Don't be Jealous...

Don't be jealous that I'm here with Ryder Hesjedal. Right after this photo was taken, I gushed and babbled like a fool to him. I thought Catherine was going to pee herself laughing at me.

Jason on the Tour de Victoria start line,
right behind Trevor Linden and Ryder.

Busy day in Victoria yesterday; just behind the TdV
start/finish, yachts were heading out of the inner harbour for
the annual Swiftsure yacht race.

Westshore Sprint Tri

Smack-dab in the middle of a 4-day long weekend, when it seems everyone else is relaxing or out working in the yard, I decided to get up ridiculously early to do a sprint tri. I've mentioned before how I don't like getting up at dark-thirty (ok, at least it's light this time of year), yet I keep choosing to do things that force me to.

I ate a quick breakfast of oatmeal and banana, and mixed a bottle of Vega Sport for the drive into the city. The race was at the Juan de Fuca rec center: a 750m pool swim, 20k bike, and 5k run. Easy peasy, right? After all, I did an Ironman a mere 6 months ago, so this should be nothing.

Arrived, racked my bike, scoped out the routes through the transition, chatted with friends, then assembled on the pool deck for my heat. I'm not a huge fan of pool swim races, as I prefer to swim my own race, but at least I was the first in my lane (total 3 of us in the lane) so that was good. At the signal, I pushed off and went pretty hard for the first 100 meters, but when I looked at the pace clock it said 1:35, and I felt like I was going harder than that. That story would continue.

After counting my 30 lengths, I hopped out (looked at my watch - 13:04 - ok but I felt like I was working harder than that), waved to Jason who had ridden in to watch my race, walked out of the pool (not allowed to run on the deck...), and then ran the long way to the transition area. It was down a roadway, around a hockey arena, and into a parking lot. I grabbed my bike, and ran with it another really long way out of transition. For some reason, the organizers decided to make us run out of transition, out of the parking lot, and then down the road a bit before we could mount our bikes. Huh?

The bike course was actually quite pretty. It went down a nice descent to Esquimalt lagoon, through the lagoon, around and then back up. Twice. So I got a super-sweet descent twice, a windy flat lagoon twice, and a steep climb twice. I tried to push as hard as I could, but for some reason felt I should be going faster than I was. Maybe because I was back on my road bike with clip-on aerobars instead of the Transition. Maybe it was just the day.

Starting lap two.

At the end of the bike, my split was 41:00, but my Garmin said 18.5k rather than 20. An ok time I guess since I haven't really been doing any high-intensity stuff on the bike. Back into transition, I fumbled getting my socks on, slammed a gu washed down with some Vega Sport, and headed onto the run. I was thinking of going no socks, but glad I put them on as the run was on a bark mulch trail, and by the end I had a lot of bark pieces in my shoes. For only 5k, it was harder than I thought; up, down, around, and up some more. Not to mention, the trail was really soft, and it seemed like I was sinking in on every step. Kind of like running on pillows.

Approaching the turn-around.

I just couldn't push hard on the run. I tried, but my legs felt heavy and I couldn't get them to turn over. I wasn't having the run I wanted, especially since I have been working on running and have definitely been running faster than I did that day. I wanted to run 32 minutes, instead my run split was 37. I turned in 37 minute run splits for the two sprint races I did last year, so it's disappointing that it seems I haven't improved yet. But - I will say this run course was way harder than those. And I think I have improved, I just didn't have it on the day.

Positives: I had fun, got to see some friends, raced in nice weather (overcast, not too warm, not too cool), got a super-sweet Adidas zip-up with my entry. Negatives: I didn't ride or run the splits I thought I would. No biggie, really, because now I have a time to beat next year.

How does such a short race (total time 1:36) hurt so much?

UPDATE: I just looked at the "official" results, and I had the fastest swim and the second-fastest bike (bike times include T1 & T2 in the results) in my age group. So that's something.

My Weekend in Pictures

I had a fabulous weekend. I can't believe how much I managed to pack in... and not be exhausted by the end. This one of those weekends that left me recharged and ready to go, and really feel like I was living like I mean it!

We started off Thursday night heading to the Pixies concert in Victoria:

Smiling even though we just paid around $8000 for two beer.
(That's about $10,000 US right now though, so silver lining...)

