Because of my foot, this year I’ve only been able to do relays, swim/bikes, or just DNFing full triathlons. I’ve had some great races, but it’s been frustrating and anti-climactic to get to the end of a race and just hand in or give away my timing chip. I finish my race, then hang around for everyone else to finish.
Two weeks before the Guelph Lake II try-a-tri, I successfully did a couple trial runs which didn’t even hurt my injury. There was a lot of pain in other places, but I was able to run 2k without the telltale pain that I was making my injury worse. I had to go for it so I could finally finish a race this year.
The morning of the race I tried to find time to pick up a non-fat latte to alternate between drinking it and my three scoops of Perpetuem, but I forgot my race belt, and had to turn back home. Then I left again, and realized I forgot my bike shoes.
For the third race in a row this made things pretty tight for getting registered in time. Considering the 1:30 start, I thought I’d have more than enough time to watch a bit of the sprint. That didn’t happen.
After registering, setting up transition, and warming up, I strapped my video camera to my head and hung around for the start of the race. I was in the third wave, and I was feeling super confident about rocking the swim. I was fully expecting to come out of the water in the top three, maybe even higher. Once the horn blew I ran like mad.
I got in a few dolphin dives, and sprinted for the first 50m or so. I was leading the race until I realized that there was no way I could keep up that pace for 400m. I also didn’t know if I was going the right way, since there was a kayak in front of me with people hanging off it. I hesitated, then two guys passed me. One of them hit me in the face. The rest of the swim was pretty long.
Here’s the hit to the face.
I still ended up getting out of the water in fourth place. I had an amazing T1, passed three guys, and started the ride in first place in my age group!
This wasn’t a bad bike, but it wasn’t particularly good either. I managed to hold on to the lead up until the turnaround, when the leader caught me and passed. I tried to hold on to him as long as I could, but my heart rate was soaring. Every time I checked it was in the mid- to high-180 range. I tried to let off a bit to give myself some time to recover, but I was feeling too inspired to let go. I kept pushing.
During one of my heart rate checks I ended up dropping my Garmin. I hadn’t mounted it to the bike, so when I reached to grab it out of my pocket it just flew out. Looking back at the video it looks like I only lost 30 seconds and one place. But in a try-a-tri 30 seconds is a hell of a lot of time.
Coming around the final turn I got cocky and jumped a speed bump. I dropped my chain. I spent about a minute trying to finesse it back on. I debated coasting the rest of the way in, but I managed to get it back on with barely enough time to take my feet out of my shoes. I lost another place there.
I came into T2 in fourth place, but I completely rocked it. I had an amazing flying dismount, had no problems finding my rack space, pulling off my helmet and throwing on my shoes. I left T2 in third place. I still felt pretty good. My heart rate was still super high, and for me on the run it only gets higher.
I tried running the entire distance, but I wasn’t able to keep it up. I walked up the first hill, and the rest of the time was spent walk/running.
I still had a few great games of leapfrog. I was running more or less the same pace as the guy who ended up in seventh place. He had passed me a couple times, but about 700m or so from the finish I went for it. I passed him and a swack of other people and finished up really strong. I could hear someone yelling “don’t let him catch you!”
He didn’t catch me. If you listen closely you can actually hear it in the video.
My heart rate during the final sprint was topped out at 200 bpm. It has never been that high, even when I tried a max HR test a few years ago. I’m almost surprised I lived through it.
All in all it was a great race, and I not only am I glad I actually managed to finish the race, but I’m ecstatic that I ended up in 6th place—even if it was just a try-a-tri. I learned a lot about how important pacing is (even in a race this distance), the importance of transitions, and what mental errors to try and avoid. It actually played a big role in how successful I ended up being two weeks later at the Syracuse Half-Ironman.