Friday, September 30, 2011

Kyndra Moeller's IMC 2011

My alarm went off at 4:15am. I drank a smoothie, dressed in my race outfit and, with my bags already packed, headed out.

I arrived downtown, parked, unloaded. My first “This is going to be big!” moment of the day came when I saw the motivating messages written in chalk along the street. I dumped my special needs bags in the appropriate boxes and got body marked. It was just starting to get light out when I entered transition.

My first stop was the porta potties, where there were only a handful of people in line. Next, I put on my bento box on my bike and loaded it up with gel blasts. I added 2 bottles of fluids and one bottle containing my spare tubes, C02 and some other essentials that I hopefully wouldn’t need. I pumped up my tires and gave my bike a quick, last minute once-over. After adding a couple of things to my bike and run bags, I hit the porta potties a second time.

I had just enough time to chill out for a few minutes before I needed to suit up, so I staked out a spot along the fences near the beach, sat down and pulled out my ipod. I had thought I would need this time to de-scatter and get centered, but I had actually been feeling calm and focused all morning.

In the water, I did a quick (read: pitiful) warm-up consisting of dunking up and down a few times to submerge myself and then swimming maybe a dozen strokes before the national anthem started. I alternated between looking back towards the beach at the throngs of spectators and out toward the water, my eyes darting along the buoy line and mapping my intended course. I had thought I would be on the verge of tears and ready to hurl from nerves at that point, but I felt completely on and ready.

I took a deep breath and thought “LET’S DO THIS!” as the cannon went off. I waded out a bit more and then dove into the churning water. I immediately went into two-stroke breathing while I concentrated on settling in and just getting everything under control. I was on the far right- the inside of the buoy line- and not quite midway to the front. There were a few rough and tumble minutes as faster swimmers overtook me, but it didn’t send me into panic mode.

A mere few minutes passed before I settled comfortably into three-stroke breathing with the realization that this was going to be a good swim. Next, I concentrated on finding feet. For the first while, it was slow going. After making it through the worst of the initial jam, I ended up behind a guy with some serious power in his legs. Each time he kicked, it sounded like a sonic boom underwater and I was hit in the face with a wall of bubbles. I opted to just get the hell away from him in order to preserve my hearing and not end up drinking the entirety of Okanagan Lake. I backed off and ended up on the feet of someone in white compression sleeves. Sleevie Wonder pulled me along for a spell and soon I realized I could see the bottom of the lake again. We were already at the first turn. Similarly, the second turn came quickly and we were soon on our way back. Then came a long stretch during which I didn’t have anyone else swimming near me. I hadn’t expected it to be so sparse at any point during the swim, and so this worried me a bit. I kept looking up to sight, expecting to find I was way off, only to see the condos directly ahead of me, an assurance that I was right on course.

In T1, all of the volunteers were busy with other athletes and I had no one to help me with my stuff. I wasn’t too bothered and I just took my time. Alas, when I dumped my bag I was horrified to find I hadn’t put socks in, despite having checked and double checked it before dropping it off the day before. I’ve never cycled sockless before, so I had a decision to make- I could either get the socks from my run bag or just hope that going sockless wouldn’t be completely disastrous. Breaking the cardinal rule of not trying anything new on race day, I chose the latter, since I wanted to have dry socks for the run.

I followed my coach’s advice not to eat or drink anything other than water for the first 20 minutes. My heart rate was nice and low as soon as I got on my bike, so I just focused on soaking up some of the positive energy from the cheering spectators as I wended my way out of town. After that, I started fuelling and hydrating according to my plan- a little bit of food and some water or perform every 10 minutes.

The first portion of the bike was uneventful. Well, for me, at least. I saw plenty of people on the side of the road who had flatted right away. The McLean climb came quickly, as I knew it would, and from there on I was mostly in aero. I recall looking out at the scenery and thinking “We are all so lucky!” Just to have made it to that point, to be able to attempt something of this magnitude. Reflecting on this as I pedaled, I made a point of scattering gratitude along the road with my numerous snot rockets.

One thing that I had been a little apprehensive about was executing bottle grabs. I’m not terribly comfortable riding with my right hand out and I had visions of me crashing and causing a woeful aid station pile-up. My worry was unfounded and I managed to toss and grab bottles with no ensuing calamity.

I was excited when we hit the Osoyoos Husky station, because I knew what was coming. I squealed “Yay Richter!!!” garnering some weird looks and a few chuckles. Just before starting the ascent, a guy told me I had a wrapper stuck in my back wheel. He offered to try to ride up beside me and yank it out. I could see no good coming of someone riding that close to me and lunging for my rear wheel, so I politely declined and got off my bike to remove it. It was a Honeystingers wrapper- not mine.

For the duration of Richter, I just stuck to my plan of attack- spin easy, keep my heart rate down and save my legs. It’s by no means a tough climb, but it’s long and it comes so early in the day that my motto was “When in doubt, ease up.” So I just enjoyed the sights and chatted with a few people. It was pretty humbling watching some of the stronger cyclists go flying past, no labored breathing or visible sheen of sweat.

During training, I had ridden the bike course, omitting the out and back. I honestly thought it wouldn’t be a big deal, distance-wise, and I was taken aback at how long it felt. I was beginning to feel rough at that point, as it was getting hot and I was out of water. I kept expecting special needs to come into view and it just wasn’t materializing. Upon seeing an acquaintance from training camp, I asked “Where the heck is special needs??” with a distinct note of desperation. She agreed that this stretch was feeling pretty long and reassured me that special needs couldn’t be more than 5km away. She rode off as I fell back. It was around this time that I started puking. I was trying to drink the now-warm perform in the absence of any water and my body reacted by regurgitating a pink slurry of half-digested gels blasts and tropical hammer gel. I saw my friend again and remarked “I’ve decided I have a new definition of personal hell. We just keep riding like this forever and we never reach special needs.” 5km had long since passed, we weren’t there yet and I had puked a couple more times. I was not having a grand ol’ time, so I focused my mind on a quote that I revisited multiple times throughout the day: It’s not about denying that a weakness exists, but about denying its right to persist. I acknowledged that I felt like death warmed over (well, death overheated, really), but I reasoned that feeling like crap was probably transient and I wasn’t going to let it be the dominant theme of my day. I bargained with myself that I just needed to get to special needs and I could take a few minutes to get my ducks in a row.

