Ironman Canada - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Whistler, British Columbia
World Triathlon Corporation
65F / 18C
Total Time = 13h 00m 33s
Overall Rank = 1086/2171
Age Group = M45-49
Age Group Rank = 179/309
Pre-race routine:

Some people write race reports that just hit the highlights. I'm not one of those people...It's very long. Sort of a trip/race report and restaurant review... if you want the full monty read on. If you want down and dirty race details skip the fluffy stuff in the beginning.

As much as I would have liked to have been in Whistler in the week leading up to the race, we decided to take our vacation after the race, and fly up Thursday. Plus, all I'd be doing is stewing in a hotel room, trying not to get out and ride or run or swim the course like all the other obsessed. Better to obsess at work.

Flew LAX to YVR Thursday afternoon. Tip: If rental cars are expensive out of YVR, consider taking the Canada Line train to the Seabus (it's a 3 zone fare, about $10) to North Vancouver. There's an Avis office a 4 minute walk from the Seabus terminus, and we found the rates much cheaper (although the hassle factor went up slightly with the bag drag). It will add about an hour to the trip, but we were staying with friends in West Vancouver Thursday nite and heading in that direction anyway, so that worked out.

We enjoyed our friends' hospitality and home cooking and headed up to Whistler at 9 ish Friday. Whistler is about a 2 hour drive from downtown Vancouver, or about 1.25 hours from West Vancouver. Stop at Shannon Falls on the way up, it's very pretty. Check out The Chief granite rockface in Squamish. The Sea to Sky highway has to be one of the most beautiful roads I've been on. Yosemite on one side (but lusher and greener), the ocean on the other. Very good road conditions. Usually driving to races you see tons of fancy tri bikes on the backs and tops of cars. Here, you see way more mountain bikes being taken up the mountain for some dirty fun. And these guys are all body-armored-full-helmet MTB seriousness.

On the drive up we took a detour and drove up Callaghan Valley Road, which is the first large climb on the ride, a 7 mile jaunt up to the Olympic Center where the ski jumping was. There were a couple steepish parts, but nothing that made me nervous, and I know from experience for me things that seem steep in a car don't seem so on a bike. I was surprised that there were a couple of good downhills on the climb up. Seemed to be more than a few athletes burning some Friday matches climbing this hill.

What surprised me more were the size of the rollers from Callaghan back to Whistler. The course would take a lot of pacing smarts .....did I have them? I was going to drive the descent to Pemberton and back, but decided to save that for the next day.

It's a good thing, as I had forgotten how much "business" there was to attend to in a WTC event. Check in Friday and collect bags, stickers, timing chip. Took all of 5 minutes. I bought Wendy a VIP pass so she had to check in as well. Most importantly, get the wristband identifying me as a member of the tribe. Go to merch store. Test fate by buying IM Canada gear (but not too much). Check return policy. Just in case. Collect (another) shirt from the Ironman Foundation tent (racing on a charity slot).

Got lunch at BG Grill in the village. Typical resort general menu restaurant. Had some sort of chicken sandwich. Unmemorable. Wouldn't recommend it necessarily.

Pick up bike from Tri Bike Transport. Change HED 3 to disc wheel. Try to pump up front wheel with TBT's crack pipe, which I could not figure out, causing wheel to deflate. Change tube and fill with C02 to get test ride in. Do a short checkout ride while Wendy drove to the hotel to check in. After the checkout ride north on the 99 and back, emptied the tire of C02 I had used for the tube change (it bleeds out through the rubber as C02 molecules are smaller than air, or some such scientific nonsense). Took the bike to the techs at the expo and had them pump the tire back up and top off the other. Bicicleta had a tent set up, very well stocked and friendly techs.

As a side note, I intentionally did not wear any M Dot gear (oh, I had it with me), I didn't think Whistler could handle even one more piece of officially branded Dot gear, without sliding down the valley to Pemberton. We all know your racing by your blue wristband. All the validation I needed :)

We stayed at the Fairmont, not my typical kind of place but we got a good rate. I had read that the Fairmont, as well as other hotels, were not allowing bikes in rooms, i guess they are used to dirty mountain bikes, not pristine tri bikes. After the ride I decided to enter the hotel via a side entrance, and strode to the elevators like the bike belonged there. Some guy was walking away from the elevators with a bike, and asked "are we supposed to check bikes in?" I said "I'm not unless they make me," he turned and we both got on the elevator.

