Man.. Kelowna is over! Noooooooo. Heading to this race I couldn't believe that it was Kelowna-time already and that after this most of the group would be on vacation. Kelowna is supposed to be the 'save the best for last' part of summer, but it doesn't feel like it has been racing season long enough for summer to be ending already. The blackberries are all coming out here in Vic though, and my to-do list includes school stuff, so I guess that makes it official. Luckily Manon, Ellen, and Marc are all in town so our group doesn't seem too small after all.
I was so excited for Kelowna. For the ferry and the drive (which are still novelties to me), and to see my family and friends and to just be in the most chill place on the planet, but unfortunately I was not so excited to race. I had zero confidence in my ability to actually finish the race which is a very bad pre-race mentality, but I knew I had to get it out of my system before Beijing. I would say that I was the most scared going into this race than I have ever been, but that would be a lie as I was a major psycho kids-of-steel. That said, the swim/bike went pretty well, and my work with a naturopath seems to have helped because I had my first Olympic distance run without legs cramping.
Swim started off funny.. I was waiting for a 'you're now in the hands of the starter' which never came, and the 'take your marks' was too quiet to hear, so by the time I clued in that the horn had gone off, everyone was already running into the water. I gradually made my way up front, and shared Paula's feet along with a US girl. When I saw that four girls were starting to pull away, I tried to surge to bridge the gap, but the US girl followed me and swam on top of me preventing me from catching up. Not getting anywhere, I settled back in, regrouped and tried again. This time I made sure to pull out really wide before sprinting up, but again she left the feet she was on and swam on top of me making us both lose the draft and not go anywhere! I think she must have had no concept of drafting because I really cannot understand her motives for drowning me like that. She continued to follow/block right up until the last 50 meters or so when I finally broke free. Somehow she didn't make our pack so that was awesome! haha! I almost ate it sprinting to transition when I hyperextended my knee though, but luckily I caught myself. Face planting on the brick walkway would be an embarrassing way to miss pack. By the time we got to the top of the hill we had reeled in the girls out front. The rest of the ride was pretty smooth. My corners felt awesome which is a HUGE improvement from the beginning of the year!
Starting the run was the tough part for me though. I just wanted to build it, but watching the front girls run away so quickly was hard on the ego. I was trying to push myself while still monitoring myself for signs of low blood pressure which meant not really pushing myself at all. I think it got to the point where I just made myself feel shitty because I was focusing on it so much. I ended up DNFing twice because it felt like I was beginning the death march- but then un-DNFed twice as well. After sitting down off the course for the second time, I told myself- " well blood pressure seems to be fine after all, there are plenty of girls out there who will be happy to finish. Walk if you have to, but finish!" So I did. And by the last lap I actually felt like I was moving and was able to pass back all the girls who had passed me during my breaks.
I can't really say I'm proud of doing that.. but I am really happy to have finished, and now I think I am so much more prepared to actually dig deep in Beijing. Even though I didn't deserve it, I was very happy to still make the U23 & Canadian podium after all that. Very happy to get the not-race out of my system.
Missing Kelowna already.
(Pics courtesy of Mark Bates & Alexis Lepage)