Friday, July 12, 2013

Chris' GWN 2013 Race Report

I mentally went into this race treating it as a training day. With both of my bikes going down two weeks before, and my inability to get my full distances done in training due to scheduling factors (and weather), I felt unprepared. This decision was made upon discussing my options with Angie... I have to say, having this mind set going into the race, I didn’t feel as anxious, or as pressured, as I usually do pre-race.

The night before race day I usually like to plan and lay everything out so the next morning is stress-free. I know I had everything prepared so I wouldn’t have to ‘think’ in the morning. The only thing left, was to get some sleep. My husband, Terry, was joining me the night before, as he was going to volunteer for wetsuit stripping the next morning. Generally, I am one who needs sleep. Since I had to be awake very early the next morning (at least 4:30 am to eat), I needed to be asleep early. Unfortunately, Terry arrived at my hotel room at 10:30 pm. Even though he said to go to sleep, in a small hotel room, one can hear everything. I last saw my watch at 12:30 am and was too tired to get my earplugs to avoid any further wake ups.... ugh!

Race morning came fast! I was tired...and my lower back was aching. However, all went smoothly, and as planned. I adopted an odd but fantastic breakfast plan from a TTL’er I roomed with in the Wasa Lake Triathlon (yes Sharon, salmon for breakfast!) It was surprisingly very palatable, and filled the hunger void. I will be keeping this regime for sure in future preps for sure!!

We arrived at the swim start and I went to work setting up T1. My nerves were settled... nothing crazy at all, because it was just a “training day”. I saw lots of TTL’ers at the race start which was SO awesome!! Even members I didn’t know!! The feeling of being a member of such a welcoming and supportive group was, and is, a really great thing!

Then it was announced to get into the water for warm-up. I was in the port-o-potty line but nearly there. I quickly ran to my get my wetsuit on. However, once I reached the water, I was only able to get out maybe 50 meters from shore, and everyone was called back to shore to go through the timing gate. Oh well.. at least I got into the water :)

The Swim: I was confident I could do it as I've done it in practice with no problems. I seeded myself, I thought, very well, and started from a less congested area of the beach. The start was awesome! No one was bumping me, nor trying to swim over me. I felt relaxed and didn’t feel like I was pounding it out. But then, I had a panic attack at ~500 meters out (full-on hyperventilation, claustrophobia, looking for a boat and seriously debating swimming to shore). I turned over and floated on my back to get refocused and to get control of my breathing again. There was a lot of self talk to get me back into the day, and switching my mindset. Finally, I turned over and found some feet and a hip. :) I figured that if I could follow someone (just as THE COACH said), and know there were people close, I would be ok. All was good again... I was only was bumped a few times and knew it wasn’t intentional so put it out of my mind. I even swam right around the buoys, with no one on me, versus having to breast stroke around, and everyone grabbing at eachother. I got through it and was ok-happy with it.

T1: Transition was funny!! I came out of the water (after 2 hand touches in the mud...) and began running to my bike. Then, I remembered, “there are wetsuit strippers... TERRY!) I ran right to Terry to be stripped. My wetsuit wouldn't come off, especially around my watch and timing chip. It took a bit for Terry to pull it off of my, but finally it came off. PHEW ... precious minutes!! haha ;)

The swim out of mind, I went into bike mode.

Bike: It felt good being on the bike! I saw many familiar people out on the ride and cheered and smiled most of the way! I realized that I’d forgotten to put the bike computer on ... oops! So I didn't have any data other than on my watch. Also, the lower back aches came back and stayed with me the whole ride, but I dealt with it and kept going. One competitor and I kept jockeying positions. A man with #500. Angie had said as a generalization only, that ‘some’ men don't like women passing them ( this was one of those men Angie!) He kept blocking me and he would draft off of me. Not once but several times through the ride. Especially going into the head wind! I thought, "where are the race Marshall's?" It was really irritating, but I tried to stay positive and focused on what I needed to do. A race truck did come by finally on the second loop and someone yelled "you're in the zone!"... He dropped off for about 15 mins I think - haha! Bike was done, and I was happy with the time considering the wind and hills. As a side, I was also happy to say that I was able to get all my planned nutrition in!

T2: My legs felt wobbly! Usually I dismount with no bike shoes, but with so much dust, I left my shoes on this time. I also had to SIT and put my socks and shoes on... That hadn't happened before either. But I couldn't bend over to do it. Then I was off!

Run: Felt great, once my running legs woke up. Seeing the TTL'ers at the team tent improved the mood :). I again had no data on my watch for pace (which I usually gauge my run by) so I had to run by feel. Had my race belt on at the beginning to carry my own nutrition, but it felt heavy and was irritating me, so I through it into the trees - haha! I figured there was enough nutrition from aid stations on the course, that I could make due. I was hardly breathing once I got a rhythm, and my legs felt awesome as I was flying past most on the run course!! I even caught up to Leslie-Anne, and ~had to~ give her a little love-slap on her bum... :)

My pace felt steady and strong! It started to rain on my second loop, hard, but I loved it!! I had done a really long run recently with my training Buddy, Phil, in full downpour rain. I mentioned during that run the rain could happen at GWN - and it did! I laughed out loud!!! It was awesome!!

Then a calf cramp showed up at ~15 km. I couldn't walk, it hurt SO much! I had to stop and stretch it out for what seemed like an eternity. The thoughts in my head began again... ‘do I just dnf?’, ‘do I walk it out?’. I started thinking of my brain injured brother who I'm sure, if he could, would love to be able to just walk again, or feed himself again, or I’m sure, participate in an event such as this. Really? I told myself to buck up!! Then as I was stretching, I noticed a piece of Safeway grocery bag was stuck to my calf on my race tattoo - it must have gotten stuck when I was putting my wetsuit on (a little trick I was shown the week prior). Is this like when you walk out of a bathroom with toilet paper on your shoe?? I thought, no wonder strangers were smiling at!! I laughed again! Too funny!! My mood completely switched and I began to wobble run, forced some gels and coke and water down at the next aid station. The cramp subsided slightly for me to be able to jog again. I eventually got into a pace and gait that felt good and felt strong going back (with no sign of calf pain). The TTLer's at the Team tent for my final meters gave me that extra boost!!! 3 of them were doing this high energy dance and chant which was SO awesome.. I loved it!!! I could hear Angie yell out “Go Chris! You look really good!” (Thanks Angie!!). My pace was super strong and I could feel myself smiling coming down the final chute. I did it!! My arms went up in the air and I even squealed at the finish (and cried a little too) because I didn't give up even though I had many chances to do so! :) I loved this day, even though there were glitches!! It was a redemption of sorts (since my surgeon said I would never be able to swim or bike again) and a challenge to test me around each corner on the course. But I persevered and got through it. Also, definitely a mental game... And tough "training day" :).

I couldn't have gotten through it without all the support, guidance, knowledge, empowerment, love ... (I could keep going here...) of our most amazing coach, Angie!! I feel so grateful toward Shannon for lending me her bike to be able to get some practice rides in, and to use it in GWN!! THANK YOU! Also, my incredible training Buddy, Phil, for preventing me from stopping and influences me to keep going!! My hubby Terry allowing me time to train, and looking after our 3 kids! And all of the team members and team family who have supported and trained through together!!! You’re all so awesome!!!

As a bonus, the day was a 15 min PB for this distance... not bad considering. :)

Chris xo

Sarah's Hawaii 70.3 Race Report

Race Report Hawaii 70.3 2013

I think I have written this race report 20 times already in my head since the race……now to write it down on paper.

First off, I have to say thank you. Thank you to my friends and family for all of your continued support. A special thank you to my husband who not only supports me but also encourages me to keep going and believes in me more than I believe in myself. And to Rena, for pumping me up when I need it most and joining me for 6 am Saturday morning bike rides.

I had some BIG goals going into this race, and they seemed to get bigger as I progressed through the days of training and the race got closer. My confidence was growing, as I felt stronger and stronger in my training. I was starting to wonder if I was getting too confident or too much of an ego……My main goal was to qualify for Kona, not just for myself, but for my parents too as I knew they were holding out on going to Hawaii until they knew if I qualified or not. Then came my next goal……I wanted to be in the top 10 women overall! Including pros!! Not sure where I even thought I had the balls to say this out loud. I shared my goals with a couple of people, but for the most part kept it quiet.

I chatted with Matt, my coach, before we left for Hawaii and we went over a plan for workouts in the week leading up to the race and briefly discussed race day. We never talked about goals and just touched on pacing/ power for the bike, but the main thought was to stay focused on the process of the day.

We arrived in Kona a week before the race. I was able to get in some good rides and final training in the days leading up to the race. I followed the plan. It can be hard to stay on a plan when nerves kick in and you see other athletes doing more, or less, or harder or staying more relaxed. I trusted the plan though and stuck to it.

The night before the race I ended up reading an article that Matt had written titled “Race Day Habits” which discusses the things that one can do wrong and one can do right in a race to make or break your day. It was as if the article was written for me. There were so many points in it that really hit home and helped me focus on the task at hand. One line in particular was:

“Race day should be the time to forget your

goals for much of the day. Your goals were there

to help you get out of bed for those early morning

swim sessions or get you on your bike in the rain,

but race day is about execution.”

I also had read a post that Danelle Kabush had written in her blog where she said that her parents told her to “float through the miles”. This would come in handy in the run.

Race morning started early as always, but Kelvin helped me get ready and walked me over to catch the shuttle. I headed down to the race start with the rest of the athletes on the bus and once at the race site it was time to get ready. My nerves were kicking in, but I focused on the task at hand and went through my normal routine of getting my bike ready, transition set up, my self prepped, porta pottie stops……plenty of those, and headed down to the water. It was a windy morning and I could hear the many athletes talking about how hard the bike would be. I let it all go and just thought we are all riding in the same conditions.

I was trying to keep an eye out for Kelvin and my father in law but did not see them so I hopped in the water for a warm up. I tried out the funky chicken (?) move to warm up, looking a little crazy but made myself giggle. As I came out of the water from my warm up I saw Kelvin. He gave me a good hug and words of encouragement as we watched the pro start and then the men start. Next up was all the women. I got in the water and lined myself up furthest to the left in the deepest part of the water. As I sat there treading water waiting for the cannon to go off I looked around me at ALL the other girls that were racing. I thought to my self, how on earth did I ever let myself think that I could come top 10 in this race……then I made myself think positively and let all goals go. I was now ready to be in the moment and to be ready to race process driven, not goal driven.