When I reached special needs, I immediately got off my bike, removed my shoes and asked for water. I downed a bottle and then tucked into the stuff in my bag. I had chips, which would usually taste like manna from heaven at 120km into a hot ride. But I had been taking in roughly 500mg of sodium per hour (between salt caps and perform) and that must have been enough because the chips were only mildly appealing. I ate a handful just to get some calories in. I also had a coke in my bag and though it was completely warm and syrupy, the carbonation felt good in my stomach and a few gulps were pretty restorative. I nursed another bottle of water as I did some stretching, reloaded my bento box with more gel blasts and grabbed some more gels. When I asked for yet more water before getting back on my bike, the volunteer in question gave me two bottles. One was half frozen and she mentioned that she had brought it from home for herself but that she thought I should take it. After thanking her profusely, I got back on my bike. With some cold fluids and a good whack of calories in my system, I felt so much better and my previously bleak mood was now upbeat. All told, I lost a good 20 minutes or so at special needs, but I don’t regret it as it undoubtedly allowed me to actually enjoy the rest of my day.

Coming through Keremeos and starting the climb towards Yellow Lake did even more to bolster my mood. I was still going nice and easy, but I had started catching and passing a number of people who had blown by me much earlier. It was hot as Hades and people were clearly fading. As the grade increased, I also started seeing a number of people getting off their bikes and just walking. I pressed on, channelling the strength I had felt while riding that section during training camp.

On that day at training camp, we had a large group riding the IMC course but I had somehow ended up completely alone save for an Ultraman competitor by the time I started heading up to Yellow Lake. We kept leapfrogging, so we had a few opportunities to chat and the guy, Fausto, had some kind and encouraging words for me. He passed me a final time, wished me luck, and I spent the remainder of the climb doing visualizations for race day, which was nearly a month out at that point. When I had reached the end of the climb, his crew gave me a huge cheer and Fausto waved to me as he stepped into the lake to cool his legs. That had been, hands down, my favorite part of the training ride and I was glad I was able to conjure up some of that elation and confidence on that very same stretch during the race.

When I reached Yellow Lake, I was a bit dismayed to find that they only had bottles of flavoured water. I was conscious of the fact that I needed to get a lot of fluids in, since I had just made my first pee stop of the day at around 6 hours into the bike. But more than anything, I was glad to get my hands on some ice, since it was scorching. I took a minute to cram some ice into my helmet and top before setting off on the last portion of the ride.

By now I knew that the hard part was over and I should concentrate on getting lots of calories and fluids in for the run. I did just that, cramming blasts and gels in my mouth and sucking back greedy gulps of fluids every 10 minutes. I doused myself in berry-flavored water and shivered with pleasure from the cooling effect on the long descent that followed. Coming down along Skaha Lake, I had to pee for the second time that day. There were no bushes I’d be able to crouch behind and it quickly became a rather pressing need. So I took a quick look behind me and not seeing anyone, let loose. Yes, I’d become one of “those” people who pees on the bike. I won’t lie . . . it was guiltily exhilarating.

Coming back into town, I did some superspinning to loosen up my legs. Along the final stretch, I reminded myself to take my garmin off my bike and tuck it into one of my tri top pockets before dismounting. Forgetting it on my bike and heading out on the run without it had been an ever-present fear leading up to race day.

In the change tent, an attentive volunteer helped me dump my run bag and get organized. I was glad to find the clean, dry socks I’d packed. My feet hadn’t bothered me much on the ride, aside from some hot spots under the balls of my feet, and I was relieved not to have any blisters to contend with. I tucked gels and salt caps into my pockets, put my run gear on and downed a 5 hour energy shot. I cracked a joke about how foul it tasted and the volunteer said I’d be fine out there considering I was still smiling and joking.

I started running right out of transition and my legs felt great. My plan was to stop at every aid station for something, even if it was just water, and to just keep running a slow, steady pace in between for as long as I could keep it up.

Once we got out of town and started running along the lake, the hills materialized. At some point I realized that looking straight ahead and seeing the hills loom before me really didn’t help my sense of purpose and made me want to walk. I pulled the visor of my hat right down so that I could only see a little ways ahead of me. Weird as it sounds, this worked wonders at just keeping me moving and I think I actually managed to run some of the slight hills in this manner without actually realizing they were hills. I also tried to kill time by musing on what it was going to be like to cross the finish line. But then my eyes would well up with tears, my throat would constrict and I felt at once anaphylactic and ridiculous. I had to employ an old trick of reciting multiplication tables to get my mind off it so I could breathe properly again. I mostly tried to keep the recitations internal, but I think there were a few times where I was gasping, wiping away tears and intoning “6 times 1 is 6, 6 times 2 is 12, 6 times 3 is 18” under my breath..

At the turnaround, I grabbed my special needs bag. I dismissed the spare socks (my feet were faring well- nary a single blister, even though I was running through every sprinkler and hose I could hit and my feet were well soaked), downed my second 5 hour energy shot of the day (in hindsight, that was not such a bright idea) and set off walking with a bag of ketchup chips. Much like on the bike course, I found I wasn’t craving the saltiness of the chips, so after a handful I tossed the bag. I definitely slowed down after the turnaround. My legs weren’t hurting, but I was starting to feel a little fatigued despite the caffeine. I don’t think I was taking in enough calories. Gels had long since ceased to be palatable and I found I only really wanted to take in liquid at the aid stations.

During my first protracted walk break between aid stations, I decided it was a good time to pull out the big guns: a page of motivational quotes that I had stowed in my special needs bag and was saving for when the going got rough. Along with the quote about weakness that had spurred me on earlier in the day, there was another one which felt particularly meaningful at that point: ‘The ironman highway is more than a path to the finish line. It is the road to awareness and self-discovery. It is, in essence, the new you just waiting to be reborn.’ That lit a fire under my ass and I set about running again.

As night fell and we began to lose light, volunteers distributed glowstick necklaces. I passed a group of women walking, wearing their glowsticks around their heads instead of their necks. “You ladies look like angels! Iron angels!” I exclaimed, and they laughed in response. Soon thereafter I found myself alone and started walking again. I wasn’t in any actual pain, but I wasn’t really feeling all there. I suspect the excessive amount of caffeine I’d consumed over the course of the day was having a cumulative effect. I was seeing blue tracers in the near-darkness and when I tried to run, I heard a high-pitched buzzing in both ears. I settled for walking. Awhile later, a South African fellow caught up to me and we ended up sticking together for the rest of the night.

Our conversation made the remaining miles pass quickly in full darkness and when we saw the streetlights leading back into town, we whooped and fist bumped. We had walked a solid chunk of miles and now we threw some running back into the mix. And much too quickly, the final mile was upon us! The energy from the cheering spectators was remarkable. Donovan said it was time to toss our glowstick necklaces so that we wouldn’t be wearing them in the photos, so we threw them into the crowd. Similarly, when I saw some of my family I threw them my hat and shades. As we neared the finish, Donovan told me to go ahead of him. We exchanged thank yous, congratulations and a final fist bump before I took off for the finisher’s chute. There was no trace of fatigue in my body at that point and I picked up the pace for a finish line sprint. I sported an ear-to-ear grin and raised my arm in triumph as I crossed the finish line, at long last an ironman.

Andrew Sinclair's IMC 2011 Race Report

Pre Race
1. How did your pre race ritual turn out?

