Friday, September 7, 2012

Ironman Canada 2012

Ironman Canada
Penticton, British Columbia
North America Sports
80F / 27C

Triathlon - Full Ironman
Total Time = 16h 14m 40s
Overall Rank = 2267/
Age Group = F35-39
Age Group Rank = 136/

Pre-race routine:

Training for IM has been less then stellar....injured my glute/hamstring in June and just lost my mojo for training. This was my 7th Ironman in 4 years. Training became more of a job than a love, Before toeing the line in Canada my longest ride was a century in June, and a 13 mile run in June before the injury....yep I think if you looked up "undertraining" my pic would be there. I had also jammed my pinky toe a week before and had been hobbing around on it for a week. However, I wanted that IM Canada medal, so I knew it would be a long, slow, day.

Got up and wrote "Suck it" on my arm, my usual. Mom and I went down to the lobby to wait for our pick-up to the start. Saw Mark in the lobby as he was riding down with Endurance Sports Travel to the start. I went to the Denny's next door and asked for 2 bananas (yes I went into the race so chill I had not even bought my usual race day food the day before). The manager refused to take an money for the bananas, I was floored as this would never happen in US!

Dropped off the bags and took a few pics, said "good-bye" to my mom and headed into transition. Mark and I wished one another luck as we each headed off to our bikes. I put my water bottles on the cages and wet to get in the bathroom was huge!

Chatted bit and Mark found me and we waited in line together. I also saw Andrew and Todd and wished them luck. After the bathroom break, time to throw on the wetsuit and head to the water.

Event warmup:

Walked to the water and was amazed at the mass of people on the beach. I think there were 2500+ athletes starting. Spectators lined the wall and I was in amazement at how many people were there to support us. Many people will never understand what drives those of us who chose to race Ironman, yet they cheer their hearts out and support our insanity.

I stood on the shore and saw a girl crying. I said "what's wrong?" She told me "I DNF'ed here last year, so being here again is just emotional" I told her "you are going to finish, just be positive" and I gave her a hug. I walked into the water and another girl just grabs me and says "have a great race!" and gives me a high-5, I hugged her too.

Before the start went off I stood on shore and centered my mind, told myself "today is an amazing day to become a 7x Ironman, you will do this! Take the day as it comes and just smile" The start went off and I walked under the start flags and reached up to touch them with 2 fingers and then dove in.



The course was full of people and I somehow started with a bunch of open water in front of me! I was so pumped to have space! I was not far from the bouy line, so no clue how this happened. I started to pass the orange bouys and was just staying relaxed, I thought about my stroke and smiled to myself that I had once again started my journey to another Ironman.

I continued to swim and then the crowding began....the usual..a few chops to the head, more people grabbing my ass to remember and getting my feet pulled. A few people hit my pinky toe, that was less then fun. Finally hit the first turn at there are 2 scuba-divers under the water! First I freaked out because I thought they were racers, and then I noticed the tanks on their backs and they were waving so I waved back, pretty cool!

Typical log jam at the turn, didn't bother to look at my watch, it was going to be a long day anyway. A bit more water boxing and then the next turn, kinda wish there were more divers there as it was pretty cool! This was the turn toward the shore, yay! Began singing some songs in my head and started to prepare my mind for the bike. Finally started to get close to shoe and I could hear the announcer and hear the crowd, it was awesome! I told myself "another IM swim is done! Woohoo" Yes I talk to myself constantly when racing!



The swim exit was a bit rocky, bruised pinky toe was not happy about this at all. Got out of the water and looked for the wetsuit strippers. I usually go to the 2 biggest guys I can find, bonus if they are hot :) But I wound up with 2 girls and they did a great job. I got to hear my name announced :)

Grabbed my bike bag and into the tent I went. I went to the very end of the tent and found a place to sit. I dried my feet a bit and threw on my bike stuff. Yelled to anyone in my area "anyone need a towel?" The girl next to me grabbed it right away, so many people forget a towel in T1 bag.

What would you do differently?:

Nothing, can't help it if there are no guys wetsuit stripping :)



The bike out of town is great! Lots of people cheering and it just makes you feel like a rock-star! I ate a shot block and look down at my cycle computer and notice it's not speed or cadence! WTF!? Then I remembered.....when I swapped my race wheels onto the bike I never moved the sensor over! Uggg dumb-ass! I laughed at myself and just continued on. I knew I wanted to stay at a relaxed pace being so undertrained, so this was going to be all about RPE (rate of perceived exertion, for those not in the tri-world) I don't train with heart-rate monitor, I'm a minimalist, lol!

