Tuesday, August 12, 2014

MEC Langley sprint triathlon race report

I registered for the MEC Langley triathlon a little late, on a bit of a whim. I had been leaving the last half of July and first half of August open for camping trips, and so hadn’t planned on racing at all in that span of time. But since we weren’t going to go away (and if we did at the last minute I would only be out $35, yes, the registration fee was only $35!) I figured why not. It’d give me a race every month for May-October.

I was hoping my new Smashfest Queen tri kit would arrive in time. I ordered it ages ago, but in a size that wouldn’t ship until late August. Lucky for me it arrived on Friday. So in time for the race, but not in time for using it beforehand. I was OK with breaking the ‘never race in anything you haven’t trained in’ rule though. This race was just a fun one for me. I wasn’t concerned with my time or performance at all. Heck, we went to some friends’ house for dinner the night before and I even had a glass and a half of wine! 

So I got my stuff all ready the night before, ready for my 5 am wake-up call, was on the road by 5:45, and arrived at the race site by 6:30. I am so not a morning person, and find it almost painful to get up that early. But wearing my new kit helped, as did the rousing Irish modern folk music (which totally could have been Ashley MacIsaac) playing on CBC as I left the house. (I think it was a feed from Radio Ireland.) 

I wasn’t as organized as usual, but hadn’t forgotten anything, although I was so relaxed about the whole thing that I was certain I must have. The race did seem a bit disorganized, partly due to it being the first year, and partly due to a lot of last minute sign-ups I think. But once I got started it seemed to be very well run, and if I’m around, I’d totally do the race again. People were very friendly, lots of the race folks cheering the athletes along the way, as well as fellow athletes cheering each other on.
Although I wasn’t in it to win it, or anything even close, I did try my best, and was very happy with my performance. It started with a 750 pool swim. I did the swim in just under 16 minutes, which was 1:30 faster than I had anticipated. (My official swim time was 16:39, but that included the time to get from the pool to the door where the timing mat was.) My bike (a little under 20 km) clocked in at 43:10, but that included both transitions. And my run, which was a little over 5 km was 27:32. I would have been happy with that pace even if it hadn’t ended on a long, long, steep hill. The worst part of the race by far, and one that you spent the whole run dreading; the run started by going down the hill, so you knew what you had waiting for you on your return. I was very glad for all the hill training I do, both up and down. I just kept thinking to myself, I do my hill 8 times in training, I can get up this one once damnit! My total time was 1:27:19, so under 1:30 for a full sprint, which I was really happy with. (The Qualicum beach tri has a much shorter swim, an 18 km bike, and a run that’s under 5 km.)

I placed 103rd overall, 34/100 women, and 10/29 in my age group, which was women aged 40-49.

I have one thing to add. I was so happy that my new kit arrived in time. I so wanted something bright and nice to look at to wear. But I hadn’t given any thought to how much attention such bright fun kit would get. I am an introvert. I don’t like to be noticed much. But the Sunrise kit does not fade into the background. Not at all. But it did lead to more encouragement that I might have gotten otherwise, and it did make me push myself a little harder. It sounds silly, because I have nothing to do with the brand, but I felt like I had to represent them well. So when I was flagging it gave me a little extra push to keep going, and to keep my form good to make my run better. I don’t have any photos unfortunately, as I was not going to make my son and husband get up and out of the house that early to come with me. But MEC had someone taking pictures, so there may be one or two race photos I can link to later. (As I said, the kit got noticed, so I know they took a few of me.)

A new bike, a new rider, and a reminder of how precious life and health are

I’ve been a bit remiss at posting anything on the blog recently. That’s because August has been one heck of a month so far. My birthday was in the first week, and I had decided to get myself a new commuter bike. So I spent a few days searching out and trying cyclocross bikes. In the end, I changed course and bought a commuter bike. It's a lovely Norco Indie Drop Alfine. Yes, the one with the electronic shifting. It’s in the shop getting (at least partially) kitted out for me. (Partially because the new carbon fork won’t be in before I need it for a camping vacation, and so that’ll have to wait until we get back.) I got a really good deal on it, but not so great service from the shop I bought it from. So I'm getting all the work done at Bikes for All, a shop we love.

But the real kicker this month was that 3 days before my birthday I found out that my Mom had been diagnosed with a brain tumor. It’s not cancer, but it’s still pretty scary. The whole diagnoses and treatment planning thing was a bit of a screw up on the part of doctors, but I don’t want to go into that as it seems to be settled now. I may be mid-40s, but my mom is young given my age. And I have a young son who loves his Gramma. She has 4 other young grandchildren too, who all need their grandparent. Thankfully, it looks like we all get to keep her with us for a while longer.

It made me think about what life would be like if she were gone and I’m not ready. So it’s been a bit of a whirlwind of emotions. It made me want to stop training. It made me want to hide in my house. But it also reminded me why I started tri training, to be healthy and present and alive for my young son, so I got back out on the trails and roads again. Which was good, since my little guy learned to ride his pedal bike over this time. He has been using a run bike for a while now, but decided (I think in part due to a little guy we met camping a few weeks back) that he was ready for the pedal bike. It took him 1 try to be able to ride with a slight downhill. Then 2 or 3 rides later he was zipping around on the flats, head down over the handle bars looking for bumps to fly over and obstacles to swerve around. He loves his bike and want to go ride every evening. It's so much fun to watch him bomb around, the joy on his face can be seen for miles. The first day he was able to ride on the flat we were at a local school parking lot (no flat near our home) some people were out in their yard across the street, enjoying a beer in the warm summer evening. They witness a kid who couldn't ride suddenly become one who could, and who was beaming with pride. They cheered for him as we left to go home. He was a little bit embarrassed by that, but he also loved it. And now can even conquer some hills with his new lighter bike. Yes, he got a new bike last week too, which was actually the third bike we purchased last week. (My husband got himself a new one too. We are all set for a while now. Well, unless I decide to get a cyclocross bike after all. They’re fun to ride!) Kids bike are so heavy; most of them are made of steel. But we found him a nice specialized 16” at the Bike Gallery. We lucked out and got a used one, so we saved a little bit of money. (In fact, all three bikes were very much on sale, so although it was an expensive week, it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.)

And I got in a bit of training too. Which is good, given that I had a triathlon to do on Sunday. But that will get its own post.