Monday, August 3, 2009

National Capital Olympic Distance Triathlon: Race Report

What a great weekend. Hubs and I left Parry Sound for Ottawa Friday morning. We drove through Algonquin Park, a large beautiful provincial park located in Northern Ontario. We were midway through the park when we saw a bunch of cars pulled off at the side of the road. Immediately I thought, oh no, there must have been an accident, but there was a moose enjoying a nice cool bath on a hot summers day. Everyone was enjoying the spectacle, so Hubs and pulled over and took a picture of own.

(Hubs has hidden the camera from me, I'll update with photos later)

:) Aw the great outdoors.

I was a bit of a bundle of nerves going into this race, but somewhere along the line I decided I was being ridiculous. I was putting time pressure/goals on myself, and I just started doing these a month ago. I didn't bike or swim at all before the end of June, so why was I being so hard on myself? I went into the race determined to put forth my best effort, but not to let time spoil the accomplishment of finishing my first Olympic distance tri.

Hubs and I arrived in Ottawa a little after 6, and race kit pick up went only until 6 (or early the next morning), so we decided to stop by just in case they were still there, and to scope out the race venue at the very least.

We were unable to pick up my kit, but I did get to see where the beach was (and the no swimming in the water - apparently there was a risk of swimmers itch due to the rain and humidity.... uhhh gross!) I also noticed that the transition area was a good 300+ meters from the beach, up a grassy hill covered in Canada geese poop.

Still, I remained excited and positive and felt good knowing where I had to go the next morning, so Hubs and I went out for a nice Italian dinner near our hotel and called it an early evening.

Race morning


I slept on and off throughout the night, and was relieved when my alarm went off at 5:30. I just wanted to get this race on with!! I ate a banana, got dressed and headed over. We stopped for coffee and bagel and PB on the way.

One thing I love about tri's is that once you are at the race location in the morning, you have no time to be nervous. You need to rack your bike and set up your transition area, pick up your time chip and race kit, get body marking done, use porta potties at frequent intervals, put on your wetsuit, and attend a pre-race meeting.

My pre-race set up went well. The Sun was coming down strong already and I knew that I would have to stay hydrated. There weren't enough porta potties though and the line up forced me to rush to put on my suit and I didn't have a warm up swim.

The Swim: 1500 meters + T1

Time: 38:29 (2:34 per 100 meter) Note: I wish the transition were separated out. I want to know how well I swam, and how well I transitioned to the bike, next time I will make sure the race I pick separates the two, some do, some don't.

My strategy for the swim was just to relax and not push. I tried drafting a few times (allowed on the swim) but found I couldn't never find anyone my pace or heading in the right direction, so I headed it alone. I felt great and verrry relaxed. Maybe too relaxed, the swim seemed to be over quickly and I was a little sad when I exited the water.

I stripped my suit on the beach instead of running the distance to the transition zone, and Hubs took the suit handed me a gel and a cold bottle of sports drink which tasted sooo good!! I tried not to think about the bird poop as I ran to the transition zone.


The first transition went well, I tried to be purposeful and not rushed. I didn't want my bike to start out the same way it did last time!!

The Bike - 40 km - Time 1 hr 30 minutes, 20 seconds

Speed 26.6 kph

The bike course was 4 -10km loops along the canal - beautiful, although sunny. I felt really good on the bike. I tried to keep a steady pace and focused keeping my cadence above 90, which I was able to most of the time. I caught myself humming on the bike, so I was in a zone where I was working, but still enjoying myself. I felt myself tire towards the end, but overall felt pretty good.

T2 + The Run -10 km (or should I say colossal disaster) - Time 1 hour, 9 minutes, 54 seconds

Pace 7 min/km

Yikes, well I came off the bike feeling good, but I knew the run would be tough. It was hot and humid, and I never run well in these, let alone after two hours of intense swimming and biking. The run really humbled me.... I have so much to learn about tri's.... the people that do these things are really truly strong, and as a beginner, I must not feel compelled to compare myself, only strive to do better next time.

The run was along a curvy, rolly bike path. Long and short, I didn't like it. It was sunny hot, and I could never get a rhythm since it was up, down, turn, watch out for the bubble in the pavement etc... I would have preferred a regular road run, but I think what was the worst part was that when I went to run I felt nauseous, so for the most part I had to walk. In retrospect, I took my last gel on lap three of the bike, so maybe I bonked?!! Experienced tri people, any advice? I was drinking e-load regularly. Needless to say, this was the slowest 10K I have run in ages, even my recovery runs are faster than this, but the tri is a different monster that has humbled me!!

