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Triathlon de Lévis - Half Ironman - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Lévis, Quebec
Triathlon Levis
18C / 64F
Total Time = 6h 00m 36s
Overall Rank = 54/62
Age Group = Women 16-29
Age Group Rank = 4/4
Pre-race routine:

Starting from last night: my mother and I drove to Levis (she came to cheer me on, witness the event, and basically chauffeur me to Levis and back because she was afraid that I would crash the car returning home. She's right, I wouldn't have been able to drive home at all.)

I prepped everything the night before, and turned off the lights by 10 pm, with 3 alarm clocks set for 5 am. From 10pm until 1:30am, I couldn't fall asleep because of a combination of nerves, an uncomfortably soft mattress, and my mother's snoring. At 1:30am, I had had enough so I grabbed a pillow and blanket and moved to the bathroom floor, where I could grab a bit of shut-eye. I'd say I got about 2-2.5 hours of sleep in total. What a horrible night. But I woke up crazily wide-eyed at 5 am.

I had breakfast (slice of bread with maple syrup flavoured peanut butter, some grapes, some soymilk), went to the washroom several times, did some last minute preparations, and checked out by 6:15 am. We arrived at the site at 6:30 am.

We walked around for a bit, I went to the washroom several more times, I pumped up my tires, did one loop of the bike course to check it out, relaxed a bit. Thirty minutes before the start, I put on my wetsuit, body glided myself, and walked to the swim start, which was 200-300m away from transition.
Event warmup:

1 loop of the bike course, then splashing around in the water to fill up the wetsuit and get comfortable.
  • 23m 30s
  • 2000 meters
  • 01m 11s / 100 meters

I had no idea how fast I was going, nor how many people I had passed, until I got home and checked the stats. I wasn't going all out, but I was making sure that I wasn't just going at my "lazy" pace. It was in the St Lawrence River, but protected from the current.

Ok, so the pace was pretty beastly! I'm freakin' impressed. My one wish, really, was that the swim was a bigger part of the triathlon course. I mean, really, 23:30 out of 6 hours?! That's not fair!
What would you do differently?:

Nothing, this was hardcore perfect.
Transition 1
  • 04m 18s

It was a 200-300m jog back to transition, and then I took my sweet ass time taking my wetsuit off, putting the race belt, sunglasses, helmet, socks and bike shoes on. I didn't want my heart rate to be skyrocketing.

The Bodyglide on the heels really helped. Although my wetsuit still got stuck on my heels (almost inevitable?), it did slip off more quickly.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing, I'm happy.
  • 3h 23m 40s
  • 90 kms
  • 26.51 km/hr

It took a while to get my heart rate down, but I did after maybe 2 loops. I was averaging 27 km/hr for the first good bit, but by loop 9-10, I was slowing down. The fronts of both of my shins were aching, aching, aching.

By loop 11 or 12, the 2-water bottle holder at the back of my seat came loose for some ridiculous reason, and I lost the 2 water bottles. All I had left was the 1 water bottle at the front. At the next loop, I threw that one to the side and grabbed a new, gatorade-filled bottle from the aid station. I would do that 2 more times.

From 30 minutes in, it started to POUR rain. Pouring. Everything was soaked, the entire world was drowning, the roads were slick and the sides of the roads was one huge puddle. I was miserable. I wanted to give up at 2 points: before the entire race began (it was a 20 second bout of insane fear) and at this point. With all the rain, life sucked. But... it went on. My mother was encouraging me at each loop, and a couple guys I had spoken to before the race (one of them was a race director or organizer or something) kept telling me I was doing awesome, and to keep it up.

My nutrition plan went pretty well. I started drinking gatorade 15-20 min into the ride, and 30 min in I had my first piece of clif bar. I would eat and drink on the slower half of each loop (against the wind and by the water), while focusing on speed on the flat and fast other half of the course.

I had also read other BTers race reports, and some of them mentioned peeing on the bike course, while still on the bike. So, I figured that if I had to go pee while riding, I would try to do so! For the last 4 loops, I had to really go pee, but just couldn't. My brain couldn't understand that I wanted to pee *while* my legs were moving and while I was still sitting against something. Finally, on the last loop, when I saw my mom I yelled "I'M TRYING TO PEE", and then I finally peed. It was a miracle.

By the end, though, I really just wanted to be off my bike. And I was seriously worried about how my legs would feel when I would start running.

