2015 Ironman Arizona

My second attempt at the Ironman distance was at Ironman Arizona.  I had the privilege of having my ass handed to me by Meredith Kessler after I finished in 9:14, a time that might have been respectable 5 years ago but was in another time zone behind MBK’s 8:44 (the fastest Ironman performance of 2015-so amazing!).  It is good I was on the course with her that day.  It is invaluable to have that performance to shine a light on where I can improve.  Without comparing apples to apples, you never really know where you stack up.  I know exactly where I am at leaving that race and I would like to thank Meredith Kessler, Amanda Stevens and Julie Gajer, the women’s top three, for an amazing day at the races… it was so much fun and exciting to race with you.  Special shout out to Michelle Vesterby, with whom I spent a large chunk of the day in Arizona and congratulations to all of the finishers on that crazy day.  I think I attract freak weather systems.  I was 7th which in a race with so many fast girls is good but I'll be better.


Thank you Sue Hutter for the incredible photos to document the weekend!

I have been to Phoenix MANY times… for mountain bike racing and now for triathlon related events.  Since I did the first Desert Classic Duathlon, Joel Clapick has offered me shelter from the desert elements.  Thank you so much Joel for being such an incredible host!  In addition, this trip would not have been nearly as successful without the efforts of the crew at Cyclologic.  Thank you so much everyone and in particular Claudia and Paraic for your contributions to my success as an athlete.  I appreciate you guys so much!

I now have greater appreciation for how different Ironman is from any other triathlon I have done and the amount there is to learn about the race.  The coles notes on the race at Ironman Arizona start with the first order of business-poor swim execution.  I started right where I needed to be (where the fast girls were) but had no idea what direction they were going to go.  I chose goggles that were far too dark for how dark the morning was and seconds after the start I had no idea where the pack had gone.  I spent the first 200m getting pushed under by a girl who was trying to swim on my hip so that combined with my directional issues meant I swam in no man’s land by the time we all settled in.  I swam faster than Whistler (where I also swam alone) but I expected to be a lot faster than that.  I gave myself a massive hole to dig out of right from the start.


Fancy new Rudy Project helmet and glasses #boost #tralyx.

I had mint legs when I started riding.  I was holding back, holding back and holding back and the numbers I had thought would be awesome were so easy.  I had a pretty awesome even split for most of the race and a very low, controlled heart rate.  The problem is I was getting dropped.  While I was having a nice Sunday ride, MBK was tearing ass out in front of me, chomping massive time gaps into me every lap.  It was not until the 3rd lap that the bleeding stopped and I clawed back maybe a second or two.  The good news is I had great legs.  The bad news is I did not use them when I could so I was fighting for the podium at best. Coming off the bike only Amanda Stevens had a hope for the win other than MBK.


I ended up riding myself to fourth place by the run and as a result of the comfy bike ride I left transition with fresh and bouncy legs.  Again, I spent the run holding back hoping to run a nice even or (hilarious) negative split.  I totally appreciated having Tara as my lead cyclist, thank you for your kind words!

I was watching my splits, slowing myself down, pacing correctly and pretty much staying even with the girls in front and behind me for the first 24 or 25 miles.  Thank you Heather, Wattie and Cliff for the excellent run cheering J.  Then BOOM!  My legs were done.  Out of nowhere while I was comfortably jogging that damn marathon my legs went into complete quad lock and I was done for.  WTF.  Instead of being relatively competitive in 4th I am running on stumps and positive splitting like a mofo and heading backwards.  7th was where my freefall through the field was mercifully cut off.  So frustrating pacing myself only to feel WORSE than my first marathon when I tore out of transition at 2:48 marathon pace.  OMG so frustrating. But eye-opening.


So done.. but still smiling.

So I am not overly happy with the outcome of Arizona but I learned a lot and I tried my best.  The combination of execution and form just did not add up to the performance I was hoping for.  In truth, the Arizona course may not ever be up my alley because I think I would be more competitive with hills but that is only the start.  I will approach training for this differently next season.

So I invested a year learning about Ironman.  Most of the investment was in my run and as a result I think my cycling was not where it has been.  This showed in 70.3 in particular.  However, each year is a layer and I am happy to have that behind me and I am stoked to be healthy and motivated to try all over again.  I’m learning and until you have raced a couple of these Ironman monsters to know what you are actually trying to do, you just don’t know. 

