Ironman Canada 2011 Race Report
Hi folks, as part of the racing tradition, I've decided to put together my race report
In the weeks leading up to the race, I'd decided that I'd had enough of the training and the emotional focus of preparing for the race and in short, I was ready to get it on
I try not to dwell on the x-factors like flat tires, random accidents, losing nutrition etc but I found myself consulting the weather forecast constantly learning that it would turn out to be warm (to say the least)
Amazingly, I managed to get a decent amount of sleep but despite my preparations found that my Garmin had only charged to about 25% and eventually lost power before the end of my ride
Said my goodbye's and entered transition, met some familiar faces, Dave, Erin, Doug, Jen, Al - while putting on our wetsuits, through the gates, hello to Doug Harris and Les and into the water
A short warm up and then found myself in line with Carmen - horn goes off (what happened to the canon?) and we pile into the mix
As expected, I found myself fighting the crowds, kicking away the clawing hands and elbowing away the body checking and generally trying to swim straight at the strongest pace I could maintain and at times feeling like I was getting in some quality especially after the last turn so you can imagine how PO'd I was to find a 1:10 time when I was hoping for about 1hr - "Another Oliver repeat" I thought and decided I had to re-align my expectations for the race at this early stage
Change tent, under 5min T1 including putting up with the A'hole screaming at the volunteer administering sun screen that HE WAS NEXT IN LINE!!!
On the bike, down the street and feeling pretty good about putting on sock this time and the extra glob of sun screen pasted on the lumbar strip peeking between
Reminding myself to take it easy on the first 60k to Richter especially up McClean Creek passing other riders but thinking "What the hell, feeling good and not over exerting myself"
The only issue was the non-sport top bottles of sport drink after ditching my half full home made brew in favor of what I thought would be something decent - note to IMC organizers, stick with what works!
The other issue was the altered course around the Husky that was like some kind of twisty go-cart track and me thinking, "This is an improvement?!"
Richter was surprisingly decent and though I feared the extensive back side, I decided to make the most of every downhill I could and road all the rollers like it was my last and loving every minute of it singing and screaming all the way down - even another rider gave me the thumbs up
Also surprising was the number of flats! I must have lost count at 20 and couldn't believe when I heard later about some local throwing tacks all over the McClean Creek! Someday that guy is going to get a brick through his window and a flaming cross nailed into his front lawn...
Somewhere after Osoyoos (I think) I caught up to Carmen who expected me sometime earlier (later turned out she had a much better swim and later overtook me after the rollers) and then at some point before Keremeos Gary passed me and I ended up making the same comment while wondering where Sheldon could have been and decided he probably overtook me way earlier
The out and back came and went and as things were going well, I decided to forget the special needs bag - only my frozen carbo-bomb which would have been nice but not necessary - Thank God however for the salt caps and Advil for my lower back - only the blissful thought of the full marathon reassured me that once I was vertical, I wouldn't have to put up with the sore back for much longer
Only until ascending Yellow Lake did I realize how warm it really was, without the air flow over me, the air was still and suddenly went up 10 degrees and by then I could feel the energy in my head beginning to ebb but thankfully the adrenaline rush of the descent sufficiently kept me on guard - especially from the reckless and obviously non-roadie athletes weaving back and forth on the downhill oblivious to anyone else - I don't know how much longer the desire for ever more registration income will keep the organizers from realizing that IMC has reached a limit (especially considering that almost half are racing for the first time)
Brutal headwind into town kept me shamelessly tucked behind a pack and forced me to spin out the rest into T2 and happy to see Gary again: another decent sub-5min transition (although didn't feel like it at the time) and then met up with Carmen on the way out - SMOKING heat and already sapped from the ride I figured this would certainly be a test of mettle...
And it was! All I can remember was popping more salt caps and Advil (watch crapped out before Yellow Lake so hopelessly guesstimated my pace for the first 5mins), making new friends, passing on some Karma by way of salt, yucky warm Pepsi, crunching ice, more water, water on my head, no water in my shoes neighbour, thanks anyway, walking uphill, can't waste this downhill with walking, this is pretty flat so let's run this and then OK falls...
Anna, Tracey, Alison, me drawing my finger across my neck and shaking my head but pushing on anyway - my only epiphany: if I keep moving forward, I'll make it there and when I did make the effort, I found I could hold a respectable pace so keep moving through the aid stations and get on with it
EVENTUALLY, I found myself heading back into town and at that point you know it's just a few kilometers and the crowds cheer so loud you lose track of time and you just want to put on a brave face and look good trying heading down Lakeshore - Alison skipping alongside encouragingly and all I can think about is "Why isn't she wearing runners instead of flip flops? She's gonna go stumbling into the ground and I don't wanna break my stride..."
At that point, I decide to burn off what's left and finish strong into the open arms of the catchers...
Some thanks: on the course, you end up seeing friends and family for a brief moment - you put on a brave face and try to look good for the cameras. Supporters often have a long day of hoofing across town, fighting traffic etc just to get some blurry pics and can feel more spent than the racers -
BUT, that one instant does have an incredibly uplifting effect on someone who would otherwise find themselves isolated in all the white noise and anonymous hustle of Ironman so a big thanks to friends and family and unexpected supporters for their encouragement
Another thanks goes to ma ho Lafawnduh - she's an exotic piece of Cervelo P2 kit who once again served me well - she gets her own separate review later
It's getting better, I got what I wanted out of the bike and with the heat being such a game changer, I decided that when things start going sideways, re-plotting your course is just part of experience
I think the distances suit me and the challenge is more enjoyable as I mature - I'll definitely be back (2013?) but fully intend to explore the options of other events, Seattle to Portland, Chuckanut 50k...