Banff Subaru Triathlon – Race Recap

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Post Race at the finish line

Last week I conquered a fear and checked another item off my 101 bucket list. I’ve spent the past few months chronicling my training for my first Tri, specifically my struggles with the swim, but I am so proud to report that I did it! It wasn’t easy, and I won’t sugar coat my recount but I did it!

The day before race day:
I was a barrel of nerves, and definitely had an anxiety attack in fear I was going to be late to check in, and to drop off my bike off at T1, subsequently being disqualified before even having the opportunity to start. It’s hard for me to admit but there may have been tears in said anxiety attack. I got my emotions under control and we made Banff with time to spare. Of course we did though; the control freak side of me had left an ample buffer. I got checked in, picked up my green swim cap indicating to race officials I was a nervous swimmer (which I really had to check my ego for), and got my bike to T1 making it back in time for the mandatory race meeting.

I woke up bright and early gathered my stuff and met Adrienne for breakfast. Together we headed to set up our stuff at T2, hoped the shuttle bus and headed to the start at Two Jack Lake. Throughout the morning I was surprisingly calm, chatting up other racers as we all waited for the announcement it was time to head to the water.

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Two Jack Lake

The Swim:
We waited around T1 for a couple hours before the call came for us to get ready to head down to the water. The lake was beautiful, honestly picturesque and my photo doesn’t really do it justice. The announcer indicated the water was only 13 degrees and the Olympic distance would be shortened, I was disappointed our distance (the sprint) wasn’t. The buoys looked so much further than 500m, I was sure they misjudged the distance.

Excitement was building as the male sprint heat got in the water to start. Holy crap our heat was next, there was no turning back now. There I was at the edge of the water, wet suit and green cap on ready to go. Next thing you know we are all “swimming”, I put the quotations because where I started in the pack it wasn’t really swimming; it was frantic gasping for survival at best. I couldn’t catch my breath at all, and felt like my wet suit was choking me. I was terrified. The swim was the most chaotic thing I’ve ever participated in. I actually didn’t do one proper stroke the entire time. People were hitting me, and splashing water on me, I just couldn’t calm down. I even yelled at someone to beat it. I feel bad now looking back and know they were probably in just as bad, if not worse spot then I was but her panic and struggle really wasn’t helping my situation. I did my best to get away from her. When I looked around people were swimming in every which direction, it was quite the experience. Throughout the swim I thought of quitting several times… SEVERAL. Somehow though through a lot of self talk I kept with it and what felt like hours turned out to be 16 minutes of my life.

The Bike:tri banff2
When I got to shore, I was so freaking happy! The announcer kept advising the swimmers coming in to swim as far in as they could before standing up, but as soon as  able to stand I did. I was just so darn happy to be able to stand and not to be struggling that I didn’t listen to his advice. When I got out of the water I’m sure I was beaming. Unfortunately, by the time I got to my bike and out of my wet suit I had forgotten all the transition advice I’d been given.

I hit the bike with a fury, because this is where I really wanted to make up some time.  With each person I passed the more excited and energy I seemed to get. I just kept setting a goal to pass the next person in front of me. It was awesome. Then at about the 10 km mark my chain fell off – ugh. I don’t know how to fix a fallen chain, so I just got off my bike and started pushing it. As I was pushing  my bike everyone I’d passed started to pass me back – damn it. I yelled to a spectator biking in the opposite direction if he knew how to put my chain back on, luckily he did and he pulled over to help. Gosh, am I ever grateful to him. He helped me and I was back in the race. I had to work my tail feather off to catch and repass the people I had originally passed.  The bike route was gorgeous, with just enough hills to keep things interesting. As we got closer to Banff town center I knew the bike portion was just about over and I worked to finish the bike strong.

The Run:
When I finally reached T2, I racked my bike and was surprised to see my support group right across my transition area. I was thrilled, but rather disorientated. I could hear them cheering and sending words of encouragement but it was kind of a blur due to exhausting and excitement.  I got out of my bike shoes, into my runners and was away. As I exited T2 and started my run I saw my Adrienne coming to the end of her run. She totally killed it. The run was nice and my legs didn’t feel nearly as bad as I expected. I finished my run in 26 min.

run banffComing into the finish was such a wicked feeling that is really hard to put into words. I crossed the finish line at 1:35:12. All and all, this was one of the coolest things I’ve done. It was a lot of hard work, but I had some pretty great people in my corner supporting me throughout. I am so thankful for that email with the title “sign up now” and for my spontaneous nature because who knows if I would have completed this race otherwise. I raised money for a very deserving cause, found a new hobby, and made some great friends.

Now on to the next challenge…

XoXo

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banff subaru

Picking my bike up post race… nothing but smiles

 

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First Triathlon fast approaching

Where has time gone!? Summer is over and my first triathlon is only 3 sleeps away. Nerves and excitement are starting to take over.

