Outdoor Pools of 2016

My only year in review post that I seem to do consistently is a look back at all the outdoor pools I've swam in.  2016 included some old favourites and some new ones (Healdsburg, Solana Beach, and Deerfield Beach).  Here is the list of outdoor pools I was lucky enough to swim in this past year.

One of my all-time favourites: Alga Norte in Carlsbad CA.  Gorgeous facility!

Another favourite: Henderson Multigenerational Centre, Henderson NV.

Pier Pool, Portland OR.  Not particularly fancy, but cute little pool tucked away in a quiet neighbourhood.  Must be a gem for the local homes.

Healdsburg (CA) Swim Center.  Attached to a high school.... that is my dream!

Finley Aquatic Center, Santa Rosa CA.

Kin Pool, Nanaimo BC.  The closest "swimmable" outdoor pool to me, about 40 minutes from my house.  There is a closer one (in Crofton, about 15 minutes away) but it's only 20 yards so not great for lap swimming.  Kin Pool doesn't have the best hours, but it's worth it on a hot summer day.

Pardee Aquatic Center, Solana Beach CA.  All the years I've been coming here, and this was the first time I've swam here!

Kitsilano Beach Pool, Vancouver BC.  Kits Pool is probably one of the world's top pools (no lie!), it's 137.5m (150 yards), right next to the ocean with the Vancouver skyline in the background.

Second Beach Pool, Vancouver BC.  Another gem, in Stanley Park and again right next to the ocean.

Kona Aquatic Center, Kona HI.  Of course I love this one because it means I'm in Hawaii!  Plus, Hawaii state pools are free!

Deerfield Beach Pool, Fort Lauderdale FL.  A super-friendly swim coach let us use one of their lanes, as we were just getting in when their practice was starting.  Thank you!

Miamiman Aquabike

Ages ago, I decided that a good end to this year's race season would be the half-ironman distance aquabike at the Miamiman Tri.  Fast forward many months, I wasn't that into it, but I was registered and had plane tickets, so Jason and I were off to Miami for a weekend!

When we arrived, we got a phone call from where we are staying; because of some renovations they had upgraded us to a luxury hotel right on the beach for free!  While we weren't really there for long enough to take advantage of that, it was still a great place to stay (even though it was pretty far from the race site).  We wandered around Deerfield Beach that evening, and woke up to a spectacular sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean the next day.

Good morning, Atlantic!

Outdoor pool = my happy place

Racked & ready for the last time in 2016!

Saturday was a whirlwind of getting a swim and a ride in, finding some food, driving to the race site, and getting everything checked in pre-race.  With the time change from east coast to west coast, we were exhausted!

Sunday morning was another gorgeous morning, and we watched the sunrise from the swim start area.  The race itself was huge, with over 2000 athletes since it was the US Championships for long-distance triathlon and aquabike, as well as hosting a standard distance race.  And lucky me (not), I was in the last swim wave... which meant swimming through a lot of people in waves ahead of me, never my favourite.

Sunrise from the swim start

One more race!
It wasn't my best swim - 1.9 km in 33 flat for the two loops.  The water was pretty warm but they claimed it was wetsuit legal... sure.  I had picked the race for the bike course, as I wanted the flat ride as that's where my strengths as a cyclist are.  It was an out-and-back with a 2-loop section.  There was some drafting, but like in any race you CAN make the decision to ride clean.  I did, and still PR'd with a bike time of 2:35 (although my garmin said it was only 87 km instead of 90, so ride time would probably be more like 2:41-2:42 - still a 5 minute PR anyway!).

Heading out for lap #2

Swim exit pics are always The. Worst.
Leaving T1

Heading out on the bike

Jason enjoying spectating instead of
racing for once!

Being the national championships, there was some fierce competition and I ended up in 8th place.  I was ok with that, since we wanted to do a bit of exploring rather than hang around for the awards ceremony.  We packed up my bike in the parking lot, did some sightseeing, then back on the plane headed for home.  
Heading back to transition after the ride.

Now for a few weeks of off-season!

