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June « 2010 « Tereza Macel's Blog

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Archive for June, 2010

Where are the windmills, tulips and wooden shoes?

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

A train, plane and automobile travel day and I found myself in Holland this past weekend. I have never been there before, and a 3 km swim, 110 km bike and 30 km run seemed as good a reason as any to visit. It is funny, I often have an image of what a place might look like before I go, and it was the same in this case. When I arrived in the village of Stein, just across the river from Belgium it looked different than I imagined. But then again it always does.

The river where the swim was- Holland on one side, Belgium on the other.

The river where the swim was- Holland on one side, Belgium on the other.

I stayed with a wonderful host family, only about 400 meters from the race finish. The race also started at 8:30 am, which was a treat, since often longer races start at 7 am. It almost didn’t feel like a race, but a sleep in.

The main goal for this race was to go and work hard, and get racing. Overall, as often is the case there were things that went well, and things that I could improve on, nothing surprising there. The swim was fine, perhaps not my best tactical swim, but got done. The bike was pretty unique. Four laps of about 27 km each, with more than 31 turns each lap. And I am talking about sharp corners, through narrow roads in the village. I thought I was riding ok, until another girl flew by me and proceeded to show me that I was riding like a granny, rather than like a speed racer.

A lot of the bike course was in the village.

A lot of the bike course was in the village.

I guess Magnus McAvoy ( yes the bike has a longer name this time) prefers the longer straighter stretches of road.

One of the few chances to go in a straight line on the bike.

One of the few chances to go in a straight line on the bike.

But each lap I was faster, taking better lines and carrying better speed through each turn. The run had almost as many turns as the bike, and was all through the village, which made the time fly by. It was a very close race, as 4 of us were all within a few minutes, and all under the previous course record. Second place was all I could muster up on this day, but know that the experience made me stronger and wiser for the next race.

How's this for a bike? Notice the aerobars!!!

How's this for a bike? Notice the aerobars!!!

The only disappointment was that I did not get a pair of wooden shoes, nor ride by any windmills or fields of tulips. But perhaps it just means I will have to return to Holland in the future.

Morning routine

Friday, June 11th, 2010

I am happy to be back in Leysin, and feeling settled in after my first week here. Last year I stayed further up the hill, so each morning my walk to the pool was downhill, and a nice tired walk afterwards uphill. This year I am staying at a different apartment, and it is the reverse. An uphill walk in the morning, and then roll down the hill after swimming to get some breakfast. It is actually a nice way to start the day, a bit of a walk, to wake up, and get the creaky joints moving. Much nicer than jumping in a car, and heading onto a highway like back home.
So this is my little walk to the pool

Just outside my door, will it be a clear day or foggy day?

Just outside my door, will it be a clear day or foggy day?

It never looks uphill in a photo, but it sure feels it as I walk.

It never looks uphill in a photo, but it sure feels it as I walk.

This is the dangerous part of the walk. A very delicious smell tries to distract my from my mission, as I walk past the bakery. Bread here is amazing.

Hmmmm, bakery.

Hmmmm, bakery.

Here I check my progress on the church clock.

Here I check my progress on the church clock.


The sports complex. Even then the hills don't end.

The sports complex. Even then the hills don't end.

Finally, the pool. And then the warm-up ends, and the swimming begins. Of course I am still trying to get used to the fresh, crisp mountain air. And although everyone tells me we are barely at altitude I still feel like an asphyxiating guppy. But give me a week or two and I hope to be in shark mode.

Ironman Brazil

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

This past weekend I raced IM Brazil in Florianopolis. I had always heard that it was a very well organized race, and a good course. And I had raced in Brazil a few years ago, loving it, so was keen to go back and race there again. Initially I was hoping to race it last year, but it did not work out, so I was happy to get a start this year.
Unfortunately I must admit that I did not get to look around much and enjoy Floripa. I arrived late Wednesday, did a couple of short workouts Thursday, race briefing and drug testing Friday and rest of course. Saturday was some more short training, checking in the bike and gear and then off to bed nice and early.
Sunday morning was grey, but warm, and the day would turn out overcast, with light of rain during part of the run, pretty good for racing. The beach start was a bit messy, as all 1600 athletes lined up on the beach, and then for 10 minutes we were corralled and pushed back, and back further up the beach until we were where the race organizers wished for us to be. It was like being in a mosh pit, at a very early morning rock concert. The swim course only had 4 bouys over the 3.8 km swim, and with a few waves it was not always easy to know where to head. I had a poor swim start, missed the main men’s group, and ended up swimming solo for most of it, coming out of the water 2 minutes down on Dede G, last year’s champion.
On the bike I found it a bit windy, and exposed, but afterwards everyone kept saying how fast a day it was. I closed the gap to Dede within 50 km, and we spent the rest of the ride riding similar tempo. She is a very similar athlete to me, strong swim/biker, who tries to build a lead heading into the run, and then limits the damage. So I think it was interesting for both of us to be racing someone with the same tactics.
My bike to run transition was a bit slow, and I lost about 40 seconds to the leader, which stretched out to about a minute by 10 km. I kept reminding myself to settle in, not push too hard too soon, and just find my own rhythm. The run course had a series of 3 pretty tough hills between 8 and 10 km, and the same hills 14-16 km in. I am not usually a fan of hills, but after some good hill training earlier this year I was pleasantly surprised that both the up and downhills were not as intimidating as they used to be. I caught Dede on the hills coming back, and tried to run the next couple of kilometers stronger, to put in a bit of a gap. I got about a minute and a half, which I held for the next 10 km, and eventually it stretched out to almost 7 minutes. Although about 5 km from the finish I figured I had a great chance to win I did not really believe it fully until I saw the finish line.

A pizza restaurant, just around the corner from our hotel

A pizza restaurant, just around the corner from our hotel

I think I got a little bit lucky, since my name- Tereza, is also a Brazilian name. It was written on my race number, and a lot of the spectators cheering may have thought I was from Brazil, and cheered extra loud when I came by. I have never done a race where I heard my name so often, and pronounced so similarly. I definitely made the nine hour race fly by much faster, so I have to thank all those spectators who stuck around, even in the rain.
I didn’t get too much rest post race, as I was soon back on a plane back to Toronto, and tomorrow I fly out to Switzerland. Collecting those airmiles, and catching up on my movie watching.