Toronto ITU: Shoe Know It!
In mid-July, I headed to Canada for two ITU Pan American Cup races. The last time I raced in Canada was back in 2012, a race that I traveled to on my own. That trip included many miscommunications and a motel room with a front door that wouldn’t latch (eeeek!). Luckily, this time around I had a support crew which made me much less stressed and enjoy the races a whole lot more!!
I cannot thank Canadian triathlete Leanna Lee and her family enough for hosting me for the time I spent in Toronto and in-between my Toronto and Magog races! I’ve only ever flown through Toronto so I was excited to finally get the opportunity to explore this beautiful city. In my week there, I was able to visit the CN Tower (one of the world’s tallest) as well as the Bata Shoe Museum. Even though I own mostly athletic shoes and sandals, I was intrigued by the evolution of shoes from the days of the ancient civilizations to today. Fun fact: for about a century, men wore heels higher than women to show their status in society. Luckily this fad didn’t last haha!
The first race of my Canadian double took place in picturesque downtown Toronto: the Toronto ITU Pan American Cup/Pan Ams test event. After a very chilly (16 degrees C) wetsuit-legal swim, I exited the water leading the second pack. I was pretty pleased with my position considering that most of my body was numb and that the swim was a bit long as well! It took about 5 miles into the bike before my feet and legs thawed out and I was able to get into a good rhythm. My pack knew we had a lot of work to do if we wanted to catch the leaders in the group ahead, and once we were swallowed up by a couple of girls from behind, the pace quickened and we began to chip away at the lead. A hard effort on the bike was made even harder by a pesky little 100 meter-ish climb we had at the beginning of each lap, but by the end of the bike our work had paid off and the front pack was in sight!
Coming off the bike, I tried to stay calm and have a good turnover… and not let that aforementioned pesky little climb take too much out of me on each of the 4 laps. This was not my fastest run ever (by far!), however, it was one of the fastest I’ve had in awhile since my foot injury late 2012. Knowing what I am capable of on the run, I usually end up beating myself up but I have to remind myself that you can't come back overnight and must accept and celebrate progress. I ended up 11th on the day and am so thankful to Leanna’s family, friends, and coach for cheering for me as well! Always nice to know at least one person out there is supporting you. Afterwards, we celebrated by going to a little hole-in-the-wall place in Kensington Market, where we began an afternoon eating marathon that included: fish tacos (my first ever), fresh squeezed pineapple juice (I’m a fan!), cupcakes (yum!), English breakfast tea, and burgers. Don’t judge…we earned it!