Well, I've had a good week to reflect on my experience in Whistler, BC Canada last weekend and I can say it was overall a fun time. Whistler is an excellent destination and I couldn't think of a more beautiful place to race!
Swim: We had a small pro women's field so I knew it would be easy to keep track of some good feet. I was shooting to swim on Karen and/or Bree's feet and that's exactly what went down. We went out hard for only a few hundred meters then I settled in nicely behind them as they swam the first loop side by side. It was a two loop swim in PERFECT water (clear and 66 degrees). The second loop Karen pulled to the front and seemed to pick it up a bit until we started hitting slower 1st loop swim traffic. Then it was just a matter of navigating. The sun was an issue on the back stretch, so having some mirrored goggles was key. Came out just behind Bree, 4th swimmer. 56min and change.
T1: It was a bit chilly in the morning, but I opted not to put on anything for the ride, which made for a quick transition! Made sure to have my bike in an easy gear as there is an uphill mount and a climb just out of transition.
Bike: I ride with power so this is always useful and part of my goals for the ride - not too many power spikes (which proved tough on this course) and keep the avg up where it should be for IM. My secondary goal was to stay up near the front of the race since these were all girls I knew I could ride with. With Anna and Karen up ahead, Bree caught me a few miles into the ride and we proceeded to stay together almost the entire ride (along with an official on a motorcycle- also the whole time). It was pretty helpful to have someone to work on pacing with and to keep motivation up when I was in a lul. She had one more gear than me, so keeping up on the descents was tough/frustrating. I had a 12/27, but would probably go with an 11/27 or 11/28 in the future. There were plenty of 10% grade climbs- including some in the last 20 miles which proved to just smash my legs! No matter how much you think you're saving, it is not enough to climb at the end of 100mi. 4th off the bike, 5:31 split.
T2: quick change into run shoes and some water and sunscreen
Run: I took off on the run feeling ok, thinking I still probably had a shot at moving up in the race. I was getting feedback that everyone looked like crap and that's always motivating to me....unfortunately it wasn't long before I also started to look like crap. Soon it seems like it was somewhat of a death-march-determination-survivalfest for all of the women and they just held on a bit better than me! I used all the tricks in my book to make my body keep running, but there were just too many porto-stops and some weird stomach pains that didn't allow for any fast running. 3:27....slowest marathon in a long time! On the plus-side, there were plenty of aid stations and it was a very well shaded trail run the whole time! Gorgeous run course!
Overall: I snuck in under 10hrs - 9:59. I was able to hang on to 4th place and am happy knowing that I did what I could with what my body had for the day. Like I said after the race, some days you're the hammer and some days you're the nail. After 18 or so Ironman races I can safely say that some feel awesome all day, some are awesome part of the day (like this one) and some are just tough all the way through. I'm just thankful my body puts up with it and I can come away healthy and ready for the next one, whatever it may bring!!
Thank-you's: First to Mark who is my biggest supporter, believer in my potential and proud of me no matter what. Next to coach Cliff English who takes time to talk me through the ups and downs in training, and helps me get to the finish line healthy and in the best shape I can be.
My sponsors: Timex Multisport team and our affiliated sponsors- Trek Bikes, Shimano, Castelli, Feetures, Blue Seventy
My personal sponsors: Powertap, Rudy Project, Peak Performance Massage Madison, Powerbar, Endurance House Middleton, Speed Cycling
Thanks for reading - next up, IRONMAN WI!! Home turf, baby!