Sep 4, 2007

Ironman Canada 2007 Race Report

This has taken a while and it is just the for the day of race (Sunday). I'll get to the pre and post race stuff sometime soon as well. But for now this is my account of how my Ironman Canada Race went.

I slept till 3am and tried to go back to sleep but could not so instead I ate some cheerios and half a double shot. The rest of the crew started to get moving around 4am and the support crew(parents) got up around 5ish. I felt kind of nervous but not to bad. Though I almost cried when I hugged my mom when we were heading out. We managed to grab a great spot nice and close to the transition area but then I realized I left my garmin at the house - my heart rate went through the roof. Kyle drove me back while every one else went to get body marked. Luckily we were staying in a house less than 5 min from the start. I ran in grabbed the garmin and we managed to get back in time to get the same parking spot.It freaked me out and I was a bit scared - I'm not really sure what of - the lake looked like glass and I knew I was ready to give it my best.

Kyle and I dropped our special needs bags off and got in the long line for body marking - it was probably a good thing the line was so long and slow it gave me a chance to calm down and breath again. We chit chatted with people and slowly but surly I got to the front of the line - they had us stand on a step stool and wrote our number on the front of both arms, front of the left calf and age on the back of the right calf. After that I was ready to get my bottles, gels, computer and random stuff all on my bike and get ready to jump in the lake.
The transition area was buzzing with energy and very very long lines to the few porta potties. The rest of the crew found me and Col helped me top off my tires. We all started to get ready for the swim - lots of body glide on the legs for quick wetsuit removal, and packed up all our dry clothes into the dry clothes bag. We also tied orange ribbon stuff to our wrists in the hope that if we were near each other we could see it - mostly it was for Bryan, Col and Kyle who wanted to stay close together.
Once we were all pretty much ready, I ate a gel, put a gel in the chest of my wetsuit for halfway and we headed out on to the beach right before the pros started (6:45a). I was nervous, excited, but t least i was no longer really scared - I was with my friends and I just reminded myself over and over that I could do this. We milled around the beach - I saw my swim coach Eric and a few other people - wish everyone good luck and hugs. A couple of moments I almost started to cry and worried about fogging my goggles before the swim even started. The beach never really felt crowded - everyone was pretty spread out. We started in the water off to the left side a bit but fairly far forward - no one really seemed to want to be on the front (some of the guys that were on the front line were joking they would change $20 for the draft).

I barely heard the cannon go off but I saw people starting to head out - most moved kind of slowly like they were not so sure about it. I fallowed Col, Bryan and Kyle into the water (Futa started somewhere behind me). I just stopped thinking about anything other than what I had to do. It was crowded but I was able to find some space and just stuck my face down and swam. It was good until the first buoy when everyone decided they should stop and push each other around for a bit. It was sort of crazy - everyone swimming over each other - somehow I managed not to panic or get beat up to bad and just kept moving forward.
I found myself breathing every stroke mostly so I could sight the buoys and the people. I drifted left away from the crowds around the buoys so that I could have some more space and just swim with out stressing. I found that at each buoy on the way out people seemed to stop almost and bunch up so I kept swimming further and further to the left until the people in the boats started to yell at me. I probably added quite a few yards on to my swim but I was able to stay relaxed and just swim rather than fight for a spot so much. I saw the scuba divers a couple of times and they just waved - it was both funny and creepy to see them down there.
About half way I was feeling good - right on track time wise so I took a minute to eat a gel and look around - it was still crowed close in to the buoys but there was plenty of room on the edges where I was. I loved knowing that I was about half way done with the swim and my mind wandered a bit to the transition and bike part as I swam. Unlike Hawaii there was nothing to look at during the swim so I had to entertain myself and tried to focus on my form and staying calm and strong. On the way back I stayed very far left - every once and a while some one would yell at me to move right - but then when I did it always got more crowded or some random dude would swim over me so I kind of just stayed left. At some point I started counting how many buoys were left and I felt good - of course I started swimming right finally towards the 2nd to last buoy. It was getting more and more shallow so finally when it seemed about knee deep I stood up and started walking to shore - then of course it went from nice sand to rocks that hurt... Oh well I was just looking forward to getting on my bike.

