Wednesday, June 18, 2014

2014 Chinook Half Triathlon Race Report

Winner schwag AND a photobomb!  Whoo hoo!  hahaha!

I won first overall female!!!

Whoo hoo!  Photo courtesy of Gord Bramfield

Race week started off less than ideal...

Traveling from Cozumel back home involved a ferry, a bus, a plane, another plane, then an overnight, then another drive.  Traveling this much takes a lot out of me, so I was careful to wash my hands, drink a lot of water, eat right, basically do everything in my power to lower my stress levels.

Random pic numero uno -- awesome weekend spent with great friends Aaron and Flor.  No stress in Coz baby!! :)

I spent the night in Calgary and woke up early to build my bike back up.  Why you ask?  Well, I had to take my bike in to the shop as after 2.5 months in Mexico, it was being held together by electrical tape and a I didn't want to get charged a "bike building fee."  Gotta save money where I can!!  :)

My Dad and I hung around in Calgary waiting for my bike to be repaired, when I got word that my bike was currently unridable due to the casette shifting mechanism.  They would express order a new set of shifters and hoped it got here in 4 days!

So, we left Calgary and continued the trek back home sans bike.  I still have my old cervelo and while it is not ideal, how on earth could I complain?!?!  I mean who happens to have an extra tri bike pretty much set up and ready to go?  lol.

Random pic 2:  My superstar athlete Tracey, me (yes I like cats, bahahaha!!) and Mike before race day in Coz.
I had (and still have) a lot of paperwork (and phonecalls I still need to return!!!) and assorted responsibilities to wade through after being gone for 2.5 months.  It was frankly overwhelming and I made it my mission to not freak out and take things one step at a time knowing the race was getting closer.

I have struggled with my emotional responses during race week and during races before and I was fully aware of this.  I've done a lot of work at letting go and going with the flow this year and I was feeling more in control, more large part due to my amazing coach Sara Gross!!!

Yes!!  There she is!  Winning IM Brasil 2014 AND going sub-9!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

On Friday I got word that my bike was ready to go!  The pieces had come in -- whoo hoo!

Now I had made plans with my Mom to visit my sister (and take her out for a belated birthday lunch) once we arrived in Calgary.  By the time we left, there was no time to drive the bike course (there wasn't even an option for me to swim the swim course unless I had come up the day before) if I wanted to spend some time with my sister.

I did make a big mistake upon picking up my bike...I didn't take it for a test ride.  That is like one of the cardinal rules of triathlon!! NEVER, NEVER, NEVER pick up your bike without riding it first.   I was pressed for time, the weather was pouring down rain, whatever, I made the choice and it came back to haunt me race morning...

I woke up early enough to ride around the street where my sister lives (and this huge bunny kept dashing in front of me, hahaha). Right away two things leapt out:
  1. The aero bars were going one way and the front tire went another
  2. The shifter for the big ring only worked if I held it up manually.
Holy crap.

I knew the Chinook bike course is mostly a big ring course so I had to develop a strategy right there -- I knew I would have to relax my arm and hand and not stress about holding the little lever up for 3 hours.  I accepted it and moved on -- the bike was ridable if I just didn't look at the headset.  Hahaha.  I know how to adjust the headset myself but because the bearings are shot and I have had major issues with getting the headset back on properly, I was not touching it race morning.

When The Momma and I arrived at the race site, I was thrilled to see the Speed Theory tent at the entrance and Cam getting ready to help out athletes!!  He took care of my bike in no time -- very awesome Speed Theory was there volunteering their time and expertise!!!  Thank you!!

Oh yes, it's a little different racing mid-June in Canada.  No plus 37 degrees Celsius like Cozumel!!

Swim - 2km
It was a two loop course, the kind where you run out around a big buoy on the beach.  Air horn sounded and everyone goes off like a herd of turtles.  As usual, before the first turn buoy, the adrenaline rush of the start burned off and people began to fall away.  I found a couple of guys to draft from and stayed put.  Tried a few times to pass but it wasn't happening, so tucked back in and enjoyed the ride!  Hee-hee!

Getting into wetsuit race morning, man, that was a cold day.