The last time I saw the Pixies live was in December 1991 (gasp!) when they opened for Jane's Addiction... they still rocked as hard as 20 years ago!

Friday, my friend Diana and I drove out to Port Renfrew to check out some field trip opportunities for our students.

Typical "wet coast" day on the outer coast.

Had a super-yummy blackberry & walnut salad from the
Coastal Kitchen in Renfrew - highly recommended!

We brought Humu with us, and there's nothing like a happy dog on a beach...

(Ummm, my hands look freakishly large in this picture...)

The west coast can be a wild place - winter storms bring giant uprooted trees crashing down on the beach, where they stay and become fabulous natural art. Here are a couple of my faves from Friday:

Home from the other side of the island, and off to the pool, where on a kick set I saw a naked guy... he obviously didn't realize he was standing in front of the change room door when he was drying off. Sorry, no picture! But it did make for some good laughs! I wasn't laughing, however, when he bent over to pick up his towel - I did not need to see that.

Friday night Jason and I headed to the pub with Will and the Stevenson brothers. More laughs.

(Disclaimer - I did not take this photo)

Saturday I had a really nice 3 hour solo ride. There were a few big thunderclaps, but luckily I managed to stay dry, despite some very wet roads. Yay to missing the deluge!

I love the roads I get to ride on!

Late Saturday afternoon Jason and I went shopping for new running shoes. I never get to pick my shoes, I guess that's what happens when you have a BFF who owns a running store. Norm's choices never let me down though, so no complaints.

Saturday night, relaxing on the couch!

Sunday morning, and a run with the dog. Got to try out my new kicks:

I ran on the Trans Canada Trail, with the claim to fame as being the longest trail in the world. Currently it's over 16,000 km long, and when it's finished will be 22,000 km across Canada - from Atlantic to Pacific to Arctic Oceans. We live within about a 10 minute drive from the island section. Sometimes when I'm out there, I wonder how many others across our nation, especially on a beautiful Sunday morning, are out on a stretch of TCT right then.

Looking down from one of the old rail trestles
that make up part of the TCT.

Wildflowers are out!

Sunday being Mother's Day, I took my mom out to lunch at a local vineyard. Service was reeeaaaalllly slow but the risotto was delicious.

I kind of meant it to be more scenic, but the
leaves aren't out on the vines yet...

Sunday afternoon Jason and I went for a ride together. One of my favourite things to do!

We spent the evening in the hot tub then watching tv. What a great weekend!

TC 10k Race Report

My run clinic ended this week. That could only mean one thing, and that thing was the Victoria Times Colonist 10k. The clinic was timed to have us culminate with the 10k, so I found myself getting up early on Sunday and heading into Victoria for the race.

I can’t imagine a race having a nicer start line. It’s shared with many local events including the Victoria Marathon. The Inner Harbour with its fancy sailboats and yachts on one side, the stately Fairmont Empress Hotel on the other, and the Legislative Buildings flanking the rear. Sometimes it’s easy to not appreciate the familiar sites, the ones you see on a regular basis, so I tried to look at things through the eyes of a tourist and really take in the beauty. I said goodbye to Jason, who headed off to start at the front, just behind the elites, while I went back a block or two to my start corral.

Victoria's Inner Harbour. (not my photo - I "found" it online)

My goal was under 1:10, so I figured I should start in the 60-69 minute area. Catherine later told me over breakfast that I was way off, and that runners ALWAYS start much farther ahead than they actually should. That would explain my first couple of kilometers, but more on that later. Anyway, once I found what I thought was a decent piece of road to stand and wait for the start on, I looked around for others from my clinic. I couldn’t see anyone, but I guess with 14,000 runners in the race, finding 5 or 6 familiar faces would be tough.

The start gun went off, and I could see the runners up the road take off (bye Jason!), but my area wasn’t moving. When we started moving, it was a painfully slow shuffle for about 10 minutes until the start line and things opened up a tiny bit. I didn’t really care how long it took to cross the start line, as the race was chip timed, plus I was starting my watch when I passed under the start banner and I figured that the time on my wrist was what I would go by.

