Sunday, July 22, 2012


I have participated in the Subaru Vancouver triathlon every year since 2009 - it is one of my favorite races! Transition a mere 5 minute drive from home, a race course that is pretty much in my backyard and familiar faces racing, cheering and volunteering, what is not to love?  There is simply no better location for an urban triathlon than Jericho Beach on a sunny day.

Truth be told, in the days before the race, I was feeling less than sunny. I had not tapered and the three days beforehand were unfortunately more stress-filled than I would have preferred. Rest? Ha. Pre-race nutrition? Ha. Both were completely out the window, including a number of stress induced eating sessions that involved Ben & Jerry's and several large bags of kettle chips. The best laid plans? Well, they oft go astray.  A huge mood adjustment was required.

Nonetheless, a sunny Saturday morning lifted my spirits and my sister and I brought my niece Lily down to the race site to participate in the kids fun run. Her very first race!

Pre-race hydration is critical.  Note the contemplative expression - that is one serious game face. 

Checking out the competition's gear.  Are those shoes faster than mine?

First race in the bag!  Ribbon pinned on by an Olympian, no less!

Recovery face painting and nutrition is key.  Ice cream contains protein for recovery.
Children racing are seriously awesome. Pacing is unheard of - they just run with abandon as FAST as they can. Some stop, some pick up ladybugs, some trip and then they get right back up again. It is pure joy to watch, and my sister and I laughed hysterically at the total mayhem. As Lily crossed the finish line, third from last place, she was happily yelling "I'm winning, 'chele, I'm winning!!". Yup, you are indeed winning, Lily.

The kids race was a game changer for me. Instant mood boost. Watching Lily "win" reminded me of the joy in racing. Forget all the excuses and reasons and head games and negative thoughts....the only one holding me back is me! So with Lily in mind, I made it my mission to run with abandon.

My mood was further lifted by an absolutely stunning race morning. It was one of those (unfortunately rare) amazing sunny Vancouver summer days that induces complete June-uary amnesia and makes me swoon over the place I am lucky to call home. The ocean was calm and clear, and there was a beautiful hazy mist over downtown as the sun peeked out.

The gun had not even gone off and I loved racing.

The swim start was particularly nasty, with a running beach start. I got kicked in the face, the right lens of my goggles broke and I did the entire swim with my right eye closed. I was resolute. Nothing was getting in my way.

I transitioned out of T1 in 36 minutes. For me, that is blazing. I had no idea how far back I was, but it was closer than I usually am. Which means one thing....ride like there is no tomorrow.

I won't lie - the next two hours, thirty minutes on the bike was a journey into the pain cave. I worked hard the entire time and kept a smile on my face. It hurt in the best way possible.

Grimacing....but happy.
The run was hot, demanding and glorious.  I love this course!  I would be hard pressed to think of a more scenic triathlon run.  The serpentine loop around Jericho is awesome  - it is so fun to be able to yell (and receive!) encouragement to friends on course and it is a huge pick-me-up to run past transition several times.  I was pleasantly surprised to see a my sister and my nephew Joey out on the course, as well as several other friends cheering loudly.  It is hugely motivating....and a good reason to suck in the gut and smile!

Digging deep at the end.
It was an incredible day and a huge personal best for me....12 minutes and change faster than last  year.  And honestly, the time mattered less than how I felt at the finish - it was awesome to feel that I had not let life get the best of me and truly know that I gave it everything I had.  

Huge thanks to Speed Theory Vancouver for their unfailing support and for volunteering at the event, to all of the amazing volunteers and organizers, to Coach Bjoern for tough coaching that reaps rewards, and to all my teammates and friends on course and off.  

And the biggest thanks of all to Lily, for reminding me to put away my sh*t and run like a kid. 

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