Tuesday, 28 August 2012

I am an IRONMAN!!

Well I did it!!! I completed my first Ironman and I can truly say it was an unbelievable experience! I crossed the finish line after 14 hours and 54 mins...
My goal was to finish before 15 hours....and I did that YEAH!!

So if you are willing to take the time and read I am about to give you my detailed race report of the day......

I will start with the day before the race...

On the Saturday I spent the morning getting my gear ready and set out. With this race and many other long distance races you need to have all your transition gear in bags...you don’t have you gear set out at your bike like many of the smaller triathlons. So I needed a bag with my bike gear, one for my run gear then also 2 "Special needs" bags...this is a bag you get half way through your bike and your run with things you need, such as food, clothing etc.

After I got my bags packed I was blessed to have so many friends and family who came to Penticton for the race. My lovely friend Kim who house we stayed at hosted a BBQ lunch so I could see everyone before the race. It was great to see everyone. My gang of ladies from Okotoks arrived and they were decked out in some FANTASTIC tu tu's, pink tanks and bling bling bling! It was too bad I never saw the girls in there outfits race day...I was too fast and they could not catch me...LOL...;-) (more on that later).
Here is a pic of my cheer team! (SO AWESOME)

After the BBQ it was time to get my bike and gear to the transition area...
and drop off the bags....
By this time the nerves were setting in a bit...seeing the thousands of bikes and bags and how the whole transition area looked pre race got me a little nervous but also excited!!

After that I dropped the kids with my mom and dad who were taking the kids for the night at the hotel (which was a HUGE help) then I headed back to Kim's where I had a light supper and headed to bed!!!

I was surprised that I actually got more sleep then I expected...I think I got about 6-7 hours so I thought that was pretty good :-)
Alarm went off at 4:45am and I was UP!!!
Had some breakfast (Pancakes (pre made) and some granola) got dressed and we were off...
So glad Kim’s hubby Anthony offered to drive us down so we did not have to worry about parking.
We got down to the start line at 5:20am and it was time for body marking..
Here is the pic..

After that I left Brad and I was off to get ready...I was happy I ran into my buddy Brian and was able to hang with him before the start and calm my nerves a bit..
I should mention the weather at this time was sunny and about 12 degrees!

Then it was time..I proceeded to the beach to find my spot...I knew I wanted to start far left...since this race is a mass start..so 2600 people starting at the same time I did not want to be in the thick of it for the swim..
So I got to the far left...then I saw the balloons of my cheer team!!
I was able to find a spot and right in from of my gang!

Here was a pic before the start..

Now for the race...sorry it took me a while to get here ;-)

The Swim 3.8 km
So I started a bit back since I was a bit nervous about swimming with 2600 people..so I started off and well it was not nearly as bad as I thought. Yes I got kicked and punched a few times but I just tried to weave around people and just kept going.
My goal for the swim was 1:45...I was pretty happy when I got out of the water at 1:30.
here is a pic of what the start looked like...

The swim felt really good...now off to transition!

Got to my bag and they shuttled me off to the girls transition tent. Greeted by the BEST volunteers!! Then helped me get my bike shoes, helmet etc and sent me on my way!

