Sunday, 28 August 2016

When you're off, and when you're "off"

My favourite races are the ones where I raced my best on the day and performed to what I know is my best.  Unfortunately in the past week, I've had two races that were far off this mark.  One was last Sunday in New Hampshire where I raced the Timberman 70.3, and the other was this Saturday at a local Olympic distance race in Wasaga beach.  Both were underwhelming performances, but in different respects.

Timberman was a big race for me, but unfortunately, it marked my first DNF of the year (2'nd ever).  I flatted at 65km in, and with it being tubular (and a disc), I had no options on hand to fix it.  The result was sitting at the side of the road for two hours waiting to be picked up by tech support.  It wasn't really all that enjoyable (compounded by the fact there was no food/water available to me), and made for quite a long, and draining day.   

Wasaga was a week after Timberman, and although I didn't really feel like racing, I figured I would just go and give it what I had.  The swim was issue free, but mid bike, I was starting to feel more fatigued than usual.  I made it to the run in first position, but after running the first km 30 seconds slower than usual, I pretty much fell apart and suffered through the rest of the race.  I walked a lot of sections, stopped at most aid stations, and mustered together a 50min 10km.  I dropped to 13'th.

You never know what racing is going to deal you, and when it deals you an unfortunate outcome, the only thing you can really control is your response to the situation.  I was "off" in both races, but the response required to deal with Timberman and Wasaga are completely different.

My race was off in Timberman.  This was not due to much anything else apart from a mechanical issue.  Something small (aka a staple) messed up my race, and there was nothing I could do about it.  My race prep and my emergency preparedness were not up to spec, and as I result, my entire race was off.

My race was off in Wasaga.  This "off" had nothing to do with mechanical issues or chance staples in the middle of the road.  I felt certifiably awful on the run, which is highly uncharacteristic and makes me quite suspicious of deeper issues.  I pretty much went straight to a walk in clinic after getting home from the race.

Bad races will happen.  Off days will happen.  When you have one, you always have to take it in stride, but sometimes that stride means buying new tires, and other times it means going to the doctor.  I'm convinced that issue free race is out there...seemingly, there are more than a few off ones on the road to get there.

Monday, 1 August 2016

Kingston Long Course Triathlon: 2'nd OA 2:50:19

The Kingston triathlon is a long running, pretty much historical, race on the Ontario triathlon circuit.  I raced the long course for my first time last year, but unfortunately the day ended with a DQ.  Myself and Jordan Monnink (who were sitting 1'st and 2'nd at the time) missed a turn on the bike course on the way back into town, (cutting the course), which resulted in a DQ for both of us.  The infamous missed turn was relatively unclear compared to other course markings, causing some frustration from both Jordan and I.  You can read more about my thoughts after last years DQ here.

I traveled to the race this year with fellow pro Mikael Staer Nathan.  His girlfriend joined us, graciously driving us both ways, and his mom and dog (pancake) also came to cheer us on.
Pancake likes bananas

Race Summary 

The field was quite competitive on the mens side, with fellow pros Jordan, Mikael, and Alex VanderLinden mixing it up at this years race (along with a few other local fast guys).  We all started the swim together, and kept together for about the first half.  The pack blew apart when the women's race favourite Angela Quick made an attack at the turnaround.  I didn't end up making the break, and was left to swim solo for the rest (which ended up being pretty good, because the lead pack went off course).  Angela beat us all out of the water.
I started the bike a bit down from Jordan and Alex, but ahead of Mikael.  I caught Alex maybe 15km into the bike (he ended up pulling out of the race) but never caught Jordan.  I came off the bike in 2'nd, and was feeling good even after dropping a full bottle of eLoad.  Heading into the run, I was about 1.5 minutes down from Jordan, and 1.5 minute ahead on Mikael.  
I ran well in my Skechers Go Run4's for the whole 15km (albeit no socks, so there was some blood post race).  My pace stayed strong and consistent, and although I couldn't catch Jordan, I held off a hard chasing Mikael to claim second.  
Jordan would have won last year (with me a likely second), so it was nice to see that play out this year (and count).

The overall finishers


Jordan and I both made the correct turn this year and finished 1/2.  Multisport Canada did a standup job of making sure this corner was better marked this year.  Instead of a single/small obscure sign (with no volunteers) marking the turn like last year, this year there were 3 big signs, a row of pylons, and two volunteers at the corner.  Much appreciated!

Thanks to all who were cheering from back home and for all the cheers/support from Mettle Multisport.  By the way, Mettle Multisport is hosting a transition clinic in a couple here for more details!  Up next is Timberman 70.3 down in New Hampshire.