Lake Stevens 70.3 – Heather’s race report

Love my new Rolf Prima Carbon TT's

Love my new Rolf Prima Carbon TT's

Well I just woke up from a little nap that I took after driving back from Lake Stevens, and I found this e-mail from a new friend (and talented triathlete) in my in-box. It made me smile and woke me up from my post-nap foggy head, so I had to include it by way of an intro:

Yah, Heather!  You rocked Lake Stevens, beating some of the ‘big dawgs’ while you were at it.  Absolutely awesome.  And top bike split to boot….must be those Silver Star repeats 🙂   Great job…and way to represent some serious Canadian ass kickin!!!!!

I was very very tired from the drive but I am happy to report that this is the most un-sore I have ever been after a race! No blisters, no super sore legs muscles.  It is odd really.
I got my renewed Canadian passport on Thursday, and Trevor glued tubulars on my brand new Rolf Prima Carbon TT wheels that came in the mail that very same day! I threw my race gear together, drove myself down to Washington, and registered on-site on Friday. I had very bad sleeps on the Thursday and Friday nights before the race, and when I was going through the motions on Saturday I felt like a total zombie. My legs ached on the hour ride that I did to scope out the course (during which I got bit by a wasp on my ear – bad omen), I had no energy for my little run, and I felt bleh in the water too. I swam in a swim skin b/c I was expecting them to call non-wetsuit (it was 69.5 – cutoff 70) and it felt cold after 10 min.  Some friends asked how I was feeling and I all could say was that I was really tired.  I wasn’t planning on racing and I put in some big training just before (a 2hr hard workout on the track and a double swim day on Wednesday, for instance). Let’s just say, I wasn’t expecting much.

No expectations = no pressure = relaxed state of mind and positive head space = ability to race really well!

Had a not-too-horrible pre-race sleep, and I got there pretty early b/c I wasn’t sure where I’d park etc. I assumed that everything would take longer b/c I was alone, but everything was actually faster! I was sitting parked in the car at 5:10, and I was very relaxed and positive as I got ready in transition. It was nice to chat with Sara Gross and figure out where to get our timing chips together. I had a good little warm up jog to my special no-line porta potty out on the run course, and it was kind of nice to do my own thing in transition, though I missed Trevor’s expert wetsuit-doing-up job.
Got in the water for a good warm up, and then they held off the race start for 10min b/c it was so foggy you couldn’t see any of the buoys, so I got a really good warm up.
The swim was decent. There was this rope under the water that held buoys for a rowing course and it went in a straight line out to the far turn buoy so it was easy to go perfectly straight despite the fog on the water. I was on Michellie Jones’ feet, and I was happy to stay there. After the turn buoy to head back in she veered way off to the right and I thought “uh-oh”. It was really hard to see anything with the sun and the fog and I didn’t know if the under water rope lead back to the swim exit (different from the swim start) so I cut my own course keeping an eye on her and on Alexis Smith who was following the rope to my left. We all ended up grouping back together at the end but I was a couple body lengths further back b/c most of the group followed Michellie. No biggie. I was out of T1 last (I always have dizzinesss issues) but once I actually get on my bike I am in my element!

I caught everyone I came out of the water with in the first 2 miles, though Michelle stuck with me for quite awhile. It was cool and foggy and my glasses had to go in my jersey pocket. My eyeballs felt like sandpaper by the end, but the legs were totally happy. After the first loop Holly, spectator-extraordinaire, told me that I was only 2 minutes back from the leader.  There is some really good hilly terrain on the course and I felt strong for all of it. I really truly love my Triad and I am head over heels with my new wheels! The bike is so stiff and responsive, and the wheels were noticeably lighter and they handled SO well… it was like I was riding a rocket! They also make a cool sound which I will forever equate with going fast!

My sexy bike

My sexy bike

The last part of the second loop was SKETCHY. The whole course – a windy, hilly two lane road – was open to traffic and cars were getting stuck behind slower cyclists on their first lap, and then I had to pass the cars (on the right – no crossing the yellow line for fear of a DQ even though that would have been the safer option at times!!).  I almost got run off the road by some road raging ‘feller in a big truck with dulies, towing a massive boat, after I had to leap frog him like 3 times. It was awful. Lots of adrenaline, but lots of braking and stress too. I caught Becky Lavelle on the turn to the last few miles of the course back to transition and came into T2 first, though just barely.

I’ve been strengthening my feet to be able to race in light-weight flats and my AVIA Bolts felt great. I was determined to run like I have been running on the track, and though Becky caught me within the first mile, I was “a total ITU racer chick” (thanks Clint!) and I just stuck to her shoulder! That was fun new experience for me, and while we were both really pushing the pace I felt calm… like all I have to do is keep quick leg turnover, relaxed breathing and stick with her. I was the easiest, fast running I have ever done (which made watching the little videos that Trev posted extra demoralizing because we look so bloody slow!! It is so funny how that goes).

Anyway, I was envisioning a sprint finish and maybe wasn’t thinking enough about nutrition but when it came to the second loop, I was done my little gel flask, and was like “ok I need another gel at this next aid station”. In the pre race meeting they said that all 5 run stations would have water, gatorade and power gels. Nope. No gels to be had at the 3 that I asked, and I gradually started to bonk and Becky pulled away. I ended up asking an age-grouper (who had a few poking out of his shorts) for one, told him he was my hero, and I instantly felt better – but I couldn’t close the gap then. The far aid station at the out-and-back turn around had gels so I had another one there, and it kept me strong to the finish, but not in contention for first place! Becky was an impressive racer. When she heard me ask for a gel she literally sprinted for a few hundred meters to get rid of me. It was a nice move.

Anyway, the race turned out to be great one for me and was just that extra boost of confidence (and a bit of cash!) that I needed going into the last of my big training for Kona.

This coming weekend there is a big triathlon festival in Kelowna and my mom is doing her very first try-a-tri so that will be super fun to watch. A bunch of friends are rolling into town to compete in that race and spectate IMC so it is going to be a fun few weeks. I will have lots of good training dates anyway!

Thanks to everyone for all of your support. I am waiting to get race pics from the wonderful people that took some for us… I will post them as soon as I get them.

~ by trevorandheather on August 17, 2009.

2 Responses to “Lake Stevens 70.3 – Heather’s race report”

  1. Nice race again Heather, congrats on an awesome finish!!! Typical Lake STevens organisation hey? No gels… Shocking stuff…

  2. It was great seeing you in Lake Stevens!!! Nice race… Tall girls RULE!!! You are my hero…keep racing strong! Hope to see you in CDA next year!

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