Tag Archives: ontario

My first triathlon: REV3 Niagara Falls Barrelman 2018 Race Report part 2

My first triathlon: REV3 Niagara Falls Barrelman 2017 Race Report part 4

Welcome to my epic race report on the REV3 Niagara Falls Barrelman 2017!  I’ve blogged all about training for my first triathlon, how I prepped for the weekend, the 2km swim and the 86km bike ride.  Finally, we come to the end – the 21km run! 

My first triathlon: REV3 Niagara Falls Barrelman 2018 Race Report part 4

First loop done. Trying to talk to my boyfriend mid stride!

I was so happy to see my boyfriend as I exited the transition area!  My best friend was supposed to come to cheer me on and I asked my boyfriend where she was.  “She’s at the casino” he called.  “Casino??!!” I yelled back in the photo above, apparently confused by this response.

Once I started running I felt pretty good!  My legs weren’t tired at all and despite the heat, there was some shade along the course.  I found my stride and fell into my usual marathon routine of consuming a gel every thirty minutes and rotating between water and the electrolyte drink at each hydration station.  The run through the park was nice and cool and a pleasant break from the city streets. 

As I headed up through Clifton Hill, I weaved my way through the tourists and ran down the path in front of the casino.  I was so happy to see my best friend and her daughter!  I gave her a big sweaty hug and high fived her daughter, who ran alongside me for a few paces.  When you see a familiar face while racing no matter how brief, that little boost of love and familiarity gives you a huge swell of energy.

My first triathlon: REV3 Niagara Falls Barrelman 2018 Race Report part 4

The finish line is in sight!

I felt hot but strong as I completed the first loop and ran past the finish line.  A woman spectator made me smile when she called out “there goes my polka dotted trisuit!”, haha!  I loved how my fun trisuit was getting lots of attention! 

After the 10KM mark though, something REALLY bad start to happen in the bowels below.  I had felt a little discomfort around 8K but figured I could live with it and continued on past the port-a-potty.  As I ran through the park I noticed a real washroom on the other side of the route.  I decided that I might as well be comfortable for the rest of the run, and would stop on the way back out of the park. 

Big mistake.  I was about 30 seconds away from the washroom when all of a sudden, an explosion erupted in my trisuit.  I cannot explain it any other way, but I’m certain that the runner behind me must have heard the blast that came out of my butt.  Apologies for going into detail, but there is no other way to describe the situation.  Thankfully, the bottom of my suit is black, and tight, so I was able to make it to the bathroom without further embarrassment.  I wasted about 5 minutes cleaning up the mess, feeling thankful that at least I was in a real facility.

My first triathlon: REV3 Niagara Falls Barrelman 2018 Race Report part 4

Give it everything I got!

The remaining 7 kilometres were the most uncomfortable 7 kilometres I have ever run.  My stomach felt off so I stuck to water and cut back on my gels.  I felt so hot, sweating more than I ever have in my life, having never run more than a 5K in +30C conditions.  Worst of all, my wet trisuit chafed like crazy.  This was the first time I experienced chafing and WOW, is it ever unpleasant.  I tried to use some Body Glide in the washroom, but everything was so wet that it didn’t have any effect.  The last few hydration stations were out of ice, but I was such a mess by this point I didn’t care. 

With every sweaty, chafed stride, I drew myself closer to the finish line. 19 kilometres, 20 kilometres, until finally, my favourite part of any marathon, the last kilometre.  Even though I was uncomfortable I tried to enjoy this last part of the triathlon.  I thought about how lucky I was to be physically able to take part in a race like this.  How lucky I was to have two legs, two feet, a working heart, strong muscles and bones.  No matter what happens to me in my life, I will always have this moment.

I knew what to expect near the end because I had passed the finish line on the loop, so as soon as I turned into the park, I gave it my all. Once I saw that big, white finish line, a surge of energy pulsed through me and as you can see from the photo above, I went into beast mode!  I never realized how intensely demented my face looks in these last seconds of a race haha!  My feet pounded the pavement, my arms pumped back and forth like Carrie-Anne Moss in The Matrix, and my breathing sounded like a raging bull.  I charged through the finish line and threw my hands up in the air.  Barrelman.  Done!

