Race Reports Archives

Endurance Nation – Weekly Race Report – 6/26/11

Here is the official Endurance Nation results update for the week ending on 6/26/2011. EN had a total of 13 athletes race in everything in dualthons and triathlons… with over 76% earning a personal best! Congrats to everyone — you can read the full details below.

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Ironman 2010 Race Report

912 11:58:32 154/328 2034 1:21:55 2:10 137 795 6:01:19 18.6 143 866 4:22:26 10:01

August 29th, 2010 – Penticton British Columbia

At 7am PST on the shores of Okanagan Lake Beach in Penticton BC, 2,732 (!) athletes hit the water and embarked on 2.4 mile swim to begin a “long training day with valet parking and catering”.    3,018 athletes were registered for this year’s race… 923 (30.6%) women and 2095 men (69.4%) – can  you say *overcrowded*?  I knew you could…

Of those 2,732 that actually strapped on their goggles and swim caps – only 2,729 made it out of the T1 tent to get on their bike for the 112mile ride.

After what was *almost* ideal cycling conditions – with the exception of 26 mp/h headwinds and driving rain and hail leading up to Yellow Lake – only 2,676 cyclists made it back to T2.   2 pros had already pulled the plug including one of the favorites – Tom Evans…

2,646 athletes made it out of T2 and onto the 26.2 run course but only 2,605 made it to the finish before the 17 hour cut-off – the last person with just 4 seconds to spare… By the end of the day, 6 of the 51 pro starters didn’t post a finish (and I managed to even make it home an hour before one of them).

2,605 out of 2,732 athletes got to call themselves “Ironman Finishers” for this year’s race –  and although 127 (5%) of the starters didn’t get to break that finish-line tape, they will hopefully keep things in perspective, draw out all the positive experiences and memories over the last year’s journey and realize that to just toe the start-line, it is an incredible accomplishment and they should still hold their heads high and be proud – there will be another day to race.

So that’s the background and a few numerical stats of Ironman Canada 2010 – but who cares about THOSE details right?  You want to know the dirt… so here it is.

I won’t bother starting this report with the overly typical “I went to bed at midnight and had a terrible sleep and used Aqua-fresh cool mint toothpaste before donning my favorite pre-race pajamas and slept at a 45 degree angle in my bed with the temperature at approximately 17.32 degrees celsius.   It’s amazing what some people include in their race reports… sheez.

Anyway, blah blah blah – I lined up in the lake with Harry, Calla, Tim, Darcie and Sean.  Probably way the hell closer to the front of the line than I wanted to be (actually standing under the damn start flag with Harry and Tim) but at least off to the left.   This was the first race I’ve ever been in the water early enough to actually go for a 5 minute warm-up (thanx Sean!) and test out my goggles – was huge for my head and to calm myself down since everyone knows I’ve had my fair share of swim panic attacks and my swim skills and training have always been questionable (to put it lightly).   I looked at my training journal over the last year and I swam a TOTAL of 32 hours – 9 of which were in a wet-suit and this included the Oliver Half Iron race.   So what did 32 hours of swim-training and absolute low-ball expectation equate to?   Apparently a 15 minute swim personal best over my last Ironman… what the hell…  Came out of the water at 1:21:55 and probably could have taken a couple more minutes off if I spent any of those 9 hours training in open water actually working on sighting…  Whatever, I’ll take it.   My goal for my last 2 Ironman races was always to get on my bike and riding down Main Street by 1 hour 30 minutes and I managed to do that this year so hallelujah.   Shout out and thanks to Shannon C. for a few pointers and believing that I could do 2 minute 100M pace no problem and even the threat of violence for my less-than optimistic attitude towards swimming in general.  Ended up with 2:10 100M pace so with a little bit of actual WORK, it’s obviously possible…

