Thursday, September 6, 2012

Ironman Canada 2012 Race Report

Well, I finally broke the 12 hour mark and earned a 47 minute PB at this race.  (Yes I am happy, but definitely not content.  lol -- Next stop is going under step at a time!)

Here are my stats to get those out of the way:

Time:  11:13:51

Swim:  1:07:42
T1:  2:18
Bike:  5:51:56
T2:  2:37
Run:  4:09:18

After all was said and done, I have to admit that this was actually an "easy" Ironman....if such a thing exists.

Don't hit me or scream at the computer!  I am being totally honest here.  Apart from muscle pain  (I mean, it's gonna hurt somewhat, it IS an Ironman), I never went to any deep, dark place.  I had a plan, stuck with it, and bingo, bango, bucko.  :)

This was the first IM where I really noticed an improved fitness level.  (By the way, this was my 8th IMC and my 10th frigging iron-distance race!!!)

Going into the race, I knew my goal was emotional management.  Control my emotions.  Last year at IMC, when I spent most of the marathon standing on the side of the road doubled over in pain, I was so upset as I saw person after person run by me.  People who I KNEW I was faster than.

This emotional negativity added to my stomach distress...but I didn't realize that until I was in the last mile of the marathon.  My very awesome and dear friend, Susi, came running beside me and told me to "breathe deep," and "calm down."  When I started controlling my breathing, I'll be damned if my stomach problems eased up a bit!!

The realization hit me with the force of one of my crab-apples bombing me in the autumn...

"You mean I did THIS to myself?!"


Fast forward to a year later...race day.  I have learned a lot about myself and my emotions and was ready.

The swim felt pedestrian.  It felt "easy" in a I-am-fit-and-have-tapered-well kind of way.  The biggest difference I felt was my calm, low heart rate in the change tent after the swim.  After a sprint, olympic, or 1/2 iron swim, my HR always feels like it is through the roof.  (And it probably is, being you can go a lot harder in a shorter distance as opposed to an IM.)

I was sitting there on a chair putting my socks and  cycling shoes on, when I thought to myself, "Geez, my HR is so low!  I feel so relaxed and calm!"  What a feeling!

The bike was a blur...I was very focused on what I had to do and was literally in my own bubble the entire bike ride.  I had a great talk with Coach Sara before the race, and her words were in my head.  Everything was happening as it was meant to happen.

At Richter this year, I spun up and passed a lot of people.  It was so odd!  It felt very easy!  Like the change tent, I marvelled at how low my HR felt, how effortless it was.  I wish that feeling of ease lasted through the climb to Yellow Lake, but next year!! :)  :)

I ate by feel, and when I started to play the game of "Is it gas or am I hungry?" I switched to liquid nutrition.  (This was a big revelation for me this year too -- about 3:30 into a ride, I don't want to eat, even though my body wants to.  In the past, I didn't have a good strategy for dealing with this, and would often simply stop eating.  Not this year, baby!  Hahahaha!!  This year, I premixed bottles of plain Carbo-Pro.  No other flavour, because there comes a point on the bike where I don't WANT any flavour, I just need calories.  And it worked.)

I was looking forward to the run this year.  I had many goals throughout the day, and one of them was to get off the bike strong and ready to run.

My feet were frigging KILLING me when I got off the bike!!  There was a man in front of me who was obviously feeling pain too as I watched him try to run/hobble through T2.  I don't know whether it is the vibrations from the road sent through the cycling shoes and into my feet, but holy smokes my feet hurt and hurt BAD.  Anyone have insight into this?  I suspect it is the rough out-and-back section that does this, because I have never had sore feet like this at smoother-paved races.  Thoughts?

It has taken me a LOOOOOONG time to figure out a feeding/watering strategy for an IM race:
  1. How to drink out of aid station cups without stopping.
  2. How to get in the calories to keep running. 
I have finally honed my ability to drink from cups whilst running!!! YAHOO!!!!  I have spent YEARS trying to figure out how to actually drink from those little paper cups instead of spilling the contents on myself, inhaling/choking on said contents, or having to stop at aid stations so I could drink the thing!

Two things I did that totally work for me are:  carry my own water bottle, filled with just water.  (I bought two at a gas station before the race and put one in my special needs run bag), and carry my own gels in a baggy and stuff it down my sports bra.  The baggy-technique needs to be refined because the chafing that goes on in there is absolutely spectacular and the polysporin tube got squeezed a lot in the days that followed, let me tell you.

I had my salt tabs in another baggie that was already down my top from the bike portion.  I just reach in, feel for a pill and take it.

There were a few moments where I would get dizzy/light-headed, and I would ask myself, do I need to drink, eat, or take a salt tab?  At a couple of aid stations, I opted for gatorade instead of always taking a gel.

