Ironman Mont-Tremblant - Triathlon

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Mont-Tremblant, Quebec
World Triathlon Corporation
73F / 23C
Total Time = 16h 22m 18s
Overall Rank = 2082/2317
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 323/343
Pre-race routine:

I woke up at 4:20 and ate a powerbar, plus my oatmeal and blueberries. I dressed quickly, and was about to sneak out when Eric came down to wish me luck (Coming from a 13 year old who normally sleeps until noon, that was pretty cool.) I hopped onto the gondola at 4:50 and was amazed to see so many people already milling about. It was a a pretty chill scene - the only lights were the blue and red lights of the stage and Enya was playing over the loud speakers, which at first I thought was strange but then I realized they were trying to calm those pre-race nerves - mission accomplished! I got my body marked, met Dave at the stage and we dropped off our race bags. We then checked our bikes and pumped our tires and then walked to the swim start. We got there, waited in line for about 15 minutes to use the portapotties, and then threw on our wetsuits as the pros were getting introduced. As we headed toward the water, I ate two gu's just as the cannon went off for the pro start.
Event warmup:

Not much. With all the people crowded onto the beach, it took Dave and I almost 5 minutes to walk the 300 yards to the warmup area. I was able to get wet and then it was time to go stand in line for my wave. As gross as this sounds, I wish I had practiced peeing in my wetsuit more so I wouldn't have had to stop during the swim.
  • 1h 31m 17s
  • 4155 yards
  • 02m 12s / 100 yards

My wave started at 6:48, and I jogged quickly into the water and then dove in. It didn't take me long to get into a rhythm. Normally, I experience a shortness of breath but I just got to work. I was really focused on not trying to push the pace and to conserve as much energy as possible knowing I'd need it later. It looked like it was going to be a great day, and I got to watch the sun rise into the blue skies over Mont Tremblant as I swam North. There were a lot of people, and I certainly ran into a few of them but I was able to draft behind the same big kicker all the way out to the first turn. The real estate around the turn buoys got a little crazy but nothing too chaotic. I hit the halfway point in just over 45 minutes which was right according to plan. On my swim back, I wasn't able to draft as much and found myself swimming solo. I tried to push the pace back in but was mindful of not trying too hard. I took a break behind one of the buoys to pee and then started drafting again. There were some swells that seemed to push me toward the shore (although I heard they made some people puke) and I felt really relaxed as I headed towards shore. It was a surreal experience - swimming in the oh so clear water and feeling so calm yet excited that my Ironman experience was underway. There was a part of me that hoped the swim would last forever but it got too shallow to swim and I ran towards swim exit.

What would you do differently?:

Not much. I was surprised that I swam 2:20x100 (I expected to be below 2:15) so I guess I could have pushed harder. But I really wanted to conserve my energy knowing the bike was going to be challenging. I might have also tried to draft more.
Transition 1
  • 12m 38s

Out of the water, I heard Mike Reilly call my name (I had met him on Friday and was blown away that he remembered the email I had sent him about how to pronounce my name - "Qua like day") and say, "There's David Qua from Southborough MA. It looks like he's gonna have a great DAY!" How cool is that! Then I had my wet suit stripped (a first and it was awesome) and then I ran towards T1 on the street that was lined with cheering competitors. So wished they had carpeted the quarter mile of road that lead to T1 because the pounding was brutal on my knees. I ran into the tent, grabbed my bag and went to the back and grabbed a seat. I tried to hurry getting all my gear on and managed to get out the door pretty quickly - right on schedule.
What would you do differently?:

I guess I could have practiced but I had thought they would have people there to help me and I was a little bummed I didn't get to take a mental break before beginning the bike.
  • 8h 05m 4s
  • 112 miles
  • 13.85 mile/hr

