Road to Ironman 2002 Journal Entries
Posted July 29, 2004 11:41 AM
The year-long road to Ironman Canada has begun. In one sense it began two weeks before August 26, 2001 with a bike accident I experienced behind the Juan de Fuca rec centre while practicing for a duathlon that was to take place at the end of September. Through inattention, chatting while cycling, I missed seeing a speed bump at the bottom of an unfamiliar slope and the handlebars jostled out of my hands. After travelling (wobbling wildly) for about 40' my forward progress stopped when I tipped sideways and came crashing down on my right hip with my head following a microsecond later. After lying still for a minute or two, trying to assess what parts of my body I could move, it seemed that I was relatively unscathed and I tried to deflect the concerned attentions of Chris Grieve and Jason Filipchuk. However, later that night my hip started to swell ominously and I seriously regretted not having taken them up on their offer of taking me to a clinic or to the hospital. By morning an enormous haematoma had formed on my right side. I knew things were not well when I saw my doctor at 11 am and he uttered an expletive when viewing the injury. After a hasty apology he explained that in all his years as a doctor (30+) he had never seen such a large haematoma. Hardly the type of record I would ever want to set. The accident sapped my bike riding confidence level. It is so frightening to realize the rapidity with which an accident can occur and the inability to pull-out and rectify same. Whether I was overconfident on my bike or it was simply inattention that led to the accident, it was a huge wake-up call. I was so lucky not to have broken any bones or suffered from a more severe case of whiplash & concussion that I experienced in the days following the accident. Had I been signed up for Ironman 2001 there would have simply been no option but to have withdrawn from the race. In this I count myself lucky and know now that I will be much more cautious and vigilant in the coming months of training.
Our journey to Penticton to spectate at the race began with a leisurely trip to Vancouver on Friday, August 24th. We decided to drive via the Kokisilah Highway as Penticton had been experiencing numerous forest fires in the weeks leading up to Ironman and we weren't sure if there would be smoke obscuring the Hope-Princeton Highway. As Bob and I approached downtown, the familiarity with the city streets returned and a sense of happiness at being back flowed over me. A true highlight of the weekend was when we arrived at the Hog's Breath Café and we saw Chris, Jason, Jan Frith and Dan Dunaway there already. We were all so happy to see one another, and commented on the electricity in the air from all the athletes wandering around the downtown core. After lunch we headed down to the athletes village as we wanted to register on-line via active.com. This had seemed like such a fantastic idea when I'd read about it on the website. Pre-register and then on Monday morning come to the registration, stand in a different line, and just swipe your credit card to be entered into the IMC 2002 race. Fine in theory, but what they didn't mention was that the credit card charge would be $390 US (approx $90 more than if you registered on Monday and paid by Canadian cheque). So while we went through the exercise of pre-registering, we decided against it in the end. We found the Powerbar booth where Melissa Spooner was signing autographs. She was the race favourite as Lori Bowden was not defending her championship, instead deciding to concentrate on the training for IMHawaii. We drooled over the CompuTrainer display and then regrouped to plan our meeting point and time for the next day's ride of part of the bike course.
On Saturday we were up bright and early to get down to Penticton lakefront to meet up with Dan who was stowing his bike in our trunk. The other four bikes, belonging to Bob, Jan, Chris and Jason, were already on the bike rack. I was support car driver due to my injury. After much twiddling and tweaking and dismantling of Dan's bike, it finally fit in the trunk and we were on our way. After loading everyone in the car we headed out to Osoyoos where everyone then started their 50km (approx) ride back to Keremeos up Richter Pass, while I shopped for picnic lunch fixin's. I was surprised at how far everyone had traveled by the time I caught up after shopping. I kept motoring on in front by 10kms or so, just to make sure everyone was okay, and then finally headed back to Keremeos to lay out lunch in preparation of their arrival. The gang arrived elated that Richter Pass "wasn't really all that bad!" A very doable ride given slow, steady pacing. A definite confidence booster to Bob and Jason. After lunch we loaded back into the car again and headed into Penticton, arriving down by the Peach just in time to hear the mandatory briefing for our volunteer duties the next day - finish line "catchers". Kind of a disorganized meeting - one woman shouting at the top of her lungs, inaudible questions being asked, etc. The best part was when the organizer, spotting Jason dropping something on the ground (he'd broken off a piece of a twig) shouted "you back there - did you just throw garbage on the ground??" Of course, everyone looked and stared at him! We teased Jason about that for the rest of the weekend. The most disappointing part was lining up for our volunteer t-shirts only to find they'd run out of our sizes. All of us were issued large shirts. They swamped Jan and I completely. Then we were off to the athletes village again to scout out merchandise. It was all so expensive and we really didn't want to buy anything with the Ironman logo on it until after we'd completed the race the following year.
