Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Canadian Half Iron Triathlon Race Report

Swim (38:33) [last race 43:22] = 5 minutes faster.

Finally, below 40 min. I panic in the swim. My arms were tired and I wasn't going anywhere. I kept telling myself just keep swimming. After a while, my arms still complain. But seeing that my arms hadn't fall off, I kept them moving. My arms are lying!

For every 20 strokes of freestyle I resort to breastroke to get my bearing. Everytime I tried to find a pair of feet to draft off of, I would not be fast enough to keep up with them. Schools of people keep passing me.

T1 (5:04)

Not much to say. My HRM was flashing 170. No I did not stop and
take a nap. We had to run through 600 m through a field with tree roots sticking out to get to the bike mount. Felt like cyclocross :)

Bike (2:46:55) [last race =
3:02:59] = 16 minutes faster

The bike consisted of six loops out and back.

My strategy was to keep my HR at 150-155 in the first three loops. Then push it in the last three loops to 155-160. In reality, I have a mighty hard time keeping the HR down. The legs just want to hammer. This is especially seeing girls in my age group passin
g me on the bike. It was very windy but it doesn't bother me too much.

For the first two laps, I kept singing "if you happy and you know it, clap your hands.." You should see some of the faces people get when I pass them.

By the third lap I decided to push it. In lap 2 and 3, a 50 yr old Clysdale male and me kept passing each other. On an incline, I would pass him. On the flats, he would pass me. The ego part of me can't believe this is happening. I am way fitter than him and therefor
e I should be killing him on the race.

So on the way back on lap 3, I just hammered it out. Push the HR to 160 and blasted the bike. I was riding at 36 kph. Amazing. I never saw him again.

I did that for lap 4 and 5. On the way out, HR 155, on the way back HR 160. Lower back started to ache. So before the turn around, I would slow down, stretch, drink m
y gatorade and push.

By the last lap, the legs were feeling it. I focus on keeping it steady. Don't slow down.

T2 (4:32)

A bit faster. I jogged back to the transition. HR at 140s. Took a leak and hit the run.

Run (1:53:22) [Last race 2:00:19] = 7 minutes faster

The run has two loops. The plan was to run the first loop easy (150-155) and give it all in the second loop. The legs felt great.

In the first loop, I have experienced a weird sensation. I am hungry! From then on, every aid station became very attractive b/c the gel/water or gatorade will keep my stomach quiet. My
HR was around 160 during the first loop. I keep telling myself if I can hang on like this for the rest of the race, I can kill the run.

The second loop. By then the legs were heavy and breathing was hard. The goal was to not slow down. After the turnaround point, it was gut check time.

I had to take two walk breaks. There were a lot of talk about quitting. My mind kept telling me:

- I can walk the next 5 km to finish the race
- why are you pushing so hard on this race for
- it is hurting so much..just slow down for a bit
- You are not strong....where is that fire..the passion in you?
- what about finishing strong? You ain't finishing strong now. Blow your legs on the bike and now
this is what happen.

Have to play mind games:
- count 20 steps (like Peter Reid)
- count up to 100 steps
- thought how fast I have gone today
- thought about how lucky I am to be alive and doing this sport
- thank God for answering my prayers
- must finish strong...

Slowly, I got back to the finish line. I was so happy. I knew I broke my last race record.

Jenny gave me a hug afterwards. She is more happy than me. I keep thinking 'geez, I stink girl...why are you touching me'

Total time (5:28:25) [Last race 5:52:20] = 24 minutes faster

The mind can play games on you. I thought my swim was horrible. I swim faster. I thought my run was horrible. I ran faster. The challenging part is to be subjective at all times. Sometimes you see someone frown over a race but in reality the race did not gone as bad. This is more important when you are in a rut IN THE RACE. Able to see the positive and climb back out of the rut is a crucial skill (in race and in life).

I didn't check my result until last night. From Sat till Monday, my mind throughout the day kept critizing about how awful my race was. I know I scored a personal best. What kept things in perspective was the hug from Jenny.

If there is one thing to look forward to, it is having your friends and love ones asking how the race went regardless of how fast or slow you are. Having them at the finish line and cheering you on when u crosses it. Priceless. I called my parents afterwards when I am done.

Gordo talked about how not to place heavily satisfaction and happiness on time and performance in this article. As much as I am concern about my performance, I know at times I have to throw it all away.

