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Ironman Canada - Triathlon

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Whistler, British Columbia
World Triathlon Corporation
47F / 8C
Total Time = 14h 55m 58s
Overall Rank = 1160/1948
Age Group = 50-54
Age Group Rank = 115/195
Pre-race routine:

keeping warm. wore wetsuit to start. jacket and hand warmers.
Event warmup:

hand warmers. held on to warm clothes till the last minute and then put on flip-flops and zipped up the wetsuit.
  • 1h 17m 40s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 50s / 100 yards

first loop ok with the exception the start was mega slow and congested. Got a frog kick in the face 1/4 mile out, I thought my nose was broken and lips bleeding..but luckily it was all perception. Stung a bit but no major damage. Hardened up and kept swimming.

Was conservative rounding buoys, and cost me some time. Cold on the second lap due to rain.
Transition 1
  • 12m 53s

slow to get going. Cold rain was definitely a downer.
  • 6h 58m 23s
  • 112 miles
  • 16.06 mile/hr

Extremely cold and unpleasant ride for the first half. Finally got reasonable on the second half but was wasted already.
What would you do differently?:

decide on clothing choices earlier and commit. Was difficult to decide due to inexperience in these conditions
Transition 2
  • 14m 1s

stunned from the cold Shivering and didn't want to go back out. Slow to get changed.
  • 6h 13m 1s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 14m 14s  min/mile

painful run. First half fairly reasonable but the second half was just too painful to continue running, and resorted to walking it out.
Post race
Warm down:

not much. My friend had my bike and gear bags already, so we just drove away.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Not sure. It was a painful and challenging race. Mostly due to the conditions, but who knows how I would have done on a good day ?

Event comments:

overall very good. I do think WTC was cutting some corners compared to other IMs I have done. But I was generally happy with the overall event.

Last updated: 2015-07-28 12:00 AM
01:17:40 | 4224 yards | 01m 50s / 100yards
Age Group: 73/195
Overall: 797/1948
Performance: Average
Suit: full wetsuit
Course: 2 loop rectangle. CCW
Start type: Deep Water Plus:
Water temp: 68F / 20C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Below average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 12:53
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
06:58:23 | 112 miles | 16.06 mile/hr
Age Group: 84/195
Overall: 810/1948
Performance: Below average
Wind: Little
Course: hilly single loop.
Road: Smooth Wet Cadence: 80
Turns: Average Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills: Average
Race pace: Hard Drinks:
Time: 14:01
Overall: Below average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
06:13:01 | 26.2 miles | 14m 14s  min/mile
Age Group: 115/195
Overall: 1160/1948
Performance: Below average
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
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: Below average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2015-07-29 12:17 AM

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Kailua, Hawaii
Subject: Ironman Canada

2015-07-29 12:17 AM
in reply to: #5131685

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Kailua, Hawaii
Subject: RE: Ironman Canada
Ironman Canada (Whistler) 2015 Race Report

I signed up approximately a year ago for Ironman Canada, wanting more of a challenge, having done Mont-Tremblant. I knew the bike course would be harder but seemed like a logical step up from IMMT. The assumption of course was under decent weather conditions, which turned out not to be the case for this year's IMCA.

Leading up to race day, it was beautiful, clear, sunny. Pretty much picture perfect, like my other three IM races were. Yet, looming on the forecast was a very cold and rainy race day. We poured over the weather apps on the phone, and were simply in denial that it would really switch to the worst conceivable weather for racing.

Thursday we headed out for a nice hour ride to test the bike and feel the conditions, I was barreling along at 30+mph on Sea to Sky Hwy, and suddendly BOOM ! Had hit something hard and flatted. Checking it out, it was a pinch flat, dented the rim, and slit the sidewall on a good tire. Damn.
Was this an omen of things to come ?

I limped back to Whistler, with a partially inflated tire, and had to buy a file to smooth out the dent in the rim,and a new tire. Luckily my Zipp 1080 would still be race worthy.

As race day crept up on us, we started to get serious about the weather. Realizing it was going to be no joke, we sought warm stuff for the bike and run. Little knowledge with these conditions left us guessing what would work the best. “Nothing new on race day” was thrown out the window in this case !

Luckily I chose a thin Sugoi shell, and layered tech shirts under my bike jersey with arm warmers. My experience with Moab helped me with this a bit, but never had experienced this in the pouring rain.

I also planned a layered approach with arm warmers for the run.

The question on my mind was “would it be good enough to avoid hypothermia ?”

Saturday, the day before the race, we had a taste of what was going to hit us, but teasing us with a mix of dreary rain, wind and then sun by evening ! Went to bed wondering what I'd wake up to.

3am came fast, up and it was POURING ! COLD as ice ! We were robots getting ready, clockwork preparation of everything needed to get out of the condo and to the bus for transition at 4:30am.

