Goderich Olympic Triathlon

Posted: August 16, 2011 in Races
Tags: , ,
  • 1k swim, 42.5k bike, 10k run
  • Chip Time = 2:25:30
  • Category Place = 3/25 (M 30-39)
  • Fuel: 1 oatmeal date square (pre-race), 2 btls. Perpetuem (bike), 1 pkg Chomps (bike)

“On a flat roof, there’s a boy leaning against the wall of rain
Aerial held high, calling “come on thunder, come on thunder”

I know this is a pretty existential way to begin a post, particularly a race review, but it happened to come on as part of my pre-prepared ‘warm up soundtrack’ and I thought it summed up my pre-race mindset pretty accurately.  If I could better interpret this for anyone who may not immediately identify with the imagery, I would simply summarize this quote for you as: BRING IT ON!”.

“Today’s forecast (forearm)”

Besides providing one last training opportunity in preparing for the Cancun 70.3 this coming September (geez, that’s not far off now is it?), I was more anticipating this event for the chance to blow off some much needed stress, anxiety and imminent sadness as August, so far, has simply been the pits emotionally, so getting away from it all with some friends for a race weekend and getting lost in unfamiliar back roads and experience a little soul-cleansing of sorts was exactly what the doctor ordered.  The ultimate goal this weekend wasn’t to simply survive, or find my “pace”, or even to do well.  No, I had a very different goal this time around.  I wanted to leave everything behind me – the pain, the sadness, and this newfound loneliness I’m currently dealing with – and replace it with a different kind of hurt; the kind I am infinitely more familiar with and accustomed to.  I wanted to let it all go on the race course and, hopefully, find some peace at the other end.

The plan was simple enough: go out hard – and stay there.

Morning Moment of Zen

First, it has to first be said that Goderich, Ontario, otherwise known as “The Prettiest Town in Canada”, is absolutely beautiful, a real jewel in the heart of the Huron County coastline.  Situated on the shore of Lake Huron in the heart of cabin country, Goderich has it all: clean beaches, historical architecture, quaint restaurants, beautiful cottages, markets, etc.  In fact, it has a very Back to the Future  feel to it, complete with clock tower in the city center.  You almost expect to see Marty McFly buzzing by in a DeLorean at any moment.  At the end of almost every street which radiates out from the city center like spokes on a wheel ends in a quiet, manicured park sitting atop a bluff with a magnificent view of the harbor and public beaches.  On the Saturday morning, I went for an easy morning run and ended up doing some Sun Salutations in one of these parks overlooking the harbor and I almost felt, well…relaxed…and I won’t lie:  I had a moment.

But that’s not why I came.

Competing with my bud, one last time…

Come Sunday morning, I was more than ready to go.  I arrived at the transition area at Main Beach early and proceeded to get myself set up as I’ve done, seemingly, a thousand times before and feeling pretty good.  At the body marking area, I had a friend mark my left calf with a picture of Miso so we could have one last adventure together while, hopefully, providing me with a little added motivation.  The 1k swim was laid out inside an enclosed harbor which minimized the lake swell significantly; just the kind of conditions ideal for a good open water swim.  The swim was going to be a mass wave beach start (no wet feet), something I have never done before.  Goodie.  It was funny to note at this time that some dude wearing nothing but a Speedo elbowed his way to the front like he was Mark Allen back in the day or something.  Unfortunately, come the actual start, he hit the water with all the grace of a brick hitting the surface after being dropped from a great height, followed by the rest of us totally steamrollering right over him.  I don’t think he made it 5 feet before even the old ladies were going over top of him.  Nice going, Captain Boogie Nights.  In the early stages I positioned myself right where I wanted to – in the thick of it.  It was all elbows and clenched fists in the early going in the near-zero visibility water and I concentrated on pulling ahead of the current group and establishing a fast pace…faster than I am accustomed to going; ‘Operation: Hurt’  was going according to plan…so far.  I sighted well around the first two buoys and managed to end up right on the button where we started and exited amongst the first dozen or so swimmers going into T1 with an approximate time of 15:22 which is pretty damn good for me if I do say so myself (and I do).

