A Mom’s Journey to Oliver

Final Part in a Series

My Race Day at Oliver Triathlon: an unforgettable experience

Wow, that’s all I have to say. What a great experience it was and such a well organized event. Before I get into my day, let’s take a quick trip down pre race day!

Day before the race we got our packages, those consisted of, 2 number tattoos, bike sticker & helmet sticker, race bibe and a t-shirt on in mock triathlon. After we checked out where my bike would go, we headed back to camp. On the way I was met with my first surprise of the day, My grandma, Tanya & Wendy pulled in a warm welcome to have them come and cheer me on. After dinner, I found out my dad had organized these great team shirts with a funny photos of my mom and I on them. This way I could identify my support crew easier. It really goes to show how special you can make an event by sharing in the day with a great support team.

Race day kicked off at 4:30am with a wake up bark from my dog, Ruby, who was being taunted be squirrels. I got up and headed to my parents trailer to start my morning. First up was getting my race numbers on. My mom insisted I get my dad to help cause “he’s so good at it.” In his early morning zombie state he forgot to take the plastic off and mine didn’t stick. Thanks, Dad 🤣 We ended up writing the numbers on my leg and using the second tattoo for my arm. Already a funny start to my day.

After getting dressed and eating breakfast, we headed to put our bike and gear in transition and get our timing chip. My row was third to the back, coincidently beside a big purple tent that was easy to spot. I had been having issues with one of my gears for a while, luckily they had someone to fix bikes, so we quickly got him to fix one of my faulty gears before putting it on the rack

Walking back, it hit me – this is it, it’s race day. Everything I trained and worked for is happening now! I felt ready, not anxious or nervous, just ready. I got my hair braided (thanks Tanya) put on my wetsuit,  and headed off to the start line.

As we lined up for the swim with my in race support team – my Mom, Aly & her brother Mitch-  it was all about staying positive. There were laughs, lots of photos and few deep breathes. Once our heat was ready, I stood at the front of the line, waited for the countdown and I was off.

The swim actually went great, I kept thinking to myself “This is just for you, not anyone else.” I took my time and did my own swim. I saw lots of swimmers doing different strokes, which made me feel better. The course was a large circle, and as I turned the last orange buoy headed to shore, it felt like it took ages! I came out of the water in 18 minutes, instead of the 25-30 I expected. Only 3 minutes behind my mom.  I still remember the surprised look on my dads face as I ran past him. Everyone joked it was because I was trying not to drown. Which is 100% true.

Out of the water, I headed for the transition area.  For anyone who hasn’t done Oliver Tri before, you run across the street to the school. It’s a longer transition, but they did a great job of making sure the rocks were off the road. As I ran into transition I saw my mom leaving with her bike, I yelled a quick “ RUN FASTER KATRINA” before finding my own bike. I was then surprised by a Go Madyson! I look around and found our friend Keri standing at transition cheering me on. Such a great surprise!

Since this was a wetsuit swim, I sat down trying to rip off my suit as fast as I could. I stopped halfway to put my helmet on so I wouldnt forget it. I threw my socks on my wet feet, tied my shoes and braced myself for a cold ride. I unhooked my bike and ran to the mount line. My dad cheering me on from outside the gate.

Starting the bike, I knew I had to face the hill we practiced a few days before. I thought, “just do it at your own pace.” As I slowly climbed, dozens of people passed me. I felt a bit down, but reminded myself to train harder for the hill next year.  Another racer passed and said “You’re doing so well, almost to the top, this is the only hill then it’s straight stretches!” Her words of encouragement were exactly what I needed!

At the top, I felt relief. The hardest part was over. I just had to make it to the turn around, then I was a downhill descent and a nice long straight stretch. I was roughly 2-3km behind my mom the entire time. Seeing her on the bike course was so encouraging we both yelled hi at each other and kept on our way. The crowd’s screams of encouragement were overwhelming. Seeing my family and friends with their signs and cowbells gave me another burst of energy. When I felt tired and started to slow down my dads words of encouragement rang in my head “don’t dawdle” making me speed up again.

Then, disaster struck. My chain flew off. After a few cuss words, I fixed it, only for it to come off again. This time I took it slower, making sure it was properly on.The rest of the rid was uneventful, and I not so gracefully got off my bike at dismount area, dropping it in the process. The crowd and I agreed we’d never speak of this again 🤣.

I ran into transition, hung up my bike, took of my helmet and away I went. The run was the easiest part. The adrenaline of everyone cheering my on carried me much faster than I should have been. I saw my dad at the first turn and he politely reminded me to slow down.

As I made my way onto the course I saw Aly first, she was on her way back already, we high fived, gave each other words of encouragement and went on with the race. Then, I saw my mom. I told her I’d see her at the finish line in about 15 minutes. We laughed, and I continued on. The turn around volunteer was fantastic, encouraging everyone. I tried to do the same, letting others know the turn around was soon and they were looking strong.

As I neared the finish line, I heard my parents’ friends, Sheena and Rob, cheering me on. I ran faster and saw my entire cheering squad, they stood out amongst the crowd wearing the shirts with the goofy picture of me and my mom. I heard my name announced as I ran threw the finish line, I turned around and realized William and Alice had ran down the shoot and chased me across the finish line. I gave them the biggest hug, collected our medals, and left the finish area full of emotions.

The day had its highs and lows, full of excitement and nerves. It was a great race for a newbie like me, and I’d definitely recommend it to others starting. I’ve already suggested it to a few friends in hopes they’ll join me next year.

People keep asking me if I’ll do more triathalons. Honestly, I’m not sure. There’s a lot to consider, especially the training. If you’ve been following along, you know I did a lot of work. I didn’t share every session, but I managed 3-4 training sessions a week. Being a full time mom, it was a big commitment that I was happy to take on. Of course, sacrifices were made to make it happen.

After my race I started tracking my times and couldn’t help but think about what I could have done differently to improve. I focused more on my swim and run, sacrificing some bike time. It showed in my times – a solid 18 minute swim and a 37 minute run. Now, I’m eager to train harder and beat those marks next year.

Despite everything, I would absolutely do the Oliver mock triathlon again. I know the course, had a blast, and cherished every moment of this journey.

As an extra special bonus, while cheering our friend Heather (who came second in her age group for the sprint distance), my dad called to say my mom placed THIRD in her age group! None of us expected it, but it was well-deserved. Congratulations, Mom! You’re a natural on the course, and I’m so proud of you!

I would like to take this time to thank all of you for following me on my Journey to Oliver!  It’s been great sharing my experience with you, and I hope I have inspired someone to fulfill a goal, big or small.

Special thanks to my boss, Teresa, for allowing me blog my journey and for creating a great training schedule, to my parents for being my training partners and encouraging me through it all and watching my kids, and my friends those who proof read my blog before it went live, listened to me talk about my training and were just all around amazing. Thank you all for everything.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Part Six

Part Seven

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