Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Bracebridge Half-Iron Distance

I used to write race reports on a blog that has since been sent to blog heaven but I stopped a couple of years ago. I felt that I had created for myself this blog personna of little Susie, the loveable loser, having panics in the swim, pushing her bike up hills, triumphing at the end only because she actually finished the course. After my olympic distance year I stopped writing. A few people who had enjoyed the tales asked me about it but I told them that the whole process had become so personal that I just didn't feel I could do it any more.

Two years later, having gone through 12 weeks of therapy to deal with the swim panic, little Susie, the loveable loser is no more. Not that I'm winning. To cut to the chase, last year I did Bracebridge in 8 hours 11 minutes - last in my age group. This year I did it in 7 hours 33 minutes, and guess what - yup, last in my age group.

I will not discuss the swim as I've dwelt too much on that and its emotional impact on me in the past - the new Susie ignores the time between the horn going off and getting out of the freaking wetsuit. I will thank John Salt and Multisport for getting last year's water treadmill (i.e. an open dam up river) turned off.

In the morning's briefing, John, the race director said that their reports indicated that the rain would hold off until about 2 pm. Most of us, he said, would be pretty much off the course by then. I knew I wouldn't but with only an hour or so left on the run I didn't think the rain would bother me a bit.

My only comfort with the weather prediction was that John was doing the bike this year as part of a relay team. I know, therefore, no matter how fast he was, he was stuck in the same biblical level downpour as the rest of us. At one point, having taken off my glasses (Oakley oranges lenses to add detail to the road on overcast days -HAH), I was heading downhill in excess of 50 k per hour on a frost heaved road. I alternated right then left eyes closing against what felt like wet bullets on the face and considered that this was not exactly a wise thing for a 45 year old woman to do on a Sunday. Then I let out yet another "whoo hoo" and sang made up words to the Blur song.

Doris, my new women's specific Specialized performed admirably - I did the bike 2 km/hour faster than last year and, without the rain, might have pushed it a bit more.

The run started out really well. I felt so strong that when I saw Alex, with 5 km or so to do on his run, I told him I was up for a 7:15. Somehow, around 10k I lost my mojo and the last half was a struggle. I ran for a bit with Nerina - famous to all by the signs her friends had left on the road in chalk, with Cherith, who ships out to Afghanistan next year, and with Steve, who agreed with me that 1964 was a great year.

It's a very small race and you are with the same bunch of people for most of it so it just felt right at the end to shake each other's hands and wish them well. A slice of pizza and a cooler to sit on almost got the body right and we headed home after seeing our Ironman Arizona friends - who all won in their age group.

Now with a week of vacation at our cottage to recover and looking forward to matching my PB at Muskoka 70.3 in September I'm excited about increasing my fitness to get through that half marathon with a little more energy. Then, of course, on to the biggy. I know it won't rain in Arizona.


  1. Awesome job!!! I had rain/hail/etc at Boise and had the same thoughts: well I don't have to worry about this in Arizona! LOL Enjoy your rest!