Aug 16, 2015

Ironman Canada / Whistler 2015

Some context for this I wrote a rather detailed race report for my coach and so figured since I wrote it I might as well post it...

Training and Lead-up
Overall I felt like my training was pretty good. I got a lot of good bike rides in and my running was consistent. I did not have a ton of super long runs but not sure how much that would have helped.

Sometime on shorter runs, I would have to stop and stretch my psoas/core muscles a bit, especially on the right. Not really sure what is going on. But I had ART and massage on it a couple times especially the last month before IMC.

My lead up triathlon race at Victoria was good, but I had a half marathon that was not so good.. I actually enjoyed racing couple 5ks to mostly practice racing, and shake things up a bit which I think helped.

Race Week
Race week was good. I kept things loose and kept my workouts short with just a little intensity. I was loose and got a massage on the Tuesday before. I focused on getting extra sleep that week so that I was rested. The weather forecast went from good, to so-so, to bad (cold, wet, and windy). As always I am sure I should have stayed off my feet more but i struggle to sit still very long even in normal situations much less pre-race.

Race Morning
I never sleep much the night before a race. Overall I didn’t stress about it.

I set my alarm for 3a and had a pb&j sandwich next to my bed so I could just eat and go back to sleep for a bit longer. At 4a I got up and got dressed, sipped on some fluids.

Headed down to the shuttle with all my stuff. Dropped a small hand bottle of coke in my run bag and got on the shuttle.

At T1 I got my bike set up with fluids ect. Used the porta poty before the lines got long. Added a vest, gloves and arm warmers to my t1 bag. It was chilly so I was glad I had a puffy jacket and tights on. Then I went for a short run to just shake thing out a bit and warm up.

Best support crew ever!

Got in my wetsuit, used some foggle on my goggles and gave hugs to all my friends. As I headed back into transition I ate a gu before heading to the water.

Swim (1:21:03; 2:07/100 yds)
My estimate for the swim was 1:20 based on what I swam in training and not expecting to much since I always swim wide in races..

Lined up about halfway from the red start buoy and the dock. Opting to stay a little wide and behind the main mass of people. Noticed there were not very many pink caps…
Got kicked a bit at the start so kind of hung back and went a bit wider to start but tried to make my way more in as I went.
Checked time at end of 1 st lap and was at :38 so just focused on maintaining on eth 2nd Lap. Got kicked a few times on the 2nd lap and hit in the face once that really hurt.
The waves started to pick up as well, could see how miserable the sup support people looked. And rain was bouncing up off the water.

On the last turn towards the finish the wind seemed to picked up and it made it hard to swim in and go pushed down lake more than would have liked. was mostly just glad to be done with the swim till I noticed how it was pouring rain..

Transition 1 (4:23)
Out of the water ran to an open wet suit striper. Went smoothly. Grabbed my bag and ran into the tent which was crazy full. Glad a volunteer was there to help get the tricky things like arm warmers, gloves and my vest on. Everything else went as normal. Shoes, stuff in my pockets, then helmet and glasses.

Ran out to my bike, grabbed it and went.

Once I started running out of t2 started having a minor panic attack when I noticed how wet the roads were, but smiled for my friends… it was exactly the biking conditions I had not wanted.

Bike was in a low gear and had no issues.

Bike (6:35:45; 16.7 mi/h) 

T1 to Whistler Hwy
As I headed out of t1 I was already shaking from the stress of the wet roads and started to get cold right away. Kept telling myself to keep breathing and relax, and remind myself that it would not help anything if I tightened up and stressed out to much. Just keep going.. it has to get better all while I was out of breath from freaking out and crying all at the same time.

Whistler Hwy to Callahan
I was glad to get out on the highway to have more room between other people who seemed to not be able to ride a straight line and at least it I was familiar with it more from riding the course. I took a sip or two of my scratch bottle but mostly was trying to stay warm and get to the next climb without someone hitting me or crashing myself. I was able to at least stop crying and just road. Hands had already started to get seriously cold, all the little downs were extremely cold and painful. My shoulders and hands were getting the worst of it since I figured out if I stayed in aero at least it was keeping my core warmer.

Callahan out and back
I was SO HAPPY to get to the climb. By this point I could not feel my hands or legs much at all. Was unsure who I was going to be able to climb but it was better than I expected. I was just glad to be getting my heart rate up a bit to help warm up. I started passing a lot of people. I ate 1 gu on the way up and on the flatter parts took a sip or two of my bottle.

As I started to see people going down I started dreading it so much. I was still cold climbing and everyone looked so cold. It also looked crazy scary on the wet roads, and they were lucky enough to not be as crowded.. half the people around me could not ride straight as it was… much less down a huge hill while shaking on wet roads… I saw Luke Bell stop and started seeing more and more bikes or people giving up and stopping at aid stations.

But just kept focusing on climbing strong and enjoying being warmer while I could.

