Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Rough 70.3 Day in the Desert

The Osoyoos Desert ½ tri was supposed to be my qualifier for doing another ironman this summer; however it wasn’t meant to be. The race was fine (explained below), but the advertised Ironman Canada slots didn’t materialize. Last year they had 30 slots, this year 12. Of the 9 guys vying for these 12 I was one of the 3 left out. Yet, as I walked out of the meeting to decide who got them I was totally at peace. I’d earlier decided to do an Ironman to "up" my fitness level so as to be maximally fit for skimo worlds next Feb. This strategy has really worked for me in the past, most recently last year. However; I was considering doing more skimo specific training instead, but in the end decided to go with what historically has worked. But as you can see a higher plan overrulled.

My alternative plan immediately kicked in. That is, to do Calgary 70.3 ½, trying for a p.b. Last time I did this I actually came in 3rd in my age group qualifying for 70.3 worlds. I really feel my bike swim and run are the best they’ve ever been so I’ve got to go for some kind of tri challenge. This race is 1 week before August long weekend (first in Aug.), so I’ll have a full August summer month plus Sept. & Oct (some on snow in Oct.) For skimo dryland.

Now to the race.....

Swim: course was short. I didn’t mind as my time of 38min was pleasing to me (slow for most probably).

Bike: I really wanted to at least equal last year’s bike time. I did to the minute. This course is super challenging, I love it! We start by going up 14km steep Richter Pass, descend the pass, then hit the 7 roller hills into Keremeos. Turn around then do it all backwards. By far the toughest part of the IMC bike course and this Iron bike course is probably the toughest one out there.

I hadn’t gotten the bike km’s in I’d like as we’ve had a really, really wet and cold spring (up here June is spring). So in equalling last year’s time I was stoked.

Run: my run training has been more focussed and intense than ever before so I was hoping to bust last year’s time of 1:45. Coming off the bike though I felt rough. A result of pushing for a good bike time. At first I was moving along fine (once my body made the transition from bike to run-typically the first km), yet the 38C temps began to really take a toll on me. Having hardly trained once over 20C this was going to be a challenge. Indeed, approaching the halfway point I was in real distress. No energy, no sweat, slowing to a crawl. I knew I wouldn’t be able to would be dangerous for my health, except for one try...

At the 9km mark I entered a feed station, they called out the typical, "water, gatorade?" I calmly said I’d be back in a few minutes. I then proceeded to jump into the lake and sit there for about 5 minutes. I’d thought about doing this during races, but would never sacrifice so much time. Today it was do it, hope it works, or not finish.. Guess what? It worked! My core body temp really began to cool down. That and some ice down the jersey at every aid station from then one got me going again. I don’t know if what I did is legal, but otherwise I wouldn’t have finished. I actually got faster and faster. By the time the run was over my time was only 9 minutes slower than the previous year.

I finished in 5:30. Only 5th in my class. I felt I had a good effort and decent time especially considering the heat, but there must have been a pretty good field. I finished 42 over all. Last year I was 41 overall, but there were 100 less athletes. This race really attracts some quality as many of the pros live and train in the area.

So in a couple weeks my short tri season will be over. I only start training in late May after skiing is done. And with the wet (and even snowy!) June, it all goes by pretty fast. But I am looking forward to doing some long mountain hikes and trail runs. Much more vert this summer to get ready for France (skimo worlds). More roller skiing too.

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