Race Recap: Montreal Demi-Espirit

4.5 months in the making, my goal race, the Montreal Demi-Espirit 70.3, was here on Saturday. It’s a flat course that offers “your best chance you’ll ever get to personal best” and for me, it did!

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I first decided to do this race and my sister and her crew had decided to race it because it is a “bucket list” race. Company on these long distances races is great and once I heard about the unique course I was in.

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The race takes place in the Montreal 1976 Summer Olympic Park. Summer in the rowing basin, riding around the Formula One Canadian Grand-Prix track, and running back around the rowing basin. It was amazing for spectators as people were everywhere along the entire course, and as an athlete you were able to see your supporters multiple times on route.

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The Swim

The swim is an out and back in the Olympic rowing basin. This swim is unique in that while it’s open water, it’s a protected current-free basin is similar to a 2 km long, 100-meter wide and 3-meter deep swimming pool.  The water has a sandy bottom which I was able to view the entire time and “is considered superior for swimming.”

Because of these conditions I felt very confident on course. There was lots of space in the water and not once was I near another person where we might have touched. Certainly the number of women were less, but we also had a great deal of space. I stuck to my usual plan of a steady effort and during the final few hundred meters set my sights on a few swimmers that I wanted to pass and I did giving myself a third place age group finish for the swim.

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The Bike

The 90 km bike portion of the race consisted of completing 21 laps around the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, which is the site of the Formula One Canadian Grand-Prix. The 4.3 km loops were very smooth and were filled with a combination of winding turns, hair-pin turns, and straight aways. There was one bottle drop/aid station which had it’s own lane and an opportunity to not only grab a bottle while continuing to ride, but also pulling over for a stop.

2016-09-10 | 2016 Triathlon Esprit de Montréal (Samedi)

The Pro-timing chip on your ankle counts your laps, but I also used my Garmin to make sure I was on track. The lap count is shown on a giant screen near the exit lane, and your name and bib number appear on the monitor on lap 5, 10, 15, 19, 20, 21. The race are continuously shares that when you see your name with the number 21, you must exit the course, however I saw at least 5 people who misunderstood and did an extra lap.

My bike experience was one that is most easily described as terrifying. As one of the first few women out of the swim I entered the bike loop, with tired legs, at a measly 25km/hrs pace. I entered into a bike race in progress with many men holding what I could only assume was 40+km/hr paces. I felt like Disney’s Simba during the stampede scene of the Lion King. Men was racing past me on both sides. There was no organization as to where slower riders should be and when I assumed it was to stick the left and pass on the right (which it was) speedy men would cut through almost no spaces nearly taking both of us out to pace. This was my race situation for almost the first 40 minutes until more women entered the course and I can only assume some of the faster men started exiting.

21 loops certainly offered an interesting option as I was able to see my family and receive their coaching and cheers almost every 8 minutes, I will be honest that while 21 laps seemed fun before riding, it was very mentally challenging and required a lot of focus for almost 80% of the time. Although that being said, this mainly flat course was one of my fastest rides, in which I was able to hold my Olympic distance pace during double the distance.

2016-09-10 | 2016 Triathlon Esprit de Montréal (Samedi)

The Run

The 21.1 km run starts at the back of the Transition Area where you will run directly onto the Voie Maritime for a short 2km out on the trails. I entered this area at the exact time the duathlon was starting here. They let me get a few feet ahead before they started and it was certainly motivating to run so closely with others.

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Once back on the basin wall, you  circle the Olympic Rowing Basin and complete 4.5 laps. The race almost everywhere including the website states 4 laps, but it’s actually 4.5. I didn’t realize this until I was on course and for over two hours watched racers run across this floating bridge, trying to figure out what they were doing and whether that was my race or another distance.

While heading out on what I (and my family) thought was my final lap I asked a staff what the deal was after a large group ahead of me went across. It was here on course that I learned about the extra half lap. This definitely sucked as I had mentally thought I was nearing the finish, and then having to explain to my family too, while running, that I still had a half lap left. I hadn’t started my Garmin on time, so knew that wasn’t reliable. So when it was finally my turn to cross the bridge – I was jumping for joy.

The course was well fueled with 3 aid stations per loop. They had water, ice, coke, pretzels, and an electrolyte drink. They were well organized and the volunteers did a great job.

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One thing to be aware of is that almost all on race communication on race day is in French. Pretty much the only thing I spoke while on course was the phrase “English please”. This was challenging on the bike, where I felt very unsafe and was unsure of what was happening when people didn’t appear to be following the “rules”. Race communication prior to race day was bilingual.

That begin said, I enjoyed this flat and fast race quite a bit. It gave me personal bests and an awesome spectator experience from my family and friends. I would definitely suggest others give it a try.

 

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Road to 70.3: Week 16

This was my final week of full on training because as I write this I am starting my two week taper. It’s crazy to think I’m only 14 days from my goal race, something that I started training for 16 weeks, 4 months ago. Time has flown.

Here’s how last week went down:

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MONDAY: Heading into the final stretch this week I decided it was important to cut out all of my extra workouts – well as many as I could – which meant I sat out on my usual Tribe sprint workout. The crew headed down to Remembrance Park for some intervals of strength with sprints and it was a blast. I began this as my first day of hamstring focus and during the time strength training with the crew put extra attention on my hamstring which has still be giving me grief. Time is ticking and I need to sort this out.

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TUESDAY: Our pool has been closed all weekend, so I took this as a sign from the universe to get out and open water swim more. I headed down to Cherry Beach just after 8am and got in a 30 minute swim. As I had missed a longer swim/run brick last week I had planned on running 80 minutes. While coming back from the Leslie Spit, I tripped on loose gravel and went down hard.

