"Mind over body, mind over body, mind over body....." - Sometimes this is the only tantra that actually works in long and hard races. At least, it does for me! :)

It was 14th of September 2011 when I signed up for this race. Three months later, Stefan and I got pregnant, so I had to rollover for the next year. Our incredible baby boy Sean was born on August 23, 2012 and, expectedly, it was extremely hard to wear so many hats at the same time! Being a new mom, a wife, a PhD student and an athlete was as tough as hell, to put it simply. 

To cut the looong story short, since July 2012, I rode Eddy (my road bike, a.k.a. my husband's old road bike) only 4 times. First time was at the Research Park. I did several laps followed by some running. Second ride, and my longest ride, was 20 laps around the Hawrelak Park, which is about 2.2 km x 20, so 44 km total. The other two were fun rides in the River Valley, while trying to get some Strava segments! Yes, I got infected, too! :) And, that summarizes my bike workout. 

Running was a little better. I tried to run whenever I had chance. Sometimes it was with Sean in a jogger, sometimes alone. I had no training plan, I just ran whenever I could, for shorter or longer periods of time. I did several races, too: St. Albert (16km)Frank M. (about 4.5km trail run)Run Wild (5km)Half marathon, and Canada Road Race (15km). And, that was really fun! 

As for swimming, like biking, I did three 2km interval workouts in the pool, and swam once in the Hubbles lake, just to try out the wet suit and the water. 

So, I went into the race without expectations. The only thing I was set on was not to quit and to just keep on going. The race was supposed to be the test of my endurance and the pain threshold level. 

On the race day we were running a little late, and I seriously needed to use a port-a-potty (and, oh, boy, am I glad I did!), so I didn't get the chance to warm up for the swim. But, I made sure I had put my wet suit on properly and I did several arms swings to make it sit right. And the start went off. Soon, I realized I should have seeded myself a little more to the front, as I was constantly passing people almost until the first buoy. But, surprisingly, I felt really good and soon got into the bilateral breathing rhythm with sighting on every second breath. I realized the current was pushing me towards the shore, so I concentrated on staying focused on the buoy. After the first buoy, the swimming was really good and it didn't feel like I was working too hard. Towards the end one woman attacked, eager to exit the water as soon as possible. So, I just followed her draft, which was awesome. When I exited the water, the time I saw on the clock- 31:15, left me open-mouthed! Oh, wow, I thought, this is fun! :)

The T1 went pretty smooth, I thought. I didn't want to rush, because I wanted to do everything correctly - 90km ride should feel comfortable as much as possible. After I took the wet suit off, I turned on my Garmin. While waiting for the satellites to acquire, I put the socks and shoes on, sunglasses and the helmet. Of course, I also made sure I put my labello on, because if I hadn't, that would have made me really nervous. I admit, that is my addiction. Oh, well, everyone has something. And, so I went up the hill feeling really positive. I tried to bike by the feeling, not worrying about the speed or anything else. I wanted to enjoy it as much as I could. It felt good, so I became a little suspicious, thinking it shouldn't feel good, but hard, because I didn't train. But, I said to myself to use the good vibes and embrace the elements - enjoy while it lasts! And then I saw Stefan flying by on the other side of the road and I yelled. He just kept on flying. I counted, he was third at that time, and I hoped with all my heart that he would catch the other two guys in front. At the first turn around, I looked at the time. It was 55 minutes, and so the calculation began - the very fun part of every race for me. So, ok, that means 55 minutes to the Pallion. Oh, no, wait...it will be less, because you are not going to the lake again. Well, maybe 45? That thinking got me busy for some time. Then, there was this uphill, which didn't feel too bad, and then, the gratifying downhill. Awesome! Soon, I was heading towards the Pavillion, overwhelmed with the happiness, because I was about to see my baby for the first time since the beginning of the race! And there he was, sleeping, while our friends Glenn and Ingo were watching him. Without them, there wouldn't have been my race or this race report for that matter. Thank you, guys!!! :) The second lap went well, with "Get Lucky" in my head spinning over and over again. I always have a theme song whenever I race - it makes me go. 

When I dismounted, I thought, ok, your bike split is fine (2:46), but, man, do you actually have your feet on? It was ridiculous! My feet were completely numb, and I could not feel them at all! So, I took time in the T2 to stretch my back a bit and to try to get acquainted with my feet again. No luck! In a split of a second I decided to leave my sunglasses on, and after I put my loving Inov8 shoes on, I drifted slowly into the worst part of my race. I checked my HR and it was pretty low (155), so I thought, ok, things will get better. I kept on scratching the "Get Lucky" record while shuffling my poor feet, when a slap on my bum instantly woke me up! It was Stefan, of course! That has become something like a trade mark from our first triathlon we did together (Chinook). While jogging next to me he asked if I wanted to run together with him. I thought, boy, you really are trying to find an excuse for not going hard. I said, NO, you get yourself going and finish this race properly. So, he went off, and soon was out of my sight. Then I saw Lindsey going back from her first lap and looking strong. She, actually reminds me of Stefan by the way they run. We gave a high five to each other and then I came back to my reality. All of the sudden I felt really bad. My feet were still numb and I wasn't sure if I was hungry or thirsty, or both, or is it that my body is letting me down. It was a time for a thorough introspection. In my mind I examined all the parts of my body to understand where was the weakness coming from. I figured that it was all just a mental game and as long as I wanted to go, my body would follow, too! At the first turn around, I asked for gatorade, poured it down the throat and, with the last sip I imagined I got out of my body. I detached myself from the discomfort of my body. That, actually worked great! Soon, (at about 6km in) I felt my left foot got alive again, though I was running "without" my right foot for about 11km. The second lap passed quicker than the first, not by the elapsed time, but by the feeling. I was thinking of my boys, Sean and Stefan. I was imagining running through that half ironman finish line for the first time in my life! And so, I did! I saw 5:25 on the clock, and I felt good about it! 

Will I do it again? Heck, YEAH!!! :)