Canadian Duathlon Championships

Sunday played host to the Toronto Triathlon Festival, home to a sprint and Olympic distance Triathlon and the National Duathlon Championships. Too afraid of swimming in Lake Ontario at Ontario place I participated in the Duathlon, or the ‘Dry-athalon’ as I overheard at the start!

The event was promoted by Simon Whitfield, Canada’s most decorated Triathlete. In support of the event Whitfield, along with other superstars Andrew Yorke and Paula Findlay, participated in the sprint distance (although they started well ahead of the field so they did not have to contend with the Oly distance and Du traffic)

The run courses were along the Martin Goodman trail, heading west from Coronation Park along the waterfront with the turnaround for the 10km run just east of South Kingsway and for the 5km run just west of Jamison Avenue. The race organizers did not close off the trail. The 7am start made for an easy 10km but during the second run I did dodge a few strollers or cyclists!

The bike course was along Toronto’s freeway system, the Gardiner Expressway and the Don Valley Parkway. It was surreal to be cycling along the elevated Gardiner and then dropping down on the DVP. The bike started on the pedestrian bridge over Lakeshore and wove through to the Dufferin Gates of Ontario place. We entered and exited the Gardiner off the west-bound Lakeshore, just west of Ontario place.

Overcoming my injuries from being struck by the cab has been a slow process. The race was almost 2 months to the day from when I was hit. To say the least my training has been compromised. I had to take a full two weeks off to let things settle down. And upon returning to training I was very limited to what I could do. Even now I still have to limit my long runs and rides. And I constantly have to listen to what my body says. When zombie leg* hurts I have to slow down and take a break.

The week previous to the National Championships I had to drop out of Provincial Cycling Championships because ZL* was causing me a ton of pain and discomfort. Entering Provincials I had told myself that I would drop out of the race if my leg was in real discomfort, knowing that the following Sunday was more important. Given how sore and uncomfortable ZL was the following days after Provinicals I was very nervous that it would not cooperate at Nationals.

I took two days off to let it settle down before jumping back on the bike. Add in a few physio sessions and things started to feel better. When I picked up my race kit Saturday, after the mandatory pre-race meeting, I purchased a pair of the Sugoi compression shorts (thank you Gears).

The race started at 7am Sunday morning, so I was up at 4am to fuel and make sure my body was awake and alert for the start. By 5:45 I had my bike loaded into my spot in the transition zone. Following the rules of the pre-race meeting my helmet was upside down with the straps open for inspection, with my number (1283) stickered on the front. Given the small real-estate each competitor had I tucked my extra race goodies neatly beside my bike. Small towel, mini bike pump, gel bottle filled with flat Coke, extra CLIF Shot Bloks, Extra LUNA bars, and some eLoad eDISCS.

At 7am I was in Coronation Park with all my fellow competitors. To say I was super nervous is an understatement. I am my own worst enemy and put so much pressure on myself to do well. Having only done one run (not including workouts) I was doubtful that I would have the strength and endurance to have a good 10km run; I knew that no matter how well the first run and the bike were that I would suffer through the 5k given my decreased fitness over the last two months.

I surprised myself and managed to have a reasonably strong 10km run. While I think I can go faster, I was surprised at how ‘strong’ I felt through the run, my stride never faltered. My ride still has some room for improvement and I will continue to work at getting faster on the bike, I definitely felt strongest climbing the rollers of the DVP and Gardiner. My second run was ugly! My fitness is still lacking and it was extremely hot and humid as I was finishing just after 9am.

I saw my parents as I was nearing the finish line, I smiled, dug as deep as I could and sprinted for the finish. The final result, I was crowned the Canadian Duathlon Champion.

My overall time was over 9 minutes faster than my best race of 2011! Hopefully with some more training and improved fitness I can bring my time down even more for the World Championship event in France this September.

Results can be found here. Overall and Women. (My finishing Time: 2:10:19. My splits: 39:07; 0:32; 1:09:07; 0:42; 20:55)

Thanks to the Toronto Triathlon Festival organizing committee for an awesome event. Thanks to Mike Chelliak of MySportShooter for all the great photos captured Sunday. Thanks to Porter Airlines for donating prizes to the top male and female finisher in the Du. And thanks to my friends and family for supporting my crazy habits!

I look forward to next year!

(* Zombie Leg or ZL is what one of the boys of my cycling team named my injured left leg)