At the beginning of 2017, I will be the first to admit that I had set some hefty goals for myself. An action packed race season lies ahead. With one race down, a long list of life distractions and a lacklustre start to my training this year, I looked forward to the Mulitsport Canada Skechers Performance Triathlon/Duathlon series presented by Martins Family Fruit Farm, season opener. I was ready, with a clear mind and no expectations other than to have fun, enjoy the atmosphere and go the distance!
We woke up to a pleasant surprise Saturday morning. The weather man had been exaggerating and the skies were clear, wind was calm and the sun was out in full force. Today was going to be a fast day for all and I was excited to be a part of it. We arrived to the Welland International Flat Water Centre (best race venue in Ontario, hands down) for the 11th running of the Multisport Canada Rose City Triathlon/Duathlon weekend and you could feel the energy everywhere around you. Athletes all over the place with ear to ear smiles, anticipating what would be our nicest day of racing yet!
I made a quick stop over to the BLADE booth to say hi and drop off a wheel for one of my ambassador team mates before racking my bike and setting up my transition area. You could see the enthusiasm on each athletes face, as they wished each other good luck and admired each other’s setup. It is truly a great sight to see all of the veteran athletes assisting others with any tips, tricks or questions they may have the morning of each race, even when we are all trying to keep focused on the task at hand. It’s that welcoming feeling that draws people into our sport and the reason they lust to return to it year after year.
After I had double (triple checked everything) I made my way inside, to pick up my race kit.
I had checked the start lists the night before and after taking a good look around, I had noticed there were a lot more people than what I had anticipated. I must have ran into nearly ten of my customers from work, who had welcomed my guidance and encouragement and had decided to participate in the day’s events. What a great feeling knowing you have inspired others to find their own potential and get involved. I stepped up to the honour of being a Multisport Canada Ambassador for that very reason.
I had about 15 minutes until race time and made my way through the crowd, saying hello to all of the familiar faces. The transition area was hectic, but exciting, with the athletes making last minute adjustments. We took our places at the start line and the horn blew. I was not ready for what came next. About 30 people shot by me, sprinting! I looked down at my watch and then again at the athletes pulling away from me. 4:00/km and I can’t keep up? Strategy time. Let’s run at about 4:30/km for the first run, catch as many people as possible on the bike and then hang on for dear life on the final run. I came back from the first run in 43rd place out of 92, back from the bike in 27th and came soaring into the finish off the second run in 41st overall. All while getting my much anticipated hand shake from John Salt himself. My personal favourite part of every race (haha). I managed a new personal best for myself on the Welland course by 2 minutes and a 5th place age group finish. I’ll take it! Progress is what we all strive for. Even though I didn’t make the podium this time around, I felt great, had fun, my two year old daughter finally got to cheer me on in a race and I feel better about my fitness (despite the slow start to the year). A quick ride home for some dinner and a good nights sleep was what I needed to prep for the action packed day tomorrow.
Sunday morning rolled around and it was time for some high quality volunteering for the day 2 long course Triathlon/Duathlon. After a quick stop for a coffee, I pedalled over to one of the most magnificent race sites in Ontario. Yet again on a sunny, yet windy morning. I met up with Multisport Canada Ambassador Jessey the Elf and we headed inside the building to offer our help anywhere and everywhere needed. After a shift of body marking, we headed down to the swim start to watch the athletes head out. Once everyone was out on the swim course, Jessey and I cleared the entire swim exit and path of little pebbles and stones, something most people would never think about, but can be a crucial part of both the swim portion, as well as the bike portion around turns. The last thing an athlete needs is to step on a rock or slip on some stones in a turn. It could ruin their race and experience. Multisport Canada strives to provide us all with an experience that we will never forget and fuels our addiction to the sport. It’s the details like that, one of the many, which make it all come together.
As the athletes returned from their swim, we stood along the path to the swim exit cheering on all the athletes and guiding them to the stairs, where they would climb through the crowd into the transition area. It is always enjoyable for me to see all of the expressions on each athletes face. A sense of accomplishment and true joy, as you hear the cheering from friends, family and the spectators who are just inspired by them.
The entire race ran smoothly and after cheering on all of our team mates and friends, we headed in to where the awards celebration was taking place. I was able to organize all of the ambassadors for some pictures and then John Salt surprised us with an introduction session, for us all to introduce ourselves and share the reason why we are dedicated to being ambassadors for not only Multisport Canada, but for the sports of Triathlon and Duathlon.
I am relatively new to Multisport, being in my third year of racing, but I know the importance of helping athletes who may be unfamiliar with our sports or looking for direction as they get involved. Sometimes it’s just a bit of encouragement that’s needed by some to push themselves beyond their comfort and towards their aspirations. It was very important for me to have that assistance when I started and it continues on, even into my third season as you continue to grow as an athlete and learn from the never ending mistakes you will make. Yes, I do still occasionally need to run to the porta potty in the middle of a race…
I had pre registered a few weeks before this race weekend for the Grimsby Peach Bud 10k running race on Tuesday evening, not knowing how’d I feel from racing on Saturday and volunteering on Sunday. My legs were sore and felt like they weighed 500 lbs. Nothing I couldn’t push through. So my mother, daughter and I headed down to the race site. My only expectation was to beat my last 10k race time of 54:45 and try and finish with a gold medal for top 100 out of 300. Partial mission accomplished. I finished the hilly course in a time of 51:53, 119th overall and grabbing a silver medal. Im absolutely thrilled with the outcome and am feeling great going into the next training block before MSC Gravenhurst! We can always use as many volunteers as possible for all of the Multisport Canada races, so please visit http://www.multisportcanada.com to sign up.
Thank you to my family, friends and sponsors for all that you do for me. Sport Chek, Skechers Performance, Multisport Canada, County Cycle and all of the companies that have brought together a recipe for success and continued improvement. Onward and upward! Thank you and happy training!