Saturday marked my last duathlon race of the 2016 season. It has been a rollercoaster of emotions this summer as I battled a whole mix of things like hormone problems, emotional stresses, small injuries, car accident, family illness and the birth of my daughter. I failed to qualify for worlds 2017 despite my stellar season and that took a huge emotional blow to my spirits. Battling my heart medication I made the decision to stop taking my beta blockers after my lack lustre performances in Gravenhurst at the Double DU Challenge weekend. Being crippled by beta blockers was not cohesive for what I wanted to achieve. I wish I had stopped taking them earlier but what can you do. After removing my heart limiting medication I saw immediate results with 4 overall wins in a row and 2 course records. More on this later.
Lakeside feels like home and I have raced there every year since I started in 2012. I have improved on my times every year and ultimately isn’t that what we all strive to do. Better year after year no mater how large the gain.
2012 – 01:11:33 (6th OA)
2013 – 01:06:55 (2nd OA)
2014 – 01:03:14 (2nd OA)
2015 – 01:02:38 (3rd OA)
2016 – 01:01:36 (1st OA)
Rounding out the top 5 for the day above you can see that Scott Finch made me work for my win that’s for sure, he was always there and kept the pressure on.
Happy with the overall result I am again not pleased with my first 5k run (19:10). This is frustrating because I have been training with a goal of 17:00 all season long. Call it end of the year fatigue or whatever I just know that I am underperforming when it comes to my running. Luckily I have great biking or my results would not be so good. I focused heavily on my cycling this past winter and I plan to maintain it now, there is not much more of a ceiling to push through at this point. That may change as I do more strength work but currently the emphasis will be on running and bringing my splits down. Overcoming hormone deficiencies and imbalances early on in the season I started to feel better and better but then again my heart medication was my crutch… I will have more to talk about on this once I see my cardiologist and we have the awkward discussion about medication and quality of life……. I ran Lakeside after 2 weeks off due to a bruised metatarsal of all things. My foot on the mend I was a little rusty on that first run having taken that much time off but sometimes you need to let your body rest and heal.
Saturday morning 5:30am I was up and got prepared to pack my rental car. For those of you who don’t already know my car was totalled by a skid steer forklift at work just days before lakeside…… Someone was not paying attention at the wheel and while I was not in the vehicle it doesn’t make it any easier a pill to swallow. My car I adore and just paid it off early so to say I am devastated is an under statement. It has been a long time since I felt rage like I did when I had to confront the driver of the forklift…….anyways
I ate my usual breakfast of toast with jam, orange juice and scrambled eggs. I was on the road by 7 luckily for me Lakeside is a quick 45 minute drive from home. When I arrived on site something was off there were no race signs nothing or pilots on the road……. something was off.. Pulling into the empty parking lot I unloaded my bike and racked it in transition. I was the first athlete there because there were no other bikes to be seen…. not even realizing it I had shown up a full hour ahead of when I needed to be there. Perhaps its the lack of sleep lately but race start was 10:00am NOT 9:00am.
I sheltered under the registration tent and talked to the other early birds that arrived after I did. It was pouring rain and showed no sign of letting up. I kept my shoes off my bike and let it sit out in the rain….. After a little while more and more people started to show up and I got things rolling setting up transition and talking with other athletes in transition in my ambassador shirt. As the real race start got closer 9:30 the rain let up and I was able to get out for a run warmup despite the heavy feeling in my legs. Once the pre race briefing was over again I headed out to try to loosen up my legs but they just felt off after a couple of weeks rest. 5:00 to go I joined everyone on the start line and we went over the duathlon course and race rules for the day.
RUN 1 – 5K
With a count down of 5…4…3…2….1… GO we were off and racing. I took the lead off the start and settled in to a quick 3:30/3:40 pace. 400m from the start the road turns from asphalt to mud…. not gravel but muddy back road stuff. The rain from earlier had turned the road surface to soft mushy mushy. As we zigged and zagged around the puddles I could hear the pitter patter of Scott as he kept pace with me all the way to the turn at 2k. With a turn to the left it is 400m up hill to the half way turn around. My pace slowed which was expected and I managed to keep Scott at bay until about the 4k mark. At that point fatigue had already started to set in and I did my best to keep pushing as he ran by me. Legs heavy I knew my time was not as fast as I had hoped and now I would have to hunt him down on the bike. Entering T1 Scott and I were very close to one another 15 seconds separating us. He left the transition in front and I took chase after him.
