Where do I begin? This race was incredible. I LOVED every second of racing. I feel like the whole time I was out there racing, I could literally feel how much I love this sport. I love the people, the community, the feeling of challenging my mind and body, and getting to see a city by swim, bike, run. Triathlon feels like “home” to me. As much as training had been a challenge, due to my mind not being totally in a place to put in the long hours, I feel like because of my minimalist training approach, I was more stoked to be racing than ever. I was not burnt out going in, or tired, or sore, or anything. I felt fresh. I felt inspired. Excited. And ready to rock! I knew that this race was going to be my last ironman for a bit, and so I was excited to just enjoy it. I had no expectations going in, because I had gone the minimalist training approach – and when I say that – most of my weeks were 10-12hrs, and my longest was 17hrs, and I honestly had no idea how long it was going to take me. I was prepared mentally to be out there all friggin’ day, if I needed to. :)
So, with that here is my race report.
I had swam in the lake a couple times before race day, and I was so excited for the swim. The water was the perfect temperature – 68F, and it is beautiful with the mountains surrounding the lake. The water is soooo clear. You can easily see the person’s feet in front of you, and your hand as it enters the water. I honestly could have stayed in the water all day. The swim is two loops, and it is a big ol’ rectangle.
Side note: I always buy a new pair of goggles at the expo before race day. BUT, TYR didn’t have a booth at the expo, even though they were the swim headlining sponsor. I was pretty upset, not gonna lie. How can you sponsor a swim, and have no product at the expo? I checked all the “tri” store pop up tents too. No where to be found. And, my fear of my goggles leaking came true. It’s okay though. I kind of expected it, so I didn’t freak out, when it started to happen.
There’s a wide start line, so I started kind of near the middle, and then worked my way toward the buoys, it wasn’t too bad of a start. Crowded and chaos like usual, I stayed in the “mess” until the turn 1 buoy, and then I realized how much free space there was about 20yds to the right of the buoys, so I decided, to stay out wide and just make my loops bigger in order to have a nicer, more enjoyable swim. I may have swam more than 2.4 miles, but I didn’t care. I’m soooo glad I made that choice. I seriously had the best swim ever. I feel like if I had made that decision sooner, my swim would have been even faster, but I’m glad that I went for it that early on. I thought to myself, I’m a strong swimmer, and I’m here to enjoy my day, not be annoyed and frustrated the entire swim. So, there I swam all by my lonesome, 20yds to the right of the buoys, and enjoying every pull along the way in the crystal clear waters of Alta Lake.
Swim Distance: 2.4 miles
Swim Time: 1:13:17 – 1:44/100yd
It was an Ironman Swim PR for me!
So, to say I was stoked is an understatement. I mean I was only swimming about 2 days a week, and 3 days a week on a good week. And I mostly swam only for 45min- 2400yds ish, I only did one 4500yd swim. Who knew minimalist training had such amazing benefits? The truth about swimming is, I knew I wasn’t going to get crazy fast, or crazy slow. I kind of feel like once I got to this level of my swim, it’s kind of just stayed the same, and I’m okay with that for now. Because when it comes to Ironman, or even 70.3’s, even if I took off another 5sec per 100, I would only save a few minutes. And in order to lose another 5sec/100yds of my swim, I would have to be in the pool almost every day, and get a lot of technique training, etc. and well I’m not trying to be a pro or be in the Olympics, so I’m content with just being fit for now. :) So, yay for a PR and minimalist training!
T1: 4:46 – Nothing crazy here. It was a bit longer than I anticipated because I had to put my arm warmers on, it was chilly in the morning, and obviously I was wet from the swim. I’m really, really happy I went with this decision. And it was still right around all of my other ironman T1 times.
Oh man, what can I say about the bike? It is A LOT of climbing. I knew it was going to be a lot, because I had friends who had done the course before, and according to their Garmin’s it said 7,000 ish feet of climbing. Yup, you read that right. Wisconsin is around 6,000, and another 1,000 was going to be tough. Although, Wisconsin is rolling, so you can practically power up the other side, so your speed doesn’t slow too much. In Whistler, it’s more mountainous, so your speed really slows, because there are long slow climbs. It was definitely challenging, but it was also BEAUTIFUL!
The bike is 1 “loop”. We have a nice long descent from the start out to Olympic Park, and then we climb and climb and climb up to the park, and then we descend back down, and then we climb back up to Whistler Village, and then a long descent to Pemberton, and then a VERY flat out and back in Pemberton, and then 20 miles of climbing back to Whistler. Yup, 20 miles straight of climbing. My average for those last 20 miles was 11.98mph. It’s kind of funny. I knew that we had 20 miles of climbing, so when I got to Pemberton on the flat section, I decided to really push it, and get my average mph up as high as I could, so that when I started climbing, my overall average wouldn’t be soooo bad. I remember getting to the start of the flat section and being at an average of 17.5mph, I made it a goal to be at 18mph by the end of the flat section, but I was at 18mph by the turn around, so then I made it a goal to be at 18.5mph before I started climbing those last 20 miles, and I did it! I like setting little goals like that through the race, it makes the time fly by, and gives you something to work towards.
