My last triathlon race of the season couldn’t have finished off better than at Barrelman in Niagara!
After two 70.3s and a full Ironman just a few weeks prior, I didn’t come into this one with much goals other than just to have fun. I had achieved everything I wanted and more already. This was a victory lap for my biggest year of sport and physical activity ever. Somehow I PB’ed! More on that later.
The distance wasn’t exactly quite the same as a 70.3 (1.9k swim, 90km bike, 21.1km run). This was 2k swim, 87km bike, and the run turned out to be 20.5km. The production “feel” wasn’t big like an Ironman branded race. But the local grass roots feel was wonderful. And actually the community its growing as Barrelman had the most athletes participating in its history.
The Tomenson Performance & Wellness team showed up in good numbers and we all did well! A big congrats to our leader and coach Miranda who won! What does being Queen of Muskoka and now Queen of Barrelman make you? Queen of Ontario!! Also good work to fellow team mates Corwin, Alfred for PBing, and Phil for staying strong!
The RACE [Official Time: 05:41:23.0]
SWIM (2KM) – [50:41 mins @ 2:32/100m]
While it was a beautifully hot day. This swim today is still something I can’t quite figure out. It was a big drop in pace in for me. I was actually very perplexed when I looked at my watch as I came out of the water. There is an additional 100m vs a standard 70.3 race, but that shouldn’t be almost 7 minutes slower. I personally felt totally fine, no soreness of arms or core, not tired, I prepped as normal. The swim was in the safe calm canal of the Flatwater Centre, there was a cable to follow, drafted and all. I was expecting a fast swim. But today was just not that day. My average heart rate was also pretty low around 103bpm for the entire swim, usually it’s around 120bpm. So, the only thing I can think of is either I just took it too easy by accident. Or I was all caught up in the idea of following the cable line which made me stuck behind slow athletes. Next time, I will swim as I did in previous races.
My confidence in the swim has gone down a bit from this result. My recent Critical Swim Speed (CSS) test and training swims showed that I should be about the same as pre-race season. So, I’m hoping this is just a one off bad fluke.
Anyways everything was calm, came out feeling really relaxed. Got out of the water, and ran up the stairs as spectators were in the bleachers. Such a cool experience.
This race featured a unique two-transition setup. Meaning we had to put our wetsuits and swim gear into the bike bag, which would then be transferred to the finish area later.
The Bike (87KM) 02:44:01.0 @ 31.83km/h
This was FLAT and FAST. However, the first segment bit, had strong headwinds. So I put in more power in the attempt to get over that area of the race sooner. Because after that turn around we got a fantastic tailwind back into the Niagara region. I think I might have slightly overcooked it though. And I did experience some lower back pain again, even on this flat course! I need to get this checked out. Is it the bike fit? Or Chiro? Or am I cycling incorrectly?
Silly me, I dropped my hydration belt twice and struggled to get it on properly. Need to practice this. At least 40 seconds lost here.
The Run (20.5KM) – 01:59:25 @ 5:49min/km
I knew going into this just a few weeks after IMMT, that there is no way I’d be able to run as I usually do. My legs felt relatively fine, but I just could feel the residual stiffness and fatigue in there. I tried my best to overcome it. This run course is NOT flat like the bike. I wouldn’t say bad, but that we had to run up Burning Hill in the Dufferin Island area twice made this spicy. And did I mention it was hot and humid! I am proud that I didn’t resort to walking at any points of the race other than briefly at aid stations.
It was great to see so many friends on course as well. I had so many of them loaded onto my tracker! I was so happy and grateful to see Miranda, Amy, Phaedra , and Amy D cheering me at various points. But when I saw coach Miranda at the half way point and gave me a high five, that provided me with the extra second wind I needed. I always get the Mel Gibson/ Braveheart vibe when she’s also racing! Fearless leader leading us to battle!
I managed to gather enough energy in the last 1km to come back swinging, and sprint finished to the end passing one more athlete there.
I’m really happy I needed my 2022 Triathlon season on a good note overall! After 2 hard 70.3s Tremblant and Muskoka, and then the full IRONMAN Mont Tremblant, I somehow still managed to snag a 1+ minute PB at the half distance! Even though the distances aren’t exactly that of a 70.3, Barrelman is billed as such. And so I will count it as one!
Also, I finally got to meet long time Instagram friend Todd MacKay, who totally smashed his PB and Sub-6!
There is definitely many things I need to work on and improve. I learned so much since starting to work with coach Miranda. I pick her brain all the time!
While my tri races are over. I still have one more road run at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in 3 weeks on Oct 16, 2022. After Barrelman, I don’t think my legs have what it takes to PB or do well. But I trust in coaches plan to work with my tight schedule.
In the FUTURE
For Age Group swim start waves races, I will start at the front of the pack. I prefer to be swam over, than to be stuck behind people. And when those swim over me, that means they are indeed faster, and worth trying to draft off of.
I have NOT signed up for any races in 2023 yet. I will wait until the season is fully over and I consult with coach!