When the cannon went off I went out at a good pace. I ended up finding some fast feet and trusted that she was heading in the right direction. Sighting was tough so I chose to trust that she had a good path and did my best to check at times. The swim was tough, a strong current, ran into the male swimmers, and some pretty bad choppy waters on the last leg of the swim home. I was glad to done when it was over. I didn’t know what I had swam until I heard a couple men say they had done 40 min, which would have put me about 33 min (in the end it was 34, a slower day for sure). I didn’t let the time bother me though as I knew it was tough conditions and everyone was in the same boat.

Once out on the bike I took the first 20 min or so to let my legs come to me before I started to ride a little harder. I started to feel quite strong and got into a good pace. I made sure to hydrate from the start and to start fueling soon too. The one advantage to the men starting ahead of the women was there were plenty of men to pass! This was quite fun and empowering. The bike was windy, unrelenting wind from all directions. I stayed positive and focused though and reminded myself over and over that we were all riding in it together. I was hoping that I wouldn’t get passed by any girls, but there were some strong bikers. I think in the end I was passed by 3 or 4 girls but managed to pass a fair few myself. I rode strong and consistent throughout the course and made sure to hydrate well and drip feed fuel. (Not all of which wanted to stay down….I lost track of how many times I tossed my cookies on the course, but figured my body would keep what it needed and was getting out what it didn’t like). The last 20km was a tough head wind home and took a lot to stay focused. I never looked at my watch once for time, so I didn’t know just how slow the course was. I think this was smart though as it would have been a huge negative to see a slow time. Coming in on the home stretch there is a no pass zone where a fellow in front of me decided it was time to sit back and relax! Bugger!! I had to remind him that this was still part of the race.

I was thrilled to be off my bike and to be getting my run gear on. On with my shoes, my hat, grabbed my nutrition and SI joint belt and off I went. I settled into a good pace right away but reminded myself not to go too hard in the first 4 miles. Again, I never looked at my watch or my pace. I felt I was running strong, but had no idea of my pace and just started to count down the miles. Around mile 8 I started to make up rhymes to get the time to go by. “I can do 8, I feel great”, “I can do 7 feels like I’m floating on heaven”, “I can do six, let the pace stick” (this one needs some work…), “I can do 5, I will survive, on this course I thrive”, “I can do 4, knocking down other girls doors”, “I can do 3, I will be free”, “I can do 2, and will see my Emmy boo”, “I can do 1, let’s get er done”…I think that was the final mile…I remember thinking about chocolate donkey balls in the final mile too. I was craving some treats!

As I was running and catching some other gals I told myself not to chase them but to let them come to me. To “float through the miles”. This really helped me stay consistent, not run too hard or allow any negativity in. The run course has a few out and backs and I started to realize that I was doing pretty good overall. It wasn’t until mile 10 where I saw Kelvin and he let me know that I was 3rd in my AG and 10th overall. I was PUMPED! I knew I had another girl right in front of me and let her come to me too. There was one gal behind me that looked like she was running strong so I knew I had to stay focused in order to stay ahead. There was no time to rest.

I stayed strong right to the end. Once across the finish line I was done and done. I was surprised by my overall finish time, thinking I had gone faster but still knew it was a good day. I knew I had put it all on the line and was so proud of myself. Nell, the 3rd place AG gal came up to me and asked me if I was “taking my spots”, like it was a sure thing! I have never felt I was in the position to have qualifying spots be called mine!

In the end I had a solid race. There is nothing I would have done different and felt like I nailed the day. I am one happy Kona bound mamma!!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Leslie-Anne's Calgary Marathon Half-Marathon race report - May 2013

I wasn’t going to do a race report. I had decided that during the Calgary Half that it wasn’t worth doing, who reads them anyhow, what difference it would make.

It’s funny what 24hrs can do for a soul.

A perfect day for racing/running/being outside dawned on Sunday. Dawn alright, watched it rise as I was up at 4:00am. Only two things will get me up that early, travelling and a race day. Not even for skiing do I get up that early (I get up at 5:00am for that!).

Lots of things to deal with for this race and I thought I had put them all in line, figured out my nutrition before and during the run distance, prepped everything the night before, got sleep.

Arrived early enough to warm up, focus, and get good race vibes from teammates and other runners. The sun was starting to warm things up; it was all looking like a stellar day from my perspective. One “niggly” but I decided I would be ok, and to remedy that my friend “Emo” was taken to join me in the race.

I found the Pace Bunny I wanted to follow, decided to let someone else “do the math” for me and help me with my pacing as I always go too fast at the start and wreck myself for the finish. First time doing this and albeit I was nervous, I thought all would be good to join the 2 hour continuous run group. I stood in the crowd (which is outside my comfort zone) I hear the Pace Bunny state,” I will aim to be at the 14km mark/turnaround with some put in the bank so we can cruise to the finish”. WTF??!! That is NOT how I train, that is NOT a negative split, yikes! Panic set in and since race day is about problem solving, I decided I could handle this, just keep the bunny in my sights and I would be ok.

All was good until 30 minutes into the race. Right on the dot cramps set in and I knew what I needed. Timing is everything and yes! There they were, “perfectly placed porta potties” with a lineup that meant my goal time was going to be jeopardized. I glanced over and ran to other potties that were more for the return trip. I didn’t care; it was faster than standing in line. Back on the course, re-adjusted my thought process, and was with the mindset I would be ok. Then it happened again approximately 25 mins later, more cramps, F*CK! Now I’m really mad and no porta potties in sight. Have to walk as the side stich I had was painful, walk, breath, and take in fluid nutrition, run, and repeat. Finally the aid station and what else I needed me and all the other runners who were also dealing with the same issue. At least I wasn’t alone. How much time did I lose? At least 5 minutes. Now I have to decide how to finish this race as I knew my goal time was, and pun fully intended, “down the toilet”.

I kept on going but with a saddened spirits. I began to question my reasons for running; the more I ran the more negative I got. I finally get to Memorial where I knew the turnaround was. I saw the group I started with on the other side, I looked away in pain. I didn’t want to continue, I wanted to quit. I was done. A few minutes later I see a TTL jacket, what a beautiful site to see, a beacon of light, of support that propelled me forward. “Toni!” I cried out. She turned and as I ran towards her I began to cry and she let me do that. She is one athlete that fully comprehended what I was going through. She walked with me, encouraged me to keep going, to focus on the blue skies and sun, the great volunteers, the fact that I am out there doing this distance.

She pulled out of me what I needed to use to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Toni Jaques, you are a classy lady who I will be forever grateful to for getting me through the dark side of my brain to focus on finishing.

Those last 7km were completed with walk stops, as I needed. I noticed that when I was running, I would pass people; my pace is good when I am able to run. That helped my battered ego and I counted off the km’s left. I loved going through the East Village. Those folks had me think I was a runner, that I was doing awesome. They had no idea the struggles I was dealing with they just gave support. Kudos to them and all the others that did the same all day I certainly appreciated it!

Finally Olympic Way and the finishers’ shoot and the finishing line! Tara Beattie was right there and she knew by the look on my face that I wasn’t happy. She told me she would be at the same spot and I would meet her there. That didn’t happen as by the time I got my medal (man it is huge), through the people, the food line, I was done with crowds. Met up with Shannon Ouelette who was good enough to hang with me and sit as I re-grouped my spirit. Yeah for teammates!

When I got home I cried on Roger’s shoulder. As I sat in my Epsom salt bath the first thing that came to my mind when I thought about how I felt regarding my race sadly the first word that came to mind was “failure”. My son asked, “What went wrong?” best question ever. Had me thinking about the day.

24 hours later, (it’s funny what 24hrs can do for a soul). I answered the question.

I may have failed in obtaining my goal time but there are many things out of my control and if they happen on race day, what do I need to do to get around them? What went wrong? Given that during the week 4 nights prior I was not well, spent one night pacing in my house because I couldn’t sleep and finally 36 hours later I was able to sleep may have played a factor in my race day issues.

Did I fail to start? No. Did I fail to finish? No. Did I fail in learning about how I can get through a race when in a mental low point? No. Did my teammates fail me? No. Where exactly was there failure? No place.

I am not a professional athlete. I do not need to stress about the times I finish a race because in the big scheme of things, what does it really matter? I attended “Endurance, A Run Woman’s Show” and thought of what she had stated during her performance. I broke into a sweat before most people (save for the 11,000 others on the course and how many vollies, and supporters) were up. Yes, I chased a “pony tail” for some time to get me through. Yes I thought my legs were going to give out. But I did what all runners do, I kept putting one foot in front of another and I finished. That was the most important part.

Recovery was great, sitting in the sun on Tara’s deck enjoying a couple of cold beer followed by a bar-b-qued steak, red wine and other tasty treats. Family and friends are the best motivators to go forward before, during and after the race.

I will do this race again, next time it will be different. Bring on the 2013 Triathlon season!

Leslie-Anne's Tour de Airdrie Half race report April 2013

Tour de Airdrie, Half Marathon, April 21, 2013

This was a race that I was not sure I was going to do. I asked Angie to set up my program to be ready for it but no guarantee I would do it. Hell, I even trained when I was in Mexico! I won’t lie; it was SAHWEET to be able to run outside, wearing shorts and sweat due to the heat! Circumstances allowed me the opportunity to do the race and 5 days beforehand I actually signed up.

I knew it wasn’t a big race, but that didn’t matter. For me, I just wanted a race that I could do before the Calgary Half. When I went to pick up my race package I was told I’d have to wait 30 mins and a man said, “No, not that long, maybe 5 mins” as they were setting up the table. Not only was I first to pick up a package, I got my choice of number from 1 to 99. Wow! Those two things have never happened before! My number has always been 7, so that was the number I picked. I thought as I left the store with a very good bag of swag by the way, things usually happen in threes; I went home and did my 8 x 400m (or 2 mins outdoors as I chose) and wow, they went very well. I thought maybe, just maybe this would be a good race after all!

One of the things that I decided this race would be good for was to monitor my eating prior the race starting the day I signed up. I was diligent in eating as little gluten as possible, no excess coffee, lots of water and no alcohol (that last one was a killer…) , and lots of greens. The night before the race, salmon and brown rice, no greens, and of course water.

Sunday dawned after a very restful Saturday (I actually did as little as possible) and I was ready to go. Roger was, as always, my Manager and wouldn’t let me stay up past 10pm!