We kept saying the temperature didn't seem too bad, and the rain stopped as we boarded the bus to T1. The lake was about 15 mins away from T2, we all chatted nervously on the bus with anxious anticipation on what would face us. People dressed in rain ponchos, hooded jackets, and fleece pants. Looked more like a group going skiing.

Getting to T1, jittery triathetes running around in the mass of bikes getting ready. Long lines to the porta potties, and the bike pump line. Time ticked away steadily to the start. So far, no rain, but menacing dark clouds above spoke of a different story to unfold.

Water temp had dropped from the cool 70 F to about 68, and was a bit chillier than we had on our practice swims. But not bad. We waded out into the shallows, waiting for the pros to go. Bam! First gun went off, and then the second Bam for the women Pros.

Nextwas the AG mass start. Water safety people everywhere, seemed to block our path. BAM ! Our gun went off and the lemmings started in slow motion. The mass start was very sluggish and took forever to get going. Clear water was hard to find, as I pawed my way through the squirming clouds of thrashing triathletes. Swam for less than ¼ mile, I was suddenly frog kicked in the nose, someone stopped to look up and WHAM ! Pain on my nose and lips, knocked off my goggles. I gathered my composure and put the goggles back on and tried to assess damage. “Harden up” I thought and conserved energy to get going again.

As I continued, the sting on my lips subsided and I got into a fairly good rhythm. Breathing was good and felt comfortable mostly through the first of 2 laps.

On the second lap, I felt cold. It was raining now, and getting colder. By the time I swung around the last turn buoy, it was further than I thought to get to the beach and seemed like a long time before I saw the shallow again. Struggled to get up and fell like 3 times, dizzy and unbalanced. Cold and shivering, in the rain, I wandered into the change tent. It was an absolute zoo. Managed to find a seat, and struggled to get my bike stuff on. All the layers and jacket. Finally ready to go out to the freezing rain.

My bike was wet and cold. I grabbed it and started running to the mount line which was a long trot in the mushy grass.

We started off down the road in seriously cold, icy pelting rain. I was in shock, thinking it was going to be like this all day. I tried to wrap my head around the situation, but it was not easy to console me. My fingers were already numb and my shoes were soaked, I hadn't gone more than about 3 miles.

Getting onto the main highway, in pouring rain, I was going pretty slow. I knew this would be a consideration for safety and survival of the cold temperatures. Being from Hawaii, my blood is not
suited for this type of weather. DNF entered my mind and haunted my thoughts.

We got to the first major climb. My icy quads, felt nothing as I pushed my feet, now blocks of ice on the pedals. I had no feeling in my extremities. I tried to eat, but could not open the gel packets, I fumbled to get my bento box open. My powerbars were rock solid, but I managed to chew a half of one and get it down.

Although it was pouring rain, and the wind chill was near freezing, I looked around and tried to enjoy the absolute stunning beauty of the surroundings. The misty glaze of the clouds in the pine forests were gorgeous. However, my bike was shaking, and thought something was wrong mechanically, but realized it was me shivering.

People were coming down on the descent, and screaming from the cold. It was obvious it would be worse coming back. Got to the turn around, and did the same thing, go down in the pouring rain as fast as I could take the wind chill....and screamed too. Seemed to help some, but just nothing really was working to keep me warm. It was clear now, DNF would be on the minds of nearly all.

We got back on the highway to Whistler again, more climbs in the rain. As I got to where the masses of spectators were huddled in the chilly wetness, I gave them some fist pumps and rebel yells...which had them erupt in wild cheering. This continued all through the town. Tears came to my eyes, thinking this is the reason I am not going to give up. These people are out here in freezing cold rain and cheering me on. How amazing is that ? Their spirit warmed me and it was just the best thing so far.

Now headed past Whistler out to Pemberton, the rain reduced to more like a drizzle. More tolerable, but yet very cold and numb from the first beatings.

As we climbed to Pemberton, the rain stopped and thing began to dry up. By the time we got to the Valley flats, it was actually pleasant. Although the flats seemed easy, my quads were feeling the pain. I was cruising along at around 22mph and feeling ok, trying to gain some on my slow start.

The Pemberton flats area was a long haul of nearly 30 miles. Coming back after the turnaround, the headwinds started to take their toll. 15 miles of increasing headwinds, not super bad but enough to drain me more.

So glad to get out of the flats and back to the hill climbs, silly as it seems, I was stoked to climb. I was using my lowest gears and grinding up the hills as best my aching legs could do. Everyone around me seemed wasted. We were getting closer, 90 plus miles and so anticipating getting off the bike into dry clothes and shoes.

Seemed like forever, but finally Whistler was back on the radar and my cheering buddies were in full force all over. I was so happy to see them. It really helped motivate me to push to the end of the bike. So many genuinely warm smiles and cheers with funny was just awesome.

