Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Doing a Double: Guelph Lake 1 and TTF

It seems like I am always playing catch up when it comes to writing race reports and giving updates on what's happening in my life. But that's just because I have so much happening - so I can't really complain!

But I didn't want to miss providing a quick report on my first two triathlons of 2015: Guelph Lake 1 (Olympic) and Toronto Triathlon Festival (Olympic) - which both happened on the same weekend in June.

Two Races in a Weekend? Why?

I originally asked my coach if it was okay if I did these two races back to back because I wanted to know what it was like to race tired. I assumed I'd feel exhausted during TTF - but figured it would be good training for Ironman Arizona in November. After all, a 17 hour race is incredibly long time and no doubt I'll be exhausted at times. While 2 Olympic races are much shorter than an Ironman...I figured the day between them would give my legs time to get stiff so I'd be more tired than I might be if I did the distances all at once.

You'll see how that worked in a moment.

Pre-race: Welland Half-Iron

Aside...this is a bonus since I didn't want to write a separate report!

The weekend before Guelph and TTF, I did the Welland Half Iron swim-bike (Thanks to my friend David for the ride!). I actually had a lovely day and even topped up the run with 7km of running to cheer on my friends doing the full race. The weather was spectacular - and I had a great swim and a great (for me) bike. It started to rain on the bike - but only in the last 15-20 minutes. Good practice racing in the rain though.

I had a solid swim in Welland - my first real open water swim of the year if you don't count my swim at the LPC Florida Triathlon Camp. I finished the 2k in 36:26 (pace 1:49/100m). Given I didn't really have anyone to draft off of, I thought this was pretty good. Only ~30 seconds slower than Barrelman last year where I got to draft a fair bit.

Photo credit: Barry Richards I believe.

My goal was to push the bike as hard as I could since I didn't have to run. Despite some rain in the last 10km or so, I still managed a great for me bike (3:07:09 for 90km or 28.85km/h). That's 2.5km/h faster than Barrelman last year - although Barrelman was incredibly windy, so not sure how equivalent they were. Next to wind, the bit of rain was much easier to handle! The picture was from a pretty busy section of road, so you can see how focused I was. I hate having cars near me.

Photo credit: My Sports Shooter/Multisport Canada

I finished the Swim/Bike in 3:47:45 (including T1) - which is considerably faster than I did the swim/bike portion of Barrelman. I cut 20min off my bike time...although Barrelman was slightly longer, so it was more like 15-16min. Still - for me, that was amazing. If I could have done a half marathon in under 2 hours, I would have finished under 6 hours. Alas, that wasn't the day to find out what I could do a half iron in, since my race was done there. Oh how I wanted to see what I could do though!

I finished the Swim/Bike 19/34 overall, 9/21 women, and 3/4 in my Age Group. But I wasn't too concerned about that - I was just happy with my big (for me) improvement on the bike!

After finishing the race, I still had a short run on my I used it to go out and cheer on other people. It was pouring rain for most of the run, so I think the cheers were appreciated. The funniest part was being mistaken time and again for a racer. Nope, I was just taking it easy. :)

Of course, Barry Richards caught me on camera...I was trying to jump up in the air to make it fun. Alas, not quite timed right.


Photo credit: Barry Richards

Overall, I had a fabulous time in Welland. It was also great to be able to see some great friends finish -including my friend Carole who did her first Half Iron (and is also doing IMAZ), and my friend Linda-Kay (whose husband Barry got many of the pics)...who is incredibly speedy (and also doing IMAZ).

Photo credit: Barry Richards

Race 1: Guelph Lake 1

After Welland, I was expecting a lot out of Guelph Lake 1. I felt I was doing much better on the bike, and had even been to Guelph Lake a couple of times as part of 2 teamLPC training days. But you never know what you're going to get come race day.

I got a ride to Guelph with my friend Peter from the Toronto Triathlon Club (Thanks Peter!). Alas, since we had to leave so early to get to Guelph - I didn't have time to get a coffee (or more honestly, Timmies wasn't open and I didn't think to go to McDs). But I didn't think much of it. We got to Guelph in good time to get our race kits and set up in transition. Saw tons of people from teamLPC - which was awesome.


I had a solid swim. 27:11 for 1500m (~1:48/100m). The course was straightforward and very well marked making it pretty easy to follow. The run up the hill from the swim exit was the hardest part!

Photo credit...whoever took the race photos.


