Wasaga Beach has been one of my favourite venues ever since I first raced it last year. I was looking forward to this race ever since I added it to my summer schedule.
With a favourable weather forecast racing in the cooler overcast conditions brought a welcome change to the humidity and heat we have had lately. Laura, Harper and I drove up the night before and stayed with my mom who lives about 50 minutes from the race site. After gong over my times and strategies from last year I was prepared for the relatively flat course both run and bike.
5:00 am always seems to creep up no matter that time you go to bed. Up before the sun we all had a quick bit to eat and packed the car up before hitting the road to Wasaga. Upon arrival we parked nice and close to the race site and I quickly unloaded my bike put the race wheels on and got moving. I racked my bike in transition, picked up my timing chip and got body marked. It was back to transition to chat with fellow athletes and friends that I had not seem it a while like Paula and Mark. I decided to get in my bike warmup a little earlier than usual so I headed out on the course around 8 to check out the road conditions. With every passing winter pot holes and cracks inevitably show up so it’s always a good idea to check out the first 2-5k of the course to make sure you know where the big ones are. It is important to note these mentally because in the heat of the moment those first few kilometres can be congested with racers. You don’t want to be tightening your shoe or taking a drink only to hit a pot hole and get a flat or lose your water bottle.
Once I returned to transition I racked my bike making sure to have my preferred gear selected and then it was off to the pre race meeting where John Salt went over the rules and so forth for the day. The course was the same as last year so once the pre race meeting was over I ran down the beach pathway and did some muscle activations and tempo bursts to get warmed up for the race.
All the duathletes corralled into the start area and had our own mini pre race meeting. Going over the course and expectations for the day. I took my spot at the front of the pack and everyone started to exchange the typical “good luck” and so on. With the sound of the air horn we were off speeding down the road parallel to the beach.
RUN 1 – 5k
This first run was right on my expected pacing up until the 3k mark. Another young gun was out front running hard and I was on his heals trying to keep pace. I could feel the pace slowing once we weaved our way down through the neighbourhoods and at the final turn before heading back to transition I was passed by another athlete in my age group. By 4km I knew that everyone was feeling as sluggish as I was because they were not putting much distance on me at this point. As I crossed into transition I was only 1 minute down from the race leader 30 seconds from second and I knew I could catch them both out on the bike. I am confident enough in my bike skills that I know I can make up 2-3 minutes in the 20km stretch if need be so only being a minute down was a bonus. This first run was not overly quick I with the pace dropping off the entire time… not good. Perhaps I had too much rest going into this race or perhaps it is because I gave so much last weekend. Either way I have had quite a few back to back weekend races this summer and I am feeling an overall tiredness at this point. Mentally and physically I am behind the 8 ball.
BIKE – 20k
Out on the bike I quickly made up the 30 seconds on second place and pushed hard to catch first. By the 5 km mark I was in a great rhythm peddling nice and fluidly passing the race leader I took my spot at the front. I had good average speed hovering right at the 40k/hr mark and my 100rpm cadence to go with it. Keeping constant power on the pedals I hit the turn around at 15:33. This meant I needed to pick it up and negative split the bike leg in order to extend my lead. I could see that Cameron was about 800-900 meters behind me so I knew if I had a head start on the last run but wanted more of a lead to feel comfortable.
Putting my head down I pressed hard on the pedals using a one lower gear my cadence dropped just slightly but my speed increased now using more legs than lungs. By the time I had worked my way to the 15k mark I knew that looking back there was no Cameron in sight so I had extended my lead enough to feel comfortable. I did indeed negative split the bike taking a minute off my first 10 km time. When I hit transition it was a quick shoe exchange and then right out on the run course.
Out of transition and down to the beach it is a straight 400m from the finish line before the first turn away from the beach. Glancing over my shoulder there was still no duathletes to be seen. I had extended my lead enough on the bike that there was no doubt I had the win unless something went horribly wrong. At the turn around and half way point of the last run I felt an all to familiar “twinge” in the ball of my right foot. Was this the “only if something goes wrong” perhaps…. As I turned around and ran back towards the finish the pain in my foot grew with every passing stride. I could now see Cameron and Michael both on pace and Cameron in particular was pushing hard to catch me. With 1km to go it was all I could do to keep moving, the now shooting pain in my foot was a tell tale sign I had done some damage. Having gone through a pinched a nerve in the past I remembered what that pain felt like and this was similar but more intense. Looking back with only 300m to go Cameron was hot on it and I was so glad I had worked hard on the second half of the bike or it may have been a different ending.
Crossing the line I received a solid hand shake from John Salt congratulating me on the win. Immediately after stopping I had to hobble off and lean on the railings around the finish line as my foot was killing…
I always want to better my times from year to year and luckily I was able to do that at Wasaga. Even though I only improved by 20 seconds it was still faster. My first run could have been better and my last run without a doubt could have been better but a win is a win. I will be at Lakeside next in a couple of weeks as long as my foot heals in time but until then its some rest from running and just more time on the bike.
Well it’s not Morton’s Neuroma but pretty darn close. I bruised some small bones in my foot but it’s not fractured which is a huge relief. By Monday morning my foot looked like the pic below. It’s not good when you show up at a physiotherapy appointment to hear “wow, I have never seen that before” !!! But John Smallwood spent a good amount of time with manual manipulation loosening up all the tendons, bones etc before zapping me with the shockwave therapy machine. The treatment was very painful but immediately afterwards I could curl my toes and stand on my foot with considerably less pain. The bruise is gone this morning but it is still very tender.
Thanks as always to the following!
- Coach Gabbi Whitlock – Balance Point Triathlon #OrangePower
- 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
- Laura and Harper – Family first !!! Love you both.