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Archive for July, 2009

IM Lake Placid

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

IM Lake Placid had been on my mind for a while. Although I had tried to not freak myself out too much about it I could not help having it pop into my head every once in a while in the weeks leading into it. Daydreaming, about what it would be like to one day win that race. Well, I still can’t believe that day came and went, and I actually won. Here is a little recap of how it unfolded. Thanks to my friend Jim for the race pictures.

Race morning was a bit cloudy and rainy, although the day would turn out pretty perfectly, some cloud cover, a bit of sun, warm but never cold or hot.

The swim start was smooth, too smooth almost and soon I found myself in the lead, with nobody tapping on my feet to go faster. So I just put my head down and swam, not really sure what was going on behind me.
I ended up exiting the water first, even beating the boys out of transition. It was pretty fun to be leading a race this big overall for a few moments.
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Onto the bike, and although the roads were wet the sky was looking fine. It took a few kilometers to get into a rhythm, the hills came and went, and soon I felt like I was flying along the flat stretches. A couple of the pro men went by, and then more empty, long stretches of road, just for me and Scarto (the name of my Cervelo P4). Then a small group of pro men came by, and passed me pretty slowly, so now I had a something to focus on, keeping them in sight. That made the rest of the first loop, and half of the second loop fly by, before I found myself completely solo again, but this time the wind picked up, and made the last uphill 15 km stretch into transition a bit more of a battle. I had seen some of the other girls at the two bike turnarounds, and it looked like I had a fairly good gap, not sure exactly how much, but since things can change by heaps and bounds in an ironman I did not spend too much time thinking about it. I just focused on getting to the end of that bike ride, with some fluid and food in my system, and hopefully a good run in my legs.

Which flavour of gel to have next? Tough decisions on the bike.

Which flavour of gel to have next? Tough decisions on the bike.

Onto the run, not really sure who is in second or third, or how far behind. But at that moment it did not really matter, all I could do was put one foot in front of the other and run, as long and as fast as I could. First 10 km, feeling good, second 10 km, feeling fine, third 10 km ok, it was starting to hurt. Last 10 km-doing crazy math in my head- how many seconds in a minute again? And how long does it take to run a mile and if so how long will the next 3 miles take- wow that sounds like a long time- better not think about that. How about I just look at all the pretty colours of outfits on people running opposite me. How many more aid stations am I going to run trough? If I have Coke at this aid station what should I have at the next one? Wow, my legs hurt, I wonder if they will hurt even more a few kilometers from now?
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The last few kilometers the spectators were spectacular, so much energy and cheering, it was amazing. It caught me off guard when as I passed one of the runners he said “congratulations”- it was too good and too early to believe it, so I didn’t, not until I rounded the bend on the speed skating oval where the finish line is, and finally saw the finish line. Unreal!
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Wow, I still can’t believe it.

A huge thanks to Team TBB, Brett, Alex, all my super speedy team mates, Avia, Blue Seventy, Cervelo and to anyone and everyone out there cheering, racing or just following along on the web. And to my mom, brother and husband for all the support, before, during and after the race of course.

Spa Day

Friday, July 17th, 2009

I am not sure if it was the super weekend of racing at IM Switzerland and IM Roth by the girls, or because I looked so smashed from the past week that I could barely walk down the hill, but yesterday a bunch of us were under strict directions to have a spa day.
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Thanks to Christiane, who drove us all down in her German tank mini van and Fiona’s smooth directions, we made it in record time. The spa was mostly outdoors, which surprised me. I was not sure what to expect, but it was a beautiful outdoor pool, with all kinds of jets and bubbles and currents, and nice warm water. There were also several pavilions- like a relaxation place where you could go in for a 20 minute session of colour light therapy, but I was not patient enough to do that. A polar nights pavilion, with a super cold dipping pool, as well as a little room which looked like the North Pole complete with snow and ice cubes. Rebekah and Nicola could not resist a snow ball fight, and I was lucky to make it out of there with my suit only half full of ice cubes. There were also a few saunas and steam rooms, which we kept getting “shushed” in, because we were too chatty.
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It was a tough task, but we stayed focused, made sure to pace ourselves, and kept a positive outlook. It was a tough, epic workout day, but I am sure it will pay off at the next race.

