By Joni Blanshard
2013 Ignition Fitness Athlete Team member
This was my first tri race of the season and my very first race where I would be racing on the bike within my “watts zone”. It took me several rides actually months on the bike before I truly understood and utilized my watt training effectively on the bike. I am pretty sure I annoyed the coach more than once when I submitted my bike data! Thanks Tommy for being so patient. I am now a full fledge Watts Addict! Fortunately for me I have a very supportive husband that drove me to Syracuse, double checked I had all the gear, drove me through the bike course the day before, got up with me when the alarm clock went off at 4 am so we could get to the race venue. Thank you Rick.
I was in the wave immediately following the Pro Females, tough to catch much drafting! The canon went off for us to start and pretty much escalated everyone’s heart rate and we haven’t even done a stroke in the water! However saying that must have helped as I was 2nd out of the water with a swim time of 35.28 minutes. Had some issues sighting as the volunteers on the paddle boards and kayaks more often than not were in front of the buoys, blocking my visual sighting. I think they thought they were helping. Strippers were fantastic suit came off easy.
I really need help here I think I am fast but apparently not when I looked at my time after the race. None the less I did everything I needed to in order to be set for the bike segment.
My first race as I mentioned staying in the watt zone Tommy had calculated for me. I resisted the urge to “hammer it” up the long climbs, the first climb is close to an 8 mile climb with over 1050 vertical feet. Good thing I resisted! Lost 2 water bottles while biking, one being my favourite Ironman Canada bottle. I actually thought of turning back and getting it however the thought of pulling gravel and hay out of my shoe cleats stopped me. The volunteers at the bike water stations were quite good as this is not an easy job passing off to riders. I was impressed and obviously pleased as I did need to grab some water with my depleting water bottle supply. I did feel a little anxiety as faster riders came up and passed me, this happens when you are an early wave but I kept my promise that I would keep in the zone. Tommy said it would pay off in the run. I was feeling great with the bike nutrition I had trained with, it was working well. Scenery is magnificent on this bike route but you have to like hills to enjoy this course!
It did help that I thought I had the sweetest spot in the transition area, easy to find and being on a fence side lots of room. Ripped off my shoes and helmet and threw on the running shoes. I was probably quicker in T2 but the pit stop to visit the WC inside transition slowed me down.
I am usually the first person to advise you check out a course prior to participating in an event. Unfortunately I ran out of time to review the run course the day before and I will admit this was to my benefit as I had no idea how tough this hilly route would be, no nightmares before the race I went into it blindly. Tommy said there were some hills but I have been training on hills at the cottage so it didn’t really phase me till after mile 3 when we climbed what it appeared a very nasty hill, the one with a very steep incline, turn the corner and OMG more hills! It looked like refugees walking up the hill but in better attire. I had thought of joining the walk but Tommy who also was running this race came by and gave me the good inspiration to continue to run. What got me through the 2nd time (it is a 2 loop course) was the heat, the sooner I finished the sooner I would be off this segment. Totally not enough water stations on the course especially given the extreme heat and humidity but the volunteers that were out were amazing as the route had little to no shade and they continued to encourage you to on. I had predetermined that I would reset my race pace slightly given the heat. I felt strong on the run despite the heat and was thrilled to run down the shoot to the finish line. The new tri suit felt good and bonus it made it easy for Rick to see me coming!
To my surprise I came first in my age group qualifying for the 70.3 Worlds in Las Vegas! My happy dance sparked quite a few laughs. I trained hard (despite all the hiccups with the watts in the winter months), I did what was prescribed, I kept myself in check and didn’t over train (that never works), kept my diet clean, being a vegetarian it is essential. I am a happy with the result. Next race Peterborough and yes long range forecast is lots of heat and humidity.