I just have to start off by saying that I was so looking forward to doing the Guelph Lake Olympic for my first time this past weekend! This race was not on my original schedule, but almost all of us from Team Moose decided to race it after we were so unlucky with the weather two weekends ago in N. H. I also don't have many local races that I am competing in this season, so it was also an opportunity for my parents to come out and see me race. Oh, and I was also very excited to try out my new blue seventy Helix in a race:)
Despite arriving to the race site a little later than expected, I was able to get in a short warm up on the bike before putting the wetsuit on and heading down to the beach. I was able to take my bike out because a very generous competitor allowed me to squeeze in and share her amazing bike rack spot. It was right in front of the bike exit, and I think it helped my T1 time, because I beat the man who prides himself on being the World Champion in transition times by 1 whole second (Watch out Ming!).
I got in about 5 minutes of swim warm up before heading to the beach for the MASS swim start. I must say that I was quite looking forward to the chaos that always ensues in a mass start! I'm usually all about "clean" swimming like competitive swimmers do in a pool, no drafting, etc., but I guess with the cancelled swim at Mooseman, I was ready to brave the scratching and kicks in the face that are inherent in this "uncivilized", or "dirty" swimming in triathlon. In fact, I felt like I had a pretty good swim and handled all the mass start confusion quite well! Unlike my open water swim race that I did 3 weeks ago, the first 750 metres went by relatively quickly, and I was out running on the beach to start my second loop in no time. I didn't fade much in my second loop, and best of all my arms felt amazing in the Helix. NO contricting feeling and heavy tired arms! I came out of the water among the top 4 women and started the long run up hill to transition. After T1, I was the second woman to head out onto the bike course.
Was there ever a head wind on the first 1/2 of the bike course! That made for a very tough ride in the first 10km especially! I was able to maintain my second place position on the bike, although there was some jostling in position. I was passed by my friend, training partner, and elite triathlete Suzanne Zelazo fairly early on the bike. She went on to lead the rest of the bike, the run, and win the race in the end! Anyway, I figured that if I could keep Suzanne in eye-shot on the bike, that would be pretty good for me. I was able to do so for the first 20km, but after the turn around, I couldn't see her anymore. She is one fast lady! I did notice during the race that I am being passed by less men than a year or two ago on the bike. I might have even passed a couple myself lately. I'll take that as progress and a step in the right direction! The 20km coming home was much better since we had a tail wind this time, but I caused some serious aggravation to my left hamstring on the final little climb about 2km from the transition. I decided to get out of my saddle and grind over the last climb, which was not smart, because the hamstring insertion at the ischial tuberosity and the whole glute muscle gets really taxed. Given my recurring injury at the hamstring insertion and my still very weak glute muscle in my left leg, and the added intensity of racing, getting out of the saddle really put some unwelcome strain on the injury. Something didn't feel right riding back to T2.
I headed onto the run course, gel in hand, and was hoping to get into a rhythm as soon as possible. The Guelph run course is actually quite rolly and technical. There are quite a few 180 degree turns and some sections with gravel. In my first few kms, I struggled to find the rhythm that I was able to find at Mooseman. This could have been because my hamstring was already tight and aggravated, because I just felt like I wasn't able to pick up my legs and establish a nice stride length and cadence. It was strange though, because my km splits were faster than at Mooseman. So I thought that I would just stick this out, and the hamstring would just work itself out with a bit more time. Unfortunately for me, the tightness turned into that sharp pain that caused me to DNF at Sporting Life. After having such a great race up until that point, I was both frustrated and disappointed to first slow down, but then have to walk altogether at 7km. I tried once to pick it up again after walking for 20s or so, but it was not going to happen. I dragged my hamstring along for the next 3km to the finish and walked across the finish line. That was definitely one of the worst feelings in the world, but I had so many of my competitors cheer me on and give me a show of support as they passed me on my long walk to the finish line. I had a whole 3 km to sulk for a while, but I was in high spirits an hour or two after the race. My swimming and bike fitness is definitely coming along, and I think that my run, although being my weakest of the three, is coming along too, I just haven't been able execute it properly to show that it is also coming along.
I just came back from an intensive physio session with Dr. Foudy and RMT with Gillian Radford who treated me after I got hit by a car a couple of years ago. It appears that I have a lot of scar tissue that needs to be broken down into layers so that I can heal properly. My hamstring has been described as having a "divet" and being very "bumpy". The sharp pain that I was feeling yesterday most likely came from compressing my sciatic nerve since my hip was misaligned from the extensive pulling of all the other muscles that are compensating for my hamstring. With some extensive RMT and physio, I am confident that I will come back stronger for my next race. I am still vying to qualify for the U.S. Open Triathlon in a few weeks, so don't count me out yet!
Thanks for reading,