Stella's Newfoundland 70.3 RR - Race #9

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Stella's Newfoundland 70.3 RR - Race #9

Postby Stella » Wed Jul 30, 2008 4:53 pm

This Race Report brought to you by Marg Meroni and family. Many, many thanks for your generous support!

Only in Newfoundland can the lake water look like beer! But I'm getting ahead of myself.

We set out for the Rock on Friday afternoon. I had been especially looking forward to this 70.3. For years now I've wondered if I'm a "dis-placed" Newf. I was born in Ontario, but have always been drawn to the Rock; perhaps it's because I have yet to meet a Newfoundlander I don't like.

After some flight issues, and a forced overnight in Halifax , we arrived in Deer Lake , bikes in tow, around 09h30 NF time. We made the decision to head straight to Pasedena to build our bikes and do our pre-race check-in. With bike check-in not starting until noon, we were among the first people on race site. Brian managed to chat up a few local tri guys, while we built the bikes and as he always does, did well to spread our message. One of them asked for a card so that he could add us to his Tri club web site. Very cool!

By the time we had the bikes built and got our test ride in, the race directors and crew were arriving. We headed to the tent to pick up our registration kit which included among other things, our Race Bib, a Visitor's Guide to Newfoundland , a Tech-Tee and a loaf of bread! Perfect! Having yet to have lunch, we were famished!

Check-in required us to leave our bikes and our transition bags behind, but since the forecast was promising heavy rain they gave us the option to keep our transition bags with us until morning. We also did not get a timing chip with our kits, and had to make a mental note that we'd need to pick those up race morning.

Just outside of transition we bumped into a couple of friends from Ottawa : Tina, Ron and Cynthia, and we got to gawk upon Craig Alexander (who probably thinks we're now stalking him!) and Mirinda Carfrae. It's not too difficult to see how these 2 Aussies pull off the times they do. I don't think they have an ounce of body fat between them. Mirinda's gear had gotten lost on her trip and the race organizers were doing everything they could to find her replacements. Poor Brian had to watch her change with only a towel to cover herself. I think he's still in shock :D I have to say, she did impress me though as she seemed to be taking this potential crisis all in stride.

With our bikes settled in for the night, we hopped back in the car and made our way to Corner Brook . Our friend John, a.k.a. run_longer, had graciously opened his home to us, and having not seen him since the 2006 Cabot Trail Relay, I was anxious to get re-acquainted. Awesome guy, awesome host, awesome family! He really did everything in his power to make our trip to the Rock enjoyable; from the tour of the town, to the tour of the local bike shop and river path, to the support on the course and the wonderful meals - John you're a true friend and I miss you already!

Q and lonerunner were also in town for the race. Lisa was there to do her first 70.3, and Q was there for the beer and ice cream...and to play camera man. They joined us for dinner on Saturday night, and we shared lots of stories about Cabot Trail and other running\racing events. I must apologize to John's wife, Darlene, how boring we runners are with nothing to talk about, but running stories!

After a great meal, and a couple glasses more than my usual one of red wine , we said good-bye to Q and LR until the next morning and headed to bed. As this 70.3 thing is becoming old hack, pre-race jitters are few and far between....or maybe I have the wine to thank for that.

We'd agreed on an earlier than usual rise. It was a 20 minute drive to Pasedena and we would be facing parking restrictions. We headed out the door before 6:30 which would give us a good hour to get things set up in transitions before the race started. Plenty of time to prep our bikes and get our T bags to the rack. We even had time to get into the water for a little warm-up swim before the race started.

The swim is a beach mass start. This meant I got to stand and swim beside Brian. My absolute favourite way to start a race! They played our National Anthem which was a little emotional; it always is for me. Then they blew the horn and we were off. The water is shallow for a good 200 metres. It was truly a running start, and when you can no longer lift your knees out of the water, you dive - hoping the people in front of you are using the same approach. The water was warm and beautiful golden colour (just like Keith's beer!), and for the most part the swim went rather smoothly. I had one bit of panic where I had to stop and tread water,
and Brian waited patiently while I collected myself. This was a clockwise loop which makes sighting extra difficult for me since I breathe on my left. I put all my trust in Brian and just made sure I could see him on every stroke. We exited the water together - probably running a little sooner than we should have since by the time we made it to the beach, my legs felt dead.

