Wednesday, August 5, 2015

IM Canada....the nitty gritty

Overall, I can't complain about the day I had. I want to, but I can't. There were so many DNFs out there on race day. Whether it was due to the weather, hypothermia, or people's mental state after being so cold for so long, there were many people who weren't able to finish the race. I'm sure, for most, it wasn't for lack of training or desire and it was most likely due to the horrendous circumstances we were dealt on race morning. I was able to finish and although it wasn't the race I was prepared for or wanted, it is what it is and finishing an Ironman is an accomplishment, no matter what.

Typical race morning, choked down breakfast and hydrated a bit. We had to shuttle to the swim start, which wasn't as bad as I though it was going to be. However, I'm glad we got to the shuttle stop when we did as our driver took 2 wrong turns on the way to the lake. We had plenty of time, so I didn't stress at all, there were plenty of people on that bus doing all the stressing. We got to the swim start and T1 with plenty of time to spare (read over an hour!). Not ideal, but definitely enough time to get everything situated. It wasn't even raining and the sky looked like it could clear up any minute....too bad about 30 minutes before race start it began raining. Joy!

Pro men started at 6:50, Pro Women 6:55 and everyone else at 7:00. MASS START!!! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!!!! I headed down to the water as soon as the pro men went off and swam my way right to the front line. Of course you get your typical comment from AG male, "If you're not swimming a sub 55, you don't belong in the front row."

Best part of the day hands down! It almost always is, but usually I can back up a swim with an ok bike and a decent run. Anyways, the water was about 68 degrees on race morning. Chilly, but given that the air temperature was 42 degrees and it was raining outside, the water felt like a hot tub! It was actually the perfect wetsuit temperature and the ROKA Maverick Pro continues to impress! This was the warmest I'd be all day long.
Waiting for the gun to go off, is always nerve-wracking, but as soon as I hear the blast, I take off and within 5 seconds I'm in totally clear water with NO ONE AROUND! What?! Really?! All you men talking the big talk before the start and there is NO ONE even close?! Ok then. I see one guy off to my right and he keeps getting further and further away, I try to bridge the gap, but he's not in my line and is going way too fast, so by the first turn buoy, I give up the chase and settle into my own little world and keep swimming. I started catching some pro women by the first turn buoy, which was pretty fun. First loop was a clam, clear swim with ZERO dodging of other people, the start of the second loop got a bit choppy and more crowded, but really, I swam by myself the entire swim and had clear water the whole way. I came out of the water, super happy with my swim, I had no idea my time, but came out alone (I think there were 2 male pros exiting around the same time as me) and only saw the one AG male out in front of me. So, that was a great day in the water.

Before the bike, I made sure to take my sweet time in transition to bundle up. And why not, I had the tent basically all to myself with the assistance of the wonderful volunteers and it was WARM. Arm coolers (should have been warmers, but oh well) on, long sleeved shirt on, ear warmers on, helmet on, full fingered gloves on, jacket on, they made me bring my sunglasses for some reason and I took them in my pocket for some reason (maybe they were trying to be hopeful that the crap day we were having would turn better), shoes on and I was off, socks would have been a good idea, but I honestly don't think would have helped that much (actually my transition time wasn't THAT slow). I do wish there were heaters in the change tent, that would have been a nice touch, but I think too many people wouldn't have left the warm safety of the tent if they had done that.
As you can see, the bike was miserable from the start, I really don't have anything good or positive to say about the bike ride at all (when you don't have anything nice to say......), other than that I think I would truly enjoy this course had it been a regular day outside.