THe Bike 180km
This is the longest and most times the most challenging part of any Ironman! For me this was the section I worried about. I knew I had 9 hours to complete the ride once I got out of the water...and since I had done the course twice before I knew I could do it in about 7 hours....without any issues...
So I headed out...The first section of the ride is about 70 km and that takes you to Osoyoos, it is a relatively flat road and quite pretty as you pass by many winery’s!! I was happy to see parts of my cheer team as I passed through Oliver.
Then I reached Osoyoos and this is where I knew the challenge begins! It is time for Richter Pass! Richter Pass is an 11 km Climb to the top and it is an elevation of 2295 feet. So NOT an easy climb! And this time of the day it was getting HOT...It was about 29-30 degrees during the climb!! Again so HAPPY to see some of my FANTATASTIC cheer team as they followed me cheering as I made the climb!!
I made it to the TOP!! Now it is time for the 9 rolling hills! At this time I was well ahead of my pace and on pace to finish the bike in 7 hours...
BUT then as I am approaching the 6th roller and I attempted to gear down...BAM...my gears JAM! Now I am stuck in my hardest gear!! Not fun when you are trying to climb!
So I should mention they do have tech support on the ride I believe there was about 7-8 bike tech cars on course. Of course I saw all of them before this happened. So I jumped off my bike since I now was unable to get up the hill and started to walk...watching for the support. Got to the top and jumped on my bike and rode down...and next hill jumped off and walked....did this for the last 3 rollers....then I hit the flat....here I was able to ride...it was slow since I was in a hard gear but I could ride. FINALLY after 15 km and ate up about 30-40 mins I saw the techs...stopped and they fixed my gears in about 10 mins and I was back on course...
Now I was behind pace...the issue was my family was watching my progress online to see when I would get to the location they were watching and I hit the senor before the bike mishap...so I was about 45 mins behind where my family thought I was..so they waited a while for me and some even missed me..so that was sad :-(
The next part of the course I hit the out and back...this is a hard part of the course mentally. The reason is you have to back track a part you already rode so you feel you are not making progress..and it is flat and it is HOT!!
Now to the next challenge YELLOW lake..this is the next big climb on the course. This climb is tough for a few reasons one it is a tough elevation gain again this time about 2400 metres. The second challenge is this climb comes about 130 km into the course...so yup we are TIRED!!! This is the LAST big climb then it is smooth sailing into Penticton!!
When I did the course back in July this is where I started to feel not so great...my nutrition was off and the heat got to me...
But this time I felt great!
I worked with a great coach (Charles Miron) who helped me with a nutrition plan and I can say it was BANG on!! I ate on the first half on the ride some "real" food...wafers, PB and jelly sandwich etc..second half when the stomach tends to "shut down" I stuck to Perpedulm tabs (food in a pill really) and I took about 12 electrolyte pills as well!
So anyways I got to Yellow Lake and I felt pretty good so I made my way up...now in talking to my family I was expecting to see them on this climb...so I kept going and looking for their crazy costumes....but nothing....I still made it to the top and felt okay...
I kept going and made the ride back into town I had about 20 km to go now....there was one last small climb to make before town and as I rode over the top of that...There was the CHEER team! YEAH!!! Unfortunately some of the gang had to leave before I got there since they were scheduled to volunteer. It was too bad but since I was about 40 mins behind schedule as well the gang mixed up the location thinking they were at Yello Lake..oops! Oh well...still got to see my hubby dressed up in a DRESS and my kids and parents with the best signs ever!! For example "My Mommy is faster then your Mommy"...LOVE IT!!
So gave them all a quick kiss and into town I went..
Arrived at transition with a bike time of 7 hours and 38 mins...so even with a few set backs I was happy to be finished the bike and ready to the run...
here is a pic on the bike...

