Tag Archives: Ironman

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.


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.


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!


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!


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.


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!


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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?

Wednesday web links – Ironman news and fun bikes

I haven’t posted any interesting links in a long time! Two are Ironman related- can you tell what’s on my mind lately?!

The Physiology of an Ironman – Read about what really goes on inside a person’s body when they’re racing an Ironman, from start to finish. My favourite sentence is from the run explanation, “Just when you think there’s no way you could possibly run a marathon, another burst of adrenaline runs through your body when you hear the crowd.”


I’ve only done two Ironmans, but I can definitely relate to that sentence!

Pure Fix Cycles – These bikes look super fun. Did I mention they’re glow in the dark? There are four options in the glow series, so you can choose how much glow you want!  If you’re not in the market for a new bike, you can also buy glow in the dark wheel sets.

Ironman Coeur d’Alene forgoing mass swim start? – I first read about possible changes to the swim start a couple weeks ago and then found this article dating back to February.

I can’t find any conclusive information on whether Ironman Coeur d’Alene will have a mass swim start or waves. I guess we’ll have to wait until the Athlete Guide comes out in a few weeks.

Also, I’m not sure how I would feel about a wave start. I was incredibly nervous for both an in-water start (Arizona) and a beach start (Canada), but I think mass starts are part of the excitement and craziness of triathlon.

That being said, safety is obviously a priority for Ironman and for racers. I was hit in the face and kicked really hard during the AZ swim, and I’m sure that’s getting off easy! I’ll be interested to see the decision, and the logistics if it is a wave start.

Mass start at IMAZ 2010.

Mass start at IMAZ 2010.

Have you read anything interesting lately?

What do you think of a wave start versus mass start?

Wednesday web links – pro athlete mania!

Here are three links I’m loving this Wednesday.

1. Canadian Ryder Hesjedal won the Giro D’Italia cycling race this past Sunday. He’s the first Canadian to win the Giro, one of the three grand cycling tours. Here are some clever quotes congratulating him on his huge win: http://www.canada.com/sports/autoracing/Ryder+Hesjedal+Giro+Italia+

2. Linsey Corbin, a pro triathlete, posted a great little video of a training day in her life: http://linseycorbin.com/blog/view/an-ironman-training-day-in-hawaii

I love the music, the honu (sea turtle) interludes, and her hardcore training in Kona!

3. Self magazine’s Five on 5 interview with Chrissie Wellington: http://www.self.com/magazine/blogs/lucysblog/2012/05/the-mantra-that-motivates-tria.html.

It’s a little more insight into what Chrissie is all about and what drives her.  They discuss her new book, A Life Without Limits.

A Life Without Limits – a book review

I am a huge Chrissie Wellington fan. I am drawn to her because of her strength, prowess in triathlon, drive to inspire, smile that exemplifies her attitude towards life, and how she’s pushed the limits of female athletes.

Chrissie’s all smiles at the pro media conference before Ironman Arizona 2010.

I finally got her book, A Life Without Limits, after eagerly waiting for the North American release. It didn’t disappoint.

It began with a foreward from Lance Armstrong. It shows just how highly she is thought of in endurance sports when Armstrong commends her achievements.

The book takes you on an honest tour of her life, through both her struggles and her successes.

“I’m an ordinary girl from Norfolk, marked out by, if anything, an appetite for adventure and a will for self-improvement. These are qualities available to anyone who is of a mind to acquire them.”

Life experiences

If you’ve heard or read interviews with Chrissie, you know that she wasn’t into competitive sports like most elite athletes. Instead she was focused on academics when she was young, graduating from university with a geography degree and the highest mark ever recorded in the department.

This is a common thread throughout the autobiography- her drive to be the best she can be and make the most of her experiences.

She openly discusses her struggle with body image, including battles with both anorexia and bulimia.

She talks about her family and many friends from all over the world. You understand how important family and friendships are to her.

Part of the book is her previous work in government and it how it led to her work in development in Nepal and all her world travels. These experiences help shape who she is, and helped build the foundation for her endurance.


To me, Chrissie’s foray into triathlon in nothing short of amazing. She obviously has incredible talent and that talent was picked up on quickly by coaches. She delves into her coaching history. She vividly writes about her races. I got chills reading some reports, especially her Arizona win and world record following a heart-breaking DNS at Kona, her Roth experiences, and her Kona wins.

On her way to breaking the Ironman record at Arizona in 2010.

She’s won every ironman she’s ever entered. She’s the fastest female to ever race the distance. She’s been the world champion four times. She’s broken world records multiple times.

Her remarkable times and finishing places have put her closer to men than ever before: a true feat.

Chrissie’s life successes haven’t been easy. She has worked hard every step of the way. If you follow her Twitter feed or blog, you know she has taken the year off triathlon to live life to the absolute fullest and champion various charities.

Charity work and platforms

Her victories and fame have given her a platform to reach people about topics she is passionate about. She mentions this in her post-Kona win speech. She constantly tweets about it. She also writes about some of it in her book. These parts were deeply touching.


A Life Without Limits is an honest look at her life and her successes, of which there are many. It’s a well-rounded read that’s not only about athletics and triathlon but also about her life experiences that make her who she is today.

It’s inspiring. It makes you want to live life like she does: without limits.

The length of this review shows just how much I enjoyed the book. I could have written so much more!

Walking and talking while Chrissie signs my visor.

I had the opportunity to meet Chrissie at Ironman Arizona in 2010, two days before she broke the Ironman record (which she has since broken). It was nothing short of incredible!

Have you read the book? Who is your favourite athlete? What’s your favourite autobiography?


I’ve been wanting to start this blog for months. I’ve also been on the injured list for months. It’s tough to start a running blog when you can’t run! I finally decided to just go for the blog, as I’m slooowly getting back into the swing of things.

To make a long story short, I love to run. I’m 28 and have been running for 16 years. I started off running track and cross-country and then moved to road races. My husband is my training buddy, and we decided try triathlon in 2010. We competed in a half Ironman in Calgary and Ironman Arizona that year. (For more info, read the About Me page!)

Finish of Calgary 70.3

Last year was pretty much a bust running-wise, so I’m anxious to get back at it! And I have to get healthy soon, as we’re registered for Ironman Canada at the end of August…in roughly 150 days.

I love to sweat; I love to run; my body craves a hard workout.

What have I been doing to prevent myself from going crazy without sweating, running, and hard workouts?

  • Biking (non-aggressive and without much power)
  • Swimming (sometimes arms only)
  • Lots of strength (arms, hips, back, legs)
  • Skiing (when vacation permits)
  • Cross-country skiing (when weather allows and vacation permits)
  • Long-boarding (when blessed to go somewhere warm and snow-free!)
  • Cuddling my pup

Skiing in TahoeCross-country skiing in Tahoe

Has it been optimal? No. Have I been grumpy? Most definitely. Have I felt sorry for myself? Of course. But, I’ve been doing my best and I always remember it could be so much worse.

Hopefully over the next few weeks and months I’ll be able to start blogging about workouts that make me sweat, make me shake, and make me the good sore.

Thanks for reading!