After working on her swimming stroke the past several months, multi-talented local athlete Brandi Heisterman was ready to dominate in the water at the Xterra Canadian Championships on Sept. 2 in Canmore, Alta.
But she wasn’t quite prepared for the claustrophobic conditions in Quarry Lake.
The Brackendale resident emerged from the lake in last place among all the pros after experiencing some high traffic in the water.
“Everyone was kind of on top of each other and everyone got bumped around a bit,” she said. “But I’ve never been swum over before and it happened to me twice that day. It was a bit much.”
Heisterman explained that swimmers jockeying for position come right over you and push you under in the heat of the race. She said the pushing and shoving threw her off a bit.
“I’m pretty comfortable in the water but when you’re at your VO2 max, along with the altitude in Canmore and the really cold water, it can be hard,” she said.
Despite the difficult start in the water, Heisterman battled through and made up ground in the bike portion of the race.
“The bike was good for me and I got as close as third,” she said. “But I kind of got worried because I still had to run, so I backed off a bit.”
According to Heisterman, the run was challenging and she went through a lot of her reserve energy catching up while on the bike.
“I was drained by the run,” she said. “It’s two laps of this really hilly course and when you have to come from behind that far, you end up burning matches and I burnt too many matches. I hoped to have something left for the run but there really wasn’t much left. The panic of having to catch up was really draining.”
In spite of her struggles with the race, Heisterman still managed to place fifth in the pro women’s division and did take home the final cash prize spot. She said she’ll continue to work on her swimming with her new swim coach Lenka Fanturova, who Heisterman said has helped her stroke a lot.
She said she’s likely heading to Ogden, Utah, to take part in the Xterra National Championships on Saturday (Sept. 22) and will definitely head to Hawaii to participate in the Xterra World Championships on Oct. 28.
For more information on Heisterman, visit her blog at www.brandiheisterman.blogspot.ca.