Sunday, May 30, 2010

Ottawa Race Weekend

BBQ Set up

Yesterday I woke up to grey skies, but by early afternoon the sun had come out and it was starting to warm up. It was a perfect day for the Great Glebe Garage Sale and the first couple races of the Ottawa Race Weekend.
Matt used his charm to attract the woman customers...
Corey worked out for endless hours in the gym just for this occasion.

Matty P manning the barbecue

Every May, a local community here in Ottawa called "the Glebe" organizes a huge garage sale. And I mean huge. The streets are swamped with people and pretty much everyone in the area is trying to sell or give away their stuff. It is a fun occasion if you are wanting to hunt around for items, but if you are trying to get anywhere downtown you can expect a very long wait. People cross the street left and right and against the lights and at random times. I had to put all of my driving skills to work as I...
1) attempted to drive to Landsdowne park, (fail: they charged for parking and all I wanted to do was pick up my race kit!)

2) find some parking close to the pavilion where the expo was, (another fail: there were cars everywhere and in a humongous Honda Ridgeline I couldn't exactly "squeeze" into any of the convenient small little spots. Parallel parking is also a challenge)
3) make my way over to Kunstadt to help out with our fundraising barbecue (success!: after it took me about half an hour to drive one kilometer)
I gave up on trying to get my race kit for the 10km scheduled for that evening, and figured I would just walk from the store to the pavilion through the crowds of people. Luckily my amazing friend, Jamie Stephenson, went with his pup and picked it up for me!!

Jade and her winning smile

Anyways, the Bytown Triathlon club set up a bbq next to the Kunstadt in the Glebe in order to help raise money for training, travel, races, etc. I am not sure of the numbers yet, but I think we sold a fair number of burgs, dogs, and refreshments.


Also, last night (I say night because the race didn't start until 6:30pm!) I participated in the 10km race here in Ottawa. It was windy and warm, and the course was more challenging then I expected it to be, but overall it was a great experience. Jamie was nice enough to run with me, and it made the 10km go by so much faster!
The start went out just fine (fast, as usual, but what do you expect after we have all been stadning around in a coral for 15minutes!!) and I eased into a comfortable pace. My goal was to reamin consistent, and if anything make the last half a bit faster then the first. At the half way point we have to cross over a bridge and run up the other side of the canal to the finish. It was uphill and as soon as we turned around and started heading back the wind was right in our faces. The wind and the hill took a fair bit out of me, and my last haf was actually slower! I talked to Jamie after the race and we both agreed that around kilometer 7 it felt like the end would never come!

The Elite women left about 5minutes before the rest of the field, and then the rest of the 10 000 people were given the go-ahead. I was happy to catch a couple of them near the end, but I was upset today when I learned that I could have won $350 USD had I had the intelligence to register as an Elite! Instead I got a finishers medal and I wasn't even mentioned in the paper!!

Next time...

I will try to find some pictures of the race to put up soon! Other than that have a great rest-of-weekend and thank you to everyone who came out to support the runners and cheer us on!! It makes all the difference.

And good luck to everyone racing the half and the marathon today. Especially my friends Francine Eastwood, Dr. Francovich, Ms. Chan, Ryan Cain, and Dave M. and any others that I may have forgotten!

Link to the results for the 10km
for the 5km

Congrats to Matt Polson (first competitive 10km race ever!) Matt Vierula (rocked the 10km with style) Olivier Mouyau (possible the world's coolest pace bunny) Jade Gregory (coming back from a hard winter - owned the 5km) Jasmine Labonte (sub 25 woo-hoo!!) and Francis Hupe (our french connection)
And some of the younger Bytown members; Sam Klus (great race at OFSAA East regionals only a couple days earlier!) Elyse Charrier, Alec Jarvis, Pat Smith, and many others!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Ixtapa Photos

The dive from Zihuatanejo Airport to Ixtapa resort destination.

On the shuttle to the hotel- Alexander, Jason, and Greg. (And Tristan's foot)

The most awesome suit ever - Jason Wilson, Barbados.

Watching the Elite / U23 race from close to the aid station.

On the podium...I think I will need a vest of my own :)

Yes, these lovely ladies are wearing pants and full long sleeves as I feel the sweat run down my back in a t-shirt and shorts.