As I put my rookie year on the Ironman circuit to bed, at an age that is only being pioneered as a valid age as a professional, I am excited about what I can do in my sophomore year on the circuit.  For those that share my age group in Ironman and have found Ironman recently, I think you need to expect, demand and pursue your best.  There are career defining performances ahead of me.  Appropriate training, disciplined recovery and resilience matter – age does not.  You can build a road to go wherever you want to go. 

Thank you to all of my amazing sponsors who are coming back with me for 2016 and to the new ones that I will announce in a future post.  For now, I need to thank those in my #YYJ inner circle. 

First and foremost, thank you to MC for being my voice of reason, my sounding board and for reminding me to "Keep it between the ditches." xoxo

Thank you to my amazing coach/sounding board and friend Kelly Guest of Livefit coaching for believing in me, not doubting for a second my potential even when I did, turning off the noise, and finding how to motivate and inspire me beyond how I have been in the past.  Thanks for getting me to where I can run a marathon - no small task!  Thank you to his amazing group of elite juniors for putting up with the Ironman chick in the lane as well, I look forward to rising with the level you guys set. 

Thanks to Clint Lien for letting me drop in to swim with some kids my own age.  Thank you to Marilyn and Danelle for setting an example for me of the potential women in their 40s have for run speed (a hell of a lot!).  Thank you to Trek Procity for supporting/heckling me - looks like there is more fun to be had at my expense ;).  Thank you to Jamie Grimes and Synergy Wellness for resurrecting my career when I was hurt and keeping me on track through the biggest challenge yet. Thanks to Brent McMahon, Meredith Kessler and the Wurteles for being amazingly supportive, knowledgeable friends who have helped me have as much success as I have in my first attempts at Ironman – you guys are the most incredible athletes and people and I am so lucky to know you. 



Thank you to all of the girls in Ironman who have reached out and supported me including but certainly not limited to Meredith, Heather, Sarah, Sara, Danielle M, Kelly, Beth, Magali, Mackenzie, Karen, Jenn, Tati, Breanne, Linsey, Michelle V, Amanda and the many others I don’t know well yet but can’t wait to get to know.  It is a band of sisters who share the same passion, dreams and goals and I love the comradery of the sport.  It is such an amazing way to get to know yourself and to know others.  I am so incredibly happy to have the opportunity to pursue this in my life.   Much love to you all.


Great bunch of chicks.

Now I start some offseasoning on my mountain bike.  Looking forward to a weekend with my girls Buttons, Danelle, Jennie and Brandyland shredding the trails that started this whole adventure as a pro athlete: Hornby Island.  Life is good.




2015 IM 70.3 Los Cabos

I’ve never visited San Jose del Cabo so the idea of racing IM 70.3 Los Cabos event was appealing- if only to tick a travel box while doing my job as a pro athlete.  Many aspects of this race were questionable in the final leadup to an Ironman event (Would I get sick from the water/food? Do I even need a race at this point? Would the airline travel challenge my immune system?) but I decided to stick to my Ironman Arizona plan as we originally laid it out and went.  It seems to have been a good decision.  I was better than IM 70.3 Las Vegas, I had a great swim and I had a great time.  Plus I won a bit of money, got some great exposure for Trek Mexico at the presser and I now have a whale shark BFF.  All around good times and noodle salad.


Pre race pomp and circumstance.

As far as the outcome, I ended up fourth behind Magali Tissyere, Carrie Lester and Ricarda Lisk.  It is no surprise Mags won as she was definitely the favorite coming in off her 4th place at the IM 70.3 Worlds and she was absolutely dominant.  Congrats Mags on finishing off your season absolutely flying J. Carrie had a very strong race taking second and Ricarda took third with the second fastest run, taking me out on the second lap on the run course and booting me from the podium (sad face for me but congrats Ricarda… you are amazing!)

My race started with essentially my career best swim.  I swam on the toes of the lead pack almost to the first buoy which made me wonder if those girls had food poisoning or motion sickness (note to self: it might have been better to be more positive to imagine you are just swimming fast).  Then Magali swam up on my left so we swam side by side around the first buoy but I decided to keep turning WAY too far and swam off course.  It took me to half way to the second buoy to chase back onto Ricarda’s feet.  After the second buoy I decided I wanted to head towards the lead again and went around Ricarda in time for Mags to then do a similar off course manouever at the last turn buoy so then I was leading second pack again.  I think this whole race report should be about this swim because it was the fantastic part of the day. There was some confusion as to whether we had to go around the last yellow buoy, which I did, which meant Ricarda and Mags had slightly faster swim times (I don’t think we had to… but no one knows) but that led us all into T1 about 45 seconds back from the leaders!  (this all despite the swim running VERY long.. not short!)

