Tuesday, September 13, 2011

LJ's Kelowna ITU Report - 3rd, I got Finlay'd

Thanks to my devoted homestay, I have more pictures in my race report than ever before seen at The Slog... for DC Rainmaker fans, this amounts to the number of shots Ray includes of product packaging.

I ventured to beautiful British Columbia, Canada for my first international race, the ITU Continental Cup in Kelowna--also Canadian Nationals. Leading up to the race I was stoked to see Paula Findlay's name in the start list as she is among the top women in the world in ITU racing. It's good to race the greats as they can pull you up to their level faster. Plus, I wanted to use the term Finlay'd in my race report.

For my homestay in Kelowna, I matched with a couple, Susanne and Frank. They made me feel like part of their family and I did my best to fulfill Susanne's wishes of making myself at home in their house. Both of them attended the race on Sunday to cheer on me and the Puerto Rican Rios twins who stayed with Susanne's sister, Denise. Next time I'm in Kelowna I will take them up on their offers to go sailing, blueberry picking and wine-tasting.

Immediately before the race starts, each athlete is announced in order of ranking and picks a spot on the pontoon or, in this case, a starting mat thing on the banks of Lake Okanagan:

I was ranked 22nd in the field of ~30 women, however, I was a few minutes late to the race briefing and got booted to the back of the line. I knew I wouldn't get a spot next to the higher ranked athletes anyway, but in a small field such as this, it wasn't a big deal.

As we waited for the starter, the dramatic ITU music played. I flashed back to last year when I was broken and would longingly watch the ITU action unfold on my computer, wishing to be a part of it. "Here I am," I thought, and without further ado, we were off.
I merged with the pack on the other end of the field before we hit the first turn buoy and was dragged into the trenches. After the first turn I got around a few women, but it feels like everyone was on top of one another.

The Kelowna swim course is two loops, where you pop out of the water at the half-way point and run around a buoy on the beach. At the start of loop two I was flanked by compatriot Amanda Felder and one of the Rios sisters and we had a civil thing going, until more people came along to drown us.
I thought I was positioned well in the water and felt good heading into transition... not a time to chill:
The bike was nothinggg like the Life Time Fitness races where I feel like laying down when I get off the bike. The 6 loop bike course in Kelowna included a hill, but our front pack of 9 didn't do anything too wild and we stayed away from the rest of the field.
T2 trying to hurry the hell up:
Paula had a gap right away and I ran up to Annie Warner and Sarah-Anne Brault (the race winner). Annie didn't stay with us too long, but lurked behind the whole race. Brault pulled away from me before we reached the halfway point of our first loop (4 loops on the run course). I FELT like I was moving fast and thought, TODAY I WILL RUN 36 and get under that 37 minute barrier. I just pressed forward as much as I could.

Ow. Ow... OW In the last 90 seconds I felt a tug in part of my quad. I had a vision of hobbling over the bridge before the finish line and potentially losing my podium spot, but then summoned all my zen energy and channeled it into the freaking muscle.
I finished third behind Brault and Findlay. I saw my run split, 35:40, and was so happy and proud for running hard.

Onto the awards ceremony...our homestays, Susanne and Denise, with Militza and Melissa Rios in front. My dad asked: and who is that on the right? (I roll my eyes): that's me.

Awards ceremony with the dolphins
I'm ready to smuggle my newly acquired plantlife and apples back to the USA
Egged on by the crowd, I made use of the champagne
The men's podium was not safe either, not even the CNT (Canadian national treasure, Simon Whitfield)
All six of us squeezed on the podium for more pictures. Good thing we're triathletes.
That evening Susanne fixed me a bowl with her blueberry pie and ice cream for the car ride to the airport for my red eye (love those)... and there you have it.


  1. Awesome job Lindsey...and especially awesome run!! :-) Congrats!

  2. I don't know if it's a byproduct of the homemade blueberry pie, but this race-report felt surprisingly wholesome, almost as though I also should've been knitting an afghan in between modest-sized spoonfuls of an unsweetened bowl of steel cut oats.

    At the end, I was almost sure I heard the voice of Garrison Keillor saying "And that's the news (race report?) from Lake Wobegan..."

    Another SOLID performance! Keep it up!!

  3. I love this. All of it. Especially that RUN!!

  4. Well done. You are F-A-S-T!