I had trouble finding my bike, which is hard to believe since I'm sure mine was the only one with a giraffe on the front (a bunch of people from Quassy recognized my "giro"). But I finally found it and made my way towards the bike exit. As I got there, one of the volunteers ran up to me and grabbed my arm. I thought I had done something wrong, but she only wanted to tell me that Jack's Abby was her favorite beer (I was wearing my Jack's Abby bike shirt). Coming out of T1, I felt really good but my heart rate was high - 129. My plan had been to try to keep it around 115 (with a max of 138 on the hills) and then push it a little higher to 120 (with a max of 145) during the second loop. So, I dropped down into my lowest gear as I climbed the hills but was slightly worried that I couldn't get it below 126. It was a pretty cool ride. There were plenty of people cheering in both French and English (I said merci and thanks a million times) along the road and the first major hill (Mount Ryan) felt pretty good. I got down into areo hoping to drop my heart rate a little more and tried even harder after getting onto Route 117 and experiencing the 10-15 mph headwind for the first time (God, did that suck!). The ride out to the first turn-around was surprisingly hard. The headwind was so strong that my right knee which I had over extended when getting out of my wet suit on Friday started to hurt. And I thought for the first of many times, "How the hell am I gonna pull this off?" It was such a relief after the turn-around to have the wind at my back but that elation was short lived as I came upon a bike accident. A woman had fallen off her bike and I agonized over whether to stop (there was already half a dozen people there and the person treating her (Brian - I ran into him later on the run and in a bit of irony he had headed up the medical facilities for that section of the bike course the year before) clearly had medical experience but I still felt bad about my decision to keep going - even though there was really nothing I could have done to help. I hit my second aid station at the top of that hill and let people know about the fall. I loved how they had the aid stations organized with hockey nets for people to thrown their trash into and the volunteers were using hockey sticks to gather up all the trash - pretty cool. On the way back, I started getting bored so I made it my goal to wish someone well at least once every minute. This was easy since people were passing me left and right (I passed maybe 5 people on the first loop). Having the wind at my back and easing off on my pedal stroke helped me to lower my heart rate and by the time I took the turn towards the town center, it was down to 124 and the knee pain was gone. The crowds in the center of town were awesome and vocal! I decided to have as much fun as possible and yucked it up with people as I went - I figured I had paid for the race, I might as well have a good time. Nutrition was consistent during the ride - A stinger gel at the top of the hour, a powerbar or a stinger waffle at 20 minute past and then six crackers at 40. Mount Ryan was a little less fun the second time around but I was stoked to hear HQ call out to me as I rounded the traffic circle and headed towards Chemin Duplessis. I hoped they would still be there when I came back but I misjudged the distance to the turn around and how hard those hills would be. Basically, they were rolling, but there were some steep uphills which caused my heart rate to spike at 140 and even though I wasn't trying to, I was finally starting to pass some people. They would inevitably pass me on the next downhill and we did this five of six times until we got to the top. Riding down was a lot more fun. As I started my 2nd lap, I felt good. I was ahead of my goal time and my heart rate was back up to 125. My plan for the second lap was to push a little harder but to try to keep my hr average under 127. I stopped and grabbed the things from my special needs bag including a snickers bar (next time, I need to be more exotic) and headed back out towards 117. The headwind on 117 was stiffer than it had been during the morning and my push to go faster was really draining. Plus, I had to pee again and managed to stop at an empty portapotty (I peed probably 7 times but I never had to wait - kudos to the WTC planners). I started to pass people at this point in the race and the refrain was the same each time: Where is the bleeping turnaround? The one thing that was better about the second loop was that the sun had come out and the views were spectacular. Wildflowers like Michigan and pines like Colorado. But the final ranked hill on 117 was really, really changing, and I was struggling to stay focused and present in the moment. It was at this point in the race that I first met Elizabeth the science teacher who I would walk with during the marathon. Heading towards the town center, I was struggling more and the fact that there were fewer people cheering made it a tad depressing. Plus, I couldn't stop thinking about having to climb Chemin Duplessis for the second time (and running a marathon on top of that). For the record, it was mental battles like these that made my Ironman more mentally than physically challenging. I made the turn and slogged towards Mount Ryan happy to have brought my pace close to 15 mph for the loop but really having paid the price for the effort. Halfway back to town, the skies opened up and that mental battle grew louder in my head. But getting back to the traffic circle gave me a pump of energy and I ate two gels tangerine gels with 2x the caffeine knowing I would need the boost as I climbed up Chemin Duplessis. This time, those rolling hills were brutal. Elizabeth and I kept passing each other. I'd huff past her on the uphills and she and a few others would fly by me on the downhills (I was so tired and roads were wet so I was really being cautious). Again, the mental battle waged in my head as I kept expecting to see the blessed turn-around which never seemed to come. It was agonizing. It was made worse by the fact that people were zipping by me on their way to town and the bike finish and I was still struggling to get up the bleeping hill. Plus, I had to pee like a racehorse. Luckily the sun was coming out and I really tried to focus on the beauty around me. I tried to cheer everyone on hoping to boost my own spirits was glad that I didn't have to get off the bike and walk the bike up the hills. Finally the turn around came into sight and a tremendous sense of relief washed over me. Speaking of relief, I stopped to use the portapotty (my reward) and then hopped back in the saddle for the ride back to town. It was such a relief to have that F#&%ing hill behind me and there was a mist rising off the road that was totally awesome to see and bike through. The ride down still involved effort to get up those rolling hills, but I was thrilled to be almost done. It also helped that there were spectators towards the bottom of the hill and as I biked towards T2, and I breathed a sign of relief when I handed my bike off to a volunteer. Done. Or almost done.
What would you do differently?:

