Thursday, September 4, 2014

Toronto Island Sprint Triathlon - Lake Ontario Love/Hate Relationship

I had a bit of a moment the day before the Toronto Island Sprint Triathlon when I found out that the water temperature was a frigid 10 degrees. They actually cancelled the Try-a-tri swim, switching that event to a duathlon - and warned that the triathlon could be switched as well.

After a quick email exchange with Coach Mark to get some advice, I got to the island fully prepared to do my first Du. But then, they announced the water temperature had gone up to 14 degrees. So, while they could not do the full 750m swim, they would have a 375m swim instead. Awesome news!

I got to the race with plenty of time to do my warm-up, which I think really helped. A 15 minute bike and a 1km run. By the time I was finished, I had enough time to get down to the waterfront and watch some of the other waves going off. Also bumped into my friend Wendy who had come out to cheer me on! Got to love my friends!

One big benefit of this race was that there was a good 15 minutes between each wave. What this meant is that after the previous wave started, I had 15 minutes to get used to the water. Since I'd stayed downtown the night before (so I didn't have to take a cab), I forgot to bring a bottle of warm water. So, I just sucked it up, got in as quickly as I could and spent the entire 15 minutes trying to acclimatize. I splashed water on my face, got my wetsuit soaked, and eventually managed some actual warm-up swimming. Along with jokes about whether or not swimming in the lake counted as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, I imagined that I was in the Caribbean. Seemed to work well enough.

The Swim

The second the gun went off, I swam as fast as I could - hope being I'd be finished before the cold actually set in. My watch said I did the swim in under 7 minutes. The official time of 8:12 included a long run up the beach and my tripping in the sand and face-planting. Thankfully, no harm done. It was sand after all. The worst part was I was covered in sand for much of the bike!

Here is a picture Wendy snapped of me coming out of the swim. I didn't notice until now just how red my face was from the cold. Wow!

The Bike

I actually had a very smooth transition 1, getting onto my bike with no trouble at all. The course itself was 2 loops around the island. My goal was to break 30km/h on average, which I did (39:13 for an average of 30.6km/h). I was really happy with my bike. I did have to stop and reposition each time I hit the very narrow U-turn on one side of the island, but overall I think I did great.

Here I am coming off the bike.

The Run

I had another easy transition, heading right off onto the run course. My goal was to average under 5 minute kilometres, which I had not managed yet in any triathlon. But out on the island, I finally had a breakthrough - my best run yet in a triathlon! I actually got faster over the run, actually managing a negative split totally by accident. My run time was 23:41 for a pace of 4:56 officially (the course was apparently 4.8km), and 4:46 by my watch (which said I went 4.98km). Either way, nicely under my goal time!

Finished the entire race in 1:14:20. While I can't make a perfect comparison (last year the swim was 750m and the run was 5.4km), I know this was a faster and better executed race overall!

This also was the first race where I feel I executed my race plan perfectly. I had a great warm-up, I managed the change in the swim, and I exceeded my goals on the bike and the run. Kind of awesome. I even got my watch to work properly the entire time!

Really would love this kind of day at Barrelman!

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