Sunday, August 26th - race day!! After settling down for bed at a reasonable time my body obviously decided that I'd had quite enough sleep at 2:30 a.m.! I lay awake until I knew Bob's alarm would go off at 4:00 a.m. and then got up to shower and generally make myself presentable for the long day ahead. We were on the road by just before 5:00 and managed to find a fabulous parking spot for the car right down by the Hog's Breath. The fresh morning air, combined with the darkness, was magical. The athletes were just beginning to arrive to be body marked. The first person we recognized was Julie Desramaux. We were so happy to see her, but she didn't look very relaxed or happy - for good reason. She had been staying in Vernon with her sisters and had forgotten her wetsuit at the house. Her sisters were on their way back to try to retrieve it and get it to her before the race start, but it was highly unlikely that they would return in time. A volunteer was helping Julie to locate a replacement. After Julie was body marked we didn't see her again, but did hear after the race start that a suit had been located for her. We then saw our friends Krista Sidhu, Cal Danyluk and Chris Marshall who were all doing the race. Krista was smiling, as always, but said that she'd woken with a lot of nausea. Nerves, I said, nothing more (praying I was right!) Bob and I then strolled into the Lakeside hotel and out onto the waterfront balcony where the sun was just beginning to rise. Such a calm outlook into the waterfront that in less than an hour would erupt into a frenzy of thrashing, flailing arms. We took up a spot to watch the race, to the left of the Peach, at about 6:45 and coincidentally Krista's sister & brother were standing right behind us. We were able to call Krista over and everyone wished her one last good luck before the race start. Chris, Jan & Jason arrived mere seconds before the start! A piper paraded on the beach playing a mournful lament. A beautiful rendition of "O Canada" was sung by a local Pentictonite and the athletes started clapping in unison, increasing the tempo to a frenzy. Then the athletes entered the water, some to their waists, while the others remained on shore. The cannon roared and the swimmers were off. It was a shocking sight to see so many bodies in one place (record start of 1994 people) and even more terrifying to mentally imagine yourself there in one year. The swim portion went by so quickly, with the first athletes out in approx 50 minutes. We were allowed down on the beach front after about 20 minutes or so, and all stood together watching the big screen tv waiting for a sign of any of our friends in the race. Bob, amazingly, spotted Krista with the binoculars and we saw her on the big screen at 1:08 into the race. Smokin' swim!! Also Bob spotted Chris Marshall approx 2 minutes later. How he managed to pick those two out of such a huge crowd is amazing.
We watched for about an hour and a half and then wanted to get some breakfast to start the day. Then we all headed up by Yellow Lake to stake out a great spot from which to watch the first cyclists. We didn't have too long to wait - maybe 20 minutes before Peter Reid came streaking by, tucked low in the aero position. He looked awesome. We stayed for about an hour cheering on everyone passing by. We spotted Melissa Spooner and Pamela Ens which was exciting - heaven knows if they heard our demented cheering (ranga, ranga, ranga from Chris!) It was interesting to see how some of the pros acknowledged our presence with a nod of the head or even a wave, while most were so focused that they passed by in a blur with not a muscle moving. On the way back into town we spotted Cal and managed to take a picture out the car window, before getting in front by a couple of kilometers and stopping on the side of the road where a better photo-op presented itself. Cal had experienced a great swim, and was having a fantastic ride. Unfortunately as the day progressed he fell apart on the run (nutrition problems) and was forced to walk most of the marathon route. A huge disappointment for him. Melissa also was forced from the race with a flare up of a back injury coming off the bike and into the early portion of the run.