A friend had recommended staying in the Upper Village as the Lower Village can get quite noisy. I found it ideal, removed a bit from the hubbub, and a short 5-10 minute walk across a covered bridge to get to the Lower Village race central. And a few nights after the race, going to dinner down there, I greatly appreciated the advice. Also a 5 minute walk to T2.

Parking tip: Valet parking at the Fairmont was $39. A DAY. At $35 a day, self parking was a bargain. Either way, the little red beetle we rented stayed in the parking lot 99% of the time anyway. You can park in the public lots for a period of 30 days for $30. No idea if it's safe, but if you don't need the car, it's a deal. We needed the car for the post race trip.

Stickered up the bike, the helmet, the bags, put the number on the race belt, packed - and unpacked, and packed, and unpacked, and packed - the various bike, run and special needs bags. Checked my lists. Twice. Three times. Unpacked and packed the bags again for good measure. It was a little too wallyish to put the chip on just yet, so wrapped it on the bike.

Rather than the typical Friday nite athlete pasta dinner, they gave us $25 certificates for selected restaurants. I thought this was a good way to throw local restaurants a little business, and the food was much better than mass produced pasta, salad and choco chip cookies. Plus, in addition to a little bit of swag (and VIP access to the swim start and race finish), Wendy also got a $25 certificate (lowering the VIP cost more) in her VIP stuff, so we had $50 to blow! Dinner at Quattro, about 3 minute walk from the mandatory race meeting at 8.

Good ceasar salad. I had the giant meatball. That's not the technical name, but if you ordered "the giant meatball" no doubt they'd know what to bring you. Beef and lamb meatball, about the size of a small cantaloupe, with a little cheese inside, lightly fried. Sounds kinda gross. It isn't really. Over a little pasta, it was quite good.

Headed to the "mandatory" meeting and welcome ceremony. It's not really mandatory, and you don't learn anything new, but I think it's cool as it gets you in the mood. They usually bring in a local culture act to perform, and here it was a First Nation singer and hoop dancer. The singing was... interesting.... and long. But the hoop dancer was actually pretty cool, something I had not seen before. Simon Whitfield - a Canadian Olympic triathlete - spoke. Talked about the course. Bears. Lightning. You know, the usual IM stuff. Problem was it was getting cold and windy and I was glad to leave when it was over. I hoped Sunday would warm a little (but not too much)

Woke up Saturday to rain. We had to drop the bikes off at the lake, but breakfast was first. Wild Wood restaurant at the Tennis club, a nice 15 minute walk from the hotel. So good we went back Monday morning. Because this was a point to point race, we had to get our bikes down to Alta Lake on Saturday. WTC gave us two options, ride bikes down and shuttle back, or shuttle down with bikes in a truck and shuttle back. Uh, no, I am sure they are careful and all, but I'd rather ride it down than risk transport with other bikes with moving blankets thrown over them.

Dropped the bike to run bag off at T2 and then I rode down to the lake and Wendy took the shuttle and met me there. Apparently there is a long way (taking the bike course in reverse) and a short way (along Valley Trail). I was alone an just mixed in with a group going the long way, it would give me an opportunity to see the course start albeit in reverse.

Got to the lake without incident (last thing I wanted was a crash in a 5 mile ride to the lake). Took the bike into T1, dropped the bike (apparently there was someone taking photos of all the bikes going into T1.... except for mine apparently) and swim to bike bag off, went back 3X to add things I forgot to put in the bag. Walked through the transition area as I would on race day to familiarize myself with the layout.

Lots of folks had put bags over their saddles and handlebars. I never quite got that, you're gonna be wet getting on the bike, sooooo.......

I brought the wetsuit so got in the water and swam out to the first buoy, took a look at the sightlines and tried to remember them, and swam to the last buoy to see how what the exit looked like. It was a gorgeous place to swim. Hopped on the shuttle with Wendy back to town, bus was there quickly and without a hitch. Picked up sandwiches at Portobello (first floor of the Fairmont) and ate in the room watching mountain bikers come screaming down Blackcomb out our window, and went over the race plan for the millionth time.

