09.11.16: Georgina Sprint Duathlon

The day started very cold and windy.

From the moment we saw the white caps on the water, we knew that the swim would be cancelled. This is the second time that I have done this race and both times it ended up being a duathlon day for all! ūüėä

georgina_run.jpgNot long after we arrived, the sun came out and the sky cleared. It warmed up and the conditions became significantly more favourable for a race. I had little expectations before the race as I spent the past three weeks recovering from my injuries from the Toronto Island Race. My goal was simply not to crash on the bike… not for a third time this season.

The first 5km felt great! Running by the water and feeling the light breeze on my face carried me at 3:55 min/km. I could see three athletes ahead of me but my plan of attack is usually on the second run.

I was one of the first athletes into transition. I’ve always had the fear of ‘losing my bike’ in the transition zone and for some reason, this fear has become a reality for the second year in a row on this race. Imagine trying to find your car in a full IKEA parking lot! My goal was not to panic as I started to see more and more athletes enter transition. I looked around for almost a full minute until I finally found it.

The bike course was a 20km loop. Cross winds on the first 10 and headwind on the way back. I didn’t crash, thankfully, but I was careful since every bump on the road hurt my strained wrists. A 32.7 kph was good enough to keep me in the top 10.

I had already lost my previous placing and it was time for me to go ‘flat-line-hard’ on the last 2.5km. I counted ‘one, two, three..’ as I passed athletes one by one. 8 minutes later, I crossed the finish line.

Well, I ended up surprising myself with a first img_3702place finish in my age group and third overall. What a nice way to end the duathlon season of 2016!

A million thanks to MultiSport Canada Series, Recharge with Milk and all the volunteers for the top-notch race series, Steve Fleck for the amazing job that he does on every race, ZoomPhotoInc and SportStats for the action shots and official timing.

Last but not least, thank you to GNC Canada and CrossFuel PurePerformance for helping me achieve my fitness goals.

 

2016-09-11 | 2016 MultiSport Georgina Triathlon

Until next race season!

all images are courtesy of Zoom Photo Inc.

08.21.16: Toronto Island Sprint Duathlon

A year ago, I raced my very first sprint duathlon at the MultiSport Toronto Island Sprint Duathlon.

I was excited that I finally get to do a race that I’ve done before and I knew exactly what to expect heading into it. Last year, I placed¬†1st in my age group and I was ready to defend my title this year. This time, my family decided to spectate for the very first time. Hoping to impress them with a great performance, I put my game face on. It started off to be a rainy and cold day but the conditions progressively got better as the start of the race drew closer.

A running coach once said to me to always expect the unexpected. I’ve trained well, fuelled properly, and strategized my race but alas, the unexpected did happen. The gun went off¬†as I ran with the front pack, pacing¬†at 3:43 for my 5km. I had a quick transition and I could see my mom jumping and cheering from a distance. I was having a fantastic race.

Starting off at 38kph on the bike, my confidence was soaring. Then lo and behold, everything sort of fell apart on the bike course. Just before the 10km mark on the bike, I heard a steady hissing sound and at that moment, I knew that I had gotten a flat on my front wheel. I knew that at 36 kph that I could make it back to the transition zone without changing my tire.

Little did I know, the morning rain had left the road slippery and¬†around the 15km turn, my Cannondale slid and I (once again for a 2nd race in a row ‚ėĻÔłŹ) crashed my bike. With a strained wrist, a few bruises, deep cuts and abrasions, I finished the bike (thankfully!) with a flat tire and a deflated but still determined spirit. The look of exhilaration from my parents quickly turned to concern when I rolled into transition looking pretty banged up.

The last run hurt a lot even with adrenaline fuelling my body. “Just finish” was the phrase I was repeating over and over again in my head. I looked pretty kick-ass crossing the finish line with a bloody face. Meds quickly rushed to my aid and so did my fellow duathletes as they saw me at the finish line.

I knew for sure that I would have placed 1st in my age group and definitely in the top 5 men had it not been for the crash. Sure, I was disappointed but despite the setback, I still had a strong finish, placing 4/14 in M20-29 and 6/114 overall. I sure gave my family one race to remember.

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Lesson-learned: Always keep the rubber side down.

08.07.16: Bracebridge International Distance Duathlon

What a day!

A week after riding my bike from Toronto to Montr√©al, I knew that I was going to have to let genetics take control and ‘just race’ this one. Before the race at transition, I bumped into a fellow duathlete Mark Cullen and he reassured me that the run course was flat (and thankfully it was!). It was exactly what I needed to hear before the start to calm down my nerves!

