My thoughts before a race are usually pretty simple

I tell myself “deep breath, race your race, channel your energy - Focus” and then I funnel out of the starting arches amongst the leading participants. I look down – press start on my watch. I look up, take one more mental snap shot of the morning mist rising off the lake…the lush green trees…the snowcapped mountains…God I love Whistler. I focus my gaze dead ahead on the first red swim buoy – do a few dolphin dives – and I’m off.

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My swim was boss.

1.9 KM in 30 minutes 1 second. The water was 18-degrees. Perfect for a full length wetsuit swim and that’s the best. The buoyant neoprene helps you float higher in the water, decreasing drag and thus increasing swim speed. I was a fish. I came out as the 8th female.

The bike course was challenging.

Hilly. Long climbs. Steep climbs. Hard corners. Fast declines. Scorching hot black asphalt. Sandy edges. Bumpy old road… Although I was excited to tackle this hyped-up course – I may be small – but I’ve got a solid ‘power-to-weight ratio’. Power-to-weight ratio (PWR) is cycling’s great leveler, as it is the most important factor when climbing. Put simply, your PWR is how many watts you can produce divided by how much you weigh. The more watts you can sustain and the less you weigh, the faster you will be able to go uphill.

Needless to say, I climb quickly.

There is one thing I must admit…taking fast corners always make me a bit nervous…but hey! I’m running 110psi on skinny tires! However when bombing down the hill at 68 km/h there’s no room to hesitate – Fear is gradually replaced by excitement and a simple desire to see what I can do on this day. I finished the bike as the 2nd female.

My body struggled transitioning from the weightLESSness of cycling into the weightED impact of running. About 2 KM into the (21.1 KM) run I started cramping. My quads cramped. My hamstrings cramped. Crap. It physically stopped me dead in my tracks, as I was forced to hobble along straight-legged like Frankenstein…if I put any bend in my legs, my muscles would seize and pull so tight my eyes would water. The day was hot and my electrolytes were severely low. I chugged Gatorade and threw ice down my shirt at the next aid station.

I looked at my watch at the 5 KM mark and then looked for any support vehicles. I wanted out. Now. I wanted to stop. Now.

No. Come on Lauren. Just keep moving forward… “But there’s 10 KM left! That’s a decent distance!”

No. Come on Lauren. Just keep moving forward…. “Deep breath, race your race, channel your energy. Focus.”

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The run kicked my ass. In the ‘athlete world’ we call this “bonking”, “hitting the wall”, or the complete collapse of the mind and body.

BUT... I FINISHED. I did it. (And then they wanted to check me out in the medical tent… I was wasted. But I was alright.)

 

I actually made the podium for my age group.

After a whole bunch of Gatorade, chocolate milk, and nurses poking at me, I was soon feeling more like myself again. I even rode my bike home.

But that was a first. I bonked. I hit the wall. Completely. I pushed myself to my limits that day. And I found a way to finish.

I am the quickest to be hardest on myself… I want to win! However I also realize that winning doesn’t always mean getting first place; it means getting the best out of yourself.

Until next race!

Lauren Babineau