Monday, 14 July 2014

Disaster, Kindness and an Epiphany

I was ready and psyched for yesterday's triathlon and the day definitely didn't disappoint.  Between a disaster, an amazing act of kindness and an epiphany, the Subaru Vancouver triathlon will go down in my personal history books as a race that exemplified what triathlon is all about.

Imagine training hard for an event, knowing you've done everything you possibly could to have the best race possible.  Between the job, the kids, the aching back and overbooked chiropractor and life in general, it's amazing you're going to be able to do this at all.  All of the sacrifices will be worth it (and believe me, there's many if you're the working, parenting variety of triathlete).  Now imagine getting to your ready-to-go bike in the transition racks with less than two hours until race start, only to see a gaping hole in your tire staring back you.  Sure, one of your competitors will have a spare tube for you, but who carries an entire spare tire?  No one.   This is what my friend Speedy was dealing with at 5am Sunday morning, complete and utter disaster.

Enter our heroes of the day, Jeremy Wilson from Speed Theory and Chris Manore from Leading Edge Triathlon Club.  Faced with a panicking athlete, Chris used his connections and approached Jeremy, who had a spare tire and let Speedy use it.   Chris and Jeremy, you may never read this but if you do, you should know that your act of kindness made the difference between wasted sacrifices and Speedy finishing second in her age category.  So from the bottom of Speedy's heart (and mine), thank you!

My race was seemed typical to me.  The swim was the hardest I've ever done, every single meter of the 500 meter course was a battle with the freezing cold ocean.  The bike went well, even the downhill (yes, I white knuckled the brakes) and the run was what I expected, painful but I still managed to hold a slow and steady pace.  I expected to go home with a PB and toast myself with a beer.  Until I saw the posted times.  My time was one of the slowest I have ever had.  Ever.   Normally this would be the part where I questioned ever racing again, saying mean things to myself and wondering what's the point if you're so slow?  But not this time.  This time all I could see were all of the little victories that can't be described by a set of numbers.   Successful swim in breathtakingly cold temps, feeling stronger than ever on the bike and of all things, my fastest run to date.  I had fun, left everything I had on the course and actually felt kind of proud of myself. And it only took five years to realize this! Who doesn't love a good epiphany?  

Triathlon is all about the camaraderie between athletes and regular, every day humans pushing themselves into the "How is that actually possible?" realm.  Ask any triathlete and they've benefited from the kindness of others in unexpected disasters.  Stand on the bike course and you will hear the calls of "Good job" or "You're doing great" between competitors. How many sports can boast that kind of sportsmanship?  Just don't get in the water.  Nobody has any friends on the swim.

Another race done and dusted and more importantly, a big step towards the next goal:  A half-Ironman race in 2015.  Who's with me?

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Inspiration by Anticipation

Okay, I'm back.   It's been a long time and this post was supposed to be from the Broken Elbow but life is full of surprises.  Case in point-this morning was going to be all about lounging with coffee and a magazine, but no.  Inspiration started poking at me and couldn't/wouldn't be ignored (thankfully!).

What's got me inspired?  Anticipation.  In roughly 24 hours, I will be crossing the finish line at the Subaru Vancouver Triathlon.  This will be the first race post Elbow Incident and I fully expected this countdown to be like every other race:  anxiety, nerves gnawing at me, telling myself that this is ridiculous, you are not meant to be an athlete, go home.  But this one is different.  This time I'm ready and psyched.

Ready for my first open water swim since Lavaman and my first in Canada.  This week's open water practice (thanks Coach T!) was a great start for someone who had never swam in a wetsuit or open water in the Great White North, at least in the triathlon sense.  I expected cold as hell, seaweed, giant waves and monsters and instead got tolerable temperatures, little seaweed, gentle rollers and the only monster was some threatened motion sickness.  I'm ready to be Germany to the ocean's Brazil.  I'm psyched.

Ready to attack the bike course like never before because I've trained like never before, thanks to Alli and the Nutcracker and all those 6am weekend wake-up calls.  Truthfully, the one hill of the course has me a little bit worried but more for the down than the up.  I love to climb, but am a little worried about the downhill that should have me going 50+ kilometres/hour!  If you're looking for me, I'll be the one white knuckling my brakes.  Still pretty psyched!

Ready to run.  Ready because I've been training hard for the run, mostly thanks to my Nike + app on my phone keeping me inspired.  It's so nice to have crossed the line from complete and utter loathing of running back to loving it, because it's hard to do triathlon without a good, strong run (walking the whole 5km would look silly, wouldn't it?).  Psyched to run across that finish line tomorrow for the first time in over a year!

Tomorrow is going to be great.  Beautiful weather, an awesome course and hopefully a PR are all just a  day away!   Check back Monday for my race report and see you out there!