Kingston Triathlon Race Recap

Can someone please tell me how it’s Thursday night already? Sometimes life just feels like a runaway train that I’ve fallen off the back of, and am chasing down the tracks!

Once again, I have SO much to update you all on, way too much for one post, but I’m going to try to keep my wordiness under control, and get the entire Kingston Triathlon Race Recap done in one post! If I get onto one of my rambles, feel free to walk away from your computer in disgust….

But then come back and finish reading okay?! 🙂

So in keeping with the short and sweet theme: I forgot to register for the Kingston Triathlon, and didn’t realize this until Friday night when the race was on Sunday morning. I had a panic attack, freaked out, checked online and was heartbroken to see that the race registration was closed.

I went to bed in tears, so unbelievably disappointed and mad at myself. How could I possibly have forgotten to register for the race? It’s been on my goal plan since the beginning of this whole adventure….months and months! Matt hadn’t lost hope, and sent a couple of emails to the race directors trying to see if we could somehow sneak in to the race last minute, but didn’t get a response from them. We both went to sleep thinking that it was over, and that I wasn’t going to be able to do the race.

I woke up early on Saturday morning with a new zest and determination that only sleep can bring. I was going to get into that damn race if it killed me. I got online and started looking frantically for a cell phone number for someone, anyone. We finally, finally managed to find a cell phone number for one of the race directors, who I called three times, and left messages for, but still no answer. We got to the point where I had to go and teach my BodyAttack class at 11:30am, and we still hadn’t been able to get a hold of anyone. I packed up my car with everything including Jilly, and left the situation in Matt’s hands.

When I came out of my class at 12:45pm, Matt had driven his own car to meet me at the gym, with bad news. We still hadn’t gotten a hold of a race director, and the decision still hadn’t been made. With the clock ticking (we knew that even if the answer was yes, we absolutely had to be in Kingston by 5pm when the expo closed), we decided to take a leap of faith and start driving towards Kingston, even though we still didn’t have an answer yes or no.

About 20 minutes into the drive, Matt finally was able to connect with the Registration Director for the race, who kind of raised an eyebrow at us for starting to drive without having an answer, but our leap of faith paid off because he gave us the green light: as long as we could make it to Kingston for 5pm, I was in for the race.

We hit crazy traffic on the 401 and I lost about 15 years off of my life due to stress, but we finally made it to the K-Roc Centre in Kingston at about 4:15pm. Holy effing crap. We actually pulled it off.

We hooked up with Neil and Jess, wolfed down as much food as we could possibly fit at Jack Astor’s (Matt and I missed lunch while we were sitting on the 401), and then checked into our hotel, which was conveniently right beside the transition zone.

Sara Matt Neil Jess

I went to bed beyond nervous (as always), and freaked out, particularly about the 2km swim. As I was lying in bed, it kind of dawned on me that this was it: the last race before Muskoka. The next time I would be laying in bed before a race would be at Deerhurst, and this whole crazy adventure would be wrapping up, one way or another.

When I look back at the person that started this blog 10 months ago, sometimes I don’t even know who that person is anymore. So much has happened and so much has changed; for better and for worse.

Race morning went smoothly and uneventful, just the way every athlete hopes that race morning will go. The Kingston harbor was calm, and the winds were low, which I was very relieved about, being so nervous about the swim. As Neil and I were walking into the transition zone, I nervously said something about how I was probably going to be the last one to finish the race that day, and Neil offered some great words of wisdom that I carried with me the entire day, and still do actually (thanks Neil ;)).

Sara Neil Pre-Race

He said, “Well, even if you’re last, you’ll still beat everyone else that didn’t even try”.

We finally got off on the swim, in much warmer water then in Toronto (thank the dear sweet lord above). The first stretch of the swim was in calm water and I felt really good and my confidence started to improve a bit. Until we got out of the harbor and into the open water where the wind was roaring like a howling beast and the waves started.

Sara Wet Suit

It got really wavy, particularly as we turned around and started to come back towards the harbor again. At one point I actually lifted my head out of the water and just started laughing because I was literally getting tossed around like a rag doll out there! For one split, half a second, I started to get a little bit scared as the waves lapped up around me, but a deep breath, and a self-reminder that fear is your absolute worst enemy in the water stopped all of that in its tracks and kept me moving forward. Scared people sink, chill people float; it’s that simple. So I kept calm and carried on. Just like all those post-it notes say.

