Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ironman Canada 2012 Race Report

Date:  August 26, 2012
Weather:  low 80s, very nice
Water temperature:  low 70s
Other:  This was my second Ironman in two weeks, as I finished Ironman New York in 12 hours and 48 minutes on 8/11/12.  I decided to do the second Ironman to support my friend Miranda (doing her first Ironman) and also because I am planning on doing some Ultra marathons in the future and wanted to have a couple of tough races close together to see how I would recover.  I have been very surprised by how quickly I recover from long races and fully attribute it to my vegan diet.

Video of me finishing the race (unfortunately I couldn't hold the tape over my head for a great picture because I knew somebody was right behind me....note my huge smile as I walk across the line, very happy to be done).  You can start to see me with my arms in the air about 5 feet from the finish line when the clock reads 13:12:12 and I'm wearing a red shirt and black bike shorts.


Over the last year, I have worked to improve my swim and was hoping to better my 1 hour 33 minute swim time from IM Canada 2011.  I have become much more comfortable in the water over the last year and actually enjoy swimming around others.  Last year, I waited until all other swimmers started and then started my swim (all the way off to the right on the beach).  This year, I decided to start in the middle of the beach and in the middle of the pack, something I have never done in any other triathlon.  So, this year, I started the swim standing in the water.  From the start, it was congested and I was getting grabbed and pulled a lot.  I am fastest early in my swims, so I was able to swim away from the people grabbing at my feet, and I found myself having to swim slower than I wanted because people in front of me were slower than me.  So, for the first 10 minutes or so, I worked my way around slower swimmers until I found a faster-than-me swimmer that I could draft off of.  This was great, I drafted off him for the first mile of the swim, to the first turn (the swim course is out into the lake for 1 mile, across for 0.4 miles, and back to the beach for 1 mile).   For the first mile, there was a guy drafting off me.  Unfortunately, I am cursed with a very strong sense of smell, and I always can smell people's breath while racing.  In shorter distance triathlons, I can often smell heavy alcohol on the breath of athletes.  I can deal with that smell.  Today, the passive-aggressive guy drafting off me, who often would grab my legs and throw them down hard if he caught up to me, had horrible garlic breath!!!  That made more than half my swim unpleasant.  

The turn was very congested and I lost the guy I was drafting off of!  So, for the next 0.4 miles I drafted off of whoever I could, but I couldn't get into a rhythm.  At the turn back to the beach, I found another swimmer who was moving fast, and there were many of us trying to get on her feet to draft.  I had to move a few people away from her feet over the next 15 minutes or so, and then I drafted her for most of the way back to the beach until I lost her.  I found another guy who was fast and drafted him all the way to the beach.  Then I smelled the garlic again.  Bummer!  The last mile felt longer than 1 mile to me.  The IM Canada water is awesome.  Crystal clear, very clean, and therefore very easy to see other swimmers to draft.  Today, there were 3 areas of the swim that had choppy water.  Not sure why, I'm assuming that a boat came through or something.  The chop was so bad around the 2 mile point that I actually got a little nauseous.  For the first time, my family came to see me finish the swim in a triathlon (it is usually too early for young kids), and they were standing on the beach with our friend Paul and others.   

Swim time:  1 hour 24 minutes, 1 minute better than my goal time and 9 minutes better than my 2011 IM Canada swim.  1716th place out of 2576 finishers (i.e. I beat 860 people!), 267th out of 350 in my age group.
Video of me coming out of the swim (I yell woo! when I realize that my swim time was 1:23, a 10 minute PR for me without a current):

The race video of me coming out of the swim

Transition 1:
For the first time, the transition tent was full of people and I had a hard time finding a seat (in the past, I finished so low in the swim that most other athletes were already on the bike).  I found a seat, looked around, I was really happy that I was around the middle of the swim!
I started out strong on the bike, but after about 12 miles, I had an upset stomach again and struggled for the next 48 miles.  From miles 12-30, I didn't pass 1 person, and from miles 30-40 I only passed one person.  I usually pass a lot of people, so I knew I was struggling on the bike, but I didn't think I was struggling that much.  People were passing me like I was sitting still.  Once again, I questioned whether I would be able to finish 112 miles on the bike and then a marathon.  I thought about quitting again, if only for a few minutes.  I started to feel better when I stopped drinking my EFS/Carbopro/EFS gel liquid cocktail, and by mile 60 after Richter Pass, I felt much better and started passing people again.  From miles 70-85, I think I passed nearly every person that passed me earlier in the race, which was cool.  I guess maybe some of them were going too hard early on and got tired at this point?  I saw Paul and Mark around mile 78, which gave a big boost.  Bottom line - this bike course is very hilly and long and the worst part is the last 5 miles or so coming back into Penticton.  Slightly uphill and super windy in the face, every single cyclist I was around was struggling. 
Coming into transition, I saw my family, which gave me a boost.

Video of me coming into transition off the bike:

Bike time:  6 hours 45 minutes, 1602th place out of 2576 finishers and 276th place out of 350 in my age group.  2011 bike time was 6 hours 44 minutes.

Garmin bike file - click here

Saw my family at the start of the run, which was awesome!  Felt good for the first 2-3 miles, running a pace of sub 9 minute miles, then started to tire!  Pushed to run until around mile 6 and then had some really bad cramps from miles 8-14 (on the right side of my back).  Walked a lot until around mile 15, then started to feel better and started to pick up some speed.  Around mile 12, I seriously thought that I might have to walk the remainder of the race, but luckily things turned around.  That's the thing about long endurance races, you have ups and downs.  I had them both on the bike and the run, and felt very strong for the last 6 miles of the run.  My first half marathon split was a 2:26 and my second half split was 2:16.  I walked all aid stations after mile 2.  My family saw me at mile 26 about a mile before the finish, which was great, and I was thrilled to see Go Jim& Mir, Go!! written on the street in colored chalk.  The last mile felt much longer than a mile.

Run time:  4 hours 42 minutes, 888th place out of 2576 finishers and 148th out of 350 in my age group.  2011 run time was 4 hours 32 minutes.

Garmin run file - click here

Video of me 1 mile from the finish

Video of me finishing

Overall time:  13 hours 12 minutes, 1280th place out of 2576 finishers, just slightly above the middle, and 221st out of 350 in my age group.  2011 time was 13 hours and 15 minutes.

I was very pleased with my race given that I just did Ironman New York on 8/11.  I fully recovered from that race in about 4 days and felt fresh for IM Canada, but I think I started to feel 2 marathons in 14 days from miles 8-14 of the run. 

My friend Miranda also did the race (her first) and I'm proud to say that she's an IRONMAN!!!  Great job Miranda!!!

Other:  After IM New York, I took one day off from exercising and ran 8 miles the second day after the race. After IM Canada, I took one day off from exercising and ran 7.5 miles the second day after with no pain!


End of the bike, I see my family!!!

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