Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Barrelman 70.3

Looks like it's time to dust off the ol' blog to tell you all about my first 70.3 adventures! What do you mean who does a 70.3 when all they've done before that were a try a tri and a sprint tri the year before?! Isn't that what all normal people do? No? I guess normal people don't have pushy friends like mine. LOL


Race morning rolls around and my pushy  friend, Mari picked me up at 6am to head down to Niagara Falls where we quickly found parking and hopped on the shuttle bus to get over to Welland for the swim start. My stomach was in knots but that quickly disappeared when I checked my tires as Mari had instructed me to do and realized that the rear tire on my bike had gone flat over night. CRAP! The girl 2 bikes down from me had a pump so I asked her if I could borrow it. She said yes. YAY! As I unscrewed the valve the whole thing flew off the wheel like a cannon. NOOOOOO! What the hell had happened?!?! Thankfully I remembered that there was a bike mechanic set up just outside of transition so I raced my bike over there and asked him to change my tube. PHEW! As he was fixing it for me the guy who's bike he fixed before mine came up and paid his $50 invoice. Oh. My. God. I have no money and no form of payment on me. What the hell am I going to do now?! I took off and went to try to find someone, anyone that I might know that would have money. I ran into Emma right away who passed me her sunglasses which I had asked to borrow because I couldn't (and still can't) find mine. "EMMA! Do you have any form of payment on you?! No?! EEK!". I went back over to the mechanic guy and asked him how much it would be because I'd have to borrow money from someone. "Naw, you provided the tube so there's no charge.". * insert angels singing here * Thank the Lord for this man! Shout out to D'Ornellas Bike Shop here. Having my bike crisis taken care of I then went and saw Nicole for hugs and body marking. She had gotten up at 4am to surprise us and volunteer at the race. Who has better friends than I do?! No one! As Nicole was marking the number on my arm she then moved over to my shoulder blade and wrote something there. I didn't think much of it until later in the race. I said goodbye as some other people had the nerve to want her to body mark them as well and made my way to the loooooooooooooooong bathroom line. I really had to pee so skipping it was not an option. Thankfully I made it out of there with 15 mins to spare to put on my wetsuit and make my way down to the canal. I found Emma, Zin and Irina on the way but could not find Mari anywhere. *sad face* I talked to my insta friend Dana (who had introduced herself at ATB, just before Nicole puked) and then spied Mari from a distance for wet good luck hugs. My favourite. I was feeling pretty relaxed and excited to start the swim. The rest I could wait for.

Swim (2k)
Time: 44.12
Pace: 2:12/100m
Overall: 316/496
Gender: 83/162
Age group: 15/34

The pros were off and then one minute later it was our waves turn to start. We had stayed at the back and I was happy to keep myself there to avoid any kicks or being swum over. I had given myself permission to just enjoy the swim seeing as it would probably be the only part of the day that wouldn't completely suck so I just went slow and easy. At the turnaround is when the fast people from the wave behind me caught up but they were cool and didn't bother me at all. My mind was pretty empty, I just swam. About 3/4 of the way through the swim I started to get cold. I could feel myself shivering and my nose was running like crazy. I kept having to wipe my nose mid stroke because if you've ever had a runny nose in the water before you'll know that snot does not just wash off by itself. It's like having a jellyfish stuck to your face. Not very attractive for race photos, it tends to take away from the weeds hanging off of your body. Before I knew it the swim was over and a man was helping me out of the water. It seemed to be kind of chaotic at the swim exit. There were so many people in the stands cheering and I was trying to figure out which way to go. I tried to find Nicole for a high five (obviously I wouldn't tell her that my hands were covered in snot!) but I couldn't see her. Boo. I ran into T1 and took my time getting myself together. I even put on deodorant which judging by my smell in the car on the way home, didn't really help.

Looking at the ground would explain why I didn't see Nicole

Bike (89km)

The bike was the part of the race that I was least looking forward to. I just don't have the same passion for riding as my friends do. Sure I enjoy it, but my heart belongs to my running shoes. I was cruising along at my intended pace for quite awhile trying to make sure that I was eating and drinking. People were passing me like crazy, most were nice and said "On your left, Samantha".... "Have a great ride".... "How're you doing?" but others had their game faces on and didn't say a word at all. So may people spoke to me that first 25k I began to wonder what exactly Nicole had written on my shoulder blade. Did she write "70.3 virgin" "newbie" "killer"?! Maybe I should ask someone, but I never did. At some point we turned a corner and were greeted with a headwind that never went away after that. "Well this isn't fun anymore" a man said to me as he passed me by. "Nope" I replied. Now I was beginning to regret not going to the bathroom before I left T1. After awhile the fact that I had to pee was all I could think about. Thankfully an aid station with a porta potty soon came into view so I pulled off and jumped in. As I stood up to leave the porta potty my left leg suddenly felt terrible and I actually grunted. Hopefully the girl who was waiting outside didn't hear me!!! I gingerly made my way back to my bike and had a bit of trouble getting going again. The left side of my leg from the sit bone to the knee was really hurting and made riding very uncomfortable. I was constantly standing up and readjusting my positioning on the bike trying to find some comfort. I was also so bored by this point I started singing to myself just to try to keep my mind off of my leg pain and to keep myself entertained. People would talk to me every now and then but because of the no drafting/blocking rules we could only speak for a few seconds so it didn't really help pass the time much and the route wasn't as exciting as it had been made out to be. There was some cheer-leading going on, on the sides of the road and at one point I came upon a group of girls. A group of girls who I recognized!! I waved and smiled to Kerry, Becky and Janine and they shouted and whistled and yelled my name. A girl passed me shortly after that and said "Your cheer squad really gave me a boost there!!!". What?! Get lost! That was my cheer squad and my boost! Get your own!! I also saw Kevin and Lynn out there which was an unexpected surprise. Shortly after I saw them, around 65k Mari passed me. "I've been waiting for you" I said to her. She asked me how I was feeling, I told her my leg was hurting. She told me to hurry, I'd catch her on the run. I told her I hoped I'd be able to walk. DRAMA QUEEN! There were several points in this ride I wondered if anyone could possiblly be left behind me. SO MANY people had passed me. I was getting passed by grandmothers for goodness sakes! With about 25k left to go I'd finally had enough and picked up the pace a little bit I was so finished and done with this ride. Go figure, I was finally passing people now. And one of them had a 40 on her leg! As long as I could keep her behind me I wouldn't be DFL in my age group! It's the little things. Ha. Eventually I came up to the bike dismount and scrambled to get the hell off of this contraption!! I have no official bike time or placing because at one point in the ride I had tried to readjust my timing chip because it was too tight and ended up having to wear it on my wrist so the mat didn't pick me up so all I have is a cumulative time between the ride and T2. Not that I care about my time, it was pretty fricking terrible but I'd really like to know how much ground I made back on the run!

