Kari Strutt dug deep for her 3rd place age group finish this weekend at the Shawnigan Lake Half Ironman. Here's an honest reflection on her challenging day:
"OK...so that was the hardest thing I've ever done by choice. Seriously...
It sounded so lovely on the internet...
Rolling terrain...that sounds so pastoral, doesn't it? I love to roll...I love rolling. See how I roll? I roll. I am sooo good at rolling.
So...THIS is what rolling terrain REALLY means:
a) at any given moment, you are going either up, or down. There is no flatness. None. NONE. EVERRRRRRR.
b) as my clever husband points out (as if to illustrate the simplicity and ease of this rollingness), "If you start and finish at the same place, you've gone down just as much as you've gone up, so it's all even." This is some mystical man equation that actually says "stop whining and pedal".
c) husband forgets that it takes at least twice as long to climb up as it does to roll down, so a rolling course means you are riding "up" a shift-load of time...MOST of the time, in fact (in granny gears), which basically feels like ALL of the time - and the hills are often steep, so it kind of hurts
d) item c) does not favour you when it comes to running
Rolling? Who named it that? Should have named "relentless climbing punctuated by a moment to wipe the snot off the end of your nose". Thus ends my missive on "rolling".
Can I start now with total head freeze? First off, I got so panicked in the swim warm-up I actually decided to pack it in before I started. Really. I left the water. Thank God for the National Anthem - gave me the minute I needed to get the heeje up (heeje - it rhymes with the first syllable of "legion")... I know it's not a real word, but if I get my way, it will be. I did the breaststroke for so long I had my own guide kayak...seriously, everyone swam away. It was just me "fair-haired lady in kayak". I was sooo dead last. I started making little bargains with myself (just 3 crawl strokes before a couple of head-ups...then 6...then 9...then 12...then I was doing 50 at a time, and finally I got it going and just swam, but it took a long time). I was golden for the last 25%.
The run was really lovely - but that same numb foot thing that happened in the 70.3. I haven't had a chance to check my run time, but I've never started a run with legs so beat up, so I'm guessing it was a bit dull. For all that, the late finishers are a pleasant bunch and I made a few new friends.
I got an age group medal. Ha ha hah. If you wait long enough, the field gets small! It was a big thrill for Veronika...and oddly, for Ken. Vern stole my age-group medal (purple ribbon) and the hat I won. Wore them home on the plane. (I'm currently in an Abbotsford Hotel, driving home on Monday).
There were a number of moments when I was ready to quit this race . Near the end of Lap 1 of the bike a woman passed me half way up a hill, then a man shortly after...30 seconds later he's standing at the side of the road, and she's motionless on the ground, between two parked cars. It was very sobering. Reminds of some old add slogan..."first you get good THEN you get fast". I also felt like quitting after Lap 2 of the bike. And after Lap 3 of the bike. By Lap 4...I was cool with saying "last f***ing time I see you ash-hill".
My finish time was not anywhere near a personal best...in fact it might be a personal worst, but at this moment I'm feeling ok with it. I'm not dancing on a table or anything, but it seemed like challenging course, and I certainly had to fight myself (yay, I won...but wait, I also lost). Either way, I'll take what I got, but I soooo need to work on my roll."
Congratulations, Kari! We are very proud to have you as part of our team and are looking forward to hearing many more of your race day musings.