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It killed. I sat on a rock (cried) and collected myself. Then (covered in dirt and blood) had to run the 3km back to my car. I was brutal and painful and actually worse then it looked as all the dirt was covering some serious gravel rash. But luckily for me it was just my skin, no strains or sprains, so training continued the next day.

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WEDNESDAY: Today was a hot one. I stayed indoors on a bike and then got in our Tribe 5km crew run in the evening. Following our run we did our annual August trip to the CNE. It was a blast. We ate trash (I had a hard scoop ice cream cone) and enjoyed the sights and sounds. A blast. (Note you can see the road rash in the photo – yes, I’m wearing the same top).

THURSDAY: For strength and flexability tonight a did a 40 minute routine using the NTC app. What I like about this app is that you can pick the focus and length of the workout. Most of the workouts require minimal equipment. What I don’t like is they pretty much do the same exercises repeated for the entire duration – so it does get boring. I added my hamstring exercises at the end and spent a great deal of time stretching using my band and roller.

FRIDAY: With the pool fixed I kept today’s swim indoors. My scabby leg was feeling better so I followed the swim up with a quick 50 minute ride. Last month I had decided to schedule a training race, the Wasaga Olympic triathlon, which will be happening tomorrow, so this workout also acted as my shake out.

All week I had to keep reminding myself that although I have a race Saturday, it’s not my goal race and I need keep my training in full form, so I did.

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SATURDAY: Race Day! I had a blast. Things went better than I anticipated and I finished the race feeling confident for my goal race in 2 weeks. More to come on this day in my race recap.

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SUNDAY: Our final outdoor yoga jam. Say whaaat! How is the summer – dare I say it – over (eeek). All I did today was our leading our Tribe Yoga Jam. I had the intention to ride, but decided that I would recover from the race instead. I actually felt surprisingly good, but still thought the break was best.

With two weeks left, I’m going to continue to focus on strengthening my hamstrings and getting my stretch and roll on every night. The end is near, and I’ve feeling great.

Missed a week of my training?

Week 14   Week 13   Week 12  Week 11  Week Ten   Week Nine  Week Eight

Week Seven  Week Six  Week Five

Week Four   Week Three  Week Two  Week One

Road to 70.3: Week 14

My legs are fried! Last week seemed to be all about the bike – also because I did my long weekend ride on Monday, took Tuesday off for Mark’s birthday, and them crammed the rest of the workouts in the remaining 5 days – ouch. But I got them done!

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MONDAY: 90km. As we were still up at the cottage I took full advantage of the long ride out on the country roads. I did a couple out and backs to down town then a long straight (although hilly) segment out to a sunflower field I had seen. The photo doesn’t capture them that well be it was great to have this goal to ride to, and to get it done with very few cars, and on such a nice day.

TUESDAY: Today was Mark’s birthday, and after yesterday’s long ride it seemed appropriate to take a rest day. I spent the day running errands and Mark and I had dinner at a little place he had been wanting to revisit after a Tribe brunch. Balance is key.

WEDNESDAY: Today was our weekly Tribe run, plus I got in a 20km bike ride. It was really hot out and my only free time was key tourist time along the waterfront trail, so I kept my ride indoors. I also discovered I can access our condo’s common area wifi while on the bikes, so kept myself very entertained with some movies and old TV shows.

THURSDAY: Today was an epic brick plus bonus bike ride I had missed on Tuesday. In the morning I swan 1.5km and did a long and torturous 75 min run. The heat was awful and EVERY step of the way I had to consciously choose to not walk. It was a dreaded workout, but one that is so sweat when it’s done. I finished my day by teaching at YYoga, and sticking around for a spin class – I always like taking other teachers classes, and this one was great.

FRIDAY: Today started with some epic procrastination which required me to not get into the water (for 1.5km) until the afternoon and then decide it was to hot for an outdoor run, so for the first time in forever I ran for 60 minutes on the treadmill.

SATURDAY: So I think procrastination is becoming the theme of the week. I decided to not get up to swim prior to our Tribe run, so I did 13km, then swan 2km, then rode for 45min. As I had previously been riding indoors I hadn’t noticed that I had misplaced my outdoor cycling shoes (I have different clips for indoors). This was really disappointing as I got dressed, couldn’t find them, so took my bike down the 50 floors to our parking, only to not find my shoes there either (note they were actually in my car). So back upstairs I went, changed into human cycling clothes and hit the gym. To much indoors and to much procrastination.

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SUNDAY: YogaJam kicked of our Sunday as it does almost every week. The morning stretch is great and as I only teach 2 of the 10 classes, I typically get to enjoy being a participant which is always so much fun. On my way to yoga I found my cycling shoes – obviously great news. After the yoga class I delayed almost 2 hours before finally getting out to start my 80km ride. It was hot and crowded. After 42km around the Leslie Spit and Beaches, I had enough of the pedestrians along the water front and took my ride indoors. So much riding this week had really gotten my butt sore from the sitting and even a new episode of Sex and The City of my Ipad couldn’t shape the voices in my head telling me to take a break.

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This was a brutal week for delaying and procrastinating my workouts. Any and every reason I convinced myself to wait or do something different – but I got them done. It wasn’t until writing this post that i realized these themes and my mind games. It was hot, I’m tired, I’m sore, I’m busy – let me send just one more email. Each of these delays was my choice – the training got done, but certainly at the expense of my downtime and family time. This weeks goal – do the workout when I say I will.

We are heading on vacation soon, and I’m trying to figure out how to keep my training on track. Any tips? Leave them in the comments.

Missed a week of my training?

Week 13   Week 12  Week 11  Week Ten   Week Nine  Week Eight

Week Seven  Week Six  Week Five

Week Four   Week Three  Week Two  Week One