My first triathlon: REV3 Niagara Falls Barrelman 2018 Race Report part 4

Barrelman complete! Best feeling ever!

This triathlon was a huge goal and I’m so proud of myself for completing one.  The training kept me sane during some personal issues that I was going through at the time. Whenever a tough situation arises, I always think back to that feeling during a race when I wanted to give up, but persevered.  I hold onto that strength and use it to pull myself out of the dark.

For me, a marathon in comparison is physically harder, but competing in a triathlon was mentally more challenging.  The stakes felt higher for a triathlon, and even though I felt physically ready, there were so many other factors and possibility for error.  For this reason, I was way more nervous before this triathlon than I had ever been for a marathon.

My first triathlon: REV3 Niagara Falls Barrelman 2018 Race Report part 4

I did it!

I finished the run in 2 hours and 20 minutes, my exact estimated time. My final time for the REV3 Niagara Falls Barrelman 70.3 was 6 hours and 20 minutes, 479/863 overall and 149/323 in my age group.  While I was incredibly happy with my time, I couldn’t help but think to myself – if only I hadn’t wasted so much time in transition, and then in the bathroom on the run, I could have shaved off another 15 minutes!  So it begins..

As I thought about the race on my way home,  I couldn’t explain the stomach problems that had occurred, I had never experienced anything like this on a marathon before.  I called my friend who had coached me and gave her my race report.  She said that it could have been anything from the water in the canal, to the electrolyte drink, but more likely the intense heat or simply the fact that your body is taking on three different activities!  I will say that I was very grateful that this was the only problem I had encountered, and would take bathroom runs over an injury any day. 

Then it occurred to me, could coconut water be the culprit?  When I thought about it, I remembered having similar stomach problems whenever I drank it on a long training day, but had attributed it to other factors.  After a quick Google search I learned that coconut water is hydrating but also high in potassium, and can react like a laxative.  Since I’m sensitive to potassium (which is why I only have a banana the morning of a race to to get my system going), I should NEVER use coconut water as source of hydration during sports.  I was appalled at my stupidity, how had I not realized this earlier?  I had drank SO much coconut water today!  Then I laughed, I mean what can you do?  Live and learn.  Plus it does make a pretty funny story! 

My first triathlon: REV3 Niagara Falls Barrelman 2018 Race Report part 4

I can do anything 🙂

The second best feeling after crossing that finish line was standing underneath this wonderful, Splash Pad.  I could have stood there for hours, relishing the cold water as it rinsed off all my salt, sweat and tears and cooled off my poor chafed bum.  I couldn’t have asked for a better race for my first triathlon.  The course was straightforward and scenic, and even though the weather was hot, sun is better than rain!  The event was very well organized and I was impressed with how the race director John Salt seemed to really care about providing the best race possible.  

The one thing I really took away from triathlons is how much I love the community.  Everyone was really nice, helpful and encouraging to other triathletes, and I raced with athletes of all different ages, genders and levels.  I also felt so inspired by the athletes who raced with disabilities. There was a blind triathlete, and another who raced with their dad who had MS.  I’m so amazed with what we can accomplish with our bodies.  With that in mind and a half Ironman under my belt…there is faint whisper in the back of mind chanting I-ron-man, I-ron-man

Wow, thanks for making it all the way through!  What 70.3 triathlons have you raced?  Is this your first triathlon?  How do you improve transition times?

My first triathlon: REV3 Niagara Falls Barrelman 2018 Race Report part 4

Actually…THIS was the best feeling ever!

Huge thanks to Zoom Photo for their FREE race photos!

My first triathlon: REV3 Niagara Falls Barrelman 2018 Race Report part 3

My first triathlon: REV3 Niagara Falls Barrelman 2017 Race Report part 3

Welcome to my epic race report on the REV3 Niagara Falls Barrelman 2017!  I’ve blogged all about training for my first triathlon, how I prepped for the weekend and the first event so far, the 2km swim.  Onwards to the 86km bike!  

