IM Canada 2012 – the run

42.2km/26.2 mile run: 3:49:49

Going into the race and getting off the bike I had no idea how I would run. I knew I ran a 3:59:10 at Ironman Arizona, but I had no idea if I’d be anywhere close to that here.

The run for Ironman Canada is an out-and-back that goes along Skaha lake, which is a different lake than the one we swam in. The first four miles run through Penticton, but once you leave town it is pretty quiet other than runners. At 15km, you begin to climb a hill that leads into the turn around. It’s a gradual grade but enough to be a challenge. After the turnaround, there is 11km of gradual uphill to the 38km mark of the race. At that point, there are tons of spectators, you run an out and back, and then hit the finish line!

I started running and felt pretty great, considering. After a quick out and back, at about 5km, I stopped to chat with my parents and aunt and uncle. We quickly said hi, they told me how Kelly was feeling, and then I was off.

The spectators in Penticton were awesome! I was passing quite a few people and a bit worried I was taking it out to fast. On the other hand, I know running is my strength and decided to go with how I felt instead of reigning it in.

I have to thank a gentleman for mocking me loudly instead of encouraging me. When I ran by, he laughed out loud and said, “pace yourself, honey”. You better believe I thought about him later on when I was starting to hurt! There was no way I was going to slow down in case he later saw me struggling.

Although the run course was pretty quiet and mostly along the beautiful Skaha Lake, we ran by many homes on the lake. The people who lived in the area were out in full force with hoses and energy! I asked every single person who had a hose to spray me. It was H-O-T!

The aid stations and volunteers were also incredible. There were constantly aid stations and they were manned so well. I walked through every single one and switched drinking cola, water, and Gatorade Perform at every station. I think I took three salt pills throughout the marathon, too. I ate my Sport Beans, gel, and then grabbed bananas from some stations.

I started to get stomach pains in the first half so stopped at two porta-potties. I think I’m one of the only germaphobes in the world who hovers over the toilet in a squat when their legs are that tired! At the second stop, I took the time to toilet paper the seat before sitting.

Shortly after I saw Kelly! It was pretty funny. When he saw me he exclaimed, “Oh no, I’m going to get chicked by my wife”! All the people around us laughed. We stopped, hugged, had a quick chat and then kept running—me towards the turnaround and him towards the finish.

I just kept moving. It was really hot, but thankfully they had cold, wet sponges at all the aid stations. I started sticking them under my shirt straps on each shoulder, or one in the front of my top and one in the back. When I’d get really hot, I’d take them out and wring them over top of my head. It felt amazing!

I was so happy when I hit the turnaround! I was still feeling relaxed and was surprised by my quick pace (relatively speaking) but was starting to tire out. I knew I only had a half marathon to go so kept trucking.

Pretty soon, at 25km, I caught up to Kelly. It was great to chat with him! We walked together for a bit and tried to speedily catch up on each other’s day so far. Soon after we parted ways.

As this point I kept counting down the kilometres. Since aid stations were fairly close together, there were a lot of nice walking breaks. Although the closer I got to the finish, the harder it was so start running again after drinking.

My cramps were coming back and I was thankful for my triple brick training session. On my last run that day it was super hot and I cramped up. Instead of walking, I had pushed through. It gave me the confidence to keep pushing through these stomach cramps.

The run seemed like a death march at this point. It was hot, and some people I was passing looked like every walking step was torture. And the people making their way towards the turnaround looked so pained, too. No matter how long you’re out there or how fast or slow you are, it is a taxing day.

Coming back into Penticton the crowds were amazing. Everyone was cheering you on by name and it was really encouraging.

Once you get close to the finish line, you have to do an out and back. I know a lot of people didn’t like this aspect of the course, but I liked it (although it seemed to take forever)! That way you had crowds about 4km from the finish and then again for the last one.

Approaching the finish line is an amazing feeling—you’ve been working hard for (in my case) just over 12 hours, you trained hard for months, you had ups and downs in training, you struggled throughout parts of the day, and you’re finally accomplishing your goal that you’ve thought about countless times from the day you signed up for the race.