Anyway, regardless I was still excited and proud to cross the finish line!!!

Final time

3 hours, 18 minutes, 42 seconds.

Something to build on, and I did it. I am motivated now to get even more focused for Muskoka 70.3. My goal will be to complete it, I realized after this race I am not in a position to declare time goals yet, but I still think I can do this. I need to up the BRICK runs and incorporate hill repeats. Apparently Muskoka is one of the toughest 70.3 courses.

Anyway I am off to read and comment on your blogs. Special shout out to X-Country Squared for rocking her first sprint triathlon!!! Thanks for reading (Pictures to follow)


RunningLaur said...

Way to rock it! Every race gives you a new set of challenges and lessons, and it sounds like this one set you up well for the next! Good work - can't wait to see pictures :)

MCM Mama said...

I am SO impressed! You are doing amazingly for someone new to tri's!

Mel-2nd Chances said...

Congrats Marci!! For having just started with your tri's you're doing amazing! Sounds like already learned a lot, and have things in mind for the next one, which you'll rock too!! Looking forward to the pics!

Anonymous said...

You looked good coming out of water and also on the bike. I knew, however, from just walking around that the run would not be a fast one for anyone. Congratulations! Maybe one day I'll be able to complete one.

Elliot said...

i have never done a tri and probably never will unless someone slips me a swimming power pill at some point... but in my mind the way you talk about it reminds me of how trail racing is that i am learning about this summer. it's just a different animal than even distance running. and humbling as it is different and challenging. way to go with the tri!!!! you are learning a lot about yourself. so cool you saw a moose!!!!!!!!! i was up in wayyyyy nowhere Vermont and coming back to boston drove through all moose-warning areas, through the notch/mountain through NH one lane scary highway. i kept waiting to see one,... not this time :)

Meg Runs said...

Wow, I'm in awe and I can't believe you're just getting started with tri's. Great job!

Jo Lynn said...

Very good. I enjoyed reading this report. It's nice to be humbled, isn't it? It's good for us. I look forward to the pictures. Love pictures! ;)

Lily on the Road said...

Congrats!! It is an interesting course, it is the same venue that I did last year (only later in the Month).

Good for you, it is fun huh! So, when you go Iron? LOL, you could do it you know!

lindsay said...

congrats marci!

there's a TON to be said about how you have already completed an oly tri after a month of being dubbed a triathlete. i mean seriously. and now you are already diving head first into a half-iron! you are a machine woman, pure awesomeness :)

joyRuN said...


So great that you were relaxed during the swim :)

Marlene said...

Congrats on your first Oly Tri! Sooo amazing, especially since you just started doing this stuff! Don't be too hard on yourself. :)

Can't wait to see the pics!

Jess said...

Nice job! I'm sure that you can't really compare running a regular 10K, even a recovery one, to running it at the end of a tri.

Heather said...

Awesome job! You are really jumping into this tri thing and rocking it. :)

Vava said...

Congratulations! Sounds like this race had it all: good stuff, not so good stuff, and everything in between. A terrific learning experience, and a great accomplishment. Nice!

X-Country2 said...

I was SO excited to read your report! Congrats on rocking the Oly! (Do I sound like a legit tri person with the lingo?)

You're going to do great at the 70.3. I want to do one some day, so I'm looking forward to reading all about your journey.

(Thanks for the shout out too. :o)

Nitmos said...

Great job! The tri bug seems to be in the air these days...

B.o.B. said...

That sounds like a great race! Well done on all three sports. I am impressed lady. Woot Woot!

aron said...

you are sooo awesome :) congrats on a great race!!!

Denise said...

Wow, that's great!! I'm amazed at everyone trying the tris. Great job!!

Oh, and I'm so glad you didn't get the "itch"....gross!

Ali said...

Congrats on the olympic distance tri! Well done ... you make me almost want to tri ... almost.

EndorphinBuzz said...

I think you did really great. Huge congrats!

Boris T. said...

Congrats on the finish. And I didn't know that some don't separate the transitions from the swim, bike, or run. Well know I do.

Runner Leana said...

Oh no! Sorry to hear the run was a total disaster! Congratulations on the race though - nicely done! Most people freak out at the swim and you are loving it. That is fantastic!

Hard to say whether you bonked or not. I've only taken a gel on the bike, then early on in the run. I would say you definitely need to get the brick runs in. That is the best way to get your legs used to running off the bike. Also, as you get close to finishing up the bike portion, spin at a high cadence, stand up and stretch just to get the legs ready to run.

Well done!!!

RoadBunner said...

Congratulations!! Can't wait to see the photos!!

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