When we arrived back in town hunger pangs got the best of us. Chris, Jan, Bob and I stopped at Subway for sandwiches and a drink and decided to watch the cyclists coming in and the runners going out from that vantage point. We managed to see Krista coming in on the bike (and just about scared her right off it when we loudly cheered our encouragement). Then we headed down towards the finish line managing to only make it as far as the giant Peach before Peter Reid came in. We did spend the rest of the afternoon down in the ironmate section (our volunteer wristbands allowed us access to that area). The weather was very warm during the afternoon and I spent some time standing with Chris just past the finish line in the shade watching the top 200 come in. The athletes now, for the most part, are a blur but one stands out memorably - the fellow who was the first finisher in the 45-49 age group. He had obviously gone full tilt to come in first. Some sort of tummy problem had hit him on the run and the backs of his legs were streaked with diarrhea - Chris and I saw this simultaneously, exclaimed a big "yuck" and looked away as quickly as possible. That would be my worst fear come true to have that sort of problem on the run and to finish in that state.
Chris and Bob went to scrounge up some supper (pizza) at about 6pm and then it was time for the six of us to report for "duty" as finish line catchers. By the time we started, at 7pm, a lot of the athletes were beginning to finish. Before that they had been rather sporadic - just the super fast and elite ones had finished. The peak time was the 7 - 8 pm window, so our shift plus the previous shift of catchers were all on duty for that hour. It was very exciting to stand in line waiting our turn to catch our first athlete. We spent a long time with our first "catch" as we wanted to make sure he was totally fine. Lots of walking around, talking and taking care of his every requirement. We also caught a really sweet girl from California, Jeri. It was her second IM, having competed in 2000 at IMCalifornia. We spent the next couple of hours alternating between catching and waiting to catch. In all I think we only caught about 6 or 8 people - seemed everyone we had needed more than the suggested 10 minutes of attention. One fellow was fine when he finished but as the minutes wore on he started to nosedive physically and we ended up convincing him to go to the medical tent for attention. One of the questions asked of him was when he had last urinated. Upon hearing that he hadn't since T2 he was immediately whisked away.
It was very emotional being "behind the scenes" as it felt like a warzone. Casualties everywhere - the medical tent looked like a field hospital, rows on rows of cots, iv poles and the "walking wounded"! Everyone who crossed the finish line, that we dealt with, wanted to share the story of their race. Everyone was so proud of their accomplishments. It was so inspiring.
Then at about 9pm there were so many athletes crossing at one time that Bob and I were split up to individually accompany athletes. After I dealt with my fellow I spotted Jeri who was wandering around holding her special needs bags. She saw me and asked if I would help her take the bags to the Lakeside hotel as she was so tired and the bags were so heavy. We picked up her bike in the bike lock up area also and headed on to the hotel. I noticed that there were people starting to collect in the hotel lobby in anticipation of the next morning's registration for IMC 2002. I headed back to the finish area and located Bob and suggested that we should stake out a spot. We luckily got a spot in the lobby just in front of the main doors of the hotel - another few spots and we would have been sleeping outdoors! Bob held our spots and I went to move the car to the hotel parking lot and bumped into Chris and Jan returning from the Hogs Breath. We laid out the sleeping bags plus the inflatable mattresses and brought other stuff from the car to make the night bearable. Jason joined us and laid out his sleeping bag too. Then Jason, Jan, Chris and myself headed back to watch the last competitors coming in while Bob minded the sleeping spots. Lots of hype and excitement at the finish line with the last athlete coming in just about one minute before midnight. Then there were the stragglers who, while not receiving official finisher status, were still cheered in until about 12:30 or so.
Then it was back to the hotel to settle down for the night. Amazingly, being so incredibly tired, we actually slept quite well, managing about 5.5 hours in total. I slept with my sweat shirt over my eyes to block out the overhead lights. We were woken a couple of times during the night by people checking out. Wouldn't have minded so much except they were so noisy and boisterous - shouting out comments like "look at all the diehard athletes lining up for registration in the morning". We didn't really appreciate that very much. One of the hotel cleaners also vacuumed very near our heads at about 5am, but we managed to get back to sleep again. After all, the hotel was being good enough to let us camp out so we had to put up with what was thrown at us. We woke at about 6:30 and after having a quick wash, we found that the Globe and Mail had provided a breakfast for the registrants – Danish pastries, muffins, fruit, juice and coffee was available. Such a nice surprise - we were starving too. Then it was time to put our stuff away and stand up to wait for the registration to open. The plan was to issue coloured wristbands to those waiting - you would then know what time you had to return to register by the colour you wore. As we were #22, 23 and 24 in line all we had to do was to stay put and we had it made! Just before the wristbands were issued though, there was a bit of a kerfluffle near the beginning of the line. Seems that someone in line had held seven spots for friends who had competed in the race, gone home to sleep and then shown up just in time for the registration. Talk about a mini-revolt. This unfairness was drawn to the organizers attention and a very officious, but effective, woman announced that anyone who hadn't slept there all night had best leave right away and go to the end of the line. She said it would be self-policing - they knew who they were, and the registration was not going to begin until they moved. After much grumbling the seven eventually left and the others in line let out a cheer! Then the gate opened and we were allowed into a large room with rows of tables set up and volunteers to help us register. A quick picture taken with Jason, showing off our completed entry forms, and we were done by 9:12 am!