Wow - not sure. I think it I were to ever do an ironman again - I would break the ride down into smaller chunks because I tried to make up too much time too early in my second lap. My throught process was, "Well it's my second lap. It's go time." But that left me tired towards the end of the ride. I also feel like nutrition might have also played a factor because I wasn't as consistent towards the end of the second loop.
Transition 2
  • 07m 27s

I was thrilled to hear Heidi calling my name as I got off the bike and to see her and the kids before heading into the tent. Luckily the walkways were carpeted, and I hobbled into the tent and grabbed my bag. I figure there were probably 200 people behind me. This time, instead changing with 30 people, there were only three of us. I put on fresh socks and my Asics , loaded up on gu's, saltines, and powerbars, and headed out into the afternoon sunlight.
What would you do differently?:

Have the family greet me after coming out of T2.
  • 6h 25m 52s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 14m 44s  min/mile

Heading out on the run, I felt pretty good. It was just nice to get off the bike and to know that I only had one leg of the race left to go. When I started out on my run, it was just before five, so I knew that I could walk it and still finish in time. But that wasn't my plan - which was to try to average 13 minute miles by running for 5 and walking for 2. As I headed out along the southern edge of the lake, I realized I had taken way too much food because I could feel it bouncing around in my shirt. So at the 2 mile mark, I stopped to empty my pockets. I got rid of all the powerbars because I really didn't think my stomach could handle them anyway. It was also raining again (a soaker). I did the first 5K in around 39 minutes and was slowed by the rolling hills on the way out of town. I made it my goal to finish the next 5K faster than my 13 minute pace and that I would reward myself at the 6 mile mark with my first coke. By the time I hit the rail trail (just after mile 5) the rain was starting to let up and I was able to pick my pace up a little bit. As I was running along, I saw a few of the people who had passed me earlier on the bike running towards me in the opposite direction, and Alan who was finishing his second loop (bastard :) ) shouted out to me. I ran at a 12:45 pace to finish the first 10K just ahead of 13 minutes per mile but was disappointed by the fact that they were out of coke and only had Red Bull. I made due with water and perform but was trying to cut back because I felt like I was having to pee a lot. As, I headed back towards town, I was feeling ok - nothing really hurt but I was sore and tired. Perhaps my biggest problem was that my nipples were raw so I got some Vaseline from an aid station and put it on in front of about 20 spectators (not my proudest moment). There were others who were not so lucky. There was Vincent whose stomach was so upset that he couldn't eat or drink anything. Then there was the guy in his early sixties that was in so much pain he couldn't stand up straight (his wife later pulled him from the course). As I finished up my 3rd 5K - I was enjoying the surroundings - especially the part around Lake Mercier - so pretty. The porta potty just before getting back to the road at mile 11 was not as pretty but there was a great band playing and it was nice to hear some live music as headed back towards town. It was close to 7 and there were still plenty of people out and the sun was just starting to set. The temps were in the high 50's and there was a wicked wind blowing from the North. Luckily, Eric had come out to meet me and he ran with me for a while. I grabbed my special needs bag and the made the U-Turn back towards the resort. Heidi and the rest of the fam. met me at the top of the hill where the course turned right towards the finish line and I was so happy to see them. I got my high fives and kisses and then started running again. Leaving the fam was hard but having to run within 100 yards of the finish knowing that I still had to run 13 miles was psychologically brutal. At this point, I was down to running 14 minute miles and I was really having to push myself to keep going. It was at this point (Mile 15) that I ran into Elizabeth