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Sydenham Olympic Triathlon July 2011

In 2010, this was the first triathlon I did after the birth of my fourth child. I must admit, tackling the olympic distance when my baby was 9 months old was pretty ambitious and unfortunately didn’t go as well as I had planned. The hot, humid conditions got the best of me and I struggled through the 10k run while feeling the effects of heat exhaustion and dehydration.¬†This year, my goal was to race smarter and improve upon my time. I had been consistent in the pool and built up my running base but in truth, had lost my cycling mojo through the spring and early summer.

Shockingly, the first weekend in July once again was hot and humid. My plan of attack was to go hard on the swim and then hold steady and hydrate often on the bike to avoid blowing up on the run again. In retrospect, I did stick to this plan, however the end result was a disappointment. The swim started off well. With clear and calm conditions on a two loop rectangular course, I was eager for the swim. I began with a sprint and found some fast feet to follow. Sadly, I lost them, not due entirely to my inability to keep up, but my sighting was horrendous. Despite my best efforts, I was swimming quite wide of the buoys. I could not hold a straight line to save my life. I’m sure I swam an extra 200 m that day. The frustrating part was that I knew I kept heading off course but my corrections appeared to be in vain. So regardless of being stronger in the pool than last year, my time was almost 3 minutes slower than last year. Seeing my time heading into T1 was a bit of a bummer but I soldiered on.

The bike course is a somewhat hilly 20 km out and back repeated twice. This year, the turn around was moved to the bike dismount line and now included a steep hill. (Does this mean that last year’s course wasn’t quite 40 km in length?) As planned, I made sure I took in plenty of fluids on the bike and held a little effort back, especially on the up hills, in anticipation of the run. My plan worked and I felt fairly good heading out of T2. However, my time on the bike was four minutes slower than last year, although perhaps up to half of that can be attributed to the extra distance. I was not optimistic that I would succeed in my secondary goal of beating last year’s time.

The run course is along the Cataraqui trail which skirts the edge of Sydenham Lake. It’s flat and pretty but also pretty hot in July without much shade or breeze. Nonetheless, the run went okay. I walked the water stations but ran the rest, albeit at a snail’s pace. I ended up running almost 3 minutes faster than last year but that wasn’t enough to make up for the swim and bike deficit. The good news is it was good enough for fourth in my age group (okay, yes, there were only four women in my age group but don’t burst my bubble).

I did enjoy this race much more than last year and didn’t spend the rest of the day recovering, prostrate in my bed. Will I do this race again next year? Maybe. It is always on my birthday weekend which I like but honestly, I don’t seem to do well in the heat and humidity that comes to Ontario in early July. However, I still feel like I have something to prove here. Maybe I’ll pray for rain!

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