Thursday, June 27, 2013

Ironman Mount Tremblant 70.3 Race Report

Swim: 41:45
Bike: 2:59:29
Run: 2:09

The day started with a wake up call at 5am.  As usual on race morning I popped out of bed and got the coffee going.  Coffee is a very important part of my morning routine!  Barry was already awake and he quietly and quickly shared his news ... "I'm not racing today".  My heart broke a little for him as I knew he so badly wanted to do this.  But his leg was causing him too much grief, and while he didn't share it at the time when we rode the 18 km out and back on Friday, even the cycling wasn't working too well for him.  I am so proud of him for making the decision and since it was race morning I had to accept it and move on.

The morning went very well.  I had so much time! Transition was open from 5 - 6:30am, first wave went at 7am but my wave didn't go until 7:40.  We were staying at the Residence Inn right at the base of the village, just steps from transition, so I was planning on returning to the room after setting transition.  Of course I had packed up my transion bag the night before so I was ready to do this.
tri kit and transition gear
Perhaps the first error of my day was my breakfast.  While I had brought my normal gluten-free breakfast cereal from home, it was a bit stale and for some reason, the bagels at the hotel's breakfast bar looked better.  For the past month I have been a little lenient with my gluten free diet so I decided to have a bagel with peanut butter for breakfast.  It was super yummy!  Now whether or not this comes back to haunt me after T2 ....

We headed down to transition around 5:45ish and I got marked quickly and was setting up my transition area before I knew it.

body marking

best volunteer around!

easy to stay relaxed when surrounded by friends

getting it all set up
We were back into the room around 6:15 so there was a bit of waiting to do.  I was feeling like I could eat some more so I grab another half a bagel from the breakfast bar.  No, I did not think this was a bad idea at the time!

We decided to head down to the swim start around 7.  The weather was nice and we didn't have anything else to do.  It was a nice 10 minute walk to the beach and we just missed the pros going off at 7am.

We chatted with friends and then I made my way to the water to get a feel for my stroke and check out the temperature.  While everyone who swam on Saturday said the water was perfect - the temp has dropped 3 degrees celcius so it was a bit chilly for my liking but what can you do?  Before I knew it my wave was called and we were entering the start area.  
ready to swim
The swim course is quite nice.  The course is a big U turn!

You swim out 800 or so meters, turn and swim about 300 meters, then turn and swim in the remianing 800 or so meters.  Now to be completely honest, I quit my master's swim class months ago and only got myself to the pool a handful of times this season.  I'm not really a fan of swimming, or really getting wet, so training for the swim has always been a challenge for me.  I came into the race with expectations of swimming a 45 minute 1,900 meters.
that''s me out there - on the left, in a pink cap - see me?
Bang, the fireworks went off and my wave made it's way out for the swim.  I quickly settled into a nice rhythm.  I was toward the front but off to the left.  There were about 130 in my wave so it wasn't bad at all on the swim out to the turn buoy.  The water was cool, clean and clear and I was able to keep good form.  It didn't seem too long before we got to the first turn buoy and like most turn buoys it was a bit congested.  At this point we were catching up to the slower swimmers from the wave in front of us but it wasn't too bad yet.  A few minutes later I hit the second turn buoy and that's when things got really crazy.

My wave had caught up to not only the slower swimmers from the waves in front of us, the fast swimmers from the 3 waves behind us had caught us.  Where the first half of the swim was clear, the swim to shore was a washing machine.  I always feel for the weaker swimmers trying to breast stroke or back stroke while getting ploughed by the super speedy swimmers.  I'm just an average swimmer so I was just hanging in there.  At one point a woman (from my wave in a pink cap) grabbed my shoulder, fully clasped her hand on me and pushed me under.  As a flight or fight response I may have punched her in the face.  I am sorry and it was not a intentional move just a gut reaction from being drowned!

The water had turned colder on the turn as well so it was a mad dash to get to shore - which seemed so much further than the swim out.  I swam until I hit bottom with my hands.  Many started walking out much sooner but I find swimming faster than dredging though water.

 I was so happy to be out of the water - ran to the wetsuit strippers and knowing the drill was completely wetsuit free and up and running very quickly.  I saw Barry and asked him my time - then saw he had no watch so I didn't get any info from him.  He says he was screaming 40 minutes but I didn't hear that.  Officially I swam 41:45 which I'm more than happy with - I was looking for anything less than 45 minutes!
He got MUCH better photos of other TTC members coming out of the swim!

I jogged up the long run up from the swim - many were walking 2 and 3 across so I had to do a little excuse me, pardon me, get the &*%& out of my way.  I made pretty quick time in T1 - official time was 5:12 which included a long run up behind SLOW people!  This is always a favourite part of my race - heading out for a nice long bike ride!