Heading out on the bike, Flatwater Centre behind me

Run (21.1 km)
Time: 2:06:48
Pace: 6:02/km (first loop 1:00 second loop 1:06)
Total race time: 6:41:04
Overall: 397/496
Gender: 110/162
Age group: 23/34

I made my way through T2, racked my bike, changed my shoes and used the porta potty (at least I know I'd hydrated well so far) and made my way onto the run course. This was where I had actually given myself a goal for this race. It was the only part I'd done so. Two hours. Off I went where I was immediately greeted with a woman yelling to me "You're almost there!!!". LMAO  After about 500m I saw Derek, George, Kevin and Lynn and I yelled over "This is balls!! What was I thinking?!" But at that point it didn't feel like balls really. It felt like running and it felt great. "Great pace" a woman yelled out to me and I quickly dialed it back. That's the trouble with the run off the bike. Your legs have no idea how fast they're going. Out of nowhere Emma appeared here and I was so surprised to see her. Holy crap I thought to myself, she's gotta be like 50 minutes ahead of me!! Soon enough I also saw Mari on an out and back and I gave her a high five. Haha Mari, I wonder if I still had snot on my hands! I also saw an aid station with a huge hill right behind it that people were making their way up. Holy crap I thought to myself and made a mental note to skip that aid station because I was walking that hill! On the second hill is where I caught back up to Mari. "Keep running!" I yelled "I'm coming!!!!!". We walked the top portion of the hill together and then I went on ahead. Passing, passing, passing, passing. No one passed me. I came up behind one woman and she said "I hear a fast runner coming. Are you on your second loop?". "I wish" I said and she looked startled. "Fast runner, slow cyclist" I laughed to her. A short time later I came upon another woman just as a girl with a 20 on her leg went blazing past. "I used to be 20 once". she said to me. We all got a good laugh about that one. Except the 20 year old. She was long gone.
Running past the falls! 

At 8k I reminded myself to take a gel. At 8.5k my tummy let me know that it was not cool with the gel. Great. Was this going to be another Ottawa?! I came back into the park and made my way back out for my second loop. I was ok with the double loop. Mentally I broke the run up into two 10k runs and that really helped me. I ran past Derek again who took my picture and told myself no walking until the hill.

 I saw Emma again in pretty much the exact same spot I'd seen her before and told her how awesome she was doing (and lucky she was almost done!). She truly killed it out there. I kept going with my sore tummy until the first hill and was proud of myself for not walking before it. Too bad I couldn't keep up with that mental toughness after that though because the walk breaks were coming more and more from this point on. At 16k I forced myself to take another gel. At 17k vomit started coming up the back of my throat. Finally I was passing the last aid station. "Do you need anything?" they asked me "I need to be finished this race!!!!!!" I yelled to them. "You're almost there, girlfriend" the woman said. Yep. Almost there. My tummy started rolling after this part and the heaves began. I leaned over to the side and almost vomited on the 9k sign that was there for the first loop. "Oh boy" I said aloud. My eyes were watering like crazy but I would not stop. I was not going to feel defeated like I had in Ottawa. I walked and ran and walked and ran my way to the finish where people kept telling me how close I was. Yep. Finally I saw Derek cheering for me and knew that NOW I was almost there. I laughed when I saw that they were holding the tape up for me to run through at the finish line. So absurd. I threw my arms up into the air, broke the tape and gladly accepted my medal. I had just traveled 113km by my own locomotion and I was damn proud! It hadn't gone the way that I had envisioned but when do races ever? Go me!

Yeah baby! 

So easy to forget the garbage once the race is finished! Let's do it again!


Despite my upset tummy and sore leg (which strangely never bothered me on the run) I actually enjoyed myself out there. The swim was amazing, the bike was boring, and the run course was awesome! Running past the falls twice, feeling the mist and watching people take selfies in front of one of the wonders of the world was so, so great! Will I do another 70.3? Yes. Mari is relentless in her quest for me to do a full IM but I'd really need to get my tummy figured out before I even contemplate it. Plus I have no idea how I'd fit the training in. Not to mention I still have the BQ goal with Nicole to do. Any way, while your medal was TERRIBLE, Barrelman (You couldn't throw a little writing on the ribbon or make the barrel spin?!?! WEAK!!) I truly enjoyed myself and would recommend this race to anyone. The volunteers were all incredible, especially the ones body marking. :oD And if you're wondering what it was that Nicole wrote on my shoulder blade it was #oldboobs and #dontfuckitup