Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Challenge Penticton Part 2 - Race & Party with Legends!

Part 2!  Check out the past 2 weeks with Ironman Kalmar, and Challenge Penticton Part 1

On to Race Day

So goal for this marathon was to cruise through it, without destroying myself.  My last race of the season will be a marathon in about 6 weeks (if I happen to be in the right country at the time).  So I can’t annihilate myself here and have to take a ton of recovery time after this one. 

So up at 4:30am just like a typical race day…unlike a typical race day I have no idea when I will be starting!  So head down to Penticton, meet up with my team, and we watch the pro race start then its 2 hours until the relay team start.   My mom and grandma drove me down so I relaxed over coffee with them for a few hours, its very cool having family at a race, I’ve never raced in Canada before.

The day consisted of watching the pro’s come in and out of transition, Macca up front out of the water onto the bike, sun tanning and cheering.  It was fantastic to see the local guy Jeff Symonds come across the line to take the win covered in blood after crashing on his bike!  An inspirational performance.

(This racing stuff is hard :p Suntanning in the middle of a race)

Felt like a super star, walking into transition with Graeme I hear over the loud speaker “There goes team “Embrace the Suck” racing for Macca, their runner Jenna-Caer is here all the way from Scotland“ 

Then was the wait

Sitting in the relay hand off zone waiting for our biker to come in (who crushed it!).  All of the sudden he’s running into transition and my heart rate jumps, time to find out what these legs have left.

Now I ran for 15 minutes total the last week, I have zero idea what my legs will do, just have to stay steady.  My HR monitor wouldn’t connect so had to run it off feel, I’ve spent so much time running at MAF that was no problem, I knew it wouldn’t be MAF pace though because of the damage from Ironman.

I get out there and my legs feel ok…for about a mile.  I knew it couldn’t be that easy, so dialed it into low end of MAF effort and cruised.   I have never had so much fun at a race!  I must have high five’d hundreds of people, danced when they had music pumping, gave a couple bangs of the drums when they had drummers set up.  I cheered for people running around me, and yelled out thanks to aid stations and supporters on course, and gave about a million thumbs up.  I had it easy I was just doing the marathon, I remember that feeling during the marathon in Ironman and tried to pump up some people doing the full, at least make them smile.    

It was by no means easy its still 42.2 km my feet hurt, legs felt like I was running through mud at times, I could feel how Ironman broke me down.  The course was WAY hillier than I thought, you were rarely going flat it was up or down.  My Garmin said 2500ft of climbing, weather was just under 30 degrees & 1st half was straight out into a draining headwind. When I was training in Texas that would be no issue, but I don’t think its gotten over 18 here in Scotland! So my body doesn't love the heat like it used to.  However none of that mattered, I had a blast, took in the energy of the crowd and gave back everything I could.

(I don't think I've ever smiled so much at a race)
The Finish Line:

This was by far the coolest part, and I would definitely recommend Challenge Races for this aspect alone.  It felt fantastic to finish a race not feeling completely broken and could run strong across the finish line.  Challenge lets people cross the line with you so I met my teammates in the finishing shoot and we head across together.  Now Challenge makes you feel like a pro, for every finisher they draw the tape across the finishing arch so you get to break through it like the winners! 

One of these days I will break that tape because I won the race, but that wasn’t today so it was a cool feeling.

Felix was right in the finishing shoot and congratulates you as you cross the line, then they have volunteers guide you through to get finishing pic/medals/shirts/food.  Full service finish line!

(So happy to still be standing & smiling at the finish line!)

Team Embrace the Suck Results:

Overall – 10:46:12
Graeme – 1:27:02 – on a day most pro’s were over an hour!!
Kevin – 5:40:55 – crushed the heat and hills
Me – 3:35:35
Transition – 1:35, 1:06 - I need to get my transition times to these!

(Team Embrace the Suck)

I was happy with that time my marathon PR is 3:34 and I destroyed myself to hit that time 10 months ago, 8th fastest run not too shabby.

The After Party!

Have to prioritise recovery!  Met up with Macca, Scott (his awesome manager) and another legend Lothar Leder (first ever triathlete to go sub 8 hours!) and text the team to come down to the Casino bar.  It was great hearing about more of the European side of racing and early days when they did some crazy things. Couch surfing and living out of cars, travelling to countries they didn’t speak the language in just to hit another string of back to back races.  Its inspirational to see that attitude of either they will be the best and succeed or crash and burn, putting everything on the line to reach their dream.  Thats how greatness is achieved, that unwavering belief in yourself and willingness to fail completely for the chance of success.

(From Left to right Scott, Macca, Kevin, Graeme, Lothar, Me)

We then hit up the finish chute for a while so they could hand out medals and cheered on people coming across around 16 hours.  The mental strength to be out there that long is astonishing, and still there was a crowd cheering the finishers, the support from the town of Penticton was fantastic.  Another shot of recovery fluids, and an unforgettable day came to a close.

I couldn't eat much after the race, so ended up waking up at 5am starving!  Luckily I had inadvertently prepared for hotel was attached to a Denny's!! 24 hour diner with the best breakfast food, so enjoyed a Grand Slam with everything drowned in maple syrup (noticing a trend here?).

The next week was a blast of spending time with my family, and heading down to my hometown of Calgary to see some friends.  Zero working out, a few drinks and eating whatever I wanted, for a mental and physical break.  Starting to run again this week, things are feeling a little stiff and tight but I’m sure they will smooth out after a few runs.  Luckily I recover quickly and should be feeling good soon, I’m just happy to be running again.  I’ve been craving some solid workouts ;)

(Getting to spend some time with my sisters)

(Sometimes its fun to go fast with the help of an engine - Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder)

Until next time…Carpe Diem.

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