August 26, 2008

Cheering on Ironman 2008

This weekend I went to Penticton to cheer on Team TriLife members during their IMC. It was a blast! Everyone did so well and came across the finish line vertical - and smiling! I got emotional a few times as certain people came across the finish line. Because I have been training with them I know how hard they have worked. I volunteered as finish line catcher and was able to "catch" many TTL athlete's and other friends. I loved seeing them right after they raced. If you ever are in Penticton watching the race, I highly recommend volunteering as a finish line catcher. I had a BLAST!!!!!! We danced, cheered and celebrated with the athlete's. I met some amazing people too! It was so much fun! (Check out: ). Lyle, the coordinator is super awesome and so much fun! He was dancing around with us!
Anyway, everyone I knew who raced was in great spirits and nobody seemed to be medically in trouble after they raced (although Cindy was acting like she was drunk and was being really funny!). I am so proud of everyone who reached their goals and made it through the 140.6 miles of swimming, biking and running. Way to go!

And yes, I was also there to sign-up for Ironman 2009! August 30th, 2009 on your calendars and I will see you in Penticton next year!

August 20, 2008

Canadian National Triathlon Championships

I had a great time in Kelowna over the past 5 days. My best friend, Leslie is one of the most amazing people I know. She and her sister Heather (who I have totally adopted as my own) took such good care of me it was overwhelming. They cooked me great meals, ran errands with me and were the best damn cheerleaders during the race. I should also mention Jae (Leslie's boyfriend) who was also there taking great care of me and cheering as well.

The first 2 - 3 days I was in Kelowna before the race I spent time with Angie and the Team Alberta junior elite's. What an amazing group of kids! They are so talented and just genuinely nice kids. This was great but standing on my feet all day in the sun the day before the race (and getting sun burnt) was less than ideal!

The morning of the race I was not feeling well and my stomach was pretty upset. I made several trips to the bathroom which was almost good as it kept me occupied until my 9am start. My group usually starts around 7:30am so I was shocked to be so late. I was slightly nervous as heading into the race I was determined to place top 10 in my age group and to qualify for the World Triathlon Championships again. I was also nervous as it had been almost 3 years since I had done an Olympic distance tri. My goals for this race were:
1. Top 10 finish
2. Run a 47 - 48 minute 10km

The gun went off and I ran into the water with the other 100 women. There was alot of contact through the first lap and I tried not to get frustrated. On the second lap we caught up to the slower men in the heat before us and I let myself become frustrated at one point as a girl who was drafting off me kept hitting my toes. It is important not to invest any emotional energy on the swim, which I focused on during the last 1/2 of the second lap. When I hit the swim exit I ran up the ramp looking at my watch; it said 28 minutes - I was a little upset as I was hoping to come out in 26 minutes but considering this was my first non-wetsuit swim I knew I would be a bit slower.

I flew through transition onto the bike. On the first of 3 laps my legs felt tired and there were alot of girls who were a bit too close behind me for what I like. I continued to hammer as hard as I could. When I went to get my gel taped to my bike, I accidentally ripped both off. Crap! I ate one and held onto the other. What am I supposed to do now? I slowed up for a bit, peeled the tape off my bike best I could, attempted to tape the gel shut, shoved it in my bra (hoping it would not leak), and hoped I could make up the time I slowed up. The rest of the bike felt good and Leslie continued to yell out my lap times and told me to hurry up, and I finally started to pass the strong swimmers.

When I came into transition I had to do a double take at the bike racks. There were 2 other bikes in my age group. What!? I threw my bike, put on my SkirtSports race belt skirt, put on my shoes and ran! As I rounded the corner out of transition I saw so many people that had come out to cheer me on. So overwhelming! I then saw Leslie with a bright pink sign that read "Run B*tch Run". I laughed.

The run was hard and I was tired. Between the 3km and 4km mark close to 5 girls in my age group passed me. I was worried and did my best over the next 6km to hang on. I doused myself with water every chance I could. I knew I was not running as hard as I could but I just didn't have it in me at that time. I pushed to keep one of the girls in my sight and crossed the line in 2:33:35. My run time was a disappointing 51:08. I did however place 8th, qualifying for the 2009 World Triathlon Championships.

August 13, 2008

The cat is out of the bag!

I figured I better tell everyone what is going on before you hear it from somewhere else.