Finally hit a course marker and it's in Kilometers since we are in Canada! Darn, now I'm trying to ride my bike and do KM to Miles conversion and I suck at math! I abandon the math, friggin metric's getting to annoying, and starting to give me a headache. Then, in the distance.....i see it...a MILE marker! It was my oasis! It was the 20Mile mark and I see that I have been riding for a hour....yikes, hitting 20miles within the first hour is too fast for me, but I'm loving the course!

The course is amazing! The water, the cliffs, the climbs in the granny gear to the awesome, saki-bombing descents! IN my first Ironman I refer to the downhills as "saki-bombing" no clue why, but 7 Ironman races later it still applies. Tons of people passing me on the bike, I was amazed at how any people got out of the water after me!

We get to Richter pass, which goes up in steps. Lots of blocking going on, but I tried not to get frustrated. This is the first race where most people were not yelling, "on your left" as they went by, but I used my tri-racing manners and always yelled out "on your left"..made me feel like a rude American, but it's what you should do when cycling!

I was eating my Clif Blocks, drinking water and popping a few Enduralytes and grabbing a half of a banana at each aid station. My tummy was not feeling great...just had this feeling of being full. I popped some Tums, but the feeling would not go away. I knew I had one more big climb at White Lake, so I ate a Chocolate #9 (a sport gel) and was still not feeling great. I looked down at my bento box and realized I had only eaten 470 calories the entire ride, plus a 300 or so from the bananas, with about 20 miles left to go! Yikes, not good!

Started to hit a bunch of head-wind and then the last climb. I was getting tired of being on the bike, my butt really started to hurt and my left shoulder and my back started to tighten. I really considered just grabbing the SAG wagon, I mean 90+ miles in and I felt cooked. I told myself "you only have 10 miles of work left. After the last climb it's basically down-hill the end. You can do this! Don't disappoint yourself or mom who came all the way from NJ to be here!"

I push myself over the climb and smile from ear to ear :) Finally make it back to town and it feels like a head-wind/false flat, ugggg! I get to transition and see that I had been on my bike for 7.5 longest IM ride ever, yikes!

What would you do differently?:




Getting off the bike and handing it to a volunteer is a blur. I grabbed my bag and headed into the tent. I remember seeing the massive amount of nutrition I DID NOT eat on the bike and became worried that a serious bonk was awaiting me on the marathon course.

I got into the tent and grabbed 2 chocolate chip cookies, I may have swallowed them whole, as I suddenly felt extremely hungry! I grabbed a seat and my volunteer in T2 was amazing!!!! She kept asking if I needed anything and I said "you just need to be honest with me, do I have snot on my face?" She said "nope, looks fine." I said, "seriously, you can be honest, I dont want to hit the marathon course with a cliff-hanger" She laughed and said "I promise you honey, it's all good."

I taped up my toe and then put some type of Icey-Hot on my legs, my glute/hammy was feeling super tight. I put on my deodorant and she said "wow, never thought of that! Is this your first?" I said "7th" and she looked at the volunteer next to us and said "this girl is a stud!" LOL

One again she asked if I needed anything and I said "a back rub" and she did it! SIMPLY AMAZING!!!! This was a long T2, but so worth the extra time for the quickie....massage that is :)

What would you do differently?:

Nothing, the additional few minutes for the backrub was soooooo worth it!



I knew this was going to be a looooong marathon, so mentally I was ready for countless hours on my feet. I headed out on the out-n-back and saw David ad gave him a big hug! The out-n-back is such a mind game as you need to do it on the way out and right before the finish! UGGG! My butt was killing me....basically what I can only describe as diaper rash....OUCH! I walked in the beginning, trying to test out the glute/ was so-so at best, so I started to shuffle. I would pick a telephone pole and tell myself "run until you get the next traffic light" and then I would walk a bit and pick another land-mark and do it again.

I passed a girl walking in a Team-In-Training shirt, her head was down and she was walking very slow. I said "come run with me Sharon" (names are printed on race numbers) and she said "I can;t." I said "yes you can, catch me" this point I'm going slightly faster than a speed-walk, but it was enough to push her to "chase" me. I started to walk again and she said "thank you so much, I was about to cry. I'm in a dark space right now" I said "stay with me, we will finish together. Just do what I do" She followed my land-mark run/walk method with me for 5-6 miles. We chatted, she was a Leukemia survivor from the Bay Area.