Swim time: 45:59

They had strippers at the entrance to transition. I had trouble making eye contact with one, but finally did and fell to the ground while they tugged at my wet suit. Suit off, hat and goggles in hand, I b-line it for my bike...except I'm not suppose to head to my bike! I skipped the step of grabbing my Swim-to-Bike bag and changing in the tent! With a little bit of light cursing, I ducked under the bike racks, grabbed my T1 bag and headed to the change tent. All that carfuffle, and I still managed to make it out of the tent before the people who were already inside it. I waited at my bike for Brian (we were racked side by side) and we made our way out of transition together.

The plan was to at least start the ride together. The bike course is an out and back that you do 1 3/4 times. There is a 4 km climb at the turnaround where we figured, due to my having to carry less weight than Brian, I'd pull away from him, and then for the exact same reason, he'd catch me again on the descent. Only it didn't work out quite that way. I rode ahead and when I looked back, I couldn't see Brian anywhere. I spun it out for a bit, thinking he may have dropped a chain, but when he still didn't come into sight, I decided it was time to ride my own race.

The course runs all along the Trans Canada Hwy. It makes for a beautiful roll, and not a very technical bike. Some may think that is boring, but I loved it! The scenery is still breath-taking. What a beautiful province; I really could not get enough of it. I played leap frog with a couple of girls - they'd smoke by me on the descents and I'd catch them on the climbs. On the big decent I saw John cheering us on, looking very styling in his TTW vest, and I saw Brian on his climb. I was relieved to see that he was alright and was riding well. After the turnaround, I
passed the girls I was playing leap frog with and never saw them again.

I picked up a new girl on the second loop - this one was in my age group. We chatted a little as we passed each other. The day was getting hot, and we were both starting to feel it. I mentioned to her that I hoped there was shade on the run. She told me she'd heard it was supposed to be flat. Then, when we approached Pasedena, we started to see runners on the highway and we both noted that the run was neither shaded nor flat! This was going to be a challenge.

Bike Time: 3:06:49

As you entered transition, they had volunteers grabbing your bike, so for a minute, you got to feel a little bit like a pro as you tossed your bike and ran. I grabbed my Bike-to-Run bag and ran into the change tent. I accepted the volunteer's offer of sunscreen and exchanged my bike shoes for my Zoots as she hovered over me with her spray bottle. Again, I beat everyone who was already in the tent, out of transition. I grabbed gatorade and water at the exit and made my way to the run course.

As predicted, it was unbelievabley hot. We'd find out later that it was a sweltering 32 degrees. With no shade and very little wind, I was completely reliant on the aid station sponges to cool myself off. In the discipline that I'm my strongest, I felt my weakest. I struggled to maintain any kind of pace. I played "When the Saints Come Marching In" in my head just to try and keep some rhythm. I felt completely beaten, and the only kick I could get was from the sips of Pepsi I'd take at the aid station. Luckily Pepsi was available at each one. Some of the stations gave me a full can which I didn't quite understand; maybe I should have carried it with me.

After the first loop - which I was thoroughly disappointed that you had to run all the way to the finish, see it and then take the right lane instead of the left to head back out for another 10k - I saw that I was very close to coming into under the 6 hour mark. I didn't really have any goals going into the Newfoundland 70.3. I'd raced pretty hard in Vineman, and we would have 2 more races in 2 week-ends so finishing time wasn't so much of an issue, but when 6 hours was that close, I knew I'd feel better finishing under 6 than over. So, I pushed myself. I pushed through
the aches and the pains and the heat, and the unbelievable strong sense to walk. I saw Brian 3 times on the run, and as always that gave me a boost in my step. I saw him for the last time with about 1k to go; we stopped quickly and he told me how beaten up he was and that he'd be at least another 2 hours. I figured it was more like an hour 15 min, but still that was a long time to be out there and my heart went out to him.

