August 3, 2009

Calgary 70.3 (better late than never!)

I had no expectations (other than to have fun) going into the day because I had not tapered due to the fact that Ironman is just 4 weeks away! On the Thursday and Friday before the race I was exhausted and had a 3 hour bike on the 70.3 course with a brick and a 4km swim where I was so tired I couldn't even hold form - I flailed in the water. I was done. When my husband asked me to check my gears on Friday night after he had worked on my bike for race day, I was out of breath riding around the block. Crap. I really didn't want to go to the start line on Sunday. Then on Saturday Angie reminded me I only had 2 more weeks until I get to taper for IMC! That coupled with a full rest day on Saturday (I did not even have a pre-race swim workout to do - a full rest day!) did my mental state and my body wonders.
So for 70.3 I and then was hoping to have fun, and ride and run as hard as I could (I will be honest - I always just hope to survive the swim). I wasn't nerveous all day which was nice for a change. The morning was fun as my friend Carrie came to our house to catch a ride out to Ghost Lake. I tried to eat but all I could get down was coffee. I brought a PB and bannana sandwhich hoping I would eat it before the start of the race. We got our bikes set up quickly ht the porto-pottie line which we stood in for almost an hour and then it was time to put our wetsuits on. I tried to think about food but couldn't as I really was not nerveous. I ate 2 sharkies and put the rest of the bag away...nope, no food for me today. The swim was great as because it was wave start it meant all the people around me were women my age! Carrie and I snapped a shot before we started and I knew it would be a fun day. I hardly saw anyone during the swim and swam mainly by myself. At one point a girl grabbed my leg and we were the only 2 girls around. I kicked her hand off my leg, turned around and yelled at her "that was uncalled for!". She apologized and we continued on. I hit land and was happy. As I hit the boat ramp I saw my wonderful husband cheering me on and taking pictures.

T1 felt slow but I went through as fast as I could. As I approached the dismount line to haed out there was Jeff again taking pictures and cheering me on. "Have a good ride babe!" he called as I clipped in and headed out. The ride was great! This is where I ride all the time! My home turf! I felt so comfortablle and pretended I was out training. I started passing alot of people and that is what I did for the next 94km! All in all, I think about 8 men passed me and I passed several hundred people! The course was fun as I said before, this is what I usually ride. And I felt great. I kept thinking that I shouldn't be feeling this good. My legs should be hurting but they didn't!!! I saw so many people on the course and the highlight of the ride was going through the aid station that Team TriLife was handling. I got to see a bunch of my friends and teammates which was amazing. It toatlly pumped me up as they all cheered as I rode through.

T2 felt fast (I had an amazing volunteer help me) and I headed out on the run feeling great. I wasn't going fast but I felt steady. Suzanne Boyd went by me at about 4.5km as we headed down into Weaselheadand. She told me to go with her as I do to her so many races. I did for about 200m, and knew if I held that pace I would not last. Darn! I eased back into my pace. The hills were challenging but good! I actually liked them - even though I walked up all of them. My stomach still was not cooperating so I started alternating Coke and water so I could at least get something into my body. At the 9 km mark I started to feel strong and worked my way through the field, finally passing some people. One of my staff, Ciara ran with me for a bit and encouraged me on. I started to see alot of people I knew both racing and spectating. I started to feed off the energy and felt strong running....that is until the hill to come back out of Weaselhead. I walked up it as fast as I could. At the top I knew I was just 4km from the finish. I pushed on until just 2.5km left when I found myself walking. Suddenly a girl ran past me and said "Come on Richelle, you can do anything for 2.5km". I started running with her and tried to hold her pace. I started to fall off until "Come on girl, let's go!" she said. I got beside her and held her stride. She was my saviour! I looked at my watch and if I held this pace I would do a sub 5:30. I did not want to see taht clock roll to 5:30. I would get a 5:29!!!!! I pushed on and passed her. I saw Madi and Heather. They started to run with me and some guy yelled "just 800m to go". "800m!?!?!?!?!?" I screamed. Madi and Heather quickly pointed out he was wrong and it was 200m. Madi told me to run hard to the finish and I went as hard as I could. As I hit the last 50m Rose yelled that there was someone right behind me. I looked back and saw no one. I flipped her the bird (OK, not a great idea to do to your boss) and ran to the finish. I saw Leana with a big smile as I hit the timing mat. Next thing I knew Susi grabbed me and I put all my weight on her. The volunteers at the finish were amazing (actually the entire volunteer team for Calgary 70.3 was amazing!!!) and helped me get food, water, and my finisher shirt before I headed to find my husband. I chatted with many competitors as I made my way to my #1 cheerleader/supporter, my husband. My mother-in-law also came to cheer on and was so excited. It was neat for her to finally see what it is I do and am so passionate about.

We gathered my thinks and headed home for an ice bath. I then showered and got out to over 8 messages on my phone. I had qualified for Clearwater (70.3 World Championships) but missed my spot as you have to be there to claim it. I shed a few tears and after Angie calmed me down let it go - in the cards another time.

I had a great race though and highly recommend Calgary 70.3!