2015 IM 703 cabo swim

I like beach starts and salt water .... and my Blueseventy swim skin!

Out onto the bike I was fired up by my great swim but immediately disappointed in my legs.  They were so heavy and my cadence was labored and similar to Las Vegas I felt like I have no power.  I had the legs to do a tough training week last week but I am finding it is taking SO LONG for me to recover from my training blocks for IM Arizona.  I think I am coming in very flat for these races.  I did not ride like I can, period.  In addition, despite drinking three full bottles of Powerbar Perform with Saltstick tabs on the course and dumping water when I could on my head, I reached the 30km mark not adequately hydrated.  When it is as hot as Los Cabos I am certain now that I need at least TWO bottles PER HOUR. This hydration deficit did not play out well on the run.

2015 Bike Cabo

Onto the run I felt hot.  It was like running on the surface of the sun.  The hurricane missed Los Cabos but having that storm pass by left the area SO HOT!  No shade, hot, no wind, it was the hottest day since I had arrived in the mid 90s and I suffered.  Everyone suffered but unfortunately I could not hold the pace I needed to hold off Ricarda.  I was, however, holding off the other girls behind me so I didn't melt completely.  My goal was a top 3 so no shame to be fourth behind those superstars in front of me and there were some very fast girls behind me as well- with Carly Johann taking fifth and a charging Amanda Stevens taking sixth.  I am not that impressed with my half Ironman ability in this block but I think my lack of specificity for half Ironman is hurting me at the moment  and I am struggling to find top gear for sure.  Hopefully this is the right recipe for a full Ironman because it is the one I am reading at the moment!  That being said, there is NO WAY I would have wanted to do a full Ironman that day. Congratulations to Michelle and Barrett on their Ironman debuts on such a crazy hot day! Congrats to both Jordan and her hubby Rich on their Ironman success!  You guys are amazing and so tough.

The great part of this race was how many people I got to know and to hang out with.   Thanks the the Edmontonians for welcoming me!   Thank you Magali for inventing the new rule that I benefitted from this weekend:  You beat me, you treat me!  Haha!  Classy and generous race winner J  Huge thanks for all of the great times with my fellow pros Patrick Evoe, Leon Griffin, James Hadley (fabulous race!!!), Brianna and Chris Baird, Amanda Stevens, Mags, Matt Lieto, Chris and Amy Bagg, Davide, and Tatiana Vertiz (my tour guide!!).  This group of athletes is so incredible.  I loved the post race banter and having a chance to gain some amazing insight from Patrick on Ironman and different kinds of training.  I wish him great success training under legend Julie Dibens.  I imagine Julie’s squad is going to be the next “super squad” everyone is clamoring to get into.

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Getting stoked to open water swim with whale sharks in La Paz - ready, set, go!

I also fell in love with this part of Mexico while I was there.  A lot of what I love about Maui is present in this part of the world and I can’t wait to return to explore some more.  The highlight was our open water swim with the whale sharks in La Paz, a ride on the PCH with Tati, swimming toward the arch with all the fishies in Cabo, dinner with the crew at Bar Estina and having my first Molcajete.  Amazing.

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I swam with this guy like the little fishies that chase after him.


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Good adventures with this crew!

Now I have to buckle down and focus on Ironman Arizona.  It is going to be an insane field I am sure so I better get ready to bring my best effort.

Thanks so much to my amazing sponsors and partners:  Trek Bikes, Shimano, Bontrager, Champion System, Blueseventy, Rudy Project North America, Powertap, Asics Canada, Frontrunners, Procity Trek Store Victoria, Synergy Wellness, USANA and Saltstick.   I am excited to finish off the season on a high note!  :)




2015 TRIBC Gala and IM 70.3 Silverman - Highs and Lows

My last trip took me from Vancouver, BC to Las Vegas, Nevada.  I hopped on friendly Westjet and my first stop was in Vancouver where I spoke at the TriBC Athlete Gala.  The gala is a fundraiser to support youth development in British Columbia so it was an amazing opportunity.  The event itself raised $10,000 for youth development and by speaking I was able to donate $500 to the Victoria chapter of Kidsport.  I was so happy to be presented the chance to do something for the youngsters that I train with so I flew out of Vancouver on a high.  It was a great night and thank you to all the folks that organized and attended.  I love nights where everyone dresses up, haha!  I have always been a bit of a magpie for cute outfits.  Thanks to Blueseventy, USANA and Champion System for helping me to donate to the silent auction that night!


