Relays are AWESOME
Whistler 70.3 wasn't on my race list this year - even though it is the last year for the Whistler venue. Flash Back - I did the full in it's first year (2013) and had a fantastic race. I still remember training with Sheri, Kristin and Ron and walking in the door after riding the course saying - holy shit that was hard. Race day was perfect and I delivered my fastest IM marathon to date. While it was a freaking hard course, I have very fond memories of that race.
This summer TN Multisports had a camp for our Whistler athletes to get them prepped for race day. It was an amazing camp having fabulous weather, ability to ride sections of the course several times. We got to swim, run and build confidence throughout the weekend. As I rode, swam and ran I reminisced about the Whistler course and how spectacular it is. I wasn't insane enough to sign up for the full. At our team dinner Teresa and I were chatting about how several teammates were doing the 70.3 as a relay. Boom – relay – how fun and a plan was born. Teresa would see if Robyn, her mom, would want to swim for me and I could bike and run. YEA! FOMO crisis averted.
Race weekend was fantastic even with a minor cold. Eileen and I drove up on Friday. Robyn and I checked in and got our relay packet on Friday – this made Saturday more flexible as I was able to get everything ready to go on Friday evening to be ready to drop off Saturday. A few of us rode together to do bike drop off and then road the shuttle back. I went to drop my run gear off where I was met with a very confused volunteer. I was confused too as there were no signs with relay numbers for our bags. She said as a relay I did not need to drop run back off as I should be dressed already. She pointed to the full and half bags. I said – no you don’t understand – I am doing the bike and run portion, so I do need to drop a bag. OH MY she said, let’s go find someone who knows what to do. Good thing this isn’t my first rodeo – I dropped my bag at the end of the line and hoped it would be there the next day. By the way - my name is NOT relay
Next up was one of the many highlights of the weekend – meeting a fellow Zwifter in person. Met Ryan and his beautiful wife Terri. We chatted for close to two hours – like we’ve known each other for life! This is ZWIFT!
Race day, I met Robyn at the bus with coffee in hand as the buses were only
running until 630 and transition supposedly closed when the full distance began swimming….so we had a long wait for the race to start. The confused volunteer from yesterday actually found me in line and thanked me for ‘training’ her as not too long after me there was another crazy triathlete who was doing the bike and run. Volunteers are AWESOME. I can’t believe she found me – well, maybe I can – based on my triathlon personality and our AWESOME pink TN kits. I enjoyed having Robyn’s company on the bus ride to the start. Such a great opportunity to share a race with someone!
Transition as usual is a bustling place at 530 am!! Looking for teammates to wish them well, taking pictures of course, making sure to load my bike up with nutrition and get ready to WAIT…and wait. The full distance folks started at 6 am and the half distance was to begin sending swimmers after 7. Since Relays are new all of us bikers hung around the tent by the water and got to watch the full distance swimmers come through. Nutrition and bathroom planning for us was tough as it was hurry up and wait not knowing the timing of our swimmer. We were all wondering where to put our swimmer’s stuff – or our own stuff – since there really isn’t a process. It was super fun to hang out with friends and watch the race from the inside.
It was hilarious when the first relay swimmer came out the water – their biker was not paying attention, so we all started yelling for the biker. The swimmer’s face was funny, wish I could’ve gotten a picture of that. Another swimmer comes flying towards us and we again, start yelling for ‘biker up’. So now it was watching for relay swimmers instead of teammates doing the non relay. Robyn came out of the water and we exchanged the timing chip. I was off through the changing tent – it was the only way to get to bike – then was off on my bike. My happy place!
Holy cow, I forgot that stretch along the lake is just the beginning of elevation gain and I was on ‘cold’ legs going like I had been swimming for 45 minutes, not standing around for an hour plus. I realized swimming makes me warmed up for the bike, so maybe I like swimming a little bit more now. Settled in for the bike as we got on hwy 99. Did some leap frogging with some folks on the small ups and downs as we made our way to Callaghan. At the turn on Callaghan is was go time. I reset my lap on my bike to see if I’d be close to my PR on the climb. Up up up we go. I passed teammate Laura, who was at camp, and was able to remind her that we had done the climb and to do it like camp! Another teammate and I were hoping for a ‘team pic’ on the bike as we were right next to each other but alas no pic. ☹ On the plus side, I did PR the climb by 43 seconds! Then it was on to the most awesome decent. Top speed 44 mph – looked AFTER the ride. Best part of the day was chatting with a couple of guys later in the ride who both congratulated me on being an awesome descender. Close to the village caught up with teammate Steve we were riding pretty close when his wife Barbara cheered for him and then saw me and yelled yay TN. Steve dropped me at the turnaround as we climbed back up to the village. I hadn’t read that part of the route…so wasn’t prepped for riding up again. Whoops.
Finally into the village and off the bike! Super thrilled with a SOLID 3:14 on the bike.
Next up the RUN. I headed out and the first hill my relay teammate Robyn, her wonderful friends and Teresa were cheering. I laughed as we had talked earlier about how folks will walk this hill until they see the TN cheer squad, then start running only to walk again after passing. Yep, saw that…and maybe did that a little. There was a little out and back section where I saw Diane, another teammate who was also doing relay, we hugged as that is what we do. So many folks I knew on the run…so great seeing everyone. My thoughts on the run:
1. how did I do a PR on this run back in 2013
2. happy I wasn’t questioning my life choices like I did in CDA a month prior!
3. wondering when/if my steady biking partner, Aditya was going to catch me. We knew I’d be ahead of him on the bike, but his run can be way stronger than mine….hint he could BQ vs my steady solid pace of just happy to be running.
I was so happy when I hit the turn around out on the lake as again, fail on reading the course map, I thought we had to go up to the end of the trail. Was thrilled to do my ‘airplane’ turn around the cone. Saw Eileen at the aid station and continued moving forward. Did see Aditya only to hear he had a great bike but was struggling on the run. Yep, when there is a PR the bike sometimes the run isn’t the run you wish for – I am still working on that myself but I have too much fun on the bike.
The finish line was a mile away when I thought of Lisa B telling her story about puking near some spectators at mile 17 of the run at Santa Rosa. For a moment I thought that would be me! I slowed to a walk for a few minutes to allow the nausea pass. By the time I got through the village I was better…of course just in time for the red carpet of the finish line!
I got my and Robyn’s medal and then hung out for Diane, Dale, Aditya, Ryan and Sherry. Got to give Ryan a huge hug and get his medal for him. THIS was another highlight. Yes, I kept the FinisherPix cameraman busy.
Recovery and celebrations for a couple of hours. Then it was time to go out for the last few hours of the race hanging out to cheer for teammates on the course. We were at the perfect location – the turn into the village for the final half mile. So great to see Rochelle, Rae and Matt finish. Hung out with Ryan, Terri and Eileen until the last finisher was in. The lights go out on another fabulous day.
So many memories and such gratitude for all those out on the course – racing, cheering and volunteering!
Appreciate TN family and am so grateful to be part of the coaching staff for a fantastic team with so much to offer.
Thankful to the Seattle Greenlake Tri group who support everyone – love you guys. The tent was wonderful to see with all your smiling faces.
Next up is Ironman #10 – Ironman Wisconsin in 4 weeks.
Ironman #11 – Arizona - 11/19/2019.
Assuming all goes well -#12 will be Penticton – site of my FIRST Ironman
Can’t wait for Penticton next year as it will be EPIC!!
If you are still reading – thanks – you know where to find me if you need a training buddy, coach and cheerleader! www.tnmultisports.com or via this website.
Here's a throwback from Ironman #1 Penticton -2009