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Vancouver Half Iron Race Report

I first want to thank Tim, Jamieson and Brenda for being my super fans out on the course. Tim and Jamieson were volunteering on the bike course and had not finished their duties when I started out on my run. Brenda, who had been cheering on the bike course also, appeared on the run course yelling and cheering with her Blackberry in her hand. Through the Blackberry speaker phone, I could hear Tim and Jamieson cheering me on from their station at the bike course. Now that is some great friend! On my second loop of the the run, Brenda was prepared with all my stats. "You are 7th in your age group after the bike, if you keep this pace up you will be under 6 hours by 6 mins". Read on to see if she was right...

My pre race week went as planned. Started carbo loading on Friday night and kept it going right until 2 hours before the race. On Saturday, I attended the pre race meeting at the race site and went for a quick swim. I hadn't swam in the ocean all year and I know it is different than swimming in a lake so I thought I should remind myself what it was like. The water was pretty clear and of course salty. After about a 20min swim, I headed to the beach and thought I should practice getting out of my wetsuit quickly. First mistake I made was taking my cap and goggles off first. Now I had to manage my wetsuit zipper with my cap and goggles in hand. Not an easy task. So I stuffed them down the top of my bathing suit and took off my wetsuit. When all was said and done, it was painfully slow AND my goggles were no where to be found. The water near the beach was very muddy and there was no chance of finding them. By then it was after 5pm and no tri shops would be open to replace them. Goggles were on display at the race site but the company couldn't sell them (not exactly sure why). Luckily, I had a spare pair at home but I knew they would not be the same. The goggles I lost were Sable Water Optic Goggles. If you have a pair, you know how great they are and how expensive they are! Grrrr.

Fast forward to race morning. Alarm went off at 4am. I got up and ate a peanut butter sandwich, 1/2 banana and a bottle of Gatorade and took a cup of coffee for the road. Once at the race site I was pretty calm. After body marking, picking up my chip and setting up my transition, I headed to the port-0 potty for one last time then put on my wetsuit. Next stop was the beach for a quick warm up swim. Once there I ran into many of the SAA members who were also doing the race. After chatting with everyone for a few minutes, we walked to the starting area on the beach and the gun went off. This is where it all begins...

Swim 1.9kms - 36:28
I officially had a craptastic swim (I have been wanting to use that word for a while now and it really fits here). I had not placed myself well on the beach and ended up in the center of a water mosh pit. Now I know why good swimmers drown in a mass start swim. At no time did I panic, I was more pissed off that I had let myself get into this situation. The whole swim was crowded. It didn't help that it is a 2 loop course and I never really got into a rhythm. Ironically, my back up pair of goggles worked fine. Enough about the swim.

T1 - 4:25
After exiting the water, there was a 500m run up the beach and into T1. The run seemed to take forever. Once in T1, I struggled with my wetsuit, then put on my sock, sock, shoe, shoe, helmet, glasses and finally, my gloves. All of this took a crazy amount of time and was not very efficient.

Bike 91kms - 3:09:27
Here is where it gets good. The bike course was 4 loops in familiar territory. I ride in this area at least 2x per week. There is one super big hill but the rest is basically flat. Lots of time in aero and lots of opportunity to go fast. Bike felt great. There were so many SAA member out on the course cheering and volunteering it was hard to feel bad at all. This bike was 91kms and I managed to finish it almost 4 mins fast than the 87kms in Victoria. Go figure??

T2 - 1:52
I am much faster at T2. Again, I didn't race with my Fuel Belt so not much to be worried about in T2.

Run 20kms - 2:01:24
It took about 5kms to really feel settled in the run. This might have been because I needed to pee so bad. Someone correct me if I am wrong but I did not see a single port-o-potty on the bike course. When I headed out on to the run I thought I would see one but I didn't. The first part of the run was through a wooded area and I took advantage of that and headed of the trail to relieve myself. It made a world of difference. Most of the run was along the beach and fully exposed, no shade. I started pouring cups of water over my head and down my back at the 2nd water stop and continued this right to the end of the run. Made for a cool me but very dirty pink Newtons at the end of the race. It was also very cool to see Ann and Winnie Yao at water stations! I was happy with my run time even though it was slower than Victoria which was the same distance. Different course, different day.

So was Brenda correct...?


Final time - 5:53:35
Place in Age Group - 9/17 (I dropped 2 spots on the run in order to secure my Below Average Age Group title)

Item of note on the run...As I was heading out on my first loop of the run, Bree Wee was heading back from the last loop of her run. I had 17 kms to go and she had 3 kms left before she finished. I saw her running toward me and shouted "way to go Bree!". She gave me a quick look and then gave me the hang loose sign. This made my race day! She was also kind enough to submit a comment on the post previous to this one. This made my post race Tuesday. :-)

Thank you also to everyone on Twitter who sent me words of support and especially DevonIain who followed the race live on-line from England then tweeted out my finishing time. Awesome!

All in all it was a good race. I feel like I am set up for success at IMC (which is 44 days from today!)

Happy training everyone!


MJ said…
Great job out there! That "Below Average" title is going to be obsolete before long!
Captain Cactus said…
Great job on the race. Looking forward to cheering you on at IMC next month!

As for the bathroom thing - the extreme lack of port-a-johns at each of the Subaru races really pisses me off, especially since they charge so much for race entry. It really makes those two clowns that run the series just look cheap. That's just my opinion though.
Sheila said…
Awesome race report and clearly an awesome race! Just feels good to read about it and great to hear what a good time you had (swim excepted). I appreciate the swim comments, though. Swim is hardest for me, so it's good to hear what made it tough for you and also to know that even good swimmers have bad swim days. You are so ready for IMC. :)
Jeremy Hopwood said…
Great Race - wIth this lead up you will have a very tough time maintaining below average status at IMC.

bike split was awesome as there is no way Vancovuer is a faster course than Victoria and Vancovuer is 3km longer.

So the gossip i get on the swim (From those who can swim unlike myself) is that Vancouver was a bout 4 to 6 minutes longer than victoria for the sub 30 min swimmers.

I could have sworn they had porta potties set up at the bike turn around but could not say for certain, was testing my bike handling skills through the chicane.
sneakersister said…
What MJ said, I don't think you are below average at all. Well done woman!!

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