2021 Victoria Half
Sunday, July 18, 2021
In preparation for IRONMAN Canada, this was a first of a long training day that encompassed all 3 sports. Technically, this wasn't a race as for some, the swim could have been as early as 0700 and as late as 0930. Most people were very spread out and in effect, this was for me, a self-supported 70.3 mile time trial with my SUV parked at Hamsterly Beach serving as my transision area.
Total Time: 6:15:26
Swim: 35:17 (1:57/100m)
Bike: 3:21:13 (27.1 kph)
Run: 1:59:52 (5:45/km)
The most formal part of the swim start was a check-in for the swim course; basically you had your name crossed off the list before you entered the water and again when you exited. The most I saw were a couple groups of two swimmers, before me and after me lined up for their day. Being by myself, all I needed to do was press start on my watch and go for a swim.
There was one orange buoy, maybe 250m off the beach. I had water in my goggles and decided that at that buoy, to fix that before continuing on. I might have lost five seconds tops. With the goggles corrected, the next bouy was a yellow marker at the far end of the lake. As I continued on my way, my rear deltoids became pretty angry. I might attribute it to not swimming enough in my wetsuit and certainly not swimming enough with a wetsuit with a tight trisuit underneath. I pressed on and I don't recall at what point in the swim that they quit their protesting.
The yellow bouy that I was sighting on, I lost. It was in a shadow and there was a tall bit of yellow grass on the shoreline that was catching the morning sunlight. As I continued toward that point of yellow, I noticed that there was a yellow bouy off to the right of where I was swimming. I corrected my line to the yellow bouy, mad at myself for getting so far off course. The sun lit up the original yellow buoy before I got too far along. This might have been my only mistake for the swim and it really didn't cost me much. Note: Sometimes it is best to trust yourself.
Rounding the second yellow bouy meant turning for home. I passed a group of swimmers and caught another group just before the beach. I wasn't the only one that made the mistake of swimming to the wrong yellow bouy; more on him at the end.
So because this was a virtual race, everyone was free to ride their own 90km route. It seemed most decides to ride the scheduled 2 loop course; I opt'd to do the single loop course as the elevation profile was closer to the first portion of the Penticton course.
The air temperature was 13°C and I was on the fence as to wear my gilet or not. I put it on as better safe than sorry. I towelled off well and had a handful of Maynards (Peach Fuzz) before heading out. My feed schedule was drinking every 10 minutes and a gel every 50 minutes. That would be roughly 400 calories per hour. Packed on the ride were 2 bottles with 90g of lemonade/sugar mix and one bottle of Maurten 320. Gels included 2 regular Maurten 100 and 1 caffinated Maurten 100. I stayed on schedule with the feed plan too.
I really didn't have much issue with traffic lights or stop signs; almost all were rolling. I stopped twice on the ride. Once for a dog walker in a crosswalk and one pitstop on Tatlow Road where I was able to take off the gilet.
I had moments of my lower back feeling tight on the push up to Sydney but it didn't last long. Speaking of the trip up to Sydney, according to Garmin this was a new 40km PR for me on the bike (previous was May 2020).
There was a section of fresh chip seal work on Chalet Road that slowed me down.
I noticed that I was coming into a breeze as I hit the open section west of the airport.
Riding south on West Saanich Road, I got to see other athletes making there way north on the 2 loop course. I briefly though about how my day might have been different if I would have rode that route instead. At 65km in, I made a mental note that this would be the roll into Osoyoos in September.
The climb up Willis Point Road felt harder and slower than in training but according to Strava, this was a quick trip up to the dump for me. At this point, the weather was getting pretty warm and the wind was becoming gusty.
Rolling back into the parking lot, I locked up the bike in my SUV and changed into split shorts and a singlet.
I also decided the night before to run with my hydration vest instead of my water bottle carrier. The vest gave me two 250ml chest bottles that I had filled with caffinated Maurten 320. I also had 1 regular and 2 caffinated Mauten gels in the vest pockets too. My plan was to finish the two small bottles and toss in a pre-made bladder with 500ml and 200 calories of Tailwind (cola flavour) for the second lap.
I started the run with a runner just ahead of me wearing a race number and what looked like her boyfriend/husband acting as a pacer for her. My first thought was they were going out a touch fast for me to keep up but after about a kilometre, she started to fade. She soon called out, "Dan" who got her partners attention. As that happened, I passed her and when passing him, I said, "we are trying to keep up Dan!" They both laughed and I carried on.
The rest of the run was basically me alone with myself. I sipped on the 10 minute marks, had a gel and finished my first lap feeling really good. So good that I still had 2 gels and some drink left and instead of stopping to take on that Tailwind, I motored on for lap 2.
Rinse repeat, almost. The second lap was almost as comfortable as the first. I noticed that I was starting to break down with 4 km to go. It wasn't a big task for me to focus for that final 4. I also noted the lack of force production on the hill north of Beaver Lake; not a problem, just 2.5 km to go. I found a stride for the final km and with 2 laps and just over 20 km, I called it a great day, carrying through to where the 70.3 finishing chute would have been.
The trouble with good to great days is looking back to find the teachable moments.
Maybe those moment would have appeared if this was a real race. For example, say, over swam, over biked or otherwise got caught up in a moment. None of those things happened today; I was on task, on schedule for 6 hours and 15 minutes. Right about where my fitness is today.
Apart from a couple of check-ins with my heart rate early in the ride, this day was done by feel. I looked at my watch to find its lap button to record the in and outs of "transition" and that was about it.
I believe I even got the Friday and Saturday night meals correct.
Good day indeed.