This is my journey from couch to athlete.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

GWN take 2

Last year I did this race as my first half im and finished but in 8:17:22 - 17mins over the official cut-off time. It was a great accomplishment but this year I had to prove I could get in under 8 hours. I even promised the race director that I'd be in on time this year (which he announced at the pre-race dinner.) After last year, I was on a mission, one that cost us a lot of money I invested in a better bike, bought a treadmill so I could train without needing a babysitter, and hired a coach to help me reach my goal. I followed the plan almost to the letter and finished over 95% of the workouts. I've already seen great results this year with a PB in the 10km, and a 22min improvement at my warm up tri in May. I'd have to look up what I weighed last year, but I'm pretty sure I was about 20lbs lighter this year, at 151lbs on race day.

Lots of last minute questions for my coach leading up to race day, and some nerves, but definitely not as nervous as last year. Race morning was relatively calm for me, but one of my friends realized he forgot his timing chip about 10 minutes after we left so we had to go back and get it. I really wanted to warm up in the water and was hoping to be there earlier then we did.

Got there, set up transition, found a bathroom and went to put on my wetsuit. I took off my timing chip and placed it in my bag, then put on the wetsuit and gave the bag to a friend to put in the car (which was not parked anywhere near the starting area.) I went for a warm up swim, the water felt fantastic! When I was coming out, the announcer says something about making sure your timing chip is under your wetsuit, when I realize I didn't put mine back on. I run back to where we were standing but my friend is gone. I'm in a panic when her husband says she took the bag to the car. One of my friends says that you can get another timing chip at the tent, just go ask for one. There is only a couple of minutes to the start, so I run over there, almost in tears explaining that my timing chip was taken back to the parking lot and I don't have it. The guy just looks at me, hands me another one and says "calm down" it's fine. Now you can be the first person to go through to the starting area. At this time I thought they wouldn't know who I was when I finished, that was disappointing because I have pictured the perfect finish a thousand times and of course always heard Steve King (the Ironman Canada announcer that also does this race) saying my name and time. Oh well, can't let that get me down, it's time to do this. Weather for the day - not a cloud in the sky, high of 24c with a 10-15km wind.

The swim

The starting gun goes off and I wade in to the water. Lots of people this year - this was the largest field of competitors for this race. Of course it takes a few minutes to find your space in the group but I'm off and swimming comfortably pretty early on. It felt effortless. I just focused on a nice powerful stroke and gliding. Coming in for the first loop, I stand up to go around the buouy and I hear the announcer saying we're at 23 minutes I was shocked! I knew I was faster because I did not get lapped by the lead group this year but had no idea what my time was. This was really encouraging! Headed out for loop number two - there wasn't as many people to draft of of this time, but more room to swim. There were still people around me the whole time which was totally different from last year when I was basically by myself with a few stragglers around. Came out of the water and felt really good!

2006 - 1:03

2007 - 49.54 place 584/622

My only goal for the swim was to make it in under an hour. I know I didn't train very hard in the pool and was only aiming to feel fresher when I finished this year. Somehow, I felt good and took off a whack load of time.

The transition went well, except when I went to get on my bike I was just before the mount line. There were people everywhere so it was pretty chaotic. A volunteer told me I had to move up to the line, so I stepped back over my bike and just as I did this another volunteer comes running across the road and grabs my bike. She starts pulling it backwards, and totally throws off my balance so I yelled at her to let go of my bike. She says "sorry" but I don't know what she was thinking - that was NOT necessary. She could have just asked me. She made me go back a few feet and walk back to the line. Apparently I'm in kindergarten again. I was mad and gave her a few choice words, then got going on the bike.

The bike

Definitely my strongest and favourite of the three sports. The plan was to try and keep my heartrate around 150 for the first hour. It was really hard at the beginning because there were so many people around me and I wanted to get going. I tried to focus on eating, taking gels and drinking. 4km in I take the turnoff in to town, just at the top I hear honking and see my husband is just coming in (him and my son were volunteering so they came a little later.) That was good! At least now I knew that he knew I made it through the swim ok and was off on the bike. Lots of leapfrogging on the bike. Passed people and got passed. The last 20km I was allowed to increase my heartrate to 155, so I put it in the large chain ring and took off. It was AWESOME - I passed a lot of people and felt really strong. I kept checking my watch trying to figure out when I'd be in. I knew I was going to beat my goal of 3:30.

2006 - 3:45 (with transitions)

2007 - 3:18:08 place 492/622

The run

The beginning was ok, definitely felt better than last year but I was still tired. Just kept running. I had a goal of finishing the half marathon under 3 hours because my first half was 2:56 and I thought it would be really cool to show how far I've come since then. Everything was going pretty good until the 8km mark. Then I started to get sharp pains in my stomach. Every time I would take sport beans, oranges or sports drink it would get worse. So I started taking water at the aide stations. Around 9km Krista shows up on her mountain bike. This is such a crappy part of the course - there is no shade, and barely any spectators. It was FANTASTIC to have someone to talk to for a while. Krista has been through many distance events herself so she really knew how I felt. We joked about never eating sport beans again and just talked about racing. At about 12km she was off back to the finish area and I was on my own. As soon as she left my stomach was hurting again. I think it hurt when she was there but I wasn't thinking about it. I was walking more than I should but when I did my stomach would settle down so I could run for a while. I just kept focusing on the time. It was 2:20 with about 4km to go, so I knew I could get in under 3 hours! With about 4km to go, I saw my brother - he said he would come run the last few kms with me. He told me that one of my friends that was about 3 km in front of my had collapsed twice, but he managed to get her back up and running. She had asked for medical help but by the time they arrived she was running again so they pretended it wasn't them and let them drive by She could finish! My brother and I have never run together so it was really cool to spend the last few kms with him. We made a deal to walk all the uphills and then run. Coming to the final road, I could see all of my friends cheering! I wanted to walk so bad but I couldn't walk in front of them after they had waited all that time to see me finish last year, so I kept running. I was tired and my stomach was sore but there is something about being that close that keeps you going. I round the corner and hear Steve King saying, "this girl had a deal with our race director that she would finish under 8 hours. She was the final finisher of the 2006 Great White North Triathlon at 8hours 17 minutes, and here she comes at 7 hours" I look at the clock and it says 7:00 I couldn't believe it. When I was at 13km someone said it was 1:49pm, and from there I figured out I could actually manage a 7 hour finish but never believed coming up to this race that I would do under 7:20.

I cross the line, give my husband a huge hug, and then go to the race director for my medal. He hugs me and says "holy sh%t, I can't believe it, how did you do that?" I said, "I trained my a$$ off for 7 months to come here and do this today."

Run 2006 - 3:27

2007 - 2:52:49 place 585/622

Overall 2006 - 8:17:22

2007 - 7:00:50 574/622 70/78 age group
The team that makes it all happen!


  • At 4:13 PM, Blogger Kelodie said…

    You are AMAZING, Kerry. Your dedication is a wonderful example to everyone around you. You inspire me to try and make it happen. :-)



Post a Comment

<< Home