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No Mustard, but Three Liters of Champagne

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

Yesterday Steve, LC and I ventured out to a long course race in Dijon, France. Yes, we were told to stock up on some mustard, but coach’s instructions were more along the lines of go hard, get in a supa’ workout, and win a bit of money to pay for the rental car.
The drive was relatively smooth, Steve navigated and I took the wheel, and by early afternoon we were in Dijon. A spin on our bikes, and we found our hotel, but somehow just when we got used to Swiss timing we couldn’t figure out French timing. We were trying to track down dinner, at 5 pm since we had been on the road most of the day, but it seemed that we couldn’t find anyplace open that served food before 7 pm. We wandered the streets, tired, hungry, cranky, and then the skies opened up and a torrential downpour started. When it rains that hard we figured it couldn’t last more than 5 or 10 minutes. Well, an hour later, still hungry, totally drenched, and going the wrong way from our hotel it was still pouring rain. We did finally find dinner, and our hotel, and even managed to get some sleep, but seemed to do all the things you are not supposed to do the night before a race, walk around, get cold, get hungry, get cranky.

Navigating the streets of Dijon, in search of food. Prior to the downpour

Navigating the streets of Dijon, in search of food. Prior to the downpour


Huddled under an awning, deciding whether to run for it, or wait it out.

Huddled under an awning, deciding whether to run for it, or wait it out.

Race morning was grey, and overcast again, but not too cold, so actually pretty fast racing conditions. We were in transition much earlier than anyone else, but thankfully each transition spot has its own chair- how civilized. The race area was beautiful, a nice small lake with a beach, and a trail around the lake that the run encompassed. The bike was a bit of a surprise, since we hadn’t scouted it out, but knew it would have some fun climbs.
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Not too many nerves prior to the race start, since it was a training race, except when the race announcer asked for a mini interview- in French of course. I muddled my way through with my high school French, which did not include necessary triathlon vocabulary, but I tried to fake my way through it. This trip has been so much fun for getting the chance to practice French. It seems I understand most things, but when it comes to speaking I am usually stuck half way through a sentence. But since Steve’s French begins and ends with Bonjour and Canard, and LC is still going through the textbook Bean gave her, it was the best we could do.
The swim was off almost smoothly; nobody ever heard the start command as everyone started swimming before the count down finished. The course was a straight forward two lap course, the only obstacles being some huge pods of weeds floating along, that felt like I slammed into a brick wall the first few times. Other than that I found a decent swim rhythm, and got out feeling okay.
Onto the bike, I had a few men ahead of me, which was nice since that way I could see that I was on course. I passed a few of them as my legs warmed up about 20 km into the bike, and just put my head down and decided to push as best as I could, and get in a very solid, good effort. The bike flew by, and I really enjoyed the flat fast sections, as well as some rolling hills, and a good climb and decent. It was an entertaining course, and some spectators cheering on as we went through a small village, certainly helped.
My legs felt surprisingly fresh when I got off the bike, and the first 10 km of the run was very smooth. As one of the men passed me I just picked up my pace slightly, and ran with him for the first 10 km. The second 10 km loop I passed him and figured he could pace off me, but as I picked up the effort a few times he fell off the pace. A race is a race, and since there was not a woman to race at that moment I figured I would take every race opportunity I got and raced those around me, and work as hard as I could. It was a good way to get in a training race.
The first place prize was a bit of money, and a huge, huge bottle of champagne. Super cool!
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Thanks to the race organizers for such a fun, very well organized event, and even with the grey weather the spectators were all cheers and smiles. And a thanks Eric from the Dijon triathlon club for helping us come to the race, and get to the start line.

Scarto (my P4) and the not so small bottle of French Champagne

Scarto (my P4) and the not so small bottle of French Champagne