Today was the perfect day for my 2016 Multisport Canada/Recharge with Milk race debut - unlike the scorching temperatures of the rest of the week, it was overcast, relatively cool, and even rained a bit. If you're living in Southern Ontario you'll understand why this was so welcome today.
Considering my lack of training recently, I'm surprised at how calm I was arriving at the race. Running through the familiar pre-race routine helped I'm sure, as did the small venue and how close it was to home (driving over, it felt like I was just doing the normal work commute to Elora, two small towns over). LPC teammate Nadine also seemed just as relaxed as I was feeling, so we organized everything and casually headed down to the water and before I knew it, we were about to start.
Swim - 750m
I started in the pro/elite age group wave which was incredibly small and incredibly talented. That was great for everyone else but meant there wouldn't be much chance of me getting a draft! I was able to hang on to Nadine's feet for about 200m but lost her and then just started focusing on swimming as steadily as possible. I'd done one thing right in the off-season swimming wise, and that was focus on drills. I was able to hold a good form and I'm finally starting to get a hang of some of the finer aspects of swim technique (forearm catch, split screen breathing...) - at least it feels like I have! Anyway, my endurance was ultimately what held me back but all things considered it was a decent swim and I got out of the water not incredibly exhausted and not in a terrible position.
Bike - 30 km
Coach Mark had said earlier this week that the bike would be where I'd feel the lack of training the most, and was he ever right! (Note: he's always right...). The first 15k felt great, I was holding a great speed and it felt effortless. But of course, whenever that happens, you then quickly realize it was either downhill or with the wind. This time, turns out it was both. The next 5-10k I felt like I was barely moving, and I also started to get a hip flexor cramp (not enough practice in aero!). It was around that time a few women from the next wave started passing me, too (although they were friendly and encouraging - I'm looking at you, Laura and Amanda!) I just tried to keep my effort in check and not push too hard (although I may have gone too easy, I was enjoying the scenery a little too much around then), but once the course flattened out again I was able to pick up my speed and still finished at a decent overall pace.
Run - 7.5 km
Finally, a run that actually felt pretty good! I'm putting that more on the weather than my fitness, although I think it was a bit of both. Knowing how I tend to start off way too fast normally, I really tried to stay relaxed for the first km or two and think about staying upright and keeping my strides short and fast. After the lengthy time in aero position I actually felt strangely tall for those first couple k's (and it's a feeling I rarely feel!). As the race went on I was able to pick up the pace gradually, and the second half I caught a few women (who were just as cheery and encouraging as the first time around which is awesome :) ) and really pushed the last 500m to cross the line in 4th place overall female! I've still got it! :P
Overall such a great race atmosphere and a really fun venue - I'll for sure be coming back to this race in years to come. Multisport Canada always outdoes themselves with organizing both the race itself and the race venue, and the Recharge with Milk tent is always a huge hit (I came away with lots of swag and a photo to prove it.) Post-race interview with Cody Beals was really neat, too - inspiring for all of us, from first-timers to the top finishers in the race. And although John Salt was out of the country, he made sure to have a stand-in end-of-race hand-shaker ready to make sure every finisher still got a congratulatory handshake :P
I'd like to thank those who have supported me, through thick and thin, through sickness and health and athletic melt-downs alike. You guys all rock! :)
- Everyone at teamLPC, especially Coach Mark and my better half Billy :P
- The Multisport Canada/Recharge with Milk crew and my fellow Ambassadors
- Lou and the team at MainCycle in Hamilton
- Last but not least, my family and close friends for support in and out of triathlon
- And of course you, faithful reader - I appreciate you taking the time to read this and I wish you all the best :)
What's next? Looks like I'll be tackling the MSC Gravenhurst Olympic distance race next Saturday because, why not? It's looking like another great venue and I hope to see some of you there!
(NOTE: I'm going to publish this sans race photos in the hopes I can later edit it and put photos in but no promises...)