I got up Sunday with lots of time to spare. I had my usual 1-cup of pre race coffee, water and a protein shake. All went according to plan as I headed out the door with my new best friend “Captain I” ingested. I wanted a PB and knew that in order for that to happen I could NOT have any bathroom breaks on the course.

A quick trip out to Airdrie and kept myself relaxed and warm during my warm-up run. The wind was out of the north so it was very “nipply” to say the least. I got a bit hungry so I decided that I had to eat something and took in a banana. Good decision on my part, as I believe it would’ve been challenging on an empty stomach on such a cold day.

There were not a lot of people in the half, but that didn’t matter. I was there for my own purpose, and that was to come in with a new PB. I didn’t talk to other runners before the race. A friend of mine joined me for a couple of laps around the track, perfect. He kept me calm and I was good to go when the local Alderman said, “On your mark. Get Set. GO!” Off we went.

There were no markers for the 1st 13km on the course and that was a bit of challenge, as I didn’t know what my pace was. I did think I was going a bit too fast, as it was 1:02 about the 12km mark. The key for me though during the race, (which was very quiet and very

few people along the course save for the most awesome volunteers), was to keep moving at all times. If I couldn’t keep the pace, I slowed it up and walked when I had to.

I allowed myself a couple of stops that I actually timed for 1 min. I used the water at the aid stations and my own fuel (Endura) when I needed that boost.

I also stopped twice to say hello to my cousin and family and dogs, which I know, cost me but also allowed me to re-group myself.

Around the 15km mark the course went alongside a graveyard, I thought that was a bit odd but did say to myself “rest in peace” as I went by. Not sure of the reason, but I did it anyways!

Speaking of the course, it is a flat course. Anyone who wants to really rock a half, this would be the one to do it on. The one thing that was rather challenging was the turn around point. It wasn’t clearly marked and I actually wasn’t sure that was where it was. I actually took a few steps beyond to see if there was a marker further towards a cross road that I could see. Another runner thought that there was no way this could be it, as he didn’t think he was that close to the front. (Ha! That had me laughing as I am never that close to the front). Anyhow, we decided it was the place and we both turned around. How much time did that cost me- perhaps 45seconds to a minute overall.

Homeward bound the course had a few odd turns. Running past the place where the finish line is can be very mentally challenging. I kept my head down as to not see the finish line in my peripheral vision. Coming back we had to cross the street and run past it again! Yikes! I passed one guy about 25-30yrs old and he said, “You are one tough cookie”. I smiled and replied, “ Not bad for an old girl”. That was enough to boost me to the end. Not clearly marked but I pointed towards the gate we came through at the beginning and was told yes by some guy taking down stuff from the race sponsor.

There is something about finishing a race on a track that spurns me on. I knew I wasn’t going to break 2hrs but I was close, damned close. I crossed the line at 2:01:01 (my watch). 7 mins faster than my previous time! I was VERY happy!!

Finally, that monkey is off my back! YESSSSSSSS!!! 

A hot shower, some food and of course, the best post race beverage for me ice cold Pilsner (two actually). Yeah for family that lives in Airdrie!

I got home and Roger asked me as I came in the door (I called him immediately after the race and told him my time), “What was different about this race?” I thought about it, and responded, “Fitness, Focus and Food”.

Fitness and Focus:

I wanted this race, so I trained for it even though I wasn’t sure I was going to do it. I did all my runs, and worked on the pacing. That pacing was done on the dread mill and outside. (Thank-you Tara Beattie for your patience with me on that one when we ran outdoors!)

I also spent time with Angie on a track, which was interesting. I am sure she was very amused when I lined up to start and was facing the wrong way. What do I know about tracks?

I used the learning from the pacing during the run. I didn’t have the markers I was expecting but I did manage my cadence. I do not run like a gazelle. No sense trying to do that as it would waste too much energy.

I realized I could slow up my pace to rest and cover more ground than just walking. Yes I did succumb to walking but I also timed my breaks not to walk too long.


I monitored my food intake as my gut has cost me a PB before and I was bound and determined NOT to let that happen this race. I was very careful with my gluten intake for 4 days prior, had salmon the night before (unlike Coach Sharon the day of a race) and brown rice. Race morning a protein shake for breakky, a cup of coffee and then a banana approximately 45 minutes prior the race start. My plan worked and I have NO hesitation about using Imodium (aka Captain I.) ever again before a race.

Those 3 things all balanced out for me. I also did not talk to anyone before the race, meaning racers. I kept to myself and did what I wanted to do for me. During the race when people passed me, I kept saying to myself, “I am doing my race for me. My goals.”

It was a good race day for the three, “Me, Myself and I”

This race was a learning race~ and learn I did!

Calgary Half is a month away, that sub 2 hour goal is just waiting for me…

Monday, April 8, 2013

Owen's Escape from Alcatraz Race Report

I encourage everyone to race the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon.

One of the unique things about triathlon is that you compete on the same course that professionals do.

At the end of the day you can say "hey, remember that tough hill on the bike?" and know that you and the pro's did it.

You can't say the same about other sports. You can't go shoot three pointers with LeBron James.

In the Escape from Alcatraz, you really do 'rub shoulders' with the pro's when you are running on the rocky, rooted, single track run course.

Sometimes you get to say to yourself "Leanda Cave is tall!" as she traverses past you on under the San Francisco bridge.

If anything, you are humbled and appreciate how fast and talented a professional athlete is.

After a few years of longer distance racing, I decided to have an 'off year' and try new things.

I went into the San Francisco Escape from Alcatraz with the mindset that it is a vacation with one tough workout.


My routine consists of getting up early and putting away lots of calories. However, I wasn't really hungry nor worried as this is a shorter race, and I haven't done one in a long time. So I slept in until 5. That felt good..

I took my time, got ready, and loaded up.

I rode my bike down to the race start and set up. I wasn't entirely sure how to set up. Arm warmers or not? Vest or not? Gloves? You also need to account for no change tents nor people to rack your bike for you. Good idea taking my headlamp.

Once I was set up I headed to the buses. They shuttle you away from transition area to where you board the San Francisco Belle ferry.


I was worried about being cold on the boat so I brought a space blanket and gloves. I ended up not needing them as you have enough shelter on the boat.

I asked someone to help me zip up my wetsuit and she was happy to oblige. Then I noticed it was Sarah Groff!

Unfortunately I got really warm and ended up unzipping. We also had to wait for the cruise ship to pass as they were running late that morning.

I also noticed there was a considerable amount of chop this morning. I already knew it was going to be cold from my pre-race test swim.

(Have you ever seen the second Batman movie where the convicts and citizens are on the boat, waiting for their fate? That was a similar scene on the ferry, except you were grouped by age).

Once start time neared, everyone started making their way to the exits to re-enact the scene where lemmings jump off the cliff. (Matt Reed is tall)

I pushed my way to the start and got a decent position. Next time I'm sitting right by the doors!

SWIM: (1.5 mile)

The pro's got about a minute head start. I wasn't sure when the age groupers were going (it was less than a minute after).

They wanted to have all 2000 or so athletes off the boat in under 8 minutes. Sounds like a fire drill to me.

To be honest, I had no idea where to swim. I remember seeing some of the landmark sightings that were mentioned do you know when to switch your focus? Luckily, the pro's had a lead boat with a big orange buoy on the back.

I only wore the one cap given to us and no booties. Yes, the water was cold (50 F) but after a minute or so you don't notice. It was the chop that beat me up.

It felt like a long swim because of that. I could feel my stroke breaking down as I neared the end.

I say that I didn't notice the current, but after looking at my swim time I knew that I times it well, caught it and 'surfed' it in.

There was no drafting to be had as people were scattered everywhere! Oh yeah, I have never raced in salt water either.


A LONG transition run. Approximately 1/2 a mile. You were given a bag to put some items in that would await you once you exited the water. Suggested items included a small towel,

a bottle of water to rinse your mouth, and a pair of extra shoes to run in. I had only a small towel and water. At this point, I had no shoes to run in anyway but surprisingly, it didn't bother me too much running barefoot.

I fumbled around at my bike. Total T1 time was 8 minutes. Next time, I won't need a vest or arm warmers. I left my gloves and headband behind.

BIKE: (18 miles)

Hilly, scenic and fun! Good choice taking my road bike with clip on shorty TT bars. A road cyclists delight for a course!

Asphalt rough at some times, and some tight corners.

I couldn't believe how far ahead the men's leader was. He was coming back into town as I had completed 6 km.

I tried no to burn too many 'matches' on the bike course. Even paced the hills, pushed where I could, but I feel that I left a bit of it out there on the course.

I took two full bottles of fluid on the bike.

T2: Once again, a long run with my bike. 3 minutes was much better.

RUN: (8 miles)

One of my favorite runs. So much so that we ran it again two days later for fun!

Asphalt, gravel, shale, army bunkers, concrete stairs, wood stairs, roots, branches, beach, sand stairs, highway... all part of the run.

At times it was difficult as there is a lot of single track. Note to self: There are no porta-poties on the run course!


Great atmosphere. I tried to live it up and get the crowd going.

Had a massage, got my picture taken with women's winner (Heather Jackson) and changed into some warm clothes.

I drank lots of banana creme muscle milk after. YUM!

We went for clam chowder in a sour dough bowl after that for lunch.

Then, it was the Alcatraz night tour!

Pictures are of me geeking out with Heather Jackson, my GF Barb and Pete Jacobs.

Check out the local media pictures:

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Lara's San Antonio Half Mary, Nov 11, 2012

San Antonio – November 11, 2012

My second destination race this year and my goal was to execute a better mental race than Phoenix. I always have a time goal but was trying hard to just focus on the mental race since I had fallen apart during the Phoenix half. A couple weeks before the race I started to have issues with my knee so I had been taking it easy. Our first full day in San Antonio, Coach (Sharon) had us all head out for a run. I really didn’t want to go because I wasn’t sure how my knee would feel. I almost didn’t want to know if there was still going to be pain/discomfort until I started the race. Well, I did have pain and until the race I felt my mental state about the race was wobbly. I was fussing about dealing with knee pain for 21.1k. Could I stay mentally tough?!?

Saturday night we sat down as a group and worked through a race plan that Sharon had found. It was so great to share our strategies/fears/expectations for ourselves. I found this extremely helpful to see I wasn’t alone in having fears and to hear what other people said to themselves to help them through. The one that stuck out the most was Sharon talking about being able to say at the end of it, “I did the best I could TODAY.”

