Ironman Canada 2013 Race Report (eh)
Another adventure for Jessie and I focused around another epic race. The original plan was to leave on Thursday morning and drive all day arriving in Whistler, BC by dinner. We ended up getting too anxious and left Wednesday night. We drove up to Portland and cut three hours off the drive off. Good thing we did because that drive took a lot longer then Google Maps says. Once we got north of Vancouver, BC the drive was spectacular, one of the prettiest drives we have ever seen on our many many road trips.
We were able to throw our wetsuits on a have a quick swim in Alta Lake on Friday with other members of the Endurance Nation team and then we were off to drive the course. Another beautiful ride but then I began to realize how tough this bike course could be if not ridden properly. Oh well. It’s supposed to be tough, it’s Ironman.
Saturday was a relaxing day, dropping of bikes and gear bags and lots of hanging out. Watched some crappy movies and went to bed by 9pm.
Sunday morning showed up fast. 2am alarm for Jessie to chug a smoothie like she was in college again. This time I was able to fall back asleep before the 3:45 alarm. After rolling out of bed it was the standard bagel and PB choked down with some Powerade. Out the door before 4:30 to hop on the bus to T1. About a 10min bus ride full of anxious type-A triathletes. Not many words were exchanged as athletes were beginning to focus or maybe just wake up because it was still so damn early. When we got to T1, I aired up the tires and got gels and bottles on the bike. Hang out, eat a powerbar, drink a Gatorade, and watch the beautiful sunrise over the massive mountains to kick off a great start to an even better day.
Swim: We were all funneled into the water through transition about 10min before the start. Jessie and I found a photographer for an Ironsmootch photo while still standing in knee deep pee-filled water. Water temp was in the high 60’s, just about perfect. Positioned myself about 50meters from the buoy line about 4-5 people deep. The gun went off at 7am and the race was on. The first 400m of this race was the most ruthless I have ever been involved in. I was pushed under, had a leg grabbed, my arm held, and on several occasions I was punched in the back of the head. That being said, I made a decision at the start of the race to be aggressive in the swim and be the pusher not the pushee. So I am sorry if I dunked, grabbed or swam over you, I was the guy in the black wetsuit and green swimcap. The two loop course was fairly wide open after the initial mayhem. Not exiting the water after the first loop was nice, decreasing the chance of any cramping. Still need to work on swimming in a straight line but fairly happy with the finish. Swim Time- 1:11:50
T1: Got stripped by strangers again, at least this time it was a girl. Grabbed my gear bag and I ate shit, haha, on the wet grass. Vollies were great in helping me back to my feet. Decided on arm warmers for the bike and I’m happy with the choice. On the way out of T1, the guy in front of me dropped his GU flask so I picked it up and race it to him hoping for some good race karma. T1 time-5:13
Bike: Holy shit, this was Epic, both in scenery and how difficult it was. I really pulled my foot off the gas for the first 30 miles or so. Ehhh in retrospect I wish I didn’t because there was plenty of downhill to recover, but I’m not unhappy about it either. The climb to the top of Callahan was awesome, great climb with a few flat spots to recover. Got chicked several times but that’s okay. After making it to Olympic park, we started to cruise downhill at speeds over 40 mph before climbing back up to whistler village and descending down to Pemberton for about 20 miles. Now this was fun. Hit a top speed on my bike at 45 mph, only to get chicked by my wife who managed 45.6 mph at one point. Personally the hardest part of this bike course was staying aero for about 1.5 hours on the 30 mile out and back after Pemberton. My neck, back, quads, feet, everything hurt. The first climb on the way back to whistler was welcomed with open arms. I managed to have to pee three times on the bike, all in porta-potties, likely because I was drinking so much and not sweating because of the cooler air. Made the final right turn through Pemberton ready to hurt. I knew the last 20 miles were uphill and I knew I was in for a hurt. From what I remember there were three brutal sections with about a 10% grade and I would have been going backwards on them had there been any wind. We were very fortunate to have ideal weather on race day. No wind and about 70degrees all day. Before I knew it the massive climb back to whistler was over. I could see people on the run course and the cheering crowds started to appear. I was a nice boost of confidence knowing the race is about 2/3rds over. Looking at my watch I was happy with my time. Only 6min slower then CDA and no drafting penalty this time around! Bike time- 6:06:03.
T2: Smooth and easy no crashing this time. Dad got a pic of me running out from his computer at home in Florida. No sherpas this time but I knew they were there in spirit cheering me on from home. T2 time-4:46
Run: This is it, the final leg. All you have to do at this point is run a frickin marathon. 2 loops of up and down and up and down it was only 700ish feet of climbing the whole time but it seemed like we were climbing Everest at points. I was able to run the entire first lap. Slow running with walking the aid stations. I don’t know why, but I decided to try coke for the first time ever in a race. It worked great! I didn’t have to suck as many gels down or choke down any bars. Stopped to chat with Jessie twice on the run course, which is always a nice boost and makes all the pain go away for a few minutes. The wheels started to fall off about mile 13 with the worst of it at mile 19. The run walks became more like walk runs. I kept peaking at my watch hoping a sub 12 hr was possible. And with about 4 miles to go I did some quick math in my head and made a decision to beat the 12 hour mark. I knew I would have to run and I knew it would have to hurt. It was time to HTFU. So I picked my head up kept my lungs filled with good air and made it hurt. I found the other gear, the one you never realize is there until you have used every other trick in the book. It felt like I was running 8min/mile’s again around the airport loop in Roseburg. Wrong! Looking back at my Garmin it was more like 10min/miles but I don’t care. The race organizers played an evil trick on us making us run right past the finish line in the last 0.5 miles and do a loop through the village. It was at this point I could hear the announcer say “1 min to the 12 hr mark.” At this point I knew I could do it and every ache, every pain, all the fatigue I had accumulated over the last 140 miles was gone. Sprinting down the shoot there was no time to high five anyone, my eyes were on the finish line. I DID IT! SUB 12 HOURS! By a whole 23 seconds! 2 Ironmans, 1 summer, 8 weeks apart, BOO YA! D-O-N-E! Run time- 4:31:45.
Final Time- 11:59:37
What a great race. Harder than CDA and Faster then CDA. Jessie and I both had PRs, we got to adventure to a new country, see beautiful places, and meet some great people. Drinking beer on Monday at the bar we ran into a Kona qualifier. He had dedicated the last 6 years of his life to making it to Kona. Jessie is ready to commit. I don’t think I’m ready for that. But I will support her all the way if that’s the road she wants to go down.
I can’t believe that’s it for triathlon in 2013. But no worries. Our crazy asses have signed up for a 24 hr mountain bike race in 6 weeks. Adios until next time!