Once I turned around I just focused on staying smooth, no tensing up to much and not riding my brakes at all since I knew that would help nothing including my time. Passed some people but mostly tried to avoid stupid people and ride safe. I was shaking from being so cold but I knew I just had to keep going. I had to keep pedaling to some extent because water would pool in my shoes and made my feet colder.

Whistler Hwy to Whistler Village
On the way back to Whistler was the first time I really realized how miserable it was. My feet were cold, my hands were cold and I realized I hadn’t taken in any salt pills and really hadn’t drunken too much water. I was focusing on staying between the cones and avoiding the gravel and rumble strips and painted lines. And just tried to get to the next climb to warm up a little bit.
I didn’t see Kyle or anyone I really knew just crowds of people. Which was probably good since I would have been more tempted to stop.

Started to became very aware that I was way behind on calories, but my hands were so frozen I struggled to refill my speedfil and handle a gu packet or anything. I had a cliff stick thing from my pocket at one point. Before the big decent I had a volunteer to help me fill my speedfil so I could get more fluids in.

Whistler Village to Pemberton
I was really focused on getting water and nutrition in when I got past Whistler. I had really only drank 1 bottle of sktrach and ate 1 or 2 gu, no salt.

On the docents I was super happy people seemed to really spread out. I passed a few people early on but mostly was alone ish. Which I found weird. But I was also so cold still. I tried to protect my core still but just go with the downhill and stay calm.

I started thinking about that my stomach was actually growling.

I was so happy to grab my special needs bag, my hands were completely frozen though so the volunteer helped me put things in my pockets, and open my pb&j sandwich and I road off eating. I also had a bottle of coke which I started drinking.

Pemberton Meadows (out and back)
On the way out I noticed there was nota headwind so I knew there might be a wind on the way back. I noticed the roads were finally starting to dry. So I settled in kept the speed around 19/20mph and focused on eating and drinking.

It seemed like people had thinned out a bit, I went back and forth with a number of people which was entertaining/annoying sometimes. I ate a salt before the turn around.

Yup headwind on the way back. I stayed in aero, ate, drank my coke, and just tried to maintain focus and not let the wind get to me. People were really spread out it seemed like so I did not have to worry about drafting much. But I used it every once and while to get past people. Or if people passed me I tried to stay with them as long as I could. I know I know but it helped me keep motivated… and was at least entertaining

As I came into pemberton I realized I really needed to pee so I stopped in Pemberton since there was no line and bike rack.. felt way better after. Also took my gloves off since they were just wet and colder than the air temp. My hands were SO SWOLLEN. My fingers looked like sausages, and I could not see any of the veins on the back on my hands like normal. I knew I was screwed on salt…. Took another salt right then and got back on my bike.

Was not sure how the climb was going to go but was kind of looking forward to be warm at least.

Grabbed another bottle of Gatorade before leaving the aid station.

Pemberton to T2
Started heading up the climbs. I had drank the full bottle of coke, ate some, and took 2 salts.

I just road how I felt and went with it. I started passing people. And it seemed way more crowded again.. I felt pretty strong on all the climbs up. I drank on the little flat sections and LOVED being warm. My legs felt good till I got to green lake, then for some reason my quads right above my knees started to hurt and get increasingly tight as I delt with the rollers into town.

Only a few people passed me back on the rollers back into town. I just tried to spin it out a bit since my knees really started to hurt.. On the stupid right turn off the highway on to the city streets my left knee seized up a bit but I soft pedaled a bit and it released. Seriously the longest transition to T2 ever, it was such a silly route though town and I just wanted off my bike. I was worried a little bit that it would hurt on the run but only a little bit.

Saw everyone as I came in and was just not in a happy place about the stupid bike ride that I could not really force a smile this time (which is actually very unlike me).

Transition 2 (4:44)
I dropped my bike off, grabbed my bag and jogged into the tent.. not as many volunteers so I did my own thing. But kind of took my time. Bike shoes off, socks on, run shoes on, helmet, glasses, arm warmers off, random stuff in pockets out. Hat on, race belt on. Gu in sports bra. Took a sip of the coke I had put in my run bag in the morning. Hand off bag off. Run-ish out

Run (4:49:53;)

T2 to Lost Lake
I headed out of T2 to run though the crowed, I did not feel bad but I did not feel good either. Mostly mentally exhausted from the stress of the bike ride. I tried to smile at my friends but didn’t really have it in me. At least I was running. I was able to just run even up the first hill. Mic ran up next to me and I finally said something like “it was just so cold”.

Lost Lake Loop #1
I just tried to find a comfortable pace and just run but my stomach started to kind of hurt, kind of felt like it had turned to a rock. At the first aid station I grabbed a banana and some gatoraid and out of habit grabbed ice.. I have no clue why and ran with it, but it would not melt so it was totally useless and just made me grip something.

I kept pretty good to the plan of only walking the aid stations and then would start running again. Other than my stomach my legs felt surprisingly ok, the pain in my quads from the bike was un-noticeable while running which was a relief.

