Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Kelowna Apple 2010

Sharon’s Kelowna Apple Olympic Race Report

I have to admit, I had some big outcome goals for this race. I knew the bike was going to be more technical than I was used to, so wasn’t exactly looking for a personal best time, but what I really wanted was a top 3 finish in my age group, and a top 10 finish. Of course knowing that these goals were also dependent on my competition I also decided that if I raced my best race and missed these goals that I would be disappointed but not devastated.

The couple days leading up to the race I had these feelings of dread, like I wasn’t quite ready to bring the pain. Even race morning on the beach I was feeling unready to bring it. Always my number one supporter, my husband reminded me why we were here and that I would bring it as soon as I got into the water. Even during the swim warmup I was having a tough time getting my race “mo-jo” on. I am not sure why I was feeling this way, my only explanation I can think of is I worked my nerves out on Friday and Saturday watching other events and at the prerace meeting and I just wasn’t as nervous as I usually am.

Once the race started I found my mojo in a hurry. From what I could tell after the initial plunge into the water was that I was in second, although I wasn’t sure. I was following the trail of bubbles, losing them from time to time. Around the second last buoy on the first lap I became confused and was looking at one of the buoys on the log boom, a nice kayaker pointed me to shore… At this point I know I slowed down some and felt a couple swimmers on my heels. As I exited the water for the beach run and got back in 3 swimmers had caught me and I was swimming alongside two of them while the third was tucked in behind. This is when I got smart and tucked in behind and we became a pack of 4, 2 in front and 2 getting the draft. This worked well until we started running into some of the men from the wave that went before us and we became a train of 4. Earlier I had realized that this group was swimming pretty darn straight so I had quit sighting and was simply following the bubbles. At one point the lead swimmer had turned to the left too early and was leading our foursome off course. A seadoo came and turned us back on course, but as I was the fourth in the line I was the last to turn back and so lost the pack. I worked hard to catch back up and unknown to me we had become two packs of two. Once I realized this I pulled along side the girl I was drafting and and decided we were doing okay and dropped back behind her. I was 5th out of the 30-39’s out of the water, with a bigger gap between first and second and the next four of us pretty close together.

My transition went pretty well, Marty had made his way to the pathway along side transition and was loud enough that I could hear his encouragement where I was. Could have been a little faster, but all in all, not too bad.

To the best of my knowedge I exited transition in 4th of the 30-39’s and passed 2nd and 3rd (although I didn’t know it at the time) as we ran to the mount line as they were in shoes and I was barefoot and faster! First lap went well, I had some trouble with my rear derailer cable and had to get off my bike at the top of the hill to put it back where it belonged ( it was rubbing on the derailer sprockets as I went up the hill, somehow it became flipped down??). I was a little hesitant on the corners and there was lots and LOTS of bikes I had to pass from earlier waves. I got faster on the second and third lap and saw a female walking a bike on either the second or third lap. I believe she was a lady from my AG, but I am not sure. On the third lap I encountered too much bike traffic at the bottom of the hill, all going pretty slow. I had some good speed and didn’t want to lose it so I took a small risk and went through some hard packed gravel on the left…it paid off and my last climb up the hill was great! Overall the bike was a blast!! The volunteers and crowd were amazing, and it was so great to see and hear my family 3x during the ride. All the corners at the end of the loop were actually fun and I think I had a big smile on my face for most of the ride.

T2 was fast and as I was leaving one of the kids I coached in cross country from a few years ago was there in transition as I went by and yelled out “pick up the pace, coach!”. Thanks, Mike—that was awesome! My pace felt good and smooth, much like it did at Chinook. I did some butt kicks to make sure the quads wouldn’t cramp and I settled into a good rhythm. I was making some passes, but no one with 30’s on their legs, and really didn’t see anyone from my AG chasing me. It was really frustrating not knowing where I was positioned in my AG. Looking back I think I might have been able to push harder in the run and maybe be a little faster, but it felt good at the time. Again, on the run course the volunteers and crowd were awesome! Seeing my family and hearing them cheering me on was such a big boost!! I picked up the pace a bit on the last km and my son and father in law were 300m out to cheer me in. My son started running alongside me up on the grass and he tripped on a hole and did a complete summersault in the grass, it was so funny I started laughing and other spectators were laughing too (not sure if at me or at him). Just made the race that much more enjoyable… My daughter was at the bridge cheering me in and my hubby right at the finish line taking pictures. So cool to run on the blue carpet and have so many people cheering at the finish line! One thing that really stood out in my mind at the finish was the fact that the volunteers weren’t accosting me for my timing chip. I am so used to being ready to fall over and someone wanting me to take that thing off, it was weird, they were all just standing back waiting for the athletes to come to them when they were ready…weird!!

It was so great running into all the TTL athletes at the finish line and hearing how everyone did, and Ally, well I am not sure how one girl volunteers in so many different spots!

Overall this was an amazing race for me. Swims leave little time or energy for thinking, but I can definitely say I biked and ran happy the entire time. I had more smiles in this race than I can ever remember doing in any other race, ever.

Here are the final results:

Swim: 24:24 (20th in the women, 4th in AG), T1: 1:40 (26th W, 6th AG), Bike: 1:08:56 (6th W,3rd AG),T2: 1:00 (20th W, 3rd AG), Run: 42:48 (9th W, 1st AG)(21:20 and 21:29 laps).

Overall time: 2:18:46 7th out of all the women, and 1st in the 30-34 AG.

I very much want to thank my family for the awesome support and putting up with my quirky prerace activities (oh my gosh and putting up with all my training time when it interfered with family stuff!! And I could truly write an entire blog about my terrific hubby!! Maybe I will….), my teammates for being so supportive, and my awesome coach Angie!! You know me so well, kick my butt when I need it and give me “rest” when I need that too, and you are in my head just when I need you to be!