The Kelowna Apple has long been one of my favourite races... key reasons?
- The organizers understand Paratriathlon and make it easy to compete
- The venue is perfect - lake = beautiful / bike course = fun / run course = flat
- Kelowna is easy to get to from Vancouver and the weather is always good
It's nice when the National Championship is hosted by one of your favourite races two years in a row!
Anyway, I spent my last post telling you all about how I was staying in my van, and enjoying the lifestyle of a traveling triathlete.... so I'll get down to race day...
Pre-Race:I woke up early and enjoyed two of those flattened multigrain buns with peanut butter, and a fair amount of Gatorade. This worked really well for me - the buns/peanut butter are calorie dense and easy to eat, the gatorade helps top up the hydration level and assists with washing down the buns. I usually hate eating in the early morning but this I can handle.
Note: It's kind of awesome waking up in the "kitchen" with the food right at hand, then moving 4 feet to the driver's seat and driving straight to transition with all your stuff. The van rules.
Morning in the van... timer shots... (what a nerd!)
Swim:I was looking forward to the swim this year. I have never done as much open water swimming as I have this year and I felt confident. I was happy to see a little chop on the surface of Lake Okanagan, as I felt it gave me an advantage since I swim through chop all the time in Batchelor Bay.
As always we Paratriathletes had our own wave, all 3 of us. That makes for a pretty smooth start and within 25 metres I was all alone. I settled in and worked. At the first buoy the chop became quite significant and I took a mouthful or two... I was a bit surprised and humbled. I didn't expect to be gasping and snorting h20... I got my rhythm back and went hard until I was catching the stragglers from the Sprint wave that left 5 minutes before us. It's fun to pass people like they are standing still (it's not that I am that fast - they actually were sort of standing still).
Result: 25:56 (2008 = 26:06).
I would have hoped for a lot more than a 12 second improvement but the conditions were tougher this year with the chop, and last year there were no Sprint waves in front to pick through...
Bike: There's not too much to say about the bike. It went very smoothly. I definitely lacked a bit of power heading up Knox Mountain (especially on lap 1 and 3, 2 felt good.) There was also a fair amount of wind to deal with on the out-and-back section and the flat section heading back into town....
With the wind and the injury earlier in the summer I am not too disappointed with my time.
Result: 1:15:27 (2008 = 1:14:20)
Run: I was openly nervous about the run. I have done almost 0 running for the last two-and-a-half months due to my injury. I also have a growing history of slow runs at the Apple. I was ready for anything from pain and walking to a surprising, smooth run.
In the end it was painful, not injury pain, just untrained pain. Simple fact - if you don't train for the run it will hurt. I was constantly mad at myself for not going faster but unable to conjure any extra speed from my legs. I wasn't wearing a watch (deliberately) but felt that I was going only marginally faster than a turtle. I even walked a couple of aid stations and failed to deliver any sort of "kick". It was lame.
Result: 51:04 (2008 = 53:00)
You'd think this improvement would make me happy but really it just made me realize that I sucked even more in 2008. In my report last year I said something to the effect of "I need to focus on this more".... yeah, that's still true.
(2008 = 2:36:59)
Even though I was faster in two out of three disciplines I still ended up 34 seconds slower overall.... I was WAY slower in transition this year and that was mostly due to the fact I had my own helper last year (Deb). It makes a big difference when all the leg changing etc. goes smoothly. I am also prepared to admit I just didn't bother rushing things... I didn't bother putting elastic laces on my Nikes, I pulled on a sock, I just kind of took it easy... it would have been different if someone had been breathing down my neck. If I had any idea it would end up that close to last year I might have moved my a$$ a bit more.
All in all, I was pretty surprised that I was so close to last year's time - the conditions were tougher this year and my summer was far from ideal in the training department.
Conclusions: I will say it here and now: SUB 50 for sure on the run next year. It has to be or I'm just not learning....
More: I placed first in the Paratriathlon Category. There were only two guys in the category and we have different disabilities so it doesn't mean a whole lot.... but for the record I am a three-time National Champion. I will have another post coming soon about "what it all means..."
Thanks for reading - hope it wasn't too boring. These posts are mostly to help me remember what happened so that I can compare year to year, and race to race.
Ashley - Huge PR, and he won a trip and some new Oakley shades at the awards ceremony. Some guys have all the luck... Other great performances were turned in by Chelsea Raymond and Cindy Krampl from IF - unfortunately I have no photographic evidence though...
Jordan Back (we swim together at Batchelor Bay), unidentified female, and Mick Maguire getting the calls right from the announcer's booth.
I've seen people kill for these.... just kidding...
Congratulations Meyrick and thanks for sharing your story