Pre race was great, except for having to wait in an unbelievably long line up for the porta potty, which basically meant I had to throw on my wet suit once I got out and head straight for the start line. I could have done without being so rushed, but it was fine.

2. How did you feel pre race?
I felt good pre race. Felt I had put in as much of the work as I could have and was ready to get on with the show.

3. Anything you feel may have helped your pre race?
No line up.

4. Did you feel ready for the race?
I felt as ready as I could have expected to be.

1. Where did you start?
Almost right up front, well a couple of rows back, more or less in the centre.

2. Did this work for you?

I think it worked out okay. I underestimated how much energy I would use swimming in the pack. I used a ton of energy fighting off everyone (trying not to get swam over, elbowed, basically creating room to swim).

3. How did you feel?
I felt great at the start, then started to get pretty tired about half way and lost the pack I was with. About half to 2/3 through the swim I was ready for it to be over, which I didn’t expect (thought I would have a lot more energy in the water).

4. Any problems?
Everyone always says to get in a pack and draft. I don’t know how it always happens to me, but I never stay in a pack. I always end up swimming on my own, which happened to me about halfway through the swim. The weirdest thing is that I’m always convinced I’m sighting well.

5. Positives
Overall, I thought I would be a bit quicker in the water, but was happy enough with it considering I have never swam that far.

6. How was your sighting ie. were you all over the place?
Per above, I ended up on my own, which may mean I was all over the place, but I thought I was headed exactly where I needed to be….

7. Did you get smacked?
Knocked around quite a bit, but felt fine.

8. Were you drafting efficiently?

9. What was your time?
1:08. I thought I would have been closer to the 1hr mark, say 1:04.

1. How was your transition from swim to bike?
Good. Took as much time as I needed.

2. How was your nutrition strategy?
My nutrition plan was 300 calories an hour from carbo pro, and an additional 90 calories an hour from shot blocks. Had an orange at special needs and some wafers to shake it up a bit. Also had 3 hammer gels with caffeine throughout the ride, which I liked. Cut back on the carbo pro a bit when I was eating over my calories. I felt my nutrition was bang on on the bike. I felt really good, much better than I had expected.

3. How was your hydration?
Drank water with 3 Thermolytes an hour. Drank at least 1.5 to 2 bottles an hour.

4. Any mechanicals or flat tires?
Front tire acted up coming down the hill into OK falls, but went away. Aside from that nope.

5. How were the climbs?
Felt good.

6. Any problems?

7. Positives
Felt super consistent.

8. Any highs and lows in terms of energy?
Not really.

9. Did you know where you were on the course?


1. How was your transition from bike to run?
Transition was great. I felt like a million bucks when I came off the bike, and was convinced I was going to hammer through the run.

2. How was your nutrition?
Something became real wrong real quick. Within 10 mins on the run my left leg completely cramped up. I stopped, stretched it out, drank a bottle of water, and ate a few thermolytes. Kept running. Then I started to feel super queasy shortly after, noticed my heart rate was low and started having a really hard time holding any kind of decent pace.

3. How was your hydration?
Drank as much water as I could. Dropped my thermolytes, so started drinking powerbar perform and eating pretzels and a bit of fruit. I didn`t intend to drink the perform or eat the pretzels, but assumed I needed the salt and electrolytes.

4. Any problems?
Within 45 minutes I noticed I stopped sweating. Got sick in a porta potty. Was pretty delirious as well.

5. Positives
I guess pushing through to get to the finish line and consistently running (if you can call it that) with how shitty I felt. Thought I would be done the run in around 4 hrs, but finished in 4hrs, 55mins.

6. Any lows and highs during the run?
The only high was getting off the bike and starting the run. It was pretty much all lows after that, aside from the finish line.

7. How did you feel finishing?
Felt super sick, but obviously happy. It was all I could do to keep control of my body for the last 4 km or so.
Overall how did you feel about your race? Did it reach your expectations? Will you do another one? Any problems with the race at all in terms of organization and execution done by the race organizers?
Overall I am happy with the race. My goal was 12.5 hrs, with a stretch goal of 11.5hrs. I knew I wasn`t going to know whether or not the stretch was achievable until the race. Until the run, I was certain I would get there, then it all kind of unraveled.
My strategy was to just get to the run, because I was confident that once I got to the run I could put it in auto pilot and get to the finish line. I thought my weakest part would be the bike, with the strongest being the run. Not the case. Felt great on the bike and body shut down sick on the run. I gained 10 lbs during the race, which must be water retention as I stopped sweating. Very odd.
I was sick and delirious crossing the line. I spent about 2 hrs in the medical tent. I didn`t have an IV, or get physically sick, but felt horrible. My brain function seemed to be at 50%.
Over the four or five days after the race, I felt better each day. Lots of hydration. It took at least a week to start feeling like myself, but I still feel like I`m recovering. Not a whole lot of energy.
Would definitely do the race again, but don`t know when I`m going to be able to swing it with the time commitment.
Going to do a couple of Olympics and a half next season.
Medals seemed tiny.

Tim Mackie's 2011 IMC Race report

Pre Race
1. How did your pre race ritual turn out? It went alright I guess. I had a lot of nerves and some trouble sleeping but felt ok race morning.

2. How did you feel pre race? Leading up to the race I was very nervous about the swim and worried that I would have real trouble out there.

3. Anything you feel may have helped your pre race? Nothing comes to mind.

4. Did you feel ready for the race? I definitely felt ready physically. As you know I was having some challenges mentally with the swim but I knew I had done the training to do well if I could over come this. One thing I don’t think I was as well prepared as I could have been was in the area of nutrition – both for the race and during the year of training.

1. Where did you start? Let almost all of the other swimmers go before starting and then swam out on the inside of the buoys.

2. Did this work for you? It worked very well. I was alone most of the way out to the first buoy and then was in the middle of the pack on the way back in.

3. How did you feel? I felt good…I was calm and comfortable for the most part – probably my best swim all year.

4. Any problems? I think I took in a fair bit of lake water and it may have contributed to the stomach issues I had later on the bike and especially on the run.

5. Positives – great day – great swim for me.

6. How was your sighting ie. were you all over the place? I think I was alright in this area even though I didn’t sight as much as I had in training. I found that there were some many people to my left and right that I trusted I must be on track and it worked out.

7. Did you get smacked? I didn’t really get smacked although I felt really congested with bodies everywhere on the way back in.

8. Were you drafting efficiently? No – I found that I would draft for a little bit but then would need to pass the person I was drafting and never really found any feet I could just sit on. I had never drafted before either so I am not sure I even know what I am doing.

9. What was your time? 1:21:13

1. How was your transition from swim to bike? I think it was pretty good. I almost missed getting sunscreen. My time was 5:26

2. How was your nutrition strategy? I forgot my bottles so that threw a bit of a wrench into things but thanks to you I had my water bottle and one bottle full of carbo pro. I had to throw the other bottle of carb pro away at the start of the bike because I had no holder for it (it was suppose to go in my special needs bag). I tried to make up the calories (400) I had planned to take in with this bottle.