I was having more issues with the run as the diaper rash made me feel like my but-crack was on fire! I know, more info than anyone needs to know, but these are the joys of Ironman racing. I walked more and told her to go ahead without me. Stopped at a porta-pottie and applied Vasoline....liberally!!!!! With my butt-crack feeling slightly better I was able to run more, my running segments got longer....I was enjoying the people who came out to cheer.

I was taking in the beauty of the lake. People would say "you look great"...haha, I knew I probably looked horrible, but at least I didn't have snot on my face! :) I saw David and Todd on the course, always great to see familiar faces. I was hurting but knew I would finish before the cut-off. Finally reach the turn around, yay! Start walking with a guy who was doing his 25th Ironman! His goal is to race Ironman all around the world! He has just raced Ironman the weekend before!

I ran on and at every aid station I would have some water, chicken broth and some watermelon.....OMG Canada has AMAZING watermelon! One volunteer had a shirt on that said "free hugs", I saw her 3 times on the course and took advantage of each hug. Even when I'm a sweaty mess, I'm touchy-feely!

I continued on my march toward the finish line and one woman yelled out from the side of the road "Sweet Jesus, you are going to make it!" I wanted to tell her "if Jesus would propel me to the finish line right now, I might consider converting"

At mile 20 I feel it, mega-blister on the pinky toe! Now I'm really compensating for it and trying to walk-shuffle, whatever I can to keep going forward. I start chatting with a girl who was racing her fist IM. She was cramping and hurting worse than I was. I said "you have plenty of time to finish, just keep putting one foot in front of the other" She thanked me and told me to get ahead of her and finish strong. So I high-5ed her and continued on.

Then I shuffled upon 4 guys walking together and one yells "is that Abbie who kept re-passing me on the bike?" I laugh and walk with these guys almost to the finish line. We joked and pushed each other along.

Finally hit the last out-n-back and I'm so thankful that I'm going to finish, I'm going to be a 7x Ironman finisher! I give my glow-stick to a kid and head for home. I hear my name announced, slap hands with the crowd....take a pause before I cross the tape, and do a small bow and hold up 7 with my fingers.

Post race

Warm down:

A wonderful volunteer put my medal around my neck and congratulated me. He was walking me over to get my finisher's pic taken and I saw my mom....I hobbled over and threw my arms around her and cried as did she. The volunteer managed to capture the moment of pure emotion.

I was not that hungry, and just grabbed some watermelon and a Maple cookie. I also made the mistake of grabbing a slice of pizza right before turning my bike in at Tri-Bike transport. I have not eaten cheese in 16 years, and I mad the stupid decision to not remove the cheese!

Within minutes I was feeling very sick to my stomach and I thought I was going to pass-out. Mom looked at me and said "you ok?" and I said "I need to sit" and the guy at Tri-bike transport grabbed a chair for me. I sat down and started sweating, thought I might vomit and then the grass started to glow florescent yellow! I drank some water and poured it over myself.

Felt slightly better and I could tell from the look on my mom's face that I looked really bad. I tried to stand and sat back down to drink a bit more. Eventually stood up and it was almost impossible to put one foot in front of the other. It took forever for me to walk the 2 blocks to the pick-up location. My mom went to find the driver for us and I ducked behind a car and got sick. Finishing the Ironman was painless compared to the way my stomach felt....uggg.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Lack of training and injury

Event comments:

Wow, Ironman #7 is done!!!

Ironman is a crazy thing, it draws some to it and causes others to stand in awe. For those of us who race Ironman, there is something in our soul, in our spirit that says "yes, YOU can do this!" There is a need and a desire that can only be quenched by the Ironman finish line. I AM AN IRONMAN, it is not something I do, but part of who I am. There is a special bond among us that are part of the Ironman family, not one of superiority but one of respect and a common thread of understanding what it takes to get to the finish line.

If you managed to read all of this, I'm impressed! I would like to thank my family, you may never understand why I race long, but you support my choice of insanity. To my computrainer class, group suffering rocks! To coach Neil and Felicity at TriMore Fitness, thanks for making class fun and for letting us race IM Canada on the screen during class. To so many of you that have followed my training and life online, your support and laughter mean so much to me!! A big shout out to my chiropractor and ART guru, Heidi Law for putting me back together again as best you could before this race!

Any finally my mom....words can not express how important it was to me that you were at the finish line. When parts of my race were in the dumps, I thought of you and raced toward you. Thank you for coming to Canada for an amazing Mother/daughter trip!