The Run 42 km
So here is the HARD part! I had biked the total distance of the race two times before the race BUT I never got off my bike and ran a marathon after...I got off my bike then and collapsed on the ground!!
Not this time I arrived at transition and once again greeted by some GREAT volunteers who helped me change into my runners and get my hat one and of course hit the port a potty...and off I went!
The crowd for the end of the bike and beginning of the run in town is AMAZING! I should note that as I was heading out on my run the finishers of the race were coming in!!! The funny thing is we run one part of the race twice along the beach...the beginning and the end...so as I am running out the leaders are coming in and the crowds are going CRAZY!! It was such a great energy! All the way out of town people lined the streets and cheered....saw my family and friends again and gave a few high fives then out of town we went.
The run course heads out a place called OK falls...it is a real pretty run route along the lake...and stays relatively flat until you get closer to OK falls...then the hills come!
So my plan for the run....walk the hills and the aid stations! So the first 21 km to the turn around I felt okay I kept an easy pace about 6-6:40. Felt good..still walked the aid stations and the hills.
I like the run since I got to run along side so many different people and get to know them and there stories etc..
Like the one girl who has a 3 month old baby and was doing IRONMAN!! Or how about the 82 year old NUN who is the oldest person every to complete an IRONMAN. I never ran with her but I heard her story and to hear she finished the race in 16 hours and 45 mins was incredible!!
So the run out to the turn around I still felt pretty good...but there was a little voice in my head saying "okay you have felt good the whole time is the knee or hip going to give out?"....I felt good and I kept going....I was now approaching the turn around and now all I could think about was my special needs bag and in it was a time for PRINGLES!! and YES I inhaled those chips and chips never tasted that good!
Once I turned around my pace on the way back got MUCH slower...I was feeling the effects of the day now and I was tired and I knew I had 21 km to go..so I took the pace down and now I was running about a 7 min/km and soon after that a 8 min/km...
I kept that up still walking the aid stations and hills..
Then it came to the 30 km mark..and well then it HIT.....my legs felt like they may fall off!! Now people on the road were cheering "You are almost there"...where I did snap back to one and said "No we are not I still have 6 km to go"!!! I remember hitting the 4 km to go mark and thought OMG that was the longest 4 km of my life and I have 4 more!!! I could start to hear the crowd in the distance....I was defiantly NOT running anymore..it was more like the IRONMAN shuffle...kind of how you would run if you had just raced for 14 hours....but I kept moving and got closer and closer into town....Finally hit main street...and the crowds were HUGE!!! I said to a girl running near me "this is the closet to a movie star we will ever get" so let’s do this! I don’t know how I did it but I picked up the pace! Then out of the corner of my eyes comes by me my training partner Tera..she is now sprinting! So I yell..Tera I am going to get you...thinking not sure how...but I did I ran and I ran fast..caught up to Tera and we sprinted to the finish! We hit the finishing shoot and the people were yelling the music was playing and saw Brad and my friends gave them a huge high 5 and I crossed the line with a time of 14 hours and 54 mins...and I crossed into the arms of my DAD!! My dad and 3 of my friends volunteered as catchers at the finish line. and to have my dad caught me at the end of the race was AMAZING!!
What shocked me more was I thought I would want to die when I crossed and I didn’t I felt pretty good.......got my medal got my pic...and all I really wanted to do is take off my shoes! (later to see I had a HUGE blister).

here is a few pics of me crossing the line...
A high five as I reach the finish line..

And in the arms of my catchers...

So that was it I did my first Ironman and man it was incredible! I loved every minute of it..and yes during the race I said to myself and I said again after I finished and I say it again now that will NOT be my last Ironman!!
It was the last Ironman in Penticton unfortunately. But there will be another Ironman in Western Canada and I hope to do it in either 2014 or 2015.

So my last words to you all who took the time to read this to the end.....It does not matter how big or small your goals are you can all achieve them...it is what is inside you that will drive you to achieve and you to can do what you set your mind to and I challenge you all to find that goal and make it your dream and soar!!!

Thursday, 23 August 2012

In Pentiction and the excitment is mounting...

Hello All!!

Well we arrived in Penticton last night and got settled into our hotel.
We woke up this morning and this was the view from our hotel..

I looked out on the street as bikers were taking out their bikes for one last ride I looked out the other way to see runners heading out for a short run. Then I looked out to the lake and saw a wave of swimmers testing out the water...

There was a buzz in the air...I thought I would be really nervous once I got here and was a part of it all...but I am really more excited. Everyone is so friendly and everyone seems so pumped and ready to do this!

I headed out with one of my training buddies for a swim in the lake this morning. The water was beautiful!!! Swim was good....except I decided I need to get some polarized goggles.....and well I bought more then that see later in post...

After the swim and we cleaned up we headed to race registration...Well the line up was a few HUNDRED deep...but I was lucky my lovely training buddy Tera was in line and let me slip in so I only had to wait about 10 mins!!!
So we picked up all our numbers etc...
Here is it...

WOW that is alot of stickers...I guess they will know who I am!