The next day I carried on to Las Vegas for the Silverman 70.3.  The spoils of that weekend went to Lauren Goss, my Trek teammate with super swimmer Heather Lendway taking second and super biker Nikki Butterfield in third.  I was somewhere in the mix of the race but fading rather than building.  It was a very tough day and finishing was all I could accomplish with my effort.  I fought hard but this was a rare race where my bike legs failed me… I stayed in the mix on my Trek Speed Concept but my Powertap Joule let me know after the race that I was riding at watts lower than what I raced at Ironman Canada (I race by effort not watts during the race-then look afterward).  It wasn’t even close to my normal pace.  I went out on the run thinking that maybe I just had a rough bike day but the run was even worse immediately.  I saddled up for a tough run because I hate DNFing more than anything and I knew there was nothing wrong with me… I just couldn’t go fast.  I made the most of cheering for the girls around me in the race and enjoying some of the fun banter from my fellow competitors on the day.  I had a conversation about my awesome Rudy Project glasses on the course which was fun!  Lots of people had amazing days and equally as many had below expectation days.  No point panicking about one crap day and it is much better to just be a bit overcooked than injured or sick.

I stubbornly maintain that the race course at Ironman 70.3 Silverman is well suited to my ability.  A hard, windy bike course is always right up my alley and the run being more about strength than absolute speed is usually good.  I have to guess that having completed a four week block of Ironman training in the last five weeks leading up to this race for Arizona I thought that the trailing volume would really set me up for a good day on a course known to challenge strength more than speed.  Coming in I was showing signs of significant fatigue at the end of that block, which was a bit more ambitious than my Whistler training, and it is clear that I was pretty tired.  I couldn’t even get close to half Ironman race pace.


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Ironman (and I mean full Ironman training) is overload and extreme training where you just push through fatigue for weeks on end.  Looking at my plan now in hindsight, and comparing it to what the more experienced Ironman girls do, it looks like it was super poor planning to come to this race while I was in the middle of building to the race in Arizona.  I completely underestimated how much time I needed to come back to life and training in the  extreme heat in the days leading up delayed that recovery further because I was worse than when I left Canada.  Frankly, I was in no shape to race that field.  Lesson learned.  

Even if I am a “mature” pro this is trial and error for me.  Luckily there is still a lot of time before Arizona and I am already forgetting this race happened and moving on.  I am guessing that Cabo will go a lot better if I just rest a bit.

I did get a chance to chat with some parents who were racing and cheer for their kids at the Ironkids event.  This is such a great idea and it is great to share the fun of racing with such young kids. 

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I will remember my fun week with my host family John and Laura Mercer.  These guys are gearing up for their Ironman in Kentucky and I am not surprised at how much they know about Ironman and how hard they work to get there.  John is a bio-mechanist at UNLV so it has been great chatting with him about training and some of the studies they are conducting.  One of his colleagues Tedd Girouard took me out riding on Tuesday on the course which was fun.  Tedd had a fabulous race and is off to Australia next year..way to go Tedd!  It was very interesting to get their perspective on the sport.  John has been doing triathlon since the 1980s so I wasn’t sure there was much I could offer in terms of advice but we did have some good chats looking at the sport from a variety of perspectives.

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Laura's collection of hummingbird nests!

Having trained in Vegas for over a week  I see why Angela likes riding there.  There is a lot of open space, big hills and long flat road.  The problem is it is baking in ridiculous heat most of the time and that killed me.  Who knew they would have a heat wave in September and hit an all time high for the end of the month?  Not a problem if you want to be good in the heat like she is.  I had some new life experiences, like finding a scorpion in the dark with a black light (they glow bright green!) which was neat. 