I honestly felt great the whole bike. My legs felt fresh, and I was ready to just get after it. The only downside on my bike was that like usual my gearing got all messed up! I am soooo frustrated with my bike, it’s not even funny. I have taken it in to the bike shop a bunch, I have new cables, new chain, new cassette, everything, and my gearing just sucks. I don’t know why. But, by the middle of the bike, I only had 5 gears left working in the big chain ring, and 6 left working in the small chain ring. Seriously. It was crazy. All I can say is at least the easiest gear worked, because I needed it for those last 20 miles. haha.
Anyone else ride a Felt B16? Do you have trouble with your gearing?
What I ate and drank:
- 2 bottles of Powerade (Strawberry Lemonade) – I train with Osmo Nutrition and Powerade, but come race day, I have been using Powerade for the last two ironmans, and my bike rides kicked ass, so it was more of a superstition than anything. haha.
- 2 bottles of water from aid stations
- 1 bobo’s oat bar
- 1 pack of PowerGel Blasts (Strawberry Banana)
- 1 SunRype Strawberry Fruit Strip
Bike Distance: 112 miles
Bike Time: 6:38:17 – 16.87mph – 7,326 ft of climbing
T2: 2:09 – Nothing crazy here. Typical quick in and quick out. I did ask for sunscreen, and I don’t know why they don’t use spray bottles. I mean I looked like a crazy person with white paint everywhere, when I ran out. lol.
I LOVE the run. Yes, it’s the most painful part, but it’s where I’m happiest, and it’s my strength. I just smile the whole time. I love being around all the people, and high fiving the kids, and seeing my family. It is just so much fun. I always start out slower than I think I should because I know I’m going to be out there for a while, and I’m only going to get slower, so my goal is to just keep running. To hold a pace that feels comfortable and just never stop running.
The run is two loops and there is A LOT of climbing on the run too. It’s kind of relentless. No super long crazy climbs that I can remember, but it’s just constantly up and down. My goal was to stay focused, and to stay positive, and love every second of it. I kept thinking to myself, isn’t this fun? I get to do this! I get to challenge my mind and my body. And I’m going to be a 4x ironman! How cool is that?
What I ate and drank:
- Cup of water at every aid station (which was about every mile)
- 1 pack of PowerGel Blasts (Strawberry Banana)
- Coke at every aid station the last 5 miles.
Total Distance: 26.2 miles
Total Time: 4:19:05 – 9:53min/mile – 2800ft of climbing
Total Distance: 140.6 miles
Total Time: 12:17:34
I was stoked at the finish line! And I felt the best I have ever felt post-race, and during the race. Part of me thinks that maybe if I trained a bit harder, I could have gone faster, but another part of me, LOVED every second of minimalist training. I was able to have a balanced life and still have a super successful race. And I have never felt better in a race. My stomach felt great. My legs felt great. And most of all, I was the happiest and had the most fun I have ever had. Was it fun chasing girls down at Ironman Wisconsin last year and getting 6th? YES. Was it fun PRing at Ironman Arizona last year after my bad bike crash? YES. But, I honestly felt amazing the whole time during this race, and post-race, I was able to eat for the first time EVER. STOKED!
Thanks everyone for all your support in my journey in finishing my 4th Ironman. I’m excited for new challenges and adventures to come! I’m thinking of possibly an xterra triathon, some trail running races, and more fun things. But first up, the Swim24 Challenge! If you’re interested in donating to help teach kids how to swim, you can do so here.
Thank you to Coeur Sports, Osmo Nutrition, and Saucony for the new Kinvaras! Very thankful to have the support I have.
Also, a HUGE thank you to all the cheers from fellow racers, spectators, and all the shout outs on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. I can’t tell you how impressed I was with the spectators at this race. I was amazed. I thought nothing could compare to Wisconsin, but Whistler did not disappoint. There is something so calming and sweet about Whistler. Everyone is so warm, helpful, and friendly. It felt like my whole family was cheering me on along the course, oh wait, they were. haha! Thank you to my family for being there for me every step of the way. You have always supported my dreams, my goals, and I can’t thank you each enough. My mom, dad, Jenny, Ty, Tara, and of course, little London. London brings tears to my eyes, when I see her. She is the sweetest niece, and makes me excited for the day that I get to have my own kids. What a beautiful journey this all has been. Much love to you all!