Ironman Canada: Kona Bound
It was great to be able to race the last edition of Ironman Canada Whistler before it returns to its roots in Penticton next year. I was fortunate enough to also have my family join me for this race! I have been racing for years now, and it’s not very often that Jay, Nixon and my parents are able to make it out for a race! It was amazing to have them out on the course and to have Nixon medal me at the finish!
While I was shooting for a Kona spot in Frankfurt, Ironman Canada was my “A” race this year. Racing two Ironman’s four weeks apart is not ideal, however, Germany was so hot that I really didn’t get to race super hard and put my fitness to the test! I thought I recovered well from Germany, but was definitely more tired going into this race. I was up against some speedy women, and felt it was going to be a tight race between 4-5 of us.
Race day morning was cold…. Or at least colder than what I have been used to, so once I got in for the warm up swim, I was warmer in the water than I was standing around! The gun went off at 5:50am, and I quickly found some feet. We were moving pretty good until about 500m in when the feet I was following totally dies off. I found myself pulling a whole group, which was not what I wanted to be doing! Thankfully by the first turn buoy, Jodie made a pass on me and I was able to stay on her feet. The two loop swim is total chaos for our second loop as we are running into the back of the slower swimmers. Thankfully Jodie did a great job navigating us through the crowd. I was happy to come out with another 58min swim, and it was a huge boost to see that there were still a number of bikes left on the racks.
I opted not to wear any extra layers as I thought it would warm up quickly and adrenaline would do its job. I was totally wrong as I had a hard time even getting my hands to work enough to get my bottles out! This lasted for the first 70km or so, and then they finally warmed up. The two lead girls were hammering the bike and I was playing a little cat and mouse with Jodie. The new bike course had 2400m of elevation gain, which is the most I have ever ridden in a race. The plan was to bike conservatively with lower watts than a flat fast course that would easily be 30min faster. This paid off as I started to either catch the girls that went too hard, or slow down the gapping to the lead girls. While I was frustrated that I couldn’t get closer to the girls up front, I knew that it would be a rough run if I wasn’t smart. I came off the bike in 5th, and got out on the run in 4th, 16min down from the leader (Heather).
This run course is beautiful, but by no means flat! It again is another course that GPS doesn’t work properly for a good portion of the course due to the trees. It took me a few km to find my legs, and at the first out and back, I saw how close Kelsey was to me. She looked very strong, so I was definitely scared. Once we got to the far turn by lost lake, I had a better idea of where I sat with the girls in front. Heather was running strong, but I had managed to put a bit of a dent in her, and a decent dent in Dede. I was really hoping that those two had ridden too hard, and that my patience would pay off (Sorry girls!). AS I got closer to the halfway point, I was told that I was running the fastest in the field. I definitely ran hard for the first 10km, so I was putting all of my trust in my fitness that I could hold on! At halfway, Dede was only 4min in front, so I was gaining quickly, and caught her within the next 4-5km. This put me in second and I was still gaining on Heather. I was also expanding the gap to the girls behind me, so I was feeling pretty comfortable with where I was sitting…..as long as I didn’t blow up! I managed to stay strong, but definitely did not run a negative split!! I knew I had second in the bag, and I was running out of real-estate to catch Heather. Another second place finish for me, and my Kona spot!! And who would have thought my run would be the weapon!! Super stoked to have the fastest run split of the day on a super tough course!
Now a bit of down time to enjoy a couple weeks of summer at home before diving into some solid Kona training!!
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.