Getting set…

I headed out of T1 with about 6 other riders and judging by all the Ironman tattoos, I was in store for a tough ride if I was going to keep up with this bunch.  Immediately after leaving transition we climbed up the steep incline along West Street and out onto the highways and back roads and a never-ended bevy of steep rolling hills.  I struggled at first to maintain the quick pace being established by these older, and probably more accomplished riders and I began to think that I may have bitten off more than I could chew but, eventually, my heart rate returned to something resembling normal, breathing became easier and ‘ol Thunder n’ Lightning began to give in and get on with it.  For the next 30k or so the six of us see-sawed back and forth over the continuous rolling hills through the beautiful countryside of Carlow, Auburn, and Benmiller.  I had previously stuck all my Chomp gels onto the top tube of Lucille and one-by-one I took my nutrition, hydrated, enjoyed a little scenery, reflected back on my buddy, and basically, pedaled my ass off refusing to be dropped.  At the 38k  mark I decided to make a break and went for it after a fast decent, allowing myself to build enough momentum to carry me over the next hill into Goderich again and then just kept going – no looking back.  I knew the other riders would be in chase mode just as we all had for the entire ride, but I wanted to get into T2 first and out again – first.  No giving in now.  Approximate bike time: 1:17:56.  Again, very happy.

‘Captain Boogie Nights’ prior to the stampeding.

I had maybe a 20-30 second lead over the other group of riders getting into T2 and was I determined to extend that getting out onto the run course.  I got unclipped, got into my runners and just booked it.  Another glace at my forearm for a reminder and a quick nod skyward to my buddy and I started the 10k run at a pace much faster than what I am accustomed.  Whether I could keep that pace up remained in serious question but, all things considered, Thunder n’ Lightning felt pretty good and the pace felt eerily comfortable despite suffering through the fast-paced challenging bike course.  May as well go with it.

Arriving back in T2…

All things considered, the run course was absolutely beautiful.  It follows the old CPR route along what is now known as the Maitland Trail.  The trail winds past the Rock Salt Mine and across the scenic wooden plank bridge that spans the Maitland River.  If my heart wasn’t ready to explode out of my chest I would tell you that I was actually enjoying myself, but the sound of other runners feet on the gravel was quickly closing in on me.  I stormed past the aid stations; to boot, the first 5k was a slight incline which made keeping my pace difficult.  A few of the fresher runners from the relay teams began to catch and pass me, but still no sign of my original group of cyclists.  Shortly after the turn around, the route changed somewhat as the next 5k was all downhill, baby, so suddenly keeping my faster pace became easier.  Winning!

Miso and I booking it out of transition

At the 7k mark I passed some members of my original group and I had established, maybe, a 4-5 minute lead on them and I checked my stopwatch to realize that I was on the cusp of setting a new personal best for the 10k distance.  Likewise, I hadn’t seen any other competitors from my age group so I was hopeful that I was running another medal-worthy performance.  Two podium finishes in one season was more than I could have hoped for.  So feeling somewhat rejuvenated (not to mention pleased with myself) I refocused on keeping my rhythm but, for the first time, Thunder n’ Lightning started to show signs of fatigue.  Thankfully, I reemerged from the trail at the end and sprinted my way in for the last 200m or so to complete my run in approximately 52:51.  Not the new PB I had hoped for, but definitely the best pace I have set after a course of this magnitude.  I was elated.

Happy at the end (and a mouthful of grapes)

A few sausages later and some time at the finish line cheering for my teammates, I was happy to learn that I had finished 3rd in my age group (M30-39) and that I had established nearly a 15 minute lead over the other competitors in my group.  Likewise, Miso was still there on my calf, having survived the entire race.  For the first time, I wondered what the other competitors might have thought about this guy running around with a picture of a cat on his leg.

One of Godrich’s famous sunsets.

Over all, ‘Operation: Hurt’  was a success.  Besides serving as a huge confidence booster prior to next months challenge, I ultimately felt the purge I was looking for.  I think I’m somewhat at peace now, bud, and I hope you are to.

  1. Jan says:

    Dear Terry and Miso. What a duo!! Outstanding guys!! I’m elated too. Was a great prep for Cancun. Major confidence builder too!

  2. Jeff C says:

    That is a fabulous result Terry…so looking forward to your post after Cancun. Very exciting.

    Love your Miso ‘tat’ too! It’s a keeper.

  3. Lori says:

    3rd in a 10 year age spread – way to go terry! You are more than ready to attack Cancun.

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