Race morning, as usual, I was relaxed and being surrounded with my best friends was perfect. High fives and hugs and then we were off. Usually I run a race by myself so started off trying to do my beginning race pace. Knee started to bug me about 300m in. The heat and humidity were another factor. I looked at my watch to see I wasn’t near my usual pace. At about 15 minutes in, I glanced back and saw the other 3 girls not far behind me. This was my TSN turning point. I thought to myself, today is not going to be a day to have a personal best or even try to get near the time goal I set for myself. Today is the day I run with my friends and experience a race by their sides. So I slowed down, moved over to their side of the road and joined them.

Until around km 11, the four of us stuck together, taking turns running in pairs in the front. We read signs, high fived the crowd, laughed at me getting stabbed in the leg with a rake by a volunteer who was raking up cups and checked out running gear. Sometime after the km 11, Mel and I got separated from Jen and Marnie. It was at this point I turned my focus completely away from myself and my knee. I thought of my kids with me in my pain cave, jumping around on a couch. I thought of my good friend Natalie, who lost 5 members of her family on this day 15 years ago and how she is the poster child for resilience and being resilient was what I needed to be. I thought about how blessed I am to have a husband who supports my running. At about km 15, the race became about Mel. I pretty much talked to her the last 6 k, even if she couldn’t hear me. “You can do this, Mel”. “Mel, I have you attached me, let’s go. I am pulling you up this hill.” “You are looking strong Mel.”. “Sharon is cheering us on with a Canada flag, let’s run to her.” “We are picking up the pace, Mel, you can do it.” Everything I needed to hear from myself I said out loud to Mel. I am sure the other racers around me thought I was nuts but focussing on her helped me run my race. Crossing the finish line together is something I will cherish forever.

Even though this was my second slowest half marathon time and I was in pain almost the entire race, it was one of my best mental races. I am proud of the decisions I made during the race. The decision to turn off my pace and just run; the decision to run with my best friends; the decision to take it all in; the decision to focus on someone else and not myself. I am proud I managed a negative split, but what makes me most proud is that I helped a friend complete her race, which ultimately helped me complete mine!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Melanie's San Antonio Rock & Roll Half Race Report Nov 2012

San Antonio, TX – Rock ‘N Roll ½

It has been 10+ years since I ran a half marathon. At that time, I was a young, inexperienced runner, who really did not train properly. Over 10 years later, including 2 babies, I was ready to tackle this again (with the help of Sharon Styles & a wonderful group of training friends). The journey was not easy at times, but I was ready for this race. I put in the time, trained hard, and suffered a few minor setbacks along the way. Suddenly, it was taper week…yahoo!!! I felt pretty brutal during this week, sluggish, sore & mentally unprepared. Most of that left me the second we landed in San Antonio. I was excited as hell! The days leading up to the race were filled with incredible memories with 5 of my best friends. We shopped, ate, walked & ate some more. The day before the race, I was careful to hydrate well. I ate appropriately, took in electrolytes & rested a bit. Race morning was busy, but things went smooth. As soon as I caught sight of the corrals, I felt my nerves full force. I have never experienced a race with this many people before. It was overwhelming, but I felt ready. Before I knew it, I was running. It was a bit surreal at first. I had promised myself that I was going to “take this all in”. I wanted to read signs, give high fives, enjoy the scenery and architecture…and I did exactly that for the first 15km. In those first 15km, I experienced an emotional rollercoaster. I remember looking at my garmin at kilometer 3 thinking, oh my god, I am soaked in sweat already. Then I looked again at km 5 and thought, I am not at race pace, and I can’t go faster. It took me about 3 km to accept that I had to let my time goal go. It was not going to happen. I was doing the best I could under the hot & humid conditions.

At 15km, I began to have a few struggles mentally. I was taking in water & electrolyte, but my stomach was cramping a bit. Pain cave….now I completely understand this statement. I don’t have much memory of the last 5 km of the race…one foot in front of the other. I thought of my kids and husband at this point, and recalled the horrific labor I had had with my first son. I remember that pain like it was yesterday & I told myself, if I could endure that, I could surely run another 30 min. That helped me focus. I was also lucky enough to have one of my best friends, Lara, running not too far ahead of me. She became my focal point. We talked to each other briefly & she encouraged me in so many ways. The last km of the race was so difficult, especially the last hill before the finish. But, somehow I made it & saw the finish line ahead. I crossed the finish with Lara. We looked at each other & smiled. Thank god that was over! It wasn’t long after that I began feeling nauseous. It was a quick run to the porta potty. Alone in the potty, I allowed myself a small emotional breakdown. I cried tears of joy & physical exhaustion. It took a couple hours for me to lose the nausea & tummy troubles, but it wasn’t long and I felt myself again.

Now that I have had time to reflect, I learned a lot from this race (mostly about myself): I executed well, and I allowed myself to let a time goal go mid-race, but remained focused & positive. I also learned that I needed to take in more electrolyte during that race, as I think I may have suffered the effects of dehydration after the race. Although conditions were not easy, I can say that I did the best I could on that day & for that, I am proud!

Megan's Ironman Florida Race Report 2012

After 13 hours, 59 min and 17 sec of HARD exercising I recall saying to my husband when I first saw him: ‘I NEVER want to do that again!..and I was serious! It’s funny..but it’s only been 5 days and I can’t seem to stop rehashing everything I went through or thinking about what I could do better IF there were a next time!!

First of all, let me say how touched and surprised I was to hear from so many interested friends and family! It kind of turned out to be a bigger deal than I thought.(.how did YOU know this experience was going to be so special for me!) THANK YOU for being interested! I TRIED to think about all my splits and where/when I slowed or sped up etc but to tell you the truth, I was just SO excited to experience the day’s events that I really don’t even remember..or really care!! I could barely tell you any of my stats other than my final clock time! I realize I LOVE the learning part of it all and there’s SO much to learn! I LOVED learning from the podcasts from my awesome coach Angie, about the power of your mind and all the videos about swimming technique, biking, running form, nutrition, stretching ideas etc. I LOVED what it felt like after she gave me a new speed work session! I loved how my legs felt after a hard bike ride (I never knew you were suppose to feel THAT way!) I LOVED learning about MYSELF and how I CAN DO HARD THINGS! I even surprised myself and every so often I pinch myself to reaffirm this was for real!!

I’ve always liked to be healthy and take care of myself, but I’ve never had a very athletic/competitive mind. In grade school I just couldn’t seem to make myself fight for that ball, if you wanted it, you could just have it! My unofficial ironman journey started after Lance, my 4th child, about 13 years ago. I decided to run a 10km race in Lethbridge, AB called the Midnight run where a REAL policeman actually stopped the traffic while I crossed the road! ‘Imagine that’ I thought to myself! I felt like such an athlete! I continued running for the next several years doing ½ marathons before competing in several marathons. Then 6 years ago, I took level 1A-blowing bubbles at the YMCA. I’ve always been afraid to put my head in water but I was determined to do whatever my swim coach said (thanks Becky Stoddard!) . My husband Randy told me he would buy me a bike as soon as I could swim 100 lengths. That May, for Mothers day I received my first bike! I tried a few sprint triathlons, then Olympic distance. I remember watching my first ½ ironman and sitting in the car afterwards, crying from the sheer scariness of it all, saying over and over ‘I can’t believe I WANT to do that!’ Over the next 3 years I participated in four 1/2 ironmans until my friend Sue Gallup told me one day on our weekly 5 C.O.P hill run repeats that she was signing up for a full triathlon!! We went through alot together including being the last 2 athletes out of the water in our very first Magrath, AB sprint triathlon ‘I Swam the Dam’ triathlon! I didn’t want to get left behind and I knew I probably wouldn’t have the guts to sign up for a race like this on my own another year so I decided I better do it this year so I would have someone to train with. Turns out we had a very different schedule and we weren’t able to rely on eachother very much. Somehow I made it through and usually found company for my long rides-thanks Toni & Dave, Jacqui, Tara & the rest of the TTL group, Claire, Camilla, Wendy, Sue, Pete, Janice, Susan & Sheila!

