After under performing at Oceanside I was very focused on having a good result at St. Anthony’s Triathlon. I had not raced the Olympic distance in over 2 years so I was excited to see what I could do in a shorter race. I went into the race still keeping my training geared for 70.3 racing but with a couple of faster workout to get my speed up.
Like most races I arrived 4 days before the event to make sure I was acclimatized to my surroundings. This was more important for this race because I was come from Poway California and the time zone change is 3 hours. The earlier I could arrive the better. We tried a new tactic before I left as well. I got onto Florida time a couple of days before I travel waking up extra early to start the day. The idea was to start adapting before I even arrived there.
When I landed my body was a little confused with the time change and high humidity. I had been use to the heat, training in California for the past few months but I had not adapted to hot and humid. I new that this would not be a big problem after I had preformed well in similar condition in Puerto Rico. But it still took a couple of days of running outside to get acclimatized. It is crazy how lethargic you can feel after working out in the humidity. It is so important to over hydrate in those situations.
My homestay was great and help to keep things very relaxed going into the race. We joked around and just stayed in the AC for most of the day. I found out that it was very warm and windy for that time of the year. At the race briefing we were told that the swim would be shortened to ‘900m’ due to large swells in the water. They felt that is was not safe to exit the water where they had planed. In the end you just have to roll with the punches.
My new race suits arrived just in time for the race. I was very happy to get to race in my new design and to have the ITU style suit as an option. I chose to race in the ITU style suit so that I did not have to worry about putting on my suit as I exited the water. Every second matters in the short races.
Race day was a little cooler than it had been for most of the week, but the wind was still whipping up, so the swim stayed at 900m. I was a little nervous heading over to the start line but ready to do what I had to do. I found John Rasmussen and Jack Laundry on the beach waiting to warm up. It was nice to chat with friends before the race starts. It felt like the old days when John and I traveled all over the place racing together.
The swim start was a beach run in. I have not done that kind of start for a long time. Personally they are not my favourite being a little shorter I cannot run into the water as far as some people. I personally like pontoon starts. I got in a short swim warm up before we were corralled into the start area. Then we were under starters orders the race was about to begin. As the gun went of I dashed into the water bounding threw the shallow water doing my best to keep my momentum going. I started to see the main field pull away from me a little. I new this was not ideal, I was going to need to swim well and minimize the lost time and places I had suffered at the start. The swim was rather choppy as I had expected and I was able to fight my way to back into the group. I was not in an ideal position but I slowly started to get around people and move into a better spot. I rarely say this but that was one swim I wish was longer. I exited the water in about 19th place and new I had to pick it up and get my bike going.
This race is definitely one of the more technical courses I have raced on. Most 70.3 races are on long straight roads with a couple of u-turns. But not at St. Anthony’s there were a fair number and quick 90degree turns broken up with straight out and back sections. Once I was on my bike I started to get on the power and bring people back. I made sure to Carry my speed threw the corner. On the first out and back portion I started to really gain ground. I was passing people left right and center, in a hurry to make up some positions I had lost in the swim. I was feeling like I had felt in Peurto Rico. The bike felt effortless, as if it was just an extension of my body. I love that feeling; it just feels like you can push yourself to a new level. At about the half way mark of the bike I had settled into 8th place. I was not losing or gaining much ground to the lead group of three riders and Cam Dye was up the road by himself. It was time to find the right effort that would allow me to have strong run, which would push me further up the standings.
After a quick transition I got moving on the run. It took about a km to get into my grove. I had to stay focused and on the gas from the start. There was very little pacing happening in this race. It was all about pushing myself hard from the start and holding on to it. Start fast and just get faster! By this time of the day it was heat up but thank goodness that there was a good amount of cloud cover or we just would have fried out there. I was steadily gaining on people as I went threw the first half of the run and by the half way turn around I was in 5th place. I could see 4th place just up the road and I new I had to find another gear if I wanted a shot at catching him. All I could think was just float and turn over your legs. My legs were burning and my body just wanted to stop but I dug in and held the pace. As I hit the last km of the run I could fully see 4th place and I new this was going to come down to the wire. I needed to go all in too the line on this one. It was a very different feeling to what I am use to in the 70.3 racing. I just love the feeling of going fast and this sure was that feeling in all of its painful glory. The tip of pain you feel in a 70.3 race is much different the slow grinding pain of holding 3:25 pace for over an hour verses the focused intensity of running the last km of a 10km race all in then having to find even more for the final kick. I caught Jack Laundry the 4th place man with only 200m to go. I gave it everything I had and so did he we were going back and forth for the next 200m. He was able to put in one final push in the last meters and I just could not match it. I ended up with a 5th place. I do not like losing in the final meter of a race it sure hurts. But at the end of the day I was pleased with a 5th place finish. It was really nice to be in this kind of race where you have to push yourself all the way to the very end and empty the tank. I will take all of this effort and drive into my 70.3 racing. I live for these moments that just make me want to be a better athlete
Now it is time to get back to a good five-week block of training. Then back to my bread and butter, 70.3 racing. I will be back in Guelph/Caledon for the next few months preparing for some races in Canada. Yep that’s right some home country races! Victoria 70.3 is up next on June 4 then Mt. Tremblant three weeks later.