Just a quick outline of the past week and then on to the good stuff!
Mon – 6hr bike easy, 3000yard swim, 30min run
Tue – 2hr40 bike easy, 5100yard swim with base pace, 40min run
Wed – 4200yard swim mixer, 40min run with a few pickups on track, 1hr20min easy ride (plan was to go longer but I was tired)
Thu – Travel to the race, 2700yard swim and 1hr easy ride
Fri – easy 20min ocean swim, easy 50min ride with Chuckie, easy 10min run around race site
Sat – California70.3 Race!
Sun – not yet started but possibly: MAF run test if feeling solid, easy ride and swim
My first Pro Half-Ironman race was a success. I did as Chuckie and I planned which was to drop out after 3miles of the run. I felt great when I stopped but knew that stopping was the smartest thing to do. It is best to play it safe and make sure that no injuries occur. I am just post a stress-fracture and started running SLOWLY in January. Here are the weekend details:
The adventure started Thursday afternoon in Chuckie’s BMW truck (aka Chuck Wagon) at 1pm. We packed up the bikes, gear and headed for the road. I was excited as was he (I think!). He kept reminding me about what was ahead in regards to the LA traffic. I smiled, laughed and thought, hmm, it cannot be as bad as Chuckie went on about it. We stopped in
And then the worst of it started: mile after mile for about 4 hours we were bumper to bumper in a disarray of cars (with 1 person in them!), drivers on cell-phones, and cars with personalized license plates. We did make a stop in a small area off the freeway by a hospital. Chuckie was getting some road-rage and needed a break. I needed a bathroom. We ended up heading over to a farmer’s market that was situated on a local garden center and bird habitat. It was awesome. I even saw my first Shanty town!
After 8 hours on the road, we made it to Chuckie’s cousins’ house (Dav V.). Overall the trip was a fast one because of our good company! We made a few jokes and small talk…which then turned to some BIG talk and it made the trip all the better! I learned a few things about Chuckie and he learned a few things about me. It was awesome really; the more we communicate the better this coaching/athlete and friend – relationship will be. Team #1! For example, I learned Chuckie use to have a 2nd left big toe until he got it removed because the race officials thought it was to his advantage in the 90s. I kid…but I did learn we are a really good team.
At Dav V’s, we slept on bunk beds – a fun adventure! I haven’t slept in a bunk bed in quite some time and I felt like I was a kid having a sleep over. Friday morning Dav, Chuckie and I headed over to the oceanfront so that I could get use to the cold temperatures of swimming in the ocean. I was prepared for the worst and ended up enjoying myself immensely. Chuckie stood on the sidelines. His fear of the great white sharks over took his desire to get in with us. Dav and I swam for about 20 minutes or so practicing sighting, riding the waves and drinking salt water. Later, Chuckie and I went on the bikes along the
Back on the road, we ended up reaching the race registration site with no mishaps and little bumper-to-bumper traffic. After getting my race package we hung around the beach and BMW – taking in the views and positive energy. I ran for 10 minutes or so and we got our final big meal of the day. The Pro race was at 4pm. Chuckie got to sneak in with me. He ran into some old friends – actually A LOT. I knew three people: Sara Gross and Chris Brown (local
With my great directions and organization we made it to our home-stay after a long, winding, tour of the area. Sorry Chuckie! Jacque Harvey had everything set up for us and was racing the next day as well. It was a quick night of organizing, a light massage of the shins and feet and Chuckie getting my bike race-ready. It sure is nice to travel with a coach that cares about you. I was stress free and enjoyed my sleep for the night. No bunk beds but I wasn’t complaining. I slept in a beautiful room with a large queen bed. Chuckie took the two twin beds pulled together with his feet off the end. Thanks Chuckie. Thanks Jacque!
4:30am wake up call. I was wide awake at 3am but lay in bed until I heard the alarm from upstairs. Coffee was brewing and I had my breakfast of two Francine Finest Bars (local Okanagan nutrition bars and supporter!), coffee and some weakened Gatorade. The freeway was clear of cars and it seemed as though the trip to the race site was just next door – except no way to get to a bathroom. I had to go soon after we started on the freeway. I did end up holding up well and managed to get to the transition area with no mishaps! I did however, end up losing my timing chip but easily got a new one.