Then it was time to drive home. My right hip was very sore making driving a real challenge. I was in so much discomfort - the weekend had really caught up to me by that time. When it was Bob's turn to drive I leaned my seat back and snuggled into my pillow having such a deep sleep for an hour and a half that I didn't even hear my watch alarm go off at 4 pm (it had been set for 4am on race day but had never gone off as the time of the watch was incorrect - out by 12 hours!)
This month was one of mostly taking it easy plus forced inactivity due to my hip injury which has slowly receded and is gradually getting better. Weight training 3 - 4 times a week at Lady Fitness, alternating between upper body and lower body routines. A gradual return to elliptical training and riding on the windtrainer at home. The decision was made to purchase a CompuTrainer so that the winter/spring riding can be done inside. Physiotherapy once a week on my hip has made a big improvement, but the sessions are pure torture. No hard training, just maintenance of swimming by three times weekly sessions at the Y. My hip had improved to the point where I competed in a duathlon on Sept 23. Four weeks of inactivity were very evident as I had a hard race. However, it was good to compete and it was a psychological milestone overcome. Placed 1st out of 4 in my age division.
The decision was made to walk the marathon on the Thanksgiving weekend. Initially Jason indicated that he would walk with me. However, I am of the opinion that I'd prefer to just to do it myself as that way I can pace it however I want and (hopefully) run the last 10kms.
October, November and December 2001
More light training during this month. Continued with elliptical training two or three mornings a week at Lady Fitness plus alternating upper and lower body strength training workouts. Continued to attend each swim session at the Y and did a couple of sessions of pool running. The two highlights of the month were the marathon and a garage sale at Peter Reid & Lori Bowden's house. First the marathon. After deciding to walk the route (so that I could "earn" the finishers sweatshirt), I started with the walkers/slow joggers at 6am. It was a cool morning with a slight breeze, but the forecasted rain showers never developed thank goodness. The conditions were perfect for the day and I dressed appropriately in running shorts, running top, long-sleeved top plus my jacket. There were approx. 500 of us starting early and it actually worked out very well as it wasn't such a pressure cooker feeling with thousands of participants. The race began and I started briskly walking. There was a good feeling in the crowd and lots of talking between established groups of participants. About a km into the walk I started to develop a side stitch which was annoying as that rarely happens when I'm running. I managed to "blow" it away with a special breathing technique and continued on my way. The first hour passed rapidly and I phoned home on the cell as per the pre-arranged plan to coordinate the first meeting point with Bob who was going to cycle around the course and keep tabs on me. We arranged to meet at 7:35 to 7:40 at Memorial Crescent (approximately 11km into the route). As that time approached I realized that I wasn't going to get there in time if I kept up my walking pace. So I decided to slowly jog and see how my body felt. About 1km later I met up with Bob, passed off my jacket, had a quick hug for luck and continued on my way jogging. The thought in the back of my mind was just to keep plodding and see how long my legs would hold up. It felt so much better to be jogging albeit at a much slower pace than normal. I just kept thinking "long, slow, distance run". My fanny pack was loaded with everything I'd need for the morning. The phone was invaluable as I kept in touch with Bob and was able to tell him where to meet me and approximately when. He caught up with me on his bike just near the golf course on Beach Drive and cycled along for quite some time (strictly against the rules!) but as he was kitted out in his cycling gear he looked like he was one of the race cyclists so wasn't asked to "get off the course!" The next 20kms passed slowly but surely. Bob met me at the turnaround point and took some pictures. By this time the main race had begun and the first male runner came streaking by, gradually more and more of the hares started passing the tortoises. I walked through the aid stations which were few and far between and took on water and Gatorade. Ate four gels throughout the race and also a Gatorade bar. Drank 2 bottles of Gatorade as well. My energy level stayed quite constant and I wasn't hurting too much so decided to "go the distance". We had pre-arranged that the second to last meeting point would be at Oliver/Windsor (one block from our house) and as I jogged up Windsor I could see