This is how the day played out for me: I guess the most shocking part of the day was during the swim after entering the water for my 2nd of a 2-lap 4km swim. My first lap was 48 min which would have been a good even split for me to finish the swim in the 1:30’s. Within 5 minutes of entering the water again to attempt my 2nd lap, I got sea sick-literally and couldn’t stop throwing up! After what seemed like a LOONNGG time of doing this, the thought occurred to me if I just continued to float, the waves would bring me in but I knew I didn’t have THAT much time left. By the time I turned around at the far end bouy I was just floating, and dry heaving, when a lifeguard in a kayak came up to me and asked ‘Maam, are you OK?!’ I didn’t want to have anything to do with him taking me out of the race yet, so I just said ‘Yes and began to swim again.’ I didn’t want to stop AGAIN so while I was breathing under the water, I would dry heave, just in time for my 3 stroke breath-sorry for the details but that’s how tramatic it was for me! Every few minutes I would think ‘Oh comes another wave from under me and my stomache would turn! I remember feeling really cold in the water..but I knew I wasn’t. In the first transition tent I couldn’t stop shaking and figured the shaking was probably what I was feeling when I felt ‘cold’ in the water. I was SO glad to be done my first leg of the race! I KNEW I needed to eat so I told myself I’ld give myself 15 min on the bike to calm my body down and then I MUST start eating. I had all my nutrition on my bike and in my special needs bags so I was good for nutrition. I wrote down what I needed to eat every hour so I didn’t have to think about it and kept it handy to read often. I ate alittle more that first hour and stayed on schedule throughout the bike. I even topped it off with a bit more calories so that I could have a little more leeway on the run where it’s harder to eat more. The first while on the bike I was just not myself. My eyes felt heavy and all I wanted to do was sleep! I couldn’t believe I was feeling that DURING my ironman! I think that swim took alot out of me and it was a bit traumatic for me because mentally, I wasn’t prepared for that to happen AT ALL! No matter how much I talked to myself I just couldn’t seem to gather strength. What changed it for me, was this French guy came up from behind me and out of the blue said ‘You know, for some reason I just feel like you are not trying as hard as you could, I just get that feeling from you!’ I said ‘Why, am I wobbling all over the road?’ (that’s how I was feeling I was doing!) He said ‘No, you look like a strong biker and sometimes you push hard and then you back off. You’ve passed me a few times now. We passed a few pleasantries and then I told him he had better go ahead before he gets a 4 min. penalty for drafting. Just that bit of interaction with someone gave me some new-found energy and I felt strong enough to get back into the game. That was my turning point on my bike. I was able to regain focus and mentally bike hard. My last ¼ of the 180km bike was definitely my strongest and I felt I was really trying hard physically. (I since looked up my stats and see that I wasn’t going any faster but realize I paced it well because the last part is SUPPOSE to feel the hardest.) I saw the French guy again right at the end of the bike ride and when he saw me he said ‘SEE! I TOLD YOU!’ It was SO nice of him to mentally help me! I was SO glad to get off my bike and start my third leg of running my marathon-42km! For those of you who don’t know, I developed plantars fasciitis and by September, my last treadmill run was spent trying to tell myself ‘ strong! strong!..I told myself over and over before hitting the button at 21 minutes and crying out in pain ‘I CAN’T DO THIS TO MYSELF ANY MORE!’ Other than a few minutes of brick runs, I hadn’t run since then, till the day of the race. I began stopping every mile for a minute to drink and take something to eat. I also stopped for about 4-5 min at the washrooms and even though I knew it would slow my overall time down, it was worth feeling comfortable for the rest of the race! After 21km I began to stop at every other aid station and then the last 10km I was too scared to stop at all for fear I wouldn’t be able to get going again and I really wanted to run the whole thing even though it was tempting to walk as it seemed ½ the runners were doing by this time. By this time it became dark out and it was actually a welcome change and felt cool from the 82 degree day-time temperature. I love running in the dark because it feels calming to me. (Oh-did I mention that the warm chicken broth tasted SO GOOD about this time!!) The last half of the marathon I calculated I’ld have well enough time to come in under 14 hours so even though I didn’t start out with a goal, I was VERY THANKFUL for thinking of this goal at this precise time, to focus my mind. I figured I’ld have about 20 minutes to spare! Every few km’s I would recalculate the time, thinking I must have calculated wrong. The goal was no longer in the 13:30’s, it was 13:40, then 13:45, then 13:50 , then when it became 13:55 I thought I better hurry if I wanted to come in before the top of the hour! Just like the bike ride, I was SURE I was running my fastest the last ¼ of the run but looking at my stats afterwards I was REALLY slowing down during this time and never realized it. I only had my garmin watch on the screen that said what time it was. (Next time I want to learn to use all my technology!) About ¼ mile from the finish I saw Randy and quickly asked him what time it was. When I realized it was 4 min. to the top of the hour I said ‘I HAVE to come in before the top of the hour!’ He said it was so funny to watch me all of a sudden sprint to the end (he was trying to run beside me for a ways but he said he couldn’t keep up!) I could hear all the spectators calling out my name saying ‘Go Megan Go!’ As I crossed the finish line, the words I worked so hard to hear sounded through the speakers ‘Megan Fibke of Calgary, AB..YOU..ARE..AN..IRONMANNN!!!! Up until that last 4 minutes when I started to sprint, even when I consciously thought about my foot, NOT EVEN ONCE did it register to my brain that I was feeling hurt from it. It wasn’t until I started sprinting at the end that I first said to myself, ‘I think my foot is really hurting’. Literally the first step over the finishers mat, I said to myself ‘BOY! My foot REALLY hurts!!’ and I had use Randy as a crutch to walk home. It was like a true Cinderella story where as soon as the clock struck 14 hundred hours, POOF! I was back to my gimpy self. The next day, Angie was right, I couldn’t walk!

As I look back at the day, I feel SO GRATEFUL for my body and that it held up for me and that I was able to experience as crazy and painful and hard of an experience as this was! I was so humbled as I rode my last 3 miles into town and saw this man in a wheelchair, all by himself out on the side of the street, clapping and cheering for all of us athletes as we came into town. I looked at him and thought ‘WOW, HE is amazing for being able to be so positive and come out and be happy for all of US!’ It’s all relative isn’t it! Maybe in a group of Ironman Athletes, I’m nothing WOW as far as time goes, BUT I SURE FEEL WOW!!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Lawrence's 2012 Ironman Canada Race Report

Lawrence Keller 2012 Ironman Canada Race Report

Well where do I begin? I guess the logical start would be when I first contemplated doing this crazy event.

way back in September of last year I began to entertain thoughts of completing an iron distance race. Note

the distinction as my first inclination was to do a Rev3 event in Ohio as I was not a big fan of the Ironman

brand name. Once I started to look into the logistics of getting there and realizing that we would be there on

our own especially my wife who would have to spend anywhere up to 17 hours on her own waiting for me

it started making less sense. In addition I have a number of friends who were already signed up in addition to

all of the TTL folks that would be there. The next step then would be to wait until the Community Fund spots

opened up and see if an entry was available. November rolled around and the fund registration slots opened up

and lo and behold spots were available. After some hemming and hawing and checking the website it became

obvious, (to me anyway), that I was destined for this race. I signed up and in January started the long and

winding training road to get me ready for this challenge.

Fast forward to race week. The first part of the week was crazy busy at work, again, trying to get all of the

items off of my plate prior to my departure. Finally was able to get away early Thursday, unfortunately not

early enough as I wasn’t able to make it in time for the ride down Yellow Lake, oh well just had to remember

what it was like from our July camp. I made it into Penticton with plenty of time go through registration

and wander around the Expo, I didn’t buy anything race related though. Then back to Peachland, where were

staying to get checked in and unpacked. I wanted to avoid the crowds by not staying in Penticton, in retrospect

this was to far away, as I missed the camaraderie and shared experience and advice of the TTL team-mates.

Then back to Penticton for the team dinner on Thursday night, huge thanks to Sarah and The Bench for a great

meal and some wonderful stories. After dinner it was back to Peachland for another restless night with what I

felt was very little actual sleep. Back to Penticton in the morning for the group swim in very choppy water which

had me very concerned as I was getting a little nauseous and very much hoping that race day would bring calm

waters. Then another drive back to Peachland where I would hang out and wait for my friends and my wife who

was driving in with a friend as she couldn’t leave with me on Thursday. They all arrived and then we were off to

the athlete’s banquet, the food was plentiful and tasty and the presentation was very well done. Then back to

Peachland for the night. After another restless night decided against going back to Penticton and did a short

swim bike run on the beach, road and pathway in front of our accommodations. Then spent the rest of the day

chillin’ and relaxing trying to stay off of my feet and getting my race nutrition ready. Had another restless night

and up well before my 3:15 a.m. alarm clock, had my pre race breakfast of a couple of bowls of cereal, an egg

wrap, a banana and a coffee, and took with me a banana, a gel and an electrolyte drink for prior to race start. On the

road by 4:30 for the drive to Penticton and found a great place to park very close to transition Collected all of our

gear; including nutrition and special needs for the bike, I didn’t have one for the run as I thought with all of the aid

stations I would just use them. I dropped everything off loaded up the bike with nutrition and waited for the race

to start. While I was waiting ran into some additional friends who were racing and just hung out with them chatting.

I saw Tracy and Tara who looked eager and ready to go, and am definitely sorry that I didn’t make the effort to

find Angie as I am sure she would have had some great advice and words of encouragement. For a change though

I wasn’t nervous but for some reason quite calm and just thought I would stay in the moment. I had the banana

and gel as per the schedule. Finally it was time to get in the water, while I was funnelling through the crowd I

saw Jacqui D and we gave each other a hug, I think; it’s a bit of a blur. I finally made it into the water and rather

than do a few strokes to warm up I just floated and practiced breathing, a little trick that Kelly taught me.

After all of these months of training and all of the anxiety the race finally started. I seeded myself on the left

towards the back as I knew my swim time wouldn’t be stellar, I thought this would be the area where I wouldn’t

be in anyone’s way. This strategy worked perfectly for me as I had open water most of the way, I even managed

to find feet for a bit of the race and even passed a couple of people. I felt remarkably calm for the swim and

had no breathing issues or tightness in the chest that I have had in past races. I think the swim a couple of weeks

prior as part of the Xterra enduro race really helped. Again I had no real issues with the swim although I did have

have some trouble locating the two Subaru buoys, went by the first one, saw the divers on the bottom, they waved

at me, so I waved back Again had a little trouble find the second Subaru buoy, even with prescription goggles

my eyesight isn’t the best, finally on my way back to shore. On the way back I finally had my first encounter

with an errant swimmer as this guy was zigzagging directly in front of me, no matter which side of him I swam

on he would work his way in front of me. With maybe less than 200 metres to go I got clocked on the side of the

head by this fellow. I guess I can’t really complain though with what can happen in a swim. I made it out

of the water at 1:44 which is essentially where I thought I would be and now into transition where I took it nice and

easy to make sure I had everything I needed for the bike. I wish I would have seen Angie as I came out of the water

as I heard from both herself and third party sources that she was, shall we say quite excited, that I made it out of

the water prior to the cut-off.

Next up, the bike. I spent about 10 minutes in transition as due to the humidity in the tent and with glasses that were

fogging up I had a little trouble seeing. I got everything together found my bike made it to the mount line and off

I went. I followed the mantra that has been drilled into all of us during the weeks leading up to the race and took

it staying in zone 2 all of the way into Osoyoos and beyond. I was passing a lot of people and got passed by some

but I just let them go and focused on racing my own race. My nutrition consisted of concentrated Infinit which

I drank about a third of a bottle an hour and some Power Bar gel blasts which I used to top up the calories. I was

having fun on Richter passing a number of people again trying to stay in zone 2. This was a little harder here

though. I had no issues on the rollers as there was no significant wind, not like there can be. Then onto the

out and back portion where I saw Tara looking strong, she was on the back; I was still on the out. I picked

my additional bike nutrition at special needs. My friend back in Peachland had given me an insulated bag they

had picked up at the dollar store that fit nicely into the special needs bag, I had put my frozen bottles into this bag

in the morning and one of them was still frozen when I picked it up. I will have to find out where they got these.

Now on to the Keremeous to Yellow Lake portion where I went into my dark period of the race, I really struggled

here and on the climb up Yellow Lake and got a bit of a leg cramp on the steep part of this climb. It was at

this point that I started thinking I might pull the pin when I got back into transition. Fortunately I was part of

a team as I started thinking, (logically or not) that I couldn’t show up to the winter spin classes as not having finished

this race for no real reason, other than a little discomfort. That is after all part of the Ironman experience.

I stopped at the Yellow Lake aid station got a couple of bottles of water, drank one and took the other one

with me and felt much better. Finally onto main street and Cherry Lane mall where I got to see and hear

Angie and here words of encouragement.