Result wise, I am satisfy even though part of my brain don't think so. Execution though, notice I did not race as I planned. If there is one thing to learn from this race is knowing how easy it is to push hard in the beginning and the price paid late in the race. For longer distance like ironman, this will be a huge difference.

When my friend later told me I can bike around the trails the next day, I was like NO WAY. I will never run or bike again. It is so painful. Ironman..you gotta be kidding me. Then a few days later...I wanna go at it again. The mind is already processing what can be learnt from this race and apply to next season.

..funny story...

We went to this bar call Fat Tuesday later that night. It has live music and you can request songs to play. Jenny's sister made a request and dedicated to me b/c I jus
t finish my race. The musicians made a big deal out of it and then an older, bigger lady (known as cougar) came asking me how the race went. Argh..I felt so violated. She kept squeezing my arm.

Triathletes, especially the male one, beware. You never know when you will be taken advantage of

I spent the long weekend enjoying my country's capital. Love the city..lots of greens and very relaxing. Might consider moving up here in the future.

My support crew (Winnie, Jenny and Kelvin)
Support Crew #2. Me with Linda and Elaine. We stayed at Elaine's parents house over the weekend. This is taken at the Art Gallery. We were visiting the Emily Carr exhibit.

The Parliament. Where important decisions like wasting my tax money is made.

Standing next to Terry Fox and holding a Tim Horton Coffee. Can't be any more Canadian than this.
Ultimate recovery meal, nachos. I also orderd calamari, philly cheesesteak sandwich and a beer. (had to doggy bag the sandwich).

That's all folks...this season is over....more thoughts and ideas to come...


Born To Endure said...

Wow...way to go!! You smoked that course, now on to IMUSA!!

Nancy Toby said...

BIG Congratulations!! You did fantastic!! That's a phenomenal improvement - WELL DONE!!

William said...

Way to go Cliff.

For me the hardest thing to learn is to slow down and enjoy the race a little more. I always want to push too much too and when people I don't think should pass me I get hooked. Arg!!!!

A great racing year Cliff. Next up, IMUSA and the big hills.

Jeremy said...

Great race Cliff! 5:28 is an awesome result of your hard work. It looks like we are doing Lake Placid together next July. Best of luck with your training!

Steven said...

Congrats on a great race and a very good finishing time, Cliff!

You are headed the right direction to become an Ironman next July!

Way to go...

Chris said...

Great, GREAT stuff, Cliff. Solid time and a HUGE PR! Very well done.

Enjoy the off-season! Hopefully, it has more activity for you than just getting fat like mine does me. :)

D said...

Congratulations. That is A TREMENDOUS amount of time to cut off! Nice job!

Carrie said...

24 minutes is a huge improvement! Great job. You look like you've slimmed down in those pics. Lookin' great Canadian style!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on a great race. You da man Cliff!

Bolder said...

you rocked that course as directed.

seriously Cliff, i am in awe of what you just accomplished.

you should be very, very proud of yourself!

i know i am!!

a fitting end to your triathlon debut!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rae said...

AWESOME JOB!! That's a great improvement, you should be so proud!!!!!!!

Love the pics, the food looks GREAT!! You're making me hungry!!

anners said...

you are one crazy dude.

congratulations again :)

Papa Louie said...

Congratulations! 24 minutes faster than your last Half! Way to go!

Robin said...

CONGRATS CLIFF!!! Big showing. You did good :-)

Nice improvements and good synthesis. Here's to winter and then....IMLP!

Mike said...

Way to bust out a HUGE PR to finish the season..that's gotta be a huge motivator as you start planning your next year.
But now take some well deserved time off!
Damn I miss Timmy's-I need some timbits!

Battman said...

Way to go; thats a great time for a huge effort. Inspiring.

Habeela said...

Great race report and awesome job! I can't wait to see those kind of results next season!

Rainbow said...

So I am somewhat new to visiting your blog, but am completely blown away by that performance. That is a truly amazing time! Congratulations!

Afternoon Tea With Oranges said...

Cliff - Those improvements are HUGE! Way to go, man!!! Sounds like a great way to close out the season.

Great report, too - I really enjoyed reading it...some of the things you thought during the race are the same thoughts I have!

Jennifer P said...

Congratulations. Your hard work is so inspiring. Now take some rest -- you've earned it!

TriDaddy said...

Great race! Smokin Times!

Sixteen Chickens said...

The perfect way to end a season... with a beer! :)