Bob and some of our neighbours waiting for me. Picked up the pace so I would look strong running up to them. I passed off the long-sleeved top and fanny pack to Bob, had a brief chat with everyone and then set off on the last 10km leg of the race. In my mind I had imagined it as being the easier portion. I no longer had the fanny pack to "weigh" me down and I was cooler without the extra clothing. Well I guess my body had other ideas as that portion seemed interminable. In particular the section between 35km and 41km was pretty tough, but I just kept the old one foot in front of the other mantra running through my head. I know my pace was plodding at that point, probably would have been better to have reverted to walking. However, I wasn't sure that I could pick up the pace to run again if I slowed to walking plus my pride wouldn't let me as well. Finally, finally, the 41km marker came into view and I knew the end was almost literally in sight. I was able to dig down deep and find a reserve of energy for that last km. The final 400m or so down Belleville in front of the cheering crowds was so exciting! Pamela Ens saw me and stepped forward for a high-five. The finish line approached and I was passing people in the home stretch. Managed to position myself so that I was not blocking anyone in the finish chute (that finish line picture is all important!!) and ran on home with the finish line clock reading 3:16 above me. I was conscious of Steve King garbling my last name plus also announcing that I'd hoped to finish in 4:30 and had bettered my time by finishing in 4:16. Actually, he miscalculated as with the two hour earlier start my finish time was 5:16.38. I didn't care about my time at that point, I was just so happy to have completed the marathon and to have gained the knowledge that I really can find extra reserves of perseverance plus find the mental strength to continue under adversity. Then off to the massage tent for a wonderful leg rubdown. Amazingly I didn't feel too sore after the race, certainly nothing like after the 1/2 Ironman in June when I could barely walk post race from the pain from my IT bands.
The other major excitement of the month was the garage sale held by Peter Reid and Lori Bowden. Rob Hasegawa (chiropractor to the top triathletes and a superb triathlete himself) had sent me an e-mail earlier in the week telling me about the upcoming sale. As I had swim practice at 10:30 that morning I arrived twenty minutes earlier than the posted start time of 10am. Rob was already there so we started chatting and lining up on the sidewalk. Peter opened the garage at about 9:55 and we were the first people allowed in. I felt like a kid in a candy store as there was just so much to choose from and with such super prices. I was overwhelmed and asked Rob what I should buy. He scanned the garage, saw Lori's training bike (specialized M4 - top of the line) with a for sale sign on it - $600. He instantly said "buy it, don't even think about it, just buy it", so I did! I also picked up two pairs of Oakley sunglasses, $30 each, some clothing, tubular bike tires, camelback, handlebar tape, and a pair of travel binoculars for $2! I spent $720 in total but ended up with thousands of dollars of gear. Rob said the bike was worth at least $4,000 new and I have since checked with the Bike Cellar. That particular model (2001) sells for $5699. So while it was a big outlay of cash, I've really ended up with the sweetest deal. My equipment for Ironman is now ready - just have to get my body in the same shape!
The rest of October was easy training. We kept up our swimming at the Y, and I did my normal morning routine at Lady Fitness most workday mornings. There was the occasional Saturday morning ride while the weather held. At the end of October we set off on our trip of a lifetime – our 25th wedding anniversary trip to Fiji, New Zealand and the Cook Islands. I attempted to be as physical as possible while away to (a) maintain my fitness level and (b) burn off some of the mega calories we were ingesting! Lots of swimming while we were on the cruise in Fiji. I also tried to get out for an hour jog every three days or so. While we were in NZ, in November, we took part in an aquathon in Auckland which consisted of a 1000 metre ocean swim (got stung by a jellyfish on my face) and a 3km run on the sand which was really nice. We also took part in a little community run, just outside of Rotorua, one Sunday morning. This was a 12km cross country run which was really over hill and down dale. Very challenging. I managed to place first in the women's division which was quite exciting.
Once we returned home in December training was very light indeed. Motivation was down and I felt quite sluggish - having come down with a bad cold immediately upon our return. Occasional pool jogging and swimming just to keep active, but not much else.