BIKE – 20K
Scott already off in the distance I settled into a high cadence of 105pm trying to flush my legs before coming to the first turn. Managing to get into a rhythm my legs did indeed feel less heavy after about 2k. Now I was on a mission to catch Scott who was still passing people and pulling hard. Turning south at the 5k point it was a short uphill and I could see Scott was out to pass but got blocked in by a group of riders 3 wide and I knew I needed to make a move. I shifted down and pushed 300+watts to surge past Scott who had now finally cleared the blocking group. I went from hunter to hunted and knew that he has a strong bike so there was no time to slack off. I spun high cadence up every little rise and kept constant power on the pedals as I pushed hard down the half way point. Averaging 39k/hr on this first section I knew I had the legs to push as hard or harder back the second half.
At the turn around I could see Scott was about 200 meters behind me. He had obviously been working hard to keep me in sight so I decided to push it even more on this last section as hard as I could. For the next 4.5k I road at 42k/hr to extend my lead. With just 5k to go there was 4 small hills between me and transition. Over the last few kilometres I hit every hill in the same fashion high cadence going in and with about half of it left I shifted down slowing my cadence and pushed anywhere from 320-480 watts for up to a minute at a time. The last turn under my belt I eased up the last 1k to let my heart rate drop down before the second run. With a fast dismount and quick transition I was out win the course and still couldn’t see Scott so I knew I had a lead of at least 1:30 on him.
Run 2 – 2.5k
This second run I just kept telling myself “you can do it”. To be honest its mostly a blur and while I felt I was clipping along at a good pace in reality I was just managing 4min/k….. I hit the turn around and got my first glimpse of Scott still about 1:30 behind me, he yelled “take it home buddy” and I knew I had the win. There was no way he was going to catch me at this point. I hit the finish chute and threw up a smile knowing I had fought hard and finally go my win at Lakeside. Scott ended up finishing just over 1:00 behind me clinching his second place victory. Kudos for keeping me scared at all times!!
Conclusion and Reflection
I don’t like the trend or tone of my last few race reports, all saying I am satisfied with my performance but not happy with parts of it. Multisport racing is indeed a challenge and I had to stop and take a step back to change my own perspective on things. There will always be areas for improvement and this is the point if there wasn’t then there really wouldn’t be a point to train..so with the glass “half full” I am chasing my conclusion to say I am greatly pleased with my race result and look forward to improving the areas that need it. I had the opportunity to support a whole bunch of new to me local races this year and of course represent MultiSport Canada as an ambassador for the race series. That last one added a new-found respect for the sport, helping people in transition or just fielding questions from first timers it really made me feel like part of the community. I am always open to answering questions and giving suggestions to people so this was right up my alley. The entire “off-season” I will be posting things regarding training and getting people hyped up for next year. I personally have one 21k trail race left this month and then I will be taking some much-needed time off. Emotionally I am at my limit and this summer has been very stressful summer that I was not prepared for. Family time is what I am most looking forward to in the next few months to just be with them all especially devote some weekend time to Laura and Harper. Fall is right around the corner and cool temperatures so best to take advantage of the nice weather now. three weeks ago I learned my mother is very ill and that has put a lot of things in perspective. I have been emotionally strapped as I battled training, work, family, medical issues and a newborn all at once. For me writing things out and sharing my feelings with the world has been an outlet and a way I can communicate a message with ought having to repeat myself. I will be posting up a “reflection” article soon and I will recap this summers journey, successes and failures equally and what my plans are for next year.
This year I have raced 10 times and had nothing but a blast doing so, but none of it would have been possible if it were not for the following people.
- Laura, Harper and my family, you all keep me going day in and day out!
- Coach Gabbi Whitlock – Balance Point Triathlon
- John Salt – MultiSport Canada & Recharge With Milk
- Chris & Laura Day – 3SIXTY5 Cycling
- Synergy Center Physio – John Smallwood
- Pursuit Health Management – Jan & John Barry
- Oxford Dodge Chrysler Jeep – James and Elizabeth Bennett
- Canadian SADS Foundation
- Jennifer Broxterman – NutritionRX
- Melissa Henderson – RMT