Lost Lake to Green Lake Turnaround
On the way out I just focused on finding a rythem and holding to it. I was able to keep running /walking the aid stations past Nickolas North part. Just eating banana and some gatoraid.. I tried the pepsi but it was to sweet or just not right. At the the aid station at the school I tried to go pee to see if that helped my stomach feel better, but nope. They started bring out chicken soup and took 1 sip it was so so, took 2nd and I puked it up immediately. So no go for that.

My abs started to get tight and it made it hard to breath when I was running up or down any inclide so on the way out to the turnaround I started getting more frustrated and mentally things started to unwind a bit.

Green Lake Turnaround to hot corner
I walked a bit more on the way back but kept it pretty controlled but I was getting pretty frustrated with my stomach and my abs seizing when I was running. The aid stations seemed really short and bairly had enough time to eat a bike or two of banana and a sip of something before it was over. As I came back into the hot corned I just did not feel strong or good. I remember telling Shawn Sullivan – it was “not good” , frowning and shaking my head as I jogged/ran by at the hot corner spot.

Hot Corner to Hot Corner
Saw Kyle before everyone else who were kind of before the hill into lost lake. I jogged/walked a bit with him and cried/vented a lot about how stupid the day was. At the point all I was thinking was “I don’t want to do this anymore” – but I knew I would keep going at the same time…

At this point my stomach was still a rock and now my abs were seizing around my ribs especially on the left side and made it crazy hard to breath with any effort. So I walked more, I tried to keep my walking pace up so that I was always moving forward. Kyle just stayed with me and kept telling me who dropped out, and stuff like that and how great I actually was doing.. in one ear out the other.. but I kept going and would run when I could.

By the time I got back to tehhot corner at least I was not just repeating “I don’t want to do this anymore” and was not crying… still no smiles though.

Hot Corner to Green Lake Turnaround
Kyle just talking to me and stayed with me.. I go back and forth if it would have been better on my own or not but it was what it was. I ran when it was flat. The ups and downs hurt. I noticed all the slight ups and downs that normally would feel flat.. and I was frustrated.

My stomach actually started to feel reasonable, less rock like so the bananas were helping. but by this point my abs were so tight and would seize up so fast it was stupid really.

You couldn’t really tell who was on what loop and seeing people running, seemingly with ease just made me feel worse.

While on the way to the turn around the wind picked up and it actually stated raining again. I was soo tired of being cold. I just wanted the day to be over and sitting in a hot tub wearing a puffy jacket.

Green Lake Turnaround to Finish
I loosly started to be aware of timing and that was both depressing and like ok you are going to be done… I was still running when ever I could and I think the idea of heading back in helped a ton so I was able to extend the run parts longer. I was aware that when I tried to run with my head up my abs were way worse so I started running with my head down and shorter breaths and I could then actually sort of run. Kyle and I talked about the overall time a bit. And I said something like I like have so many miles and I won’t make it sub 13 because I can’t run that fast but I guess I was not paying attention that when I ran I was actually and ok pace..

I started keeping the walks though even the aid stations shorter and just kept my head down and ran as much as I could muster.

As came though hot corner and saw people, still no smile but at least I was running. I kept Kyle’s heels just in view and just stayed there. Did not even bother with the last aid station, I did not want to have to stop and start again.

Was so happy to be turning right… That silly loop d lop thing they did was just mean though, half uphill which hurt but I ran. My breathing was ridiculous, these short and fast little breaths with my head down.. I ran past a few people but it was not very crowded. I just wanted to be done. I mentally so just done with the day. I did not even lift my head running down the finish shoot, I wasn’t excited about the finish other than the idea of being done. So No celebration just ran though which in retrospect is dumb.. but oh well.

Post-Race (12:55:48, 25th ag) 
Found Kyle and my friends and they grabbed my stuff before we headed back to the house and I immediately got in the hot tub and sat for like :45 just to feel normal.

I am very thankful for all my family and friends that cheered for me in person and online. It really did mean a lot to be even though I was horrible at expressing it during the race.

I have gone back and forth between disappointment in not being able to race as hard as I felt I could and just being happy I stuck with it and finished. The weirdest thing was even while I was in eth race and did not want to do this anymore I could not even tell myself I did not want to do full IM anymore. So not a shock with in a day I was looking a fall IM and what could be possible.. a half just did not seem to be enough.

I knew I could have ridden the bike course faster since in training I road it :15 faster and that was with no aid stations and not staying on top of food and fluids very well. The run just feels like an effect of the bike (not fueling enough, constant shivering for 3+ hours).

But then I remind myself I set a :20 minute pr and placed 20 spots higher in my age group that in ironman before (2010 CDA). So all my training did help a lot and everyone had a hard day.

I mostly just feel like I have unfinished business with this year. And surprised to not be burned out or feel burned by this race.