Saturday, September 9, 2017

Should be a race report but it's not

This should be my race report of Ironman Canada 70.3 followed by another race report of the ITU World Championships but it's not.

How do I keep this blog post happy and upbeat when I am so terribly disappointed in my season? I'm going to do the best I can to keep this light and airy because I'm going to be honest... this was my worst season since switching to long distance.

My 1st race of the season was CDA 70.3 and I actually did do a race report which you can find HERE. 

Next up was IM Canada 70.3 Living on the Island you'd think I have been to Whistler many of times. This was my first. We went with our amazing friends which made it into such a super fun weekend. Thank you M & C for the good times.

I really thought I was going to pull off a decent time but yet again I fell short. I came in to race weekend happy and confident. I was so excited to try this challenging course. Morning before race we tested out Alta Lake. It was gorgeous.

Took in the IM village.

So when I woke up race morning feeling ready I thought for sure I was going to pull off something good. 

I had loads of fun being out on the course with many friends and teammates from Soas and Base. I was in my happy place. 
But after a horrible swim (see below photo for proof), fun but hard bike the wheels fell off on the run. Severe muscle cramping in my quads left me downing more Base salt then I could consume in a season until I dropped my stash. And what I mean by drop is I didn't put the lid on properly and my fresh tube all spilt out. I still had 18km to go.

So needless to say another race didn't go in the direction I had hoped.

On to Penticton. My last race of the season. I have to be honest going in to these last 2 races I just wasn't feeling it. I was disappointed in CDA and Whistler but just couldn't vocalize it. Everyone who supports me was still so proud of me. I trained hard this year despite some bumps along the way. I struggled with balance of work, family and life but persevered. 
I was worried I just didn't do enough to be ready for this weekend despite following my training. 
The week before the race I had the house to myself. My little one qualified for swim provincials. Because I had to work, my husband took the girls. So I stayed home and took care of the animals. I thought it would be relaxing but I found myself lonely. I missed my family. They are my rock. 

When it was time to head out to Penticton my nerves set in. I'm actually glad I had to work right up until the day before I raced. It took my mind off what I was really feeling. 
My amazing friend picked me up at 5am and drove me to Victoria to catch my flight (she is seriously the bestest!). 

I had a great flight from Victoria to Kelona.

And of course I was so happy to see the family. Little one missed me the most.

As usual we had our trailer so everything was all settled when I arrived.

Aquathlon was Friday morning and the temperature dropped the night before the race which was great for me. I can handle the heat but I do much better in cooler temps.

Again I fell short of my goal. All I wanted to do was beat last years time. I was longer by 1 minute. My swim was faster (wetsuit legal this year), transition slower (wetsuit stripping is hard) and run was slower. So yet another race to be disappointed. I actually thought I was doing quite well during the race because I seemed to be in the main pack but sadly I was 16th in my age group (3rd Canadian). Not what I was expecting. 

Despite being disappointed, I yet again kept it to myself. I still had one more race and I needed to stay positive. 

After the race the fan jam took me out to celebrate my birthday. As usual a race fell on my birthday. I guess I thought racing on my birthday would bring me some good luck much like it did last year.

The girls had ordered a plain cake and then decorated it back at the trailer. They even invited some friends over to help celebrate.

I ended up missing the athlete dinner for the World Championships but according to my sources I didn't actually miss much. Sadly the World Championships weren't quite as exciting as I had imagined. I'll be honest the expo was lame and my Team Canada gear was total crap (a great reminder of how amazing my Soas gear is). More on that later.

Saturday was your usual nervous energy all through Penticton. I met up with my Team Canada teammates from Cowichan Valley (these ladies are so fantastic) to go do our mandatory meeting where as usual I learned nothing new. It was hot. 

Dropped all our gear off.

I met up with my awesome Soas Sisters from around the globe + some local ones.

With a surprise visit from the fabulous Leana!

This was probably the best part of my race weekend. Spending time with my amazing family and friends from far and wide who I got to race with and send cheers to. A great reminder of the true reason I love this sport. 

Now onto the biggest race of my life...

