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Ironman Canada - Quick Recap

Ironman Canada has been on our racing bucket-list for the past few years. We were immediately drawn to the challenging bike course. We find that the more difficult the race course, the more satisfaction we feel when crossing the finish line. It's also a lot easier to reflect on the race as a whole when there's more to think about than just a finishing time. Although Karel and I "race" the Ironman distance, the real race is always with ourselves - overcoming physical and mental obstacles, pushing through fatigue and self-doubts, exploring our limits and finding reasons and meaning to get to the finish line. With this being my 15th Ironman, I have a lot of experience knowing what it takes to get to the finish line and a big part of that battle is arriving with a strong and healthy body and a positive attitude.

Whistler exceeded our expectations. The community was exceptional nice, the Ironman volunteers were wonderful, the Ironman staff put on a great race and the course was incredibly beautiful. It was so great to share this course with 13 of our athletes and to see so many familiar faces on and off the course.

I'm so happy that we could check this race off our bucket list, especially since it's the last year of holding the Ironman in Whistler. There was a big question mark if I would be able to finish the race due to a recent hip/back issue that occurred three weeks before the race (which prevented me from running forward without pain/tugging in my adductor/groin - luckily, I could swim and bike just fine and I was able to walk, hop sideways and run backwards without pain :). I kept me run fitness through water jogging and was able to reflect back on my previous training with confidence that I had exceptional swim, bike and run fitness thanks to consistent training. While I was disappointed that I wouldn't be able to "race" the run and had to incorporate a lot of walking and stopping to help me get to the finish line so that I did not do more damage to my body, my primary focus was to race the swim and bike and to take the run mile by mile - assessing the situation and stopping the race if I experienced pain or change in my running form. I was not willing to run through pain just to finish my 15th Ironman (especially with Ironman Kona in 10 weeks). 

Karel arrived to this race with exceptional fitness. His training was extremely consistent - although there were a few modifications for extra recovery between a few hard sessions. But thankfully, he didn't have any setbacks or injuries throughout this season and has been able to train really hard. He still suffers from back aches while riding but through some PT/breathing work, it's (mostly) manageable for him. Going into the race, Karel was looking forward to racing on this course and giving his best on the day. He uses visualization (with music) to get into the zone and reflects on previous races to help him get into a good head space. We each have our own way of getting excited to race an Ironman but we both felt excited to experience this race course.

I am thrilled with my swim/bike combo and how I was able to pace the bike. I started the run as overall female amateur but at that point, it was less about racing and more about listening to my body and focusing only on myself. Karel had a great swim but suffered a few low moments on the bike due to pacing - but as usual, once his feet touched the ground, he was in his happy place and he ran himself a PR Ironman run. 

While our fitness was great going into this race, it never makes racing any easier. There are always nerves, worries, unpredictable moments, low moments to overcome and the mental games you experience as your body experiences more and more fatigue. But nothing feels as great as crossing that finish line, knowing that you worked through all the tough moments and finished what you started.
More on the inside details from the race but here are the quick stats from the race:

2.4 mile swim: 57:48 (2nd AG, 7th female)
T1: 3:30
112 mile bike: 5:39.33 (2nd AG, 16th female)
T2: 3:39
26.2 mile run: 4:22.41 (12th AG, 61st female)
Finish time: 11:07.09, 5th AG (35-39)

2.4 mile swim: 58:30 (4th AG, 22nd male)
T1: 3:15
112 mile bike: 5:17.06 (5th AG, 27th male)
T2: 2:20
26.2 mile run: 3:04.04 (1st AG, 2nd male, 2nd overall)
Finish time: 9:25.13, 1st AG (40-44), 4th overall male, 5th overall