So lots of good times in Henderson with the rescue animal menagerie and loads of intelligent conversation with my amazing half Canadian/half New Yorker family.  They even cheered for the Seahawks with me.  #KEEPERS.  This was one of my best trips to Las Vegas even if I am going home with just a tan and some extra heat acclimation.

Thanks very much to my sponsors who allow me to go out there and push my limits and also help to give back to the community at large:  Blueseventy, Champion System, Rudy Project North America, USANA, Trek Bikes, Shimano, Bontrager, Powertap, Asics Canada, Frontrunners, and Synergy Wellness.  It isn't going to be long before I get another chance at a race so I will be reassessing the plan to make sure I am at my best for Arizona.  

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This is Spartacus.  He helped me try to get the most out of my day by sitting on my butt for more of it :)

2015 Challenge Penticton – A Canadian Classic is Reborn

The 2015 edition of Challenge Penticton was both a great success and a fresh start for this iconic race.  It appears that during the last three years the event has been trying to find a new identity moving forward and this year the race started to realize its new potential.  It was announced that in the future Challenge Penticton will be one distance, 3km/120km/30km and will become a qualifier for the ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Championship.  I applaud this new direction and I commend both Michael Brown and Kevin Cutjar for having great expertise, insight and ability in creating this new direction.  Challenge racing is amazing:  the pre-race dinner, the family atmosphere, the party at the finish line and the community involvement makes these events special. I also loved what is uniquely Penticton:  the iconic race course, the stunning scenery, the amazing volunteers (many who come out every year) and the new stadium finish line.  It was my first time experiencing long course racing in Penticton and I appreciate so much the wonderful people I met on this trip!

front runner Penticton

I did lead the race from 20km and set the fastest bike split. 

Unfortunately, my race was not all that I had hoped for as it was marred by a penalty due to a pro male while I was leading the race and ended with DNF.  The woman at the top on race day were no strangers to the podium and put on a great display of strength.  I am so pleased for Jen Spieldenner, Carrie Lester and Heather Lendway for earning the top paychecks on the day.  Special mention goes to Canadian superstar runner Malindi Elmore for earning the top Canadian woman’s position with her superlative running ability.  The men’s race was a who’s who of amazing Canadian talent with Brent McMahon winning the race, Trevor Wurtele taking second and Jeff Symonds taking fourth after a flat.  Chapeau boys!  What a super field of professionals with 45 of us in total making the trip to Penticton.

panel challenge

The great panel assembled at Challenge Penticton with Kevin (Race Director), Zibi (Challenge CEO),  Ellie, Laura, Chris, myself, Brent, Trevor, Miki, Jeff, Kate and Carrie.

My weekend staying with Alan Kidd and his wife Gwyneth was so great.  Alan is very knowledgeable about triathlon so sharing stories about the race was fantastic.  Okanagan Lake was beautiful for swimming in my fabulous Blue Seventy wetsuit and the rolling hills were fun to take my Trek Speed Concept out for a gallop on that beautiful bike course that I enjoyed pouring some effort into.  Yves and Anne from Asics Canada were on hand  sharing the Asics love and I will enjoy trying out the new 33-M shoe on the trails. 

Any fears of fire related air quality were fortunately resolved by a timely shift to rainy, cooler weather and the day was beautiful.  I did have some problems getting to Penticton because of the fires as my plane on Friday flew all the way to Penticton before turning and flying back to Vancouver without landing.  I was told no flights would land so along with three other women I hopped in a rental car to Kelowna to make it that day.  Nothing like some quick organization amongst four motivated women to fix a problem.  Thank you to Genevieve, Kirsten and Gwen!!


My drive companions :)

A broken toe on Thursday (random slip and smash into the couch), a botched flight on Friday and a penalty on Sunday means I have weathered this storm and it is time for things to come right again for the next race.  Cheering on the full distance racers on the run course and at the finish line at midnight was a highlight.  It was a great experience and it renewed my admiration for the Challenge style event.  These events are top quality with all of the character of a grass roots event.  This will certainly not be my last Challenge.

Thanks very much to Kevin and Mike for inviting me to the Challenge Penticton race.  It was great to see the Challenge St Andrews organizers Tressa and Scott there with the family to cheer Scott to the finish line as well.  Thank you to all of the amazing women pros who came to Canada to make this event so impressive with such a large field.  Thank you to my friends and family for coming to cheer!  Thanks Trek, Bontrager, Shimano, Blueseventy, Rudy Project NA, Champion System, Asics Canada, Frontrunners Victoria, Powertap, USANA and Powerbar.  I did ride another fastest bike split so I am recovering well from Ironman Canada and I look forward to another day at the races at 70.3 Silverman!