Now into transition where I changed everything I was wearing and put on some compression shorts to, hopefully,

help with cramping. Spent about 10 minutes here and then onto the run. I ran the first mile at a nice conservative

pace; unfortunately couldn’t maintain the mental focus required and started to walk, until of course I came up

to where Angie was stationed, I had to run here, as there was no real reason I couldn’t. Has a nice chat with Angie

and then out for the rest of the marathon. Again lost focus and started walking where I met up with Kelly, we

chatted for a while, she told me to get going. Kept on walking with some short run breaks thrown in and saw

some of the folks from our May bike camp at Skaha who very supportive as I was walking by.

On my way out to Okanagan Falls I saw Tracy, John, Tara, and Trevor who were all looking strong, (I didn’t

here about Trevor’s struggles until the next day). Finally reached the turnaround point and started heading back

where I met up with John B and Jacqui D who were finishing together. I chatted with them for a while but

I was feeling OK and started back running; again I kept running for awhile but then lost focus and started walking.

While on this walk break I was chatting with a fellow from Toronto who was on his 39th Ironman with one more

to go, Kona, before he was done. He said he didn’t even realize he had ridden Yellow Lake as there was no

cheering crowds urging him on, he wasn’t aware that parking tickets would be issued. Based on this I am sorry

that I didn’t get to experience the past Yellow Lake crowds. Somewhere around the return to the residential

areas I started to feel like running again and started running more than walking and again I saw a couple of the

folks from the may camp still at Skaha. I got onto main street and basically ran the rest of the way in, saw

Angie at the turnaround point and revelled in the glory that is Lakeshore Drive as you are completing an

Ironman. I took Nate’s advice from camp and enjoyed the atmosphere at the finish line. I honestly don’t

remember hearing whether Steve King announced I was an Ironman but I certainly enjoyed the finish line.

I had no issues after the race other than a little chill requiring a space blanket. I would have loved to hang

out with the team after I finished but my wife had to be out the door at 4:30 to catch a 6:30 plane to

Calgary as she had to work on Monday.

My take aways from this race were I should have stayed a lot closer to Penticton as I missed hanging with the

team and sharing experiences, feelings, and even ice cream with the group. This particular adventure would

not have ended up being successful without the guidance and gentle prodding. ha ha, of Angie. Your knowledge,

experience, and enthusiasm sure made this adventure a success for me. I have to thank you profusely for that

as well the group of like minded people who gravitate towards Team TriLife. And certainly last but not least

my lovely wife Susan who at times replaced Angie as the motivator to get my butt out the door when I didn’t

feel like getting a work out done. Thanks to you both.

My final thoughts on Ironman versus Challenge. I agree with Myles, I think it was, who stated that Ironman

is just a brand name that according to Wikipedia is owned by an equity fund that controls 30 billion in assets.

the direction that WTC seems to be going is to maximize profits rather than the athlete experience. For me

the race was about the volunteers and the people of Penticton not the Ironman brand. As an example when

I was heading into town and elderly gentleman asked me where I was from, when I told him, he thanked m

for participating. I am not done with triathlon, just iron distance ones, as Susan has signed us both up for

Oliver next year. I will be back in Penticton in 2013 as she is running the marathon portion for a team that

has just signed up to Challenge Penticton.

Thanks again Angie

Lawrence Keller

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Leana's "short" IMC race report 2012

Tracy's Ironman Canada Race Report 2012

Well a year ago I decided to sign up for IMC for the third time…not sure what possessed me to do this considering I had so many life changes since my last IMC in 2009 but I did it anyway and although it was a tough road to the day, crossing the finish line for the third time answered my questions as to why I do this!

Yes it is for the love of the sport, but mostly for the journey to the final day and then of course the final few seconds as you cross the line and Steve King says “YOU ARE AN IRONMAN. The other reasons I love training for an Ironman is the challenge, the people you meet, the struggles you have the improvements you see all make the ironman journey worth ever moment out on that course on race day.

Tara and I were discussing on the drive out to IMC that, some people will never even run 4km and we swim it. As well, some people will never know what it is like to train your body and mind for this kind of challenge. What we as Ironman athletes do is like no other and after achieving something like this it makes any struggle in life or mental challenge in life seem like a cakewalk. For it was all my marathon training and ironman training over the years that has lead me to a new career path, I never thought I was capable of, never thought I could do, but I have and I am forever grateful to be able to be on route to doing a job I love. To be one of those people that love to go to work cause it doesn’t feel like work. To be able to work anywhere in the world. So for me Ironman is not just about the one-day or the training it is how it has affected my entire being as a person and how it has improved my quality of life.

In my first year of nursing it was a major struggle, selling my house, quitting my career, living with friends, learning how to study again, taking an exam? Holy smokes it was insane but what helped me through it was how in an ironman race you must change your thought process or it can ruin your race, so for me I used this attitude to change my focus and thoughts for exams, life changes and more and it is hard to believe I am starting my third year of nursing, working part time at the hospital and absolutely enjoying every minute of it! Well maybe not every minute, but I see the finish line and I know it will be just like the Ironman finish. Hard work pays off, push through the pain now and you will reap the rewards. Follow your passion and you will find your life purpose!

For the first year of school I could not imagine training for an ironman but once I got my groove and realized I would have 4 months off and could do this thing again, this is why I signed up. I missed the people, I missed the workouts, and I missed it all. This time around, became a true test for me, not having a regular job and regular hours was tough. Having to ride early and then head to work or work and then ride or run after was much harder being a nurse’s attendant and bartender as opposed to sitting in front of a computer all day. The work is so much more physical and there were days where I wanted to quit but I never did, I got almost all my workouts in and never had to miss out. I struggled having to do a lot of rides and runs alone but was thankful for the times I had support, my running buddy Lyle, my TTL buddies…Trevor, John, Jacqui, Leana, Kelly and Tara  it was so much better having someone to do the extreme long stuff with.

In addition to juggling two part time jobs and full time IMC training, I had major health issues. Chronic arthritis in my right knee and hands, many different medications, injections, draining of the knee, cortisone shots, physio, rest, more rest, being told it might not be a good idea to race, worrying about my body was scary but I pushed through it all to overcome all challenges to successfully have the best IMC I have ever had to date.

Okay now on to discussing the day….the nerves were high, even though it was my third one I felt extremely nervous this time around, due to taking the few years off, maybe? Or maybe it was because I felt I was in better shape despite all the injuries. Maybe it was because I had changed a million things just prior to race day (which was always not advised by coach Angie) Or maybe it was because I had a time goal in mind (again not advised by coach Angie ) All and all on August 26, 2012 at 6:45am when I walked into the water all my nerves seemed to disappear, I felt oddly calm and embraced the moments leading up to the gun going off. I did a quick little swim out and back for about 5 mins. I then smiled to all the people around me and had one girl next to me say “do you think all these boys in front of us know how to swim fast or do they just think they can swim fast” I laughed and then thought to myself, “Yikes am I too close to the front? Can I swim this fast? Am I in a good spot?” Then I told myself “ oh well no turning back now” As they started to sing O Canada I started to tear up, the day was finally here the one I had been training so hard for the one I had been an emotional wreck for during the taper weeks leading up to this, it was finally here. OMG I am racing an Ironman I panicked a little but then took a deep breath and said “you got this, you can swim this no problem. You are strong!” I settled down and when the gun went off and I was being pushed, punched kicked, pulled in all sorts of directions I was a bit worried thinking maybe I was too far up. Then I just pushed through it and remembered what Angie always says we would be friends and drinking beers on the beach with all these people so don’t get angry it is a waste of energy. I pushed on through with lots of frustrating moments all the way till the turn around and then that is when I really found my stroke and was passing people left right and center, I thought “wow this slow and steady thing really works, even in the swim, cause I feel amazing right now I feel I could swim for 8km not 3.8 I feel so good right now.” Of course there were moments where my mind would wander off and think “oh no I have to get on that bike after this, and ride so far, what if I get a flat, uhh and then I have to run a full marathon, what was I thinking?” Then I would get back in the moment, I love the swim, I really love to swim, what I love swimming? Crazy because when I first started triathlons I thought this swimming thing is ridiculous- I hated getting out of bed early to swim, I felt useless in the water but here I am 4 years later loving swimming? Loving the open water? Really funny how things change isn’t it?

As I swam closer to the finish of the swim I started to think about riding and knew I had to start out slow and not get caught up in the rush of people cheering you on or racing past. I ran to the strippers they pulled off my wetsuit and I was a bit out of it cause I was not thinking where my T1 bag was then I remembered and had to back track. Ran into the tent and a volunteer followed me. I sat down she dumped my bag out I put on my helmet my shoes, race belt sprayed some sunscreen on and then I was off. Oh I dried my feet too and didn’t wear socks this year on the bike. I think this was a good call as I always find it a bit difficult to get my socks on when my feet are wet and covered in sand.

I grabbed my bike and headed out, I saw TTL peeps at the start and could hear Angie screaming go TRACY, Go, … it was awesome! I took a gel and a few sips of H20 and let my heart rate come down. I was really dogging it and I had a few people say to me as they passed me, you are doing the right thing. I said to myself the entire ride out to Richter to all the people hammering passed me up McLean creek and out to Oliver and Osoyoos, “well I will pass you on the run, I will pass you on the run.” After Mclean Creek heading out to Oliver I started to get some weird cramping in my gut, I thought maybe I needed to pee. So I slowed down to try but there were so many people behind me and I just couldn’t relax enough. I tried again a bit later and it just wasn’t working for me and I thought I have to stop at a porta potty cause I am wasting time slowing down to try and pee. But every time I would see a porta potty I would say no just keep going, next one, next one. Maybe I waited too long to pee cause I later had more gut issues but not sure if this was due to this or not. I got to Keremeos and there was no line I hopped off my bike and peed as fast as I could and when I was at the out and back I hammered it hard, cause I took it easy and figured I would make up some time here and then cruise up Yellow Lake and then hammer it home.

