Category Archives: Race Report

IronMan Cozumel

I just got back from Mexico yesterday evening. Racing in Cozumel was quite the experience! I was very moved by all the supportive messages from my family and friends. I carried them with me in my heart on race day.

Cozumel is a great destination race! The race course is a tough one but the sunshine filled vacation can’t be beat. I’ll be back to do this race-cation again. This year, rough ocean conditions caused a last minute change to the swim course. The modified 3.1km swim kept us closer to shore for safety. I worked hard on the swim, kicked some coral and got stung by jellyfish. It was an adventure and I loved every minute. Cozumel-2013-bike

This bike course is stunningly beautiful. I rode hard and was happy with my ride. Boy, oh boy, the wind was something else! The bike profile might look pancake flat but the windy side of the island was as hard as any hill around here. On the third lap, I died a bit on the bike. I think I need to take another look at my race nutrition plan.
Cozumel-2013-run

The race course is 3 loops on the bike, and 3 loops on the run which makes it great for spectators. It’s also great for racers – I got a boost every time I saw my support crew. On the run, there was crazy heat, monsoon rains, and flooded streets. At one point, I served myself some pepsi at an abandoned aid station only to have two kids heads pop out from underneath the table where they were hiding from the crazy rain! The adventure continued all the way to the finish line.
Cozumel-2013-finish

My finish time was a new best. I didn’t give up and I learned lots about racing.

Challenge Penticton

An early start (3:45am wake up) translated to an easy calm vibe in transition. I put my bottles on the bike and in my run bag and then sat on a bench relaxing. Before we knew it, Erin and I heard the last call for age group athletes. Shoot!  How did that happen?  We put our wetsuits on really fast, waved to our family, and then watched the pros start.

JoanneErinCHALLENGE2013

I did a short warmup swim and then got myself in the front line behind 7-8 fast looking guys lined up right along the bouy line.  The start siren went. No one heard it.  We all stood still.  I thought I heard something, so I turned around to see the starter waving at us to go from the beach.  So I said, “Go guys, go!”  After a bit more confusion, the front guys started swimming so the rest of us started swimming.  There was fair amount of chop.  I swam the first quarter on my own… and then decided that was stupid so swam over to swim behind the only guy that was near.  As we approached the turn around, there were a few small groups.  For the second half of the way back, I decided that the group I was with was too slow… so I moved up a group.

I exited the water and Tiffany and Cat helped me get out of my wetsuit.  Tracy handed me my bike gear and the volunteers helped me get my shoes on. It was great to see friendly faces in transition. Thanks for volunteering! Continue reading

Historic Half in Fort Langley

Today’s race was good. I went into the day feeling a bit conservative thinking that I would aim for 5min/km and a 1:45 finish. However, about 5km into the race, I realized that I was feeling good and I might as well just run. Starting out conservative is a nice way to race because for the whole second half I was passing people and feeling strong. I finished at just under 1:39.  It’s quite a hilly route which makes it tough … but I felt good.  Last year, I raced well and ran my half marathon PB on this route of 1:37:54.  I think I probably could have beat that time today if I went into the race with a different mindset. That said, it was a good day and I had fun racing.

In other news, on March 1st, I start training with a new coach.  Her name is Stephanie. Her favorite meal is dinner.  I’m quite excited to get started with my new training program.

My Ideal IronMan Race Day

I wrote this “Ideal Race Scenario” in preparation for my race in Penticton on August 26th, 2012.  Reading it over, six months later, I can see that what I wrote and visualized before race day serves as an excellent race report of what actually happened.  There were a few things different on the day but nothing really that different.  Where I veered off a bit from the plan was during the run.  The run never really felt good and I made a few mistakes with my nutrition**. Preparation, visualizing this plan, and enjoying the day, created a 1hr 4 min personal best finish time for me.  I also see potential for improving on this great day which is one of the reasons why I’ve signed up for doing the Challenge Race in 2013. 

I sleep well the night before because I know there’s nothing left to do but enjoy the day I’m ready for. I eat oatmeal with blueberries and honey, yum!

I get to transition early, stay away from stressed people, walk through transition routes, find a clean bathroom with no lineups, eat a gel to top me up, and then get into my wetsuit.  I am relaxed and excited and have a smile on my face. I stand at the swim start with calm friends, I know that nervous means I’m ready. I’m wearing my tinted goggles.

I swim and use the crazy start to make me go fast, I stay out of trouble but on toes.  I give myself 2-3 buoys, reevaluate, if I need to I find clear water mid way out. “Go for it, settle in, be smart!” I am long and fast, I exit the water.

