Tag Archives: Ironman Canada

Ironman Canada Whistler 2013 recap

I’m going to write this all in one post, so it’s a long one!

The days leading up to Ironman Canada were busy: 16 hours of solo driving split over two days, walking around Whistler, hanging out with family, and of course all the Pre-Ironman activities.

Practice swim in the beautiful Alta Lake

Practice swim in the beautiful Alta Lake

Meeting triathlon legend Simon Whitfield!

Meeting triathlon legend Simon Whitfield!

I was extremely nervous. I think more so than any race I’ve done in a while. My sister-in-law was racing and we had quite a few spectators including my parents, in-laws, and sister-in-law’s in-laws.

But, Kelly wasn’t racing and wasn’t in Whistler either as I was meeting him and Harold a couple days after the race. It was definitely different as he is generally really calming for me!

Race morning

I was up at 3:30 after a few hours of sleep and stuck with my morning ritual of breakfast in the room.

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I was a lot more relaxed in the morning and was really looking forward to the day ahead! I went into it having no idea what to expect but knowing it would most likely be my last tri for a while so to enjoy the day.

I met my parents and sister-in-law at 4:20 to walk to T2 where they had buses to take athletes to the swim start.

We were greeted like royalty by the body markers who started cheering as we approached. Again, the volunteers were incredible all day long.

We got body marked, checked on our T2 bags, and hopped on a bus. Once we got to Alta Lake, I put my bottles with water and Nuun on my bike, added my bento full of fuel, and pumped my tires.

I had to put on my wetsuit fairly early for warmth. Soon enough, all our spectators arrived so we chilled out chatting with them.

The start came quickly. The lake looked majestic with a mist over it and the mountains as a backdrop.

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We got in early for a warm up then decided to stay in the lake since it was a deep-water start. Looking back towards shore was such a cool sight with thousands of athletes and spectators.

The swim

Alicia and I wished each other luck and then we were off!

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I always swim wide. I got punched twice in the head right at the beginning so moved even wider. After that, I had a lot of space for the entire swim. I popped my head up a couple times to look around and take it in. I know way more men than women participate in Ironman events, but I was shocked at how many green caps there were versus pink.

Once I turned the last buoy I was so grateful to be getting out of the lake knowing one discipline was finished! My Garmin showed 4.3 km, so 500m longer! I know I swam wide, but I didn’t think that wide!

3.8 km/2.4 mile swim – 1:19:51 

T1 – 6:36
I got out of the water, found my transition bag, and went into the tent. Thankfully a kind volunteer was there to help my put on my sports bra and arm warmers (hardest things to put on when wet)!

I unracked my bike, walked it up the long ramp, saw our spectators, and hopped on for a 180km ride!

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Easy to spot in my bright orange Hawaiian jersey!

The Bike

The course basically two out and backs- Callaghan Road and Pemberton- with spectacular views, lots of ups and downs, and one flat stretch.

I’m not a strong cyclist and hills, and even more so descents, are not my forte. But I really liked the course! The constant elevation changes kept me on my toes and didn’t allow for boredom.

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There were lots of fans on the ride out from the swim and along the roads in the main part of Whistler. About 20km in, I heard Kelly cheer for me. I was in complete disbelief to see Kelly and Harold on the side of the road, pumping music and ready for a day of spectating!

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I was in complete shock and then completely overwhelmed. I cried for literally 3km before I forced myself to get a grip.

My smile was enormous knowing I’d see them again soon!

The ride was definitely tough, but I would say on par with the old IM Canada course in Penticton and IM Coeur d’Alene. I think the main difference is the placement of hills. There was a long stretch of them the last 30 km, so your legs were pretty fatigued at that point and even more tired heading on to the run.

I didn’t put on my aero bars for this race, and my back wasn’t sore at all and my neck was much less sore. I don’t know if there is a correlation but I was happy to not be too sore.

One thing was worrying me…I didn’t pee once. Normally I stop at least a couple times.

180km/112 mile bike – 6:53:38

T2 – 6:26

A volunteer took my bike, another took my T2 bag and followed me into the tent. I changed socks, shorts, shirts, swapped cycling shoes for runners and helmet for a visor and finally hit a porta potty. Then I got lubed up from head to toe making sure they paid extra attention to my back!

I ran out with an ear-to-ear smile knowing unless disaster struck, I would cross that finish line!

The Run

I quickly settled into a rhythm.

I loved the run course! It was two loops on softly rolling trail and on a path around a beautiful mountain lake.

Although I loved the course, the miles seemed to tick by slowly at the beginning. My body was beat but I just took it stride by stride. A lot of spectators commented I was looking strong, which was nice to hear since I felt so weak!

