Leading up to the race
This was my 3rd year in a row doing the historic Kingston Long Course Triathlon, and 5th year in a row competing at the venue (I had done the short course the 2 years prior). It is one of my favourite races because it is my hometown race and I love the feels-like-long-course-but-isn’t-quite-long-course vibe. The 2k swim, 56k bike and 15k run forces you to apply long course racing tactics (in-race nutrition, proper pacing, learning to deal with the inevitable unforeseen issues that occur during a long-course race) while not taking the same toll on your body as a half iron distance race. This is not to downplay it's importance however. It always ends up drawing very solid competition from local up-and-coming pros and was indeed one of my 3 'A' races this year (the other 2 being the Welland Long-Course and the Rev3 Barrelman Half coming up this September). I was tapered, felt very strong and was confident going into this race.
Note: the Kingston Tri isn’t just well known among up-and-coming pros. It draws people from all across the spectrum looking to challenge themselves on a scenic course in a supportive environment.
The water in Lake Ontario was very choppy. As a result, Multisport Canada made the call to change the 2k swim loop to 2, 1k swim loops so we weren’t venturing out too far into the lake where the water would be increasingly choppy. This was for sure the right call. Even with the change the water was very choppy and caused me all sorts of grief. The challenging swim conditions were compounded by the fact that I still haven’t seemed to figure out how to keep my goggles from fogging (please send advice my way). Earlier this season I got a pair of Speedo Vanquishers, which worked really well for a couple of races but fogged right away in this race. I couldn’t see a thing, I ended up going off course multiple times, having to stop and look around multiple times (which is both embarrassing and a confidence killer), and eventually decided to just swim the last loop with them on the top of my head because I couldn’t see a thing with them on. I ended up swimming 37:30, 5:30 slower than I was hoping. Needless to say, my confidence was destroyed by the time I reached T1.
Despite a very disappointing swim, I had been feeling good on the bike and still wanted to test myself and see what I could do on the bike course. The Kingston bike course is fun because it is a mix of fairly challenging rolling hill terrain, but it’s not so challenging that it can’t still be biked fast. I felt strong the whole way, averaged 39.5kph and obliterated my previous bests on this course.
At 3km into the 15km run I considered dropping out because my stomach didn’t feel great and it was very hard to muster up the motivation to grind it out on the run knowing I was already so far back from where I wanted to be because of my swim performance. After some mental debate I decided to tough it out. At the turn around I was surprised to see that I was in 6th place and not as far behind 3rd-5th as I thought I was. This gave me the motivation to pick it up a bit and try to run myself into 5th place. Despite running 15 seconds per km slower than I was hoping this run, I couldn't seem to run any faster. I would have to settle for 6th on this day, but it was behind 5 guys who I have a great deal of respect for so I'll take it.
This season I have run very well off the bike in Olympic distance races but have run poorly in the longer distances, despite that being the focus of my training this year and having run really well in practice. It goes to show that long course racing is more than just being fit, you have to put it all together in the race, and to put it all together takes practice. That is why the long course race distances at Multisport Canada Kingston and Welland are perfect and should be taken advantage of.
Despite not meeting the expectations I set for myself in this race I still had a great time, got to catch up with some triathlon buddies that I usually see here every year, and had a fun road trip with teammates Ben and Stumpy, not to mention a night on the town in the often talked about but never visited Belleville.
Thanks as always to the LPC Hurdle Project, the Multisport Canada Ambassador program and Zizu Optics for the support.