In January the tri club started up again. The normal three times a week swimming at the Y is supplemented with an extra 500m (in the beginning) increasing over the weeks to 1200m or so before each swim class. Pool jogging beforehand as well on both Tuesdays and Thursdays. Starting at 1/2 an hour gradually increasing to an hour each time. One land run on Sunday just to keep those leg muscles in shape. The CompuTrainer gets a lot of use each week as we try to cycle three times. An easy session on Mondays, followed by spinups, a longer session on Wednesday nights and the normal Saturday ride outdoors (weather permitting - if not, at home on the CT).
February and March, 2002
These months were exactly the same as January. Very slow incremental increases in distance in all three disciplines. Still going to Lady Fitness as many mornings as possible during the week to do either elliptical or Stairmaster followed by upper or lower body weight training and stretching. We had Melissa Sponger come to do a nutritional workshop for us in February, and have implemented her suggestions for vitamins, supplements, and protein shakes before and after workouts. My energy level seems to be higher than this time last year so I'm hoping the extra good things I'm investing in are contributing to that.
This month has seen some big increases in cycling distances - especially on Saturday. We are now up to doing the 1/2 iron course straight through without stopping (except for one bathroom break). Our schedule has us doing two build weeks followed by a recovery week and this seems to be working really well as the recovery week comes around very quickly. Running has progressed to 1.5 hours at a time on the road, though blisters are a constant problem. I constantly assess any twinge while running and live in constant fear of a flare-up of any one of the numerous problems I experienced last year (IT band, Achilles tendonitis, bursitis in my knee). So far there have been no proper flare-ups, just little warning signs. I try to back off at the first sign of impending doom and while it's hard to miss a workout, I'm sure it's better in the long run.
The YMCA in-house tri on April 21 was a good success. Made a conscious effort to not go out too fast on the swim which resulted in a much more relaxed and enjoyable start to the race. However, I learned a big lesson in T1. I had been so afraid of getting cold that I had far too much gear laid out to put on and lost tons of time struggling with putting on bike shorts, a bike jersey, and a jacket over a wet bathing suit. The bike was not spectacular as I didn't feel very strong and the same with the run. I came fifth overall by only 17 seconds off 2nd place though, which made me cranky that I'd wasted at least 1.5 minutes in T1. Should have learned from Julie Moore who did the whole thing in just her bathing suit and had a lightening fast transition. The next event up in April was the Garden City 10km. Once again I tried to exert some restraint in the beginning of the race and just started off at a comfortable pace. I was afraid of going out too hard at the beginning and going anaerobic for the whole 10km. I had a lovely run, and felt super throughout. Only started to exert more effort at about the 8km mark. I crossed the finish line in 49:30 - my fast 10km ever. Achieved my goal of doing a sub-50 10km race. I was so happy as we'd swum 1.5 hours and biked 103kms the day before.
This month has seen the bike distances increase by approx. 10% each build weekend. Pool running continues to be where I put in most of my running time. Rarely do I go on pavement. We are trying to hike long distances rather than run long distances. The first open water swims are finally now happening and it feels great to be back at the lake - just put the head down and go. The Port Townsend bike trip took place again, and while I biked on the outward bound leg of the trip I decided to play it smart and not do the Rhody Run or bike the return leg just in case my IT band was at all sensitive. The biggest stress in May was finding out that our accommodations in Penticton for August (arranged for the past two years or so we thought) had fallen through. This left us scrambling to find alternate accommodation. We decided on a house in Penticton by Skaha Lake which is going to end up costing a fortune but hopefully will be a better location for race day.