Then it was off to the merchandise tent. My main goal was to buy some new goggles (which I got) but then I saw all the cool clothes. Now my issues was there is lots of "finisher" gear and clothes that comes out Monday...but you have to wait early in line to get it..
So I was going to wait until Monday.....but then a very wise man I met in the tent who has done Ironman a few times said "You never know how you will feel Monday and standing in line for hours the next day may be the last thing you want to do...so buy something now so you don’t miss out all together".
So I listened ;-) bought a few shirts for me and a very cool bike jersey and a t-shirt each for the kids....
YIKES.....but you gotta look like an Ironman after the race right??
And if I feel good on Monday....of course I will go back....since I have know there is a cool "finisher" jacket and I would love to have it!!

The plan this afternoon was to have a nap!! Well you all with kids now having a moment to nap is not easy...especially in a hotel! So I did throw on cartoon for some down time and I do have my feet up as I write this blog!

Tonight the kids are taking part in the Ironman kids race...they are sooo excited! They even get to run through the finish line...

I am hoping tonight I get a better sleep...so far the first 2 nights have not been that great for sleep....hard with kids in a hotel room..so hoping tonight will be better!

Tomorrow I am heading out for a bike ride with some of my training buddies then plan to lay low for the rest of the day until my parents and my best bud from Houston arrives! YEAH!!
Then Saturday my gang shows up...I am so touched that so many of my friends are coming all this way to cheer for me...it means the world to me! So I can’t wait to have a nice BBQ with them all Saturday as I gear up and get ready for the big day!

I doubt I will have a chance to blog again before Sunday...so this will be my last post until my post race report! I thank you all you have followed my blog this year. Blogging has helped me mentally prepare for the race and also it is going to be great to look back on in years to come!

So yes I feel ready.....excited.....and ya a little nervous...but I can do this and am excited to say in a few short days I will be a IRONMAN!!!

Sunday, 19 August 2012

OMG 1 more week!!

Okay so one week from today I will be reaching the end of my Ironman race.....OMG so hard to believe!!
This week has given me time to think back to the last 8 months of training and preparing for this race.
It has been such an amazing experience and I have met many new friends through my journey and I have treasured it all...

The last 8 months have had there ups and downs....there are times where I have been on such highs...like returning from Training Camps...and some lows...when my knee was buggered up and I had thoughts that I was not sure if I would be able to run any more....but I pushed through and it all lead me to today...one week before Ironman!!

I have had lots of questions this week...
First one "Are you Nervous".....ya I think so....I think that will hit when I get to Penticton this week and see the race set up..the nerves will defiantly set in!
"Are you excited"....yes again I think it will hit when I get there"...

The last question I get "So how long do you think the race will take you"??...
This is such a hard question...
My ULTIMATE goal...is to finish the race before midnight!!
In an ideal world I would like to finish anywhere between 13-15 hours...but I know ANYTHING can happen..so I will just be happy to finish!

If I was to break down the race to what I think may happen...here it is...

The swim 4km...I hope to do in 1:45
The Bike 180km...I hope to do in 7.5 hours
The Run 42 km...I hope to do in 4.5-5hrs..

So that is 13:45 plus transition so 14 hours.......so like I said between 13-15 hours....we shall see ;-)

I have been a weather stalker for the last week...and well the current weather in Penticton...HIGH 30's....BUT...the trend is going down this week and is looking like low to mid twenties for race day....so lets hope that stays true!

I do plan to do another blog entry once I get to Penticton this week....just to touch base on how I am feeling etc..

I do thank everyone for all their support over the past 8 months it means the world to me....If you want to track my progress on race day you can..
The website is www.ironman.com and you can track athletes by entering our number and mine is...#2577

We are off to Penticton on Tuesday and I do have a few light workouts while and I there with the race on Sunday...

Until then....

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Let the TAPER begin....

For those who are new to Triathlon or racing in general you may not know the term "TAPER". Basically it means a period of time before the race that you reduce your workload to prepare physically and mentally for the race.