I took it all in. I smiled, I high-fived, and I absorbed all the energy. Again, I didn’t hear them say my name when I crossed the finish line, but this time I got video from Brightroom (the race photographers) so I can watch it! And I loved that at this race they held the finish line tape for each athlete.

Final time: 12:06:56

As soon as I crossed the line, they had two volunteers to walk with me to get my medal, shirt, and hat, and then get finisher photos taken. Then they walked with me to the food area and showed me where things were, ensured I felt alright, and then left.

I went and found my parents and aunt and uncle, but just stayed with my mom as the other three were strategically placed so my mom could call them when she saw us coming in! I hung out with her for a bit and tried to stretch and then she saw Kelly coming!! I ran {hobbled} back around into the finishers area to wait for him at the finish line.

It was an incredible day! We continued the fun into the night, and I’ll do one last recap about that. All I have to say for now is the finish line at midnight is beyond inspiring.

Thanks for reading. I know these are ridiculously long, but I know I’ll enjoy reading them later on.

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44 responses to “IM Canada 2012 – the run

  1. You’re an absolute star. I sorta wish there’d been more disciplines so I can keep on reading… 🙂 HUGE CONGRATS AND WELL DONE and all that stuff. And just to let you know, I AM doing the duathlon this weekend! Thanks for the encouragement way back when… One more time: CONGRATS!!!!

  2. Awesome! Congrats – what an inspiration!

  3. An ironman must be an amazing experience. You are a huge inspiration and I loved reading all the parts of the recap. Great story telling skills as well!
    Did they say your name in the video?

  4. What an awesome job you did! Incredible time, especially given those conditions. I love the smile on your face at the end. And love that you showed that man with the snarky comment! Way to go!!!

  5. Dang, how do you look so amazing in all of these photos? You seriously look like you’re out on a leisurely Sunday jog and not an IM! CONGRATS on such a great race!!

  6. HUGE congrats – what an amazing day!

  7. The specatators totally make or break a race. How fun that you had such great people cheering you on and your husband! Your race write up is so descriptive….I felt like I was there! Congrats on an incredible race! I hope you are enjoying your time off, post race. I am definitely inspired!!!

  8. Please procreate the most athletic baby ever!!!!!!!Dream team.

    I have goosebumps from reading this. What a f*n accomplishment. I don’t think my words are going to do it justice. I am so proud of you. This is such a kick a** story to read about. Every day people, doing bigger than life things! Such an inspiration!

  9. Chills! That is not only an amazing run time, but a freaking awesome finish! I’m so happy for you – congrats again!

  10. Congrats!!! What an amazing race you had and you smiled the whole time! I am so impressed by your run time especially considering the bathroom breaks, walks through aid stations and stops to talk! You are a machine!

  11. What a crazy awesome accomplishment! You sounded like you truly enjoyed the time you spent doing it as well. Congrats!!

  12. Loved seeing the pictures!! 🙂 Thanks for sharing your experience – I loved getting an inside view point!

  13. I’ve really enjoyed reading all the inspiring stories of your race. It looks like an amazing location, and it’s also amazing that you met your husband so many times en route – even at the photo tent! Congratulations on a great effort!

  14. you are my hero! seriously! Look at those legs, they carried you through the death march!

  15. So incredible! Absolutely amazing what the body and the mind can achieve. So great that Kelly managed to do it with you!

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  17. This is amazing! Totally inspiring and so so motivating!! It’s quite unbelievable how far an Ironman really is.. wow. So impressed and I love that you had your husband there with you! CONGRATS!

  18. Incredible post! I loved reading about your experience. I really want to do an IM some day. I have only done olympic distance tris, but I am afraid training for an IM will leave me with no free time at all. How did you find the time to train for this?

    • Thanks, Jessie! If you’ve done Olympic distance tris, I think you’re ahead of the game!
      You definitely have to manage your time well, but with working full-time there is still time to train and do some other things. I think the key is too not overtrain. Some people put in ridiculous amounts of time. But if your goal is to have fun, then I don’t think you need to train a crazy amount of hours!

  19. triathlonobsession

    Congrats! That is good advice about the training. It’s great that you loved it enough to do it again next year. One day I will up the ante and add the full! I love training for a 1/2 so I think just the monster miles on the bike would be the major change. 🙂 Loved your race report! 🙂

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