By Joni Blanshard
2013 Ignition Fitness Athlete Team member
This was a bit of a wild card race as it was just 2 weeks after completing the Syracuse 70.3 in what appeared to be a record breaking heat wave in NY State! First week was an easy week with “gentle” intensity in the workouts. What I am discovering in this process of training is that my definition of easy might be different from the coach’s! I spent some time mentally thinking through for race preparation and how I would compete in each segment of the race. After running a very challenging run course in Syracuse I felt the boredom of the non-descript run at Peterborough would be a welcome change.
Peterborough is a mass start so seeding yourself properly in the 400 plus participants was going to be key for me to have a good swim. The start area is not wide at all, perhaps one of the worst start areas in the Subaru series in my opinion. I placed myself to the far right 3 deep from the start line. I sprinted for the first 200 plus meters to get out of the mess of swimmers then edged myself closer to the bodies swimming along the buoy line. I kept myself in the mix of athletes close to catch some drafting but not close enough to get hit or swam over. Felt good on the 1st loop then attacked the 2nd loop with a little more power remembering to get a full follow through on my strokes. Although my swim coach wasn’t at the race I was hearing her yell at me in my head to get my arms moving! It was a personal best for me in the swim at 30.45 minutes. YEAH!!!
Okay my goal here was to really cut a good chunk of time off my traditionally slow transition. I was 4:44 in Syracuse! I did actually practice this at the cottage which must have helped as I got it down to 2:27 minutes in T1. Not spectacular compared to the pro’s and elites that are at 30 seconds but for me that is cutting my time in half!!!
If you read my last race report I came out and admitted I am a converted “WATTS ADDICT”. I kept in my zone both on the flats and up the short hills and the long enduring ones as well. I felt good on the bike and my legs were not wasted for the run. The bike course itself is really a great ride. I highly recommend it because it is scenic and has enough ups and downs to keep it interesting. Support on the course was good, stopping traffic and waving you through the right direction (always good to be going in the right direction!). Roads were wet as it had rained in the early am so there were a few tricky sharp turns where you needed to ride smart. Unfortunately several did not and there was one sharp left turn that took down a few athletes. Mentally I got a lift on the bike as I did pass a few riders!
Time here in T2 was shorter then again. I decided to use the WC outside of transition. Need more work here!
As mentioned earlier this run is mind draining, first you run around a soccer field just like you did in high school gym class then head out of town up Crowley Line, a short jaunt on Base Line Road and back. Yup, it even sounds boring when you read it on paper! My trick on race day to keep my mind focused was to try and catch up to the next runner keeping my pace steady. My amazing Garmin was unfortunately not giving me my running pace but it was keeping a running time. I did the best I could keeping my pace using the running time. I abandoned that half through as the math was messing with my focus I resorted to my exertion level. I did plan on picking the pace up the last 5 km but with the rain starting I decided to pick up the pace 7 km out. Funny what the feeling of wet soggy shoes will do to get you to the finish line sooner! Saw Tommy on the run and as always he inspired me to pick up the pace!
I completed the race with a time of 5:19:04 – a full 4 minutes faster then when I did the race in 2009! I was happy! Later in the car while coming home I discovered why the watch wasn’t giving me a running pace… it was in swim mode! Note to self: check Garmin before I start a race so that it is in the appropriate sport mode! Still need to work on transitions and my running speed a little quicker before the Worlds in September.