A recap of most of my thoughts.....The first 30 miles.....Rain, rain, rain, wet roads, oh we're going downhill and the wind is whipping in my face, that's great, I'm freezing, oh, there's a pro on the side of the road grabbing a garbage bag from an aid station, she must be freezing too, at least I'm not alone, this is terrible, I'm so cold, I can't wait to start climbing again, ok this isn't so bad, scratch that, the wind and cold is miserable, oh maybe I can see some pretty views, wait, it's raining and cloudy, I can't see anything, what did I get myself into, ok Lectie, get with the program, it's not THAT bad, it could be worse, ok we are kind of climbing to Callaghan now, it's a little bit warmer, how are those men going so fast down the hills and not freezing to death, they are nuts, or have hot patches attached all over their bodies, I hear ambulance sirens, that can't be good, at least it's not pouring anymore and this isn't horrible, make the turn and head back down, oh we had a pretty good climb, how did I not notice this on the way out, these descents on wet roads are a little scary, I wish it was a nice day because this could be really fun and fast and right now it's neither, I'm getting cold again, I need to pee, it's raining again, I'm freezing, at least my core is dry, my fingers are frozen, I can't grab my bottles, but at least my core is "warm," oh no, there's a boy on the side of the road shivering like crazy getting put into an ambulance, that's not good. This road is crazy with how it's coned off and the white and colored lines and wet roads, this would be super fun if it were a nice day out. Mechanical on the other side of the road, if I got a flat right now, I definitely would NOT be able to change it, my hands are way too cold and I can barley push the buttons to shift, there's no way I could change a flat, please don't flat. Ok good, finally back to Whistler, now we just have to descend into Pemberton and then we get some flats and then the climb back, I cannot wait for the climb back and a little bit of warmth, oh no, a decent, please make it go by quickly, I'm too cold and I might crash because I'm shivering so much. Oh, my bike bag is falling off, let me stop and fix it and I might as well pee while I'm at it, oooh warm, that feels nice, a hot tub would be excellent right about now. Downhill, downhill, downhill, downhill, oh my gosh, wheeeeennnn, wiiiiiiiiiiil, thiiiiiiisssssssssssss, hilllllllllllll, beeeeeeeee doneeeeeeeeee, I can't wait to climb back up it I don't care how steep or long or hard it is at least I won't be freezing and I can warm up, please, please, please get to the bottom, oh, I have to pee again (at least I'm hydrated), stop, pee, warm, I just want to be warm, I'll never complain about being hot ever again, get back on bike and go, finally the bottom, I've never been so cold before, special needs, see a guy he says he wants to quit, I say me too, but at least we can warm up in the next 30 miles, ugh, 30 miles of flat boring roads ahead, at least it's not pouring, but I'm still freezing, I try to eat my musubi and I drop it, whoops, can't hold onto anything, fingers too cold, get passed by a guy who tells me to go with him, I go for about 3 minutes then feel guilty drafting and drop back on my own, meanwhile see plenty of people (women!) in front and coming from behind in groups, ugh, cheaters, when will this road end, at least it's not raining anymore, what's that weird pain I feel in my back and shoulders, oh yeah, I've been shivering for hours and bracing because it's so cold, this is fun, I paid to do this,? that was dumb, at least we get to climb soon and then I can maybe get warm and turn this race around, oh joy, here we go, this climb is kinda fun, I really love my bike, really I do, oh no rain again, and colder, more ambulance sirens, maybe I should just quit, this climb is NOT warming me up, I do love climbing though, please no downhills, I can't take getting any more cold than I already am, oh goody a downhill, freezing, climbing again, good, just get back to Whistler, just get back to Whistler, it's still raining and they are making me ride around in circles around the village, this is stupid, they should have extended the road in Pemberton 1500 more meters and we wouldn't have to do this nonsense, finally, back to transition and off my bike, I'm so cold, it's still raining, at least now I get to run, thank goodness, I hear the run in beautiful, I can't wait!

clearly in a hurry
All-in-all, although the bike ride was horrible, miserable and the coldest I've ever been for that extended period of time, I really do think I would LOVE this bike course, given normal conditions. I'll come back.

Get into transition and I sit right down and take my time stripping off the cold wet clothes, the ladies tell me to hurry and keep going and I tell them I'm going to take my sweet time, thankyouverymuch, I put on my watch, grab my visor, head to the porta-potty, definitely hydrated, and I'm out on the course. Again, not a super slow transition time given that I felt like I was in there for 10 minutes (3 minutes and change in actuality)

The RUN.
The run course is beautiful and I think a straight marathon on this course would be amazing. You're running through trails, on and off road, past lakes, in wooded areas, by houses, by beer garden parties, golf courses, there were parts that were breathtaking.
 For me, on that day, the run was a real struggle, I ran 16 miles pretty well, at the half, I was on pace to run my BQ time, which is what the goal was and what I wanted to/knew I could do. But from mile 3 on my knee started to rear it's ugly little head, I'm not one for excuses, but I knew my knee was going to be the wild-card in this race. I had done just enough run training on it to get through the run at a respectable pace/time and what happened on the day was tbd. Right after the first loop, when I encountered the bear was the first time I had to stop, this was the beginning of the end, had I kept running (which wasn't an option when we saw the bear, you don't run in between a mama bear and her cubs), I think I could have made it to the end, well I hope I could have and mentally I know I could have pushed through (I did), physically I hoped my knee would let me.

The last 10k was brutal both mentally and physically. My heart and lungs and legs were totally fine, I was as fit as I'd ever been before and Ironman, I wasn't tired, I was feeling really, really good, I was catching and passing people at the beginning of the run and then my knee just said, "nope, no more, you're crazy, you might even be a little bit dumb to be running on me, I'm done." That was my knee, not my heart, lungs and legs, so they kept me hobbling my way along to the finish. I will say this though, never have I ever experienced so much support, encouragement and helpfulness from both spectators, volunteers and athletes as I did on that day when I was struggling like I was. I couldn't be happier with how much love and support was present out there on that course, that's something I've not experienced before, I mean people are usually nice and courteous along the way, but people are also in the zone and in their own world. You get the occasional good job or keep it up, but that's about it and I get it, I've been that person too, but from where I was on that day, the support and the struggle back there is real. I ended up finishing because I'm stubborn like that, it wasn't the day I wanted, but I took a lot more away from this race than I have in the past.

For me, realizing that this is something we all do for fun, it's not our job, this is our hobby, so why not be supportive and encouraging always, in all ways (that's from something, some BRAVO tv show or something I think, maybe?). It's not easy and everyone is dealing with something whether it be sickness, job, injury, family, life stress, injury, happiness, love, new kid, new job, new partner, etc, whatever it may be, good or bad, we are all going through life and have highs and lows, this is something we do for fun and let's support each other and go through this tough, rewarding journey together.

IM Canada, you were not easy, you dealt some ugly punches and I battled back, you didn't get the TKO, but you won this time, I'll be back for round 2!


  1. nice job Lectie ! I felt this as I read, can attest to everything you said, I was reliving the experience just now...except the bear..haha. It was a serious mental & physical battle to say the least.

  2. The stream of consciousness recounting is about the best way to relay what crazy triathletes are going through. I'm sorry about your knee. You might need to rest it more than you want to! Congratulations, Lectie. Fortitude!