The bike in Guelph is sllllloooooooooowwwww. Between the speed bumps going into and out of the park, some slow roads, and hills...I just never felt like I got going. But I had a lot of fun anyways as you can see from my picture. I finished the 40km in 1:25:49 (which at 27.96km/h was slower pace wise than at the much flatter Welland)

Photo credit: Race photographer

The run is where I noticed my lack of speed in spades. I've run this course before and I'd run on parts of it in the weeks leading up to the race. But on race day, my legs didn't have much in them. I felt like I was overheating much of the race - and my legs just didn't want to go. But oh well, sometimes that happens! Doesn't mean I didn't have energy to smile. :)

Photo credit: Race photographer


I finished the race in 2:51:04, which was slower than I expected - but still pretty good. I finished 8/17 in my Age Group, 50/127 women, and 210/380 overall.

Got to see a ton of friends from teamLPC at the finish, including Coach James and Coach Alex - which was awesome. Wish I could get out to Guelph more often! Everyone is so supportive!

Photo Credit: Coach James Loaring
Toronto Triathlon Festival
I initially signed up for Guelph because I figured TTF would end up becoming a Duathon due to the frigid water temperatures of Lake Ontario. But, in the run up to the race, the lake temperatures were actually very reasonable, so I signed up for TTF at the last minute because I love the race and love the fact it is in Toronto so I didn't need to hitch a ride with anyone to be able to attend.
I picked up my race kit on Friday (which made for some funny conversations all weekend since I had the TTF bracelet on in Guelph).
Pre-race coffee
Because of the timing of the race, I got a cab to take me down to Ontario Place on race morning at stupid o'clock. We took a very scenic route down in order to find a Tim Hortons that was open because I had learned my lesson the day before about not having coffee before a race. Thankfully, I found a Timmies open at Harbourfront - giving me exactly what I needed to start my day off right.

I got a good warm-up in before the race (This was the first time TTF offered a warm-up area. It was great!). At the start of my wave, I was in the zone. I was crushing it. Had a perfect sight off the buoy and thought my pace was fantastic.

And then I got to the buoy only to be told by a kayaker that I was supposed to have swum to a buoy over to my right. I look over...and there's a big giant buoy about 100m to my right. No idea how I could have missed it...but I did.

D'oh. Never done that before.

But, I laughed and just turned and swam over to the buoy and back...I didn't let the mishap throw me off - I just picked up my pace as much as I could thinking that I needed to make up some time. Grr. I exited the water very happy to be finished and feeling embarrassed. My swim time actually wasn't terrible considering....28:14 (~1:53/100m pace).

Aside: I love this picture! It makes me laugh.

 Photo credit: Race photographer

I  got on my bike thinking I could only get better. Thankfully, I was right.  I had a fantastic bike for me...finishing in 1:21:06 (29.6km/h) which was the best I'd ever done on this course.
Photo credit: Race photographer

I had no idea how the run was going to go, so I paced very carefully early on. Turns out I ended up having a much better run than the day before. Who knew! I even had the energy left to pass someone right at the finish line! My run time was 51:15, which wasn't fast - but much better than the day before!
Photo credit: Race photographer


Much to my amazement, I finished TTF in 2:45:19 - 5 minutes faster than Guelph Lake 1 the day before! It was also a course PR by 4 minutes.

Had a ton of friends at the race, including lots of teamLPC folks and Toronto Triathlon Club folks. I admit that knowing so many people just makes racing even more fun! Big thanks also to all the TTC people who volunteered!

 Photo credit: Toronto Triathlon Club
Photo credit: Loaring Personal Coaching

Lessons learned from back to back races

So, after two races in a weekend - what did I learn? Not what I was expecting to but still a lot.
  1. Coffee is key.
  2. I race better when I've had a coffee than when I haven't had a coffee.
  3. Don't skip the coffee!
  4. Coffee is more important than breakfast - although that is important too.
  5. Even at stupid o'clock don't forget to have a coffee!
Wonder if I can put thermoses of coffee in my IMAZ special needs bags?

1 comment:

  1. Nicely done, congrats. Your training is coming along great. Back to back runs is the key to training for an ultra, so back to back tri's sounds to me, like a good idea to train for an Ironman!! Coffee is essential. Before and sometimes during. That shot of coke later on in a race can do wonders! Keep up the good work, can't wait to hear all about Arizona.