My training, racing, things that go through my head, memorable moments, and such.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Beijing Race Report

We sure aren't in Kansas anymore my friends! On Tuesday we landed in Victoria, and Wednesday morning we all were thrown back into school without an inch of mercy. My first day went badly. I got to school early, but my internet wasn't working and I ended up missing my first class because I didn't know where it was being held. ROokie move. I finally got my butt over to the library, where I promptly checked my class location on a school computer, and found out I had been de-registered for missing 3 classes! I had emailed my prof ahead of time about Beijing, but apparently she has no heart. I am now 3rd on the waitlist for that class. Day two of school started at 8:30 am with exercise physiology (which is an awesome class that I am awesome at) and ended at 9:30 pm with a chem lab (which is a terrible class that I am terrible at). That is 13 hours spent learning!! Yesterday I woke up shaky from exhaustion, and then made the mistake of drinking a coffee! Oops. Nervous system overload for sure. I may or may not have done the same thing this morning, which is making my typing super fast and erratic, and if you haven't noticed, my thought patterns just as erratic.

Onto my first Worlds experience!

First of all, Team Canada is awesome. The athletes are awesome, the coaches are awesome, and the support staff is awesome. I think triathlon Canada did an incredible job of going above and beyond the norm for this race, allowing almost all the athletes to be in their peak form. We had our fair share of mishaps pre-race, but having such a great team allowed us to get through them.

On the first training day, we had a nice team pile-up on the bike course as we went around a corner that had just been "washed" and was still very wet. No one was seriously hurt, but there was definitely some nice bruises and scrapes. Dr. Keeler went to work that first day, and used up all of his bandages. I did a little slow-mo vault over Paula and my handle bars, but I wasn't hurt other than some bruised palms. The physio/chiro/massage team all got put to work on everyone's jammed shoulders and hips.

The second day Kyla and I were doing some accelerations up the big hill on the bike. Our lungs were really burning from the smog, but we just ignored it. However, a couple hours later we still felt like we were going to vomit from lung pain, and we weren't able to inspire properly at all, and so Doc was put to work again fixing that up. Thanks Dr.Keeler! The final mishap for me happened 3 days out from my race, when I got food poisoning/traveller's sickness. I spent all night awake, and then spent the entire next day sleeping in bed with a light fever and zero energy. The next day I woke up and felt much much better despite the desire to never eat again, and so with 2 days left till race day I went back to work getting ready for my race and forgetting the sickness had ever happened.

The race:

The race started with us all lined up randomly on the pontoon, as people chose spots left, right and center instead of stacking from one end as is usual. I ended up about 10 spots from the far left on the pontoon, with no idea who was around me. The gun went off and instantly it was a thrash-fest. I found myself boxed in with girls in front of me, and on either side. Unfortunately I was swimming faster than the girls in front, but had no way to get past. I spent 750 meters trying to get through the wall, and swimming in a diagonal to the right. Finally at the first turn bouy I got to the front, and then spent 300 meters or so trying to get away from the girls sucking on my hips. At the far corner I dropped the other girls and began my solo mission to get myself back into the race. With 200 meters to go I got myself into chase pack, and coasted into transition. I was disappointed to be in chase pack, but relieved that I was there at least, and not by myself behind chase pack.

The bike started off well. It was raining, and the roads were very wet, so we were all taking the corners pretty carefully. We started off at 45 seconds back from the front pack. As we came into transition for the second lap I heard someone yell "25 seconds". I decided they must have meant we were 1:25 down from front pack, as in my experience of racing, chase pack never gains on front pack, no matter how hard you work. Basically in my mind, chase pack = screwed = deal with it. This time though, we were hurtling down the blue carpet and low and behold, there was front pack coming back at us, and only about 25 seconds ahead! We all picked it up even more, and hit the hill hard. On the last half of the hill I broke away and killed it to latch onto front pack. It was probably a waste of energy, as everyone else caught on as well, but it would have been terrible to get so close and not make it in. Anyways, I was in front pack, I was in the game, and the race just became considerably more fun.

The rest of the bike was boring/freezing. The hills were hard, but the rest of the lap was easy, and I found myself getting colder and colder. On lap 4 I decided that we needed to make a breakaway, so I made a plan with Kyla. Lap 5 we coasted up the first 2/3's of the hill, and then I attacked. I went so hard up the hill, had a gap, took the descent as fast as I dared, and then hit the second little hill as hard as I could as well. Unfortunately Kyla cramped on the hill, and so she couldn't help me out. I looked back, and I had a little gap, and then  a long line of girls. No one stepped up to get away, and the attack was a failure. Probably was a big mistake, but it would have been awesome if it had worked.

Coming into T2 I was so cold that all my muscles were vibrating, and my jaw was hurting from the teeth chattering. I had a terrible transition as I was too cold to get my shoes on, and so I was one of the last girls running out. I gradually reeled the large pack of girls in on the first lap of the run. I didn't want to surge and catch on quickly, because i wasn't feeling that great, and didn't want to blow myself up. I caught them coming around for lap two, and then settled in comfortably. On the bottom half of lap two, my quads, specifically vastus medialis, cramped up really badly. I don't think I've ever cramped so badly in a race, so needless to say I was freaking a little bit. I didn't feel like the pace was too hard, and so I really just wanted to stay in and go for a podium spot, but my legs were telling me otherwise. Onto lap 3 my quads eased up a little bit, and so I told myself, "Don't think, just run" over and over again. On the hill of lap 3 was where the first little break in our pack happened. Kyla and I weren't good enough at the hill to stay in unfortunately. On the last lap I was hurting a bit, but I tried my best to finish strong and not give up. I ended up placing 10th overall. Initially I was a little disappointed, because I had really wanted the top 8 and I was sad that I felt like I hadn't had the gears on the run that I have had in previous races. Later on though I saw my run split, and  I realized maybe I didn't have the gears because I was already running as fast as I could without knowing it! My run split annihilated my time off the bike from Kelowna, and is 10 seconds faster than my ten km best time in a road race! So that made me happy.

The rest of the weekend was a blur of race watching and site seeing. Thank you Patrick for the great coaching all year round. Thank you Neil for setting us up in Beijing with the best support, and for going to great lengths to get us an ice-bath. Thank you Craig for all of your support, and for allowing us to see all of Beijing after the race. Thank you Pierre for the great food, Kim for the massages, Marilyn for the physio, Rob for the chiro, and of course Dr.Keeler for fixing us all up. And thanks to everyone else who helped me out all year round!

Okay, blog post is over. Need to go be hella productive. Later.

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