I had planned at some point to make the 1/2 hour drive down to Pemberton and back, to get an idea of the climb, establish landmarks, etc. For better or worse, I decided to spend that hour or more planted on my butt reading. I'd leave that part of the course to my imagination. And frankly, from what I saw on the descent while riding it race day, it would have stressed me more than teach me anything.

IM eve dinner was at 6 at Milestones, relatively bland chicken caesar salad. Back to the room early and lights out by 9 ish. Slept surprisingly well, only went through the race in my head a couple times, and slept until the 4 am wake up call. And iPhone alarm. And alarm clock. Quick shower (I always like to shower on race day. don't ask me why) Went downstairs (Portobello opened at 3:30), got a coffee and some hot water, had 2X Peet's oatmeal I brought from home, coffee and sipped water. Soon enough, time to leave at 5.

Was at T2 by 5:10, dropped off a couple things in the run bag and hopped on a shuttle. Easy, flawless, quick. Leaving T2 it was like "wow, now it's real...what if I forgot my shoes?????" Shuttle took the long route through Creekside to the lake, so it seemed like it took a while, and you could feel the energy and nerves on the bus. Wendy's VIP pass got her shuttle access so she was with me and was my rock.

Hit the portapotties - Tip - when walking into T1, hit the portapotties at the entrance, the ones inside transition had HUGE lines right up to the start time. Pretty sure most people in line didn't make it and had to abort.

My bike saddle and handlebars were, in fact soaked. Placed the bottles on the bike. Heard the familiar "POP" of the inevitable person that didn't seat the tube just right, or wanted that last, little bit of air.

At bike drop off I saw one person bend down and let air out of their tires. I heard someone later saying they did the same thing as the heat would cause the air in their tires to expand, causing a blowout overnight. In 60 degree mountain temps. Their lack of knowledge of physics manifested in having to wait in a VERY long line for the techs' pumps race morning.

Soon enough, the pros started getting in the water and it was time to
suit up.
Event warmup:

The announcer was talking about various people overcoming various ailments and obstacles that racers faced, and various charities people were racing for. Just a few weeks before on my longest 17 mile run, I saw someone in a wheelchair and just felt tremendous gratitude that I could do what I was doing, and I decided to race in support of the National Blood Clot Alliance, having suffered two rounds of pulmonary embolisms (blood clots in the lungs). This gave me something other than myself to keep moving forward for. Unfortunately, I hadn't let WTC know about it, so there was no announcement. I knew why I was there, though.

He made an announcement abut a woman whose mother had died the Wednesday before, and she was here racing in her honor. For some reason, this was the lance of the spear that broke through the emotions of all the long training days I'd done. IM training takes not only a large physical commitment, but also an emotional commitment. The physical buildup gets released in the race. The emotional part needs a release as well, I guess. I cry before ironman races, not after (having done the same at IMAZ).

There was no warmup ("warmup??? you wanna talk about WARMUP???") other than getting in the water, letting water in the suit, and making sure the velcro and zipper was comfortable.
  • 1h 00m 57s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 26s / 100 yards

This was my pre-race plan email to my coach relating to the swim: "Swim - Figure I'll be about an hour. Would like to be under, but just going to swim comfortably. I will gain a bit from taper and draft, but lose a bit in fresh water. Goal would be sub hour but anywhere in that range."

I usually swim a 30 ish in Half Ironmans, and swam a :59 at Ironman Arizona. I figured I'd be somewhere around an hour, but I'll admit my goal was to be sub :60. I thought I easily could go :58. However,whatever the time, the goal was to swim "easy," and not to burn too many, or any, matches first thing. It's a long day ahead of me.

The course was an oddly shaped rectangle, sort of a rectaparallelogram, with numbered buoys 1 through 7 spaced about 100 meters apart, two left turn buoys at the far end, buoys 1 through 7 on the return and two more turn buoys. 2 laps, no exit between laps.

My coach had given me a plan of starting in the mix. I played Div. I water polo and done lots of mass start swims, so I was OK with that, but wondered whether I wanted to be in the scrum again, been there, done that. Race morning though, the start line was so wide, it was easy to make the decision to get on the front, not near it, but in the very front. I was about 100 yards from the start buoy to my left, and there was another 200 or so yards of start line to my right. Most everyone had about the same distance to the far turn buoy due to the layout of the course.

