Monday, July 19, 2010

Great White North

I am not a big fan of fireworks so Independence Day weekend in the USA took Brendan and myself straight north towards Edmonton. It was a beautiful weekend to be in the car all weekend. :) We were both struck by how far north we were and being so close to the summer solstice, how many hours of the day it was sunny. This actually struck us in a bad way race morning. We woke in a panic thinking we had missed the start of the race that we had driven 12 hours for. It turns out that it was 4am and the sun was full fledged up and the alarm had not even gone off. RELIEF!
The drive was painless for such a haul. Race morning came quickly and we stumbled from our campsite to race site to get our bikes and T1s ready. I made the wonderful mistake at a race earlier this year of forgetting to fill my water bottles with water (although they had fuel in them) so I checked transition once, and then I checked it again to make sure I was all in order for a flawless race. Once I decided I was I put on my speedy Zoot Helix and headed down the water.

The race was a two loop swim. I lined up in front and when the gun went off I felt as if I was in a washing machine. There was no separate pro start for the Canadian race and I have not been swimming as much as I was earlier in the year hence the washing machine like feeling. At least I kept it under 30!

I was stripped of my wetsuit and on my way on my never before raced Orbea Ordu (the red one). The Great White North bike course is a pretty fast bike generally. Its rolly with quite a bit of wind and two sizeable climbs. I was focused on keeping my heart rate where it needed to be, eating and drinking on schedule, and staying in contact or moving up with those around me. It made the bike fly by and before I knew it I was into T2 in 5th place. Transitions included, I rode a 2:28 and change, and I was thrilled about it.

We hadn't visited T2 yet, which was a bit scary, but I spotted my Zoot Ultra Tempos quckly and was on my way to the run course. The run course was a blast! It was almost entirely on a bike path through town so it was windy with a few little rollers. For the most part it was flat and fast. I was told, although I couldn't see her, that 4th place was not very far in front of me. For the first time in a run race I was totally focused on what was going on in front of me, wanting to move up and knowing I had the training to do it, with little thought on what was going on behind me and if I was going to get caught. It made the run fly by and I was able to get within 25 seconds of 4th but I never closed it. With my surge from 17-20 kilometers I was a bit spent and she opened it back up to 1 minute. I was smiling all the way to the finish on the wonderful 4th of July because I had just raced a 4:37 and knocked 17 minutes off my previous personal best in a half iron while running 3 minutes faster than I ever had in a half marathon! I have coach Jim Bruskewitz to thank for getting me injury free and fast for this race.

To make it even better I was in the money and so was Brendan. He was chasing hard his entire race to get within 15 seconds of 1st. What a race! We capped off the holiday weekend with a beautiful awards ceremony and a drive back through Banff, spending all of our money at Lululemon. This was an awesome race that was very well put together by the race director, well supported by the community, and a great experience for every racer. This is a must do!

I am now amidst weddings and swim meets while training for my next races, Boulder 70.3 and Lake Stevens 70.3. Look for an update on the happenings in July before the races!