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Welland Half Ironmelt (no that’s not a typo) Relay

Multisport Canada Triathlon Series

Welland Half Ironman, Welland Ontario

Sunday July 27th, 2010

So a few weeks ago I was minding my own business at the gym when a fellow triathlete came up to me and asked me if I’d like to take part in a half ironman relay (doing the run portion) at Welland.  I told her I’d check my training schedule and see what distance I was supposed to run that week and get back to her.  If it was more than 21km, I’d be in.  Sure enough I was scheduled to run 23km that day.  Awesome.   Shortly after I tell her I’m in, we lose our swimmer to family commitments.  Of course, I volunteer my husband, who gladly accepts.  Team name:  Two Dudes and a Broad.

The week leading up to the race was awful.  I was working crazy hours, eating not so healthy food (I think I only cooked ONCE that week) and I had a couple of late nights, one of which involved a few wobbly pops at a work party so I figured that race day was probably not going to be pretty.

Sunday arrives and I get up at 4:30 am so we can be out in Welland by 7:00.  I sleep in the car almost all the way there, I’m that tired.  We get to Welland and it’s kind of damp and chilly, which is perfect for me.  But shortly after we arrived the sun came up and cleared away the fog and the humidity set in.  NOT good.  I always have problems in the humidity.  The heat I can deal with, it’s the combo of the 2 that causes me grief.  I tried to stay in the shade for as long as possible.

Swim:  Was nice to watch it for a change.  The water sounded like a running river with all the swimmers in it.  Cheered folks on as they came out.  Watched for Gary and almost missed him because he was running on the grass.  I was hoping he’d make it to transition without much issue considering he isn’t supposed to be running. Ran over to transition to see Scott, our cyclist, heading out on the bike.  He told me he’d probably be between 3:00-3:30 for the bike so I had a long wait.

Bike:  I sat on a lawn chair by the canal and read my book with my feet up.  Ate a bagel, muffin and an apple and hoped that some clouds would roll in and cool things off.  Watched the race leaders head out on the run and then decided I’d better get my butt over to transition.  I was expecting Scott to come in just after 12:00 pm if he had a good day.  I was lounging around in the shade when I heard Gary yell my name and I looked up to see Scott come running into transition.  He was early!  Yay!  I had been starting to get a little antsy.  I grabbed the chip from him and took off.

Run:  I left transition at 12:00 noon.  The sun was blazing and there was NO breeze.  My heart rate immediately spiked.  Awesome.   My legs actually felt pretty good all things considered.  I checked my pace at the first km marker and thought there is no way I can sustain this so I figured I should try and slow it down.  My goal was a 1:50-1:55 half.  I felt that was a reasonable goal considering I was only 6 weeks into my marathon training.  At about the 7km mark I figured 1:50 was going to be out of the question.  I was totally overheating.  All I could think about was cold water.  I made sure I drank at every aid station as well as the fluids I had with me.  I finally got to an aid station where they had sponges so I grabbed one, soaked it and took a sponge shower for a couple of minutes.  I ended up carrying it with me for the remainder of the race.   I did that again around the 12km mark.  At about 13 km I started to feel a little rough and I know I slowed down again. I had no idea what my pace was at that point.  At 14km, I saw Gary and that gave me a lift.   At about 16km, my calf started to cramp so I stopped to stretch it.  At the turnaround, I noticed what I thought to be waves of water on my glasses.  It was kind of distracting so I wiped my glasses a little and that didn’t help.  I eventually took them off only to realize that it wasn’t water on my glasses but that my vision was blurry.  I was seeing waves in my peripheral vision and my forward vision was a little blurry – I was having trouble focusing on people.  Now that was kinda scary.  The weird part was, I felt totally fine.  No lightheadedness, no chest pains, nothing out of the ordinary other than my legs were killing me.  So, of course, I stopped to walk for a few minutes to see if it would go away.  I didn’t so just past the 18km mark, I thought screw it, I’m this close to the finish, I’m just going to run as hard as I can to get there.  So, that’s exactly what I did.  I was quite surprised that I had anything left in the tank but I think those last 3 k were probably the fastest of the race for me!  I knew I was going to be well off my goal time but, it didn’t matter at that point. All I cared about was getting to the finish line.  As I ran down the finishing chute, I saw Gary and Scott cheering me on.  I tossed them my fuel belt and bolted for the finish line.  Final time 2:04:28.  Not where I had hoped to be but, realistically had I actually RUN the entire thing, I might have come close.

It was great to see a few other Team RF athletes out there giving it their best.  Congrats to John Salt and the Multisport Canada Triathlon series for putting on a fantastically organized event as usual.  The volunteers were amazing, and the aid stations were well stocked.  Well done!

Next up, the Acura 10 miler on July 11th.

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