Race Recap: Kelowna Apple Olympic Distance Triathlon
This past weekend I raced my first Olympic Distance Triathlon in Kelowna, British Columbia. The race was called the Apple Triathlon and my distance was 1500 m swim in the Okanagan lake, 40 km bike through the town, and 10 km run close to the waterfront. The race was tough, and very hot, but overall it was a fun and a great accomplishment.
The course was beautiful:
After foam rolling and warming up for a good hour at our campsite in Kelowna I had my usual pre race breakfast (peanut butter and banana sandwich) and my double earl grey tea 🙂 Then we headed down to transition area to line up all my gear and load up on the sunscreen. My heat didn’t leave until 815 so I had a lot of time to prepare and do some warm up swimming.
It ended up being a no wet suit allowed swim, which was going to be interesting for me! Up until that point I had only done 2 open water swims before, and both of them were in wet suits. Now it was time to try my best to stay buoyant without one :). I felt good at the start, I never feel nervous right before the race, but often the night before.
I jumped in and started swimming and soon realized I had veered really far to the right. Luckily this meant that I had avoided the huge pack of people trampling all over each other. I found my nice steady pace and started to enjoy the swim. Right before the race the race director mentioned there was a beaver on the course! I tried my best to not think about this thing swimming along with me, and just stay focused on my technique. I kept my pace at a medium level, this being my first triathlon I had no idea how hard I could push without dying at the end. After 750 m I ran out on the beach around a buoy and back in for another 750 m lap. I could see I was close to the front of the group- which was exciting! I finished the swim strong at around 32 minutes, close to the front of the pack. Then I managed a super awkward run up through the transition area. I always get passed during this time!
My transition was quick without a wet suit on and before I knew it I was biking out onto the course. The course was 4 laps of a 10 km loop. The loop starts with a pretty decent uphill that gets the heart up, but wasn’t too long. Just kept my legs moving during this part. The rest of the loop is all downhill and flat, which made it super fun. Although I felt I was doing well personally, I still don’t have the bike confidence I want especially on downhill’s and turning. What this mean was that I got passed a lot! I still kept my average time at 27 km an hour, but with more practice on sharp turns I will do a lot better. The bike felt great, not too challenging, and I probably could have pushed myself just a little bit harder here. I finished the bike in 1 hour and 29 minutes. My goal is to start training at more of a race pace so that I can get better at maneuvering my bike while going fast!
Next up after transition was the 10 km run. By this time the day was starting to feel super hot. My legs felt sluggish and my body basically had one speed by this point- slow! I noticed I wasn’t really sweating, legs were starting to cramp a bit, and my body literally wouldn’t allow me to speed up much. I told myself at this point to just hold a strong steady pace until the end and try to finish the 10 k run in an hour. The first lap (5km) was HARD! I was having to really cheer myself on and talk myself through it. I was trying to take in as much water, Gatorade and some gel as I could but my body still felt pretty depleted. Up until the run I was having a lot of fun in the race, but now it was starting to get to me. I kept telling myself just to try my best to the end- and that’s what I did! I finished the run in 1:08, the slowest 10 km’s I’ve ever ran, but also I’ve never ran 10 k after already doing 2 hours of exercise!
I crossed the finish line at 3 hours and 13 minutes! I told myself I would be happy with 3 hours- 3:15 time based on the training I did. I was very happy with my swim, felt pretty good about my bike, and was happy I just hung on with the run, which I finished in 1:08.
Overall I recognize the heat probably played a huge factor for me near the end. I realize I need to work on my bike confidence on downhills and corners, as well as I need to find a running buddy who is a bit faster than me to start pushing my pace here a bit!
Post race I soaked myself in a cold sprinkler and then swam in the lake, pilled in a bunch of food and took a nap. Initially my legs were shot, they wanted to give out, and were cramping. After the swim and food they started to feel better, and then for the rest of the day and today they feel great! I am happy I am not sore. The only war wound I have is a giant blister on my left big toe that seriously looks like I have an alien growing out of my foot.
All in all I enjoyed myself and am proud of myself. I race again on September 18th in Cultus Lake. I am going to rest for a few days and then start the training up again to see if I can get a bit faster by then. My goal is to get one of these done in less than 3 hours 🙂
I hope I can inspire someone to take up a fun sport like triathlons. I am in now way an “athlete”- I have a very moderately level of ability, and training for these is no easy feat for me, and is actually quite hard. Don’t tell yourself you need to be a runner or fit to get going on these events, find a good program, give yourself lots of time, have fun with it, and do you own race, compete against yourself 🙂
On an ending (and most important note) I need to give a HUGE shoutout to my partner Kyle. He’s been my grocery shopper, cook, driver to races, campsite take down man while I do my warm ups, tea and breakfast maker morning of the races, supporter, photographer, cheerleader, and motivator. Without him I could have been a lot more stressed, nervous, and have a lot less time for training if he didn’t help out so much with meal cooking around our house. Thanks Kyle for all that you do to make this happen for me 🙂
By the way- it’s a beautiful drive to Kelowna- especially with night skies like these.