This year was the 20th anniversary of the Victoria Half Ironman. For 12 years this was a Frontrunners event and they did an incredible job in cementing the history of this event into the community. It is true that it has gone through a few iterations and patently obvious that Ironman taking over the event improved its reach. This year there were more than 1900 participants in a sell-out event. Incredible! I have never participated in this race to date and it has always been on the “bucket list” to tick off so racing the course was important to me. I would have preferred to have a pro division to compete against but this year Ironman did not choose to put a pro prize purse on this race. This was unfortunate for all of the local Victoria pros but I still wanted to use the race for training. The one weakness to training for triathlon in Victoria is opportunity to ride in aero position for long periods of time – there are no long roads without stop signs or traffic lights.
Luckily, Sara Gross (part of the 5Q and @triequal group) got the okay from the organizers for us to “participate” (ie race as hard as we want) without disrupting any age group categories. This was a winning combination as we all live here and wanted the opportunity to smash whatever part of the race we liked at a no pressure training race- with no travel. It made a bunch of sense. Plus, we all have local sponsors and supporters that NEVER see us race so getting a chance to show some stuff at home is good. Sadly, Sara got the plague so she needed to downgrade to a relay and Kate was trying her first ever half so I was on my own in the pro division. Locally, I really only compete in running races now, usually getting completely annihilated by Marilyn Arsenault and Hilary Stellingwerff (Melissa, Danelle, Claire, Care… list goes on of superstar runners in town), so it is nice to do a local race in my own sport J
Speaking of very fast runners, the winner of the overall age group race for women was Malindi Elmore. She is a 1500m Olympian who had a baby about a year ago and has turned her attention to triathlon in the past few years. She already has a world class motor and it looks like she is building a kickass chassis for the sport of triathlon. Like the Wurtele’s she trains in Kelowna… I think I need to hang out there a bit J
Since I am building up to the Challenge St Andrews event on July 5 followed by Ironman Canada on July 26, I came up with a race-training plan with Kelly (www.livefitcoaching.com) that included a solid swim and bike with a run where I would test my “dream” IM Canada pace for 21kms. I was also testing a change in nutrition for both the bike and run to reflect what I will do on an Ironman race day… so I did the run with a Fuelbelt loaded up with goodies (I don’t use a belt in the half distance normally). I also tested riding my Trek Speed Concept with a more aero drink holding setup because who doesn’t want an extra 5-10 Watts savings in drag over 180kms? I am riding very well at the moment so I want to maximize this strength for sure.
It was a lot easier to go that hard with 2000 super stoked triathletes than by myself so thank you Heather, Keats and Rebecca for your help getting registered, thank you for the amazing athletes for motivating me and thanks to all the amazing volunteers and spectators. Nice to get a chance to poke my nose out at the very front of the race for a while too-rarely happens for us chicks (except in Saskatoon last year – love Canadian races!) I had a great time swimming, biking and running after rolling out of my own bed. This race absolutely killed it for race vibe. It is very hard racing doing the half distance no matter what pace you are going at so congratulations to all the finishers. I hope you all achieved your goals! However, Ironman can we please have a pro race next year??
The only downer is I did NOT get a hoodie. Sold out. I am very sad. Hoodies are part of the tradition. Ironman can you please do that for this race as well? We love our traditions.
I was happy to see none other than Bob Saunders of Saunders Subaru at the finishing tape. Subaru was title sponsor of this race and Bob and his family do so much for sport in Canada and in Victoria we have a lot to be thankful for because of them. Great to get that finish line hug.
Thanks to Synergy Wellness, Procity Racing and Frontrunners Victoria, three local businesses that help me with my health, my bikes and my feet- and help so many of Victoria’s incredible athlete community keep pushing the limit. Also thank you to Markus at Left Coast health.. another go to therapist I depend on!
Thanks to my sponsors Trek, Bontrager, Champion System, Shimano, Rudy Project, Blueseventy, Powertap, Sci Con Bags, Asics and USANA. Another entry into the training diary as I collect some knowledge and experience for my first full distance race!