I was one of the last people (I think 4 were behind me, but only 2 were slower than me) to get off the bike course. I guess I know which of the three sports I have the most room to improve!
What would you do differently?:

Not much. I've only been biking for 4ish months on a road bike, so this is pretty good. Now I just need to get better at it.
Transition 2
  • 02m 4s

The stop to get off the bike is JUST at transition, and because only 60ish people did the race, transition was TINY. I loved it. From the bike stop to my transition station, I had maybe 5-10m to walk. I racked my bike, hung up my wetsuit, changed shoes (and realized that someone had stolen my fresh pair of socks, which had been nicely placed in my running shoes! Assholes!), got my visor and my watch, and was out to start the run. I did take my time to sort of relax as I stuffed all my belongings into my bag. I just needed to feel like I was in control of my life again.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing, other than maybe hide my socks from people's sight?! I mean really, you're surrounded by a 200-300$ wetsuit, all my gear, and you take my socks?! I had been really looking forward to getting out of the gross, soaked, and grimy socks I had worn throughout the bike ride.
  • 2h 07m 6s
  • 21.1 kms
  • 06m 01s  min/km

Just before starting the run, I was dreading my legs feeling like 10 ton bricks. They, however, felt AMAZING. I felt fresh! So I just started easy running at about a pace of 5:40-5:55/km. In the first short loop, I only took water to settle my stomach. In all subsequent loops, I took 1 small cup of gatorade and 1 small cup of water, half of which I drank, and the other half I threw down my back to cool me down.

On the second big loop, I caught up with a guy named Michael, whom I ran with for about 1 loop. This was his 2nd half-ironman, and he summed both our triathlon careers (to this point) up best when he said: "I always start at the end of the race listing for my time, because that's usually where I end". Hah, so true, I love being a beginner triathlete!

Anyway, after about 1 loop running with him, he told me to go ahead because this pace was too fast for him. So off I went. I would have really liked to find someone else to run with, because time seemed to fly by when I did, but no such luck.

I forgot to add: at each end of the loop, where the aid station was, you passed by the finish line just ahead with the time elapsed so far since the start of the triathlon. So, by around the 5-7km mark, I realized that a sub-6h half-ironman was very much in my reach, if I kept at this pace for the next few kms. When I had 10km left, all I had to do was keep under 6:15/km and I could finish under 6h. When I had 3 loops left, I started struggling. I was no longer looking up and mainly looking at the asphalt right in front of me. By the 2nd to last loop, I felt like dying. When I finished that loop, I looked at the time and saw that all I had to do was keep under 6:10/km for the last 2 km and I could finish under 6h. I tried SO hard, but my body was collapsing. I could barely support my arms, my back and butt muscles were so tight, and my legs felt like lead.

When I crossed that line, I was 36 seconds too slow to beat my sub-6h mark. But, going into this race, my very first half-ironman, I was just hoping to 1) finish and 2) hopefully finish under 6h30m-7h00m. The fact that I did it in 6h00m36s was phenomenal to me.

And then... the hard part came (see "warm-down" description).

This was the hardest thing I've ever done. I had to dig SO deep for enough energy to continue past the 15-17th km mark. By that point, I felt like I was going fast but I was going relatively slowly. What kind of blew my mind was that I beat my half-marathon PR by more than 5 minutes. My prior record was 2:12:36, and that was just the run!
What would you do differently?:

Nothing, I'm amazed I made it!
Post race
Warm down:

As I crossed the line, I started hyperventilating. I couldn't control my movements. My mom got all doctor on me, took my pulse (which she could barely feel) and told me to crouch down. I finally calmed down after a couple minutes, slowly walked over to transition, gathered my stuff and walked to the car.

Twenty metres from the car, I remember gasping: "I can't believe I just did that," in a combination of both laughter and tears. If I felt any strong emotion, I would start hyperventilating again, so I just tried to keep calm. We drove back to the hotel, and I drank 2 small boxes of chocolate soy milk. They let us use the pool facilities (we had only stayed for 1 night, so we no longer had a room) so I could get cleaned up and changed into clean clothes. By that point, I was shivering uncontrollably. I went pee and my pee was a really strong yellow colour. When we got back to the car and started driving home, I realized just how much stress I had put on my body.

First, I started speaking gibberish. I could barely lift my head, and my stomach was killing me. We had to stop many times so that I could go to the bathroom, because my gastrointestinal tract had completely shut down so that I could do that run. I was dehydrated but could barely drink water. I was in pain the whole 3.5 hour ride home, and for the next 4 hours at home. At first, I was really freaking out because of the diarrhea that was red in colour. I thought I had bled into my intestines, but my doctor/mother told me that it was just all the red gatorade I drank throughout the run and at the end of the bike ride, which they had provided for us. The first 7 hours after I was done the race were the toughest to get through. I thought I would just die. But, it's over!! And I'm now eating toast and grapes, and drinking water!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

My inexperience on the bike, but, fuck it, I think I did great!!

