Ironman Canada Race Report

Lora and I finished together in 14:06:32

Since I tend to read my magazines from back to front, I wanted to start this race report with the awesome ending: I finished my first Ironman on 08/28/2011! 

Ironman Canada was quite honestly, my BEST DAY EVER!  I had no expectations for the day, other than to finish before midnight.  I wanted to have fun in all aspects of the race, while watching my heart rate, smiling, and thanking the volunteers who made this day possible.  I was told by many to expect times during the race when I wouldn’t feel so great and that I would have to pull out of a slump.  I really didn’t have any of that, in fact, I raced the entire day with a smile on my face.  My only thought was to keep moving forward.

My ironman training started after 10/10/10, at the completion of the Chicago Marathon.  Myself, along with several training friends, were coached by Daryl Smith.  He set about teaching us about heart rate and building a base using only our heart rate zones as a guide.  This was something brand new to me.  I faithfully followed Coach Daryl’s plan.  I used the Garmin 310xt as my tool.

My biggest obstacle was learning to swim.  I literally just learned how to crawl stroke two years ago and had never gone more than 200 yards non-stop without the use of a floatation device (eg .. pull buoy) prior to December 2010.  Little by little, I increased my endurance in the water, but was still very slow.  I just prayed that on race day, I would be able to go 2.4 miles in less than 2 hours and 20 minutes.  And, guess what?  I did it!

Finished the swim in 1:53:01

I emerged from the water with the biggest smile on my face and was hooping and hollerin so loudly, you would have thought I won the entire race!  Prior to swim start, I waited on the beach and after the gun went off, I waited a full two minutes before inching forward in the water.  I had plenty of room to myself and was not really bothered by anyone.  The only downside, was I didn’t have anyone to draft off of.  I rounded the first corner at 45 minutes and saw the scuba divers down below and gave them both a wave hello.  They waved back.  I rounded the next corner and again waved to the scuba diver there.  Only 1800 yards back to shore and I knew I would do it.

T1 – 7:44, I had a lovely lady help me dry my feet and get my bike shoes on.  Since I didn’t have to change my clothes, I ran straight out and got on my bike.  It was warm out already and I knew it was only going to get hotter.

The Bike! Oh how I love my bike.  I love to bike.  I love this course!  Thank goodness I had practiced the entire course a few weeks prior and had also ridden all of the hills back in July.  I felt well prepared for what was ahead.  Everyone told me to hold back in the first 40 miles.  I felt like I tried to, but was still passing people, loads of people.  It felt easy and effortless.  I knew that would soon change with the hills that were coming.

Richter Pass – six miles of climbing.  I loved it!

The hills that followed felt great too.  What was happening here?  It didn’t feel hard, I was passing so many people and my heart rate was right where it should be. I was in my happy place!

The out and back in Keremos is where I finally caught up to my good friend Anna.  She is a terrific swimmer, finishing in 1:16:42.  I stopped at my special needs bag, but nothing really sounded good other than this other athlete’s pringles.  She shared and I was so grateful.

I finished the bike leg in 6:48:49.  I passed a whopping 937 people on the bike leg! (**Calculations were tabulated by taking my overall swim finish place of 2765 and subtracting my overall bike finish place of 1828).

T2 – 9:44.  Not sure why this took me so long, as I don’t remember it feeling like a long time.  At any rate, I changed out my socks and put on my new Brooks PureProject Pure Connect shoes.  More on these shoes soon!

Off and running, ‘er shuffling, and walking/jogging …

I was slow during the first half, mostly due to stomach upset.  Although the temps reached 95 degrees, I kept cool by taking sponges at every aid station and squeezing cold water down my front, back, and on my head.  I used strictly hammer gel to fuel my run and although I didn’t feel like having any of it, I forced myself to consume as much as possible during the entire run.  I do believe it saved my butt out there.

At the half way point, my friend Lora caught up to me and we ran the entire way back together, finishing a faster second half than the first!  I felt strong at the end and ran the last mile at about a seven minute pace!  Who wouldn’t be smiling at that?!  I also moved up in my run stats to an overall 1330 run place finish, passing almost 500 runners.

I was greeted at the end by Ironman Canada founder Ron Zalko and his wife.  Both gave me a hug and congratulated me.

LASTLY – I’m a numbers girl.  I just did 140.6 miles in 14:06 and some change! 

Special Thanks:

My family and friends for supporting me.  It took a lot of time to train and prepare!

My Ironman training partners: Lora, Anna, Andrea, Meghan, Roxie, Jeanette, Carol, Kyle, Gabe, and Rusty.

My friends who jumped in for a swim, bike, or run just because: Jen, Laura, Pat, Robin, Judy, and Todd.

My coach: Daryl Smith – Thank you for your wisdom, encouragement, and pep talks!

My twitter family! Although I just joined Twitter in March of 2011, I have never had so much support in my training and race day.  I so appreciate all of your kind words of encouragement and for following me on this journey.  I loved getting to meet some of you at Ironman Canada!

My facebook family! All of you have watched me go from marathon to marathon and now this! Thank you for your support and love this last year and for understanding why I joined twitter … I didn’t abandon you. 😉 

7 responses to “Ironman Canada Race Report

  1. Awesome race report! I was a volunteer in T1 and you guys rocked in that heat!

  2. You are an animal!!!!! I am so proud of you dear friend!

  3. Okay, I'm a new reader so I'm late to this post. But sugar, you had me tearing up!!! So stink in' PROUD OF YOU! I LOVE that you smiled the whole way and laughed that you begged Pringles off aother athlete! :0)Finishing the run wth a 7 min pace…after all that? You ROCK!!!Congratulations!!! Im sending a big hive five and *hug* from Texas!

  4. Congrats! You finished in 14:06???? That is so awesome! If you are a numbers person, check out the enhanced results on Slowtwitch:

  5. I’m new to your blog but just wanted to say CONGRATULATIONS! 14:06 is awesome!

  6. Pingback: Three Things Thursday | happy~TRI~girl

  7. Pingback: Ironman Canada ~ Whister: Race Report | happy~TRI~girl

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