|The swim course the day before the race|
I traveled to St. Andrews feeling well rested and confident the recent flare up with my left hamstring wouldn't adversely effect my race. The forecast was calling for cool temperatures (14-16 degrees) with a high percentage of showers, which was cause for concern for most athletes, but it didn't bother me too much because I race better in cool weather.
Swim: 29:32 (1900m)
The swim is a counter clockwise loop that is very easy to navigate. Males and females went off in separate waves which meant that overcrowding wouldn't be too much of an issue. The water temperature was close to 20 degrees meaning it would be a wet suit legal swim. When the gun went off I quickly found a good rhythm. During the swim (unlike the bike and run) you really have no gauge of how well you are doing other than where other swimmers are in relation to you. That said, I felt as if I was swimming well, and at each turn buoy fellow Cape Bretoner Chris Milburn (who is typically faster than me in open water) was just a few meters ahead of me - which reassured me that I was swimming efficiently and sighting well. I exited the water in 20th place overall - 12 seconds faster than in 2014, which I was very happy with.
Of all the triathlons I've completed, St Andrews has, without a doubt, the longest and most challenging T1. It involves a run up a steep hill of approximately 600 meters. I navigated my way up and out onto the bike course as efficiently as possible in a time that was 15 seconds quicker than in 2014. I had the 10th fastest time in T1, and moved up from 20th to 16th place by the beginning of the bike leg.
Bike: 2:30:21 (90k)
By looking at my T2 time in comparison to everyone else (4th overall), most would think that my T2 was efficient and uneventful. It was very efficient, but unfortunately it was eventful - almost disastrous. As I was approaching the dismount line I did as I always do and undid the straps on my bike shoes and peddled the last 100m or so with my feet on top of my shoes. Unfortunately, on my last peddle stroke my left shoe started to drag on the ground, which caused my bike to tip to the right. Somehow I was able to get both feet to the ground just in time before falling over. I'm not saying this would have ended my day, but had I fallen it definitely would have adversely effected my run. I parked my bike in T2 feeling as if I had "dodged a bullet."
Run: 1:26:23 (21.1k)
My plan leading up to race day was to attempt to maintain a 4:10/km pace for the run. If I was able to achieve this, it would be 6 seconds faster/km than I had ever run at the half distance. When I reached the first turnaround point of the double out and back course I was right on target and I learned that I was now in 7th place overall. It was a that moment that I figured if I could maintain my current pace that I could crack the top 5 - which was another goal of mine going into the race. As you'll see in the picture below, my pace stayed very closer to my goal pace, and I was actually able to pick it up a bit over the last few kms. With 2km to go, I moved into 5th place, and in the last 200m I was able to out-sprint the guy in 4th, which was an added bonus!
Overall time: 4:31:28
I crossed the finish line feeling incredible. Not only was it a personal best for me at the half distance, I honestly don't think it could have gone any better - which is not something I can say very often! And to top things off, my good friend and training partner Corey Deveaux (who had crossed the line in 2nd place about 10 minutes earlier) was at the finish line cheering me on. Shortly after, two other friends/training partners, Chris Milburn and Andreas Burger crossed the line, followed by the remaining Cape Bretoners in the race. It was fantastic to be able to celebrate with such a great group - including Lisa who, despite having a work schedule all winter that was not conducive for consistent training, completed the aqua-bike (1900m swim/90k bike). I couldn't have been more proud!
|Top 5 accepting our Club Championship Award!|
If you've never done Challenge St. Andrews, I highly recommend it! Other than a lengthy T1, it's a fantastic course. In addition, it is very well organized and accommodations are quite reasonable. For more on the race, including all of the Cape Breton results, click here.
|Cape Breton Barbarians post race!|