A few weeks ago I incurred an injury on a training run which I thought was going to completely derail my end of season races and most importantly the triathlon. What the doctor initially thought was torn tendons turned out to be an irritated bursa, which I seem to have got control over with physio and Core shorts (think compression shorts but stronger). Luckily I was still able to race Seawheeze which was such an awsome race with a beautiful course, I definitely want to race it again next year. While I didn’t achieve the race goal I had set out (missed it by 3 min), I am still happy with my result especially since I wasn’t allowed to train for 2 weeks. I was not an easy person to get along with during this time, as anxiety and frustration really got the better of me.

We got back from BC Friday, after taking a much needed break in the Okanagan post race to relax and drink some pinot. Probably not the most strategic thing to do since my most important race was a week out.  As Monday was a holiday  I met my friends Adrienne  and Aimee who will also be racing Subaru this coming weekend to “test the waters” – pun intended. And, I’m not gonna lie, it was cold, really cold. My test swim was, well Ok I guess. I was scared and cold. Luckily I could see the bottom in some areas which surprisingly made me feel more comfortable. Lake swimming is NOTHING like pool swimming. I was actually starting to feel semi confident in the pool coming on the end of the swim program but that lake swim really brought me back to reality, I am not a swimmer.

Tonight, I set out some of my race gear, read the rules and all the other need to know information. I feel overwhelmed to say the least. Will I remember all the important stuff? The thought of making a trivial mistake in transition is beyond stressing me out. Other triathletes say you are supposed to visualize the transition, how the heck can you visualize something you’ve never experienced before? I am just praying that I keep my composure and make it to the finish line. That is my goal for this race… finish.

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While laying out some of the gear I decided to practice getting out of my wetsuit which is trickier than it sounds. Wetsuits are not flattering nor are they easy to get on or off. They are also apparently delicate little things and you need to wear gloves or something over your nails so you don’t puncture a hole in it. What if I get stuck in my wetsuit!? How
embarrassing. Weather network is calling for a balmy low of 3 degrees celsius Saturday morning so I maybe just a frozen wet popsicle in my wetsuit by the end of the swim never making it out of the first transition point. Regardless of the result, I can’t wait to check this off my bucket list and can focus on something I’ve been neglecting… sleep.

Tomorrow I have to pick up some last minute things, finish packing and go over my check list twice, then it’s off to Banff Friday afternoon.

Wish me luck!!!

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A little perspective

team in training TRILast night after swim practice our Banff Suburu Triathlon group met to put together a plan for  race weekend, when our Team in Training coach casually says there are only 7 weeks until race day.  Panic sunk in and I silently screamed, what the heck, 7 weeks!

After nearly 2 weeks off, I am behind in my fundraising and swimming. The swim hiatus was evident last night. I was disappointed that the progress I seen prior to vacation had dissipated. Our coach however, is so positive, and ensured I’d be where I needed to be in time for the race. The optimism in me wants to believe this, but the realist in me tells me it won’t come easy.

After practice the other girls were talking about a fellow Team in Training athlete, who joined Team in Training after losing her father to cancer.  She herself has just recently been diagnosed with lymphoma and has just completed her first round of chemo. Despite all of this this, the women is determined to complete the Nike San Francisco Half in October. Wow. Talk about perspective. It dawned on me later last night that as competitive as I am, this race is more than a personal accomplishment or a check off my bucket list; it’s supporting those diagnosed with leukemia and lymphoma, it’s raising money to hopefully one day find a cure.

Armed with a healthy dose of reality, and a robust training/fundraising plan it’s full steam ahead for the next 7 weeks.

XoXo

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Want to donate to my Team in Training fundraising effort and support The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada visit my page:

https://secure.e2rm.com/registrant/FundraisingPage.aspx?registrationID=2282711&langPref=en-CA

 

For the love of goggles

20140616-213720-77840164.jpgOk… I knew getting in the pool  and learning to swim was going to be challenging, but what I wasn’t expecting was how darn difficult it would be to decide which pair of goggles to buy. Have you ever checked your local sport store for swim goggles? Three stands of goggles at various price points that all look identical – how the heck do you choose? Needless to say I was overwhelmed.
Go with the cheapest and hope for the best? Go for the most expensive and  hope price point is a reflection of quality? Apparently there are a couple tricks to finding goggles, or at least that’s what some random lady told me while I stood perplexed staring at the racks. Her advice to me was to look for two things when buying swim goggles:
1)      Ensure ample suction when you remove the goggles from your face
2)      Buy antifog
I am not sure if she was just being nice or hoping I’d  a choice and get out of the way; regardless I took her word as law, bought my goggles and trotted back to work. I hit the pool again tomorrow so be prepared for an update or rant depending how they fair out. Although let’s face it, I am only still learning how to breath properly while pushing a flutter board… gotta start somewhere folks.

What are your tips and tricks for finding the perfect pair of goggles?

