Went in with high expectations, especially for a fantastic run and an overall PR. Reality wasn't quite there, but I'll take the PR.
Overall time: 2:47:28
Swim: 31:11 (313th overall/105th women)
Bike: 1:18:56 (395th O/114th W)
Run: 53:52 (351st/113th W)
I had a late start - 9 am. The first waves went off at 7:15 and the transition area gets pretty crazy so it is a good idea to get there early, Mary & I got there shortly after 6 so I had a long wait. Pre-race nerves and lots of caffeine made me a bit edgy and I think I had some pretty bizarre conversations with people in the morning.
I got tired of waiting at 8:00, found a run route away from the race craziness and jogged and chatted with someone in the 8:25 wave. I went back to watch some waves starts and talk nonsense at Kristina, then did some B's & C's and strides, then went to transition for my swim gear. I had a great warm up swim, getting in the water really helped to sooth my nerves.
The water was 24C so it was no wetsuit, my first open water race without one. Most people were quite unhappy about the no wetsuit rule but as my biggest worry for the swim was getting out of my wetsuit I was pretty psyched about it. I was only 14 seconds slower than my swim at the Peach, although I didn't have the greatest swim in Penticton.
I've had issues with panicking at the start of the swim in Kelowna so my first goal was to have a calm start. For my wave I placed myself near the back and out wide and took a few seconds to get into the water. I was going to use my new don't-mess-with-me-mantra* of "I am Bronwyn" but as I had a great start that quickly became "I am ready". I had trouble finding toes to draft off but otherwise I was feeling really comfortable in the water and was having a good swim.
I lost a bit of time at the 750m mark as standing up, running around a buoy on the sand and then re-entering the water is a skill that's still in progress for me. At least I didn't belly flop on the re-entry as I did at this race in 2006. I tried to catch up with the women I'd been closing in on before the halfway mark and picked up the pace. I caught them but rather than get on someone's toes I decided to keep going and passed them and a number other women from my wave. I felt so good on the swim that I was surprised not to be under 30min when I exited the water.
The bike was awesome. There were a lot of racers on the course but it rarely felt crowded - people were pretty much all being courteous and smart and I didn't see any drafting. I went fairly hard and had fun passing people on the one real hill. My cadence meter wasn't working as the sensor had shifted so I was forced to go by feel - normally I try to keep my cadence at around 95 and and keep an eye on my HR to keep myself from overdoing it.
The run was hard and disappointing as I was never on pace for the sub-50 run I'd been gunning for since teh start of the season. I started out slow and never managed to speed up. I was pretty unhappy for most of the run, but I did pass a fair number of people and I didn't see any W35-39's passing me so I didn't drop in rank. I had a cramp in first few km's and was able to run it out but it slowed me a bit. In the last km of the run I had some issues breathing, my chest tightened up and I had to gasp for breath. I had to stop and walk for about fifteen seconds and then got back to running.
After finishing I found myself with a tight chest again and gasping for breath, I almost went to the med tent but mostly got my breathing under control and went to sit in the shade tent by the finish. I was still very upset and shaky, I was crying and trying not to show it in case any LETC'ers came by as I didn't want them to be concerned. I finally figured out that this really wasn't normal post-race behaviour for me so went to the med tent and told them I thought I might be overheated (actually, I think I told them I wasn't feeling okay and they had to play twenty questions to figure out what was wrong). When I started cracking jokes and thinking about food I figured I was back to normal.
The rest of the group had good races, and we had the usual strong presence at the podium: Andrea, Justine, Alan, Stephanie and Mary. Stephanie came in third and won her AG, as this was Nationals she is now the national champ for W40-44, which seems about right as she's also the World champ for W40-44.
*I like three word mantra's for swimming as I breath every third stroke. They help me get into a rhythm and focus on some part of my swim. They're not anything terribly deep or meaningful, usually something along the lines of "Smooth and Strong and Long [breath]".