It really did feel like one big happy family.  Another friend of mine noted, "The difference between Challenge and IM racers are the woman have real boobs here.  You see all these women running with big boobs that don't move during an Ironman."  I'll leave that comment right there...Hahahahahaha!

I will not get drawn into a Challenge Family versus Ironman debate because I enjoy racing period.  I have had great experiences with Ironman as well as independent races and now Challenge Family.  It all depends on what you expect/what you enjoy/etc.  Whatever floats your boat, man. Bottom line is I am thrilled there are more triathlon race choices!

You KNOW you have always wanted to do this!

Race Morning...

The wind picked up in the night and blew the swim buoys all over Penticton.  One reportedly was seen going down the channel!  The wind continued on race morning -- we were in for some serious chop.

Some poor sucker neglected to read the NO PARKING ON RACE DAY signs...

Swim -- 3800m no it was 4200m -- BONUS SWIM!

Different from the old Ironman Canada format, Challenge Penticton sent us off in waves -- the pros left first, then 5 minutes later age group 18-39 took off.  That's men and women together by the way.  From the get go, the chop was noticeable and acted almost as a head current.  And the lack of people to draft from was so noticeable!!  I spent about 85% of the swim on my own this year. 

Got out in 1:13 and change and onto the bike.

Bike -- 6:00 and some more change...

Pink helmet -- check.  Pink water bottles -- check.  Pink bento box -- CHECK!   :D

Now here is where the lack of competitors really makes a difference.  This race reminded me of The Great Floridian -- fewer competitors which translates to an absolutely honest bike effort.  Now THIS is the kind of course you are actually testing yourself on.

Make no mistake -- even if you ride "legal" during an IM event, the sheer numbers of people on the bike course give you a tangible advantage.  You benefit from drafting whether inadvertent or not.  Take away 2000 people and for vast portions of the ride I was out there completely alone.  Not a soul in sight.

Honestly it was like I was at home in the Pass, doing an iron-distance event on my own.

Saw a couple of Mercury Rising Triathletes out there during the bike and even had a mini-chat with one about the virtues of cycling in bikini bottoms...(They are THE BEST.   No padding = no chafing.)

Run -- 4:11

Sweet baby Jesus the finish line is there!  :) :)  Bonus points for those who spotted The Momma on the right in MRT Kit!!

If the bike was lonely, the first third of the run was like a ghost town.  There were people as I exited T2, but once I got out by Skaha Lake (if it were not for the odd person and aid station) I found myself questioning if I was even on the race course. Hahaha!  Seriously!

Man, I love being at the finish.  Hahahaha.

The back half of the marathon saw more people out and about.  At the turn around I hit a dark patch and felt like crap mentally.  Physically, I didn't feel nauseous but just really slow and like I was running through molasses.

This is where the self-talk and mind-emptying came into play.  I kept telling myself to get to 32km and then I could just jog it in.  "Just jog it in"  became my mantra.  I can jog for 10km!  At about 29km I started to come around and also started on Pepsi.  

I have always wanted to grab the finish line tape like this -- this year I remembered!  Hahahahaha!

A HUGE success for me on this run was noting the temperature on one of those digital signs that line the road -- 27 degrees Celsius.  I felt totally comfortable and never needed to dump water on my head to cool off the entire run!  So awesome!  All that Cozumel heat training is paying off!  YIPPEE!!!

Not much else to say about this run...except the last 25m I kicked it up through the finish chute --heh-heh-heh.  Although "kicking it up" is a generous (extremely generous) term here. 

The typical "is it gas or is it puke?" post iron-distance face...

Summary ---

This was my 13th iron-distance race and it's funny how an iron-distance race is like an old friend now.  I settle in and enjoy my time.  Well most of the time, anyways.  Hahaha.

After finishing, I drank some more Pepsi and sat down with my head between my knees to prevent either passing out/puking.   The usual.  :D  Next stop was the massage tent where I rambled on to anyone who would listen how great it was to race in bikini bottoms.  Hahahahaha!

If you ever want to hear the strangest/funniest conversations -- talk to someone who has just finished an iron-distance race.  My brain was on turbo jet-fuel -- I made no sense and talked fast.   Hahahahaha -- good stuff!!

I ended up 11th female overall and 3rd in my age group! WHOO HOO!!!

Receiving my award from Felix, CEO of Challenge Family!!

After the race, I played the "What does it look like game?"

Playing the "What does it look like game?" may/may not have happened after ice cream ...

Next up is Ironman Cozumel on December 1!