Ironman 70.3 Muskoka 2013 - Race Report
Woke up around 5:20. Had a banana, threw on contacts, grabbed my gear & met my friends Irina & Zindine at Tim Hortons at 6am. Ordered an extra small coffee, cinnamon raisin bagel & some peanut butter packets. Drank 1/4 of the coffee (that's typical for me the day of the race), couldn't finish the bagel, left about a bite size left.
Then we went to the Deerhurst airstrip to park our cars. Waited for a bus & got into transition around 6:20-6:30.
Got myself set up and then went & waited for a port a potty, probably waited for 10 min, but I could have gone inside where it was warmer, but it was a slightly farther walk (not that much, but I was being lazy at that point). Did both #1 & #2, then went back said hi to another friend, Michal, the friend of my mother's. I went back to my area, put my bag away & then put on the wetsuit. It was definitely chilli but not as bad as I had thought. Made sure to grab my genucan, goggles, cap & my dry clothes bag and then went off to the start.
Got into water, we had 12 min to warm up, 6 to swim around while the wave ahead of us was waiting & then 6 min of us waiting. I peed twice about 2 min before start. There was 77 women in my age group 35-39 and in our wave was 35-44 & woman of 66, so there was lots of people. I tried to stay away from as many people as possible, but there were a few collisions hear or there. For the most part I could sight well, but the first chunk we were swimming right into the sun. My goggles or tinted but it never feels like it is enough. Since there were still lots of people around me I found it easy to sight because I could follow a mass of people, once passing a buoy the next buoy seemed far away so they were hard to see. After the 2nd turn I went of course slightly but quickly managed to get back in. I think I just stopped sighting & noticed that there wasn't a lot of people around me any more. It was maybe 20sec & nothing like at Binbrook so not much time was lost there. I would sometimes kick & sometimes just not kick because I started getting cramps in my calves. I've been eating 2 bananas a day for the last 4 days. This could be a sign that I was dehydrated. Maybe part of the issue.
Once we got out of the water, I looked at my watch & was astonished at my time. I thought for sure I was at least 50min, blue caps (the wave behind us) was over taking a few of us pink caps, but it said 43 something. Pleased. They had wetsuit strippers, but I was a little disoriented. So they asked me if I wanted there help, I did. Then they took the top off, then they had to guide me to sit down. Finally I did, I was kind of out of it, yet I knew full well I had to sit down to do it, so it took me a few seconds to realize what I had to do. It came off pretty easy for them, so then I was off to run to transition. Close to 400m, up hill, on a paved trail. No shoes. Yeah, next time shoes. Lots of people left their shoes at the entrance (not even in the dry clothes bag, which they could have picked up here). My feet were cold and sore by the time I got into transition. Mostly cold. I got to my bike, which was very easy to find. Put on my helmet, gps unit on my right arm, 2 genucans, 1 cliff bar, 1 banana & my bottled gel. Then off on the bike. I also had cut a pair of old running socks & was going to use them for arm warmers. I ended up not using them as I felt it wasn't that cold (although my feet were saying otherwise)
Took it easy getting out. The 1st 9k are technical (that's before the left turn) so I stayed up on the handle bars. I noticed I had some gas but was able to have some burps on the ride & a lot of farts, so it felt ok. Once we made the turn I had my 1st genucan (approx 19-20 into ride, forgot to start Polar until about 1k into ride). I was able to have 2 sips of water in the 1st 9k though. Then I made the turn onto Dwight where there is some gravelly rocks on the rode, not a lot but it's right in the middle & the road is a bit steep. I was passing a few people already on this ride going down the hills because they were all putting on their brakes. Since I was slightly familiar with the course, I didn't feel the need to do that & made up some time on a few people. I think I had a few sips of water just before getting onto 60, but not a lot at that point. Once we were on 60, we all quickly turned onto 35 to make our way to Dorset which was 16km away. I started eating here. It was about 45-50min into the ride & I had my cliff bar. I ate that pretty slowly, but who knows how well I chewed it. I waited until I was done to have some water. I think somewhere in there I had some Heed, but only a few sips. Once we got into Dorset, this is where the 1st aid station was. I almost thought I could use the bathroom but ended up not seeing any bathrooms there. I figured if I got desperate I could go into the bush as there was lots of that between Dorset & Baysville. I ended up stopping at Dorset for some Gatorade (that's what they called it, but I think it was Powerade Perform, lots of people ended up complaining about this stuff). It was a full large bottle but I couldn't manage it so I slowly drank about 1/4 of it and threw it into the hockey net. Score! Then I picked it back up and was able to get a good speed up onto a hill that's pretty steep. Made it onto 117 and tried to get more speed here. I had some pretty good speed on 35 and was pleased with my time. Unfortunately I forgot to put the average speed on my display on Polar so I wasn't able to see it. There were also 5k markers so I was able to figure out from that how I was doing & I knew I was doing good time. I went to have my banana around 55km. Now when I was peeling it before the race, I realized it was really small. When I grabbed it out of my back pocket, I dropped 1/2 the banana on the ground. Fantastic! I just shook my head. Ate the banana, & thought I should have packed another banana or another cliff bar. I was starting to get concerned. I had some gel I think just before Dorset but just a little dab. I decided I would grab a gel at Baysville. I was able to do that without stopping and made the turn to go north and ate the gel, it tasted great actually, but looking back I suspect the Powerade or the Gel may have not helped, but the gas was there before I had that stuff, so who knows. I was amazed at my time on the turn. Roads were narrow here and there was more shade & OMG! a major headwind. Was not expecting that. I should have realized this could have been an issue on this course, but nobody talks about it, all they talk about is the hills, & there are lots. I knew I may have to slow down here as I didn't want to kill my legs before the run. There were lots of downhills here too and I made sure to rest my legs here. At 1 point during the headwind I thought my right contact was coming out. I was getting some kind of a blur but when I checked my vision for that eye, it was fine. (NOTE: I figured out the next day that it's a couple of eyelashes curving into my eye instead of out) I also had lots of snot coming out & going downhill it got out of control. Gross.