Last night Angie did announce that yes, I will be joining Team Tri Life as a coach. I will continue to train and race with Team Tri Life as well but, will move into a coaching capacity immediately following Ironman Canada.

More details to follow about this very exciting role!

August 12, 2008

Strathmore Women's Triathlon

The Strathmore Women's Triathlon is my favorite race ever! It has the absolute best atmosphere of any other race I have ever done. It is a sprint triathlon with a 500m pool swim, 20km bike and a 5km run. I have done this race before and because I swim a bit faster I am usually in the last heat. Waiting around I usually end up getting a bit nervous (and bored) so this year I decided to volunteer as the swim captain. What I did was work in the pool all morning getting the girls organized and sent in their heats, and then when the last girl went I quickly changed and got in the pool myself to do the race. What an amazing experience as I volunteer I had! I loved seeing everyone and drawing of the excited energy. Now, if you have never been to or done an all girls race, I highly recommend it. It is so much fun - and NO BOYS! It is our day!

The morning went quickly and I had a great time cheering on the girls from the pool deck. I unfortunately did not get to see the action outside on the bike and run but, I was really having fun on the pool deck! Ther were a lot of high-5's, smiles and cheers!

When the last group of girls was set to go, I handed the swim captain duties over to my friend Ali, quickly got changed, and went over to the timing mat. I crossed and jumped into the water. I counted my laps and they went by fairly quickly. I felt a bit heavy due to the bagel I had eaten only a 1/2 hour before but, considering I have only swam about 5 or 6 times since my 1/2 Ironman at the beginning of July it was a great swim.

I came out of the water (last of course) and I got a huge cheering from all the wonderful volunteers I had worked with that morning. When I ran out to transition I easily found my bike as many girls were done the race and had removed their gear from transition. I grabbed my bike and headed out to the highway. On the way out it is down hill and I had a great tailwind. I was flying and wanted to try to catch as many girls on the bike as I could. The way back was slightly harder but, I was still feeling great and was having so much fun going so fast. YEah all teh training on the bike is really paying off . When I rounded the corner back to transition I could hear Angie screaming about how she couldn't believe how fast I was. I was happy and feeling great!

I flew through transition and headed out for the run. My friend Leo ran along the side of the course for the first kilometer and cheered me on. I was going at a great pace, with a high turn-over and was passing as many girls as I could. I could see my teammate Karen up ahead and my goal was to catch her. At the turn-around however,Karen saw me and saw that I was less than 100m back of her and she really turned on the jets (I knew that would happen once she saw me! Karen and I are great for each other as we really push each other during training and racing - and she is incredibly nice! I couldn't ask for a better training buddy).

As I hit the 3km mark a bad side stitch hit me (damn bagel!). I tried to maintain pace and luckily still continued to pass girls that had started ahead of me on the swim and who I knew were my biggest competition. At the 3.5km point Leo reappeared and started to run and yell (in a cheering way) at me. I hurt so bad by the 4km mark I stopped and hunched over. Leo urged me on and I felt like someone had stabbed me in the ribs. "Just around the corner and you're done!" he yelled. "Liar" I yelled back (I was standing right beside the 4km marker!). He then told me I had passed all but 1 girl who was ahead of me and I was in contention for 2nd place overall. I tried to push as hard as I could but, my body was screaming at me. AS I got closer to the finish line Angie was screaming at me to run faster and I did all I could to go faster. I crossed the finish line in 1:09:17 - accomplishing my goal of finishing sub 1:10!

At the end of the day I had a great experience! I told Deanne who is the race director that I will be back next year as swim captain. As for my results, I did finish second overall! I came first in my age category and had the fastest bike split of the day. This helps boost my confidence heading into Nationals next week.

August 4, 2008

A Good Training Weekend

Lindsay arrived at 9am to head out for a ride. I was ready to go except...... I still had to walk Kita so she didn't go crazy while we were gone. So, in our bike gear we took her on a long walk which she loved. We got some great looks from people on the pathways, but Kita didn't seem to care what we were wearing and enjoyed being on the walk with us.

When we finally headed out, we headed out on my favorite ride, HorseCreek road out to Bottrel. The ride to Bottrel is so beautiful and fairly traffic free - which gives you a chance to visit and ride without too many worries. On the hill down to Bottrel I got a little excited and got my bike up to 64.9km/hr!!!! So much fun!!! We then hit 22X and followed it back to Cochrane. We were at about 70km and still needed to ride another 30km. So we actually headed back onto HorseCreek as to avoid the busy highways.

