Monday, 31 August 2015

Wasaga Beach Olympic Triathlon Post-race Report

A difficult day of racing

      The Multisport Canada Recharge with Milk Wasaga Beach Olympic Triathlon was one of my premiere races this season because it was both the Triathlon Ontario Club Championships and my final MSC series race of the season (and therefore last chance to get some series points). Since this one didn't start until 10:30am on Saturday I left Kingston at 8pm the night before and made my way up to Collingwood to spend the night with Emma and her parents at her grandmothers house (who is also the newest team LPC supporter).

      I got to the race nice and early to scope out the course and get a good swim warm up in. We (LPC) had a solid line up of strong athletes in this one so my plan was to try and get a good draft off of one of them in the swim. I lost them right away, this was just the beginning of what ended up being a really bad day. I hadn't really noticed until now that my goggles consistently fog up really badly, to the point where I can't see 3 feet in front of me. I spend a lot of time in races just trying to figure out where I am in the water and this has to change because it is difficult to focus on good form and going strong when you are constantly worried that you are going off course. This one started to feel less like a race and more like I was just trying to get to the shore in the right spot. Something else I've noticed is that I kick way too much when I race. I am a light kicker in the pool and when training in the open water, but when I race my legs are thrashing all over the place, possibly partially to keep my head above the water when I try to sight. I really noticed it this time because my calfs and hamstrings started cramping up near the end of the swim, to the point where I had to just kind of lie there and wait a couple seconds for it to go away. The run up to transition was interesting (and I think a lot of people felt like this because of the waves during the swim) but I was pretty certain I was going to throw up all over my bike, but luckily I didn't.

       I was ready and excited for a strong, partially tapered bike ride after the training for the bike has gone extremely well this season. It didn't happen. My legs just didn't have it. It felt like I was pushing REALLY hard but just couldn't go fast, like my legs couldn't produce the power despite the effort I was putting in. Anyone who has experienced this will know that it is an extremely frustrating and demoralizing feeling, the kind of which I'm not sure I've ever experienced before as an athlete. The only way I can think to describe it is like something was holding me back, like an invisible rope attached to the back of my bike. There are a few potential reasons I think may have caused this: 1) I am iron deficient again, which I really hope not because I've been vigilant about eating foods with lots of iron and my body doesn't handle the supplements well, 2) I am burnt out after a long XC, track and tri season (in addition to the stress of trying to finish my masters taking a mental toll), or 3) that my over-kicking in the swim tired my legs out (I hope its this one because its easy to blame all of life's problems on the swim). My calf cramped up as the bike progressed as well to the point where I had to slow down a couple times to stretch it out.

       I always have hope that I can still have a strong run and still have a good race. And I knew that I had some really strong teammates to try and chase down which provides me with good motivation to really go for it. One of them being Ryan Power who I saw walking around in transition when I racked my bike, I am still unsure what happened to him that caused him to drop out of the race before the run (an incident with a car I think?). In the first few steps of the run my right calf cramped up badly and I had to stop and stretch it. When I started running again I got a big stomach cramp and hobbled my way to the first km marker in 4:30. At this point I pretty much knew my day was done. I did my best to hold pace and wait for my cramp to go away and try to nail down a decent finishing position still to get some series points. In the end it just wasn't my day, but it happens. Hopefully others can read this and relate and maybe learn something from my experiences.

      Another one of my LPC teammates (and coach) Mark Linseman missed a turn in the run and ended up going an extra km or two, so needless to say it was a bit of a rough day for some of us LPCers.

     Now enough complaining, there were many of us who had a great day. Jackson Laundry won the race with a really impressive 33:30 10k off the bike, Nick Kolodzie held me off for 4th overall and there was an epic sprint finish between Emma Plater and Lauren Heinken for 3rd and 4th on the women's side. Plus many more in the olympic and lots of success in the sprint the next day. I had a good time at Boston Pizza after the race hanging out with the Plater family and some of my LPC teammates and hope to see a lot more of them when I move to Guelph this year.

      Next up for me is figuring out what went wrong and gearing up for Barrelman. I am tired, demoralized and extremely busy trying to get my thesis done so I am taking a week completely off and hoping to get back into the swing of things next week. The race was well organized and Multisport Canada even got the weather to cooperate for us. I am thankful for all of the support from LPC and their Hurdle Project initiative as well as Multisport Canada and their ambassador team program.