3. How was your hydration? I started cramping (calves) at the top of yellow lake hill so maybe not as good as I thought it was.

4. Any mechanicals or flat tires? Thank god no

5. How were the climbs? Felt ok

6. Any problems? My stomach was bugging me the first 3 hours – I hit the washroom at the special needs area and felt better the rest of the ride.

7. Positives – I was so high after the swim that I just felt great out there. My time 5:55:30 was good from my perspective and I felt good out there for the most part.

8. Any highs and lows in terms of energy? I was on a real high for the first 2 – 3 hours following the swim and then hit a low spot after the rollers and in the Cawston area. I felt better during the yellow lake climb and coming back into Penticton.

9. Did you know where you were on the course? I had a general idea for the most part after riding the course during the camp weekend in early August

1. How was your transition from bike to run? It was alright – had some trouble getting my compression socks (T1’s ) on. My time was 4:40.

2. How was your nutrition? I took a gel every ½ hour and alternated between water and Perform as I did on the bike but I did get sick of the Perform and stopped taking it half way through the run. I had been taking 1 salt pill every ½ hour on the bike but increased to 2 per ½ hour after talking to Tara – Lee and telling her I was cramping still.

3. How was your hydration? As above – maybe not as good as I thought given the cramping

4. Any problems? I felt good the first 10 km of the run (my time was 53 min) then my stomach really started acting up and I had to hit the washroom every aid station – 6 or 7 times on the way out to OK Falls. I think I only hit the washroom once on the way back in to Penticton. My legs didn’t let me work at a heart rate over around 140 for the most part I think. I felt like aerobically I could do more but the cramping and stomach issues prevented me from going harder.

5. Positives – First 10 k was good and I felt good at the finish.

6. Any lows and highs during the run? Felt like turning around about half way out to OK Falls

7. How did you feel finishing? I felt pretty good – very excited finishing. I wish I would have known how close I was to breaking the 12 hour barrier – I think I had enough in the tank but thought it was out of reach.
Overall how did you feel about your race? Did it reach your expectations? Will you do another one? Any problems with the race at all in terms of organization and execution done by the race organizers?
I felt very good about my race. I had set a goal and thought I could do it in 12 hours and that was exactly where I ended up; however I was in a better position in terms of time at the end of the bike than I expected. When I started the run I felt very confident I could break 12 hours but my run was a bit disappointing for me. I am signed up for next year. No issues with the organization of the race – the volunteers were awesome.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Stevi Williams 2011 IMC Race Report

Hi everyone!

Thanks for sending out the positive vibes for me last Sunday - I'm sure they were getting through because I had a really, really great day. Lots of you have asked how it all went so I've written my story below. It's longish (but hey, so was the race!) so if you don't want to read the whole thing you just have to know it went even better than I had hoped for and I am feeling so happy about the whole thing. For those of you who want the details, read on...

It all started when the alarm went off at 3:30am. I shut it off and let the feeling of "OMG today is finally here" rush over me. I'd spent the last 8 months training for this; long wet runs in the rain, countless bum-numbing hours on the bike and too many painfully boring swims. Now the waiting, anticipation and oscillating between terror and confidence was coming to the release point when the horn blew and I could just get in the water and GO!

I got up and got dressed, had breakfast and waited for my buds Celeste & Byron, who were also racing, to pick me up. When they arrived at 4:45am, I gathered up my gear bags and off we went to the race start. Now, because it's such a long day Ironman has several spots where you can leave stuff you want later in the day. First there is the transition area where you go from swim to bike (T1) and then bike to run (T2). This is where you leave your helmet, bike shoes etc for T1 and runners, hat etc for T2. There is also something called "Special Needs" (SN) for the bike and the run; this is a spot at 120km on the ride and 21km on the run where you can have a bag dropped off with something you might want at that point (fresh legs would have been great!). There is a huge variety of stuff that people put in their SN bags and it's always fun to see. Celeste likes to have options and had the biggest laundry bag full of stuff ~ we all had the giggles watching her lug that massive bag up to the drop off point in the morning. Especially compared to Byron's SN bags which had all of a water bottle and a chapstick I think. I was somewhere in the middle with some extra gel (food type fuel source) and a light jacket in each bag, just in case. Last year during the race a big rain storm came in and froze everyone half to death. Turns out being cold wasn't going to be an issue for us today.

So we drop off our SN bags and then got our race numbers written on both arms and legs. They also write your age on the back of your left calf ~ this is so when you see someone passing you, you can decide if you need to try and chase them down if they are in your age group. Then into the transition area to put load my bike with my fuel (we don't say "food" in triathlon, we say fuel. This is because it all tastes like crap and would only ever be eaten to stay alive) and water.

Then the 3 of us sat down to watch everyone else rush around pumping tires, loading fuel bottles etc. The face expressions were everything from happy and relaxed to flat out panic stricken. Sometimes I had to look away and recenter my own thoughts if I was picking up too much of the wild energy of the mob.

OK, 6:20am - time to suit up! We all get into our wetsuits, swim caps and goggles and then make our way to the beach entrance. The pro's gun goes off at 6:45 and the huge crowd watching roars. My adrenaline surges and I struggle to reign it in before it turns into scattered, unfocused nervousness. We all flow through the swim exit gate to the beach and knee deep into the lake to get some water into the suit before we start in 5 minutes. No hope for a warm up swim today ~ the water is packed full and standing room only. The 3 of us are grinning and joking; "I guess this means we're really going through with it huh?". We all give each other hugs and say "Good luck!!!" and then HOOOONNNNNNNKKKKK! The horn blows and the largest Ironman Canada race start of 2841 athletes heads into the water together.

The swim was pretty wild ~ that's a lot of people in the tub together you know? I just kept my head down and followed bubbles and feet as much as I could. When people swam on top of me or were crashing into me I just worked on staying relaxed and keeping moving. I've done enough of these races now to expect the punch in the head/face at some point so it was almost a relief when it finally happened and it was a girl ~ the guys can really crack you one sometimes. The course is like a triangle with two long sides and one short one at the far point. At the last turn buoy to head back to the beach we were heading into the sun which made it difficult to sight the course buoys ~ lots of people went off course a bit here. I was stuffed in the middle of a splashy mob the whole time and just stayed with them all the way back. Got to the beach and climbed out of the water to hear my name being called by Damon & the kids who were crushed up at the fence in the crowd ~ AWESOME to see them!!! My swim time was 1:20 which was 3 minutes slower than last time. I was ECSTATIC with this time however since I only did about a 20th of the swim training I did last time (because swimming blows).