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I ran the 10km quite comfortably at 4:14 min/km, and I finished just over 42min. I could still feel the soreness from my legs and it took some restraint to conserve my energy for the remainder of the race. Heading out of T1, I was a bit concerned. The 42km bike was quite interesting. Despite it being a hilly course, I was averaging a decent 35kph until the 20km mark when¬†another athlete had made an illegal pass on me. As a result, I crashed my bike for the first time while racing¬†ūüė•. A little shaken up, I lost my momentum and I couldn’t stay focused. I finished the bike¬†with an average pace of 30.2kph.

I gave the last 5km run my best effort while trying to fight off leg cramps at 4:46 min/km. Pretty good run nonetheless. My legs were done.

It was so awesome having a few friends and family there to keep the hype up. Overall, I placed 9th and 3rd in my age group. I feel so lucky to have gotten the results that I did and I’m so going to train properly for my next race!

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07.16.16: Gravenhurst International Distance Duathlon

It was just moments after we had gotten home, mid-martinis, celebrating another successful race weekend at the Belwood Conservation Triathlon and Duathlon Races, when a crazy thought crossed my mind.

What they say about ‘post-race high’ is true. This is the feeling of euphoria after finishing a race, leading one to believe that they can accomplish absolutely anything. I’m quite familiar with this feeling¬†as it¬†was¬†what led me to sign up for my first marathon a few years ago. I trained for months in preparation for this season… but with the intention of racing sprint distances (2.5k-20k-5k).

In exactly a weeks time, MultiSport Canada would be hosting the Ontario Provincial Triathlon and Duathlon Championships in Gravenhurst, Ontario. This race also happened to be the 2017 International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championships Qualifier Race in Penticton, BC. If I register, I would have to race my very first Standard Distance Duathlon (10k-40k-5k). Untrained for this distance, and with less than a week to recover from the Belwood race, it seemed unwise to register for Gravenhurst. There definitely wasn’t enough time to recover and taper for a race twice the distance that my body was trained for.

So naturally, I signed up!

A week later, we were on our way to Gravenhurst. We arrived at the venue two hours later. With feelings of excitement, mixed with nerves and a hint of regret, I got out of the car and set up the bike trainer to do a short warmup. Before I knew it, I found myself in a sea of athletes at the race start. Then, the gun went off.

10k run, 40k bike, 5k run: my plan was simple. I’ve ran many 10k’s and my goal was to achieve a negative split (run the second 5k faster than the first). Through the rolling hills, I ran calmly with hawk-like¬†focus. It wasn’t until the turnaround when I realized that I was just behind the lead group of athletes. Confidence boost = check! Running into transition, I saw my friends and I yelled ‘negative split!’ with a big smile on my face. At 4:00 min/km, I was having a good race.2016-07-16 | 2016 MultiSport Gravenhurst Triathlon (Saturday)

My game plan for the bike was to pedal comfortably. I knew that it would be the hilliest course I’ve ever raced on¬†and I would have to fuel properly to prevent bonking.¬†I always attack on the third run and I wanted to ensure that I had enough fight for my last 5k. I counted one kilometre at a time, hydrated every 10 minutes, and maintained 95-100rpm for the duration of the bike. I wasn’t nearly going fast enough at 29.7kph to keep my placing and undoubtedly I’ve fallen behind due to¬†my calves painfully seizing at¬†the 30k mark. The last 5k of the bike felt like an eternity. I sped up my cadence to spin out my cramps and re-focus for the last run. I rolled into transition feeling defeated.

I ran out of transition for the last haul. My plan of attack was to pace a 4:15 and finish strong. I ran a little slower at 4:22 but¬†when I crossed the finish line, I¬†felt accomplished and proud. ¬†Despite any hopes of qualifying for Penticton disappearing into thin air, I took my wins. I completed my first Standard Distance Duathlon and I competed with the best and the most talented athletes that I’ve seen. Although I didn’t finish on the podium,¬†the post-race high sure was back.

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I learned two conflicting¬†lessons that day.¬†1) training 101:¬†it is not wise to put your body through something that it isn’t ready to do, and 2) don’t be afraid to take risks and believe in your capabilities. My body¬†wasn’t ready for this distance but I did it anyway.¬†The only way that I could survive this race was¬†to condition¬†my mind to believe that I can push my body beyond its limits.

There was a third lesson: don’t lose hope so quickly for what’s meant to happen, will happen.

I opened my email a week later… I am going to Penticton after all.

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all race photos courtesy of ZoomPhotoInc.