It hasn't even been one year since I raced Sooke, however, I've complained about that race enough that it might as well have been 10. To put it lightly, Sooke didn't go well last year, and I spared nothing in describing my distaste.
My track record at Sooke has been less than stellar. My first year, I ended up skipping it due to injury. My IT band was really tight and I decided the marathon was too important to risk it.
Last year, After a great summer of performances, I had let my fitness somewhat diminish, got to Sooke and expected a great performance which just wasn't within my ability. Mix in a few bike technical difficulties (chain getting stuck, wheel falling off) and it wasn't the best day.
As a result, it was difficult to get pumped up for Sunday.
Driving over to Victoria and Sooke on Saturday the weather was miserable, dumping rain. Fit nicely with my feelings for the race, however, after a very relaxing ferry ride and a casual trip out to Sooke the weather and my mood started to change.
Mel and I stayed at Nick's place after going to Boston Pizza with Winston, Andrew and Derrick we settled in a Nick's for the night.
Sunday morning the sky had cleared. It was still cool but the roads were dry.
We got there plenty early and set up. Mel was racing the Olympic which started 90 minutes after my race, so she had plenty of time, even getting in a bike ride warmup.
I got down to the start line with a positive attitude, prepared to make this my best race of the summer. Goggles on, standing waist deep in water, its announced that there is 10 seconds until the start. I splash water in my face and SNAP! Goggles break right across the nose. The old man beside me was very concerned. I swear had I not stopped him he would have tried to find an official to delay the race. Instead, I tossed my goggles back over everyones head to the beach and dove into the water like an amateur.
Mass starts without goggles... Not too much fun. I ran into EVERYONE! This swim was very reminiscent of my first years in triathlon. Unable to swim straight, hitting weeds because I realize I'm all the way to the left on the shore. Good times. To sight I had to do this fancy head whip to get the water out of my eyes before I could open them! Looked good. Mel ran into one of her friends at the start line and announced that her boyfriend was approaching. At seeing my spastic movement in the water, no goggles or cap (took off my cap because it was falling off due to the goggles having been under it), Mel decided it was wise to point out the swimmer behind me as her better half.
I came out of the water in 32 minutes... Pretty slow. I figured I should have been able to swim around 29 in the lake since it is calm with no current. Oh well.
Onto the bike. I wasn't able to see too well out of my right eye. It kept watering which made the first lap fun. The bike went well. Not much to report. Got passed a few times, and passed a few people. Fairly uneventful. The only big thing that happened was Katya Meyers caught me with 1/2 a lap left and I decided to try and stick to her because I knew she would run well off the bike and it would be nice to have a pace bunny.
2:36:44 for the bike, not bad considering the course. It was really windy and hilly.
Came into transition about 10 seconds back, flew through transition having the fastest T2 of the day, AGAIN! and was out on the run course. My legs still felt pretty good. Katya took off. We went through 2k in 7:45 which is much faster than I normally run off the bike. I weighed my options and decided that if I tried to stick to her I would probably blow up and really not enjoy the second half of the race. So despite having a Model/Pro Triathlete to follow, this just wasn't tempting enough to keep me on her heels.
Katya Meyers, she's on an elephant
I ended up finishing with a 1:36:20 Half. My legs felt pretty good, I was simply lacking intensity training this year due to the ankle injury. Had I been able to put in more intensity it wouldn't have been so foreign pushing the pace.
Finished the day in 4:45:47. Good enough for 9th place overall. The overall winner was way ahead, however, the race for 3rd was tight. Between myself and 3rd was only 6 minutes for 6 spots. I am pretty confident that without the swim issues, I really could have been a contender for the podium. I would have been that much closer to the front and that much more motivated to push.
The others on the team had a great day as well. Winston had his fastest run split in a half iron finishing in 2nd for the 20-24 age group in a time of 5:04 and Andrew finished in 3rd in the age group having had his fastest swim.
Mel had a great race in the Olympic achieving her first sub 50minute 10k off the bike which considering the wind and hills on the run course is impressive. Her time of 48 would have been much closer to 45-46 on a flat course! Unfortunately because the age groups are split up 20-29 for the Olympic distance she finished in her favorite spot: 4th! Otherwise she would have won or come 2nd in the 20-24 category.
I don't have many details of Derricks race, however, I know he was quite pleased with having the 11th fastest bike split in the Olympic!
The boys were so overjoyed with the days events that they broke out into an impromptu dance party!