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Victoria Half Iron Race Report

As many of you have already heard on Twitter, I ROCKED the Victoria Half Iron on Sunday June 21, 2009.

Check out my race photos here.

Did I win the race? No
Did I place in my age group? No
Did I finish in the top half of my age group? No, still secure as a below average age grouper

Did I finish the swim faster than the top 2 women finishers? YES!
Did I feel GREAT in the WHOLE race? YES!
Was all the training worth it? H*LL YAH!
Am I confident that I am well on my way to a great Ironman Canada? YES!

Ok, here is how it all unfolded...

Thursday June 18th
I spoke with Coach Kevin on the phone to review my nutrition plan for the race as well as pre-race. After some fancy calculations, this was what we decided on:

Bike Nutrition - estimated 3:30 hour bike time
  • 16oz of Orange GU2O and 3 Shot Bloks per hour (spread out throughout the hour for hour 1 and hour 2)
  • 16oz of Gatorade and 1 shot block for the last hour
  • 500ml of water in my Aero Bottle
  • I only have 2 water bottle cages on my bike so that required a bottle swap for the 3rd hour.
Run Nutrition - estimated 2:00 hour run time
  • Aid stations were reported to be approximately every 2kms on the run course so I opted to bring my Fuel Belt
  • 6oz of Gatorade (2 cups) every second aid station
  • 1 Shot Blok with 3oz of water in the alternate aid stations

Friday June 19
Typical day at work. Tried to eat 80% of my food in the form of carbs. This seems like it would be heaven but 80% carbs gets tired really quick. Packed my bags and got a good night's sleep.

Saturday June 20
Took a 10am ferry to Swartz Bay. Had a fabulous macaroni and cheese lunch at The Red Brick Cafe in Sidney, BC. Drove into Victoria to unpack our stuff for the weekend. A friend who was out of town had offered us his apartment on Dallas Road for the weekend. Drove back to the race site for a 20min bike, 10min run and a 15min swim in Elk Lake. Attended the mandatory 4pm race meeting, racked my bike then went for dinner at Pagliacci's where I ate most of the bread basket and a full order of pasta. Stuffed, we left the restaurant around 8:30pm, went back to the apartment, did final prep for the morning and went to sleep.

Sunday June 21 - RACE DAY!
Set my alarm for 4am and got up right when the alarm went off. This gave me enough time to leisurely have a peanut butter sandwich, 1/2 bottle of GU2O and a cup of coffee. Packed up the car with my gear and we were off to the race site. Once we arrived, I set up my transition then put on my wetsuit. The morning was cool and I was pretty chilled. At 6:30am I got into the lake for a pre-race warm up then set off to find the perfect position to start the swim. Being a confident swimmer, I made my way to the middle of the pack closer to the front than the back. I was chatting with one of my SAA club mates when the cannon went off to signal the start of the race! And we were off.

Swim 1.9km - 30:02
I felt strong during the swim. Any race nerves I had disappeared and I was quickly in a rhythm and headed to the first buoy. I felt my sighting was good but could have been better. Once around the first buoy I kept my pace and found myself passing people. As I rounded the final buoy, my deltoids were starting to let me know they were there but nothing to be worried about. I hadn't looked at my watch so I was pretty surprised and happy to see 29:?? when I hit the beach running.

T1 - 3:34
When I look at pictures of me running up the beach, my wetsuit is still on. I am not sure when I stripped off the top of my wetsuit and took off my cap and goggles. I remember being at my bike still trying to get my wetsuit off by stepping on the legs multiple times. Instead of using the sock, sock, shoe, shoe, helmet, glasses go method of transition, I found myself putting on my bike jersey (full zip so not too much trouble), my helmet, glasses then putting my my socks and shoes. My bike was close to the transition exit so I can't blame my long T1 on that. Basically, this is free time I lost because I didn't practice.

Bike 87km - 3:13:46
Because of my relatively fast swim time, I am used to being passed by 100s of people on the bike. This race was no exception. My spirits were high and I was loving every minute of the ride. I was happy to see my club mates and friends give me words of encouragement while they blew by me on the bike. There were so many supporters from the SAA and friends I never had a lonely moment. My biggest fans (my husband and son) were at the beginning of the 2nd bike loop. A perfect location for me to see them and hear them cheering! Although it had not rained in 3 weeks in Victoria, the rain decided to start on the 2nd loop of my bike. At first it was a light rain then it quickly became a downpour. My socks slowly took on water and I could feel the strip of spray from my back tire hitting my helmet. The rain only lasted about 20mins but was enough to soak me pretty good. My nutrition plan was executed and worked perfectly. I had to ditch my SAA water bottle but received a pretty cool Trek one in return. I was well hydrated since I had to make a pit stop around 3/4 of the way through the bike at a port-o-potty.

T2 - 2:01
This transition went better than T1 and I was quickly out and running around the lake.

Run 20km - 1:58:15 (58:26/59:50)
My goal was to complete the run in 2hours but this was a lofty goal and I knew it would be a challenge. On my first loop around the lake I felt really good. No aches or pains in my legs, I felt really strong. I stuck to my nutrition plan. The volunteers at each aide station were amazing. At this point, some of the runners were starting to stop and walk because of injuries or just being tired. I was able to pass a few runners on this first loop and it boosted my confidence. Once starting the 2nd loop, I was aware that I had 1:12 mins to complete the remaining 10kms and I would come in under 6hours. As the kms clicked by (the course was marked at every km - very helpful!) I realized that I was going to make it under 6hours unless something really bad happened. With 2kms to go, my right calf decided to make itself know by feeling like it was going to cramp but it never did. As I started the final km, I was pretty sure I was going to make it. Not just under 6hours but under 5:50! As I rounded the corner and though the finish shoot, I held my arms high and celebrated!

Final time - 5:47:37 !!

All in all it was a GREAT race. I need to bottle the feeling and strength that I had and pull it out during my next 1/2 Iron and ultimately Ironman Canada.

For now, I am still in recovery mode. I developed a head cold today with a sore throat and hope that it passes quickly. I guess it took advantage of my weakened immune system after the race. A few more days of rest and some recovery workouts should do the trick.

Next race - Vancouver Half Iron July 12, 2009


Stuart said…
Awesome you're a fast swimmer! Cmon admit it you're half fish!

Looks like you're goona rock out at IMC!
Janice Marks said…
great race and a great time way under 6 hours!!! congrats
sneakersister said…
Erin, you are so amazing!!! Listening to how your training has been going via your podcast I have no doubt that you will continue to improve and inspire others. You had amazing race, huge congratulations to you!!!! Well done.
Unknown said…
Way to go! Your race report gave me goosebumps. Your race pics look speedy. So fantastic to watch from your smile from ear to ear out there. Can't wait to see you at the Vancouver 1/2...our last half before IMC:)
WOW Congratulations! Gets me pumped for mine half in September! Good Job!
cathy said…
Congratulations Erin!

You did great!
Sheila said…
Thanks for posting the race report. I never thought about so much planning going in to the race nutrition for distances longer than sprint. It feels so good to have a strong race. Congrats on the excellent time! I enjoyed the pics too.
Unknown said…
What a great race report! it is so inspiring for me to bump up my triathlons to the Olympic Distance and maybe even up to the half Ironman! Awesome!

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