Race morning I was really good. I had a terrible sleep but seriously who actually sleeps the night before a big race? I definitely do not.
Swim was okay, a bit slower than last year but I felt good and as usual caught up to the men.
Transition was a little slow. The volunteers in the tent weren't quite as helpful as the Whistler crew (fastest transitions ever thanks to them).
Once out on the bike I settled in to a great solid pace on our out and back to Summerland. Didn't get passed by too many people which is rare for me. Usually I'm quick out of the water but just get smashed on the bike. I was feeling pretty good.
First loop was pretty good and I have to say second loop was pretty good too, until the last 15km. My team Canada kit was cutting in to where my legs meet my body. It got so bad that I couldn't stay in aero. Lets just say I couldn't wear underwear for 4 days post race. 
I was starting to feel a little off at that point stomach wise too. I stayed on top of my nutrition even though my stomach was not happy. I was starting to reminisce or my marathon this year. Things were heading south quickly.
Pulled in to T2 and switched in to running mode. It was getting really hot out. I had to be smart and keep myself cool.
I started out ok, a little slower pace then I would have liked but still good. By about 3km I was feeling awful. I kept forcing myself to keep taking my Rocket fuel in and continue to take my Base salt and of course water at the aid stations along with ice down my top. I did everything right but things just kept getting worse. I saw my husband and kids on my first loop and told them I wasn't feeling good. My husband knowing how much I would hate myself if I quick told me to keep going. I somehow managed to do my 1st of 3 loops. Onto the 2nd loop struggling to get anymore fuel in. I was not well. I was already doing the death march and I was only 10km in. I was walking more then just the aid stations. I was so dizzy. 
Right when I was thinking of pulling the plug someone was looking out for me and thought I deserved to finish this race. My friend Derek caught up to me. He was on his last lap I was on my 2nd. He made me run to the next aid station with him. Walked through it with me making sure I was trying to get some fuel in to me. Made me run again until we hit the aid station again. He was exactly what I needed to get m back on track. I am sure I slowed him down but he took the time to make sure I was okay and got me through a very dark place during my race. I can honestly say if he hadn't been there at that moment, I probably would not have finished. 

So after some pretzels and water (it was not ideal but it was all I could get in and keep down) I somehow managed to get my 3rd lap in and finish the race.
I was 20 minutes slower this year. I felt gutted to have such a poor performance at the World Championships. To add insult to injury my kids handed me a Canadian flag to run down the finishing chute and just as I was about to cross the line another Canadian teammate decided to out sprint me. In other sports like running this is a big faux pas. Once you have entered the finish chute you are to have that moment and I assumed because this was the World Championship the same sportsmanship would ensue since they were handing out flags to everyone. Sadly she sandbagged me the last second and frankly at that moment I couldn't care any less. One more notch in my not so great end to the season.

Last year after I qualified I was so elated that I was on cloud 9. I walked the whole way back to our trailer and probably skipped the whole way there. This year was horrible. I got halfway there and felt like death was knocking on my door. My legs were cement, I was sick to my stomach. All I wanted to do was lie down on the sidewalk. When I did get back to the trailer that was exactly what I did. My husband took too long to open the trailer. 

So my season this year in a nutshell totally sucked. I'm embarrassed of my performance. I am so much better than what I pulled off. I feel like I let down my teams, my coach and my family. 
All I wanted this year was to have 1 good race that gave me a nice little PR and left me feeling great and I did not have a single race this year that did that. I had fun at CDA and Whistler but that doesn't mean I was happy with my results. 
I can come up with all sorts of excuses on the why this year went so wrong but the reality is last year I had a bike crash that took me out of training for 6 weeks beginning of June to mid July and I ended the season with my 2 best races ever. So what went wrong this year? I put in the time, I put in the effort.

Now what?

I guess it's back to the drawing board with my coach. Figuring out a training plan that is going to work with my busy lifestyle but still be able to give me results that will allow me to still be competitive. 

On a brighter note there were some positives to this whole experience. 
- I have an amazing support system
- I have met so many amazing and inspiring people in this sport
-The Soas and Base teams really are fabulous to be a part of including meeting some of those amazing people I keep telling you about
-Despite bad races there always seems to be a a silver lining
- I lost my love for the sport but I found it again in the end
-I will appreciate all races I do no matter the brand
- I never quit