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

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Dallas Pan American Cup

Yesterday I raced the Dallas Pan American Cup. After being out for most of March and April and then beginning the build back into training for May, I was definitely feeling unprepared coming into this race. I apologize to Pat and my teammates for my bratty behaviour in the weeks leading up to the race. Getting back into training is hard at the best of times, and getting your ass handed to you workout after workout is harder knowing that a race is coming up.

Some Canadians out for dinner in Dallas
I really wanted to do Dallas because I knew that the opportunities to qualify for Worlds were becoming slim, and I needed a shake-out race to get back into the game before Magog. When I realized that Laura Bennett was still on the start list three days out however, I wasn't sure if I still wanted a shake-out race. Getting lapped out wouldn't have helped my confidence. You guys all probably think I am being crazy, but you also don't realize how terribly bad a race can go on the worst of days (cough Birds Hill cough). 

View of the lake from our hotel balcony
To begin I need to mention that this was one of the hottest races I have ever done, with the air temperature sitting at about 36 degrees Celsius. Although it didn't have the humidity of Ixtapa, the lack of shade and hot wind definitely made it equally difficult. The race played out probably as it should have considering my current fitness, and I was also very lucky in other aspects. The start of the swim felt pretty good, but I was maxed out at the 350 meter buoy, and when a gap began to form I didn't have the gears to fall back on. I realized at the time that this was the pivotal moment, the defining front pack and chase pack surge, but I had nothing else to give. I guess you could say I caused the split. I ended up doing a full lap in front pulling chase pack and slowly beginning to die from the hot water before Joanna and another girl took the lead. At one point I seriously considered flipping on my back. Once Jo was in front I settled onto her feet and tried to relax, even though the pace picked up noticeably. By the time T1 came around I was a bit more in control.

The start of the bike was so very very painful for me. I ended up with Jo, Stevie and Manon. The perfect little cycling dream team. I believe we were about 90 seconds back from the front pack. Usually I think I would have been a good contributor to the pack, but yesterday I had nothing. I was getting the cold flashes that indicate your body is ready to quit, and my legs were useless. The girls quickly realized this, but they were very nice to me and didn't get mad at all that I couldn't pull through. Within two and a half laps they caught the front girls, and it took me another two laps before the cold flashes started to go away. The second half of the bike went much better, even though it just got hotter from there. Despite the furnace wind I slowly began to get in control, and began to bike as I am used to doing.

Terrible picture of Ali and I, but the only one I could find 

I believe I was second onto the run after Ali. Laura passed us both pretty fast, although she wasn't going that fast in reality. Next came Jo and Manon. I passed Ali, but she passed me back again within a lap. In all cases I never entertained the notion of going with them. I knew that this was the kind of race where all you can do is try your best to finish. The first lap was a real struggle-fest, but luckily the rest of the laps got easier. I just stared at the pavement and tried to make it to the next aid station. I watched Ali pull a "Kyla" and wobble in front of me before collapsing over the side of the road. The crazy girl got up and walk-ran a whole lap after that before getting pulled off. I used up precious energy to yell, "It's not worth getting brain damage!" but I don't think she understood me. After watching Kyla almost die in Coteau, I seriously, truly, 100% believe that if you fall down, your body wants you to stay down. It is just a race that 99.999999999% of the population won't even know existed. It is a strange testament to sport that athletes will literally put their lives on the line to finish.

Awesome picture of Johnny
Anyways, I finished the run, spent a while in drug testing where I am pretty sure I drank 7 bottles of fluid, and then out for dinner with the team. All in all, I am super happy to have finished and gotten my top 5 just for finishing. Thanks to the great coaches, to the volunteers, to Aqua Sphere for the awesome Kaiman goggles (probably would have killed myself on the swim exit if I didn't have them), and to Tri-It for being the best!
Frozen Yogurt for us

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