The 112mile ride…  Well, I got to my bike basically doing cart-wheels out of the T1 tent because I ripped off a good swim time and there were actually other bikes on the rack besides mine!!   However, there was a large puddle of chocolate colored liquid pooled beneath my bike… hmmmm, what the hell is that?  Oh, that’s the Boost that I had sitting in my Bento box that was supposed to be my “get out of the water and onto the ride nutrition”.  Not a good way to start the course and I’m going to blame my buddy Brandon who was racked beside me… bastard…. Anyway,  shrugged it off as a sacrifice to the Gods of transition and headed out of T1.  Temperature was perfect, winds were ideal and pointed in the RIGHT direction for once.  We spent a good portion of the afternoon on Friday at Wal-Mart looking for appropriate throwaway clothing since the forecast was for chilly weather – but I didn’t bother and just went with what I got.  I pretty much rode the entire course with Terrie from Peak Centre – which led me to believe I had paced myself pretty well.   Got to the Husky station in around 1hr 50 mins or somewhere thereabouts and was averaging about 19.8 mp/h for the first segment which was a little quicker than what I had planned, but was feeling pretty good.  Forced myself to eat and drink everything I planned on according to the “nutrition plan” and although it took all of my will-power to choke all that crap down, I’m glad I did.  Also ended up riding a huge chunk of the second portion with Chris who is also from Peak and we traded positions and random jibber-jabber all the way through the out and back and headed out to the highway and passed “The Bear” together.  This is where things went totally sideways and the nice weather turned to complete crap-ola.  CRAZY FREEZING HEAD-WIND, HAIL AND DRIVING RAIN leading up to yellow lake all the way to the summit and then nutty winds down the descent into Penticton.   That section was the most ridiculous experience I have ever had on a bike.  Nothing more discouraging than getting rained/hailed on while pushing approximately 300watts into a 26mp/h headwind and going between 9 and 12 miles an hour during that looooong-ass slight-climb/false-flat approaching Yellow Lake.   Was great to see the crew out on the course at various points and Greg and Linda got a couple shots of the suffering.   Long story short, that 25 mile stretch from the approach to Yellow Lake back to T2 took me at least 15minutes longer than expected… Rolled into the transition at 6:01:19 pacing “comfortably” in terms of effort the whole way – once again, a PB over my last two attempts so I won’t complain – but I was expecting a 5:50 and will blame the weather for falling a little short (gotta blame something other than my ability… obviously)

Spent what felt like a day and a half in transition contemplating life and realizing that I now have to run a damn marathon.  All of my training leading to this day was focused on having a good run.  I didn’t care what I did for the swim, I wanted to be “close-to” my bike-splits from the last two attempts and I PB’d on that too, so I was thinking fairly optimistically that an 11 hr 30min finish was within grasp.   Oh how wrong I was…  although I made it into T2 feeling pretty damn good, somewhere along the bike course – I ejected my container of electrolyte tablets as well as my Pepto chewables.   I blame Mike and the Peak Centre Tri-tops for having crappy rear pockets… I guess I should blame Sugoi – but I’ll stick with blaming Mike cuz it’s obviously his fault (or Sugoi’s) that I didn’t make sure that stuff was securely in my rear pockets.  Anyway, headed out onto the run course and was quite happy that my legs actually WORKED.  This was a FAAAAAAAAR cry from my last two IM’s where it was pretty much determined the marathon was going to be a dreadful walk-shuffle for as long as it took to get to the finish.   I headed out on that awful out-and back along Lakeshore Drive feeling OK – saw the IronCrew once again and figured I better put on a good show so didn’t swear or do anything inappropriate (especially considering this was the BEGINNING of the marathon).   Without getting into too much detail, suffice to say that those Pepto tabs would have come in handy since apparently after choking down ALLLLLLLLL that stuff during the bike and the chemical warfare that was now occurring in my gut, I had to visit the first porta-potty out on Main Street at about mile 2.  Saw Kelly there with her giant pink wig and she muttered something about Harry being out already as I ducked into the can –  didn’t make sense to me since I knew he didn’t pass me on the bike (she meant out as in DNF) but I didn’t worry about it.   Headed back out feeling somewhat human again and trucked along out Main street and tried to keep my approximate 9:15 minute mile goal pace.   I made a point of walking through each aid station and taking in gatorade and a gulp of water – didn’t feel like I HAD to stop and walk through, but I wanted to stick to the plan and do that for at least the first 6 aid stations and assess after the first hour.  Unfortunately, like clockwork – for the first 6 miles, I had to visit the can and each and every one of them had a line-up.   Every time I stood there taking a leak or sitting contemplating what a brutal waste of time it was, I could watch the seconds tick away on my watch and the mathematizing in my head was fast and furious (I did 5 bathroom breaks during the first half of the marathon).   By mile 11 my 4 hour marathon time was down the tubes as I was on pace to hit the half way point at around 2:15 – NOT GOOD.    I crossed the timing mat in OK Falls at the halfway turnaround at 2:16 – BOLLOCKS!   Pretty much dejected at that point since it was quite the grind just to pull off the 2:15 during the FIRST half, nevermind the inevitable suffering that would be the SECOND half.   Regardless, I sucked it up, grabbed my special needs bag and gazed into an empty bag that had absolutely nothing appealing (2 carbooms, a plastic disposable rain poncho and a boost) and hucked it right back at the poor lady that handed it to me in the first place.    As I staggered up the hill to head back on the home stretch, there was what seemed to be 1,000 people from the Langley run group that I had all met through Ron way back when.  Juanita was yelling at me as usual, Ed yelled out a bunch of words of encouragement, I tried to tag in Kathie for the run and was about to just hand her my race-belt and tell her to run in for me – but unlike back in 2006 when I stopped, stood around and chatted with Ron and Shannon and Matt and Hoz and everybody else for like 5 minutes, I just kept on trucking.   All I could think about was I absolutely bloody have to run a 4:30 half-marathon or there would be hell to pay… I dunno who would pay it, who would have to be sacrificed, or what – but come hell or high water, I was getting to the finish in 4:30.   Every mile from 14 onwards was like an additional small but overweight leprechaun was jumping on my back to try to get me to stop running.   It was DAMN HARD to keep going but I decided after all the time and effort and personal sacrifices I have made in the last year to get through this race, I wasn’t going to pooch it with less than 12 miles to go.

