Boy, there is a lot to talk about these days. I finally have time to be able to do something about that, as it is smack dab in the middle of "off season." I have a few weeks to catch up on things, and im excited to do nothing for a bit. I have scheduled a few social items, but, in reality... I am really trying to not do much on the weekends, in particular.
Last week, I was in Quebec, for the first time since I was at McGill. It was a bit nostalgic, because in many ways, there are so many good memories about Quebec. And, lets be honest: if there is a place that does "quaint" the best in Canada, it is rural Quebec. Quaint towns and delicious food. Perfect.
I was there to race the Ironman 70.3 World Championships. This is the second year that I have gotten a roll down slot for the race & the first time that it was outside of the USA (previously, it has been held in Clearwater, FL, and Las Vegas, NV... where I participated, last year). Last year was a hard race. 2 weeks after Challenge Penticton (My first iron distance) and challenging weather. I struggled a lot during that race, and was alone on the trip. This year was totally different. I had friends, teammates, my love, and the race was in beautiful temperate Canada!
This race was the perhaps the most challenging course that I have done in a while. The run included somewhere between 290- 350m worth of elevation gain, which is actually quite substantial. After Calgary (and especially Boise) 70.3's this year, I was frustrated with my running, and wanting it to be a good race. Going into the race, my mantra was "this is MY race." It doesn't matter what other competitors are doing, its about what I am doing.
Everything went quite well during pre-race. It was a chilly morning & fog was abound. Pretty much 10 mins prior to the pros starting, the fog lifted, a Canadian fighter yet flew over the race venue, and everything got underway!
I had gotten in for a practice swim the day prior, and knew that the water was clear, with the perfect temperature. Somehow, our age group did not look like there were 100+ women starting, but, boy... when the cannon went off, it was hectic. arms and legs everywhere, splashing, bumping, and fast movement. Within the first 250m's, i got a really really good WACK on the head, and instantly had a splitting headache. That headache plagued me all the way through the swim & right into the bike. The swim was smooth; as always, I tried to find a pair of feet to draft, and then got stressed out about it. I did, however, find a girl to swim beside for the last 2/3, and we worked well together. It was a solid swim.
Time: 30:11 (31/117 division)
T1: nothing much here, other than a long long long run up to transition with lots of lovely spectators!
I got onto the bike & was still struggling with that headache. I was hoping that the blow wasn't enough to have given me a concussion, and had to do a check-in with the pain & conciousness factor a few times. Knowing that there would be a ton of drafting & people on the course, that the last 10km were going to be challenging with the climbs, & really having a goal to do well on my run, I focused on "MY race." I ignored the pelotons of people going my (its not my race... its not my race...), tried to maintain a steady cadence without any grinding & taking in more solid food nutrition, drinking when i was thirsty. The bike felt good. Not easy, but solid. I was happy with my time, the race course was BEAUTIFUL, with good pavement (but not super spectator friendly), and I was happy to see a few people that I know out there.
Time: 2:41.27 (33.5km/hr, 46/117 Division)
T2 was quick, and i was out onto the most challenging part for me. Having had spent the last 4 weeks focusing on pacing, with no hill training sessions, I was curious to see how everything was going to play out. My goal: run the whole race. Employ strategies to get up the hills & let it loose on the downhills. Run sub-2 hours. I didn't achieve all of these... I did end up walking up hills. But, I did not walk up all of them, and I certainly employed strategies to run as much of them as possible. I also got my 3rd fastest 1/2 ironman run time ever, and I didn't have any nutrition problems. I felt good: it was hard, but it was enjoyable. That hill through the village, with all the spectators up and down the sides: I mean, what an atmosphere... I couldn't run up it, but, you know... comon'... its amazing! you are racing against the fastest people in the world! You are in a beautiful place! doing something you love!
Time: 1:54.57 (5.26/km, 74/117).
what sucks about this race...
1) I would like to learn better mental techniques for the hills. I feel like I am 1/2 way there, but, I know that I can be better. I don't like walking, and I need to learn to pace better.
2) what sucks is that despite feeling good and excited about my race, is that i got fricken 74st in my AG. that sucks. I want so much to be in the top 50% of my age group in the WC's. but... not there yet. And you know, its ok. But, it still sucks. There were 40+ women in my AG who were sub-5hrs. And, no matter who you are: that.is.FAST! and, that is a lot of women who are fast.
what is next:
well. Running. I hope to do an early season marathon (in February), and then it will be eyes on IM WHISTLER. i hope to kill it, but it is a long road towards the race. so, for now, during this off season, I drink some beer, i eat ice cream, I sleep-in in the mornings, and I spend time with family, friends, and dog.