I’m sorry for the delay in getting a race report on here. We just got home from Ottawa and the hotel we were staying at did not have Wi-Fi. Although it was initially frustrating, it was also kind of liberating. The hotel did, however, have cable which is a luxury we don’t have. Needless to say, I was glued to the TV.
Anyway, down to business. The Early Bird Triathlon was Saturday and started at 8:30. The novelty with this race is that the swim portion is in a 50metre pool. The water in Ottawa in mid-May is still pretty chilly. The pool is much more comfortable and controlled – great for first timers.
We arrived at the transition zone around 7am. I raked my bike and organized all my clothes and gear on a towel. For first timers, remember this: untie your shoelaces! Undoing knots is not fun when your wet and under stress. Mark and I ran into old friends and our triathlon coach. It was so nice to see familiar faces! I proceeded to picking up my timing chip and to get body marking. We had to do our own body marking in this race. Luckily, I had Mark with me. After a final pee check, I practiced transition. This always seems a little funny but its worth it. Running into transition with a plan and knowing where you’ve racked your bike will save you lots of anxiety. I also practice how I will put on my clothes, helmet and sunglasses.
Shortly after 8am we headed towards the pool and waited on the deck. The way the swim operates is through timed corrals. Every racer lined himself or herself in their anticipated finish time slot. I was feeling fast so I lined in near the back of the 10min corral. I hadn’t timed my 500m in the pool during training but figured my estimation was correct based on my 100m. The line moved slowly but I chatted with the people around me which passed the time. Finally, it was my turn. When I was told to jump in, I realized my goggles were not over my eyes – oops! I quickly pulled them down and hoped they weren’t going to fill with water. I started swimming and there was no panic, no fear and no anxiety. I felt great! I did not get tired and continued until the first turn around. This is where things got congested. I caught up with the person in front of me, who was caught up with the person in front of her, etc. The swim was slow and I tried not to touch the feet of the swimmer in front of me. I’m sure she probably appreciated that. My total time in the water was 11 minutes. Slow, but I was not fatigued when I came out of the water. This was perhaps a blessing because the run to transition was 500metres.
My time in transition went without a hitch. It could have gone bad as I put my shoes on before my bike shorts. Pulling up shorts over bike shoes: problematic, will never do again. Once on the bike, I put the pedal to the metal. I had some serious time to make up. I kept telling myself that it didn’t matter if I didn’t place in my age group. After all, I was now at the bottom of a very competitive age group. As I pedaled, I kept passing people. The canal’s Colonel By Drive is mostly flat with two inclinations. Only one of those inclinations is a problem and even then, it’s not so bad. The bike route was 2 loops of 11.8km. I took the time to enjoy the scenery. That route used to be a staple for running and cycling when we lived in the capital. Nearly a quarter of an hour later, I slowed to dismount and ran into transition. My time on the bike was 44 minutes.
The run after swimming and biking always kills me! I knew I had a fairly long incline up ahead just after the 1km mark so I started running slow and steady. I was uncomfortable and unable to push that feeling out of my mind. It seems so easy to do on the bike. I kept going and put one foot in front of the other. At the first kilometre I looked at my watch: 5:00min/km. Wow, was I ever running slowly! Where did the endurance go? I told myself that I had to keep that 5min/km and that I could not go any slower. However, at 3.5km I totally forgot my rule and walked for 30seconds. I had been climbing for a few hundred metres and knew I had to climb for another few hundred more. This little rest helped and I started running even stronger. When I came into the chute, Mark was waiting with two really good friends. I came into the chute with no one behind me and I sprinted to the finish. Run time: 26 minutes.
Our celebration afternoon was spent lounging in the Arboretum and taking pictures.