I put on my bike helmet and shoes and get the heck out of town. I take in the atmosphere of the fans and the ride route I know well and I ride.  I am prepared to pass people, I don’t back off and I don’t draft. I use the excitement when I need it, I’m aiming for zone 3, 175-180 watts which is my go forever fast pace. I have four words on the handlebars of my bike to remind me of my plan, they are “Strong, Controlled, Focus, Smart.” Down to Oosoyos, my riding is contained and strong and I execute my nutrition plan. Before Richter, I drop all but one bottle and refill at the aid station at the top. I am resourceful, making adjustments to my plan and I keep going. In my special needs bag, I have Salt pills, CO2 and a spare tube. I plan on not picking it up but it’s there just in case. I drink 2×500 liquid per hour, one water, one perform. I eat 1 gel every 45 min. I take 1 salt every hour or two, as needed. I am smart and adjust as needed. I monitor my emotional responses. If I feel different, I pay attention to my nutrition. If I feel bad, it’s a sign my nutrition is going wrong. If this happens, I try something different and let 20 min go by. Breathe. I ride steady up Richter. I’m aggressive but safe on the descent staying as aerodynamic as possible. For the rollers, I get gear changes done ahead of time and I have tension on the pedals all the way through the rollers. I am strong and controlled.  I’m not aggressive but I’m also not soft pedaling. Into Cawson, I maintain my mental focus, technique, and recall my good training rides. On the out and back, I keep my focus. I ride strong controlled and do another nutrition assessment. As I approach Yellow Lake, I shift my focus to effort not speed. I use a steady energy (taking the energy from the crowd and put in the tank for the run). Riding back into town, I focus on technique. When I’m back in town, I focus on run and get ready.

I am so thankful to get off the bike. I give myself a wee bathroom break. I put on socks and shoes, and run. Now this what I’m, looking forward to. After the bike falls away, I’m free to run. I do 1 km then check in giving myself a bit of a run to let my legs get under me. I am really looking forward to this run. The key is to check my pace. I run 1km-2km and then dial the pace. For the first 5km, I aim for 5:15 pace.  Then, I start the run aiming for 5 min/km. I think of shady trails at UBC and my many great training runs. At the turnaround, I feel awesome. At the special needs, I grab my full bottle of perform**. I eat 1 gel + Perform / hour.  If not, I slow down to get my nutrition in. I will also have salt pills at ready (Be smart, if its not working, try something different). On the way back, the hill is hard but I’m running well.  I run back home, I see my friends and cheer for them on the way home.  Pace trumps finish time. I don’t think of finish time until cherry lane. At cherry lane use the finish line to pull in. I finish strong. I do the best time I can.

 ** I forgot to fill my water bottles before I put them in my special needs bag. Whoops.

Big Peachy Week

Wow, was I ever exhausted after my “Big Peachy Week”.  I was glad to be scheduled for a couple of easy days of training.  I needed them.  Fortunately, my work week was pretty flexible with me attending a conference downtown.  I think I may have scared some of the conference attendees with my lunch eating abilities.  This past week was my biggest week of training so far in the build up to IronMan and it was great. My uncle says that I’m twice as fit as the last time I did IronMan.  My response was, “then I should be able to go twice as fast!”  Now that would be something.

So the Peach was a no wetsuit swim.  24oC water.  This was the first time I’ve raced in a no wetsuit triathlon.  My swim time wasn’t a time I was particularly happy with… but at least I can blame it on the wetsuit (or lack of).  [It can't have been the 3.8km swim on Friday or the 2.1km swim race on Saturday or all the rest of the week].  PS.  I did the IMC swim course on Friday in 1:10 (with no drafting).  I was happy with that.

Back to the Peach, the swim start Continue reading

Keeping it Real

It’s been a good solid few days of training. I’ve enjoyed the riding, the swimming and the running in this Okanagon heat. On Monday, I rode the bike course. On Tuesday, I enjoyed a clear cool swim and then a hot run on the marathon route. After all that, I’ve been relaxing with my Aunt and Uncle in this summer heat. My Uncle Doug rode a 600km brevet on the weekend, so he’s helping me keep it real. “What are you complaining about you only did a 160km ride…” is dinner conversation at the Fox household. You’ve got to love it!

Here’s what I did: Continue reading

Canada Day Swim at Sasamat

So, how did the Canada Day swim go?  Thanks for asking, the swim was fine. I can go quite a bit faster: 1:05 is my best. However, I seem to be carrying quite a bit of fatigue from this past week so I was happy with a 1:10 – all things considered.

SAA swimmers warming up on the beach

It was a quality week of training and thank goodness for the rest day today. I’m feeling the track workout Tues and the tempo bits Sat and Sun – and have worked hard. I wasn’t into really into the race yesterday. As I left I said to Torbin, “I’m just going to do a swim with a bunch of people.”  He joked, “Well, if you go fast by accident, don’t worry about it!”

I was cold and tired at the early morning start and felt the, “Why the hell am I doing this?” panic of a swim start.  I got passed more than normal at the beginning and wasn’t feeling too great – not bad – just not into it. But, I did get into it on the second lap. I was long, fast, and streamlined and passed at least 4-5 of those folks from earlier in the second lap. If I’d been feeling like that from the beginning I would have had a MUCH faster time. (No, I didn’t do a warmup, silly me). I sighted lots and noticed that lots of people were swimming all over the place (or maybe it was me – so I sighted more).

My run afterwards was really good. I was tired and the tempo bits were hard, but I met the challenge which felt good. Now, I’m off to eat my second lunch, watch the tour, and recover from a good long hard week of training!

PBs for Everything

Its kind of fun to get a new PB every time you race. I could get used to this. 44:11 is my new best for 10km. My previous best was 46:23. Now all I need is the sun to magically come out for this weekends ride!