Monday, 24 June 2013

Smith Falls Classic and Giving Back

So here is the much anticipated race recap of Saturdays sprint tri in Smith Falls.  So last year I got a DNF for my first Sprint Tri and I really, really wanted to finish this one Saturday night.  I had unfinished business with this distance and something to prove to myself.  I had a bike maintenance course  in the morning and watched others change their bike tire, I was not touching my bike on a race day but I will be trying to change my tire this week so I can fix it if needed in a future race.  It was raining all day and it was pouring when we were driving to Smith Falls, I was getting seriously worried about biking in this amount of rain but the weather channel said it would stop by race time so I was hoping.  I was not happy when I saw the swim course, the canal had pollution foam on it and the current looked strong, it was 250m downstream and 250 back up to get out, then there was a 150m run along a rocky path to get to the transition zone.  There was nothing I could do at this stage and I was not the only person worried about the canal and the swim.  At 5:50, I swam across the canal and did a bit of a warm up and then grabbed a piece of wall to wait for my 6:10 start.  The guys set off at 6:05 and were were told to get ready, we kept getting pushed downstream and had to swim back to stay behind the start buoys but it kept me warm.  I set my stop watch when the 10 second warning was called and we were off.  The swim was not too bad and except for the swimmer who wanted to stay super-glued to my side and the swimmer who was doing backstroke and did not make the turn to the exit.  I figured I could do the swim in 12:30 mins on a good day, it took 13:30 and I was pleased with that.  The first transition took 4 mins as I had to run to the bike, strip off my wetsuit and get my shoes and helmet on.  
Onto the bike, the rain had stopped just at 6pm and the road was dry.  I passed a few riders and called out to them as I passed, cheering them on and I was passed by a few as well. I knew I was way back but was determined to enjoy the ride.  I saw Neale  on his way back in and knew he would have a great time, I was right and he finished 2nd in his age group and 14th over all for the sprint duathlon.  I never did run into that train and I managed to avoid the potholes, cars and another flat tire.  I took a moment to be grateful as I rode, grateful for being there, being able to do this and for the people competing with me and especially grateful that I had Neale and Stephen there to support me.  I was so happy to make that final turn into the transition and even happier when I saw my friend Christine there to cheer me on.  Neale and Stephen where there to see me off the bike and I think Neale was as happy as I was that I actually finished the bike leg.  Just the run to do, 4.8K and I  knew I could do that.  As I left transition, I remember I had forgotten to eat my gel on the bike leg and I did not have one in my run belt, I was a bit worried about my energy but kept on moving.  I felt like I was hardly moving, my legs transitioned well but I felt slow and had to take a few walk breaks.  The funny thing is that after the bike, the run feels incredibly slow, even when it is not.  I did my 4.8K run in 29:40 and if you take off at least a min for T2 which is included in this time its a new PB.  It sure did not feel like that but I will take it!  Overall time was 1:36:48 and I did not finish last in either my AG or overall, much better result then last year.  All in all it was a successful day for both Neale and I.

On Sunday, Neale and I headed to Tremblant to volunteer at a water station for the 70.3 Ironman event.    This was a last minute decision and I am glad we did it, it was a great day and a great event.  If you are a runner or a triathlete, it is easy to forget about the 100's and 1000's of people to give up their day so you can do your event.  We were there at 8:30am to set up even though our first runner did not show up until almost 11am.  There  is a lot to get done before the first runner shows up and once they start and then it is a steady stream for  hours.  The triathletes on Sunday were great, most of them thanked us for being there, they were 66.2 miles (110.3 km) into their event and they thanked us.  There were a few who I think aimed at me with half full cups of coke but generally they tried to put their cup in the provided garbage can and even bent down to pick them up if they could.  Most had a smile on their face and a sense of humor as they passed, they looked focused and determined to finish.  I try to thank as many volunteers as I can on race day but I will pay more attention in future to where I throw my cups and try to thank them all because without them, I would not be able to race.  Next year I will be doing this event and I look forward to thanking the volunteers as I run past, smiling and looking determined to finish. 

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