Our wonderful hotel.

Ixtapa, Mexico - PATCO 2010

Well, after a brief (cough) hiatus from blogging I have decided to start up again. Since it is finally race season, I will actually have something to talk about!!

Okay so, Race numero uno - PATCO Pan American Championships. Worlds qualifier. Arguably one of the biggest races of the season. This is one race that determines a lot for the rest of the year...if the swim is not cancelled.

I left on the 18th of May at 3:00am to catch a flight in the Montreal Airport at 7:30am. After checking in, I was on my way to the sunny and warm Mexico City, where I had a 3 hour layover, and then finally on to Ixtapa. We were very lucky on our flight to Mexico City; the plan was almost empty and I got an entire row to myself. Not too shabby!

Mexico City Airport

Coach and his Starbucks

We arrived in Ixtapa and the weather was amazing! Warm and clear skies, perfect for me. For the next couple days we settled in and get used to the heat. It was fun to hang out with Team Canada and get to know some interesting people who live on a tiny island in the Caribbean.

Before I knew it, race day had come. My team mate, Domi, had just arrived in Ixtapa the night before the race, but she was as happy and as optimistic as ever. Her attitude gave me a huge mental boost, and I told her that the sun had finally arrived for real.

Race morning I was woken up quite early, but I proceeded to eat my breakfast and complete any last minute preparations that were necessary. Then, it was time to head down to the lobby and spin over to the race course.

After getting my numbers and transition set up, I headed down to the water to start my swim warmup. I, personally, had not seen the waves that morning, but Domi had been out practicing the night before. All she could talk about was the size of the waves that evening, and speculation about what if they cancelled the swim. I assured her that it would not be cancelled, but I was so wrong!! Kyla describes the ever growing size and aggression of the waves well in her post.

Before I was even down to the beach, they had announced that the boats were not allowed to be launched into the water and that the Junior event, that was starting in less than 30 minutes, was to be turned into a duathlon. We would complete a 2km run, followed by the standard 20km bike and 5km run.

Craig Taylor, the lead coach, remained calm and focus. He called all of the Canadian athletes together and made the new change cleat to everyone. Canada still needed those Worlds spots, but the race would most likely not be used to determine the athletes selected to fill the spots. Some of the athletes, most notably Matt Sharpe, stepped forwards and thought immediately of a team approach. CT assured them that he didn't want anyone throwing their race away. It was really important to see others thinking of the "team" first. They deserve a lot the respect and recognition.

For me, I had a million thoughts going through my head, but I knew that with less than 20minutes to go it was time to change my warmup, reset my t-zone, and talk strategy quickly with my coach.

The race was underway before I knew it, with the men leading out about 5minutes ahead. The first run was really smooth and controlled. I had talked with Greg and he told me not to kill the pace and just settle in. There was no point in breaking away, because then I would just waste my legs and have no one to bike with.

I came into T1 with a large pack of girls, and we proceeded onto the bike. Christine Ridenour and I attacked a couple of times, and one attack of Christine's put a big gap in the group. We formed the lead pack, with four Canadians, two Mexicans, and one lone American. Christine worked amazingly well on the bike, and the grouped worked pretty well together, although there were always a couple girls just sitting in on the back.

We came into T2 where I was second out behind Christine. It was fun to experience that wobbly ache in the legs that comes from a good ride for the first time again this year. I built into the run, and I was in first by the turnaround on the two lap course. I continued to build my pace and put a bit of a lead on the others. At one point I remember telling myself that I had won, and that I just had to keep taking one more step - the finish would come soon!

Overall it was a great race, a great environment, and a great experience. I was ready for a triathlon, but I guess two out of three will have to do for now!

The rest of the day was spent watching the Elite / U23 race and eating a ton at the hotel buffet. Congratulations goes out to all of the U23 women and men, who had to race 2 hours in the heat of the day. Their bravery and effort was unmatched! Also, to the junior men, who like to play bumper cars with their bikes and forget their shoes.

One last shout out has to go to Alexander Hinton, who had a blistering first run and absolutely destroyed the competition and claimed the number one spot going into T1. As we all know, that was REALLY the only title that matters.

After a day in the sun the whole group headed out to celebrate and let loose.