Event comments:

62 people did the half-ironman. Not a lot. And this race is known for attracting very few first-timers. The fact that only 6 people finished past the 6 hour mark is a testament to just how hardcore all these athletes were. A total of 9 women did the race, and I was the very last of them!

In the end, I am really fucking proud of what I accomplished today. :)

Last updated: 2009-03-07 12:00 AM
00:23:30 | 2000 meters | 01m 11s / 100meters
Age Group: 3/4
Overall: 27/62
Performance: Good
Suit: nineteen women's XS
Course: It was 3 loops, we had to get out of the water at each loop, run around a post thingie, then get back in.
Start type: Wade Plus:
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Average
Time: 04:18
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Good
03:23:40 | 90 kms | 26.51 km/hr
Age Group: 4/4
Overall: 60/62
Performance: Good
16 loops x ~5.6km a loop 1) 12:01 2) 12:17 3) 12:22 4) 12:33 5) 12:31 6) 12:47 7) 12:40 8) 12:43 9) 12:08 10) 12:21 11) 12:42 12) 12:49 13) 13:14 14) 12:57 15) 13:22 16) 15:19 (includes T2)
Wind: Little
Course: It was 16 loops around a course. On the way out, it was on the roads (which were Quebec shitty), but it was flat (minus one small incline) and fast and with the wind. The turnaround was a very very sharp 180, which you had to slow down a lot for. On the way back in, we were on the bike path by the water. The wind, although not what you'd call strong, was coming off the water and straight at you. This, too, was pretty flat. The asphalt was much smoother here.
Road: Rough Wet Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 02:04
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Average
02:07:06 | 21.1 kms | 06m 01s  min/km
Age Group: 4/4
Overall: 51/62
Performance: Good
My km splits were: 1km: 6:04 2km: 5:40 3km: 5:52 4km: 5:37 5km: 5:50 6km: 5:43 7km: 6:10 8km: 5:54 9km: 6:10 10km: 6:03 11km: 5:51 12km: 5:44 13km: 5:55 14km: 5:53 15km: 5:57 16km: 5:57 17km: 6:04 18km: 6:17 19km: 6:27 20km: 6:08 21km: 6:21
Course: It was 1 first loop of 1.1km, then 10 loops around a beautiful 2km out and back path. This was still by the water, surrounded by greenery. Really, just a gorgeous course.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2009-07-04 9:37 PM

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Extreme Veteran
Subject: Triathlon de Lévis - Half Ironman

2009-07-05 5:58 AM
in reply to: #2262128

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Quebec, Canada
Subject: RE: Triathlon de Lévis - Half Ironman

WOW what an amazing time you did, sub 6hrs was one of your long term goal and you almost did it today, on your first HIM ever! 

You swam like a freaking fish once again and finished the swim portion with an amazing time.

After that you rode as hard as you could, and pee'd on the bike for the first time. Welcome to the yellow sock brigade

And since you are a rock star like that you finished the day with a PR on the half marathon DAMMIT

What an awesome day you had. I am happy to see that you are feeling better now, take care of you and let your body get some rest now. I think he needs it.

I tried to ride as fast as I could so we could chat a bit after my race but I took too long and you were gone. Next time maybe

Edited by rlejeune 2009-07-05 5:58 AM
2009-07-05 11:14 AM
in reply to: #2262128

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Subject: RE: Triathlon de Lévis - Half Ironman
Wow, you really did amazing! Great work!! And way to keep that mental toughness up when the going got rough!!!

You Rock!!!
2009-07-05 8:36 PM
in reply to: #2262128

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Perth, Australia
Subject: RE: Triathlon de Lévis - Half Ironman

Well done! You freakin' rock! You're swim was unbelievable, you swim about twice as fast as me LOL! I'm so proud of you for finishing this race, especially with all that rain on the bike, and the really tough run. Don't beat yourself up about your time, its actually a very very good time, you just happened to be racing against really hardcore athletes

I'm sorry to hear about being sick after the race, I got really bad stomach cramps after my race too, I couldn't eat or drinking anything for about 18 hours! In my case I think it was a reaction to the Immodium I took though. But I've heard of people getting sick like you just from the exertion

Maple flavoured peanut butter sounds soooo yum. Man I wish I lived in Canada LOL.

Best of luck for your trip to Peru, I hope you have an awesome time, what are you going to do without a pool to swim in LOL?  See you when you get back!!!

2009-07-06 12:55 PM
in reply to: #2262128

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Quebec city
Subject: RE: Triathlon de Lévis - Half Ironman

Good job Krystyna!  That was a great performance. Now go enjoy Peru!

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