The final stretch of the run is through a trail in the woods. You can hear the music and the noise of the finish. You can't help, but push yourself towards it, knowing that in a few moments, it would all be over. I rounded the last corner, and saw the official clock - 5:58 and change. A man was ahead of me and his daughters ran out to join him. I slowed my pace so that they could get a good bit in front of me, and have their finishing moment. I was safely under 6 hours, and I was satisfied. When I crossed the line, the announcer said my name, my city, and continued to summarize Brian's and my story, and why we were here. That made it all worthwhile.

Run Time: 2:01:06

I headed straight to the water that I'd been dreaming about the whole run. The shore was filled with finishers, seated in the water, taking obvious relief from the heat. I saw my friend Tina and her husband, and joined them. They'd both had great races. I'd seen Tina on the bike and the run and she looked strong every time. We then went to check the unofficial results and we saw that Tina placed 2nd in her AG! Which meant she had a spot at Clearwater if she wanted it. I looked at my results and it said I placed 7th. That sounded about right to me.

We then parted ways - they were heading back to their cottage to hang out with their kids and I made my way to Q who was waiting at the end of the chute for Lisa and Brian. We hung out and chatted until they came in. As I had thought, Brian was in well before the 2 hours he'd said. I was elated to see him finish, and anxious to talk to him since I'd missed our usual mid-race chat.

We cheered Lisa in to her first 70.3 finish! She smiled the whole way down the chute.

We then made our way back to our car, threw in our bikes and drove to Corner Brook. The plan was to shower at John's, hopefully have a beer or two before we headed to the Awards Ceremony. With 2 of our friends having podium finishes, we wanted to be sure we didn't miss it.

They ran through the pro awards; Ottawa's own Cynthia Wilson was 2nd. Then they announced the Age Group winners, starting with the youngest. When they hit F35-39 I wasn't really paying attention, since Tina's AG was F40-44. When I heard my name, it took a minute to hit me, and then I was in disbelief. They had it wrong, and I told them that. I didn't even want to get on stage because I was so convinced they weren't right. They insisted they were and showed me the results sheet. I figured they’d misplaced the first page. I had placed 3rd. I got a very cool piece of the Rock - literally, and a chance to take a roll down spot to Clearwater . The girl who placed 1st had gone last year and didn't want it. So, when they asked me if I wanted to go to Clearwater , I said "Hell Ya!". Brian was sitting front and centre and I couldn't take my eyes off him. ONE OF THE HAPPIEST MOMENTS of this venture. I couldn't wait to get off the stage and hug him!

I'm going to Clearwater . I still can't believe it! And I can't stop smiling about it!!!!

Final Numbers:
Time: 5:58:59
AG: 3/13
Overall: 119/249

In looking at my results, I noticed that the girl who came in 4th was only 3.5 minutes behind me. Our bike times were within 10 seconds of each other and our run times were within 50 seconds (both in my favour); yet she was over 7 minutes faster in the swim! That tells me that this "podium finish" was won and lost in transition...

Stella out.

Edit: I just saw a different set of results and the girl who was 4th was actually 7.5 minutes slower on the bike. The time I was looking at before was collective. Still, the final difference came down to T2. My time: 1:21 - Hers: 3:47. I find that kind of interesting.
Last edited by Stella on Thu Jul 31, 2008 7:13 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Sanders
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Postby Sanders » Wed Jul 30, 2008 5:12 pm

Congratulations! Third place is amazing!
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Postby Ed Fizz » Wed Jul 30, 2008 5:16 pm

FANTASTIC!!! Congrats!!! :D

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Postby Madame Bourette » Wed Jul 30, 2008 5:42 pm

Clearwater, that's awesome! :D
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Postby farmgirlinthecity » Wed Jul 30, 2008 6:01 pm

Congratulations! That is super exciting.
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Postby drghfx » Wed Jul 30, 2008 6:17 pm

Great job Heather! CONGRATULATIONS!

