Well, now that I've had a day to decompress, stretch out the aches, and slather my sunburn with aloe, I suppose I can make time for a race report.
If you follow me on twitter, you already know that I posted a PR by almost 30 minutes! But I do have to temper that by saying that the last Oly I did was two years ago, and it was a hilly bike course, and a hot run without much water. Wasa was a great course, with tons of water stations, and perfect weather. I really have to hand it to the organizers, it was a very well-run race.
N and I stayed at a friend's cabin on the lake (awesome), so on Saturday, we got to try out our rented wetsuits (highly recommend Tri It to anyone in Calgary). There were 6 racers staying at the cabin, and two more friends at the hotel, and we all decided that we'd better make sure to spend some time in the water to warm up before the race!
Unfortunately, on race day, those plans went out the window, for me. The downside of staying at the cabin was that I (mistakenly) thought that I could go grab transition spots early, then come back to pick up N. Well, by the time I got back, we were rushing, then I sort of lost track of time. I kept getting distracted, running through my mental checklist, then wanting to go see friends, not wanting to get too cold waiting, etc.
I also didn't realize how soon the Oly men started after the Sprinters. So I'm heading back to my bag to drop off my sweater and sunglasses, when I realize that the BM I've been planning hasn't happened yet. I don't know whether it was nerves or the pasta dinner, but my usual clockwork digestive system wasn't really cooperating. I went to the porta-potty anyway, thinking I had enough time. I didn't. By the time I got back to the beach, the other racers were in the water! Some kind stranger ladies helped my zip up my wetsuit, and I plunged off, about 2:30 behind!!
What followed was undoubtedly my worst swim ever. Jumping in cold is something I'll never do again, after sputtering, splashing and flopping my way through the first half lap. By midway around, I managed to calm somewhat, and managed (according to wifey and friends) to make it out of the water for the first turn somewhere mid-pack. The second lap was much better, sighting well and swimming strong, if not smooth.
As I pulled my wetsuit down around my waist, I realized that I hadn't put on the top of my tri-suit singlet! I got my arms into it, flopped down for the wetsuit strippers, and as soon as it was off, so was I, screaming volunteers in my wake: "YOUR WETSUIT!" One of them caught me just before I hit the timing mat (at 32:22).
T1 was pretty quick, I slapped some sunscreen on my face and neck OWWW! ... and that's when I first noticed how raw my neck was-- wetsuit must have rubbed. I forgot to hit the lap button on my Garmin, but pretty sure I got through the transition in about three and a half minutes, which I was pleased with.
Also very happy with my bike... I was sure I was behind Dr. Dan (we had a friendly wager on the race-- dinner), so I pushed hard on the bike, keeping my cadence up without over-spinning. It worked out great. I kept leapfrogging with a few guys, and had to really focus on staying out of the slipstream; I didn't need a 5 minute penalty for drafting!
After I didn't see Dr. Dan at all on the bike, I figured he must be behind me. I did see Keith ahead of me, which was not surprising, because I know he's a shark, and I know he's a pretty strong cyclist. I was a little surprised to catch him near the end of the course, but he kept with me and even passed me coming into Wasa, so he was pretty close coming into T2.
T2 was extremely quick for me-- even though I put on socks, which I don't normally do in Sprint races. I knew that my Nikes wouldn't be nice enough to my feet over 10k to go sockless. Although I was battling a bit of a diaphragm cramp for most of the run, it still felt good. I'd set my Garmin's virtual partner to a 5:30/km pace, and managed to keep to that for the whole race, despite taking a spill on a tree root at about 3km (going to lose a toenail to that one, too).
I kept looking for Dr. Dan on the run, still telling myself that he was either not too far ahead, or maybe just behind. I finally saw him (and Keith again-- he's gotten fast on the run!) just after the turnaround, about 4.5km. I also saw for the first time the first and second-place women, which was another motivator! Physically, I didn't get chicked: I managed to finish about 10 seconds ahead of the first woman, but technically I did, because she started about 30 minutes after me!
All in all, I have to say it was a very well run race. I do have to say that we could have done without the ridiculous meeting on Saturday-- to me, it was a waste of sunshine to spend an afternoon listening to someone read from emails everyone was sent. 10 minutes on parking, 5 on the swim course, and we could have been out of there. Save the rest for the race-day meeting, and be more strict about that.
(official times below)
Unofficial splits from my Garmin (started when I got in the water, not the official start):
Overall place: 207
Place among all men: 148/255
Place in Age Group: 14/26
Swim Rank - 242
Swim split - 32:22
Bike Rank - 166
Bike Split (includes T1 and T2) 1:16:13
Run Rank - 255
Run split - 53:36
Overall Time: 2:42:09.60