Countdown.... 30 seconds... 20 seconds.... 10 seconds... 5, 4, 3,2, BAM cannon goes off and it starts. The scrum was not there. One of the cleanest starts I've had, very little contact, people relatively polite. I started hard per the plan, and went about 200 meters at a half iron pace, then tried to settle in behind a good draft.

There seemed to be a LOT of folks in the hour-ish pace with me, and because the course is fairly narrow, there wasn't much breakup. Not a lot of physical interaction, just a lot of people. I am used to swims clearing up some. The benefit is that there was always someone to draft off of, and I found a good draftee on each of the 4 long legs. I did take a couple looks back and there were lots and lots of folks back there.

I really liked the numbered buoys as it helped the pacing. At the far end was a left turn, a 100 meter section, then another left. Not surprisingly, the turn buoy got crowded so my plan was to try to stay wide and avoid contact, but there was a lane right at the buoy so I took that inside line instead. What was surprising is the short 100 meter section was VERY crowded. this was the only place where I had contact, and on the second loop I got CLOCKED by an elbow, knocking my goggles askew and feeling like my contact was coming out. I always put contacts in my swim to bike bag at bigger races, and thought I finally might need one. Quickly turned on my back, readjusted the goggles, worked the contact back in and went on my way.

Coming to the end of the first loop, the sun was just peaking over the mountains to my right. Absolutely gorgeous

During the swim I had to pee twice. Peeing while swimming is hard enough, but having healthy, long pees is even harder. Have to concentrate and squeeze those abs. I was surprised to have to go twice, and for that long. I had not drank that much. It was the start of a pattern.

Second loop was uneventful other than getting clocked, sun was a bit higher but in the clouds, and after hitting the 4th turn buoy, followed the orange boys toward the exit. Wendy was standing on a dock to my right, she could see me, but I couldn't tell if she was up there. Exited the water with a fairly good crowd. They were offering 100 kona slots at this event, so the faster folks, including the 1 hour swimmers, all showed up. At Arizona I felt like I was out ahead of the big crowd. This felt like I was in the crowd. But I think the slower crowd was just that much bigger and confined in a smaller space.

Looked up and saw 1:00:XX on the clock. Thought for a second that perhaps, maybe?, they hadn't reset the pro's clock, which was 10 minutes before ours? Then quickly came to my senses and realized while it may not have felt like a 1:00 swim (felt more like :57 or so), it DEFINITELY didn't feel like a :50 swim. But it was right on my goal and I was happy with it. I hadn't exerted myself much at all and was ready to ride.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. I seem fated to swim 30 ish at HIMs and 100 ish at IMs, and fine with it. I swam at an easy pace, drafted well, swam within myself, didn't exert unnecessarily, and set myself up for a good day. Or so I thought. :)
Transition 1
  • 07m 2s

What a gong show, as my friend JudyG would say. Ran up to the wetsuit swimmers, got the wetsuit to my waist, sat down on my bum and off it came. I had some minor calf cramps near the end of the swim, so made sure I didn't yank my legs back when they pulled the suit off.

Grabbed my suit, found my bag and went into the small and dark change tent. Since the air temps were going to be high 40s, I had made the decision the night before to swim in shorts and a top under the suit, then change into de soto tri bibs and the NBCA Stop the Clot jersey in T1. This required some mental and manual dexterity that apparently I didn't have, and took way longer than I expected. But it got done.

Also, I had placed all the stuff I was going to use on the bike - socks, gloves, arm warmers, 3 gels, payday, sunglasses, tube and C02 - in the helmet that I was going to remove and then take things out of the helmet calmly and in order. A friendly volunteer, that was just doing his job, came up, grabbed the bag, and dumped it all on the ground. Damn. Can't see half the stuff, just got all discombobulated. He didn't seem to mind the naked man (that would be me) standing in front of him trying to figure out which was the front of the tribibs, and which was the back. Consummate professional. Him, not me.

Had to pee, again, remind me to stop in the portapotty on the way out to take care of that.

Ended up running out of the tent with one arm warmer, where the hell's the other? Stripped it off and threw it n the trash (it was old and no longer fit). Ran to my bike while putting the helmet on, there were still a lot of bikes there. Grabbed the bike, ran to the mountline, and started the next leg.

Forgot to pee. What did I tell you??