The weather was perfect - just cool enough, not much wind and probably 17 - 18*C, 63-64*F and cloudy! I LOVED this bike course!

It was challenging without being miserably hard.  There were some great climbs and massive decents.  According to my Garmin I topped out at 77.6 kph, elevation gain of 1,734m and averaged 30.2 kph.  I was incredibly happy with my bike split!  I think I stayed on top of my nutrition taking in 200 calorie, 750ml bottle with electrolytes every hour and supplemented with 125 calories of gel blasts.
Barry did much better photographing others today
note to self - picture looks better if you don't look at the camera!

I really enjoyed seeing (or could also say being passed by) so many friends from the club.  Towards the end of the bike and as I was coming back into transition I felt something go a little off in my tummy.  I'm not sure if I was having issues from eating only the power blasts and not mixing it up with a couple of gels or if it was the bagels I had for breakfast, but my stomach was off.  My official bike split was 2:59:29 - didn't leave myself much room in making my sub-3 hour goal!

I got off my bike and my legs felt like they normally would after a hard 90km ride but I found my legs quickly but the stomach was bloated and with every step it was like I was being punched in the abdomen.  To make matters worse, when I racked my bike I some how fell on my butt.  So while I was down there I went ahead and switched up my shoes.  I grabbed my visor and a gel, picked myself up off my butt and headed out. At this point I knew I had to hit a porto-potty but the question was - can I make it to the first aid station or do I take the time and wait in line inside T2.  I made the incorrect choice of running out onto the course. I saw our fearless and magnificent volunteer Leanne and the look of empathy in her eyes - I knew she knew exactly how I felt.

 It was no surprise to me the hill right out of the village but running up that was brutal with my stomach full of gas.  I saw Barry and I wanted to tell him why I looked so miserable - that it wasn't my legs - it was my stomach but before I could he just said "I know baby, I know"
I thought this would be the worst I would feel all day
Luckily the first aid station comes up around 1.6km into the run.  According to my Garmin I was stationary for about 4 or 5 minutes.  And then I was good.  My stomach felt good, my legs cooled down a bit and were stiffening up but I knew a couple kilometres would warm them back up and I could run a decent half marathon.  I had a nasty stitch in my side for a bit and I was happy to chat with my friend Christina and she kindly gave me one of her salt pills.  I knew it was just something I had to run through and within 15 minutes I was doing fine.... for the time.

I didn't mind the run course - it was challenging but nothing to bad - hills at the front and at the end but a nice long stretch of flat in there.  Unfortunately for me, the flat part was along a dirt trail along the river bed.  This is where my run began to seriously unravel.  I had decided to wear my Zoot racing flats, without socks of course.  I have done this before but on paved surfaces only.  Within minutes of running on the trail, the dirt had infiltrated my shoes and blisters were forming - and I still had a long way to go.

smile for the camera - no matter how much it hurts!

About this time I heard Irisz and Annette from behind saying something about finally catching me and my heart sunk a little.  I kept running on, though I have a hard time calling it that.  I was so disappointed I couldn't enjoy my run.  I ran between the aid stations and then I would take a break and walk.  Because the run is an out and back you see everyone and it's quite uplifting to see your friends out there.  My feet were quickly deteriorating and I'm pretty sure my friends could tell I wasn't in great shape.  I tried to tell myself to HTFU, that I was an Ironman, that I loved running and it was my strongest discipline.  I pushed through it the best I could but the pain from open wounds on my feet was horrible.  I ended up with a 2:09 run (6.06/km pace).  This wasn't even close to what I expected to run.  I was hoping for something more like a 1:50 or even better - and I knew I was able to run a better split than I did.

The absolute best part of this course is the last 500 meters or so when you run down through the village.  The course becomes quite narrow and the spectators are amazing.  Everyone is screaming and cheering and high 5-ing you.  And it's quite downhill so you pick up tons of momentum and speed.
this photo doesn't do the crowd justice
final push to the finish line

My feet were killing me but I was so happy see the clock because while I know there was no way I was making my "A" goal of 5:45, the clock read 6:38, and with my 40 minute delay wave, I was coming in under my "B" goal of 6 hours.

impressed with clearance here

So excited to cross the line!
I learned few lessons from this Half-Ironman!  First, always respect the distance!  Second, stick to your diet. And third, make sure your choice of footwear is correct!

I had such an incredible blast at Mt. Tremblant and I will definitely do this race again some day.  I would even consider doing the full distance one day too!  But for now, I am going to focus on getting fast for the TTF Olympic coming up in 4 weeks and then kicking butt at Ironman Conzumel in December!
Pre-race report can be found by clicking here!

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