Last Sunday I completed Ironman Canada with more than 2800 other athletes (70% male, 30% female). It took me 13 hours and 34 minutes to complete it….a long time to be doing anything.
We started off with the swim where I stayed at the back left to let all of the sharks go ahead. I felt really strong in the water maybe a little sharkish myself. I focused on staying relaxed in the water. It was definitely the most relaxed I have ever been in a swimming race situation. After 1: 25 of swimming I made it to the bike transition. Thank goodness for the wetsuit peelers!!! After changing in the transition tent I was off on the bike.
The first part of the bike was delightful…..then about 40 miles into it then you reach 6 miles of hill climb up Richter Pass. It wasn’t actually as bad as I thought! At the top of the pass I had my first of 3 bathroom stops on the rideL My digestive system was not happy eating all of the Gu and sports drinks…..too much caffeine and sugar. I have to admit at that point I was worried about dehydration as it was 96 degrees and athletes were dropping like flys! Then after going down the awesome downhill of Richter Pass there were more hills and at about 90 miles a 10 mile climb to Yellow Lake.
I tried to stay conservative on the bike for two reasons. First, I am new at triathlon so I wasn’t really sure if my legs would make it during the run and I knew I wanted to run the marathon. Secondly, my left knee has very little cartilage left and had been giving me problems for a couple of months leading up to the race. Luckily they had some great physios there who were able to kinesio tape my knee….felt a bit better!
My knee made it through the bike but was sore at the start of the run. After transitioning from bike to run I thought to myself….seriously I have to run a marathon now?! I tried to break it up into a half marathon and 2 10ks. Is my knee gonna make it, I thought??? It is amazing that the physical body wants to stop but even more amazing is our mind’s ability to keep the body going. In an event like this or with difficult life situations it is our mind that can often get in the way of working through tough times.
I’m sure my running (or should I say shuffling) stride was a little off but I managed to jog it and RUN the last couple of miles. The best part of the race is when I saw Shannon's beautiful face and she said "you look suprisingly good!" She ran a mile or so with me (of course pushing the pace!!!) and there were crowds of cheering fans lining the streets as headed toward the finish.
I was so happy to see the finish line and thought well this is it……I am an ironman! When being interviewed at the end I said "this is it one and done….my one and only ironman. I think it took me about 15 minutes to realize…..with what I know now that I could do so much better….. next time…..who knows….. tbd
It doesn’t matter whether you complete an ironman, 5k, want to do a pull up or are coming back from injury…..set a goal for yourself, be disciplined enough to train for it and complete it. You will be amazed at what you learn in the process. Thanks for all of your support! Chris
If you are need for some inspiration check out the 2011 race day video http://www.ironman.ca/ - gpm1_2