Sunday, September 4, 2016

When things fall into place

I did it! I qualified for Worlds... twice!

For those that follow me closely you know this year has been filled with way more downs than ups. I had my first DNF at Victoria 70.3
I ended up having my chainring go though my leg and had to take a month off of training. Then when I did finally get back to training it was too soon and I ended up with plantar fasciitis on my good foot. I continued on persevering through these injuries and did Calgary 70.3 I finished but with a disappointing time.
Feeling frustrated with my outcomes I had no idea what Penticton 
would turn out for me.
Turns out perseverance pays off.

I have had a very busy work schedule this summer. Logging lots of overtime I still was unable to take an extra day off of work. So August 24th I left for Penticton after work.
While trying to get the 6pm ferry I got an email from the Challenge Penticton crew saying they had 30 spots open up for the aquathlon the following day... my birthday. 
I texted my coach to see if I should do it. What the heck I had a scheduled swim and run anyways, why not?

What better way to celebrate your birthday. 

Penticton really knows how to host athletes. The duathlon was the previous day.
Aquathlon was today, Cross was the following day and my big day the ITU Long Course was Sunday.

So we pulled into Penticton around 1pm. Got settled and wandered down to the race start to see if I could snag a spot to race. 
It turns out the swim was going to be a non-wetsuit swim. The problem with this is my 2 piece tri suit is not so great in the water on its on. I love my Soas trisuit and for all of my regular triathlons it is seriously the best trisuit around. Unfortunately it has a bit of drag to it. Normally I'd wear a skin suit but the ITU rules for shorter swim distances state that you must wear it for the entire race. 
So I decided to race in a swimsuit. 

So as I seem to like to do so much I punished myself for a great birthday present.

I had a marginal swim thanks to the crazy waves out there. I was hoping for an 18' or less but ended up with 21'
I quickly transitioned to the run which was an out and back 2x for a 5km. I raced without and tracking. No Garmin, no HR monitor. I was essentially naked. I ran trying to hold a good solid pace without going out too hard. I was instructed to keep things easy since this was not my big race.
I ended up with my fastest 5km ever. 22:16
I was thrilled with my results. I thought for sure I had podiumed.
Well, turns out I wasn't quite fast enough but I still qualified.
I came in 4th in my age group next to Pro Triathlete Karen Thibodeau, Former Olympic Swimmer Jessica Deglau, and former Pro Triathlete Tenille Hoogland.

After seeing who I was up against I couldn't have been more please with my results. I couldn't wait until Sunday!

Friday we laid low by driving the bike course to refresh my memory, check out some fruit stands, go to the beach and then I joined my friends and took part in the pasta dinner (which was fantastic).

I had the pleasure of meeting Sister Madonna Buder (the Iron Nun). Unfortunately there is no photo because we were in the ladies room and I thought it might be inappropriate to take a selfie of us in there. I just have to say that she is absolutely lovely and a total card. Such a great sense of humour.

In our group there were 3 of us racing individually and we also had a threesome doing the relay. They were called the Hot Flashes. I so love these ladies. They are so much fun.

Saturday was again filled with more relaxation. After I racked my bike and dropped my bags we hit the lake again. I can't thank my family enough for taking such good care of me.

Sunday morning came quick as usual. I felt like I didn't sleep a wink. However I was feeling so calm. I was so ready for this.
We got to the race site for 6am. I checked my bike, set up my nutrition. Used bathroom, hugged the girls and got my wetsuit on. 

I stuck together with the lovely ladies of Duncan. They really seems so calming to me. 
Before I knew it the gun went off. I took off keeping a relatively easy but steady pace. It wasn't long before I caught up to the men who had a 2' head start.
Going around the buoys was tricky. That seemed to be where most of the congestion was. Second lap I thought was better until I had some guy totally push me out of the way. It wasn't like he was trying to swim, he actually pushed me to his side. This of course put a little fire in my belly to push a little harder to get to the swim exit as quickly as possible.
55:10 for 3km
My friend Bob was my wetsuit stripper and got me out on the course fast and efficient.
The weather was great. Sun was shinning and wind was not too bad.

We had 2 laps of the bike course which I really enjoyed. 120km seems so much shorter than the Ironman 180km. 
Bike- 4:08:44
*after the race I noticed my front break had been rubbing my front wheel the entire bike portion. I thought my downhill was a little slow.

I was feeling great going in to the run. It was only 30km to go until the finish. I can do this!

Heading out on the run Coach Jasper Blake was on course cheering all of the amazing b78 athletes. His enthusiasm is infectious. He put a big smile on my face and I was pulling off a great run. I was ahead of my goal!

The family patiently waited for me to run by. These kids are seriously so patient and supper supportive. 

After a great first 15km lap I was ahead of my goal so I took a minute to stop and hug the family. They are the ones that help get me to the start line day after day, year after year. They mean the world to me.

On my second loop I was really starting to catch those that passed me on the bike. I started looking for my competitors. at the 18 to 20km mark is where the wheel s start to fall off. Bit by bit I passed someone who just could no longer hold a run. People start to linger at aid stations. To be fair it was hot out on that run. One of the aid stations ran out of water and sports drink. This is where people can get in to trouble. This is why I do long easy fns with as little fuel or water as I possibly can. I know I can get to the next aid station without consequences. Some people can't. 
With only 5km to go I finally caught a lady in my age group. I knew I could sustain my pace for another 30' or so no problem. I passed easily and continued on to the finish line.
Run 30km 2:44:36

My final time was 7:54:19
My goal was 8 hours.
I was 8th in my super tough age group needing a top 10 to qualify for Worlds.

This was my race! Do I still have work to do? Absolutely! I know where I can improve significantly. 
Compared to last years Ironman distance I can honestly say I executed the perfect race for me. I stayed calm, happy, mentally strong.
I finished with minimal consequences...

This little blister was the only carnage from almost 8 hours of racing.

I am thrilled of how well I did. I'm so excited to represent Team Canada next year at Worlds! I promise to work even harder this year to make next years race even better!!!

A big shout out to my fabulous Soas Sisters. The lovely Tracy was on a relay team and we ended up running the first lap together. I loved that she chatted away to me. It kept me happy and on track.

Thank you to Soas for believing in me and continuing to let me be a part of such a wonderful team. Your products are absolutely amazing. I couldn't imagine doing triathlons in any other trisuit.

Thank you to Nuun Hydration. I train daily using this awesome electrolyte. Another awesome team that supports me as well as keeps me hydrated. For Challenge Penticton I used Nuun Active Grape along with Nuun Plus. I find it is the perfect combo to keep me going in the longer races.

Thank you to Oofos. The best recovery sandal/shoe around. With my battles with the Plantar Fasciitis I have been living in my sandals day in and day out. If you don't have a pair you ned to go out and get yourselves some. They are soooooo fabulous.

Thank you to b78 coaching. Jasper is seriously the coolest guy I know and Thalia has kept me in line for the entire year. Their support and guidance has been wonderful.

Last but not least thank you to my fabulous family and friends. They say it takes a village and it really does. My husband and kids support me to no end. My friends that continuously support me, train with me and listen to all of my boring stories. You all mean the world to me and I can't thank you enough for all that you do. 
I really would not be where I am without all of you.
Here's to big dreams and great results!

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