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I stuck to my walk through aid stations method to get in enough fuel. But this race I really took my time in the aid stations! At one I was stopped eating chips at a table. It must have been a while, as a volunteer joked about getting me some dip! At a couple others I stopped to fish out my salt tabs and take them while chatting with volunteers.

On my way back towards my second loop, Kelly, Harold, and my brother-in-law were cheering in the trails. It was the first time I actually got to talk to them! I stopped for some hugs and chatter. Of course seeing Kelly was amazing, but seeing Harold in the middle of a race was such a boost! It’s not allowed but they ran with me for a couple minutes so we could talk.

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I told Kelly how much pain I was in and that my ankles felt like they were breaking. He told me to tough it out. The sooner it’s over, the sooner the pain is over.

I ran through town again and saw our cheering squad. On the way back out, I knew it was going to be a struggle. I tried to just enjoy the lovely, soft, shaded trail and focus on the next aid station.

I hit the porta potty again and knew it would be tough to get moving! I sat there for a couple minutes rallying myself. (You know I was desperate to sit in a stinky porta-potty for a bit!)

Suddenly with 6km/4 miles left, I felt incredible…talk about runner’s high! I fed off the fans, charged up the hills, and smiled.

We took a turn, ran through Olympic Village then hit the home stretch. I heard strangers cheering, saw Kelly with my Dad and Harold, then saw my Mom and in-laws.

42.2km/26.2 mile run – 3:48:13

I crossed the finish line in 12:14:44.

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I was ecstatic! I got my medal, hat, t-shirt, and finishers photo then got out of there to find my family! It was so awesome to have everyone there, especially Kelly and Harold. I could not stop smiling.

We stood around talking and I felt great. It was a huge difference compared to how I felt after Coeur d’Alene. (The next morning, I was shocked at how decent I felt. My Achilles tendon area was really sore and my knees were a bit achy but that was it!)

I went back and showered before coming back to cheer Alicia through the finish line of her first Ironman! I am so proud of her accomplishment.

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I was getting pretty hungry so Kelly, Harold and I picked up a greasy pizza and I went to town on it. Harold was wiped from a day with lots of noise and people and Kelly and I were both exhausted, too, so we didn’t go back for the final finishers.

I was SO happy and more than surprised with my time. It was my slowest Ironman and swim to date, but I am truly proud of myself. It was a mental battle to get to that start line and I battled throughout the run.

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The Ironman is a beast and one I always look back on with pride. This year has been a great ride!

What was your favourite race, run, or bike of the summer?

Ironman Canada 2013 finisher!

Just wanted to pop in and let you know Ironman Canada Whistler was awesome!

I ended up finishing in 12:14:44 with a 1:19:51 swim, 6:53:38 bike, and 3:48:13 run.

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It hurt….bad at times. It was also a stunning course with challenging climbs on the bike.

My sister-in-law rocked her first Ironman, finishing under 14 hours!

I’ll post a full recap once I’m home from a week off the grid (in the mountains) with my boys!

Ironman Canada 2013 – my journey to the start

The 2013 Ironman Canada in Whistler on Sunday, August 25 will be my fourth Ironman start line and the second of the summer.

As always, it’s been an interesting journey. I guess it started with my journey to Ironman Coeur d’Alene and then after I crossed the finish line on Sunday, June 23.

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We celebrated our finish and enjoyed a week of recovery and spare time!

I struggled through the first couple weeks of July and debated numerous times whether or not I should partake in Ironman Canada.

In the end, despite my screaming legs, I decided to persevere for a few reasons: I’m stubborn, I want to test myself, these races are expensive, and I truthfully don’t know the next time I’ll sign up for an iron distance triathlon.

I had a bit more time for training once Kelly decided not to participate. I tried to focus on the bike, which is my weakest discipline. I even got in a few hill repeat sessions, which I haven’t done before.

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I rode 185km in an organized Tour and was proud to have someone draft off me. (I was obviously nowhere near the front of the Tour, but it still felt good!)
My sister-in-law, who is participating in Ironman Canada for her first, came into town one weekend so Kelly joined us on a long ride through the country.
The next weekend I tackled a triple brick to test my legs. I was really happy with my bike and run paces, and remembered how lucky I am to experience the quiet mornings on the bike.fog3I continued to only run twice a week despite my love for running. But I tried to run once a week in the river valley to enjoy the softer surface of the trails and keep it fun. This inevitably led to some hilly runs, which I haven’t regularly incorporated into training in years.CivicTrailRun2My longest run was only 10 miles, but I’ll take it! The marathon of an Ironman is so mental and I didn’t want to tire my legs out even more than they have been by going on a long run (not to mention risk injury).
I’ve also continued to swim only once a week and at a comfortable pace. My legs have been thankful for the recovery swims! I swam one 4km swim to remind my arms how tired they get near the end of an Ironman swim.My left knee has started to bother me again over the last couple weeks despite keeping up with my physio exercises. KT tape is becoming a close friend again!

