Monday, August 4, 2014

Ironman Canada

Ironman Canada... grab a a cup of coffee or maybe a bottle of wine- it's a long one

I was excited and scared….my last IM was Cabo which was a DNF (not a surprise due to a pulled hamstring) but pulling out was hard.  Previous Ironman was 2012 Lake Placid- my worst Ironman ever, felt terrible all day and the marathon was miserable.  So I was scared and wondering if I lost my Ironman mojo.

This was #8.

Alarm set for 3:15 and I woke up 2:45 wide awake.  I was in bed at 7:30 and asleep by 8:15.  I take 1 Sleep Aid before a race, I practiced at home and was fine, but this allows me to get a solid sleep in before the big day.  

3:30- beet power + amino acids.  Cooked and ate 700 calories of gluten free pancakes with oats, topped with butter and almond butter.  2 monster cups of coffee with almond mild.  Done eating 3:45 and managed to do a bit of work, really I was calm and comfortable. This is why I stay in a house, condo or 1 room suite, so John can sleep I can get up and move about comfortably.

4:15- sunscreen, kit, timing chip, HR monitor, sweats, long sleeve jersey, beanie and sweatshirt + wool socks and oofos. 

4:30 left to meet Liz and Lean and standing there I see a guy with his wetsuit and the alarm goes off- mine is in the hotel room.  2 minute jog back, key to side entrance to building does not work, run to front desk, hysterically demand calmly ask for a new key, retrieve wetsuit and back in time to walk to the shuttle

4:50: drop special needs bags

BIKE: 1 bottle of 120 calories OSMOS and the other 4 Bonk Breakers cut in ½ in a bag
RUN: glucose tabs. Aquaphor, socks, kit kat from mini bar ( really?- yes)

5:10 on the bus to swim start.  Swim is 2k walking or 3.8k driving. Feeling calm and excited. Chatting with Liz and Leah.

5:20 – arrive Alta Lake- mist on the lake, snow capped mountains, trees everywhere, music playing, and energy is rolling.  Now it gets real. That pit in my stomach is there.   Pee, check bike, Garmin on, bonk breakers in bento box, bottles in cages and now off to find friends.   Less nervous talking and hanging with SD Peeps.  Long lines for porta potties so Les and I forage in the trees- watch out for poison ivy.

6:00-drink Osmos Pre Load with 16 oz water. 

6:30- where the time goes I don’t know- and our wetsuits are on, bags dropped but kept the socks. Grass is wet and it’s chilly.  Sun is up and this is happening!!!

SWIM:  IM Canada is a 2 loop swim course with a water start. Pro’s Men went off 6:45 and Pro Women 6:50. I was in the water 6:50 and did a light warm up.  I don’t do much of swim warm up for an Ironman.  I found my place font row near the red buoy (far left buoy) the setting was sensational – now capped mountains surrounding the lake, that sense of calm before the storm.  I was calm with a few butterflies but all in all really happy.  Of course around 6:59 2-3 guys swim in front and try and take their place in front of me.  I bully my way back to the front. The cannon went off without any warning and the dog fight began. I was beat up a lot the first 300 meters, pushed under twice by a giant hand on my back, swallowed full mouthfuls of water (hoping this lake did not have Giardia) and soon settled in.  But the 1st buoy I had settled in and was feeling good.  Loop 1 seemed long but I had a guy in sight and he kept me on task and focused on pace.  I was swimming comfortably strong and within my limits. After the initial cluster I settled into every 3 stroke breathing.   Swim done and out …. I usually don’t look at my time as I don’t want it to affect my day.  But someone shouted 55 and I was pleasantly relieved!  The long OW swims and really, really tough masters swim pay off.  

To get faster even better swimmers need to really be pushed and 90% of us cannot do that on our own. So going to 6am Masters with Hex at the Encinitas Y 3x a week paid off.  Interval swimming is what it takes.  I averaged 13-14,000  yards a week and added 1 OW swim a week toward the end.  People often say to me “you are such a good swimmer can’t you just swim 1-2 days a week” The answer is yes and I have done an Ironman on swimming 7-8000 yards a week.  I swam 5-6 minutes slower BUT came out of the water tanked.  This is the key here, even if you don’t get a lot faster, if you can get out of the water fresh, then you ready for Ironman. Questions on swimming?  Email me

Moved through T1 calmly but quickly, Used wetsuit stripes and on my bike. I sip water only for 20 min, allowing my stomach to settle, get used to being up right again. 

