To Race or Not To Race: Victoria Ironman 70.3
Getting sick six days before one of your goal races of the year is not good, especially when it is an Ironman. I didn’t have a full on flu but more like a bad cold, so rest, rest and more rest was the only thing to do. On Tuesday morning before my symptoms appeared later that day, I was able to get out for my first ocean swim of the year. No, I don’t believe the swim had anything to do with my sickness, nor do I believe it was over training. Just unlucky that I managed to pick up a bug.
Victoria Ironman 70.3
Unfortunately, there are no transfers allowed in the Victoria Ironman 70.3 (for the Full Ironman you can request to transfer to another event that year) and of course no refund, so that option was out. When Saturday rolled, I felt a little better and the worst was over, so decided to go and planned to start the race and see how it felt with an option to finish after the bike and just skip the run.
Victoria Ironman 70.3 has a pretty early start, so I got up with the 4.15am alarm. Thankfully it’s just so much easier to get up early in the summer months. The conditions were absolutely perfect: 12C to start with a high of just 16C forecast, clear and no wind. Really doesn’t get any better.
They had shortened the swim from the usual 1.9k to 1.5k due an issue with reeds in the lake. As I am not a great swimmer this made me happy for sure. The swim start was changed and the race organizers hadn’t quite got the logistics right so it was very chaotic. I had to deal with elbows, people grabbing my feet and swimming over me and also me swimming into other people. I was certainly grateful that this wasn’t my first open water swim and continued to stay relaxed and just focus on sighting the buoys to swim no more than I needed too. I was also just focused on an easy, steady swim so I wasn’t as stressed as I might have been if I had been thinking about swimming my best time. Getting out was also a challenge as you couldn’t just run out which is the normal way to exit the water. They’d added a plastic platform that sloped into the water but when I tried to get onto it I just slid back off. Fortunately there were awesome volunteers and a lovely lady grabbed my hand and literally pulled me all the way out.
I really do need to work on my transitions as I am pretty slow, although I did take a little longer to add my arm warmers and gloves as I didn’t want to be cold on the bike. But what’s the point of working hard, training lots to make up 3 mins on your swim time if you give it away in transition.
My transition times were as followed: T1 – Swim to Bike – 5.47; T2 Bike to Run 2.43. The transition from Bike to Run is usually a bit faster, but in my defence here, I did take a bathroom break at the same time in bike to run! To give you a comparison, good athlete transition times are: T1 – 2.27 and T2 – 1.04.
I had a nice steady bike on a beautiful course. The scenery was quite stunning on certain parts of the ride, quite varied and had a few hilly sections but nothing too challenging. Lots of the locals were out supporting which is always awesome and as usual all of the volunteers were amazing – thank you. It was also great to see a few of my Triathlon Club friends out on the course too – well done to everyone.
Generally, I felt okay – tired but more than I normally would be on a race. I certainly felt good enough to get off the bike and run.
I do love the run for this event as it is 2 laps of Elk lake on trail and mostly flat. My thoughts during the run from the start were “Sunday long run” so l just ran by feel and as it turns out, I was pretty much hitting my Sunday long run pace of 5mins per km. I caught up to one of my team mates, Allyson at around 16k and we ran together for a short while. She told me afterwards that it had really helped seeing me as she was starting to fade a little. I actually had a really good run and maintained a steady pace for the whole time, enjoying the scenery and cheers from friends who came to watch and all the other people out there cheering on their own family and friends. I ran in my fairly new Pearl Izumi N1 V2 road shoes which were super comfy, smooth and responsive.
In the end, lots of rest did pay off and I was able to race and even do reasonably well. I finished 10th in my age group and was 6 mins quicker than least year, although 10 mins more swimming would have me a little slower overall. As to how much better I would have raced if I’d been 100% who knows but to be honest I was just happy I actually got to race. I realize that recovery may now take a little longer but having no races planned until early August made the decision to race easier.
It’s a great event and I now have one more Tri under my belt and know the areas I still need to improve on.
Thanks as always to Kintec, Pearl Izumi and New Balance, Andrew and Paul, my coaches at Academy Triathlon Club and all of my training buddies – I couldn’t do it without you!
Kintec Race Team