who was a teacher from DC I had met during the bike portion. She was really tired, and I stopped to walk with her for a while. As we kept going, she mentioned that she wasn't sure she could finish. but she urged me to keep running. I had a decision to make, I knew I could still run but that it would hurt or I could walk more. At that point, it was an easy choice. We walked and exchanged salt and vinegar potato chips for a snickers bar. We also quizzed each other about our subjects and passed the time for about 3 or 4 miles. At the 20 mile mark, we decided to start doing some intervals of running 1 or 2 minutes and then walking for 5. Things kept looking up at the 21 mile mark because they had coke at the aid station at the turn around. While we were predominantly walking, we progressively started running more and more from light to light (there were major portions of the course that were in complete darkness and I was so glad I had bought that headlamp). I wasn't feeling great at this point. My back really hurt and I knew I had a killer blister going on my left foot but I sucked it up as I pushed myself to keep up with her (she was a lot faster runner than me). At the second to last aid station I got some soup in me that helped but I couldn't keep up with Elizabeth any more. She told me she would see me at the finish and ran ahead at a pretty good gait as we headed back on the road to town for the final time. There were a few people cheering us on but what I will remember is how solitary I felt. I wasn't lonely but I was keenly aware that I was on my own. I munched on some crackers and had a gu with 2 miles to go. By this point I was moving slowly, but I was back to a 5/2 interval (even if I was averaging an 18 minute mile). Then as I hit the rotary for the last time, a guy on the sidewalk told me that he was going to run me to the finish (I can't remember his name but he was so kind and trotted along on the sidewalk next to me. When I did the loop where the special needs bags were, he waited for me and got me going in the right direction again (it was hard to see in the dark). But as I got to within a quarter mile I could feel my pace pick up and I knew I was close. I made the last right turn and there were people on both sides holding their hands out for high fives, It was awesome. I bid adieu to the kind man and ran the last 300 yards - right by Heidi who was video taping. I could see Mike Rielly, "Come on David you did it. You. Are. An. Ironman!" I gave him a fist pump as I crossed the finish line and stopped so I could take it all in. I walked down the ramp, and the second place finisher (Daniel Halksworth) put on my medal. Two medical volunteers grabbed me. I assured them I was fine. They wished me well. I grabbed some poutine, congratulated Elizabeth - who beat me by almost 8 minutes, and then met up with the fam.
What would you do differently?:

Not really sure... It would have helped if I had run more during my training but I feel that I might have gotten injured if I had...
Post race
Warm down:

There really wasn't much of a warm-down. I drank a coke and only thing I ate was the poutine. I felt fine so I threw away my warmth wrap. I grabbed my equipment bags and slowly made my way back to the hotel. EQ and HQ pushed the bike and JQ and I took the gondola (which was a godsend - the slog up the hill would have been brutal). I sat down once I got to the hotel to check facebook and to drink some post race chocolate milk (I also cracked my finish-line beer but only had a few sips). I got real cold all of a sudden and started to shiver (I've never done that before but then again, I've never run an Ironman either). I decided it was time to shower. I got up and made it about ten feet before my right quad started spasming/cramping. If Heidi hadn't been standing in front of me, I would have taken a header. She got me to the bath and the warm water helped the alleviate the cramps.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I would say a lack of speed drills during training. Again - Mike made the plan with the goal of getting me to the finish line without getting injured and he nailed it. To be honest, while a small part of me wishes I'd finished in 15 hours, I really don't care. All I wanted to do was finish and I did!

