A few weeks ago I awoke one morning to a bit of a scare. KT and I, still deep in our we-just-moved-to-Canada-from-Germany-and-have-way-too-many-things-to-do mire, had been exploring the possibility of making a few minor plumbing changes in our house. For that reason we had called a few plumbers to come and give us a quote. I had spoken with one of these plumbers the day before, who told me that he would phone me first thing in the morning to confirm what time he would be able to come to do the quote. At 7 a.m., just as I had re-entered the world of the conscious, that phone call came. It went something like this:
“Mr F.” …. “Yes, speaking” …. “This is so-and-so from such-and-such plumbing” …. “Oh, hi” …. “I believe that we ran into your car last night” …..groggily “You what!?” …. “I believe that we ran into your car last night” …. “You ran into my car!” …. “Um….oh, sorry, you’re the customer who wanted the quote?” …. “Yes”…. “I mixed you up with someone else”.
Now, to make my early-morning heart-attack even worse, as KT and I were going to sleep the night before, we heard a car alarm nearby going off for quite a while, a fact which I then recalled vividly as images of an evil plumber (imagine something like the clown in the film-version of Stephen King’s IT, but a plumber) ramming his van into our car ran through my head. Needless to say, we did not employ this particular plumber’s services.
Fortunately, I had a lot of exercise planned for later that day, to bring my nerves back under control. I’ve been training this past month for an Olympic-distance triathlon this weekend, but also for a half-marathon in October (Toronto Waterfront), so my coach has had me doing some longer 18-22km runs off the bike. Training has been logistically more challenging since I’ve been back teaching full-time, also given that the light in the day is steadily getting shorter, but I’ve also felt that the training I’ve been doing has been pretty solid. In the end, the break (for the most part) I took in the first 10 days of August recharged me physically and mentally. And training at the beginning or end of the day really does keep me stress-free at work.
My race this morning was the Lakeside triathlon, held at the Lakeside camping resort in Ontario (very near to St Mary’s, and well-worth considering for a holiday!). Lake Sunova, where we did the swim, was clean and picturesque (as in the photo above). Sadly, this was my last triathlon of this season, but happily it went really well. When I went into this first season of triathlons, my initial goal was to go sub 2:45 in the full Olympic-distance. When I reached this in June, my next goal was to go sub 2:30, and I did that today! Here are the numbers:
Overall time: 2:25:31, Overall finishing place 49/249 (12/25 in age group)
Swim: 25:09 — Bike: 1:11:30 — Run: 44:34
T1 2:49 — T2 1:32
Now, each triathlon course is different on any given day, such that simple comparison of times from one race to the next, or even the same race from one year to the next, is not always a reliable measure. That said, this time takes 12 minutes off my previous best, and this was without a doubt the most solid race I’ve ever done. In my first triathlon race back in May I was unsure how to pace myself throughout the race (how much and when to push on the swim, bike, and run), but today I felt much more confident than I ever have before.
On paper, I wasn’t thrilled with the swim time, but it seems like the swim wasn’t a fast one today – even the pros (the winner, by the way finished in 1:56:52) didn’t break 20 minutes. The bike was great for me and I felt strong, even through the 10-15kms with a strong head-wind. Once again, I was on a pretty inexpensive road-bike, which probably made it a bit more difficult going into the wind, and makes me pretty satisfied with the overall time. On the run, I went out at a 4:00/km pace and, although I still feel that I didn’t nail the run, I worked hard on the bike and the sub-45:00 time was still a PB off the bike (this will come, I think). One aspect of the race that was still pretty bad for me today was transition. In my first transition, the zipper on my wetsuit stuck again (something I need to solve), which left me in the transition zone for almost 3 minutes. The second transition was also about a minute slower than those of others finishing around me. In fact, with reasonable transition times, I would have finished about 7 spots higher! This is definitely something to work on.
Reaching that goal of sub 2:30 pretty comfortably today has given me great motivation for off-season training and confidence going into my second season. If I work solidly in the pool, on the bike/trainer, and on the run, I think I can make a lot of improvement. On the run in particular, I’m aiming to get a sub-40:00 time off the bike – that may be ambitious, but I think it’s good to have goals.
For the next couple of weeks, I’ll be putting my feet to the road a lot as I prepare for the half-marathon. I’ve run this distance several times in training this year, but have never raced the distance before, so I’ve got a time I’m aiming for, but will also be treating it as a learning experience. I didn’t have photos today, as KT and NP couldn’t join me, but they’ll be there in Toronto to cheer me on and capture all the action.