2015 Ironman Canada

This quote sums up my 2nd place (and fastest bike split) debut Ironman Canada performance and why I am so happy with what happened but hungry, motivated and determined for more:

“A win doesn't feel as good as a loss feels bad, and the good feeling doesn't last as long as the bad. Not even close.” – Andre Agassi

Coming that close to winning my first Ironman was insane.  But losing the race that late in the race leaves me with the belief that I could maybe win an Ironman.  I don’t know that I truly thought I could win Sunday.  I don’t really feel “bad” about anything on Sunday because I truly gave my best on the day.  The fact I made some mistakes and didn’t win means there is still unfinished business and I am so glad.  It is what drives us.

Danielle Mack executed a super strong race under terrible conditions to win her second Ironman.  Although I love a lot of the girls I race against- because they are amazing people I admire so much- having a former XTERRA age group World Champ win this Ironman makes me very happy.  I am so happy for her and I am so glad she got to experience the wonderful vibe and support my country brought on the day.  So my sincerest, biggest, proudest congratulations to you Danielle on such a great race!

Third place was another Canadian -Jen Annett- who posted the fastest run.  XTERRA girls and Canadian girls are tougher than a $3 steak so the race conditions were no match for us.  Thank you to the rest of the field for making my first Ironman such a hard effort because I wanted nothing less than my best on the day and that is exactly what I gave thanks to you guys.  What a day.

Thank you Whistler for welcoming us, taking care of us and inspiring us.  Through terrible weather there were volunteers and fans everywhere, from Whistler to Pemberton.  I actually had tears welling up coming in off the bike because there were SO MANY PEOPLE!!!!!  It was overwhelming.   Thank you thank you!  I never would have expected an Ironman to create career moments but there are many from Sunday.  Whistler, you rock.  Also thank you to Ironman Canada and WTC for this event.  I appreciated so much the opportunity to race in my home country and seeing the familiar faces from Ironman in Victoria and Whistler helped me calm my nerves.  Thanks a lot guys.


Absolute destruction

So here is my day:

 “What you feel doesn’t matter in the end; it’s what you do that makes you brave.” – good old Andre again.

The weather was not good for anyone- there are no magical powers that make you good in cold weather it is just 100% acceptance of the situation and immediate problem solving to make the most of it.  Well, and maybe some experience slogging through it (the Canucks and Brits are good at this).  I was just determined to have the best possible first Ironman I could-no matter what the conditions.  I told myself: “No one gives a crap whether you are cold, sore or tired (I was all of the above).  What are you going to do about it?  Make this count.”

I was worried about how much to wear because I am so terrible riding no hands on my time trial bike so what went on was going to end up staying on for the duration of the bike.  I knew it was going to be chilly and cold so I chose long finger gloves, arm warmers and a vest.  The vest was key.  Make no mistake, when it is less than 15 degrees Celsius you better keep your core warm or you are going to burn a bunch of calories you can’t replace. 

So with my outfit planned out I went and swam my first straight 3800m swim.  In hindsight, I need to swim more super long swims.  I stuck on the feet of Karen Thibodeau and Laurel Wassner until we passed buoy number 4 and then I think maybe the lead changed between those two and the feet I was on disappeared.  So I dangled and wondered do I punch it to stay in their group or do I cool it and get dropped.  How much does swimming cost in an Ironman???  So I tried harder for maybe 50m and then I gave up the chase because they really were too fast for me.  I plowed alone in the water all by myself (well other than some REALLY fast AG athlete who passed me at about 2100 m) until the last 100m when a couple of age group men, Liz Lyles and Cait Snow ran by me into transition.  Dangit.

