Mid-Season Update

Well, now that we are pretty much mid-way through the triathlon season, I thought it is time that I do an update as to what I have been doing up until now.

As of my last update, I had just completed my first race of the season at the Ralph’s ½ Ironman in Oceanside. Since then, I have competed in two other half ironman events – St. Croix on May 2nd, and the Florida Half Ironman at Disneyworld on May 23rd. and worked at a couple of the Multisports.com Camps in Kona and Lake Placid.

I was interested in doing something different this year, so instead of making the annual trek up to Wildflower, I decided that I would give a go at the St. Croix ½ Ironman. I had competed in the St Croix race many years ago, before it was the half ironman distance. I had few memories of my first trip and those that I had were somewhat frightening. We arrived at the race sight on the Tuesday before, time to get used to the heat and recover from the long trip. The first thing that we noticed when we arrive there was that the wind never stopped blowing, 24 hours a day it blew, and it blew, and it blew, and it appeard that it was not going to let up for race day. The couple of training days before gave me time to see the course – a little pre-race ride up the beast to jog my memory (it was just a steep as I remembered but an awful lot longer), as well as some swims on the course, and runs on the Buccaneer golf-course which is also part of the course.
Race day came, and surprise, surprise, the wind was blowing!!! It was going to be a tough day. The gun went off and away we went. I seemed to lose contact with the pack early on the swim and then spent the rest of the way, trying to keep up with the lone person that I could see ahead. All in all, an uneventful swim, unfortunately, I was already 5:30 down from Nina Kraft. The bike ride starts with a short 6 mile loop before heading back on some narrow winding roads through town. Then off onto the trek out to the beast. All in all, I was feeling OK on the bike but didn’t seem to have that extra gear that was going to be necessary to chase down the likes of Nina. I think the toughest part of the bike ride was after climbing up the beast, we had a stretch of about 40km that was straight into the strong headwind. I just tried to stay focused, and along this section, I started to catch up to a few girls that were in front of me – little did I know that Nina was continuing to put time on me and was almost 15 mins ahead off the bike – YIKES!!!! I was looking forward to the run – it was the type of run course that on a good day a lot of time could be made up. I started the run and it appeared that it was not going to be one of those effortless run day but rather one where I would have to struggle every step. I tried to remain positive – maybe the girls ahead were feeling as bad as I was, so I continued forward at the pace I could maintain, and started to feel a bit better as the run progressed. By the end of the race, I didn’t get too much closer to Nina who won, but I make my way up to third which was a decent result for a difficult day.

Next on the racing agenda was the Florida Half Ironman. As a first year race, the set up of the event provided some major challenges for the organizers. Roch and Huddle has to pull some all-nighters to get the courses ready for us to race on. They did a great job, and from an athlete’s standpoint, the race went off very well. Had I not seen all the work and long hours that the guys were putting in, I probably would not have had an appreciation for what they had to do. It is definitely an eye opener for me as an athlete. Most of us show up at our races and everything is set up, we do our race- if we are lucky maybe we pick-up a medal or some money and then we head home or off to the next race. Without the hard work of guys like Roch and Huddle, there wouldn’t be races for us to go to, we wouldn’t have safe courses to race on – so HATS OFF to you guys!!!!!!! So the course was all ready and so were all the athletes. This was one of the strongest fields of the year, including a number of Ironman Champions, World Champions, and top Ironman finishers. The race started with the non-wetsuit swim in the very warm lake waters in Camp Wilderness. I had a decent swim but spent the whole swim by myself as I had just missed the pack ahead – yeah, I know sounds like a common problem. One of these days, I am going to stay in touch with the pack and that will be so exciting. When I first planned to go to Florida, I thought that the bike ride would be pancake flat – sort of Panama City flatish but I was pleasantly surprised to find out that there were a few rolling hills on the course to break things up. I spent most of the bike ride playing cat and mouse with Amanda Gillam – it was good to have someone around to ride with. We got off the bike and it was time for the twisty, turny, hot golf course run. I was excited about the run as it was again, the type of run where lots of time could be make up. I started strong on the run – feeling much better than I had in St. Croix, and slowly started to pick off s me of the girls ahead. With the exception of a short pit-stop at the porta-potty, the run was going great – but was I going to run out of real estate?? The last couple of miles of the run included a sandy section along the beach and then through some loose trails. I could see a couple of girls ahead and with less than a mile to go, I decided that it was time to put the hammer down. First I caught Andrea Fisher with about ½ mile to go, and then finally with only a short distance to the finish, I passed Lara Shaw who was having a phenomenal race, to move into third. I crossed the finish line feeling happy that I pushed myself for the last bit of the run and moved onto the podium. Lisa Bentley continued her amazing racing run, to win, and Heather Golnick was second with a very strong performance.

After the races, I was off to help out at a couple of the Multisports.com training camps, in Kona, HI and Lake Placid, NY. These were both great camps with wonderful groups of Campers. You can check out my posting on the Multisports.com Website for further details on these camps.
http://www.multisports.com/news/1086735838.shtml

Now it is time to get in the final training preparation for Ironman Lake Placid, so I am off to Boulder to train for a couple of weeks. It is hard to believe that the race is only 5 weeks away. I will let you all know how it goes after the race!!!

Heather