My bike was racked beside all the top contenders and immediately beside Michillie Jones’s. I stayed focused on preparing my bike and transition area, and getting a few sneak peaks at what the others were doing. I learned that modesty is not a pre-requisite for turning pro. Vaseline is used everywhere and in front of anyone.
Warm-up consisted of hitting up the bathroom a few times, running slowly to the entrance to the starting area and some upper arm swings with jumping jacks. We didn’t have a lot of time to get a short run in and we were not allowed to warm-up in the water. The swim did start in the harbor so we were able to get wet and in position prior to the gun going off. I was nervous, excited, and smiley. I am living the life I always dreamed of!
Swim: The water was a cool 60 degrees Fahrenheit. I wore two swim caps to help keep the chill off. My body however didn’t register the temperature because of my nervousness and excitement. The swim was an out and back with the first part being in the harbor and the second part opening up to the ocean. I missed my chance at the start to get on someone’s feet and ended up swimming the whole 1.9km on my own. I was able to site well and kept determined to keep my intensity high. I was unaware of the people behind me during the swim and of Chuckie and Dav right beside me when I got out of the water. Apparently they were cheering for me about a foot away. With the eye of the tiger I didn’t see them! J I came out in 20th place or so (haven’t checked the results yet) and around 3minutes behind the top contenders. The run to the bike was long through transition. I did get a quick T1 down and jumped on the bike with the goal of catching every woman I could. The plan was to go hard and hold nothing back.
Bike: On the bike I felt like I was in my element and started out fast (probably a bit too hard now that I think about it). I rode past a number of girls in the first 20miles. I was able to keep the intensity high but felt some lack of determination out on the course when my sugars were getting low and no one was in sight. It is weird how the body fluctuates from feeling great one moment and feeling like crap the next. Both Chuckie and I knew I wasn’t going to feel 100% percent in the race (nor were we wanting that anyways) but I did find the bike portion of the race tough. There were a number of hills which I loved, but the intensity and power output decreased over the course. Our goal was met though. I made a solid effort and we now have some numbers to work with in training, as I used my PowerTap training wheel during the event. I got into transition in 7 or 8th place (again – I have to check the results) and around 8 minutes behind the first lady.
Run: In transition I felt like a true pro. Chuckie was right there with his big camera taking pictures and cheering me on. He told me to strictly keep with the 3 mile cut-off point. I felt great and headed out. All three miles felt solid and I felt strong when I stopped. I did get passed by two ladies but kept them in site (around 100yards). At mile 3 I stopped and called it a day with a smile on my face. What an awesome time! This is what life is all about: dreams, following your heart and living with gusto!
A few things I learned:
- Having a heavy bike with no race wheels (minus the front one in which I borrowed from Chuckie) is not so good when racing against pros that have the top gear and race wheels
- 5 gels are not enough for me on the bike. Gatorade was needed at mile 46 - Getting on someone’s feet right away in the swim is the goal
- Wearing a bib and race shorts is the best race suit to wear (thanks AVIA)
- Vaseline is important in all dark areas
- Strength is one of the most important, if not the important aspect in the run. Both the chastity and the stamina need to be strong.
- Kicking too much in the swim is a waste of energy.
- Chuckie is the BEST COACH! – Seriously.
Overall: Well, I cannot say it better: I LOVE IT! I love the excitement, the fears, the nerves, the pushing of personal barriers and limits, the solid effort and simplicity of pushing your body to the best of your ability. And I cannot say thank-you enough for the support I have behind me. I am very appreciative for everything and my support network keeps growing. For this race: thanks to Nature’s Fare in Penticton for providing race nutrition, Dav and Deb Veylupek for the night stay at Huntington Beach, Jacque Harvey for my home stay, Avia for providing me a race suit and shoes for the day, Cocymela for pre- and post-race clothing, all my family and local company supporters for travel fees and best of all, Chuckie for the BMW chuck-wagon, his front race wheel, awesome coaching, fun times and support. Did I mention Chuckie being an awesome coach? The best coach? Yes, I know I am bragging about him but I literally cannot tell you enough. I am stoked about what is developing with our team and becoming a future world champion athlete and coach! What a great beginning to a promising stellar year!