This race wasn't originally on my schedule, but my friend Linda encouraged me to do it. It's a relatively small race with lots of help and support from the local community, and they actually have quite an impressive purse for the first 5 Elite male and female athletes. In fact, John Mckibbon, the race director, informed me that all of that prize money is raised by the race organizing committee itself! As I get ready to defend my thesis, my graduate stipend that I've been trying to survive on is getting really low, especially with the amount of traveling and racing that I've been doing this summer. So, if there was any chance that I could win a little bit of money to subsidize my next race (Kelowna) then I was going to do it. This race was also a perfect way to end a hard training block and to start a taper.
The conditions on race day were pretty tough-33C BEFORE the humidity was factored in. Eww. The swim was in the Detroit River, which was murky to say the least, but also very warm. There were no wetsuits or speed suits allowed for the Elite athletes. All of the Elite men and women started in the same wave, so that means I got to start with the likes of Sean Bechtel and Len Gushe! Hmm, it wasn't very likely that I was going to be able to draft off of them. I did end up swimming by myself, but I could see Karsten Madsen a little ways a head so I tried to sight his white cap. My arms were feeling a bit tight and heavy during the swim, but it was to be expected that i wasn't going to be feeling great! I ended up coming out of the water third woman, because the 2 elite women ahead of me were just as fast as the top elite men! They are AMAZING swimmers, which I knew in advance so I wasn't surprised or upset!
The bike course was 2 loops and very flat. I had the second fastest bike split of the day behind Christine Jeffrey, but it's hard to say what my true split was since the bike course was longer than 30km and it included both T1 and T2. I went the wrong way once on the bike and had to do a quick turn around, but other than that, nothing too exciting to report. I made up some time on the 2nd place female, Angela Quick, but wasn't quite able to catch her on the bike.
The run. OUCH. When I started out onto the run course, my legs were feeling the hard training that I had done over the past 2 weeks. The heat and humidity certainly didn't help matters. It was one of those runs where you're waiting, and waiting, and waiting to finally spot a kilometre marker. I could see Angela ahead of me, and as much I as I wanted to chase her down, my legs were not cooperating. When I'm running well, I feel light on my feet, fast turnover, and nice tall posture. My run on Sunday was strictly about survival, and putting one foot in front of the other to the finish line. I ended up finishing as the 3rd elite female, and won some money to subsidize my trip to Kelowna this weekend!
The post race food was awesome (courtesy of Tim Horton's), and at the end of the day I was very happy to push through a physically and mentally challenging race day. It turned out that the two women who beat me were suffering equally on the run course, so it's always good to share the pain a little:) Up next, I've got to rest up this week and stay healthy because I'm leaving for Kelowna on Thursday morning! I'm doing my second ever ITU race on Sunday!