Into transition and the strippers rip my suit off my legs and fling it at me as I run to my T1 gear bag. Into the tent to put on my shoes, helmet, sunglasses, race number belt and sunscreen. Out of the tent and get my bike off the rack. Run with it to the Mount Line on the road just outside the transition zone, mount up and start riding through the crowds lined up on both sides of the road behind fence barriers. I really do love this part :)

The ride felt really good to me, this is always my strongest discipline. My bike is sleek and fast and crushes it on the downhills and the flats -woop woop! It might not climb as well as my other bike but I felt strong and kept it steady the whole way. Heat management was critical as it got up to 34C out there in fully exposed roads through rocky desert-like terrain ~ like riding though a blast furnace at times. There are aid stations every 20km on the course and at each one I would grab one of the ice cold bottles of water from the outstretched hand of a volunteer as I rolled through and pour it over my head, back, legs ~ drink some ~ head again and into my shoes. Then I'd grab another bottle of a fuel drink and dump it into my bike's bottle and keep going on the course. D and the kids had driven the back road to get to the Yellow Lake hill (the last major climb on the course) and I got a big jolt of HAPPY when I saw them. I stuck out my hand and got high fives from all of them and several other spectators lining the hill as well (one of them was a little over zealous and slapped my hand so hard it made me wobble on my bike!). I just kept my pace strong and steady until I finished the 180km and got back to transition in 5:54. Last time it took me 6:18 so I was VERY pleased to come in under 6 hours.

I hand my bike to a volunteer (they take it and rack it for us ~ nice!) and run to the gear bags lined up according to race number in T2 ~ bike to run. I grab my bag and head back to the change tent. Off with the helmet and bike shoes, on with the hat, runners and fuel belt. I run to the sunscreen volunteers and am swarmed by 5 of them in blue surgical gloves smearing goop on my legs, arms and face. I leave T2 looking like I've just lost a shaving cream fight.

Out onto the run course. Lots of people cheering us on along most of the way and many of the locals have either put out their sprinklers or are standing there with their hoses ready to spray you if you want it. And I wanted it! It was so stinking hot on that run course ~ it's entirely exposed to the sun the whole way. There wasn't much breeze from the lake either so it just felt like we were being baked alive on the asphalt. My headspace was really good for the run (something I've been working on a lot lately)and I stayed very positive in my thoughts despite the discomfort. I never thought of the run in it's entirety; no "omg a whole marathon" thoughts for me! Instead I just ran from aid station to aid station which were placed at every mile for 26 miles. Once I reached a station I would walk through pouring water over my head, putting ice under my hat and stuffing cold, wet sponges into my jersey. Then back to running to the next station. This worked really well for me; knowing that I could walk at the next station gave me the determination to continue running no matter how steep the hill or how many puking people I was encountering. The run was taking it's toll on a lot of people. There were pukers every where and a some were falling down. A few people wandered off the road to go sit in the lake to cool down and get refocused. It can appear rather bleak at times. Again, D & the kids were there to boost my spirits at the 10km/30km point. A friend of mine's granny lives right there on the run course so Celeste and I had a cheering mob with all the kids, our friends and hubbies, complete with signs, hoses and high fives when we got there. It was such a great thing to look forward to!! I was starting to feel a bit fragile in my tummy for the last 10k of the run. Eventually the body just can't really process the nutrition going in and starts to rebel. I had to find and then constantly readjust the balance point of getting nutrition in but not overwhelm the system. As I got nearer the finish line I left off trying to get calories in and just worked on staying steady with my pace and form with little sips of water.

The Ironman run course has a particularly cruel finish because you have to run right past the finish line, out another half km and then turn around and run back to cross. Going past the finish line for that last 500m is really hard! The next thing you know though, there I am, running the last 500m towards the finish line with mobs of shouting, waving and cheering people lined up both sides. The grin on my face is huge and I just feel an enormous welling of happiness, pride, relief, joy, amazement and triumph wave over me as I cross the finish line in 12:18. 41 minutes faster than before ~ YA HOO BABY!!!! The photographers are snapping my picture as I come across and I hear Damon calling my name to my right. I look over and there are D, Kierney and Chase, all grinning, waving, jumping up and down and yelling "YAY, YOU DID IT!!!".

Two ladies take my arms and start leading me through the finisher's chute. These ladies are called "Catchers" and there are two Catchers for every athlete. They talk to us and make sure we're ok and not going to cross the finish line and fall down puking with no one to help ~ this falling down and puking part happens a lot. So I'm chatting to the ladies as we walk towards the finisher's photo que and I am starting to feel a little crappy. Now that the focus of running/finishing is over my body is starting to reassert itself over my mind and it's not happy with how it's been treated that day, thankyouverymuch!! We get through the photo stop and the Catchers let me go to meet Damon and the kids. I get about 10 steps and feel so drained and nauseas that I stop to sit in one of the chairs for a minute or two to let it pass. It doesn't pass but it doesn't get worse either so I get back up and go to see the family just outside the finisher's chute. Big hugs!! Sweaty kisses!! Yay Mommy!! Honey, you ROCK!! It was a great moment :) but then I need to sit down again as my body again reminds me of how it's time to give back now.

We sit in the grass for a while, watching all the athletes and their families rejoin each other. Again there is a big variety here; some people look like they could go for a nice swim right now while others look like death. I think I'm somewhere in the middle but edging closer to the "look like death" side as I'm getting cold sitting in my wet clothes on the grass. Damon brought my bag of dry clothes to change into but there is only one place to change and it's a nasty, concrete block of a public beach bathroom that has been used by 3000 athletes and their families all weekend. Ewwww! Not much choice though so I head in there. I'm really starting to feel bad now though; my tummy is queasy and I'm really cold and shivering. I get into one of the two stalls to change and look with dismay at the dirty floor and how there isn't a hook to hang my bag. I know, call me a princess but this is definitely one of my "things" ~ I HATE having to touch gross public washroom anythings, let alone the FLOOR!! So there I am, gingerly placing my bag on the floor (gag) and trying to organize a way to get my dry stuff out and wet stuff off without letting anything touch the floor. I am managing ok, I've got my dry shorts on now and flip flops. Bra on, good. Shirt? Whoa, now I suddenly feel like I'm going to pass out - too much bending over and standing back up getting stuff out of the bag on the floor (did I mention how filthy the floor was??). I sit down on the toilet, thinking if I can do that and get my head down between my knees I'll recover and not pass out. Then I wake up with MY FACE ON THAT NASTY FLOOR!!! and two women calling to me to unlock the bathroom door so they can help. I slowly get more vertical and flick the latch on the door as I resume my seat on the toilet. The Wonderful Women (WW) are fussing over me and talking at me but all I can come up with is: " OMG I passed out on THAT FLOOR!!" ~ it was truly gag inducing. Sigh. I get my shirt on, feel the bump on my forehead where I bonked it on my way down, note the bloody knee and then WW help me outside the bathroom to the grass where I promptly have to sit back down because I can feel the tunnel vision coming again. They get my stuff from the bathroom and I ask them to get my husband for me because "…he's really strong and he can just carry me…". Well they can't find him (due mostly to my one word description: he's tall) so they help me get to the medical tent. The docs put me in a bed and cover me with warm packs because I'm really shivering with the cold now and then hook me up to an IV. Someone finds Damon and tells him where I am but he and the kids can't come in the tent because it's crazy busy with athletes coming in. FUN! I know most of you are probably thinking "Wow, where can I sign up for this?!?". After about an hour I'm done my drip of magical IV fluids and feeling MUCH better as I rejoin my family and Celeste who has also finished (and rocked it with a new Personal Best time!!) and have been waiting for me outside the med tent. More hugs and kisses and laughs and then Wade, Celeste's husband, picks us up in the car (because there was no way I was walking the 1.5km back to the house!!) and takes us all home. A quick wash off, then into my compression pants to help my aching legs and then sweet, sweet sleep….ahhhhh.

