Blood and Guts - Martina Wan Race Report

Exclusive to the LETC Blog! Vancouver Triathlon 2010 Race Report.

First, thank you to the volunteers, friends and family who braved the morning of cold, wet and windiness cheering and supporting us along the way. Sadly summer looks to be over!

Well, it was a tough day at the ‘office’, but I’ll get into that later….

The last time I raced the Vancouver Triathlon race was in 2004 and it was actually my very, very first triathlon race ever. It was a year or two after I finished swimming with UBC and it was during a phase where I wanted to do any sport I could because swimming didn’t really allow me to do that having to train ~20hrs a week on top of a full load of engineering classes.

Anyway, how hard could a ‘triathlon’ be? I swam for about 10 years, did a few Sun Runs, even a half marathon the year before and I commuted to my summer work regularly, which was about 15km that included going over Lions Gate Bridge!  So, I signed up for the 2004 Vancouver Triathlon Race, young and a little cocky thinking this’ll be ‘easy’ and now I can cross triathlons off my list of things to try!

Who knew that swimming in the ocean is way tougher than a pool (sadly I still really struggle with this J) and that lane ropes and a black line really helps swimming straight and allow for proper sharing etiquette.  I think I probably did as much breastroke as I did freestyle that day and looking at my split now, it was rough! But I survived and off onto the bike.

All I could remember on the bike was how many people complimented my bike (it was a vintage teal Bianchi with shifters on the downtube and all). It definitely wasn’t for my biking skills as who knew that the ‘hill’ on lions gate bridge is not really a hill, because the one in Stanley park was way tougher and doing it 4 times was hard!

However, I survived that as well and got onto the run thinking I’ve ran a half-marathon before which is double this distance so this should be fine, right?  Well, my legs were like lead and they did not want to run!  My only thought was, I can’t walk, there’s no way I’m walking I can’t wimp out and walk  … and to be honest I don’t remember if I did or not, but I finally ended the misery and finished.  I won’t even talk about my transitions then:

Anyway, as I finished I remembered seeing the sympathetic look on my parents face who were probably thinking, ‘well, she finished and survived at least … poor girl!’.

Despite barely surviving I remember just really enjoying that feeling when I crossed the line.  Something about pushing through when I didn’t think I could. Getting through the swim, bike and run felt like three cruel punishments in one, but I got through it and I liked it. I don’t know why but I did.  And for some reason I remember looking at the results and was somewhat satisfied as I was 31st/112. I was above average, but then I immediately looked at who was first place and wanted to be her.  I looked at her times and for some reason with some weird logic I thought I could do that.

Yes, I know I was 40min off her time, but like I said before for some reason I believed I could do that.  I remember telling my parents that one day I will win … and I could tell they were probably thinking ‘ok, good luck, she barely survived and this must just be just another crazy idea/phase Martina is in … it’ll pass’ but nodded like all supportive parents do!

Anyway, I looked at those results last night and smiled as I saw who the first place winner was … it was eventual 2008 Olympian Lauren Groves (now Lauren Campbell)! She went 2:13:08 … and Super mom Steph was 10th!

So, this time around I was going to do what seemed impossible 6 years ago and win… and I wanted to beat Lauren’s time, J I can’t help it I am competitive J

Anyway, soon into the race I realized that it wasn’t going to be easy! It was cold, wet and windy, and with a delay in the start, which is normally fine when its warm out, but made it a really, really cold and shivering wait when I was trying to be keen and actually braved the cold water to do a good warm up. Oh well, can’t get worse right?

Well, as I was running into the water I slipped on some rocks and got my feet cut up pretty bad on some shells and rocks, as did many others, and realized that it was not going to be very comfortable for the next 2 hrs. Other than that the swim was ok and I had a good start to the bike.  With not many others on the course it made it nice to get into somewhat a rhythm. The hill on the loop wasn’t so bad this time around as well.

I then I decided to hammer my last lap of the park.  Trying to avoid other riders and going a little too hard into a corner I skidded and bailed onto the pavement as the roads were pretty slippery and wet.

The funny thing (or I should say lucky, as I wasn’t hurt badly) was that my immediate first thought was thatI needed to get back on my bike and try not to lose too much time while struggling to get my chain back on my bike.  Eventually I did, and had to take a deep breath and do a quick check first ‘head ok, arms and hands ok, legs and feet ok, blood, not good, but hands and arm are not tingly so I’m probably ok. Bike ok, I think) and got back on the bike and didn’t look back.

Onto the run I heard the 2nd place women was fairly close, so I needed to run faster despite feeling quite stiff and cold! I tried my best and then my next thought was I need to go faster because I need to beat Lauren’s time, J It wasn’t pretty, but I finished and crossed the line 1st overall in a time of 2:12 … (that’s what Steve King said and that’s what the results they had there said, but I know it ain’t official until its on the internet …

I did it.  I knew I could do it. It’s been a tough road getting here, but I did it.

Moral of the story. Anything is possible. It ain’t going to be easy and sometimes it ain’t very pretty, but it is possible so go for it!

That was my last triathlon race of this year.  I decided to end my season earlier than anticipated (no Mexico for me this year) and go back to the drawing board and start getting ready for next year : )