Sooke Half Ironman Race Report

If you have read my race reports for races 1, 2, and 3 of the season you will have heard that my results have been less than impressive this year.  I've struggled with poor training and nutrition issues that could have been avoided and I was really hoping that this race in Sooke would break the cycle and I could finish one Half Ironman that I could be proud of in 2010.  Knowing that this would be my last chance I began planning how I would achieve success shortly after the Vancouver Half Iron blunder.

I turned my focusing largely towards the cycling leg.  Luckily I have a friend at work training for the Gran Fondo and he was also looking to get some extra training in which provided me with the motivation I needed to wake up at 5am a couple days a week for a pre-work ride up Mt Cypress.  Pulling in the extra mileage prooved to be worth the effort.

In addition to picking up my cycling time and continuing my open water swim sessions at Kits Beach Thursday evenings, I developed a nutrition plan that began a week before the race.  Simply: eat carbs, carbs, and more carbs.  I ate so much pasta that sufficeth me to say, I'm in no rush to eat spaghetti again.

Finally race weekend arrived, I knew that my weakness would lie in the run as I hadn't ran for over a month.  I decided to race the swim and the bike, and accept whatever happened on the run and I set a finish time goal of sub 5:10.

The day before the race Winstorm, Derrick, and I loaded up my car and off we went.  The weather was unlike the beautiful sunshine that we had been blessed with over the last couple of months with drizzling rain and light wind but I didn't mind.  I was determined to have a good race regardless of the weather.  A few hours later, we arrived in Sooke and met up with fellow UBCTC members Vince, Mel, and Ceilidh and finished our final preparations for the race on Sunday.

Sunday turned out to be a pretty nice day, blue skies and sunshine.  There was a mild headwind on the bike but it wasn't too bad.  I decided that for this race I would not wear my Garmin for the swim concluding that the risk of losing it in the water was not worth the benefit of wearing it so I left it connected to my bike all morning and lost track of time.  Upon returning from my final pre-race bathroom visit Winston mentioned that we had less than 10 minutes to the start of race.  I wasn't near ready: still wearing my jeans and needing to finish setting up my bike so I somewhat nervously quickly got it done.  Winston and I hurried to the lake for the swim, being the last two to arrive just in time to hear the announcer say we had 10 seconds to start.  I guess my warm-up is out.  The cannon went off and so did we.

The swim was marvelous.  I've never felt so good in the water.  Typically I do the swim in about 35 minutes but this time I came out with a time of 33:33.  I was happy to accept this delightful beginning.  I came out of the water in 22 place.

I got on my bike to start the scenic 4.3 lap bike course.  As usual, I took the first lap a little easy, spinning up my legs and becoming familiar with the terrain.  After finishing the first lap I started to race and finished the next lap 2 minutes faster.  After that I felt even better and dropped another two minutes off my next lap and then held that pace for the last lap.  I was passed by a few people but passed others for a net gain of 4 spots and came off the bike in 18th place.  Unfortunately two of the people who passed me were in my age group putting me in 4th place.

Getting off the bike and onto the run knowing that 2nd and 3rd place in my age group were not too far ahead I ran strong trying to catch them.  I'll mention that first place in my age group belonged to Vince who was having a great race and was simply untouchable.  Having not run for a month prior I didn't know what to expect but all that extra mileage on the bike seemed to help as my legs felt fresh.  I forgot my Garmin on my bike so I had no idea of my pace but I figure I was holding 4:30 pace.  Within the first 5km I caught and surpassed my age group competition and estimate that I got up to a 3 minute lead on who was now in third place as I was now in second.  After hitting the turn around on my first lap of the two lap run course and the terrain changed from downhill to uphill I died.  My legs shut down and my place slowed.  The remainder of the race was quite painful.  I got passed by one guy in my age group and I knew that the next guy was about a minute behind so I had no time to lose.  I ran slow, but I ran and held onto my spot finishing 18th overall and claiming third in the M25-29 category.

My final time was 5:08 so I was happy to achieve my goal of sub 5:10.  I was so delighted with the day that I started an impromptu dance party which Derrick, Winston, and later Vince were excited to join in on.

It was a great race and a great day spent with great friends.  Congrats to everyone for completing their races all with great times


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