The volunteers were great - the wetsuit strippers had me out of my wetsuit in seconds and on my way to grab my bag and into the changing tent. The changing tent was madness - people everywhere - i found a chair, dumped my bag out and started drying off, changed into bike shorts, put my socks and shoes on, helmet on, sun glasses, I put my arm warmers in my back pocket just in case, extra salt and gel went in my back pocket, and put my race belt on, put all my swim stuff back in the bag and I headed out to my bike. The volunteers tried to send me the wrong direction but I knew my bike was on aisle 44 so I ignored them and went straight to my bike. I ran my bike across the timing mat and was off on to the bike course.

I turned on my garmin before I left transition but it had to find satellites and all that - it took a good 3 miles for it get set up and started. I knew my mom and Jerry would be out on main street waiting to see me and that all the crosswalks were bumpy so I had to be careful so at least I would not be taking an accelerade shower - even so I made sure to smile when I saw my mom.

My stomach was kind of sloshy - I think I drank more lake water than normal but even so I started to take sips from my aero bottle full of accelerade and had some gel with in the first 10 miles. The roads were really crowded and it was pretty much impossible to stay the full 4 bike lengths behind - I saw a lot of refs but there was not much any one could really do.
On the first little hill I felt really good - I was more worried about all the people bunching up on the uphill - so I just moved to the left and passed them.
I knew I had Richter Pass coming and I would need energy so I made sure to drink my accelerade every so often and had some more gel - my stomach still did not feel good and my lower back and neck were tight so I just did not focus on it. It is a gradual down hill till Richter which was great - at some points I was up to around 29mph. At around mile 29ish I dropped a chain inside and calmly stopped got off the bike shifted the big ring to the outside and peddled it and the chain came back on (Kyle taught me this trick) and got back on my bike. A few people asked if I was ok and I defiantly was - after that I was less worried about something going wrong - I knew I could stay calm and deal with it (it also helped that the bike barn support van always seemed to be close by).
It seemed to take forever to get to Richter Pass and once I did I haled ass up hill - yes it was difficult but I was able to spin the entire way - I felt great passing tons of people. The road was crowded with both participants and lots of people cheering. The best part is the hill totally forced me to focus on climbing and the thought of how bad my stomach felt disappeared. I enjoyed the entire climb - it was sort of weird and very motivating.
Sadly the hill ended and I had to go downhill - the wind picked up and I don't really like downhills much anyway so I sat up and even though I did not brake I took it easy - I think my top speed was only about 39mph (vs Kyle's 50mph). It was kind of funny my right(rear) brake felt kind of squishy but I thought nothing of it at the time - after the race I found it wide open - oh well. It felt like there was both a side and head wind as I came into the valley. I had to peddle down hill and still never got going very fast especially after the first roller or two.
People always talk about Richter pass and Yellow lake but I think by far the hardest part of teh course was teh rollers - not because they are steep or anything like that but the headwind just took it out of me and it is boring. I do way better when I can focus on something and move on but it was just the same thing for so long. It did not help that my stomach and neck felt worse - I was craving anything that would sort of soak up the sloshy feeling but my special needs bag was a ways off still. I asked for cookies at one of the aid station but they only had power bars so instead I had a banana which stuck to my mouth. All the while my legs continued to feel great and even though I did not feel all together my best I was having fun and was happy with my progress. The next aid station I grabbed some orange slices which burned my already chapped lips but tasted great and helped a bit with my stomach. I also decided to stop and use the porta potty and see if that would help - it was weird being off the bike, my feet were kind of numb and my legs did not have a clue what to do - luckily a little girl who was volunteering held my bike for me while I waited in line. Afterwards I grabbed one more orange and headed out again. I felt a bit better but was ready for my special needs stuff.
At the turn off to the out and back part I heard Col's Dad yell my name and cheered for me _ i was totally surprised but it was great motivation to keep moving. The best part of the out and back part was that you got to have a tailwind for a while which was a very nice even though it was short lived. I got my special needs bag and stuffed my pockets with everything and then tried to eat par of a granola bar. My mouth was so dry I could barely crew it so I tried some cliff bar which was better but not what I wanted anymore. So I went back to my gel, accelerade and orange slices at aid stations. I saw Futa as I was heading out of the out and back - I was not to surprised I had not seen anyone else because I knew they were all faster than me esp in the swim.
I let my self take it sort of easy the 5 miles before the yellow lake climb starts so that I could be ready for it I guess. I stood up a lot, stretched my back some and ate gel. Once I started to climb I felt great again - I focused and went into my climbing position. I was able to get a good spin going with a nice quick cadence and started passing people. Col's dad spotted me first which gave my mom plenty of time to get lots of pics of me climbing the first hill.