I had a plan for my race, and Jason had lent me his Garmin watch so I could pace myself. I had a plan for what I wanted to run the first km in (conservatively, to not to go out too hard), a plan for what I wanted to run the flat sections in, the downhills, and the uphills. I started the Garmin when I hit the timing mats, and was off. I glanced at the watch, and it hadn’t picked up any satellites. No big deal, I thought, as it may take a minute or so but I didn’t need to know my pace that very second. Well, the satellites never loaded, obviously I had done something wrong when I turned it on. But rather than freak out that I couldn’t execute my plan, I figured I’d run according to what I thought my pace should feel like and I’d be fine.

The first kilometer was a total gong show. Now, I totally respect anyone who does anything active, including walking a running race. But hey, if you’re planning on walking the entire 10k (and I assume that if you’re walking in the first km, you’re walking the whole thing), don’t you think maybe you should start BEHIND the runners? I’m just sayin’. For my first five minutes, I was continually weaving around groups of walkers. But at least I was not at risk of starting out too fast. Next time, should I take Catherine’s advice and start in a faster corral? Or then will I become someone a 45-minuter will be weaving around, thinking, dude why aren’t you back there with the other 60-minute+’ers?

I had done this race 13 years ago, but this year was a new course. The old one, an out-and-back down Dallas Road, along the waterfront, was just getting too congested with the number of athletes. This year was a loop, and I don’t know how this is physically possible when you start and finish in the same place, but the loop was about 75% uphill. Not all steep, but uphill none the less. The times reflected it too, as the men’s winning time was over a minute slower than last year, and almost a couple minutes off the course record. I like out-and-backs in racing (not in training), as I enjoy seeing people I know going by, heading for the finish. It’s always especially fun to see how fast the leaders are going!

But instead, a 75% uphill loop, winding through downtown Victoria, then the lovely residential neighbourhood of Fairfield, then oceanfront to the finish back at the Inner Harbour. I felt good, was running comfortably (but not TOO comfortably) for the first half, and enjoying myself and the sun. At 30 minutes, I got a bit of a weird look when I pulled my Roctane Gu from my bra (hey, I had no pockets!). I turned the corner at the halfway point to face the most significant uphill of the day, but just keep turning my legs over and kept my rhythm. I’m sure my bitchin’ playlist on my ipod helped!

Running along Dallas Road provides what is probably the most spectacular view in the country, and it was a perfect day. Almost windless, so the ocean was a flat, shimmery calm. Robin’s egg blue sky, with a stunning view of the snow-capped Olympic mountains across the strait in Washington. I tried to take in the view and enjoy the majesty, but I soon got distracted by the task at hand and keeping my footsteps constant, and trying not to crash into people who stopped to walk up the hill in front of me. I wanted to negative split, except I didn’t see where exactly the 5k marker was and the watch wasn’t giving me my pace. But I gently tried to up my pace as the race went on.

The second half snaked all along the waterfront, and with about 3 kilometers to go, Jason was standing on the side of the road waiting for me. He ran with me for a bit (after finishing 34:48 and 4th in his age group, 40-44. Not bad for someone in the middle of Ironman training, who swam 1.5 hours and rode 5.5 hours the day before… not bad at all…), and I tried to chat but also pick up the pace for the finish. I couldn’t do both, so I told Jason I couldn’t talk anymore and was going to turn my ipod back on. He peeled off around the 8k mark to get to the finish.

The 8-9 kilometer stretch is hard, with a couple of short but steep uphills. I knew they were coming, and they didn’t feel as bad as I’d remembered from other races I’d done in the area. I took that as a good sign and pushed harder. I turned up the volume on my ipod so I couldn’t hear myself gasping for breath. The road flattened out again, and I counted 7 corners as we twisted around to the last 500m stretch to the finish. I saw Jason again with about 200m to go, but I was breathing so hard I couldn’t even say hi. I pushed myself even harder to get to the finish chute, and waved at a friend who was doing the announcing as I crossed the line.

My official time was 1:07.40. Hooray! A couple of minutes faster than 13 years ago, and on a harder course. I finished 288th out of 641 in my age group. I don’t think I’ve ever been in the top half of my age group in a running race. I don’t actually consider myself an actual runner unless I can go under one hour in a 10k, so there’s my future goal.