My first triathlon: REV3 Niagara Falls Barrelman 2018 Race Report part 3

So happy on the bike course!

As you can see from this photo, I LOVED the bike course!  I had a smile plastered on my face the whole time!  Flat, fast and so scenic, the time flew by!  I took the opportunity to stock up on fuel and happily munched away on my chunks of Cliff bar as soon as I got up to speed, then routinely ate a few chews every 30 minutes.  I diligently took sips from my coconut and plain water bottles, and picked up a water or F2C bottle at each hydration station. 

This was my first bike race, and I got used to the flow quickly.  I had to keep remembering to say “on your left” and learned to gage when to pass.  I was surprised by the number of cyclists who passed without saying “on your left” and thought that was kind of dangerous and egotistical.  However, for the most part I was passed by friendly fellow triathletes who called out my name in encouragement.  I forgot I was wearing my bib so was a bit startled the first time this happened!  “Thanks, you too” I called back and chuckled to myself as they were clearly doing just fine.  I even received a compliment on my fun polka dotted trisuit!  I would actually keep passing the same woman a few times on the race, and called out a friendly “hello ____” each time.  Love it!

The heat wasn’t too bad on the bike.  The flat course was kind on the legs and I reached speeds of up to 45 km/hour!  For the majority of the race, I hovered around the 30km/hour mark and aimed to be between 70/80 RPMS. Biking along the open country roads was much more fun than city biking, where I would constantly have to stop for traffic and pedestrians. I loved every minutes of it!  My stomach grumbled a few times, but I assumed it was just the heat and pushed the feeling aside. 

Time flew by and before I knew I was racing through the last kilometre.  I felt full of energy, like I could bike forever, and flew passed a few people near the end.  I completed the bike in 2 hours and 55 minutes, way better than I ever imagined having roughly estimated 3.5 hours.  Awesome!

My bike to run transition took just as long as my swim to bike unfortunately.  The first issue was since we had to wear our bib on the bike, I didn’t want to bike with all my gels so I had to add them to my belt during transition.  My hands were all sweaty and I struggled to get the darn things in.  I’m not sure what I would do differently here, I guess wear the gels on the bike?  Even if they were on a separate belt I would still have to swap my bib over.  As I battled with my gels, I gulped down some coconut water and was thankful for my Honey Stinger Cinnamon Wafer – a nice change from all the chews! 

On my way out of transition I took my first bathroom break of the day, and ran into my second issue.  My stomach was NOT happy with me and I couldn’t figure out why.  I had done everything exactly the same as when I trained.  The only exception was the F2C endurance drink on the course, but I had drunk only a small amount,  and couldn’t imagine that was the source of the problem. 

To make matters worse, I struggled to prevent the gels from touching the dirty port-a-potty (ew), which was so hot that the toilet paper stuck to everything.  I tried to slide more Body Glide on my thighs, but was too sweaty and gave up.  Another 10 minutes down the tube.

Almost done!  Continue on to part 4 of my first triathlon and the final event, the run! >>

My first triathlon: REV3 Niagara Falls Barrelman 2018 Race Report part 2

My first triathlon: REV3 Niagara Falls Barrelman 2017 Race Report part 2

Welcome to my epic race report on the REV3 Niagara Falls Barrelman 2017!  I’ve blogged all about training for my first triathlon, and the race weekend so far.  Now, on to race day!

My first triathlon: REV3 Niagara Falls Barrelman 2018 Race Report part 2

Race day. Welland Canal.

My swim wave was at 9:03AM.  I woke up at 6:30AM, made my protein shake, forced down an English muffin with peanut butter and drank some coconut water along with my ginger tea.  I did a few warm up yoga stretches, and lined the back of my neck, armpit line and inner thighs with Body Glide before pulling on my trisuit.  My boyfriend helped stick on my race tattoos,  taped my shoulder, and I was ready to go by 7:20AM.  