The rest of the climb felt good - there were still lots of people cheering everyone on and I got a lot of "nice speed" and "good energy", even a few "wow look at her go" kind of calls. It was funny really and it made me very happy (glad I did all those hills in training).
The rest of the was mostly downhill but the wind was still blowing so I never got going to fast even though it was fun to pass all the cars stuck trying to get back into town. I made sure to keep drinking a took some more gel before I got into town and then once I was with in 5 miles or so I just spun my legs out as much as I could. I randomly saw my mom and Jerry and of course the sign walking towards the run course - I yelled out to them and they seemed just as surprised to see me. lol I headed the rest of the way back to the transition - I was not totally sure about my time or anything but I saw a lot of people already out on the run course.

I headed into T2, grabbed my garmin before they took my bike, grabbed my run bag, headed into the changing tent which was not quite as crowded as last time, I dumped my bag out, changed shorts, sock, shoes, race belt with gels, grabbed hat, put salt on race belt, put small body glide in back pocket, grabbed small bottle of accelerade, and an extra gel, put my garmin on the wrist band. Left my sunglasses, arm warmers and all the other random stuff that was in my back pocket. A nice volunteer helped me get all my bike stuff back in my bag and I was off and running. It is funny I never even really thought about slowing down or stopping or even that wow I was about to run a marathon - I just got my stuff on and went.

At first my feet just felt completely numb from the bike but otherwise I felt good - I was running (not super fast or anything but I was running). The start of the course is kind of crazy the streets are just lined with people so I was kind of distracted looking for my mom even though I knew she would be further down at the park where I told her I wanted her to be. With in a mile or two I tired of carrying the small bottle of accelerade so I tossed it in a garbage can on the side of the street and I ate the gel just so I would not have to carry it anymore. By now my stomach had finally settled and felt much better so I felt ok drinking some water, took a salt and had an orange slice (which stung my very chapped lips) at the first aid station.
I felt good - surprisingly good - within the first couple miles my legs sort of loosened up and I could feel my toes again and there was no real pain to speak of (especially not pain like I had in Hawaii) - my hamstrings were a bit tired but nothing I could not handle. I saw my mom and Jerry around mile 5 (at the park) of course they were right after an aid station and my mom got some lovely pics of me trying to smile and eat and orange at at he same time.

I continued to feel really good. I saw Kyle little bit later - he said he was not feeling very good and I think he was annoyed with me because I was chipper and happy - we hugged and he took off. The best part about the marathon part is that since it is out and back I got to see the whole crew at some point or another. Next I saw Bryan and he looked good, then Col who checked her watch and congratulated me and said my time was good. I just kept chugging along averaging about 10:45 to 11 min miles. I walk the aid stations so I could get some gatorade, or something to eat, I used the sponges just to wipe my face off and to get my hair wet. Every couple of miles I would take a salt or eat a gel depending on how I felt and every other I would take soup - which was always yummy. I also walked up some of the steeper hills but always made sure to start running again once I reached the top.
Every time I saw a mile marker I was surprised at how quickly it had come - I knew my pace was not that speedy but still it felt fast. I kept a close eye on the time of day - I knew I wanted to be across the finish line before 9pm if I could. i have never been good at doing math while running but I sort of tried and thought I could make it if I kept my pace up and did not walk to much.
I made it to the special needs aid station - I put my arm warms under my belt for later, grabbed my little blinky light and reflector strap and threw away the gels. I had two pieces of mint gum - just in case my stomach did not feel good so even though my stomach felt totally fine the thought of a fresh minty mouth sounded wonderful. It was the best thing ever - after a day of gel, accelerade and other sweet/sticky food stuff my teeth felt like sweaters and the gum was so fresh. I also found that it helped me keep my jaw relaxed and I did not clench my teeth at all. The rest of the run I crewed on the gum, at the aid stations I would put it on my bib number while I ate or drank what ever I wanted and then as I moved on the gum went right back in. I saw Futa at some point after the special needs pick up.
At some point I think around mile 16 or something I was walking up a hill with a couple of guys who aid they thought they were going to finish just after 9mp if they kept their pace. I decided right then that I was going to to try my best to finish before 9pm (since that was my goal all day) so I started to run more, I walked on a portion of the aid stations and really tried to keep my pace up even on the uphills. I just focused and stayed positive. My legs were tired and my feet sort of hurt so when ever I could I would run on the soft shoulder of the road which felt much better (or at least enough to make me feel better). It was kind of strange less and less people were running and I continued to feel good and knew I could maintain somewhere around an 11 min pace esp as the course flattened out in town. I passed a lot of people walking and most of the time I was the only one running but I knew I really wanted to finish before 9pm and walking would not help me do that so I ran.
On the way back into town it was really great to there were still people camped out on their driveways cheering - I watched the a really nice sunset start to come down and just kept going.
The last little gradual incline into town was hard to keep running - my hamstring were tired and sore from all the climbing on the bike earlier but I was not totally sure if I would beat 9pm so I kept trotting along. Somewhere coming into town a spectator yelled "MacBeth you are an Ironman!" and it hit me for the first time during the entire day that I was going to finish and that I had had a good day - I was sooo close to bursting out in tears but it also motivated me even more to keep running and to finish before 9pm.
I was so focused it sort of became a blur I knew I would finish and I thought I really could make my goal time so I ran faster. My stomach started growling with 2 or so miles to go so I grabbed more soup and some gatorade but kept running through the aid station. I saw my mom when I was probably a little more than a mile to go - it was dark so she did her best to get a pic. I heard Kyle cheer for me as I turned onto Lakeshore Drive. On the final out and back I finally knew I was going to finish before 9pm and I was just so happy I picked up my pace and kicked the final half mile. I heard Kyle cheer again as I came into the finish but all I wanted to do was finish as fast as I could not because it was painful or I wanted to be done but because I could. It was so weird my legs no longer felt tired or heavy and I ran to the bright lights of the finish. I did not want to wait for the people in front of me so I ran past them so there was no ribbon to run through but I was so happy. I archived my goal of finishing before 9pm (a whole 10 min) and I finished happy/well.

