Monday, October 5, 2015

2015 Summer Triathlons Wrap Up!

Coming into the finish. 
Up first in June was the Wasa Lake Triathlon. I was fit and ready going into this race and I think being ready is what makes me so nervous!  I had also won this race last year and was assigned the #1 bib so was extra nervous!  I had a strong swim, very typical for me on this course, 24:57.   I had a strong bike, was a few seconds faster than last year in less favorable conditions, made a few passes and rode myself into third place in 1:03:19 which was the fastest women's bike split of the day.  I moved into second on the run around the 4km mark and stayed strong hitting my goal pace finishing the run in 40:42 and holding on to second place.   A new Olympic Distance PR and a nice $500 prize!
The Team TriLife Crew Post Race

After Wasa Lake the focus turned to half iron distance training for one of my favorite races, Great White North Triathlon.  I had been 4th in 2014 and was very focused on getting on the podium in 2015.  I nailed all my training going into this race.  My running was fast and holding race pace in training felt easy.  I was riding fast and was able to get three really good long rides in before race day.  I was ready for this race!   Unfortunately my body had other plans and I became ill with a stomach bug 8 days out from the race and remained ill for the whole 8 days.   I had no idea how my energy would be on race day.  I swam strong and was quite happy with my swim time 27:38.
Photo Credit Ken Anderson
Out on the bike it was cold and windy and I was riding hard.  I felt like I was missing some energy on that ride and although my time was good, 2:31:43 I knew based on my training I was capable of doing this ride faster.   Out on the run I held my goal pace for the first 5km and that's when I knew the wheels were coming off the bus.  I had no energy and my legs were heavy and flat.  I struggled on the run and finished the slightly short run course in 1:31:02 knowing that it wasn't close to what my potential was.   Final time was 4:30.22 and 4th place overall in the women's race. It was disappointing to fall short of my goals after being so well prepared to smash my course record for this race.  After chatting with Coach Angie I was able to feel somewhat better knowing that I did give 100% of the 80% I had to give that day.   Hopeful there will be redemption next year!

I took a week off training after GWN to help my body recover not only from the race but from the illness.  After that it was back to short and fast work to get ready for ITU World's in Chicago.   Before getting to my next tri I decided to throw one more track race in at the Athletics Alberta provincials for a nice little visit to the pain cave in the 3000m.   I didn't taper going into this race so knew it wouldn't be a PB day but was thrilled to finish it just short of my pb in a time of 10:43.

Up next was the Chinook Olympic Distance Pro Chase!  I was so excited to be part of this race with male and female pros from Canada and the US.   The ladies were given a head start on the guys and then the chase was on!
Team TriLife Crew post race
The swim was pretty rough and I missed the lead group (they were so fast!!) but still had a great swim on a slightly long course in 26:28 and 9th out of the water.   I rode my way into 6th female on the bike and was at the 40km mark getting ready to make the final short climb before the nice long descend back into Sylvan and dropped my chain on the inside of my chain ring.  I quickly hopped off to put it back on but it had become wedged under the chain catcher.  No amount of pulling was going to get it back around the chain catcher and I was most certainly looking at DNF when an age group racer from the half race that had started earlier pulled over to help me!  I was so relieved when I asked him if he had a tool and he said yes!  I was able to loosen the chain catcher off and get my chain back on and rejoin the race.  Unfortunately my mechanical cost me several spots and finished the ride back in 10th place out of the women in a time of 1:22:35 (bike was ~ 43km).   I was so upset to have lost so much ground on the bike and was determined to have a good run.  My wonderful husband was there on the run course cheering me on telling me to forget the bike and focus on a great run.  Which is what I did.   I avg 3:55 per km on the 10km and it felt so good!  I ran my way back into 6th place and finished the slightly short run course in 38:28.   I was so happy with how I raced the whole race, but just frustrated knowing that I could have been 3rd or 4th female overall and top 10 in the chase with the men.   Again...   redemption next year!
Yeah that's me and one of the best in the world!  Heather Wurtele!

|After Chinook I had a big 5 week break from racing to really focus on training for Chicago and have everything firing on all cylinders.   Two weeks before Chicago was the Edmonton ITU race and Triathlon Canada Age Group Sprint Nationals.  The plan was to do the sprint race as a warmup / final test before Chicago.  I trained into this race with just a small taper, but was feeling so strong and fast.  Race day ended up being awful weather so the race became a Du, with a 5km run, 20km bike and 2.5km run.  With the last minute changes there was some confusion on my part on the run course for the first run and I ended up running a bit extra but was thrilled with my avg pace of 3:45 and a time of 20:05.   The bike was wet and cold and windy so I was more cautious than normal on some of the descents and corners but still had a great time of 34:15.  On the second run I just went as hard as I could knowing it was only 2.5kms and I was able to avg 3:45 again and do the second run in 9:56.  I do run well in the cold!  I finished the race in 1:07:25, first female in my age group and first female overall!  Bring on Chicago!!

I went into Chicago fit and ready to go and hungry for a podium.  I knew if it was warm and humid it be a lot harder for me but I was confident in my fitness that if it did slow me down, it wouldn't be much!  I had an awesome swim despite very choppy conditions and averaged 1:30/100m and a swim time of 23:36 6th in my heat and 14th in my age group.   The bike was very congested and quite technical.    Part of the course was underground in tunnels!  We didn't have a chance to preview the course so I had no idea what the course would be like other than seeing it on a 2D map.  Despite the corners and ramps and u-turns I rode very hard in my first lap to stay out of the draft zones and didn't slow down much in my second lap.   I was very happy with my bike.  I had the 7th fastest bike split in my age group and a time of 58:36 on the 38km course.  I went out on the run hoping to hold 3:55 like I did at Chinook.  The aggressive ride and humidity slowed me down some, but I was still able to hold 4min/km.  The run felt hard and I gave it everything I had in the tank, not knowing at all what place I was in.   My run time was 42:19 on the 40.5km course.  When I crossed the line I was done!  When I learned I had finished fourth and missed the podium I couldn't even be disappointed because I had my best race ever.   I had raced to a new OD pr in a final time of 2:10:30.   It was a great way to finish the tri season off and even better was two full days to enjoy and explore the city with Marty and the kiddos.  Bring on the deep dish pizza!!
So happy to have my husband and kids there to support me and celebrate after the race!

I would like to wrap this blog post up by making some thank-yous.  First and foremost to my husband Marty for his support.   I wouldn't be able to follow this passion of mine without his love and support.  To my kids for their support and putting up with me.  They are teens and I'm thrilled that they will still come out and cheer their mom on and even give me hugs post race :)   To my coach Angie...  You are always there for me and know just how to push me and when to back off.   I have learned so much from you over the years and respect your experience and vast knowledge in the sport.  By being my coach you have not only made me a better athlete, but a better coach!  To my Team TriLife athletes, teammates and triathlon friends from across the province and the country.    You inspire me with your own training and racing and I am blessed to have you in my life.  Following you and your races is as exciting for me as racing myself.  To my family and friends...   I feel so fortunate to have such a group always supporting me and checking in on me.  The messages of support you send me via text, email, facebook or phone mean the world to me.   Also a special thanks to Cranked bike shop in Airdrie and Louis Garneau bikes for helping set me up this year on the speedy GennixTR1!

And finally, the running and triathlon world and my own family has lost one of the very best of us this year.    A woman who always put others first and had the kindest heart.  She was always one of the first I heard from to get a good - luck wish or a congrats on a race.   And she was a damn good runner too!  Doris Henry, your family and friends will miss you fiercely and you will never ever be forgotten.