Event comments:

I will remember this race until the day I die. While the bike course was especially challenging, the beauty of the surroundings was incredible. With the exception of the two miles leading from the start to the bikepath, the run was pretty flat. There were plenty of fans to cheer me on. The fam. loved the venue and are already bugging me to do it again. I'm so glad I chose this race instead of Rev3 Cedar Point.

Last updated: 2013-08-26 12:00 AM
01:31:17 | 4155 yards | 02m 12s / 100yards
Age Group: 287/343
Overall: 1785/2317
Performance: Good
Suit: X Terra
Course: The course was 11 buoys out then a right turn, 2 buoys, a right turn, and then 11 buoys back
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 66F / 19C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Good
Time: 12:38
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed:
08:05:04 | 112 miles | 13.85 mile/hr
Age Group: 325/343
Overall: 2106/2317
Performance: Average
Split Distance Time Pace Race Time Overall Gender Category Time Of Day Bike 1 4.3 miles 00:18:40 13.98 mph 02:02:35 1909 1459 301 08:50:35 Bike 2 20.5 miles 01:13:14 13.24 mph 03:15:49 2057 1563 323 10:03:49 Bike 3 45.7 miles 01:41:08 14.93 mph 04:56:57 2118 1596 326 11:44:57 Bike 4 50.6 miles 00:26:14 11.37 mph 05:23:11 2121 1594 326 12:11:11 Bike 5 55.6 miles 00:19:41 15.15 mph 05:42:52 2122 1593 326 12:30:52 Bike 6 76.4 miles 01:34:15 13.25 mph 07:17:07 2090 1575 326 14:05:07 Bike 7 101.6 miles 01:42:26 14.74 mph 08:59:33 2091 1574 324 15:47:33 Bike 8 106.6 miles 00:27:22 10.9 mph 09:26:55 2086 1573 324 16:14:55 Bike 9 112 miles 00:22:04 14.78 mph 09:48:59 2106 1587 325 16:36:59
Wind: Headwind
Course: 2 lap course. Rode out of T1 and headed out of town towards Mont Ryan on the rolling hills that make up the vast majority of the course. Then biked North on Route 117 to turn around. On the way back, passed the road for Mt. Ryan and headed into town where there is another turn around which takes you back to Mount Ryan. Then headed back to the resort banged a right and headed up the hills of Chemin Duplessis which is definitely the hardest part of the course, before bombing down the rolling hills back to the resort to start the 2nd loop. 6,000 feet of gain for the entire 112 mile course.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Average
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Too much
Time: 07:27
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike Below average
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
06:25:52 | 26.2 miles | 14m 44s  min/mile
Age Group: 323/343
Overall: 2085/2317
Performance: Average
Split Distance Time Pace Race Time Overall Gender Category Time Of Day Run 1 2.5 miles 00:32:21 13:00/mile 10:28:47 2074 1558 322 17:16:47 Run 2 6 miles 00:44:23 12:45/mile 11:13:10 2081 1558 323 18:01:10 Run 3 10.3 miles 00:57:18 13:21/mile 12:10:28 2091 1566 322 18:58:28 Run 4 13.1 miles 00:40:53 14:18/mile 12:51:21 2075 1554 323 19:39:21 Run 5 15.8 miles 00:39:36 14:29/mile 13:30:57 2077 1553 321 20:18:57 Run 6 19.7 miles 00:56:00 14:32/mile 14:26:57 2088 1557 325 21:14:57 Run 7 23.4 miles 01:09:38 18:59/mile 15:36:35 2089 1554 325 22:24:35 Run 8 26.2 miles 00:45:43 16:07/mile 16:22:18 2085 1549 323 23:10:18 Run 26.2 miles 06:25:52 14:43/mile 16:22:18 2085 1549 323 23:10:18
Course: The run started at the resort and then headed into towards Lac Tremblant. It stays on that road for about 2 miles and then the route went to the right and connected to the Le P’tit Train du Nord - the longest running/bike path in Canada. Four miles to the turn around and back. Then the route joined a dirt path that ran along a lake for about 1/2 of a mile before it looped back to the road leading back into town and the resort. The route take you past the road to the resort where you grab your special needs bag and then loops back to the road to the resort. You run tantalizingly close to the turn to the finish line before heading out on the second loop.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Too much
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Too hard
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5