After I crossed the line a "catcher" was right by my side and helped me get my medal, a foil blanket thing, my finisher hat, shirt (which I was very concerned about not being a small so she helped me find out they were out of smalls), then to get in line for my finishers photo. All the while she chatted to me and made sure I was doing ok. First Kyle found me and then Col and Bryan so I told the nice volunteer I would be ok my friends would take care of me. I was just so happy :)
I got my picture, and a yummy powerbar recover drink, and they were out of pizza, next Kyle went with me to get my dry clothes so I could get warmer and my feet hurt so I wanted to put my crocks on - I figured out my entire baby toe on my right side was a blister weird how it did not hurt till I was done. We met Col and Bryan back at the finish so we could see Futa come in though none of us really knew where her was - I thought he was a lot closer than he was - I guess he spent some extra time in the porta potties along the run. He finished and was happy though. Cole headed home to get warmed up while the rest of us stayed to watch the final athletics finish and see the fireworks at midnight. I kept my foil blanket but used it like a skirt to keep my legs warmer. The finish area was full of people dancing and cheering for the final finishers to come in. I think that last hour is the most inspiring time of the race.
After the last racer finished we headed back home to try and sleep. My legs were getting tight and my feet defiantly hurt so I was slow.
I was sort of surprised at how hard it was to sleep - I tossed and turned and every time I moved my muscled ached. I woke up so many times - but each time I knew I was an Ironman and I was happy :)


TOTAL SWIM 2.4 mi. (1:33:32) - 2:27/100m pace - 2252 place

T1: SWIM-TO-BIKE (6:50)

FIRST BIKE SEGMENT 40 mi. (2:23:14) - 16.76 mph pace
FINAL BIKE SEGMENT 72 mi. (4:43:41) - 15.23 mph pace
TOTAL BIKE 112 mi. (7:06:55) - 15.74 mph pace - 1966 place -
Bike Data

T2: BIKE-TO-RUN (6:06)

FIRST RUN SEGMENT 13.1 mi. (2:26:20) - 11:10/mile pace
FINAL RUN SEGMENT 13.1 mi. (2:31:09) - 11:32/mile pace
TOTAL RUN 26.2 mi. (4:57:29) - 11:21/mile pace - 1691 place - Run Data

OVERALL (13:50:52) - 1691 Place Overall

1 comment:

NW Firefly said...

Your determination is an inspiration! It is so fun to read your posts and see your progression. Thanks for sharing this and know: From now on, MacBeth is an Ironman!