My first triathlon: REV3 Niagara Falls Barrelman 2018 Race Report part 2

Ready to go! This is it!

I was in T1 by 7:30AM and took my time setting up my area.  I hung my helmet on my handle bars where I placed my sunglasses and bike gloves, and laid everything else out below on an old towel.  By 8AM I was all set up and felt relaxed.  I dropped off my bike-to-run and post race bags, drank some more Gatorade and headed to the bathroom line for my last break. At 8:30AM I ate a gel and pulled on my wetsuit.  I was in the water for my practice swim by 8:40AM and before I knew it – 9:00AM was here.  All the weeks of training, stress, worry, happiness, highs and lows came down to this one moment.

My biggest concern about the swim, like most triathletes, was the start.  I had read terrible stories about chaotic starts where people would swim over you, or your goggles were smacked off by another swimmer’s out of control elbow.  As I bobbed around with the other pink caps, I tried to position myself near the edge of the pack but we seemed to be well spaced out.  Everyone, including, surprisingly myself, seemed very calm.  The whistle rang through the air at 9:03AM and we were off!

My first triathlon: REV3 Niagara Falls Barrelman 2018 Race Report part 2

And we’re off!

I found my groove, breathing every three strokes and sighting every 9 strokes.  My guard went down after the calm start and I wasn’t prepared for what happened next.  About five minutes into the swim, I suddenly felt very crowded.  There were swimmers very close to me on both sides and there were feet bubbling in front of my face.  While I had done a practice swim with the local triathlon club the group was only about 15 people and was a significantly different feeling compared to racing with hundreds of swimmers. 

A wave of anxiety swept over me and the neckline on my wetsuit suddenly felt very tight.  I was surprised by what was happening, I had never panicked in water before.  This wasn’t supposed to happen, I thought to myself, swimming is my favourite sport!  The idea of swimming in this claustrophobic situation for another 40 minutes seemed overwhelming.  The feeling was awful. 

My first triathlon: REV3 Niagara Falls Barrelman 2018 Race Report part 2

The 2km swim

I had two choices, either bail or stick it out.  So I kept going, one stroke after the next.  I calmed myself down, focused on my breathing and started to get used to moving among the other swimmers.  When I felt someone was too close I either slowed down or sped up until I found my space again.  After a few minutes the anxiety passed, and I felt like my old self again!  Sighting was a bit harder than I had anticipated but wasn’t that necessary on such a straightforward course.  As I passed the halfway point I was delight to spot the yellow buoy string under water and I followed it all the way back, I was flying!  

I finished the swim in 42 minutes (estimated time 50 minutes).  Once I got over my spout of anxiety I really enjoyed the swim.  I felt strong and had a great rhythm going.  I was puzzled by my anxiety attack but can only attribute it to inexperience in an open water race.  Regardless, on to the bike!

My first triathlon: REV3 Niagara Falls Barrelman 2018 Race Report part 2

Swim complete!

Posed for my boyfriend as I ran to the canal exit.

I had practiced transitioning at home many times, and estimated approximately 3-4 minutes.  Not even close!  I spent nearly 10 minutes in transition.  While I took a moment to give my boyfriend a quick kiss, the bigger issue was that I tried to dry myself off to apply sunscreen, but due to my wet skin and sweat my sunscreen was dripping everywhere so I had to dry off and re-apply a few times.  Note for next time: get better waterproof sunscreen! 

Other than my soggy sunscreen situation, everything else went according to plan.  I gulped down some more Gatorade, and peed on my old towel as I put on my compression socks and shoes.  I clipped on my race belt with my bib, slipped on my sunglasses, gloves and helmet and was ready to go.  But 10 minutes though!  Ugh.  Now I understand why the pros just slip on their helmet and run off with their shoes strapped to their bike.  Don’t get too comfortable!

My first triathlon: REV3 Niagara Falls Barrelman 2018 Race Report part 2

Time to bike!

Onwards to the bike!  Continue on to part three of my report from my first triathlon! >>