I have written a blow by blow account of the race for Triathlon Magazine Canada and you can read it HERE. This race report is more about what has been different behind the scenes to create this race. If you don’t feel like reading my other report and just want to know what happened the guts of it is that I put myself in a strong position to win the race with the fastest swim and bike, but finished it off with a strong run as well. Liz Lyles, a very strong pro and a fabulous runner, was only able gain just over two minutes on me in the run which is easily my strongest run of the year. It was a good day.
The background is that the race fell after a really successful block of three weeks where I really pushed my limits in training. I had a solid week to recover to the race but I am excited to see what happens when that block really starts to settle in. I have a lot of people to thank (well besides MC for putting up with like 95 hours of training in three weeks- I was a barrel of monkeys worth of fun I bet- love you baby! xx) and I would like to talk about some of them below.
First is in the swim. I have had a banner year of swim development which is only right now starting to really show in my races. I love the Blueseventy Helix which is why I asked to be a part of Blueseventy’s program, but I have also really benefitted from medium-small sizing. Changing to a smaller wetsuit has been very, very good for my wetsuit swims. I did have one swim where I wasn’t allowed in a swimskin and I believe my Champion System elite trisuit rocked it. These suits are a great choice if you are planning ITU rules events or Canadian races that may not allow any swimskins.
I have had a group of athletes in Victoria to swim with who are very dedicated. The most frequent training group I swim with is Clint Lien’s- my training partners are Steven Kilshaw, James Cook, Sara Gross, Kate Button, sometimes Karen Thibodeau and in open water- Brent McMahon and Danelle Kabush. In and outside of the swims I do with them, I have periodized the swim training I am doing overall in order to swim more, and then swim more quality. Sometimes it just isn’t enough to mindlessly follow what the masters or even a triathlon swim squad is doing. You have to be sure it fits in with what you are doing around the swimming – it doesn’t occur in a vacuum. Each session, even a swim session, matters. I think I have been much better at recognizing that and I am sure I am swimming better because of it. So that is why my swims in races are getting better and I managed to be first out of the water twice. Not all of them are great, but some of my bad swims were followed by an average race as well, so it can be a canary in a coal mine.
Second, my riding is improving because of a commitment to programming philosophy from the Pacific Cycling Center. Houshang Amiri is a brilliant coach who has taught me a lot of things but the one thing you really can’t teach is patience. Sometimes I would push too much intensity, too soon, when I wasn’t seeing the immediate benefit of aerobic endurance training. Houshang is the master of creating aerobic monsters. Svein Tuft is probably Houshang’s most famous athlete but I can honestly say that working with Houshang has made me better as an athlete and a coach. I am self coached for triathlon but really, self coached athletes need to be smart about who they learn from in order to be good self-coachers. You may want to consult www.pacificcyclingcenter.ca to see if any of his camps or programs work for you. A winter of training with Houshang’s group followed by a block of incorporating his work into my program late season has been very effective for me.
Riding as part of the Trek Factory team is an inspiring and motivating experience. I am lucky to ride the fastest machine outfitted with amazing Bontrager wheels with Powertap hubs, full Shimano Di2 components, the most aero helmet from Rudy Project and the latest and greatest saddles from Cobb Cycling. I am very privileged in this regard and it makes me very proud to be a fast cyclist who has the equipment to be even faster. I am lucky to have a Trek Concept Store in Victoria. The Trek Procity Store is full of amazing and dynamic personalities and I love those guys/gals to bits. Thanks very much for being a part of my support team for many many years. I have five races with the fastest bike split so far this year.. and I am not finished yet. I love being a fast rider but you can’t rely on your bike split to win the race.
Third and most important aspect of my racing to improve was my running. In order to run faster I first had to start practicing my nutrition with my Powerbar products on the run. This has made a difference. Then I asked my friend Marilyn to show me HOW to run as a participant in her www.mindfulstrides.com course. Huge benefit! With a bit of technical ability, I just put my head down and ran a lot, lot more. That is where Frontrunners Westshore comes in, helping me choose footwear that will keep me healthy and injury free. With more running, I was leaning on Synergy Wellness where I meet Jamie Grimes for weekly chiropractic tuneups and I visit Markus Blumensaat at Leftcoast Health for regular massage and stretching sessions. Without these two guys and Marilyn my hip would still be that of a 90 year old. Thank you to all of you! My last shoutout goes to Geoff McLaughlan, who has sadly (for me) moved to McGill to pursue his doctorate in math. He was my solid as a rock run training partner all summer and he will be missed by me and the swim squad for sure while he is gone!
So I am hoping at this point I have learned some things that are going to help further my development because I am planning to race first at a world class level in the ranks of 70.3 for the remainder of this season and then hopefully make the leap to full Ironman in early 2015. It is time but it certainly is not too late. Jo Pavey is very inspirational to me – she didn’t win any major championship event in running despite a long, long career which started when she was a junior. Recently, at 41 years of age, she won the Commonwealth Games 5km and then the Euro Champs in the 10km. Ladies, it ain’t over until you say it’s over.Plus I have USANA products to keep my skin and body young as a 20 year old!
So on that note of delayed retirement for an as yet undetermined period of time, I am a happy auntie and leader of Ironkids events. I had a lot of fun with all of YOUR children while in Lake Stevens so take a peek at this if you want to have a little giggle about how adorable your children are.