Depending on the length of your race determines how long your taper is...For an Ironman it can be anywhere from 2-4 weeks before your race..
My Taper is about 2.5 weeks...
This week I still had some longer workouts but they gradually reduced...this week I will have the same number of workouts I normally do the main difference is the volume is less....BUT the intensity will stay the same...

So you would think that this would be a nice easy 2 weeks before the race....well it is actually quite different...TAPERING is VERY challenging!
Yes you get a break from the long gruleing workouts but there is so much more in play.

At this point after 9 months of training physically you should be ready to do the race....the training is there...BUT...mentally it is time to prepare.

Taking your training down from 6-8 hour workouts to just 1-2 hours is hard...you think you need to do more...you doubt yourself...you think if I slowdown will I be able to do this??
You start to think about every aspect of the race now.....I think about each transition....how will I feel?...

2 weeks today I will be doing Ironman....it is crazy to think I have come this far...

So what will this next 2 weeks look like for my TAPER..
I will follow each workout laid out for me and know that even though the volume is down I need to keep my intensity up and focus on recovery from each workout.

I will stretch, I will ICE and I plan to get as much sleep as I can :-)
I also plan to focus on my nutrition...Eating as clean as I can....do sugar...no booze and limit caffeine intake...

So that is my plan.....People ask me "are you excited?"....hmmm....not sure if I am excited.....I think when I get there it will hit me....for now I will stay focused and take it one day at a time :-)

Plan for this week:

Monday: 1 hour interval swim/1 hour threshold run
Tuesday- Spin 1 hour
Wednesday- 30 km bike
Thursday- 1 hour steady run
Friday- rest
Saturday or Sunday- Brick (10 km bike/5km run)

Monday, 6 August 2012


Well when it comes to possible weather scenarios for Ironman I think I have most of them covered..

When my serious outdoor training started in May/June...I pretty much trained in the RAIN for like 4 weeks straight. So when it came to Great White North (half ironman) July 1st and we had a down pour on the bike....well it did not phase me too much...

Now since about the 2nd week of July it has been HOT....I am not sure if we have had a summer where we have had this many days above 30 degrees!!
In an ideal world I would get up and head out about 5-6am so I can avoid the late day heat.....that is all good EXCEPT for Ironman I will be on my bike in the heat of the day and same with the beginning of the run...so I NEED to get used to it...

I think my hottest training session to date was this weekend...even hotter then when I was in Penticton last month!

We were in Radium this weekend camping...and I had a brick session to do.....a nice short one...30 km bike followed by a 10 km run. We were planning to go hang with our friends (Carlie and Mike) in Windermere...so this worked out great! I hung out with the family in the am at the campground then about 11:30am I headed out.....I biked out to Windermere (added on an extra 10 km since it was not far enough) while I was biking it was 35 degrees out!! I got to the cabin....just as Brad and the kids arrived....grabbed my runners, re filled my water and headed out.....I think it jumped another 3-4 degrees as I ran! I had to stop half way just to splash cold water on my face.....I ended up doing 8.5 km (cut it a bit short since I ran out of water)

So this brick was 2.5 hours in some pretty intense heat...of course much shorter then Ironman but it gave me a chance to play around with when I took electrolytes and water and other fuel etc...
I felt good after...so that was a good sign!

here is a pic as I headed out Saturday

I am defiantly not hoping for high temps for race day....but I think I know how to deal with the various temps and if I had my way a nice day around 24 degrees with some light cloud would be PERFECT!!!

So I am now leading into my taper...I have one more bigger training day this week...then my volume definitely begins to decrease.....now the mental preparation and physical preparation in the means of sleep and nutrition will become very important......discuss more about that next week :-)

This week looks like this :

Tuesday- I teach 5 classes...yikes....1 of them is spin

Wednesday- 3 km open water swim/ 2 hour run

Thursday- MAP run (1 hour)

Friday- 50 km ride

Saturday- Brick 30 km bike 10 km run

Sunday rest

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Run Forrest Run....................