Amazingly, and credit to the volunteers, all my stuff made it back into the swim to bike bag, which I (well, actually Wendy) picked up after the race. Including the missing arm warmer.. Which I also threw out.
What would you do differently?:

Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast. Calm the F down, methodical, blah blah
  • 6h 04m 45s
  • 112 miles
  • 18.42 mile/hr

This was the pre-race plan email to my coach re the bike: "Bike - I've been getting reports that the bike is pretty hard. I thought maybe I could do 5:30, but now thinking 6 ish. My plan is basically "no heroic efforts" until mile 13 of the run, so goal for the bike will be making the last 15 or so mile climb bck to T2 as easy as possible."

Reports from the course indicated that pacing the first 50 miles well would pay dividends at the end due to a long, 20 mile climb starting at mile 90 from Pemberton back to Whistler to end the bike leg. Simon Whitfield called it "Pemberton Patience".

General plan was 30' of 170-180W, 190-200W on the rollers and flats, and 210-220W on the climbs. Holding a steady and consistent power is difficult on a course like this with fairly large rollers, as power spikes on the climbs and dies on the descents. I was riding the Planet X stealth with HED3 front and a covered DT Swiss with a PT. Compact 50/34 with 12-30 in the rear. This was what I had trained on, and didn't want to spend money changing it out, but in retrospect I should probably have used an 11-28 in the back.

I had mentally broken the ride into 8 different segments based on the terrain, and each was to be ridden differently.

Segment 1 - T1 to Callaghan climb
13.6 miles, 39:02, NP 180

Immediately leaving T1 I for some reason was convinced I had a rear flat, and spent several minutes trying to look down and confirm. I didn't of course, but once these things get into my head, they tend to take me off my game. The road from the lake to 99 had a few decent rollers, and was narrow, so the few riders I was with made it feel crowded. Actually had to climb a bit back to Whistler proper, and from there descend (mostly) to the Callaghan. Nice crowds on the side of the road.

Just tried to settle in at 170-180, thought I was a little too hot but turned out OK. Some big descents.

Segment 2 - Callaghan climb
7.8 miles, 39:06, NP 216

This was the critical climb. It was very crowded, there were a lot of folks passing me, I'd either see them later or they were faster than me. Patience was key here, and tried mightily to keep the watts down. Again thought I was too hot, but watts were right on. This climb was very similar to Encinal, a climb I'd done on many training rides about :40 minutes into the ride, both about 7 miles long, both about 5% average grade with a couple steeper spots.

About 2/3 of the way up, the first pro came speeding back down the other way. Np bears sited, although this was the place to see them if they were around. Did see some bear scat though!

It was a pretty steady climb with one or two short descents, only two really steep-ish sections. Still had to pee.

Segment 3 - Callaghan descent
7.8 miles, 17:41, NP 150

Descents were to be taken very easily, but there were a couple short ascents, pretty easy to carry the speed through. Decided on the descent to relieve myself when no one else was around. Right sock got wet. Eventually hit the bottom of the descent and made the left turn back to Whistler.

Segment 4 - Callaghan to Whistler
9.5 miles, 37:05, NP 197

Looking back, this was sort of where I began to lose focus. I had to pee (again!) and realized, if I was going to be doing that all day, I didn't want my foot to be in a wet sock for 6 hours then have to run a marathon on pickled skin. Made the decision to stop at the next aid station.

They had 99 divided into three sections, one lane for bikes going south, one for bikes going north, and one for cars going north, so we had a lane of cars, sometimes going fairly fast, to our right. Which was odd and required a bit of concentration not to veer to the right, as we are used to doing. Plus the coned off lane veered back and forth, sometimes the recessed reflectors were in the lanes, sometimes marking the edge. Just took a little bit of paying attention.

Made it to the aid station, where a nice volunteer held my bike as I went inside. Took off the right shoe, dropped off the sock, put the shoe back on, did my business and went on my way.

The crowds had now moved from the lake to Whistler town, and the number of people forming a tight lane, with signs, cowbells, horns, it was very TdF-ish. I let my power get a little high here as the crowd spurred me to go faster. I knew the next section was mostly downhill so was not too worried.