As I started to head towards Yellow lake I took some gas x in hopes this would prevent the cramping from coming back on my run. Seemed to be okay as I started the climb up Yellow Lake. It was great to see TTL supporters both on Richter and Yellow As well the crowds of strangers cheering all of us on as we pushed up yellow lake. The first part felt pretty good and I was just doing some cheesy easy spinning, then the second part of the climb felt super tough and I was a bit concerned until I was starting to descend and realized I was in my big chain ring for the second part of the climb, OOPS….. Uhh not the brightest moment LOL 

I was happy to have no fear on my descend down Yellow Lake, the wind started to pick up which was not a surprise and I was definitely well prepared for riding in the wind. Seemed to have many training days in all kinds of winds! (Just ask Tara, I seem to be a magnet for wind. Hahah ) So my push to the finish line of the bike felt a wee bit tough, not too bad but I was definitely feeling the head wind. My dismount off my bike was great and I headed to grab my run bag, a quick switch of the shoes this time putting on socks, and then hat and I was out of the tent. Telling myself, “slow and steady wins the race,” as I ran slow through town out towards cherry lane, my gut started really acting up, I had to hit a porta potty asap fix the situation and hopefully I would be fine. I felt great after the porta potty and I saw Angie at Cherry lane and I was so comfortable I thought if I can hold this the entire way, I am golden. I will achieve my time goal and might even be able to do my negative split as planned. Well, as we all know anything can happen on race day and we cannot predict how we will feel. I got to about 20km and the gut started up again major cramping that just wouldn’t give. I started to feel extremely bloated and my heart rate strap was annoying the heck out of me so I pushed it down onto my waist by my race belt and that felt a bit better. I stopped at the stations put ice in my hat, took some coke, took some water, this was my plan to do this till I saw chicken soup. But I didn’t see soup and I started to feel worse I didn’t know if I was going to puke or if I was needing salt, and my mouth was extremely dry. At one point I heard them say chicken soup on the opposite side of the road so ran over there and drank some, but it didn’t help. I sucked the salt off the pretzels it didn’t’ help. So I just kept moving I only walked through the stations and I just kept telling myself move in the right direction and you will do this. I saw familiar faces on the run course which was so awesome, I stopped to hug, high five people which really helped me pick it up for a few mins but then I just felt defeated and my legs felt heavy. I was so frustrated how could this be I took it easy on the bike; I took it easy at the start of the run, why is this happening? My plan is not working. I started to look at total time and started to panic, as each mile seemed to be taking me longer and longer to tackle. I was moving but I couldn’t move fast. I saw Angie at cherry lane and told her I am really hurting, she said “ Um it’s an ironman you are suppose to F()*&)(*()&& hurt” Lol. She also told me to not stop anymore, I only had five K. I said “I have to grab water as I can’t even swallow, I have no saliva.” So I did that as I ran through the stations I just grabbed a cup of water to wet my whistle. I Kept moving trying to pick it up. As I approached downtown and heard the cheers I somehow found some energy to pick it up. I saw my nephew on the corner and he ran with me for a bit. “You are doing great” he said. Once I saw him, I have no idea where my energy came from but I started haling ass through lakeshore, my legs were done so I was literally moving my entire upper body to try and gain momentum –not the best biomechanics, but you gotta do what you gotta do to finish an ironman. I saw Michelle and her girls at the turnaround, which was great! Then I just focused on the finish line. As I pushed and pushed it got closer and closer and finally I crossed that line with nothing left, I was done I felt like puking and collapsing. I had done what I wanted to do, I wanted to leave nothing on that racecourse and I did. I was disappointed not being able to negative spilt my marathon but the gut issues and I think lack of nutrition on the run defeated my execution- lessons learned but for all I did, all I gave, the mental struggle, the fun I had cheering people on and having people cheer me on was so worth it and to this day this was my best Ironman. I took time to enjoy it, I learned so much from previous races and I executed everything the way I wanted if it weren’t for the struggles on the run, it wouldn’t be an ironman. For an ironman is so different from any other race, because you never know what will happen, but what I do know is that I will never quit and no matter what struggles I have I will make it across that finish line no matter what! And wow for every year I have been very consistent I have been 15 mins faster each time not sure when my next race will be, probably after I graduate, but I will race another Ironman again maybe the new IMC in 2014. This was definitely not my last; I know I have more to give, more to improve on and more to learn.

Thank you to everyone on the team, thank you to all my friends and family who supported me. Thank you to coach Angie being such a great coach and friend, helping me through my ups and downs this year  And thank you to my mom, she is my biggest fan and without her I would not be the woman I am she has taught me so much and has supported me in all my life choices from the day I was born she has always been my rock. I love you mom. xoxoxoox

Jacque's Ironman Canada Race Report 2012

IMC 2012 race report

Well I finally did it. After watching IMC for the very first time in 2003, watching Ironman Australia in 2009, coming back to Penticton to watch in 2009, 10 and 11. 2012 was the year and none too soon  as it was the 30th anniversary and little did we know it was also to be the final IMC in Penticton.

I was surprised how calm I was this week leading up to the race. I tried not to get involved in conversations where other people were stressing about the race, I either tried to change the subject and distract them (worked about 50% of the time) or I removed myself from the situation (this happened at the athletes dinner, a friend of a TTLer came by our table and was very, very stressed to the point that she was almost irrational and physically vibrating – I had to leave). The TTL morning workouts were a good way to get up early and organized, a mini-prep for race day although we gradually got up earlier as the week went on.

Following a mini hunt through town for a bandana (in case it was hot and I needed to roll ice in it to cool down) – Thank you Mitch! Gear drop-off went without a hitch and I hoped that I’d have everything I needed at the right time, where to put arm-warmers, where to put arm coolers just in case. In the end I didn’t use either.

Race eve, I was following my race plan and amazingly sitting drinking my pre-race beer at the picnic table outside Mitch and Kelly’s place by 8:30pm all prepared for race morning all I needed next was sleep. At 9pm Kelly and I called it a night and went in to bed, leaving Paul and Mitch outside with Andrew. I am very grateful to Kelly and Mitch for offering to share their room with us for a few days. Camping was fine but when you are trying to hydrate pre-race it’s nice to know the bathroom is across the hall and not a short walk up the hill at the campground. I slept really well, I was so surprised, my first race of the season at Shawnigan Lake I did not sleep at all but pre-IMC I slept like a baby. The usual middle of the night bathroom visit but that was all. I was awake and waiting for my alarm when it went off at 4am but only by about 10 mins.

I got dressed and Kelly and I puttered around the kitchen getting breakfast, coffee and bottles ready. When Tara and Trevor came by at 5 we were all set for the walk to transition. It was a long walk and frozen bottles of nutrition are HEAVY! Kind of wished I had woken Paul for a ride. We did a little winding through the streets in the dark to figure out how to get into transition – something they could have easily told us in the pre-race meeting. Special needs bags dropped off we got body marked and headed to our bikes. First stop to get air put in our tires, whew no lines. I had a great bike rack location. Loaded up my bike with nutrition, attached my aero bottle and then got in line for the porta-potties. Met an Irish guy who is currently living in Calgary. Back to my bike to double check. All good.

Saw the TTL gang (Tara, Shannon, Tracy) in the porta-potty line again and it was much longer now so I joined them figured I might have to go again by the time we got to the front. While we were slowly moving in this line I saw my Vancouver tri friends too, hugs and wishes from Chris and Teresa as well as Valencia. I’m not sure if it was all the ‘good lucks’ being said but while we were in line I got a little emotional..maybe nervous? Not sure I just know that all of a sudden I was trying not to cry. Shannon noticed and gave me a hug, saying she was just like me her first time, that was it then came the tears. Hugs from Tara and Tracy too, and I was taking deep breaths to calm myself a little and stop crying. Now the problem with this is once you start it’s hard to stop and very easy to start again so from this point until O Canada I continued to cry a little off and on. Being a red-head it is also VERY difficult to hide the fact that I’ve been crying! The good thing was that I wasn’t upset so at least I could smile and laugh at my tears as I didn’t really understand where they were coming from. Maybe I should have had a little pre-race spazz at something to get those nervous emotions out before race day? Maybe there was too much time in transition before the race with too little do? Who knows. Second porta-potty trip done, I followed Tracy and Trevor to find some grass to put our wetsuits on. After we were suited up, we went towards the fences to drop off our morning clothes bags. Almost forgot to take off my flip-flops! Tracy pointed out Angie over by the fence I went over and waved but didn’t want to go and say hi as I knew I would start to cry again. Angie waved me over and sure enough the tears came again. But it was nice to have seen her and had my pre-race pep talk from her too . Said hello to Mitch and headed towards the swim start area. I’m sure I was quite the teary-red-faced sight as I walked towards the swim area, I got some strange looks and lots of smiles and best wishes from the volunteers as I moved through. I tried to smile so they would know I was ok despite the tears.

At the gate I met Teresa, Alison, Chris and Clayton from Vancouver who were supportive and not surprised by my emotions at the time despite the fact that they were baffling me. We headed out to the swim start together. I had no idea where Kelly and Tara were but somehow Tara and Shannon appeared beside me in the water as we got our caps on. I looked around a little, amazed from this view in the water how far along the water the spectators were, I scanned the crowd a little looking for Paul, Rebecca and Bev but there was little hope that I’d see them in that crowd. Teresa smiled at me and said you think you’re emotional now, just wait til O Canada starts. She was right, national anthem and a few more tears but at this time my goggles were on so at least no one could see me crying! Hugs and good lucks said and received we were waiting for the start. After the starting horn we walked forward for a bit, I couldn’t tell you how long there seemed to be a little space in the water so Tara and I looked at each other and decided it was time to swim.

We were wrong about the space! It didn’t seem like there was any free space anywhere on the swim. Everyone I spoke to felt the same. Next time I might try Angie’s suggestion to swim on the right hand side of the buoys. People everywhere, I got kicked in the head once and had to pull the super suctioned goggles off my eye. No harm done. Once we were swimming I did feel briefly overwhelmed thinking about the fact that I was in the swim of Ironman Canada – holy crap! This was going to be a big day and I had only just started, I was getting emotional again so I remembered my box – only think about now and what I am doing not about the whole day and definitely not about the marathon coming up in 8 hours. This worked and I got down to the business of swimming. The turning buoys were hard to see, who decided these should be white? After these two buoys I was on my way back to transition, there seemed to be less people around and I was able to get into a good rhythm with my stroke even thinking about a long stroke and pulling hard. Finally, I could hear Steve King (the announcer), that meant I’m close to shore, the sun was never in my eyes (!?) how come, I was prepared for that, I almost swam into a buoy – oops. I tried to pee in my wetsuit, no luck, I basically have to stop swimming and do a dead man’s float which is counter productive. I swam strong to the beach, remembered Angie’s advice about grabbing 2 handfuls of sand before switching from a swimming to running out of the water. There are people everywhere fans cheering, other athletes moving to transition. I pulled my cap, goggles and sleeves off, to the wetsuit strippers I went, sat down the suit came off easily. I thanked them and off I went to get my T1 bag at the back of transition. At least it was close to the entrance to the change tent and the porta-pottys – my first stop. Found a place to change in the tent, switched my tri shorts for cycling shorts, toweled off my feet, socks and shoes on, sunscreen on my face, glasses, cycling gloves, race number and I was off. [Didn’t seem to take that long but the next day the clock said otherwise – seriously did that really take 9 minutes! Slow is smooth my ass, slow in transition is slow!] Dropped my T1 bag and grabbed my bike which was easy to find and half way to the exit by a big tree. Jogged my bike to the exit, over the timing mats and mount line.

