Ironman Victoria is a beautiful venue, and if you haven’t raced there, you really should! The water is almost always pleasantly warm, the bike is pretty and technical and the run is a beautiful 2 loop trail around Elk/Beaver Lake. The weather is usually slightly cooler, and being on the coast, there is always a chance it could be wet!
Usually Victoria is a pretty tame field compared to other 70.3 races on the circuit. This year, there was some solid competition that showed up on the list: Rinny, Heather Wurtele and Paula Findlay were all up there at the top!
I wasn’t really prepped for this race, as Ironman Frankfurt has been #1 priority. With this race only being a month out from Victoria, I could not afford to take any training away from my Ironman prep. So I headed into this race with “heavy legs”. Not to take anything away from myself, but I knew it was going to be a challenge to even make it on the podium!
The swim this year was barely wetsuit legal! Start times are very early for this race – 5:55am for the men and 5:57 for us. As the gun went off, I dove in and tried to find some feet. I could feel my breathing getting tight, so had to slow down a bit to regroup. Once I got into a rhythm, I just tried to focus on every stroke and catch some fast feet. I made it into a group that felt like we were moving along decently. I exited the swim in 29 min. I was hoping I’d be a little faster, but anything under 30min I’m happy with.
This bike course is beautiful, but technical enough that it’s slower than you would expect. I picked off a few women as I plugged through the miles, but my legs didn’t really wake up until 60km into the ride. This was a little frustrating, but at least I was able to pick up the pace in the last third. There’s a little out-and-back climb at 70-75km, which is really your only chance to see your competitors. I passed one on the way up, and was pleasantly surprised when I saw that I wasn’t too far off first and second!
I came into T2 right on Rinny’s heels in fourth, which was fun, but I knew there was no hope I could even think about running with her! As I headed out, despite my feet being numb, my legs felt better than I thought they would! The thing with this course, is because it is so sheltered, your watch is very unreliable. I had forgotten to split it properly when I left transition, so as I passed the first KM marker, I wasn’t sure what pace I was running. I decided to forget trying to figure that out, and just focus on form and breathing. The flat sections felt great, but the little ups and down were where I could really feel the fatigue in my legs. There is one little out-and-back that is the only place you can see where you are standing. This is roughly at 6-7km and 17-18km. On the first loop, I wasn’t surprised at the gap….only about 30sec to fourth place, but I was surprised that there were two more women right there hot on her heels! I knew that Jen and I run roughly the same pace, but had no idea if these other two could run me down! All I could do is run my best and hope for the best! I was surprised to Find Paula walking due to an injury. So I moved into third. As I ran, I kept looking back, and thankfully wasn’t able to see anyone. When I got to the out-and-back again, I was terrified to see Jen only 20sec behind with those other two girls right there! I was running so scared at this point, and was trying to do the math for the final 3ish kms. I put it all out there, and managed to hold onto third! With fourth and fifth less than a minute behind! It was an exciting race for sure, and I was happy with my performance!
Now it’s crunch time to Ironman Frankfurt!!!
Thank you once again to my family, friends, coach and sponsors: Ventum, F2C Nutrition, Skechers Performance Canada, Swagman Racks, EnergyLab, BlueSeventy, Pioneer, Wattie Ink, Podium Imports, ISM saddles, The Bike Barn, Nuvista Chiropractic and Wellness, Zizu Optics, Zealios, Frontier Coffee Company, Okanoggin Barbers, and JonnyOcoaching.