TO Island Give-it-a-Tri Recap

Well… I survived!!! Yaaaaay!

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A couple days before the race, I was starting to become alarmed that I had not received any kind of notification of my wave time. When I went to try on my wet suit, I was telling the person helping me out. He said not to worry about it and just proceed as though I was going to be in the first wave. Considering that the wave times were every 15 minutes and between 8am and 9am, this seemed like a good idea. A couple days before the race I got my email with all my info.

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I picked up my race packet and got body marked on the main-land then Alanna, Paul and I took the ferry over to the island. Those would be out bikes, just chillin’  out. The body-marker people wrote your bib number on your arm and your age on your calf. I feel like this engendered a strange sense of honesty and intimacy that you don’t usually find in races. PS that person in the background of the photo above did NOT look 53. I found a lot of people did not look their age at all. I kept thinking to myself, ‘they wrote their numbers the wrong way around!’

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Yes that would be the rising sun hitting our faces! We took the 6:30am ferry so we were there almost two hours before our wave time (8:20am). When we got to the island, Alanna and I headed over to sort out our transition area. I didn’t realize that all the transitions were happening in the same area; when Alanna tried to explain this, it took much longer than it should have to sink in… I hadn’t had all that much coffee, sue me. I didn’t have to worry about making sure all my stuff was in the right place because there was only one area.

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One of my biggest concerns for the upcoming race was nutrition. I had been having problems with low blood sugar crashes and in the days leading up to the race I wasn’t feeling properly. Since the Wednesday before, when Chloe passed, I had been too upset to eat much. I was completely justified in my concern that I was just going to pass out cold on the ground. To make sure this DID NOT happen, I brought four gels with me. For such a short race this was definitely overkill, but better to have it and not need it.

TO Island Race Recap-3621I had watched a lot of videos about transition areas and what to put where. I wrote down a list and carefully packed everything that was going to be in my transition. There is a neon green towel that held my run stuff, but you can see it better in my first transition area photo. I shoved my sunglasses in my helmet to make sure I would have them for the bike. I don’t normally wear, or like, sunglasses. Something about them being over my eyes and semi-inpairing my line-of-sight really bothers me. I was really glad to have them on this bike because the sun was shining directly at eye level; and it was useful to protect me from the wind.

TO Island Race Recap-3624The race was having little info sessions down at the beach before your wave time. Just important safety information and basic race course directions. After figuring out where all the in’s and out’s were, we put on our wetsuits and sunscreen and headed down to the beach. The timing anklets were to be picked up on the beach so we grabbed those and then got into the water. I don’t remember what the exact temperature was, but they announced it and used the word ‘balmy.’ Under no freaking circumstances was that ‘balmy!’ I know what you’re thinking, but you had a wetsuit on! The wetsuit lets in a bit of water next to your skin and your body heat warms up that bit of water. It is still freaking cold when it hits you!

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So that is me attempting to claw my way out of the wetsuit that attempted to coke me to death in the water. I am not sure what happened, it may or may not have been me just having a small anxiety moment, but it felt like the collar of the wetsuit got tighter and tighter as I was swimming. I feel I should mention that I have some kind of irrational fear of open water. I have no idea where it came from, but I get nervous in open water. I swam most of the 400m on my back and seeking a happy place that was not the water. When I was finally close enough to shore to stand up, my head started spinning and I was just trying not to fall back down. I find that this usually how it happens with swimming though, you don’t realize how hard you’ve been working until you get out of the water.

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The transition went well, by the time I had wandered back to the transition area and peeled off my evil wetsuit I didn’t feel like I was going to pass out. I walked my bike out and took off. The biking portion was easily the strongest section of the race for me. I pushed myself a little bit and passed a couple people, then all of the sudden was over taken by a lot of women from the wave after mine. It was humbling to see these women 20 years older than me totally kicking my ass. I really hope I am in that kind of shape when I get there! When I finally got back to the transition area, I did the sweetest rolling dismount you could possibly imagine. I used to do this as a kid all the time. Living on a farm, you ride your bike a lot and I  am well practiced. It still felt good when the race volunteer said ‘nicely done!’

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Last but not least! The run! This was difficult for me because you’re not allowed to listen to any music. I usually try to loose myself in the music for the first 2K of a run, that is just how long it takes to find my groove. Unfortunately, this was a majority of the run for this race. I feel I can say with certainty, I am a distance runner. I tried to keep myself occupied by yelling encouragement to others, good-naturedly heckling the people who were watching (but not cheering) and making sure I was going the right way. You had to do two laps of the running course, which kind of sucked because it was the same view as the first time, but I understand they can’t book off the whole island. By the time I was doing my second loop and coming to the end, I was finally hitting my stride.

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The best part about this race in particular was the chocolate milk after. This triathlon series was ‘recharge with milk’ by Multisport Canada. There were photos and also free food for the athletes. No medal though. There are fewer and fewer events handing out medals and I would TOTALLY pay extra just to get one. We got t-shirts along with the various kinds of swag and samples the sponsors hand out.

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All the photos from the race are free, which I thought was a REALLY nice touch. I’ve done other races where the photos cost an arm, leg, pound of flesh, first born and you had to guess what the race co-ordinator’s third cousin, on their mother’s side, was named.

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Not too terrible for a first tri. My goal was to come in around an hour and I made it!