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Sunday, August 24, 2014

IM Canada (Swim)

3:00 am came too soon (does it ever come too late?) but I actually slept pretty good and was awake.  Kirk and friends were moving around and we ate breakfast, coffee and headed out to the shuttle to bring us over to the swim start.  The early morning was chilly (in the 50's) but very clear and felt like a great race day.   The shuttle ride, borrowing a pump to air up tires and a lot of nervous peeing in the wetsuit was the blur of how it went till the mass start.

At the 5 minute till race mark I swam out to the bouey and treaded water about the 3rd row back.  The water was chilly (66 degrees) but I had my earplugs in and extra head cap for warmth.  All of sudden the gun went off and it was a churning mess.  2000 or so swimmers full of arms and legs.  The first 200 meters were fine and I was out front a bit more than I should I have been.  It was 4 turns per lap and two laps.  A lot of bottlenecks.  My arms, as all previous times with a wetsuit, were tight and heavy.  I hate hate hate the feeling of swimming in a wetsuit.  If I slowed down I would get run over and if I sped up I would run people over.  I tried to feel a groove and actually started swimming ok, a bit slow but ok.  The last turn finally came and I swam to shore.  Wow the first leg was over and my watch showed 1:05 out of the water-- 1:07 according to timing chip.  Not great by any means and I really need to evaluate the wetsuit-- my out of shape 100m average is easily a 1:30 split and I can do that all day long (in a warm pool).  My race pace in "shape" (these days) for the 1600m is a 1:20 average per 100m.  I just don't see how with a wetsuit (which is supposed to be faster) puts me at a 1:44 per 100m. I know it's an open cold water swim but still I don't understand it and should look further (better fit?) if I do another one of these b/c I always feel much worse with a wetsuit than without.

In any case I was not very tired (or dizzy) and that was the most important. Someone came over and stripped my wetsuit off and I went into the changing tent.  I took my time and ate a bunch of gu's, powerbar fruit thingy's, drank a lot and then ran over to my bike.... and here comes one heck of a long ride.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Ironman Canada


Exactly a year ago I signed up for the Ironman Canada after a good friend convinced me to enter the race.  I have always been interested in completing a full ironman event but the expense, time away and  frequent sell outs have been limiting factors.  In 2011 I did two half's a week apart while visiting family and completed both in 5hrs even.  Of course I was expecting to do around a 10:30 or thereof... seemed reasonable- I actually felt fitter than a few years ago and LW has helped me incredibly the past couple of ITI races.

Well, after this years ITI my body was trashed and had to recover for a month before I started swimming in the pool.  Almost exclusively I swam building to 9-10km a week in the pool and finally felt good swimming-- till our pool closed in early June.  Then I switched back to training on the bike for a month and even completed the training "ride" across the seward peninsula as well as lots of biking in Maui. I had been running a little bit interspersed but not a lot, albeit the foreshadowing to my downfall.  I completed runs but overall felt lethargic- not sure if left over from ITI. In either case I managed a 20 miler two weeks before the Ironman in about 3 hours very casually and slowly.   I felt like I could "easily" do at least 3:45 or 4:00.  Yep not so much.

Kirk and me-- I should probably wear a hat these days...
About a month before the race I was in Maui talking with a fellow Ride to the Sun racer. He was from Canada and I was talking about the Ironman race and somehow he mentioned "passport"... then it clicked...oops.  I haven't traveled international since the kids were born and knew the passport was expired.  When I returned I had almost 3 weeks till race day.... In Nome Alaska there is no passport agency, in Alaska there is no passport agency.  I had to risk an expedited mailing. As a result I had no idea if I would be going.  Additionally, I had no tri bike.  I was in the middle of transforming my road bike but as a result of previous rides in Nome the rear derailleur was broken as well as the whole drivetrain and brake / shifter cables. In Nome Ak there are no bikes shops so my Amazon ordering (months ago) resulted in wrong parts and delays.  Foreshadowing, part II.

Was I nervous about not making the race and not having a bike?  Eh not really it just seems so me and worse case I don't race and lose an AK miles ticket. Typical. Amazingly, at 5 days pre race departure I rec'd my passport! Whew! Then.... two days before departure I received the balance of my bike parts.... I frantically put it together and hoped for the best.

That's a LOT of expensive bikes!
Departure day.  I hopped on the plane and 12 hours later was in Vancouver.  The next day I met my friend Kirk and we drove to Whistler.  The scenery was incredible, Whistler was simply beautiful. The temps were mild and even chilly at night.  Pre race events and spending were 'fun'. I put my bike together and it seemed to all work out.  The swim course was in a lake that was about 66 degrees and I could tell that I haven't swam in a while.  The wetsuit, as always, felt constricting.  The cold water stimulated my balance canals (i.e. dizzy) so I used earplugs which worked great.  Everything was looking good.

Race day:   Next Post.... if I get around to writing again!