Girl Trio at the Tri and Conquered Hills!

Race Three of Five: Muskoka Short Course, A.K.A Super Awesome Cottage Weekend with the Girls! That is really what it was. Many cycling, running, hiking, and delicious food adventures were had. Then we raced. I actually got into the water a whole 15 minutes early, to test out the water temperature, after the last Triathlon’s Iceman incident, I wanted to know what I was getting into. Well, to my surprise, the water was actually pleasant. So much so, that I just stayed in the water and took some time to ground myself and truly appreciate the scene, nature, the opportunity I was presently gifted with. Then, the horns blew, and the adventure began. I was calm, collected, slow, but steady. I also swam right in the middle, where the current was strongest, instead of following the pack and swimming on the far left, which may have been why the swim felt longer than I expected. I got out of the water happy, and with less swim jello legs than usual!

 

On to the bike ride! Last year, I thought the Muskoka hills were going to be the death of me, and I really doubted I would be able to conquer them, thrice over, two weeks later at the 70.3 Ironman. This time around, those hills weren’t so bad, in fact, I found that I was able to recover at the top of the hill much faster than before, allowing me to pedal strong consistently.

Last, but not least, the run. Again, it was hot, but this time I had my new arm coolers on and a proper application of sunblock. This was also the third time I was going to encounter the hill of doom along a short trail section of the run course. Every time I have faced it in the past, I was determined to run all the way up without having to stop. The issue was, I would push with everything I had, and I could see the top, and I knew I was almost there, and then, just as I thought I had made it, it turns and climbs higher and my legs gave me a big NOPE! This year, I figured I would try, but expected the inevitable. Except, there was a sign, a literal sign at the bottom of the hill, that said something about starting slow. So, I slowed down my run, and made my way up the hill, it was a snail’s pace, but as others around me started huffing and puffing, walking up the hill, and before I knew it, I was at the top. Not only once, but I had to encounter it once more during the two loop 7.5km run course, and believe it or not, I made it all the way up a second time. So, my run was kind of slow, but it sure did feel good to finally conker that hill!

This Time, I Finished!

Race Two of Three: Ottawa River Triathlon, now called the Britannia Park Triathlon, was, believe it or not, the first race I can distinctly remember being anxious about. There were several subtle differences leading up to this race. One, I could not pick up my race kit the night before, I’ve never had to pick up the kit the morning of. Not really a big deal, but, it made me feel unprepared and added to the things I had to do in the morning. Two, I had not done an open water practice swim yet. Three, if any of you followed my journey last year, this is the face I got my first and only DNF. Which means, I did not finish. I got freaked out in the water and only finished two of the three 500m swim loops. They let me complete the rest of the race, but I had to give up my timing chip.

Race Two of Three: Ottawa River Triathlon, now called the Britannia Park Triathlon, was, believe it or not, the first race I can distinctly remember being anxious. Several differences were leading up to this race. One, I could not pick up my race kit the night before, I’ve never had to pick up the race bag last minute in the morning. Not really a big deal, but, it made me feel unprepared and added to the things I had to do in the morning. Two, I had not done an open water practice swim yet. Three, if any of you followed my journey last year, this is the face I got my first and only DNF. Which means, I did not finish. I got freaked out in the water and only finished two of the three 500m swim loops. They let me complete the rest of the race, but I had to give up my timing chip.
So, there I was, at the swim start line, flustered after trying to get my race kit (after race kit pick up ended) and forcing the wetsuit onto my slightly bigger than last year’s body. I get into the water, and it was like Marvel Comic’s Iceman froze me from the inside out. My feet felt like solid bricks of ice. Now, let me remind you, the last time this happened to me, it was my first Triathlon ever, and I did not have a wetsuit. I learned a precious lesson that day. I always wear a wetsuit on race day. Which means, the water was ice cold, and my heart rate was through the roof. I made my way, somehow, through the first 500m loop, at which point, you have to step out of the water before going right back in. Well, let me tell you, I stood on that sandy beach for a long minute and thought real hard about whether or not I was getting back into that water. I don’t know when I made the decision that I was going back in, but I started slowly walking into the water until it reached my chin, and went for it. Only to be derailed second later by the other swimmers lapping me and losing my focus. I “calmly” waited for them to pass before giving it another go. Not a short time later, I was faced with the decision of whether to get back in or not. By now, I was sort of warming up, and I already had 1km under my belt, if I got back in, I was already further along than last year. So, I did a quick check to see if I was going to be the only swimmer left out there, luckily for me, there were a couple of heads still bobbing in the distance and one coming right behind me for another loop. So, in I went. Heart rate reasonable, body relatively warm, no swimmers for me to get in the way of, and away I went. My final loop was faster than either of the first two. Geordie, an OTC swim coach and volunteer at this event, said, “Now we know what you have to do. You need to arrive early, swim a km, and then you will be ready to race!” Sigh.
Now that the swim was done, it was time for the bike ride. I always love the bike ride. This ride was no different, though, by the time I got to the run, I was boiling, and I wanted so much more water than the race water station could provide me. This was also the first weekend where, despite the ice cold water, the sun was beaming down with all its marvel, and fury, and I did a poor job of reapplying sunblock during the transition. This might have been the longest 10km I ever experienced, okay, not the longest. That one goes to when I tackled a 10km trail run without any trail practice, and it took me nearly double my usual time. None the less, this run was at a what felt really slow, pace, my skin felt so salty and hot, and I just wanted more water, but a couple of sips from a cup at the water station was never enough. Nonetheless, I still finished the race with a smile!