I started drinking Coke at each aid station from mile 14 onward.  I stopped and walked long enough through each aid station to drink properly and not get 10% in my mouth and the remaining 90% down my jersey or into my shoes…  This is when the “grunting” began.  Not sure why, not even going to try and figure it out – but I was grunting and making crazy noises almost as bad as Harry’s snoring was 2 nights prior.   Every person I passed must have thought a deranged cow had been let loose and was about to attack them from behind.   No matter, cuz I was passing people – at an ALARMING rate.   Not even just the ones walking, but a fair number of them actually running and I managed to pick them off one by one.  Of course apologizing to each and every one as I passed while in between my crazy grunts, but hey – at least I had the courtesy to say something and wish them well as I went by.   Greg was out there on his bike and rode along with me for a while.   Was great to see him and to get those words of encouragement – and I think it hit home when he said that he’d see me at the finish in the broad daylight.   That was a big motivator as I didn’t want my finish picture in the damn dead of night with a glow-stick around my neck and 5 yards of reflective tape stuck/draped around me like some freak-show out of The Mummy Returns.

So I kept trucking along – looking at my watch and seeing 9min miles, 8:50 miles, 9:48 miles – I didn’t know what the hell was going on and I figured I was just going delusional so I didn’t pay attention to it any more.  Everyone I ran with or passed basically mentioned we were on sub 12 hour pace so I went with it.  As long as I could stay ahead of them, it seemed to make sense and when I hit mile 20 at 6pm – I knew I just had to do 6.2 miles in a damn hour.   BAD FLASHBACKS from Sacramento popped into my head when I ended up doing a little over 5 miles in 1hour 9 minutes – but thankfully for this race, nobody shot me in the back of the knee from behind the grassy knoll like what happened in Sacramento – so I figured a 9 minute mile was all I needed and I’d crack 12.

More grunting, gasping, wheezing and I was on the slight downhill back into town (which was preceded by that damn long slight uphill stretch to the stop-light before Chery Lane Mall).   Rounded the corner at HSBC and let the crowd suck me in.   EVERYONE claims they were there – our entire Ironcrew, friends of friends, relatives of friends, friends of other friends – whoever – but I saw nobody.   All I could stare at was the target on the back of each and every person that was in front of me and who I was going to chase down en route to the finish.   That fricken stretch out to the S.S. Sicamous before the turnaround cone is a complete instrument of evil and I think they gotta do something about that.  I’d rather jump back in the water and swim 500meters instead of dealing with that…. Anyway, finally made the turn, set my sights (or what little of it I had left) on the Peach off in the distance and the sound of Jordan’s voice announcing and I basically hammered it home for all I was worth.  By “hammer”, I mean the little hammers that they use in cuckoo clocks and/or what you’d find dinging your bedside alarm clock.  Regardless,  I got through the finish line without catapulting myself into the crowd from tripping on the red-carpet and managed not to take out the small children that were working the finisher banner (and who barely got mine back across the line when I crossed).   Looked up on the clock and it read 11:58:32…  Negative split for the marathon with a 2:05 second half… I’ll take it.  What a comforting feeling it was when my “finish line catchers” happened to be Hoz and Tara and I think the first thing I told them was I had to barf… nice…

So the final “race damage” was a 912th place finish out of 2,732 that hit the water… Original goal was anything sub 11hrs 30mins but all things considered, it was a great race for me.

As I sit here and write this rambling report (which I told myself I was going to limit the rambling), I have to admit that a 58minute 22second personal best over my last race didn’t happen without lots of pain, suffering and sacrifice during my year-long “road to Ironman 2010 journey”.   Without the support, encouragement and patience of many people along the entire way and during the day yesterday, I wouldn’t have had the result that I did.   I’m certain that each and every one of you (from training partners, to family, to co-workers, to old and new friends from all over) know who you are so there’s no need nor any way I could possibly name everyone (including, but definitely not limited to, everyone in the IMC 2007 pictures below) – but I do have to say a special thanks to Kathy who although wasn’t able to join the Iron-Crew in person this time around, was always my biggest supporter and #1 fan – and was in my thoughts the entire time.

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