Monday, June 27, 2011

Race Report: Victoria Half – New milestone!

Date/Time: June 19, 2011,6:45 am Weather: 15ish, clear
Distance: Half IM
Gun time: 4:57:07 (new pb!)
Swim: 40:10 (2:07 per 100m pace) could be better?
T1: 2:09
Bike: 2:42:25 (31.5 km/hr) not bad!
T2: 1:04
Run: 1:31:22 (4:35 per km) felt strong!
Age Group: 10/25
Overall: 81/354

It all started with the realization of a missing timing chip a little 10 minutes before the gun...

Something just felt bare on the right ankle from that internal gut feeling check. I looked around and surprisingly found a chip just a metre away sitting on the motionless grass, but the chip had read ‘411’ on the black strap. My number was 137. Close? Not even! Did I grab the wrong chip I thought. Seconds later an individual ran to snatch it up. I was left chipless only minutes away from the start.

It was a case of a rookie mistake, but a veteran’s cool. Long-story-short, FLASHBACK to last year I had experienced a similar mishap, and was missing a crank bolt until race morning and eventually got one that fitted just in time from the bike mechanic – surely I had little to worry about this time around. This was an epic mental battle from pre-start to finish.

I ran to the lady at the timing booth and kindly advised her of my situation. She opened her eyes wider than normal and was shocked as anticipated and told me in a demeaning tone, “you’ll have to pay for one if you don’t find it and nobody turns it in!!” I replied “okie, that’s a deal”, and was handed chip 500. I booked it fashionably to the starting line.

For some reason, this was one of those swim that just honestly tanked. Everything felt a bit more offside than usual. There was little time to adjust my mental focus. Even this breaststroker was making a feast by kicking a 3 metre wide span and I felt helpless without doing a lengthy detour. Out of the water I came and at this point I was a solid 253!

No time to celebrate, I dashed into T1 and did a flying mount. Ka-lump, la-lump my left shoe hit the ground a couple times before slipping my feet in.

This was a difficult bike course – rougher terrain and some false flats near the end of the (2x) lap course. I was holding a decent 32km/hr speed until the last 5km where the bike fell apart, not in the literal sense but it sure felt like it. I was passing person after person in the first 80ish km and even yo-yo-ing with a few duels with riders equipped with aero helmets and fancy deep rimmed wheels. By the time I hopped off the bike and I was in 124 (a little more respectable).

T2 teed off well.

Mental focus was in check. I felt cautiously up to the test and my legs took the first 2-3 km to fully transition into run mode. Unlike the last race where I struggled cardio-wise, this time I was able to hold a decent pace and finished the two laps within a minute of the run splits. Finished in 81st in a deeper field this year.

In personal record fashion, I recorded my fastest half IM time of 4:57:07. Sure the course was shorter. But if you measured the time with the winner’s time, I had always previously came 1-hour-plus-ish; this race was a different story and I wasn’t digitally-spanked by more than an hour. A personal milestone was born.

Thanks for reading and congrats to everyone who participated!! Also, thanks to the volunteers (including the year-round planning committee) for making this event so successful every year. =)

PS Turns out, I had left my original timming chip in my street-clothes back pocket. Lucky for me, I turned the chip in without emtying more of my pockets.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Race Report: Shawnigan Lake - Official Season Begins

Date/Time: May 29, 2011, 7:30am Weather: 15ish, sunshine
Distance: Half IM
Gun time: 5:07:27
Swim: 38:36 (2:02 per 100m pace)
T1: 3:43
Bike: 2:41:15 (32.7 km/hr)
T2: 2:02
Run: 1:41:53 (4:50 per km)
Age Group: 4/5
Overall: 27/84 

Alrighty, no more blogging hiatus, I guess this little race report is a little overdue...perhaps. This past week, I’ve been flabbergasted with loads of real world work and client meals and trying to sneak in more training whenever I can, despite the jubilant excitement of the city for the Canucks and their exciting run for the cup! My prediction is I just hope the better team will win zee cup. =)

Cool shot I stole from the Clock Tower Images

Shawnigan Lake is the first race of the Subaru Western Tri Series and having done this race last year, I had a better idea of kicking the can this time around.

Here's the team report summary:

Naiely, Derrick and I went over to the Island together. Naiely prepared us her famous homemade pasta for the ferry trip over and it tasted great - among her secret ingredients was added brown sugar. We also had yummy yogurt with fresh fruits to top it off. We’ll have to bug her for that secret recipe.

We took the later ferry than everyone else on the team, and had to rush to the race site. No worries, we got there just in time to miss it. Haha it’s the honest effort that counts anyways. The team took over Camp Pringle (superb hospitality) this year and it was super nice being within minutes of walking distance to the race start.


Having not swam more than 7 times the past two months, and 3 of those 7 swims were during the last week leading up to this race, I knew I was in trouble for this race and it would had been a huge wake-up call. Despite all of this, my time was 59 seconds faster than last year – and I still got the gloomy impression I was coming out dead last out of the water. I know my time will improve once I start attending VOWSA swim practices.

Lesson Learnt:

Two Swim caps did the trick this year, no more bobble heading coming out of the water this year unlike last year!


Last year I lost time for running back to retrieve the timing chip because I had taken it off whiling stripping my wet suite and then forgot to put it back on. A similar trend as the swim, I was out of T1 quicker by 69 seconds than last year. I was happy.


This year I bought miss P2 to the race - Faster, lighter, and aero-er, which made it a lot fun-er race.

I think it even attracted celebrity status of sorts, which I’m not known for. While completing the third lap, a random dude biked past me on the passing lane, rotated his head 90 degrees clockwise at me like a robot and yelled out “hey it’s UBC TRI KID!” I had no UBC tri clothing on at the time, but I guess my signature grimacing-smile had given it away. This had given me a boost on the third lap along with so many Olympic and sprint bikers on course. First and last of the 4-laps course felt really lonely. Biking-wisely I was exactly clocked in at 2 minutes faster than last year.

Lesson Learnt
Temperature was warm and sunny and I was wearing my Sugoi long sleeve jacket which was a huge mistake! It also costed me a couple mintues figuring out how to put it on and take it off at the transitions. But one great thing about this is that it had simulated a heat ride and I felt HOT on the ride. Good prep for Ironman at least.

I didn’t use the portables this time around and saved 103 seconds from last year.

I guess by this point, I had just under 6 minutes of banked time from last year’s race. Inevitably with the hotter conditions this year, my cardio system was running out of steam (no pun intended). Usually it’s the legs that give first, but I really felt the lungs burn. The last 5 km was the hardest part as this relay lady was on my tail within a metre all the way to the finish line (good work on her part for keeping up). It did make for an epic run, but I learned from Garmin I was still 5 minutes slower than last year. I was impressed that I managed to shave off last year’s overall time by 20 seconds.

Lesson Learnt
I will need to embrace for the hotter conditions, and as the season moves on, hopefully so does my fitness.
Dash to the finish

The highlight of this awesome trip was enjoying buffet food on the ferry trip back. Not going lie, we kinda pigged out – and not surprisingly Naiely felt obligated to taste-test everything on the dessert menu.