So that's pretty much how Ironman went for me. It was a crazy, fantastic, brilliant & amazing day. The falling down part at the end doesn't detract from the whole thing for me even one tiny bit (too bad it was in that nasty bathroom but I've since dunked myself in a Detol bath and as of this moment will block the vision of the floor forever from my memory….ah, gone).

Thanks so much for all your encouragement and support for my big day, it meant a lot to know I had people rooting for me!

I'm going to go and eat now (again) and then maybe take a little nap :)
See you all soon,

colleen gray-hewitt's 2011 Race Report

Pre Race
1. How did your pre race ritual turn out?

Pre-race I was staying at friends’ place. Arrived a day ahead of family and just gave myself time to visit the expo, have a massage, which I didn’t get to before leaving, and try to not do too much beyond short swim, bike, run. Partnered up with another athlete to hang out and sound things off of in the days leading up which was really great.

2. How did you feel pre race?
OK overall. I was way more nervouse for Victoria ½ Iron which I’d set as my ‘A’ race for the year. Everything else past that seemed more relaxed and for the experience. I was a little apprehensive of getting nutrition right, the heat, and of running a marathon which was pretty much double the distance I’d ever run.

3. Anything you feel may have helped your pre race?
Best pre-race things were the phone conversation with Sean to go over some nutrition and race strategy, which I adhered to. Training camp to actually swim, ride, run the routes and get my bearings around Penticton was VERY beneficial.

4. Did you feel ready for the race?
As much as I could with minimal time to think (or over think) and to train up to the longer distances. I think I was more relaxed than if I’d signed up the year before.

1. Where did you start?

2nd row approx 100m to the left of the buoys (so basically up front)

2. Did this work for you?

Pretty much. I tend to pull right so I ended up at the buoys by the first 750m and then stuck to that line. I may move in towards the buoys more next time out as I can sight and follow those to keep on line.

3. How did you feel?
I wanted to have a good swim. Some of the jostling that made me stop for a second and look around was a bit of a pain as was the chop created by 3000 people which made me swallow a little too much of the lake, but I felt fine. I don’t mind the craziness of the swim once you settle into a pace group which I did. Managed to follow some feet for a bit too, which was a first.

4. Any problems?
Not really. The last 1800m when it spread out, I found myself off course to right a bit which forced me to sight more than I would have liked, thus not feeling like I was getting long stretches of a smooth stroke.

5. Positives
Found some feet to follow for a few hundred metres! Didn’t get goggles grabbed off or seriously kicked. Decent time out of the water.

6. How was your sighting ie. were you all over the place?
My sighting is fine when I do it all the time. When I try to go a few extra strokes without sighting I end up right.

7. Did you get smacked?
Yes – grabbed and kicked - but not too hard.

8. Were you drafting efficiently?
At one point. Not for most of the race but maybe a ¼ in all.

9. What was your time?
1hr 4 min. It was slow getting out of the water. Shallow for awhile which is tough to muscle through and then everyone is funneled into transition across the timing mat so that part was a bit slow.

1. How was your transition from swim to bike?
OK. I totally missed the strippers though! I ran across the rows of bags and it took them a few seconds to get my bag then into the tent. I was one of only 2 or 3 women in the tent so that was good. My volunteer wasn’t really ready to help me strip off my wetsuit and was a little flustered but that’s OK. I forgot to sunscreen on the way out. Took a salt tab and grabbed water from a transition aid stn when heading out with the bike.

2. How was your nutrition strategy?
Remembered when I was on the bike that I’d forgotten to take a gel pre-swim so my last food was 4:30am breakfast. I had salt tabs in a Nuun bottle in my back pocket which was an experiment (that worked out). I planned to take one thermolyte (180mg sodium) every 20 min and stuck to that. Not sure exactly how many calories I took in but would have been around the 300/hr (maybe a little shy of that) with Carbo Pro (800 cal worth), Clif bloks, 2/3 Bonk Bar at Special Needs and whatever I took in with Perform (not a ton – maybe 300 cal over the whole ride of that)

3. How was your hydration?
I was probably less hydrated than I should have been. I had to pee in the first 90 min but couldn’t get that to work on the bike so just didn’t pee the whole time and never really had to as that feeling went away. I took in water every aid station and topped up my Speedfil so I was drinking constantly. I felt fine in that regard during the ride.

4. Any mechanicals or flat tires?
No thankfully. I paid my due on Richter in the Desert ½ with 2 flats…

5. How were the climbs?
Fine. I kept to a very low gear to try to keep as high a cadence as possible with spinning out the legs. Passed people on the climbs. Was mostly passed on the descents but I actually passed a couple people coming down from Richter which was a miracle.

6. Any problems?
Just some frustrations with the drafting rules as I wanted to push it a bit more in certain sections but couldn’t without having to pass a whole line of cyclists which would have used up too much energy.

7. Positives
Felt strong mentally and energy-wise the entire ride. No bonking or energy sag along Barcelo which was a problem on our training ride (I hadn’t taken in sodium then). All the crowds and volunteers were amazing.

8. Any highs and lows in terms of energy?
Energy felt pretty consistent throughout which I was very happy about. The heat was definitely a factor but I just tried to keep cool with water over the head and knowing that this was going to be better than the run! The lowest point (which was also a high point) was the last portion and the wicked headwind which was a bit demoralizing after coming through everything else so well. But it was still a high as that portion was done and in a time faster than I was expecting.

9. Did you know where you were on the course?
Yes. Riding the whole course once in training camp was awesome. I used my Garmin for time/cadence and heart rate, though heart rate monitor wasn’t working that well.

1. How was your transition from bike to run?
Slow but somewhat unavoidable. Think it was about 5 min. Tent change was fine. Had to get sunscreened as it was hot and sunny and I hadn’t done it pre-ride. Had to use the Johnny and it was an 8hr build up of pee (sorry) so that took a couple minutes as dealing with wet kit with not so functioning hands took a few seconds to get all ready to run for the next 4 hrs.