I came out of the water, struggled like crazy getting my tank top on over my bathing suit (a very nice lady helped me pull it down in the back), and finally set off on the bike. I felt terrific on my bike in this race, it was one of the first “victories” that I felt like I’ve had on the bike this entire year. My average speed was about 26km/hour which I was really happy with, but I was more pleased with myself for keeping my head together on the bike.

In the water, it’s hard to think self-deprecating thoughts because your ears are full of water and you’ve got other things to worry about. On the bike, you have the luxury (and the curse) of time and space to think. I’ve been finding that on the bike my mind has been wandering off to the dark place of “You’re a loser, you have no business being out here, and you’re never going to be able to complete a Half IronMan”….you get the idea.

I was proud of myself in this race because I turned around the negative talk, and started telling myself things like “You’re doing a great job. Just keep going you’re going to make it”. I found that it actually made a big difference. The words felt nice rolling around in my head, soothing and comforting. It was a nice change from the abrasive, painful words that are usually rolling around in the ole noggin!

Before I knew it, the bike was over and I was coming into the transition zone to start the 15km run. I was tired, and very thirsty coming off the bike. I seriously need to figure out a solution for drinking while I’m on the bike. My current strategy of taking a gulp of water before I head out and then drinking like a fish when I get back seriously isn’t cutting it.

Sara Bike Start

Sara Bike Finish

I knew I was one of the last people starting the run, but keeping the mantra “You still beat all of the people that didn’t even try” running through my head, I ignored that and started my run as strong as I could. The spectators were great and offered up lots of encouragement for me (or maybe it was pity that people were already finished the race and I still had such a long way to go – but either way I’ll take it!!).

Sara Run Start

I just kept putting one foot in front of the other. Since the course was an out and back route, it was a little disheartening to see so many athletes on their way back when I was still heading out, but I once again tried to ignore that and just focus on my own run. I stopped at every water station and took a big cup of water, which seemed to work really well because I felt much better and much less thirsty after 2 water stations. Dehydration crisis averted.

As I was running, I came to the realization that I’ve conquered the “no i-pod” run thing without any strategy, Haiku or singing. Everyone told me that eventually I would come to appreciate running without an iPod blasting in my ears, and I thought that that was ridiculous, but somehow, someway I’ve totally come around. It IS kind of nice to daydream, I must admit 🙂

I kept up the positive self-talk throughout the run, telling myself that I was doing great, and to just keep going. The volunteers in Kingston were amazing, and every water stop I came to I had people cheering for me and telling me that I was doing an incredible job. I knew that I was far from doing an “incredible job”, but it was still nice to hear, and gave me a little boost.

Everything got kind of blurry between kilometer 10 and 15. I remember two girls (one in a green top and one in a blue top) passing me towards the end and telling me to run with them to the finish, but they were moving too quickly for me to keep up with them. I remember passing the landmarks that I had run past on the way out. I passed by a cop car and the finish line came into view, and I found a little something for a kick at the end, even though there was nobody to race except myself.

Sara Smile

Neil had an incredible day as well, and finished several minutes under his goal time!

Neil Bike Start

Neil Run

It’s now five days post-race, and my joints have healed, muscles repaired and I’m feeling fantastic again. I had some pain in my left knee after the race that hung around for a couple of days, but time heals all, and I’m feeling right as rain once again.

For the race that almost wasn’t, I was thrilled with Kingston, and took a lot of positive things out of my race! Today is August 8th, and we are exactly one month away from Muskoka. There is so much standing between me and the race, but that will have to be a topic for another day.

For now I’m signing off for the weekend, and I’m trading in my bike shorts for a cocktail dress and high heels this weekend, it’s my best friend Bailey’s bachelorette party on Saturday, and I’m so looking forward to wearing non-spandex clothes for a change!!!!!

Have a fantastic weekend – work hard and play hard, I sure intend to!!!

Sara Sitting

-Sara xo

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