Photos from Kona

It's been a few weeks since we've been home from Kona, and literally I think it's rained every day since we've been home.  Sigh.  In order to bring back that sunshiny-warm feeling, here are my favourite pictures from Kona.  I don't know why I don't have any of Jason's race... race, what race?  We all kept ourselves really busy with lots of goings-on during the week leading up to the big show.

The first thing we do in Kona is go
swimming at the pier.

Water wonderland

Riding on the Queen K

I got to know many so many of my Betty Designs
teammates that I'd only met online so far,
plus reunions with others I'd already met!

Betty happy hour.  We clean up nicely!
I was truly fortunate to have been chosen to work with Women For Tri
to help promote triathlon and opportunities to grow the sport.
I spent time handing out cards & stickers in the mornings at the pier
and met some great people! #womenfortri #whywetri

Handing out swim caps in support of TriEqual

Underpants Run was a real highlight!

Betty Designs represents in
Triathlete Mag coverage

Thanks to WITSUP for organizing a Friday morning ride;
I feel lucky to have kept pace with the pros and legends in this pic!
For more WITSUP ride photos, check out:

And thanks to Stef Hanson for the surprise selfie on my phone!
Proof (sort of) that we were actually there for a race.
Go #emjtriteam

Getting to know Bob Babbitt this year scored me an invite to the
Thank God I'm Not Racing Party.

Nicole, Ken & I with our TGINR party finisher medals.

Our last morning in Kona.  I want to go back...

The obligatory sunset shot

Cowichan Valley Wine Run

A couple of weekends ago, Corinne and I participated in the first annual Cowichan Valley Wine Run.  Modelled after Le Marathon du Medoc in France, it's a non-timed, 13.5 km run where the aid stations are vineyards.  The on-course nutrition was cheese, crackers, and apples, and the hydration was wine tasting.  Needless to say, it sold out of the 200 spots very quickly!

Participants were sent off in waves, and we were in the first wave and eager to get going.  We wanted to have a lot of fun, take pictures along the way, and sample some wine.  The organizers had arranged bottle drops at each of the vineyards for your purchases, and they delivered them to the final vineyard for you to pick up after dinner.  Oh yeah that was another thing, an amazing buffet dinner was included!

  We started with a wine tasting, followed by a glass
enjoyed on a patio in the sun.  Because don't you always
have a glass of wine before a run?

First winery, Cherry Point.  Not necessarily my favourite
valley wines, but they do have a gorgeous property.

Second winery, Rocky Creek.  They have a really
nice sparkling!

Third winery, Venturi Schulze.  They are a really small, family-
owned winery that makes some absolutely amazing wines.

Two guys running in suits, because drinking wine
is classy of course!

The run finished at Blue Grouse, with a final tasting
and dinner!

Relaxing in the vineyard.

One of the banquet tables, right next to the vines.

Overlooking the valley.

Souvenir bag they put your purchased bottles in.

We had so much fun, and already can't wait for next year!  This is a must-do event!

Challenge Penticton

Last weekend Jason and I headed to the interior to race Challenge Penticton.  It was the Canadian long-course championships, and if you placed top-ten among Canadians in your division, you would qualify for the ITU Long Distance World Championships in 2017 (also in Penticton).  When it was announced that there was an aquabike division, I was in.

The 3km swim was two loops in Okanagan Lake, and then the bike course was 120km consisting of a flat out-and-back to Summerland and then two hilly loops around Skaha Lake.  For those doing the tri, the 30km run was two loops on the trail next to the canal (definitely the least scenic part of the race, so I wasn't missing anything good!).  Lots of reminiscing of the "old" Ironman Canada course in parts, and of course classics like Steve King there doing the announcing.  Penticton is always a nice town to race in, and while this event was much smaller than in IMC days, it was still a fun event.

Met up with some other Betty Designs teammates
in town for different race-week events.

Everyone talks about how much better Challenge events
are compared to Ironman.  I didn't notice much difference
(other than way less swag here unfortunately),
but one thing that stood out were the gear bags:
really nice, reusable, and not plastic! I imagine the
Challenge events in Europe are incredible,
but I think they can improve in Penticton.

Racked and ready (my traditional pre-race photo).

Race morning is always so early!
Exiting the swim - fastest swim in my AG.

Jason was out for his long training run when
I went racing by on the bike!

See you next year at Long-Course Worlds, Penticton!