From your resident wanna be swimmer/triathlete

Amy

 

Moti-whaaaa

Motivation ConceptOk I have a confession… I’ve been straight up slacking in the training department this spring. Normally by now, I’d have quite a few kilometers under my belt and would be feeling ok going into race season. That is not the case this year. Don’t worry… I got a tone of excuses; “it’s been a long winter”, “too cold”, “I was on holidays”, yadda yadda the list goes on but at the end of the day I think it all comes down to me being straight up lazy with a little fear mixed in to boot. Fear of not being able to complete a strong swim in my first Tri or worse having a panic attack mid swim, but that’s for another post.

The reality of this laziness just hit me over the long weekend, when I skipped swimming in favor of a local pubs 1st birthday bash (whoops) or when I cut my run short not because of the rain or because I was tired but because I didn’t feel like going any further and turned around to head home. Just rereading that makes me feel so guilty.

I don’t think I would be freaking out as much at this revelation if I didn’t have my kickoff race coming up in 2 weeks! This is the race I usually attempt a new PB, this year’s goal however is merely to finish ‘strong’, I’ll defer the PB goal to my next half in August (gulp).

I don’t know about the rest of you, but there are times that I get addicted to whatever sport I seem to be crushing on. It’s almost to the point of that’s all I want to do only to burn myself and zap the fun right out of the activity I once loved; or I start realizing my goals and start to put so much pressure on myself that I zap the fun right out of it. Where’s the balance? Well hopefully this year I can find that allusive balance that so many others seem to have. I plan on training or working out with friends of varying fitness levels to keep some of the fun in these activities and have delegated an accountability buddy to kick my butt into gear when I start making lame excuses.

Anyone else have trouble maintaining motivation from time to time? How do you get back on track?run

Happy training!
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Shit just got real

goggles

Ok, it’s becoming more and more real. I met with the fundraising and support crew from Team in Training to get the low down on what the heck I got myself into. They were great and answered all my questions about training and fundraising, and shared stories about past participants who were survivors or ambassadors. I left thinking I was happy I signed up and that this was all for a great cause,  but a huge part of me is still beyond nervous.

I am  currently a little over $500 into my fundraising efforts, which I think is not too bad for the first few weeks. Only $2000 more to go; doable right? I just need to break it down into smaller chunks so that the number doesn’t seem so intimidating.

Official training doesn’t start for the program until the end of May, but the more people I tell I am doing this race the more freaked out I get, specifically about the swimming. The swimming will not only be a huge physical feat for me (I am a strong doggie paddler at best), but also a psychological accomplishment for me. Apparently Two Jack Lake is freezing, legit freezing. It’s made up of mostly glacier run off, brrrr. Yes, I will be in a wet suit, which will help slightly with the cold BUT it’s a wet suit and those things do not seem very… err …  forgiving. I’ve been contemplating joining a couple group swims around Calgary before “official” training starts that way I’m not completely embarrassed come May.  The girls with TIT though were sweet and reassured me that there are a variety of skill levels and that I shouldn’t be too concerned. My roommate and boyfriend have a completely different opinion though, they have even gone as far as saying they won’t let me race unless I can prove I can swim two laps of the pool nonstop. This maybe a deal breaker. The stubborn competitive side of me says I will swim those laps if it kills me, even if it wouldn’t be a pretty site, but the logical side of me is saying maybe they are on to something.

With reality setting in, its time to formulate a plan of attack.  Deep down I know that means hitting the pool before the end of may, but what the heck do you bring to the pool for your first time swimming laps? Do I need a swim cap? One piece or active two piece bathing suit? Goggles? Looks like I am off to Google “Lap Swimming for Dummies” – wish me luck and stay tuned for what I am sure will be interesting day at the pool.

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Wanna Be

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I’ve wanted to do a blog for quite some time but never really knew what to write about and frankly was afraid of putting myself out there for people to judge, but combining efforts with a couple close gal pals made it easier to get over myself and take the leap.

After a challenging 2013, full of breakups, health issues, and new role at work, I am ready to take 2014 head on. Last year was the wakeup call I think I needed. I’ve set some lofty goals for myself this year and want to make a serious dent on my Day Zero list.

One goal that I set for myself is to race my first Triathlon. I’ve wanted to race a tri now for the past couple years and was afraid another race season would go by with me on the sidelines so I signed up with Team in Training to race Banff, Subaru Triathlon. The reason I went the TIT route is because you have to commit to raise a minimum amount for the Lymphoma Society of Canada, by doing this I am minimizing the potential for excuses. Now, it’s out there, it’s real and people are donating to my fundraising efforts which means no turning back now (gulp). I am terrified, a little out of shape and did I mention a TERRIBLE swimmer.  I’m sure I’ll learn a lot besides the obvious… learning how to swim.  Official training starts in May, and I’ll be chronicling the ups and downs of a wannabe triathlete.

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