I was off, happy to be done the swim and trying to relax into the bike. I wasn’t sure where I’d find our cheering squad so I sipped some water and worked my way up Main street. I heard Bev first, that girl has some lungs! Then I heard Andrew and blew Paul a kiss. Next task the bike. With the ‘crucible’ recordings in my head (a 40 mile warm up and a 70 mile bike ride, old ladies should be passing me on the bike) I had my plan for the ride, take it easy out on Main street and stay safe, easy up McLean Creek Rd, easy to Osoyoos. Need to save the legs for the tough parts of the ride – the out and back and the climb up Yellow Lake. As I was riding it dawned on me that I could have worn my TTL tri top. I had stressed about the tri top not having pockets in the back to carry an extra tube and CO2 cartridge so I decided on my sleeveless cycling top in lieu of the TTL cycling jersey because it was cooler. But on the ride it dawned on me, my pockets were empty! The extra tube and CO2 were in my newly purchased xlab behind my seat, I had planned to put my arm warmers in my pocket but had left them in my T1 bag. Oops! I’d had my race day outfit planned for so long that I didn’t change it. Next time I know, I don’t need those extra pockets anymore. I had a headache at the start of the bike so inside the first hour I took an advil in the hopes that it would go away but I ended up battling this headache for almost the entire ride. When the advil didn’t help I increased my salt tabs from 2/hr to 3/hr in hopes that it would help. I’m not exactly sure when it finally went away sometime between the end of the out and back and transition. I also had a gassy tummy on the bike, spent most of the ride burping like a sailor hoping to make it feel better, I took 2 Gas-X at different points but that didn’t help, at least it never got worse.

I rocked the downhill on Richter, later I checked my computer and my top speed for the day was 77km/hr, I knew this happened on the descent from Richter, lots of yelling “on your left” as I flew down the hill. The ambulance at the bottom startled me a little I was glad I didn’t see any crashes. But all the people slamming on their brakes at the aid station at the bottom of the hill was an accident waiting to happen. I love the rollers and today was no exception, they seemed easier than the last 2 rides out here. On my way to the out and back I saw Kelly as I turned up Becks Rd. It was nice to see a friend out here, this part of the ride has been tough in the past. At least the weather was cooperating and it was hovering just under 30 degrees. One good thing about not being in TTL gear is that it made it easier for Kelly and I to leap frog and hang out for a while on this part of the ride. We had a few chats and checked in with one another. We both stopped at special needs briefly I picked up another bottle of fuel and was so happy that it was still cold! Love those insulated bottles. Off to Yellow lake we go! Kelly and I kept leap frogging all the way to the top of Yellow Lake. We saw our cheering section in the middle, I hadn’t planned to stop but they were on a flat so I decided to stop for a hug from Paul  Nice to see Mitch, Rebecca and Andrew too. Our cheering section was half way up Yellow lake, I still had the tough part of the climb to go but I was completely surprised by just how easy this was today! I am used to the grind up yellow lake to reach the top but it wasn’t there. My easy start had totally paid off!! Yahoo! Pick up some water and I’m off, I love this return to town, lots of downhill to take advantage of which I love. Unfortunately, we had a headwind but it’s still a nice way to return to town. I saw Andrew at the TTL tent at Cherry Lane and gave a shout out on my way back to transition. I remembered to spin the legs and drink to prepare for the run. My nutrition on the bike had been good, all well timed, I didn’t get any flavor fatigue. I meant to take an advil at the end of the bike just in case I needed it to start the run but I forgot. No worry I had 2 more in my running belt.

Just before the dismount line I heard and saw Mark and Elizabeth! Waved at them and headed into T2. I was happy to hand off my bike and I remembered to take my Garmin (well Mitch’s Garmin actually) off the handlebars. Over to the T2 bags and back into the change tent. Another SLOW transition – seriously 9 minutes again. A complete change in the tent and off to the porta-potty, past the sunscreen table for a slather and I’m off on the run.

As I hit the road I see Bev and she runs with me for a bit, I feel good and I’m so happy to be on the run, the last thing left to do! I try to settle in to a pace and watch my HR so I’m not going to fast, on Main street in town I see Mark and Elizabeth again with Matthew, a wave hello and I’ve got my sights set on seeing all the TTL people, Paul and Rebecca at Cherry Lane. My plan was to walk through the aid stations and maybe up the hills, hopefully I can run the rest of the marathon. I take an advil (just in case) and water at the first aid station, grab a cup of ice to go. Throughout the whole marathon I carried a cup of ice in my hand, dumping it down my shirt as I reached the next aid station if I hadn’t finished the cup so I could grab a new one. I also put ice in my hat on the run and this was SOOOO nice! One lumpy piece of ice made me look like a conehead though .

The start of the run was hot, the crowds in town were amazing! When I made it to Cherry lane it was nice to see Paul and the gang and have a chat with Angie. I was having a great time. Trying not to run too fast as I knew I had a long ways to go. At times I did feel slightly dizzy/lightheaded when I was walking, I wasn’t sure why so I kept drinking, taking my salt tabs and alternated coke and water at the aid stations if I wasn’t taking a gel. At one aid station I saw Claire and she asked if I had an ibuprofen, I said yes and gave it to her and after regretted it just a little. I only had 2, I took one and gave one away so if I needed something later I was out of luck. I tried not to dwell and hoped I didn’t need it later. I passed the kms by watching for friends and teammates coming the other way and saw almost everyone. I finally made it to the turnaround myself – YEAH!! Only a half marathon to go. At special needs I changed my socks, tied a long sleeved shirt around my waist in case it was cold as the sun went down and started to eat my potato chips as I headed back. Again I amused myself by looking for TTL teammates on the way ‘home’ as well as hitting quite a few porta-pottys on the way back too – apparently I was well hydrated . I was starting to feel the run and the day in my legs so I tried walking for a few minutes – too slow! It would take me forever to get to the finish that way, back to my run all day pace. Chatting with a few people and leap frogging back and forth. I started running with one lady and she was way too chatty for me – when she asked me to explain what my research was about I was done, not nearly enough brain power to describe that to someone DURING AN IRONMAN– good time for a porta-potty stop. Bye! Have a great race.

Somewhere on the way back to the beach at Skaha a toe on my right foot started to bother me, must be years of stuffing my feet into figure skates, my 4th toe sits a little under my 3rd toe and when it’s humid I sometimes start to run on my 4th toe. I stopped at the next aid station in search of tape. Some duct tape appeared, I taped up my toe and off I went. It was starting to get dark here too, this made the return to town seem very long, I tried to remember from camp how far it was to the beach at Skaha and then what the distance would be back to town. I’m not sure I ever figured it out! When I hit the 30km mark I remembered thinking, if I could run a normal 10k right now I’d be done in a little over an hour – yeah there was no way I could run that fast so I puttered on at my all day pace.

I was happy to hit Skaha beach and then turn back onto Main Street! This stretch of road is really long in the dark at the end of an Ironman, it seems to go on forever! Even once I got back to the main part of town with all the stores the final left hand turn seemed to take forever to get to.

Then there it was, people cheering, I turned left, I know this spot it’s where we watched for Tara on the marathon 2 years ago, turn right and there’s Paul and Bev – I stopped for a hug, I ran down the street and you can hear the crowd I started to get a little emotional, I’m finally back in town!!! I’m almost done!!! Left hand turn, I hear Mark, Elizabeth and Matthew on the right as I turn, I wave. Now the last hard part, to run away from the finish line (cause it is right here!!) to the end of the street before turning back to head to the finish. I’m running down the street, legs are tired and my quads are bagged but they’re still carrying me as I run. Paul and Bev appear on my left and run towards the turn around with me. At the turn around I high five the gang, Andrew, Mitch, Tara and Angie, and everyone else from TTL, it’s like a slingshot turn around, all the energy from the TTL gang refreshes me and I’m headed back towards the finish of MY Ironman. Paul and Bev are there again and run with me til the gates start, not far to go now, I hear Rebecca and wave to her, we did many long rides together in the rain this year I am so glad she came to the race. Then I have that moment, the bright lights, the crowd, the finish line, the blue carpet and I get that feeling I’m going to finish this, and it feels amazing, I think I did a little fist pump. The crowds at the finish really make you feel like a rockstar. I throw my hands in the air as I cross the line, not really knowing why I did this . The catchers are by my side and it takes a few seconds to realize that the girl knows my name I look at her and it’s Cindy! The other catcher is Danny. So nice to have TTL people to take care of me. I get a photo in the finish area even though Cindy warns me they are often terrible (she’s right I look too happy and totally spaced!). Now that I’m done my legs are getting heavy and not working that well. We head towards the food and I hear them calling my name, Paul, Bev and Mark, Elizabeth and Matthew. I high five Matthew and thank them for staying til the end, Matthew is 3 and a half and it is way past his bedtime! Elizabeth emailed me later to say “Every time we mentioned going home Matthew kept saying that he had to see Jacque finish. At one point I said that he had had a long day and his response was "yes but today is a big day". My thoughts exactly Matthew, a long, amazing, BIG day.

Thanks to all the TTL athletes and family for their support out on the course on race day. Thanks to Angie for her support and encouragement all year, I put my faith in you and your training program and you had me prepared to kick ass on that course. People would ask me how it was going and was I nervous, I would reply that I had a great coach, she gave me a training program and I was doing the work so I should be prepared. I was.

There were lots of emails and messages between myself, Tara and Kelly throughout the year, supporting and commiserating with one another, often wondering if Angie was actually trying to kill us. My wonderful cheering squad, Paul and Trogo, for keeping me company on those runs in the dark and the rain when I didn’t want to go and the long runs that just felt really long sometimes, you are amazing.

I’m not sure what my next adventure will be. I’m making my race bucket-list and I’ll see what fits for 2013. ½ corked marathon anyone?