So with this last push of training...and only one more week until I start to TAPER..."insert happy dance here"...
My focus has shifted to the RUN....
Coming into my start of training for this race my strongest component was the RUN.......so I shifted my focus to the bike which was my "weak link"....
Then about 3 months ago I suffered from some "over training" and my run got effect with some tightness in the IT band which leads to extreme knee pain on my runs..
So then I really scaled back my running so this could heel...

Now with less then one month till race day my swim and bike are where I want them to be....I have 2 long swims and rides left until I taper....
The true test for me for the run was yesterday....I went out for a 30 km run...prior to yesterday I did not run more then 21-24km.....and after 10 km I was feeling a lot of pain..
So yesterday I went out......and I DIT IT.....30 km.....no knee pain at all!! Such a relief!! I felt some tightness in my left hip......but not to the point where I felt I could not run!
Now of course on race day I will be running 42 km and I will be doing this after I finish a 180 km bike ride....so do I expect big things from this run...NO...do I think I may walk..or even hobble a bit...YOU BET!! If I can run the 42 km in 5 hours that day I will be happy...but I have no idea how it will play out...what I do know is after yesterday I CAN DO IT....my training and listening to all my coaches, therapists etc has paid off...and I am ready to do this thing!!! here is the pic of how I recovered after my 30 km run yesterday..
Here is this weeks plan leading into TAPER.. Monday- Pool swim (hold a pace) about 1000m Tuesday- Spin 1 hour/Run 30 min (plus a run coaching session with Charles) Wednesday- Bike 120 km (last long ride!!) Thursday- Hill Run /Open water swim 2-3 km Friday- Threshold run 20:3x3 Saturday- REST Sunday- Brick 30 km bike/10 km run

Monday, 23 July 2012

Training Camp part 2...

So I am home for a second Ironman training camp...
The first one was on the May long weekend.....where I was happy I did that camp I am so happy I did this one this past weekend....

In May my main focus was to go out to the camp and get a feel for the course so I knew moving forward what to expect. I did get that out of that camp.....unfortunately it was a bit too much volume for me that early and  because of that I believe that is what caused me to get an injury...but live and learn..

After that camp I felt I wanted to head out to Pentiction one more time so I could once again tackle the bike course as well get in the lake..
So I did a search online of camps that happened mid July and I stumbled upon the Solo Sport Systems camp......and I am Sooooooo glad I did..

This camp was so much more then doing some great volume workouts. For example we did a 4 km swim, the entire bike course plus half the run course....as well as a few other workouts..
What I got even more out of this camp was some FANTASTIC coaching...
Charles Miron is the head coach of Solo Sport Systems and this guy knows his stuff! Charles is not only a veteran ultra marathon runner...ya this guy did a race that was 148 km of running...in 1 day!! And you all  thought Ironman was crazy!! beside being CRAZY fit this guy knows his stuff....he gave us insight on racing, coaching, recovery you name it. Charles also had and assistant coach on hand Todd...and Todd is doing 5 Ironman races in 5 years...I think he is on number 3 or 4....Todd as well provided us with us a wealth of knowledge on the Ironman course itself and so much more!!

The other thing I loved about this group is it was just an average group of people training for Ironman....not a group of Elite athletes....and everyone was so welcoming and helpful!!
Loved my convo with "Michelle" in the group about how us moms who have to pee all the time  have to learn to "Pee on the bike"....yup these are the things we discuss....LOL!!

Anyway it was a GREAT weekend....it was a great "Dress Rehearsal" for me...I know I have to work on my nutrition for the bike....had some issues there.....as well some running form stuff I am hoping to work out with Charles over the next week or so....

Here is a pic of our group before our big ride...

Feeling great and ready for this last month of prep before the big day...

here is this weeks plan:

Monday- Rest
Tuesday- teach spin (I shall easy spin...everyone else will be doing a  version of Richer pass...LOL)
Wednesday- 2km Open Water swim
Thursday- MAP run
Friday- Brick 20 km bike/5 km run x3
Saturday- 30 km run
Sunday rest