About 2 weeks ago, somewhere in middle of a long trail run up Whistler with a bunch of great girls, Liz and I decided that it would be a good idea to sign up for the Half Iron at Challenge Penticton. Never mind that it was less than 2 weeks away, that we’d done essentially zero “formal” training or that I was running Squamish 23 the weekend before. This sounded like a great idea.
A couple days of swim/bike/run later – and foam rolling like it was my job, post-Squamish – we got to Penticton on what has traditionally been one of the busiest weekends of the year for them. And it was… ghost town. Weird.
Anyway. We checked in to our place, did all the pre-race crap you have to do and set ourselves up to have decent races by essentially deciding we were going to do so and not be so damn grumpy. I think we were able to do just that because we were staying close enough to the start line that we knew we didn’t have to get up before 5:30. Excellent.
So. Race day. Here’s how it went.
Goal: Sub 00:36 (look out, Michael Phelps). Actual: 00:36:56
I did something I never do. I started on the front line, right behind Liz. I figured “What the hell. What’s the worst that can happen?”
Editor’s note: DROWNING, that’s what.
It was fine. A little rough at times, but I felt myself being pulled along so that was kind of neat. I think I swam about as straight as a line as a puppy running through the forest, but at least I aimed for all the buoys.
Goal: Sub 3:00, catch Liz. Actual: 2:52:54, no Liz.
That bike course was no joke. Some really good climbing combined with pavement that was teeth-rattling rough, it was going to be hard. And it was, but in a good way. A bit lonely at times but I was able to keep my head down and not lose focus too badly (“SQUIRREL!”) and enjoy the full-body shaking caused by the iffy pavement.
Goal: Sub 1:50 Actual 1:45:15
I can’t believe I am typing this but the run was fun. I liked the course, it was hot and my body mostly cooperated. When I finally caught Liz – who’d lost her nutrition on the bike and was paying the price for it on the run – she told me to get a move on, I was in 4th.
I suppose when I saw the lead bike out of transition, I should have paid a little bit more attention to what was going on.
I ended the day 3rd woman overall, and since I pretty much never look over my shoulder when I’m racing, I didn’t notice the pack of balloon-wielding kids who chased me to the line. That’ll teach me.
All in all, a pretty fun day of racing. I endured the usual post-race nausea and misery for a few hours, but some Gravol, beer and pizza fixed me right up.
As Liz pointed out, you’re only as good as your last race. I guess that means it’s on for Maui, right?