This past Sunday one of my favourite triathlons of the season happened, the Toronto Triathlon Festival. I have participated in this race almost every year it has happened, and for the past two years have had the honour of being the Director of Ambassadors, coordinating the community ambassador team.
This years race happened a couple weeks later in the season which was really nice, because the water was much warmer, and definitely felt that way. Something else new this year was the location of the expo. The swim start, finish line, post race party, and expo all happened in the parking lot of Ontario Place. This great change meant that everything you needed was close at hand, and it definitely made for a more spectator friendly experience.
The race festivities kicked off on Friday when the expo opened, and got really exciting Saturday with the shake our run with Olympian Simon Whitfield, and the ambassador team. Over the past couple years I’ve got to know Simon through this event and any chance to hear him speak is one I jump all over. He makes amazing connections to mindfulness and sport and has this real way of speaking the truth while being motivating and hopeful for athletes no matter their level of experience. What resonated with me this year, was him once again keeping it real, and sharing the nerves he experienced when at the start line – questioning whether he belonged – if his equipment was ood enough compared to others – and his ability… turns out he’s just like us!
After coming off of back-to-back injuries since May my goals were pretty modest, as even days before the race I was uncertain that I would even cross the start line. After an extensive self-care and recovery strategy I felt healthy enough to start and set the following three race goals:
- Run Fast! Prior to my injury, I had been putting more of a focus on running, racing faster, and using the race mantra that no mater what my watch said I would be racing to the maximum of my intensity – and in an ideal race situation, not referring to my watch. I was able to do this in Mississauga and in Kincardine and I’ve found that with my watch I have been intentionally running slower, because I would look at my pace and doubt myself thinking “oh no, I can’t hold 4:55” when truthfully I could, and did. So my goal was to stop doubting myself and run fast and the hardest I could in every moment.
- Place something other than 5th and 8th. So the truth about this goal, and any goal that has to do with place, it really has nothing to do with me and my performance as much as who else is there that day – so it’s a crappy goal. You see, I can race a PB, but if someone faster is there, my goal has failed, I can’t control it. So really I don’t suggest these types of goals, but for me it seems like every triathlon I place either 5th or 8th, including Kincardine where I set the same goal, and still came 5th. So I set this goal again, and placed 7th in my age group. Now fourth would’ve been nice too, but I’m happy with 7th – and not 5th or 8th.
- Look competitive AF! This goal was a fun extension of our Ragnar Relay. When we thought we might be placing near the top our van came up with the one liner “You look competitive”. It was funny and made me think of the gals in my crew, which acted as inspiration as well. So in action, this goal was similar to my first, at every moment of the race, keep my head in the game, and look strong and focused and competitive AF – even if that wasn’t how I felt. It certainly helped me to stay in the moment and keep moving ahead and being strong.
Following the race TTF had food trucks, vendors, and a beer garden. I picked up a new triathlon kit from a Montreal company called Brava (check them out here) and we hung around, recovering, reflecting, and having a great time in the sun.
This was certainly a great year to race TTF and if it’s on your goal list, don’t wait any longer.
My next race is in Wasaga Beach, where i’ve decided again to race the sprint distance (vs my original plan of the Olympic). TTF has certainly fired me up and I’m already looking forward to putting in the work to stay injury free and cross that finish line – maybe this time in 4th 😉 (who am I kidding, I really want to podium)