June has finally ended. What a month! However, I should start further back and work my way forward from the Bridge City Duathlon to today. That means this is a longer post than normal.
On May 11th I ran the Step Up for Mental Health 10k. I ran it in 1:05! That was well under my 1:10 goal. It was a hard 10k for me, but it made me realize that I can still push myself to make a goal. It was a great realization and has made me reflect on my long-term goals, which I’ll get into later. Plus the event raised $400,000 for Saskatchewan mental health projects!
On to the Saskatchewan Half Marathon… my longest run of 2019. I finished it in 2:27 (under 7:00 min/km), which is a pretty good time for this sloth runner. The first half went really well… I was killing it. I felt fantastic. And then I turned around and my legs started feeling heavy. My left knee was nagging a little bit, but I kept going at a steady pace. I’m really not sure how I managed to do that… it was definitely a mental battle. The hills in the last 5k were brutal. Looking back at my previous times I think I’m in better physical shape than I’ve been in a long time.
And then came June. Oh June, 2019. What a terrible month it was! At least it was in my personal life. My professional life has been a struggle and one of my fur babies died. But from a training standpoint it was actually pretty good. I got lots of training in, I was fairly disciplined and I managed to do all of my key training sessions.
My running group puts on a small fun run called the Sizzler Strut in my town of 5,000 people. I did a 5k and was hoping to do it in 40 minutes. I managed to finish it in 30 minutes! When I was training for IM Coeur d’Alene in 2017, I had a list of things I’d like to do after IMCDA. One of them was to do a 30-minute 5k. 1 heart-break, 1 move, 1 stress fracture and 1 emotional struggles later and I managed to do a 30-minute 5k! A feat I haven’t managed to do in years. YEARS! Many years. It felt good. It felt right. It felt like 5k was a great distance for me. This proved to be true.
My first triathlon of the season happened 2 days after my fur baby died. I was heart-broken, but decided to go through with the race because of… I don’t know… just because I guess. Because I had to. It was a sprint so I knew it would be short, painless and I could just coast through it without difficulty.
Spoke n Hot Sprint Triathlon
This is a women’s-only mostly-beginner event. I wanted to do this race as an early primer for the Great White North half IM. I just wanted to do a triathlon since the last one I’d done was IMCDA in 2017. Last year I did half of a triathlon so I figured this would be a good trial.
Swim: This was a weird start to the race. It was a really cold and cloudy day. I wondered what I was doing there as I stood on the beach for an hour watching two heats finish before our heat could go in. Because it was a beginner race, they had the fast heat at the end so that there was a constant stream of finishers. Plus the water was RIDICULOUSLY cold. I was really happy that the swim only took 15 minutes. I cannot reiterate enough how cold it was. I can’t believe they didn’t make it a wet suit-mandatory race, as they did the next weekend.
T1: The water was so cold and I was chilled. It took a while to get the wet suit off and get everything together. I forgot to put on my bike gloves and my sunglasses. Luckily, it was only a 20km bike and it was cloudy so it wasn’t too bad.
Bike: The bike wasn’t too bad and I managed the 20k in 45 minutes. It really was pretty uneventful.
T2: This was a pretty easy transition. There really wasn’t much after that.
Run: It felt really good. I pushed it pretty hard and it felt good. I did the 5k in 33 minutes. I had a total time of 1:39.
Living Sky Triathlon
A couple of weeks before this race my friend peer-pressured me into doing this race. I cursed him the entire day!
I was still reeling from the reality of my life without my fur baby. I was glad that I got to stay with my bestie and if it wasn’t for her and her triathlon partner I’m not sure I would have made it out the door that morning. We woke up to cold and rainy conditions. I almost bailed on the race about 10 times. It was only because I couldn’t make the decision NOT to do the race. So I just did it.
The swim was cold and rainy. This was the theme of the whole race. I’d been freezing standing on the beach in my wet suit. Warming up in the water really was a warm up. No one wanted to get out for the start. But we did and we were all glad to get back in the water. The swim felt long and my Garmin showed that I swam about 1900m. I’m not usually a bad sighter, but it went long. It looked like everyone in the standard distance had slow swims so I’m thinking that it was long because of the wind blowing the buoys. I managed the 1900m in 39:46 minutes. So that bodes well for my half IM in a few weeks.
As I mentioned earlier, it was cold and rainy all day. T1 was so cold and wet. I put my gear in my rubbermaid container so at least my gear was dry. I also put hand warmers in my shoes so my cold feet went into warm, dry bike shoes.
Along with the cold and rain, it got windy for the bike. There was gusting 40km/hr northern wind so the two-lap, north-south out-and-back was particularly difficult, both physically and mentally. The turn-around was brutal. Somehow the 40km 1-hour 50 minutes (23 km/h) felt like 100 hours.
Again with the warmers in my shoes… it felt so good to put my feet into warm shoes. Even though it was cold and rainy my feet were warm almost the whole time.
The run was really interesting. There were so many events happening that it felt disorienting not knowing who was in my race or not. No one knew who was on the first lap or two in the Standard distance. Then there was the super competitive racing going on for the U26 group, which I knew nothing about. There was drafting on the bike, which is just so weird to see at most triathlon events, and they were running so fast. The whole thing was really confusing. I remember doing this race when there was just the Standard and the Sprint events. Now there’s are 10 other events happening at the same time. I’m not sure if I like it or not, but it was definitely a different experience than I’m used to. And the race was on a Saturday! That was trippy in itself. Anyway, the run was 1:08. The total race time was 3:47.
Overall, it has been an interesting couple of months. While I’m not sure all of them were great for me emotionally, they were all good prep mentally for the Half IM coming up in a couple of weeks. The triathlons were great training days in the rain, which I wouldn’t have done had I been at home. I’m hoping that the Great White North half IM has rainy and cold conditions because those are the only ones I’ve trained and raced in. If it’s hot I’ll have to put ice in my transition bags instead of warmers.
Now I’m working on mentally prepping for the race. Physically, there’s nothing left to do. I’ll try to get in a couple of short sessions, but it’s all mental from here. I’m visualizing myself getting to the end of my recovery journey from the IM Coeur d’Alene heart-break. Getting to do another long-distance event is a privilege and I’m glad that I put together the steps to make it happen. It’ll probably be my last long distance triathlon in a while but you never know. IM Coeur d’Alene is coming back in 2021 so who knows what will happen.