At one point during the run, I was faffing around with the lid to the water bottle (note to self, don't buy a water bottle with a pop-off lid ever again!  Buy the one where you can pull open with your teeth) and couldn't get the stupid thing open.  I was getting sort of dizzy running and looking at it.  I thought to myself, "When I look at it closely, I get dizzy."  So, of course, right away, I start looking at my bottle as closely as I can and keep feeling dizzy.  (This is the same phenomenon as when someone says, "Don't think of pink elephants."  lol!!)

I did this a couple of more times (looked at the bottle, not thought of pink elephants) until a voice in my head said, "If you get dizzy from looking at it closely, DON'T LOOK AT IT."  Wow, imagine that, eh?  lol -- and it worked. :)

Strangely enough, the voice was not that of my Bunler.  Why strange you ask?  Because ALL the way through the run, Mike's voice boomed in my head, "Calm the hell down."  LMAO!!!!

I am not kidding!!

Poor Mike, he never said anything like that to me before the race (although he has said something similar to me on other occasions when I am freaking out over the toilet seat, the crumbs on the counter or the dirty socks lying 2 inches from the laundry hamper), but as you recall, my goal was to manage my emotions, and when I needed the mental boost, my subconscious decided to call on Mike!  Hahahahaha!!!!  I heard it over and over again, "Calm the hell down."  lol. 

In the months prior to Ironman Canada, I had run a lot of my long runs on a this super hilly dirt road behind my house.  It goes up to another little housing division and there are very steep portions on it.  I would run this loop again and again -- when it was really hot out too.  I made myself hurt on those runs so the run at IMC would feel easier than what I was doing in training.  That was my plan anyways!  lol!

And it did work.  I was ready for the hilly portions, and just chugged, chugged along. My feet were killing me from the pounding of the running shoes are not good for running a marathon on pavement (they are fine up to a half-marathon, but the pounding just hurt soooo much) and the top of my right foot really hurt where the elastic lace was a bit tight.  I wasn't stopping to fix it, and it irritated me the entire 4 hours and 9 minutes, lol.

Over the finish line and whoo hoo, I am signed up for next year's race:  Challenge Penticton.

Ironman Cozumel is on November 25!  Time to start training again!! YAY!!!


Leana said...

Yeah Julie!!!!! Congratulations on an awesome race! I'm sorry I didn't get to say hi to you since I saw you right at the same time as my coach. You looked amazing out there. So proud of you!!

Kathy said...

WOW!!! What a great RR! I didn't know you are coming down for IMCOZ! Looking forward to seeing you again!

runningman said...

Good race report Julie, congratz on the PB!! I'm not sure if we got the same thing, sounds different, but my feet hurt the whole marathon too. For me it was the balls of both feet that hurt. I read online it's from wearing shoes that are too tight, and for me it def. was that. Weird with the elastic laces that I somehow got them too tight. It's called metatarsalgia, at least that's what caused my foot pain, and my feet are still hurting. Once again, good job!!

Julie said...

Leana -- Hahaha -- I realized that the timing was not the best when I saw you! A whole Ironman and we pick that one time for our paths to cross eh? Lol!

Kathy -- You betcha gorgeous! It will be great seeing you again as well! :) :)

Darryl -- Weird about the foot feet throbbed that night but then I was ok. So bizzare! Congrats to you too, buddy!! RUNNINGMAN!!! :) :) :)

CAM said...

Nice Race,Congrats on the pr. Keep chipping away!

kelsey said...

YAY! I fricking love it. Congrats on the PB. Let's catch up soon!

Theia said...

Yahooooo!!!! Awesome race and awesome report.

OMG, the first thing I thought of when you said you put a baggie down your sports bra was "Ooofff! Chafing!!!!"

So excited for you. Great race and a huge PR too.

Susi said...

What an amazing journey! So glad you tapped into the emotional areas too, they really play a big role! I am so happy for you!! Xoxo

Lisa Graham said...

Julie! Fantastic job out there! I'm so proud of you! Sounds like you had one of those elusive 'effortless' days where the suffering just doesn't show up, or if it is present it is not the center of the party. Your run was amazing, what a breakthrough race for you!

A 47min PR is just incredible - and I think a sub-11 is not only around the corner, but you are entirely capable of a sub-10:30! Go out and get it in Cozumel!!

Happy training! (but take some much needed RnR first!)


Simon Craig said...

Congrats on ur PB
I just came upon ur blog by accident ...
I had similar foot pain as you in T2 and the sol'n was Tri specific shoes
I came from a road cycling background and it was ONLY road shoes for me. I always had terrible pain in T2 and thought it was just part of the fun.
I experimented with Tri specific shoes and will never go back.
Ur a 10 IM veteran so this probably is not applicable but I thought I would mention my sol'n to a similar problem.
I was also at IMC this year
Congrats again !!!
Simon Craig

Julie said...

Hi Simon!

Thanks a lot for the advice --- and just because I have done a lot of IMs, doesn't mean I know everything!! Far, far from it!! lol.

I will check out and see what kind of shoes I have...thanks for the insight! :)

Big Daddy Diesel said...

Congrats on another successful IM!!

I am a little sad IMC is no more, it was a bucketlist race for me