2. How was your nutrition?
Very so-so. I opted to carry a fuel belt with 2 bottles of coconut water/water mix, salt tabs and some clif blocks and 2 powerbar latte gels. I hate gels so they were for emergency. I took the tabs approx every 25 min. I drank both bottles and replaced them at special needs and drank those as well. Took a piece of banana at two aid stations but wasn’t super keen on that. Watermelon at one but never saw that again. Tried an orange but that was too much work and stuck in the teeth. Block didn’t set right. I did cave and take in 3 powerbar gels in the 2nd half to keep the energy up. I ice watered over my head and body twice per aid station and took in water. Took in cola every 2nd aid station on the way back. I knew I had to take those gels to make it to the finish strongly and I think that did work but I couldn’t have done it 10 times. I’ll work on that.

3. How was your hydration?
See above. I hydrated constantly. My own source and through the aid stations.

4. Any problems?
Nausea for the whole run. I’m easily prone to this. Shin splints that were rearing up in the first half but seemed to settle down in the 2nd half in lieu of other parts feeling the pounding.

5. Positives
Support of friends, coaches on the route. The out and back seeing people running. Managing to run the whole way at a very steady pace and come in just over 4 hrs (I was hoping for under 4:30:00) which included walking through every aid station except the last one on lakeshore. And walking around special needs to replace my bottles and grab one more gel. Having lots of energy and speed to finish strongly. I’m not sure but I’d think I did a negative split of first half/second half which was also a goal.

6. Any lows and highs during the run?
The first stretch from the transition to the start of Skaha, which is a bit uphill. The marathon distance was very daunting to me and I didn’t feel great (nausea-wise) so I was worried about keeping my chosen pace.

7. How did you feel finishing?
Amazing!!!! It was briefly emotional (which I felt as I came onto lakeshore from Main) and exhilarating!!!! What an epic day.
Overall how did you feel about your race? Did it reach your expectations? Will you do another one? Any problems with the race at all in terms of organization and execution done by the race organizers?
I am very happy with my race. I felt that I really hadn’t done enough to come through quite that well, particularly in the run, but that the strategy Sean put forth and keeping a level head about this being a great learning experience and intro to IM (which I was totally not planning to do for a few more years about 6 months ago). I will always put pressure on myself in my head to have a strong day but I was quite prepared for things to be less than perfect and to roll with that. It definitely reached my expectations.

Race strategy: Swim: start up near the front and try to find some feet to draft. Bike: patience game. Spinout and keep it easy through Richter and the rollers and then open it up, which I did and felt good doing that. I think the fact that I was mostly passed by guys made it easier for me to do this as I’m not really competing against guys so I didn’t care if they passed me. Unless it was Bruce MacKenzie and then I would have had to lay down the hammer (kidding). Run: just keep running, save for some walking through the aid stations to get what I needed.
Mantra: Gratitude, Patience, Fun, Fast
I have signed up for Coeur d’Alene 2012. See what that’s all about and hoping it will be warmer than 2011. I have to see if I can continue the momentum started this year and extend that a bit. All things going well (and I do know that every day something could go wrong), I’d like to go under 11 hrs and know that most of that time has to come from the run.

Race itself: found it easy to register, easy to access everything I needed once there. The organization seemed really good to me. I didn’t love the distance from the bike to run bags and then having to go into the change tent and back around but everyone had to do it so that was equalized.

celeste atterton's IMC 2011 race report

I had a fabulous day at IMC :)

My swim was a little disappointing.... I was in the middle of a pack being dragged along until the way back. The sun was in my eyes and I couldn’t sight the buoys properly. I found myself alone and off course :(..... Made for a longer swim – drag!

But once I got on my bike it was all good. 5 km into my ride my Garmin battery crapped out on me (it’s never done that before), so I had no speed/pace, distance or time for my ride or run – boo! Oh well, didn’t dwell on it. I was very diligent about keeping hydrated & fueled. At every aid station I took the time to douse myself with water & poor ice down my jersey to keep cool. When I made it to Yellow Lake I was thrilled that I still felt so good. I spun up the hill passing everyone. I’ve never done that before in an event and did it ever feel amazing!!!

Made it back into T2 feeling great. Decided to down an Ensure to get some extra calories in for my run. When I started running my legs felt so good & springy I couldn’t believe it! But unfortunately all that spring made the Ensure in my tummy want to spring back up! Had to walk for 5 or so minutes to let it settle. Had some ice at the aid station which I find helps when my tummy is upset (mental noted – no Ensure in transition ever again!). Felt great the rest of the run with a fairly steady pace. Had mostly just water & bananas at the aid stations. In the last kilometer to the finish line I heard Steve King say “1 minute until the 14 hr”.... Unfortunately I couldn’t sprint that 1km in under 1 minute!!! Bummer that my watch died early on.... I’m sure I could have shaved time off to come under the hour. Anyway, I finished strong.... had so much still in my tank that I was a bit annoyed with myself for not going harder! But then again, I had such a positive, euphoric feeling day, that I wouldn’t have wanted to take away from that. All in all I was thrilled with how my IMC day went. I took over 1.5 hrs off of my previous time – woop woop!

Thank you so much for all of your support :)


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

gord mathews imc race report

Pre Race – Going into the race I felt nervous as always. As much as I did not train as I did in the previous year due to weather, Achilles issues, work etc With that being said I decided to focus more on enjoying the race this year rather that trying for a pb as I did not feel I was in the shape I needed to be in. I was also struggling a lot with confidence issues on the bike, for whatever reason I just have not felt very strong on the bike in the past couple of year even though that’s probably the one sport I was most consistent in my training with this year. I felt my meeting with Tara-lee a couple days before the race really helped me settle down and get focused mentally for the race.

Swim- Overall I had a great swim which was quite surprising as I probably only swam about ½ as much as I did last year but I think improved technique gained from my private lessons with Tara-lee helped a lot this year as I was only a minute slower than my swim time last year.

I started in the middle of the pack in line with the buoys and I chose to swim straight on the buoy line. With in about 700 meters I had fairly open water with out a lot of congestion, once I turned the second buoy and started on the way back I had complete open water the whole way back along the buoy line as everybody seemed to be swimming about 10 – 20 meters out from the buoys, at the time I thought the open water was great but given time to think I think it was a poor choice on my part given I got virtually no draft on the way back I think I would have been smarter to stay in the pack and get more of the draft which probably would of given me a quicker swim time.

T1- I had a much quicker transition time than any of my previous Ironman’s so I was very happy with it and I wouldn’t do any thing different next time.