Near the end, I was swimming with a group of 3 men and I managed to pull away from them, which led me to question if I had swam hard enough.  I always do this to myself -- start questioning and then a negative spiral happens...only today I recognized what was going on in my head and stopped it immediately.  I congratulated myself for pacing properly and not blowing up at the end but being strong enough to pass at the end.  Success!!

2nd female out of water!!  Photo courtesy of Rena Eveleigh. 

Bike - 96km

I had to put a jacket on in transition as I was pretty frozen.  I knew this was going to be a challenge for me coming from Cozumel but to be honest, it had been so freaking hot there, having some cool weather was a relief, hahaha.

There were a number of times during this ride where my mind wandered and I would begin a negative dialogue with myself.  Each time I was aware of it and brought my attention and focus back to the present.  I thought of all the things I have learned from Sara and was able to relax into the ride.  I felt strong.  I was cold, I couldn't feel my feet, but I didn't care.  I was even thinking how awesome it was that I was able to be so aware of the negative dialogue and be objective about.  I was free of it.

Run - 21.1 km

Off onto the run, my mental focus continued.  I paid attention to pacing, and brought the focus back to myself and myself only.  Awesome feeling.

Photo courtesy of Gord Bramfield

My athlete Darren Eveleigh cracked the top 10 of his age group at Chinook with a solid 7th pace finish!  Congratulations Darren!!

Darren and I at the finish line -- photo courtesy of Gord Bramfield.

Huge thank you to my Mike (Bunler), my parents, to Sara Gross and Clint Lien and Mercury Rising Triathlon.  Thank you my people!!!! :) :) :) 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

From Zero to Hero - Ironman Los Cabos 2014 et al

After IMCoz, I took some time off...

Especially the last two weeks of December where I did absolutely nothing but eat one of each of these every day. 

January 1 was to ease back into training as I had nothing planned until July...

That was until February rolled around.  I accompanied Coach Sara (yes, female champion of IM Brasil 2014) to Tucson and literally dove into training with her.  The first week with Sara, I logged 27.5 hours of swim, bike and run.  I felt a lot like I did during the first few months of my life:

Sara?  What are we doing today?

Training went well, so well in fact that Sara encouraged me to find a race I was excited about and go for it. What about Ironman Los Cabos?  Nothing like a last minute decision to race an iron distance race a month away -- haha.

I admit I started to get scared and questioned how I could be ready in time?  I wanted to take 6 months and just train to have a good iron-distance race.  But, after chatting with Sara, I was somewhat convinced and at the end of the day, trusted her!

Sandwiched in between here was our annual MRT Tucson Phat Camp and a trip to Palm Springs for a small race -- I had a huge PB in the swim and came 4th in my age group. The swim was what I was really excited about -- I came out with the fast girls in my age group for the first time in my life!!

Yay! I just swam like a rockstar and Sara is a pirate!
Onto IMLC --

Ironman Los Cabos results:
8th in AG (first time in the top 10 of my AG!)
Swim: 1:04:56 (!!!!)
Bike:  6:07:46
Run: 4:19:11
Total:  11:37:35

Whoever says that IMLC was easier this year because of the bike course change is full of shit.  It was very hot. The run was ridiculous -- it was 3 laps and near the end of every lap they put this sandy hilly trail section.  It was like Xterra -- I was like, Man you don't DO that to people in an iron-distance race!

Yeah, the money shot right there, Ironman sure ain't about looking glamourous. lol.

 The carnage was plentiful that day.  I chugged along and got it done, but I was borderline having complete bowel release and the occasional cramping along groin and inner thigh area.  I might slow down, but I keep on chugging.  :)

To date, out of the 15 iron-distance races I have done, this one hands down has been the "hardest."  I'm not looking for a harder one, by the  They are frigging hard enough without putting a hilly frigging trail section in there!

Good race and fast recovery which is good news for me since I have decided to take on the Dirty Double this year:  two iron-distance races in 7 days.  Ironman Mont Tremblant on Aug. 17 then 7 days later, Challenge Penticton.

After the race Sara and I indulged at the Cabo Gluten Free Bakery in San Jose Del Cabo -- this place is AWESOME!!!!!!!!

 Two days later, I hopped on a plane and made my way to Cozumel where I have been:



First female overall -- AND FIRST FEMALE OUT OF THE WATER!! 

Hitting pinatas

All for now!!