I was a little cold as I was wearing just a tank top and tri shorts and it was very windy and overcast (in fact I am pretty sure I had goosebumps the entire ride). Then I started to feel shaky. I thought I was just getting colder but as my cadence slowed and Lindsay thanked me for slowing down I realized I was incredibly hungry (all I had had for breakfast was coffee and 1 gel on the ride in 75km! Oops!) I downed a Powerbar which had never tasted so good! In a few kilometers I finally started to feel a bit better. We finished up the final 25km and I introduced Lindsay to "the bonus hill" (Susi and I live at the top of Bow Ridge so the only way home after a long ride is to go up it! Susi and I like to say we get extra training than all our friends who live at the bottom of the hill. Hence, "the bonus hill").

When we got inside we quickly set to work making a huge batch of spaghetti which we ate immediately. We then showered, walked Kita, and decided we were still hungry. We headed to MacKay's for ice cream and then headed to Coto for sushi. Yes, we were very hungry! When we got home we watched a movie and were both in bed by 9pm. What a great day!

We woke up early and made sure we ate a good breakfast. Lindsay's friend, Kyle would arrive at 9am and we wanted to be ready when he got there. We of course were not, and we both scrambled to hurry up when Kyle and his friend Jeff, got there. I decided to dress warmer today as it was overcast and I was sure we would get rained on. When we flew down "the bonus hill" I said to Lindsay "How about 60km and a movie instead?". It was freezing! As we climbed out of Cochrane towards Bragg Creek we did warm up and I was glad I was dressed alot warmer. We made it to Bragg Creek fairly quickly and all agreed we would do the full 100km today as it wasn't as cold as it had been initially. We decided to go to Priddis and back. There are some great hills out to Priddis but after riding with all that traffic - I'm sticking to Horse Creek. The highways are just too scary!

We made it to Priddis and when we turned around our hearts sank - the sky was dark black. It looked as though the last 40-50km of our ride would be quite wet. We zoomed back and took no breaks so we could get home ASAP. None of us wanted to get wet. We made it Bragg Creek and and were relieved we still didn't feel rain. We of course did not stop and I knew that we only had 30km to go - PLEASE no rain! I got out a gel ripped off the top and before I thought to get it to my lips I squeezed. Gel all over my aerobars! I'm an idiot! We quickly stopped while I "washed" my bike and kept the pace back home.

We all smiled when we pulled into the driveway - dry! Yeah! No sooner had the boys pulled away and Lindsay and I had raided to pantry did the rain come. Wow! We got lucky.

Lindsay headed back to Calgary (after we ate everything we could in the pantry) and I showered, walked Kita, made banana bread, did laundry, tidied the house and then say on the couch where I didn't move for 2 hours. I was again in bed early.

I was up early today to head out for my 28km run. I struggled to hold pace through most of the run as I am sure riding 200km this weekend took something out of me (as much as I would not like to admit it). Unfortunately at the 17.5km mark my ITband decided it had enough. I limped through the next .5km and decided I would save the last 10km for after work.

Work was slow and I wanted desperately to be at home playing with Kita in the yard and taking her to the dog park, and finishing my run. My IT band ached all day so I decided to call Angie and let her know about my weekend and ITband. I asked if I should maybe just do the elliptical after work instead of run the 10km. She asked me to rest and ice both my ITband and my foot (yes, my plantar facsiitis is screaming at me right now). So, I sit, type and ice my foot and knee. Good thing I have an appointment with Dr. Myles tomorrow morning. I hope he can fix me! Damn body!

August 3, 2008

Ironman 70.3 Calgary

As many of know Ironman 70.3 Calgary was announced this week ( . At first, I had to think about it interfering with my plans for Ironman Canada next year. In the span of 3 days I was doing it, then I wasn't, then I was, then I wasn't, etc. Well, the final verdict is.................that I could not pass up the chance to race this inaugural race right in my backyard! I know some of you reading are saying "AW Richelle, what are you thinking!?" But, I thought about it, talked it over with several people and when it came down to it I was not missing this opportunity. Even Jeff, my husband is urging me to do it and didn't think I should pass up this opportunity. I might be a bit tired for Ironman Canada, but that is my choice. I think this will be a great race!