At 1 point I grabbed my gel bottle and went to have some and the cap came off in my mouth. I was able to grab it & put it in my back pocket. I then had some of the gel and put it in my back pocket right side up (It wasn't before and I could feel some of the gel in my shirt). This of course started happening as I was climbing a hill and I was having issues going into the right gear. I finally was able to do it but I almost panicked. Thankfully I got it done & was able to have some gel. When I could grab water I did & I also made sure that I grabbed Heed as much as I could. I got to the massive climb & was able to go down the steepest hill. It didn't seem as scary as before & thankfully there weren't too may people in front of me. Made up some time there! Finally was into the last 9k and made the turn. I noticed my front ankle (well, the front part of the foot & leg where it bends) felt a little cramped, like it had been held in that position a little too long. I was afraid it was going to bother me during the run so I moved them around a little. I think they may have been cold from the wind. I had my compression socks on however so I'm not so sure why they felt stiff.
Got up the hill & was trying to remember how many more hills there were. Too many, so I took it easy on those. Didn't want to go all out but the last hill I had done my heart was in the 160s & sweating pretty good. I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to run on these legs, but I got through, rested on the downhills and pushed through. Got into transition & of course forgot to stop my Polar right away. I did it while I was changing my gear. I had to go pee the last 9k, but decided again doing it on the bike & ended up going into the port-a-potty which I thought would help me. I could start to feel the chest pains getting a little worse. I was able to pee, but no #2 & drank the warm last bottle of genucan while I was in the bathroom. I then got out & onto the run course.
Legs were sore & tired going out into the run, I wasn't going too fast but I was waiting for the brick feeling to pass by. Unfortunately the chest pain was getting worse. I describe as chest pain as that is where the pain is but it makes it sound like heart problems, it's not, it's just gas and I get this from time to time.During this portion I noticed a little bit of discomfort in my right ankle, where I've had problems earlier this year. It didn't really hurt but I got a little concerned. Considering how my calves cramped up in the swim I'm surprised they didn't bother me here, my quads were pretty decent too.
I saw Zindine at 5k, he had just over 5k to go, he was smoking. Around the 6k mark, I decided I should go to the bathroom. Thankfully there was 2 port-a-pottys there & 1 was empty. I did 1 & 2 there. I was hoping that would get me some relief, but nope. My stomach was fine though, no problems there & at this point my legs wanted to run. But nope, not my chest. After that I started walking the hills (there were lots & they were steep). I saw Irina around the 8k area, which means she was 4-5k ahead of me. I had assumed she was 20-30min ahead of me on the bike so that didn't seem too bad. She asked how I was & I said GI issues. :(
After that I had to walk more often & not just hills. I was getting frustrated. I'd run, I'd want to vomit. Why can't I just vomit! A part of my brain does what it normal does when I feel this way, curl up in a ball and not move. Not an option at this point. I wasn't going to give up now. I thought maybe 2:15 was still an option which would have made me less then 7hrs. Still very good. But the farther I went the worse I felt. I made the turn around and I tried to run when I could. Just before the turn around I took off my HRM strap. My heart rate was in high zone 2, which wasn't too bad and I didn't think my heart rate was a problem, but the strap felt tight. It didn't really help though. I kept on going until about 12k when any sort of running gave me a stitch on my right side. Gah! I got to the next aid station around 14k and there was no bathroom. Deflated, I kept on going. I also made sure to grab water at every single aid station. I hadn't taken a gel since the ride & the genucan was the last real thing I had & that was T2. I did have some Powerade Perform at a few of the earlier aid stations but I had to stop, Finally I got to the 16k area, which was around where I did my last bathroom break. I got in and vomited into the toilet, it was very loud & mostly air. Oh yeah, I felt better. Got out and started running. Now at that point my legs were getting tired so all I could muster was 10:00min/mi. That was faster then walking & what I could manage. There were a few spurts faster here & there but I managed. There were a lot of other walker/runners or walkers I started passing. Talked to a few, they were have GI issues as well. The ones that complained didn't like the Powerade. I still walked a few of the steeper hills. I probably would have walked them if I hadn't had the GI issues, as my legs were just zonked at that point. I kept drinking the water at the aid station, with 4k left I had the other 1/2 of a gel pack. Then made it to the finish. Irina & Zindine cheered me on as I crossed the finish line. It wasn't like the Oly back in July with such a dramatic finish. But they called my name. I am now an Ironman 70.3 finisher.
Finish time 7:21:20.
Not pleased with the run, but happy with the swim & bike. When push comes to shove I got the run done.
I put some photos on Facebook.
Here are my photos on flickr.
Shout out to Irina & Zindine! They kept my spirits up & were my rock. Also thanks to Michal Hay & her partner RT for giving me a ride back to my car. The logistics of this race are a bit of a nightmare unless you have friends & family to help. Thanks so much to my coach Rebecca Adamson from PRS Fit. I wouldn't have gotten this far without her!