Segment 5 - Whistler to Pemberton
18.9 miles, 52:16, NP 177

Downhill. Couple of BIG downhills. Glad I hadn't driven it, it would have freaked me out. Just a little. Since we had to ride back up. There was one short, sharp 10% ascent up some switchbacks, and two or three sets of train tracks. All were well marked and manned with volunteers. No idea what my top speed was, but looks about 45 from the garmin files. I was still getting passed, as I am kind of a wimpy descender.

Segment 6 - Pemberton flats out
15.4 miles, 45:25, NP 180

Segment 7 - Pemberton flats return
15 miles, 43:19, NP 177

My power was better in the flats, even though it was a little low for my RPE. Felt like a 190. Garmin aid 170. Ah well. It was also here that I got pissed off and let other riders affect me. Heading out the first pro came by the other way pretty quickly, followed by some others, then the AGers started coming by. In huge packs of 10 and 20. Several of them. I passed the penalty tent and said "I hope you are getting customers," They said "we are" but I didn't see any. And I saw one marshall in the entire hour or so I was on the flats.

Then there was the D Bag I saw after special needs, which I passed by. There were a couple turns after SN. and a guy in front of me was holding his bag, like a musette. But it's not a musette. I saw him look into it then toss it on the side of the road. "dude. really???" Yeah, I know, biting commentary. He looked t me as I passed him by, I wished I wold have said "yo know that bag has your number on it, yes??"

Then, after the far turn, coming back, I was leapfrogging with another guy. One point I was ahead, and had not seen him, looked back and he was right on my wheel. I sat up, put on the brakes and forcefully waved him by. Then he got in front. And slowed down.

Then there was the guy in the distinctive tri suit that I had passed, that came by me out of the saddle after a peloton passed me. He hammered to get on the back, then sat up and started drinking. I vowed never to do a 2000+ WTC over crowded race again ('ll probably get over that)

For some reason, all of this just put me in a bad mood. I mean, what do I care? I am not a Kona qualifier, it's not my race or my conscience. I am clean, who cares what they do? But I did. Probably meant I needed more calories as I get cranky when i start to bonk.

There had been some pre-race controversy as the town of Pemberton was getting a little bit of the short shrift. This is a farming community, and they completely closed Pemberton Meadows Road, the main access for many residents. As a result they were hostages for the day. Many of them had come out to sit at the edge of their driveways to watch the race, and as I passed a few of them I thanked them for letting us use their road.

Honestly, this was the prettiest part of the bike ride, like riding through a lush swiss valley surrounded by snowcapped peaks.

Although I did have to stop twice on the flats to pee again.

Segment 8 - Pemberton to Whistler
21.31 miles, 1:30, NP 193

This was the biggie, what everyone waited for, complained and worried about, was afraid of. The Big Climb. I just settled in and went about my business. I don't recall ever being in the pain cave, or struggling to get up the hill. My compact and 12-30 gave me so many low gears it was fairly easy to get up the hill, especially as my power was a little low over the course of the ride. It got a little hot going up the hill, and we had a slight tailwind. When the race moves to July, this will be much more difficult with the heat and the wind.

Between Whistler and Pemberton the 99 was completely shut down (another point of local contention). As we were coming close to town, the first cars started coming back south on the newly opened lane. A lead motorcycle on a Harley gave us a big thumbs up as we came by.

Soon enough, I was at Green Lake and saw some of the leading pros at the run turnaround, about 6 miles into the race. Was not exactly looking forward to that. At some point I noticed that when I got into the aero position, my right IT was sore. Never happened in training but I have had tight IT issues in races for some reason. Would play a role later in the run.

The return to T2 is a little confusing, but I had ridden it on Friday so I knew what to expect. A quick 180 degree turn at the golf course, onto Whistler Way, right on Village Gate, under the bridge, left on Blackcomb. It was twisty and turny but I liked it because it passed right through the village.

Nutrition - I carried with me 2 bottles with a 2.5 hour mix of Infinit, at 750 cals per bottle, one bottle BTA and one BTS. Carried 3 gels at 130 cals per, and a king sized payday broken into thirds at 440 cals. Ditched the first bottle about 80 miles in and swapped bottled from the BTS to the BTA, finished about 1/3 of the second bottle. Took a gel every 1:30 or so. Ate 2/3 of the payday, just based on when I wanted something different than a sugary gel or drink. Took a new water bottle at every aid station after the first one.