So, there I was, at the swim start line, flustered after trying to get my race kit (after race kit pick up ended) and forcing the wetsuit onto my slightly bigger than last year’s body. I get into the water, and it was like Marvel Comic’s Iceman froze me from the inside out. My feet literally felt like solid bricks of ice. Now, let me remind you, the last time this happened to me, it was my first Triathlon ever and I did not have a wetsuit. I learned a very valuable lesson that day. I always wear a wetsuit on race day. Which means, the water was ice cold, and my heart rate was through the roof. I made my way, somehow, through the first 500m loop, at which point, you have to step out of the water before going right back in. Well, let me tell you, I stood on that sandy beach for a long minute and thought real hard about whether or not I was getting back into that water. I don’t know when I made the decision that I was going back in, but I started walking slowly into the water until it reached my chin, and went for it. Only to be derailed second later by the other swimmers lapping me and losing my focus. I “calmly” waited for them to pass before giving it another go. Not a short time later, I was faced with the decision of whether to get back in or not. By now, I was sort of warming up, I already had 1km under my belt, if I got back in, I was already further along than last year. So, I did a quick check to see if I was going to be the only swimmer left out there, luckily for me, there were a couple of heads still bobbing in the distance and one coming right behind me for another loop. So, in I went. Heart rate reasonable, body relatively warm, no swimmers for me to get in the way of, and away I went. My final loop was faster than either of the first two. Geordie, an OTC swim coach and volunteer at this event, said, “Now we know what you have to do. You need to arrive early, swim a km and then you will be ready to race!” Sigh.

Now that the swim was done, it was time for the bike ride. I always love the bike ride.  This ride was no different, though, by the time I got to the run, I was really hot, and I wanted so much more water than the race water station could provide me. This was also the first weekend where, despite the ice cold water, the sun was beaming down with all its marvel, and fury, and I did a poor job of reapplying sunblock during the transition. This might have been the longest 10km I ever experienced, okay, not the longest. That one goes to when I tackled a 10km trail run without any trail practice and it took me nearly double my usual time. None the less, this run was at a what felt really slow, pace, my skin felt so salty and hot, and I just wanted more water, but a couple of sips from a cup at the water station was never enough. Nonetheless, I still finished the race with a smile!

The Race of Hilariously Ill-Timed Mishaps!

Race One of Five: The Early Bird Sprint, the race of hilariously ill-timed mishaps. Just as I was about to step out the door to head off to the race destination, the zipper to my trisuit broke. Did I happen to have a second suit I could switch into quickly, maybe, but I am stubborn and wanted to wear this one in particular. So, I grabbed a pair of scissors, snipped the bottom most part of the teeth and slid the slider back on and hoped it lasted, and that I didn’t have to use the washroom facilities before the race started (of course, I had to, more than once, sigh). 

Next, I bump into a friend on her way to the triathlon, walking with her bike instead of riding it. FLAT TIRE! Worst timing ever, but alas, maybe not everything was ill-timed. If I hadn’t struggled with my zipper just before leaving, I may never have bumped into her at the precise moment our paths crossed, and I would not have been able to inform her that I was taking the O-Train…which was much preferred over walking the entire way. 

Then, some fellow triathletes and I, two of which were participating in their first triathlon ever, were just about to head over to the swim start, when a pair of goggles snap in half. In HALF! How do these things even happen? Nothing to worry about, there were goggles for sale on site, and the sales representative even tried to mend the goggles for us.

As for the race itself, despite the swim start delay, I had a blast during the whole race! This particular race rocks a pool swim at Carleton University, and I was calm and steady during the 500m swim despite crashing into the person in front of me in the first 25m, turns out, we are horrible at seeding ourselves at the correct speed. The 20km bike ride was fast and furious, and the run, once I figured out where it started, felt great! I finished the race with a smile, friends at the finish line, and a tiny bit of reserve energy to enjoy the rest of my day!