I was sick leading up to the Shawnigan Lake Half Iron, but after discussing with Coach Bjoern we decided to keep it in the schedule as a training race. He kept the volume up the week leading into the race without any taper. My goals for the day were:
- Feel like I had a solid swim, no time goal
- Hold back on the bike. Keep the heart rate in z3 vs. the z4 that I often find myself in during a half iron, no time goal
- Have a good strong run, no time goal
The day before the race I did a loop of the bike course and I couldn’t get over the conditions of the roads. I kept thinking to myself: “these roads are worse than Saint Croix” (that is saying a lot!). It even crossed my mind that I wouldn’t race because of the conditions. In hindsight, I think I was being a little tough on the roads, during the race they didn’t seem all that bad.
The swim was a mass start from thigh deep water. Conditions were cold, but definitely warmer than they have been in the past, according to friends. My swim went really well and I felt efficient and smooth. I came out of the water with a smile.
My transition to the bike didn’t go so well. I had a tough time getting out of my wetsuit, I could definitely knock a minute off this with some practice.
Out on the bike I really enjoyed the course and quickly set into a rhythm and a consistent pace. I executed my nutrition strategy flawlessly, taking in the planned water, electrolyte and calories on set intervals. This was a monumental improvement over past races. The key difference for me was sticking with a simple strategy. Water (no sports drink), easily accessible electrolyte (taped to bars) and easily accessible gels (taped to top tube). I owe my nutrition approach to Richele…thanks for the advice!
Halfway through the first lap I came inches away from hitting a deer. She crossed right in front of me and we locked eyes until I came to a stop. It was pretty cool, but scary at the same time. In a collision she would have come away the winner!
Onto the run my legs felt tight for the first 2km, but relaxed nicely for the rest of the run. I didn’t feel like I had my top end heart rate zone on the run, probably due to the sickness and lack of a taper.
It was amazing to have so many teammates and friends doing the race, the run has you doing 2 out and backs so it gives you plenty of opportunity to cheer each other on.
I ended up having the 5th fastest run split of the day and felt really strong crossing the finish line at 4:33, almost 30 minutes faster than my previous personal best at the Half Iron distance. The other cool thing was my complete lack of stiffness and tiredness after the race. I went right back to training on Monday.
My teammates had incredible performances with many winning their age group. Special mention to Lawrence who put together an incredible race to finish in 4:20…I’ve got to spend more time biking with this guy, he’s a machine!
All in all, it was a fabulous weekend with great food, great friends and a well coordinated race.
Congratulations to race winners Adam O’Meara and Rachel Kiers!
And thank you TrainingPeaks for the awesome race kit!