June was a busy month both with training and with organizing parties for the tri club. I am taking most Mondays off work which is helping a lot. The Panorama Classic Triathlon turned out very well. Had a much better swim than last year by starting out slower and being in a better paced lane all around. The bike felt very strong but I did struggle on the run - not too many hills in the pool to contend with! Missed out on 1st place in my age group by 35 seconds but was content to get second. We did the ITU race this year as a team - I was swim leg, Bob did the bike and Wayne Lackner did the run. We came 5th out of 17 teams and 3rd in the mixed team category so each scored a chocolate bar as our prize! We had elite triathlete Donna Phelan stay with us for almost a week and during part of that time her boyfriend, Jay Prushn, an editor with Triathlete Magazine, also stayed with us. Our "B" race of the season was the New Balance ˝ Iron on June 23rd. In retrospect it would have been sensible for me not to have done this race as once again the run portion was miserable due to pain in my knee. Last year was IT trouble and this year was an unidentified searing pain across my right kneecap that made each step of the run extremely painful. My energy level for the first half of the race was great but I seemed to flag on the bike for the latter part of the ride and the run was definitely sub-par. However, my time was a couple of minutes faster than last year and the bike/run courses were slightly longer. The knee injury has severely impacted training for the build period immediately following the ˝. It was basically just an extended recovery period as anytime I tried to bike or run the pain would return. Very worried in case it doesn't settle down before our planned trip to Penticton in mid-July to bike the course. One big stressor during the latter part of June and beginning of July has been the sale of our house and the purchase of a new place. That has definitely taken the focus away from IMC and placed it on coordinating the move/renovations etc. Must try to refocus and not lose the energy that's been building for the past 22 months towards August 25th. I find myself already looking towards next year and am planning on signing up for 2003. Jan Frith and I are so evenly matched (we came out of the water 1 second apart at the ˝ and played cat and mouse for almost the entire bike ride) so we feel we would be good training partners next year. I know Bob will not want to do it again so soon, but I'm sure he will want to come along on training rides, swims etc to maintain his fitness level. I figure that if this year's race goes sour I will want to do it again just to prove I can get through it. If it is a good race then I'll want to do it again torepeat the experience!
July proved to be a very frustrating month. The injury from the ˝ Iron really impacted on my training forcing me to abandon many bike rides due to pain. My running took a nose dive as well, though thank goodness for pool running which at least helped me to maintain some level of aerobic fitness. The frustrating thing with the injury was how much it affected my enthusiasm level. I felt as if the race should have been in June rather than August. It has felt like one too many months of training. I'm sure if I hadn't been injured that this feeling would not have factored in so greatly. The one highlight of June was the open water swim race at Thetis. Though very nervous beforehand, I managed to have a good, steady swim (3km) and finished in 55:25 which was good enough for 2nd in my age group. I purposely did not want to swim flat out and go anaerobic, so took it at a very slow pace (I thought). Wasn't able to draft off anyone after the first 100m or so which was disappointing. Bob came out of the water less than 1 minute before me, so I think that's what I was most pleased about as he is a strong swimmer, especially with the wetsuit on. I could see two swimmers in front of me by about 100m for the longest time, but just couldn't breach the gap to catch them and draft. It would have been hysterical if I could have caught up to Bob and cruised on in behind him.
We also went up to Penticton on the third weekend of July. Bob biked the entire course while I did only 90km and had quite a severe headache at the end of it. Learned a good lesson about dehydration that day. It worked out so well as some friends were in town for the Peach Classic. They drove me to Keremeos where I set out and cycled towards Richter. After about 10kms I met up with Bob and we rode the balance of the course back to town together. It was very hot, and there were strong headwinds all the way back. The rest of the weekend was quite enjoyable. We swam one afternoon in the big lake. It was quite windy and we were tossed around like little corks on the water.
Swim training for the latter part of July and into August continued to be our strongest suit. We gradually built up to a couple of 4.2 swims, plus one 4.5 swim (3 times around the islands at Thetis). Rob Hasegawa suggested that I shouldn't begin my taper 3 weeks out from race day, but rather 2 weeks and that I should do one really long ride before the race. So the first weekend in August I set out, solo, at 7 am on the Saturday. I ended up doing 181kms with an average speed of 25.0 km/h. The ride took me 7:14 hours of rolling time, and about 8:30 hours in total allowing for bathroom and phone breaks, plus one tea/muffin break at Matticks. I was very pleased with how everything turned out. Nutrition was reat, and my energy level was constant. Didn't feel any discomfort in my legs until later that night, when I did have some IT and knee pain. But the next day the pain was gone and I couldn't have even told that I'd done such a long ride the day before. Unfortunately, that day I came down with viral gastro-enteritis - flu-like symptoms. The doctor said it was not connected to the long ride, thank goodness, but it certainly laid me low for almost a week. Not one bit of exercising was done for 6 days as my system was just too weak. I had to go on a liquid diet for 48 hours to give my digestive system a chance to restore itself. At the end of the week, Bob and I were able to go for a 4 hour long hike at Mt. Work. So this brings us to the weekend before the big race. We head out to Penticton on Sunday the 18th to acclimatize for the pre-race week.