I definitely fell off the yoga bandwagon but tried to roll and stretch often.

My two favourite training sessions of this journey were on our trip to Jasper: my bike up Maligne Lake Road and peaceful, morning trail run.

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I took extra days off when I needed them, shortened workouts when I needed to, but felt like the sessions I did have were more focused.

It has again been a journey with unique challenges. I leave for Whistler tomorrow and plan to arrive sometime on Thursday.

I hope to meet Alison, who so kindly sent me info on the area and the course.

Although it’ll be a very different experience without my favourite training and racing partner, Kelly’s sister Alicia will be in the race so I know I won’t be out there alone!

We’ll also have the support of my parents, my in-laws, Alicia’s husband, and her in-laws!

Once again, I go into this race having no idea what to expect. I know it’ll be a challenging but beautiful course, but my legs seriously tire quickly.

I want to have fun, regardless of how long the bike takes me or how exhausted I am on the run. I want to take it all in- the crowds, the other participants, and the town of Whistler.  Most importantly, I want to cross that finish line and get there with a smile on my face.

Then I’m looking forward to meeting Kelly and Harold in Jasper for five days of relaxation and lots of s’mores!

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Is anyone else racing this weekend?
Do you make goals for each race?

What’s up with my workouts?

I realize I haven’t posted much about my preparation for Ironman Canada this time around. Partly because my workouts haven’t been very scheduled, and they haven’t been that inspiring!

We took Harold for a hair appointment a couple nights ago (he looks very handsome and smells like coconut lime!) so were by the river valley. I ran the trails and Kelly biked alongside me on his mountain bike, doing a few out and backs.

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My knee hurt a little, even on the soft trails. My legs were dead, so I cut it short. But it was so great to have company to keep me moving!

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I haven’t mentioned it yet, but Kelly isn’t going to participate in Ironman Canada. He made the decision a few weeks ago, but I’ve been hoping he’ll change his mind!

He’s tired out after bike racing and Ironman Coeur d’Alene and just wasn’t in to structured training. Instead, he’s loving mountain biking and running when he wants. I’ve been loving his company on some rides and runs.  His unstructured active schedule gives me more flexibility to train and gets me out of some housework!

Back to training… Since my legs have been so tired I decided to take extra rest days the past couple weeks and took a restorative yoga class the other day. Even during yoga I had to pull out of some poses early to rest my weary legs!

But it was heaven on my tight hips, glutes, and IT band.

Here’s to hoping the taper kicks in and these legs get some snap back!

Do you take extra rest days when your body asks for them, or do you follow your schedule regardless?

Ironman Canada previews

With less than three weeks to go until Ironman Canada, I’m getting excited and nervous!

I checked out the Ironman Canada website this weekend and came across a few goodies.

Numbers have been posted. I’m #365!

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The best nuggets I cam across are course preview videos. They have them for the swim, bike, and run!

The swim is a two-loop, 2.4-mile mass start in Alta Lake, surrounded by white-capped mountains.

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The bike is a one loop, 112-mile course comparable to the old Ironman Canada bike.

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The two loop, 26.2 mile run takes you through some asphalt trails and finishes in Whistler Olympic Plaza.

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It sure is nice to actually be able to see parts of the course and hear about some of the bike difficulties. I have no doubt I’ll love the scenery and curse the hills!

We’re heading to Jasper this weekend for a long overdue camping trip. I can’t wait to breathe the mountain air and ride some hills!

What is your favourite mountain town?

Spare time

Although participating in an Ironman and crossing that finish line is such an indescribable feeling, the week after is pretty great too!

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(You better believe I’ll be posting Ironman Coeur d’Alene photos at every opportunity!)

I came home from work and wasn’t in a mad rush to get out the door again.

I ate junk without thinking about it.

I took Harold on leisurely walks.

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I visited with my niece, sister, and brother-in-law.

I took out both my cruiser and my mountain bike not once, but twice.

I went to the Farmer’s Market on a Saturday morning and perused many booths. (Not normally possible when Ironman training.)

I lazed around for an entire long weekend and took two naps.

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That being said, I can’t wait to get back at it and get ready for Ironman Canada!

I took last week ridiculously easy, riding my road bike once, and running and swimming naked (sans watch) once each.

This week I hope to pick it up a little. My legs are feeling pretty good and my bike ride was really strong (if only it could be on race days)!

I’m trying to be smart about it and take more time than rush back into it and struggle for the next eight weeks.

Plus, I think I could use one more week to enjoy this spare time!

What are your favourite recovery activities?