Posted by: tgrevatt | September 8, 2010

A year of tri-ing

Before The Canadian Triathlon 113 Sep. 2010

It’s been a rough sporting summer for me. This year I decided my big challenge would be to take up open water swimming and move from duathlons to triathlons. Swimming was progressing – in February I struggled and spluttered my way along, barely managing a lap or two before needing to cling to the wall and recover. I had some patient friends who gave me lots of tips and encouragement and I slowly built my endurance.

Cycling started early with some great riding South of the city around Merrickville – and the requisite outing to the Yellow Canoe Cafe – check out their baking, oh my! Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour from Perth to Kingston (and Donna’s first 100km ride) was the early season target – atrocious conditions on day two meant we abandoned, oh dear. I managed some early season speed, getting a new 10km TT best but then the heat hit. Urghh.

My first triathlon in many years resulted in a wee stint in the medical tent. I had completely underestimated the impact a swim had on my biking abilities, messed up nutrition and the heat (racing a 5km the day before probably didn’t help either). Wow, heat exhaustion really knocks you out. A couple of weeks later I attempted another tri, this one had the longest open water swim I had ever tried, plus it was hilly and super hot – I’m not built for hills or heat. This time, I paid heed to the warning signs and bailed before the run. A DNF, I knew it was wise, but disappointing all the same.

I struggled in the heat for the rest of the summer, finally managing to salvage a few long runs but no rides over 60km. Surprisingly it was the open water swim that I enjoyed the most, I finished a 3km swim race which was a distance beyond my wildest dreams as I struggled back in February. And did you know that the swag from swim races is pretty damn fine?!

The Canadian is an Ottawa triathlon festival which includes iron (226km) and half-iron (113km) distances as well as many other races. It’s a great local day out, racers do multiple laps on Colonel By from Terry Fox stadium and it’s good for spectating and supporting other athletes. No hills either- hurrah! Well, it seemed like a great idea to enter the 113 Tri last November. Last week, looking at covering that distance with too little training – much less so. My grand plans for high mileage and plenty of weight loss had disappeared in the heat and work (or lack thereof) stress. I was undecided about the race right up until the day before. I committed to it by telling my online friends that I would do it and invited them to come out and cheer – I couldn’t let them down so off I went.

Bloody good job I didn’t look at the weather forecast – last one I had seen had 10km/hr winds. Yeah, right. On the bike it was gusting up to 50km/hr – hang on tight and try to keep in a straight line conditions. The swim was fine. On lap three of the bike I wanted to quit – seriously wanted to. Then I realised that it was all about finishing and getting through so stop thinking about a goal time and suck it up. I eased up, focused on nutrition and taking enough salt tablets – new motto “keep out of the med tent”. And try not to think too much about the ‘hoo ha’. Lack of miles in aero position equal very unhappy girly bits.

The laps chugged by – and eventually I was off the bike, a joyous feeling. Then a strange thing happened, I started the half marathon and didn’t feel too bad. In fact, it was one of the best runs I’ve had all summer. I had friends bring me ice – my new secret weapon in heat survival. Other competitors were super encouraging and the two aid stations completely rocked with fabulous service and cheering. At this point there was no doubt in my mind that I would finish – it was actually enjoyable. Here’s to slow and steady finishing the race. Chatting and encouraging other runners helped make the miles pass, and I’ve got to confess the ‘scenery’ at these races really doesn’t hurt either.

So I completed it – it was slow, a smidge over 8hrs all told. The longest race I have ever done. I’m not going to break any speed records but many self-doubts were conquered. My stupid grin is outlasting the crazy aches in my body and it’s time to fathom out my next goal. If I can do it, so can you – it just takes great supporters, patience, persistence and a whole lot of Rule #5.

Thank you to all the spectators, organisers and volunteers – you make this race special. Special thanks to those friends who have encouraged, cagoled, trained and suffered (with) me all summer. So… what shall we attempt next?


  1. Congratulations Treena! Such a great accomplishment, and inspiring for all of us!

  2. YOU ARE AMAZING. CONGRATULATIONS, MY FRIEND. There is absolutely no way I could even dream of doing what you are doing…such courage and stamina. So impressive. I just had my appendix out, so I’d be lucky to run 100 metres! Again, congratulations! You’re awesome!

    • @Linda – holy heck! Your appendix out – get well soon. And don’t rush!

  3. It was a such an a amazing experience to see you cross that line, missy. It’s a well deserved silly grin!

    • Thanks Nat! It’s been a blast running with you and having you as ice maiden! If you need a training bud for your next race, let me know!

  4. Girl, you are amazing, an inspiration and a HALF IRON athlete!!

    Thanks for letting me share some of the adventures with you (Merrickville, and Rideau Lakes). I remember sitting with you at Richmond when you started discussing the HI.

    What a wonderful journey you were on this year! Keep up the great work! Who knows, I may be relying on you next year for inspiration and training tips….hmmmm

    • Heck, I was thinking how impressive all you biking and running was! So, what’s the cunning plan for next year?

  5. I am soooo proud of you treena, I was thinking of you all weekend!

    Way to go girlie!! you can do anything you set your mind to…

    *high five*

    • Hey Isa – I’m looking forward to hearing all about your big adventure next month! Thanks for the support – back at the Meech Lake Tri I really didn’t think finishing the half would be possible.

  6. Congratulations, Treena. I am suitably impressed. I’m not surprised that the swim had the huge impact on your biking abilities. I’m no longer amazed at how sleep is such a nice option after a good long swim! And to say that you can do a 3 km swim – very nice!

    • Thanks Rob! The open water swimming has really been the highlight for me, still need to work on technique but I am now a true convert to Ontario lakes!

  7. Congratulations, Treena! Great job getting out there and getting it done. Also, thanks for the link to the Rules. While I love #5, #3, or was it 4, showed me that my kids use “normal” language.

    • Thanks Nicki! Aren’t the Rules great? So much to laugh at in there and so very true. Good luck with your training – love following your tweets, they are inspiring to me!

  8. Treena. You never cease to amaze me. I remember a few of those looks of determination from our sailing days, and there is no doubt when you set your mind on something, it happens…
    My plan this year is just to get out walking every day…

    • Heather – thanks so much! Good luck with the walking plan – you are in a lovely part of town for getting out. Bet you wish you were out sailing lately in these winds!

  9. CONGRATULATIONS/Felicidades

    I am so proud. You finish, you are breathing and you are enjoying! You conquered and you rock!
    You are an inspiration and yes, let’s think about a common challenge for next year (no swimming for me) Let’s celebrate soon!

  10. Really impressed Treena – especially on the swim side. I spent most of my teenage years swimming & I don’t think I could do a 3K today. Really liked the blow-by-blow details in your writing too.
    You’re putting it out there – good for you.

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