I had specific power targets and caps for the bike and I rode spot on.  The bike is 1 “loop with nice long descent from the start out to Olympic Park, and then what seemed like a lot of climbing up to the actual Park where the ski jumps etc. were. It was stunning.  I was in control and had so many flying by me on this climb, out of the saddle, feeling good and going for it. I stayed seated and stuck to my power cap.  This hard as it seems so slow.  The descent back down was spectacular and I flew past the 2 girls who passed up on the climb. We climbed back to Whistler Village, and then a long descent to Pemberton, and then a VERY flat out and back in Pemberton.  This is 35 mile TT- all aero, now using and recruiting different muscles.  I was feeling great- power spot on and was able to hold it without an issue.  Around 85 we began the near 20 miles of climbing back to Whistler and much of that at 10% grade. This is where it gets really.  6mph and a headwind.  I was on task with my power and riding past many of those who hammered by me in the beginning. 

Water on 30 min
Every 30 min ½ bonk breaker
Hour 1: 22 oz water only
Hour 2: 22 oz Osmos  + caffeine
Hour 3: 22 oz water
Hour 4: 22 ox Osmos + caffeine
Hour 5: 22 oz water
50 min: water only
Total Calories:  1650
Bike split 5:50 xx

Set up : Speedfill A2 between aero bars with water only and would refill at aid stations
Osmos in bottle cage. Used Special needs for 2nd Osmos bottle + additional bonk breakers. Reynolds 404 in front and Zipp disc in rear (loved the hummmm of the disc)  

Rolled into T2 and handed off the bike (LOVE this feeling) and could tell my legs were okay.  In and out of transition on onto the run.

The 1st few miles feel great to everyone and my goal is to hold back on the pace.  With a goal of 8:35 pace I wanted (and did ) run my 1st 3 miles at 9:00.  It felt like 11:00 pace but I kept it in control.   The run course is 2 loops a mix of bike path, trail and road, lots of shade with nearly 2000 ft. of elevation gain.    Loop 1 went by quickly and I was feeling good. At the beginning of the 2nd loop it got hard, Ironman hard and I was waiting for Les to pass me.  It was going to be any mile but I was focused on my race and what I could do that day. 

My pace was off and I had decided not to push it around mile 5 – the it was not there.  Mile 18 had to make a porta potty stop and I was worried GI issues were setting in but it was just one bout and then back running in a lot of pain now and around 19+ Les came by running like a bat out of hell, it was inspiring to see.  At this point my goals were 1- keep eating 2-keep moving 3- where the F is 3rd place. 

Around 21 when it was getting dark I see John and he says “just keep moving you can do it Jules” Ok I do.  I am now running 100 steps walking 25 and NOT happy.  Self-doubt battling with positive talk, I am taking it 1 mile at a time, crowds are good.  23 John “don’t give up, you are awesome, you got this” he is excited and tearful, I feed off his emotion.  I was walking 50/50 and I go to 75/25.  

My back is searing in pain, my legs are cramped and some sort of blister is is hard to move, and something is on fire on my foot- I LOVE IRONMAN.  Mile 24 God bless him more encouraging works and then around 25 “ I want to go to Kona, come on Jules”  I start running and figure it’s the least I can do for all he puts up with is get him a trip to Kona. Soon that surreal feeling of running down chute.  OMG it’s over….  Leading the race until mile 19 was fun, knowing Leslie was running me down was not fun, but I have to say if I had to take 2nd, I would not have wanted anyone else to take 1st. Now I have a training partner for Kona.   GO LES! She rocked it that day and had the better race....I still have one more shot to hold her off 10/11 :) 
300 calories of Ignite InCarb + Osmos I had in T2 fermented so that was out
Water + perform every aid station through mile 13
Water  + coke 13-26
2 packages of Honey Stinger Organic Chews

Final thoughts… Swim was excellent.  Bike was spot on. Run, my fitness was simply not there (yet) for a marathon at the pace I want to run.  Taking 5 months off running takes a toll.  So the goal in continue to work on running and not be injured!

And the appreciation… most of all for John, who without his undying support and willingness to put up with this exhausting/time consuming sport, I would not have been at the start line.  For Chris @ AIMP Coaching, for taking me out of my comfort zone nice way of saying kicking my arse.  When I would freak out and self-doubt, Chris ignores the hysteria and moves forward, tough “love.”  Nytro Multisport for being the greatest Tri/Bike shop ever! Russ- the kick ass mechanic.  Betty Designs for the coolest kits on the course.  BonkBreaker for fueling 2nd to none.  Aquasphere for wetsuit that helped me beat a few of the male pros. Speedfill A2- easy access up front on the bike.  Giro and Oakley for the cool sunnies.

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