The Ingonish Triathlon has always been one of my favourite events of the year for as long as I can remember. After doing the sprint distance in 2015, I was poised to return to the Olympic distance as my last prep race before my “A” race of the year – Challenge St. Andrews on July 10th. However, the injury to my left hamstring resurfaced 5 days before the race, and as a result, I was advised by my coach to do the sprint instead. Not being able to compete against the top competitors in the Olympic distance was frustrating, but not being able to do so because of reasons that were within my control was even more frustrating. Click here to read why.
Although my hamstring was feeling better each day I decided I’d listen to Jesse’s advice (or should I say order J), and I informed the Race Director that I would be now be doing the sprint distance. The night before and the morning of the race I had a lot of mixed feelings. I was disappointed and frustrated that I wasn’t going to complete the Olympic distance as planned, but I was also relieved that I had made the smart decision and switched to the sprint race.
Swim: 11:26 (750m)
I was very happy with my swim overall. I feel as if I sighted well, and wasn’t completly exhausted exiting the water (as was the case in years past). My time was quicker than it ever was before at the sprint distance, but I don’t look too closely at time for open water swims because buoy placement, wind, current, etc. can really effect your time. I was however, pleased to exit the water so close to the leaders (75 seconds). I exited the water in 5th place.
I was a bit disappointed with my transition, but I didn’t let it bother me too much. From swim exit to my bike (350 meters) went smoothly, but I was a bit more disoriented than normal when I arrived at my bike, and as a result, my T1 was 12 seconds slower than last year. Not a lot I know, but nonetheless unnecessary. I exited T1 in 9th place.
Bike: 36:16 (23k)
Because I was hoping to take it easy on the run, I had full intentions of going hard on the bike. Within 5 minutes I was back into 5th place, and by the 10-minute mark of the bike, I was now in first place. I did not look back or let up because I didn’t know how fast those behind could run. I was able to normalize 299 watts, which is in the range of what I was expecting. I was very pleased to finish the bike over 2.5 minutes quicker than last year! This is due to a variety of reasons. Firstly, I’m in better shape than I was last year. Second, last year I did a 140kms on the bike the day before Ingonish Tri and this year I was rested. Thirdly, my new Flo Disc/Flo 90 wheel set and Scott Split Aero Helmet allowed me to cut through the wind more efficiently.
T2 was uneventful, and coincidentally the exact same time as last year. I got off the bike and exited T2 in 1st place.
Run: 19:21 (5k)
The first thing I did when I got onto the run course was look at my watch so that I could calculate how much of a lead I had on 2nd place. After 75 seconds, there is a right turn that directs runners away from the bike course. At that point, I couldn’t see the guy in second place, which meant I had a very comfortable lead (~2.5 minutes). I did not want to take it too easy because for all knew there was somebody behind me that could run a 17-minute 5k off the bike. So I decided I'd settle into a 4 min/km pace and keep a close eye on the competition behind me. I didn’t see the guy in second until I had about 2k left, and he was about 3 minutes back, so I knew if I kept going the a same pace, that he likely wasn’t going to catch me. I finished strong and didn’t push too hard on the last 2k (which is easier said than done because it is straight down hill).
My hamstring didn’t start to bother me until the last km, which was great! I finished the race feeling very content with my decision to do the sprint distance. I likely wouldn’t have had the willpower to switch to the sprint if it wasn’t for my coach – thanks Jesse!
Total time: 1:10:21 (1st)