Sunday was race number 9 in my quest for (more than) 13 races in 2013 – the Wasa Lake Olympic Triathlon! This was my first triathlon since Ironman last year so I was feeling a bit nervous!
There was also a little bit of stress on our trip out to Wasa. We had just pulled over at the Alberta/BC border to check out the continental divide.
About 5 minutes after this picture was taken Neil realized he had forgotten his wallet at home. You can’t pick up your race packet without your ID so we lost a good three hours of travel time with a trip back home! It meant we’d get to Wasa Lake just in time for packet pick up and we’d be a little late to get a swim in the lake done. Finally, several hours later, we were at packet pick up.
It was pretty late by now so so I don’t think we were feeling a swim in the lake. Instead we drove down to check out transition.
After walking through and figuring out the set up we drove off to Cranbrook, where we were spending the night. We popped by the grocery store along the way to pick up dinner for the night. We decided to keep things simple and go with some rotisserie chicken, pasta and tomato sauce. We also needed some wine!
We stayed at the Elizabeth Lake Lodge in Cranbrook. It is were I stayed when I raced Wasa back in 2009 and it was perfect for this trip again. I would highly recommend this place! After dinner we relaxed and watched Thor before calling it a night early.
On race morning I woke up at 5 am and struggled to eat two eggs and an English muffin. We were packed and on the road to Wasa just after 6. By the time we got there the closest parking lot to transition was full so we parked about 1 km away from the start. You could rack your bike anywhere you liked in transition so Neil and I set our bikes up next to each other.
After getting set up we were off to get our timing chips and get body marked.
Neil was racing the sprint, so his race started at 8 am. I still had an hour to go until my race so I joined the spectators at the lake to see his start.
It was then time for me to get ready for my race. I found some of my fellow Team Tri Life ladies for a picture…
As I struggled into my wetsuit Neil made it out of the water and into transition. I tried to give him a bit of a pep talk for the bike and he was on his way.
Wetsuit on, and time for one last photo!
I made sure to really lube up my neck with Body Glide and that it was well pulled up on my shoulders. I made my way out to the lake, then realized that I had forgotten my pre-swim gel in transition. I didn’t have much time before race start though and I really wanted to get in the water and warm up. I decided to leave my gel in transition and not go back for it. That was a mistake!
I had some time to warm up and test the goggles out. The water felt great. As an aside, you have to wonder when you look at people standing in the lake, arms crossed and lips pursed, how many of them are trying to “warm up their wetsuit”? 🙂
Wasa Lake Olympic Triathlon Race Report
Swim – 1500 meters – 37:47 (courtesy of my Garmin)
Swimming is not my most favourite of the three sports and I often have those “why am I doing this” thoughts in the lake. My swim today was awesome. I felt great in the water and my sighting was pretty good too. I measured the course at almost 1700 meters, which would make my pacing bang on with the pool. I peed twice. Success! Once I could grab two handfuls of sand I pulled the neck of my wetsuit down while in the water to break the seal in the suit.
T1 – 4:23 (courtesy of my Garmin)
The official timing mat for transition is after a long walk from the lake, so this is my T1 time off my Garmin. I walked, taking the time to pull my wetsuit off. It is still really tough to get my suit off my wrists. I tried to be methodical once I got to my bike. Dried feet, brushed sand off, socks, shoes, helmet and glasses. Let’s go.
Bike – 40 km – 1:18:07
The bike course has changed since I did the race last in 2009. It isn’t quite as flat as it used to be, but still pretty flat compared to where we ride in Calgary. I haven’t done a race this distance in a long time and I’ve completely forgotten how to pace the bike. For Ironman I took things pretty slow, but today I may have taken things a little too fast. I was also paranoid about drafting as the draft zone increased to 3 meters by 12 meters just before the race. I spent a lot of effort passing people and trying to stay in front. I had a bottle of nuun with me and a package of Honey Stinger chews. I tried to eat regularly and I ran through my entire bottle of nuun as it was pretty warm out there. Part way through the course I realized I’d probably pushed too hard. I did not clue into my low calorie intake though!
As I hit the last 2K on the bike I dialled it back, trying to spin easy. Just as I approached T2 I got a start as a bee or a wasp flew behind my sunglasses and lodged itself right by my eye. Ow!!! Thankfully I’m not allergic!
T2 – 1:44
I had just enough time to tell Neil about the bee incident and then I was out of there!
Run – 10 km – 1:10:53
I had a GU in my pocket and I planned to take it right away on the run. Unfortunately I got a cramp in my lower right abdomen as soon as I started running. I dialled the pace back and had to take some walk breaks to make it go away.
Of course now I was paranoid about taking my gel in case the cramp came back now! Of course I was now in a huge calorie deficit and it was one long slow fade to the finish. I held on okay for maybe 4 km but then I had to start upping the walk breaks. My brain wanted to keep running but my legs were running out of juice. There were several water stops along with way and I grabbed a cup of Gatorade at each one. The volunteers at the water stops were so awesome! One group ran a luau theme complete with grass skirts. I loved the enthusiasm! A welcome addition along the run course now were plenty of port-potties. I didn’t have to stop this time, but it was good to know they were out there!
The awesome Steve King was out there announcing the finish line. I always love to hear him call us in! Neil caught a fuzzy shot of me as I turned the corner to the finish.
All done. 3:12:52.
Post Race Thoughts
In hindsight I realized that I ate breakfast at 5:30, then had nothing till I hit the bike. The race started just after 9 am, so that was a long time! I should have had a banana closer to the race start but I never even thought about it. Even taking that gel before the swim would have helped. I took in maybe 120 calories on the bike? Yup, that was a problem!! Oh well, learning experiences for Great White North in a few weeks.
Neil and I had to quickly down some post-race food (beef burgers, veggie burgers, Caesar salad, fruit, chips and cookies) and hit the road to make it back to Calgary in time to pick up Peat before the kennel closed. Unfortunately we missed the draw prizes! On the way home I discovered I must have missed a spot with the Body Glide on my neck. Wetsuit hickey!!
My first triathlon of 2013 is done! Plenty of mistakes for sure, but I had a really fun day out there. It was also Neil’s first open water swim triathlon!! It didn’t take long for Neil to proclaim that he wants to go back and race it again next year!
Thanks Wasa and RM Events for a great race!