2022 Victoria Half
Sunday, July 17, 2022
No drama! The alarm went off at 0430 and I rolled out of bed shortly after. Breakfast was toast with peanut butter and a coffee.
I arrived at my bike, topped up the tires with a shot of C02 (88 psi in the front, 90 in the back). Water bottles on, bike computer on, everything looking neat and orderly around my space.
I headed to the lake for a short warmup. I felt pretty good in the water. 8 minutes to the start and I was in the corral waiting to swim for real. I looked around at the crowd to gauge the number of participants but it was hard to tell.
I could not have asked for a better start. The water was warmer than the air and there was next to no wind at 0630.
I found a rhythm quickly and did my best not to ingest any of the algae stirred up by the people ahead of me. Unlike the previous Ironman branded races, today I started near the front of a smaller crowd; that put me with swimmers close to my ability for most of the swim course.
I wore my "swedes" for the first time in a race too; the idea of getting a kick to face with hard plastic strapped around my eye sockets worried me a bit but nothing of the sort happened.
I finished the swim with the question, "If I had to, could I go around again?" Answer: yes.
Nothing out of the ordinary to write about getting out of my wetsuit and donning on my bike kit. I had arm warmers laid out to but decided to not wear them.
Two loops of Central Saanich with a little more overall elevation gain but a kilometre and a half shorter than the 70.3.
I noticed my back getting tight just 40 minutes in but that was the extent of it. The back never got to a point of concern and I could not remember when I stopped noticing it. What I did notice was what seemed like everyone passing me; particularly when going up hill. Thankfully, I'd reel them back (sometimes blowing by) most riders on the downhills only to watch that same race kit come around me on the next climb. This happened all ride long.
Most of the ride, the metric I read off my bike computer was heart-rate; keeping things in the low 140s going uphill and hopefully seeing the high 120s/low 130s everywhere else.
I had 350ml of maple syrup topped with 50ml of coffee in my downtube aero bottle; I used a sharpie to mark 100ml graduations on it, timing the 200ml line for the halfway point of the race.
At 3.66 calories per millilitre, that should have given me ~1,250 calories for the ride. That bottle was consumed pretty evenly over 3 hours and at around the 70 km point, I also had a caffeinated Maurten gel for an additional 100 calories. No GI issues on the bike but I really felt like I needed to pee on the second loop. Unfortunately, the tap was shut closed and not a drop could be released.
In addition to the calories, I packed three 710ml bottles of plain water with a touch of sea salt added to each. I consumed all but one swig of the water while on the bike too.
I finished this ride strong, even up, dancing on the pedals, over the last pitch on Oldfield Road. Overall, felt like I (purposely) rode this course harder than the 70.3 seven weeks ago. The question rolling to the dismount line was, "Will I (should I) ride like this in 6 weeks from today?" Answer: No.
I may even look to put on a 30 tooth cassette before Penticton.
Brushing off the long cut grass from my feet, I noticed that my little toe area felt numb. This might just be a "good thing™".
There was an aid station right after the exit to the transition. With a belly full of water after the bike, I skipped the aid here at started the focus on me.
I felt ok to start the run. My toe on a scale of 1 to 10 was maybe a 2; it felt like one lap of the lake was very doable.
Next aid station, and every one there after, I had water and grabbed a gel for the time in between aid stations. The gel on course was ironically, maple syrup. What I didn't notice was that the packets (all of them) were caffeinated.
Right on cue, my bowel started to churn during the first lap of the run, at south end of the course. After 40 minutes, I stopped for a glorious ~3 minutes at a CRD restroom.
Getting back to the start of the second loop, there was no reason to stop. Mentally, I was good through 17 km and I'd revisit my decision to walk after that.
Most of the run, I slowly worked on an open packet of maple syrup while in between aid stations. I tossed the wrappers whenever I saw a garbage bin but if I'd have to guess, I consumed 7 packets at 100 calories per (35mg of caffeine each).
Ironically, it was the 17 km marker that my legs really started to go.
Just past the 18 km marker, I noticed an Argon 18 road bike just ahead; the closer I got to it, the more I recognized it as the same bike I have. While paying attention to the wrong thing, my left foot landed in a hole; as that ankle rolled awkwardly over, my little pinkie toe was bent into a position it really didn't want to be in.
Instantly, acute pain shot from that little toe and felt like it didn't stop until it hit me in the ear.
Apart from the pain, my first reaction was fear. I took a step and then another while trying to gather myself. In all, I lost around 30 seconds to this gaffe. The walking quickly became emotionally harder than anything else and I resumed my best "deadman shuffle" to the finish line.
One last question, "How did my legs feel with a kilometre to go?" Answer: Depleted. I was reminded of IM Italy at about the 25 kilometre point of that run.