I sped into T2 and was just exhausted....the volunteer grabbed my bike and I stumbled into the change tent. As like T1, it was a zoo but of cold and tired athletes, that did not want to move.

I sat there for a long time to gather myself as I fumbled in my gear bag to find everything for the run.
Lost track of time and took too long, but managed to get it done. Like a zombie I headed out munching on a powerbar.

I knew my legs were wasted and wondered how long I could run for. The bike had killed me and the run was destroyed, but now a strategy to finish was important.

The first half wasn't too bad, I was able to run about 80% of it. The weather was amazingly good, sunny and blue skies. I enjoyed the first 21 KM....the lakes and forests were beautiful to see and seemed like a nice trail run in some areas. Super nice course overall.

I was hoping to see a bear. As I found out later, there was a momma bear and cubs that came out to scare some runners. Apparently the bear was protecting the cubs and could have been a problem...but was averted. I never saw anything except a chipmunk and a snail.

Getting around the half mark was work. The pain in my knee started up and this problem occurred last Ironman. Patella and IT band issues. Yuck. Now reduced to mostly walking with spurts of running, I was watching the time and trying to figure out how I could get this last 21 k done. Aid stations seemed a lot further apart now, and struggled to get to them.

The freezing rain started again and got cold. They started serving the chicken broth and that became my staple from then on. I had chemical hand warmers that helped some but my hands were just cold and numb feeling.
My goals for this Ironman were out the window now, and I just wanted to finish. I decided that walking this out was the best plan. I managed to run here and there but the knee and quads were not cooperating. My humbled goal now was to beat 15 hours. I never thought it would be 15 hours but that is what reality dealt me.

Power walking in the cold rain and now darkness, made it quite unpleasant. I tried to enjoy the surroundings. The wet forests were lit in spots with large portable lights, which helped. Kind of eerie silence in the wet woods made it surreal for the final push.

I could hear Mike Reilly's voice booming through the area, but hard to pinpoint the location. Seemed like it was coming from everywhere. Then it would fade, and I couldn't hear it anymore.

36K then 38K and I was thrilled to know only 4 more miserable K to do before the finish line !
I hobbled on my good leg dragging my bad one in a weird looking run to the finish, which meandered through buildings and woods in the parking lot. Took forever it seemed, to get to the finish chute. The dark inflated Ironman arch was blocking the lighted finish line, I was so exhausted and cold, just wanting to cross the line and be done. Mike Reilly blasted out my name and then suddenly, it was over.

On went the space blanket, grabbed the medal, shirt and cap. Sat in the chair as they snipped off the timing chip, and then struggled to get back up off the chair.

My friend was waiting for me, as he had finished a few hours ahead, already had my bike and bags in the car. Simply climbed into the car, and headed off to our condo.

That was Ironman Canada 2015. The hardest race I have ever done. Will I be back for another Ironman ? Or will it be four and done ? Time will tell.

Final times were :
1:17 Swim
6:58 Bike
6:13 Run

14:55 Overall
2015-07-29 9:47 AM
in reply to: metafizx

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Bronze member
Subject: RE: Ironman Canada

Wow, way to stick to in super tough conditions! You did make it! That is some ironman spirit right there.

So, is your next one somewhere warmer? 

2015-07-29 9:50 AM
in reply to: juniperjen

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Kailua, Hawaii
Subject: RE: Ironman Canada
thanks ! it was a deep dig for sure. Looking forward to some down time for a bit after this one. lol
2015-07-29 6:42 PM
in reply to: metafizx

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Eugene, Oregon
Subject: RE: Ironman Canada
YIkes! I know exactly what you mean about your blood not being suited for those cold conditions. Think I would have expired immediately upon removing the wetsuit, or at mile 2 of the bike. No exploding gel packets on this one, for sure. Congratulations on sticking out a race in way less than ideal conditions!
2015-07-30 1:33 PM
in reply to: Hot Runner

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Kailua, Hawaii
Subject: RE: Ironman Canada
yes no exploding gel packets for sure LOL...more like frozen gel. It was so thick I could hardly get it out of the packet.

one of our Hawaii team was just too cold and shivering and did DNF after the bike. it was really a hard day for the thin blood group.

2015-08-28 12:30 PM
in reply to: metafizx

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Subject: RE: Ironman Canada

Your race played out almost exactly like mine did in Tahoe 2013.  Good job getting it done.  I'm signed up for Whistler next year so crossing my fingers for normal summer weather!

2015-10-09 2:50 PM
in reply to: spudone

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Kailua, Hawaii
Subject: RE: Ironman Canada
I'd like a come back on IMCA !
thinking 2017
2015-10-09 3:25 PM
in reply to: metafizx

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Edmond, Oklahoma
Subject: RE: Ironman Canada
I enjoyed the race report. Great job of grinding. Sometimes that's all you can do in lousy conditions. I am curious how many did DNF?
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