At first I wondered if I had taken enough in, but I had just about 1800 which is on track with my goal of 300/hour
What would you do differently?:

Ave power 168, normalized 178. 1.13 VI IF .62, time 6:04, moving time 6:00

Not much. Training was good. I would have liked to go 5:45, and had I ridden my power as was planned, I would have. But my revised estimate based on the reports was about 6. My official time was 6:04, but moving time was 6:00, so I was right on. I also realize post race that at Oceanside earlier in the year I went 2:47 for the half, so double the distance, add about 4K feet of climbing, and add only 20 or so minutes? not bad.

Beautiful challenging course. I tend to like these (Wildflower, Oceanside) than flat courses. Yeah, you go slower, but so does everyone else.
Transition 2
  • 04m 29s

Came into T2, handed off the bike, grabbed the garmin off the stem, and started to run to the tent. Ouch. IT band is gonna hurt..... So I ran/walked. But I wasn't destroyed, it wasn't "how the hell am I going to run a marathon??" Felt pretty good overall, IT notwithstanding.

Into the tent, quick changeover, wasn't in that much of a hurry at that point. Quick pee. Yes, another, got sunscreened, and headed off.

I seem to be unable to empty my pockets in T2, so I started my run with a tube and Co2 in my tri top. Same thing I did in Oceanside. Stopped at the trash can and tossed them in. Oh well.....
What would you do differently?:

  • 5h 43m 20s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 13m 06s  min/mile

My comments to my coach pre race re the run: "Run - My MAZ run was 5:35, but that was a lifetime ago. I'd like to think I could go 4:30, which gets me around 11:30 ish if all goes well. Of course, if it's warm or hot, all bets are off. I just really don't know how well I can do a 26.2, as anything beyond 16-17 will e virgin territory."

Well, 2 outta 3 ain't bad.....

This was a two loop affair. According to the WTC site, it had something like 400 feet of elevation. I soon found out it was about 3X that, about 1500 feet elevation. Certainly not "hilly" but also not flat. The course was always doing something up or down

Left T2 and felt pretty good, hit the southern end of the loop, where i crosses a covered bridge and saw Wendy. Gave her a hug and a kiss and let her know I was feeling OK. Route looped around and passed some condos and a golf course, then onto a walking trail through some forest. I ran in the mid to upper nines for about 7 miles, and I was feeling actually very good.

Suddenly, somewhere after the turnaround near Green Lake, it happened. I was walking. My right IT had tightened a bit on the bike, and now every time I stepped down, it hurt some more. My left lower back was hurting. Miles 8-11 were in the 10 - 11 minute range, as things slowly fell apart.

I hit special needs at mile 13 or so, grabbed a cold towel and used a little bottle of scope found in the hotel. These were suggested by a facebook group i was a part of, and they were fantastic. Came around the corner and saw Wendy. By now our friends Judy and Dave from Vancouver had arrived. Wendy said I looked good, but I told here "the wheels are off." I was about 2:10 on on the half marathon. I knew the next loop would take longer, much longer than 2:00.

I took off.... eventually. The run went from having a goal time to just completing. I was wearing the Stop the Clot tri top, so decided that the run was not about my time, but about representing that people with thrombosis could complete something like an ironman. I had described my top to the folks on the FB page, and I swear at least 10 people came by (as they ere usually passing me) and sad something like "hey, you're facebook guy." Some even knew my name. What the hell, it helped the time pass.

Miles 12-17 dropped further, to 15 minute miles. My quads were killing me with every step. The problem was I never trained with a run/walk, so I was walking when I wanted - which was most of the time, and running when I wanted - which was not very often. I was feeling worse and worse. At the risk of TMI, finally went into a portapotty about mile 16, after I realized I hadn't peed all run (after all that pee on the bike....). When I did, it was clear what the problem was, some pretty severe dehydration. And when I get dehydrated, my BP drops. And when my BP drops, I get lightheaded. I decided from there that I would walk aid station to aid station, with two cups of water, and just rehydrate before i started running. There were two moments I did have to stop, and lean on a pole, as I was getting a bit dizzy. Damned if I got to mile 16 of an IM and didn't finish.