Bike- I did not have the bike I would of liked or what I think I am capable of but I got through it and given the heat I think I did OK.
My first hiccup of the day started when my Garmin for what ever reason decided not to pick up my hr monitor or power meter on the bike so all had was time, distance and speed which was pretty useless as I haven’t looked at my speed all year I’ve gone strictly by my power output and heart rate. So I started out the bike feeling pretty good and had a great ride all the way to Osoyoos. My climb up Richter’s felt quite good and I continued to feel OK all the way to the start of the out and back. Unfortunately it was at this point I think some of my issues started, I was very diligent about mu nutrition and I was doing very well with it taking in about a 20 oz of perform an hour and the same in water until the aid stations started to run out of water. By the time I reached special needs my feet had started to cramp, I was able to deal with the issue by loosening the straps on my shoes, once I hit the highway by the bear I started to get some cramping in my legs and by this time it was very hot with very little wind and the heat totally zapped my energy at that point. Remembering my goal was to just enjoy the day I just kept pushing on and taking in as much perform, thermolite tablets and water when I was able to get it that I could. So I got through the bike, it was not my best ride but given the day I was OK with it.

T2 – Again had a much quicker transition than normal even with taping my Achilles and putting compression socks on the only thing that killed my transition was taking a much needed bathroom break.

Run- Again given my Achilles issues this year my running was very spotty and I really was not in very good running shape compared to the year before and given the heat of the day and the fact I do very poor in the heat I had very low expectations for my run when I started it.
I started the run feeling OK and I was able to run which was a good thing but again I had no hr monitor just time and pace so I decided to go strictly by feel and ignored my Garmin except for checking the time every so often. After about 15 minutes it was obvious I was not going to be able to run straight so I decided to switch to nine and ones. At about the 7k mark about 5 minutes before you at the lake stepped in a pothole and rolled my ankle, which caused me to take a bit of a tumble and of course, it was my right ankle, which is my bad Achilles. I picked myself up and I’m not sure if I really did much damage to my ankle but it did play in my mind the rest of the run and my Achilles seemed to bother me a bit more but again that may of just been in my head. Right after that point I was having a hard time keeping up the nine and ones so they switched to sometime five and ones and some time four and ones etc. I got out to the turn around at OK falls and I wasn’t feeling great but I was still doing OK. At that point the five and one etc were right out the window I was just running when I could and then walking when I couldn’t. I was watching my time a bit as I did want to be my time from 08 but I was trying not to concentrate on it. I made it out to the turn around in 2:45 so I figured I would be slower heading back but I thought if I could make it in under three I would be OK but I wasn’t sure that I would be able to do it so again I just ran what I could and did my best to get back. The funny thing of it all and I have no idea how I did it I had a negative split by about 40 seconds which again I had no clue how I did it. So given how hot the day was and my inconsistent running this year I had an awesome run considering I beat my last years run time by 5 minutes on a much tougher run course and I was in far better shape last year.

Summary – I did not have the race I would of like to have but given my training this year I think I had the best possible race I could of especially given the heat so I was very happy with the way my race turned out and most importantly I enjoyed this one.

It’s funny because my plan was to take a year off of doing Ironman after this one and for a few days after the race I had absolutely no desire to do it for at least two years if not longer. That feeling lasted for maybe about a week because I’ve really had to exercise some self control or I would of signed up to do another one next year even though I know I need to give my body a few months to heal and to get my Achilles back to a 100%.

At this point my plan is to take the next few months to rest and let my body heal a bit. Next year I want to start building my base again and to do 2 – 3 Half Irons and providing everything goes as planned and my body is holding up my goal is to do Ultraman Canada in 2013.
I’m looking at it as three 12 hour training days, I think my biggest challenge is going to be the day 3 double marathon. Again that is my goal at this point but that’s going to depend on how my training goes this year.

Scott Tremblay 9th Overall IMC Race Report

Being able to race at home is something that fits my life. As I was walking to transition the morning of the race, I was chatting with Jenny Andrews, who is a coach with Canwi Multisport, about my experiences racing at IMCDA. Do not get me wrong here, but there is too much guilt and guile in my house when I leave to do a race. My wife, Sheri, is the most understanding person. My training is consistent throughout the year, 12 months of training. She never questions why I am training or, rarely, asked when I will be home. Granted, I do train early in the morning. Just ask my ex-training partner, Simon Ree. We would be on the road at 4-5 am each session. Got to be home when the cartoons are no longer interesting for the kids and when chaos is no longer a theory. Anyway, as Jenny and I are talking, I proceed to tell her that my life does not allow me to go away and race, much too stressful. My employer simply does not tolerate my triathlete life. I guess what I do is not positive. I will try not to vent too much here. Needless to say, next year I will race locally and race along with my family. No more going to races solo. I must say that I was much more calm than IMCDA. I knew many of the pro's. I also felt positive going into this race. I did the training and I know the course. The swim. A person that I have raced against quite a few times was racing and he swims like me, slow. This person is Dallas Cain. Our styles of racing are similar: ride hard and run hard. We both have the same type of life: family, work, family, and work-- training, repeat. So fitting it all in is quite tough for both of us. The swim went well enough for me. I was actually leading a group of swimmers. The water was choppy so I knew I would be slower this year. I truly try not to let the swim get the best of me psychologically. The bike this year was tough: wind and more wind. I guess that is all part of the day. I will skip through the day here. I often wonder why I want to do this. It is a beautiful day. The sun is shinning. The beaches are, well, beaches. I could be enjoying life for what it is worth. I work full time. I work most of the summer. I have a family. What could Ironman possibly do for me that is more important than just living for living? I guess all endurance athletes ask themselves the same question. I could be content doing short course. But the feeling of detaching simply does not occur when doing Olympic distance triathlon. It may happen at times, but it is truly short lived. What I am talking about is when the mind and body separate. During endurance type sports, the athlete must be able to separate mind and body. The mind must take over. During the marathon this year, I simply allowed my feet to go. I went into a meditative state for about 15 miles. There were no sounds to be heard. I could not talk. I do not know if all endurance athletes feel the same sensation. But the ones that do, they will understand what I am saying. I guess I yearn for that sensation. Do not get me wrong, I love the feeling of being fit. I love the feeling of accomplishment. I love when my children see me doing something positive and good. But the question is why do I have to do an Ironman? The answer lies in the belly of my mind. All people at one time or another want to experience true meditation. I think the answer lies somewhere is that. Back to IMC, second pro race and 9th over-all. I am happy with the result. I must thank my wife for all her understanding and support. She gets why I do this. Even my parents get why I do this. Lorne and Joan were out on the course cheering for their son. It is pretty cool for a 38 year old man having his parents cheering him on. I feel like I am 15 again playing rep soccer for the Chilliwack Lions. Thanks to Sean and Tara for all the support this year. It was also great to have Sean and others who are Canwi athletes cheering me on. Today, I went to the pool and it truly feels like I am starring in the movie, Groundhog Day.” This is not a negative thing; it is a positive start of a new season and a new focus- can’t wait until next year. Take care.

edit**photo's courtesy of van pratt do not use without authorization**