Clearwater eh? It will be great to see what you can do being rested and not having to hold back because you have a race next week again.
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Postby IronColl » Wed Jul 30, 2008 6:33 pm

Another great result! Congratulations.

You have inspired me to make sure that I work on my transitions.

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Postby q » Wed Jul 30, 2008 6:51 pm

Great to see you again!

An awesome weekend for sure!

Congrats on Clearwater... He!! Ya
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Postby CeilidhOnTheRun » Wed Jul 30, 2008 8:08 pm

16 70.3's just weren't enough huh? had to go for 17?! :P

Way to go H! I knew you'd have a blast! Sure wish we'd known you'd overnighted in Hfx. We would have come out to the airport even if only for a hug! I just might have to kick some B-man butt for not calling. ;)

Congrats on Clearwater! You deserve it!!!!
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Postby HCcD » Wed Jul 30, 2008 8:10 pm

Congrats, on another awesome 70.3, Heather :clap::clap: :wink:
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Postby scrumhalfgirl » Wed Jul 30, 2008 8:52 pm

Congratulations, that is fabulous!!!! Bravo!

So glad to hear you enjoyed the race - I'd love to go back to the Rock one day!
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Postby lovethehills » Wed Jul 30, 2008 11:05 pm

Amazing,I have goosebumps reading the end of this! Clearwater, how awesome!!

Given your draw to NL, we definitely have to meet sometime....best people around :wink:

PS: I'm jealous of the loaf of bread you got...yumm!!
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Postby turd ferguson » Wed Jul 30, 2008 11:42 pm

Awesome Stella - great podium finish.
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Postby Marg » Thu Jul 31, 2008 5:23 am

Way to go Heather!! Huge congrats, on yet another 70.3 and then another race added to the list! Clearwater...WOW!

Good luck in europe!! 8)
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Postby Iron-North » Thu Jul 31, 2008 6:13 am

Goose bumps i got goose bumps! Woooh Heather real awesome report race and Clear water??!! 8) Cooooool!
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Postby Jo-Jo » Thu Jul 31, 2008 6:13 am

Fantastic Report.
Congrats on the podium finish and your Clearwater spot...cool that you got this at a race sponsored by the Meroni family :D

So happy that you're getting the word out and that TTW is being recognised at races...awesome :D
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Postby Lonerunner » Thu Jul 31, 2008 6:43 am

It was great to see you again. You had a excellent race, your smile while you were receiving your award was priceless. Congrats! Enjoy the next leg of the TTW world tour.

Thanks for sharing my first 70.3 with me and waiting for me to finish.
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Postby La » Thu Jul 31, 2008 7:19 am

Awesome, stella!! Congrats! Watch out, Clearwater!
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Postby Kristi » Thu Jul 31, 2008 7:40 am

Fantastic! Congrats!

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Re: Stella's Newfoundland 70.3 RR - Race #9

Postby Run26.2 » Thu Jul 31, 2008 8:57 am

Stella wrote:
We set out for the Rock on Friday afternoon. I had been especially looking forward to this 70.3. For years now I've wondered if I'm a "dis-placed" Newf. I was born in Ontario, but have always been drawn to the Rock; perhaps it's because I have yet to meet a Newfoundlander I don't like.

Agree! Congrats!
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Postby bnn » Thu Jul 31, 2008 9:20 am

Wow - simply wow and congrats on the Clearwater spot!
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Postby waynerdog » Thu Jul 31, 2008 9:34 am

Wow! :shock: You are incredible!!! Huge congratulations and enjoy Clearwater!! :D

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Postby Gummivore » Thu Jul 31, 2008 9:43 am

Very entertaining race report! Congratulations on a great race.

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Postby CinC » Thu Jul 31, 2008 9:58 am

That's awesome Heather! Simply awesome!
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Postby RA. » Thu Jul 31, 2008 10:01 am

Amazing report, Heather! Congrats, again!
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