Did this miles 18-22. And I wasn't the only walker. Those that have been there know. The IM does not discriminate. You will see very fit people walking, as apparently less fit people run by. There are really 5 legs in a tri. Swim, bike, run, nutrition and execution. Screw up any of those and you are in for a long day. I think I went out on the run a bit too hot, leading to the decline. And I didn't drink enough. I was not sweating like I normally do. I am drenched on 60 degree runs at home. Here it was hi 70s and I was pretty dry, but by the time I realized it, it was too late

By mile 22 I felt a bit better, and was able to start running some. It still wasn't in any organized or planned fashion, and my IT, back and quads still killed, but as I got closer to the finish, things started to feel better and better.

Eventually came to that magical spot on looped courses - Lap 2 turn left, Finish go straight. I saw that sign 13 miles ago and dreamed i would be there, and here I was. Ran through a strangely deserted parking lot with a couple volunteers, across the street then into what has to be one of the coolest finishing 1/2 miles. Through the village, onto the street, left to the finish chute. Saw Wendy, Judy and Dave (and Harry the dog!) and was elated.

I had looked at my watch with about 1.5 miles left and did not realize until then that I had a shot at sub 13. Oh so close......
What would you do differently?:

Pace better, get a bigger run base. I've analyzed and overanalyzed the race to see where and what went wrong. My bike power numbers were below targets, it was not a bad run due to the bike. I think it was just initial pacing and failure to execute nutrition properly. I'd love to go back and fix those things, but IM is such a long day, you can have your finger in one hole of the dyke, but 4 more open, and likely things you never expected.
Post race
Warm down:

Took some photos, had a little bit to eat, a bit of a massage. Wendy went and got my bags and bike, bless her. Dropped the bike off at Tri Bike Transport (incredibly convenient), and headed back to the hotel for a room service Burger, Fries, and Chocolate Ice Cream!

Quick shower, a little TV, then headed back to the finish about 11:10. Wendy wasn't really all that thrilled about going back, and my legs protested a bit, but we were stoked that we did after the fact. It really is an incredible experience to see, and was one of the things I really wanted to do.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Biked too easy, ran too fast, did not hydrate well. Run training going in was a little light for my goal as wel

Event comments:

I had obsessed over the terrain, the training, the weather, the new venue, everything. But this was an absolutely first class race from start to finish. Everything went so smoothly, like tey had been doing it for years. Local support was awesome, the crowds were awesome, aid stations well staffed and stocked, GORGEOUS course, I really could not have asked for anything more even with the run issues. I would definitely come back and do this race again. And I might....


Post race info
We stay din Whistler until Tuesday. Monday went to Scandinave Spa (ask for the IM discount) massage and hot /cold pools.

Another breakfast at Wild Wood, and one at Crepe Montagne (nutella crepe!) . Dinner at Old Spaghetti Factory. Meh, I am not above a good spaghetti meal, but this was just watery and not very god. I suppose after a day of skiing, most anything tastes good.

Tuesday drove down to Pemberton and drove Wendy on part of the course. Had a fantastic burger at Mile One House. Honestly, I'd had this burger planned for a month or so. Headed over the Duffy Pass, one of the prettiest drives I've done, to Lillooet and Kunsheen River Rafting. Stay in the "Love Shack," the nicest cabin. Spent two nights there and went power rafting,guided by Judy and Dave's daughter Sam. Our first rafting trip, was great,

Headed back to Vancouver Thursday to Judy and Dave's and (another) great dinner there, then headed to a little town called Ucluelet on the west coast of Vancouver Island. On the way out stopped at the Old Country Market in Coombs and checked out the goats on the roof. Google it. Picked up a loaf of bread, blackcurrant jam, cheese, an apple and some chocolate. Ate our picnic on the shore of Lake Sproat. Almost the best meal we had.

Most people go a little further north to Tofino, but we preferred the quieter fishing town. Stayed in a B&B called A Snug Harbor Inn. Highly recommended, comfortable and a great view Ate at the Floathouse - Great crab burgers, Materson House - very good, and Romans - take out pizza- not very good.

Last updated: 2012-11-25 12:00 AM
01:00:57 | 4224 yards | 01m 26s / 100yards
Age Group: 20/309
Overall: 138/2171
Performance: Good
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Shot
Water temp: 68F / 20C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 07:02
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
06:04:45 | 112 miles | 18.42 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/309
Overall: 0/2171
Performance: Good
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 04:29
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
05:43:20 | 26.2 miles | 13m 06s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/309
Overall: 0/2171
Performance: Below average
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5