So then we are on the bikes and since it is only a 5’ gap to age groupers I am seeing more Agers already.  Liz had blasted out of T1 without putting many clothes on so I didn’t catch her again until about 15km down the road.  I tried to make a joke when I caught up and went by but she was not happy about the weather.  She is tiny and she needed a parka and a toque.  I was told to cruise it up Callaghan and not go hard so I didn’t.  I did not realize there was a $1000 prime to the top (I think this was good in hindsight).   I had Laurel in my sights but she wasn’t coming back super quickly.  I just stuck to a heart rate and minded my own business.  I think she was planning on the prime because once she won it the gap evaporated and I passed her on the second switchback down the hill.  Then I was in the lead.  Woohoo!

bike riding IMC


Thank you to Eon D’Ornellas, 4x Olympian and 2x Canadian road race champion for changing my tire for me before the race and offering excellent pre-race cycling advice.   He said to take it very easy on all of the technical bits and I took that advice.  This meant any skills I had were waste because I took absolutely zero risks all day and rode my brakes like a Cat 5.  I was very, very slow on every corner which I am sure didn’t help pad my lead.  I don’t regret that though… I did NOT want to run my first marathon with road rash.

I just kept plowing away in 10cm deep puddles for 180kms all by myself and man, it took forever.   No one was setting any records…. We couldn’t go fast even when it was flat because the flat had a massive headwind.   Not a soul was around so I was singing songs to myself (thanks Beth for the advice!) and smiled to stay positive.  I was passed by a few Agers up to Callaghan but passed up to three or more of them by the Meadows (not sure if they were AG or pro men).  I struggled in the Meadows section.  My hip was hurting from some kind of weird cramp, I was all tense and freezing and I couldn’t hold aero position - so I was standing up a lot.  That was a terrible, terrible section for me.  I also saw the rest of my competition all riding together (legally!) and they really weren’t that far.   Cait Snow was riding by herself, all smiles as usual.  On the run she was cheering for me…haha.  She is such a freaking star.  I would not want to go to an Ironman just to finish for points especially after just kicking ass and winning in France so high five Cait – you are so damn tough.  Thank you for the encouragement out there.  Can’t wait to cheer for you in Kona!

I live in Victoria and have ridden so many rides in my career in equally crappy weather with Houshang Amiri’s http://pacificcyclingcentre.ca/ group.  I just kept going back to that.  “You can live through this, you’ve done this a million times, if it is hurting you it’s hurting everyone.”  That is the benefit of being tough in the winter... you are ready for any race.

When I rode into Whistler the crowds were incredible.  They were calling my name and freaking out.  I almost started to cry.  It was effin crazy.  So I was so stoked to get out there and run when I came off the bike (I was stuck leaning forward for about 15 steps- yikes) I tore into the change tent.  Then I couldn’t get my armwarmers off but got the gloves and vest off ( with helpers), changed my socks, put on a race belt, put on my Fuelbelt and was off running.  My transition was not fast.  I saw Christine Fletcher come ripping out of the portaloo… almost missing her lead biker duty! Hilarious. 

Then my Fuelbelt fell off and a yardsale of random sports nutrition was everywhere.  So I started running around collecting it all and a volunteer tried to spiral pass one of the flasks to me… which I of course missed.  I ran around the corner and the belt fell off again.  Picked it up and put it on again … nope, down again.  The belt I have used a million times in training refused to Velcro shut in this race.  WTF.  So I salvaged two gels and a flask at a feedzone and carried on without the rest of my stuff (salt pills, extra gel etc) and tried to carry the flask.  Which I dropped two more times in the first kilometer.  When the race comes down to about 120 seconds you start to remember these things in crystal clear detail.. haha!


hold belt

Race belt snafu plus hair tie destruction.  Even my hair elastics weren't up to the task.

Then I got to running.  Unfortunately, I chose to run based on heart rate rather than on pace.  Dumb dumb dumb.  Now I know you should run on heart rate or pace- choosing whichever is not fantasy. Everyone warned me… including MBK, Brent, Beth Gerdes and Kelly Williamson…..  I think the words were “Don’t go out TOO HARD!!!” by all of them.  So running 6km at 4:00/km pace (2:48 marathon) and another 8 km at about 3:01 pace was stupid, stupid, stupid because the back half of that marathon was at a glacial pace.  Back to reality….  My dream marathon was 3:10 so 4:31/km pace.  Going out like a rocket came back and bit me so hard in the back half.  Lesson learned.  Plus no one told me Garmin’s don’t last through an IM.  You need more than one!  Lesson #2.  Danielle caught me somewhere around 4 kms to go and she was just gone.  Game over.


Hugging it out post race :)

The freaking gong show of people at Whistler cheering at the finish was amazing.  OMG that was the most fun ever in my life.  You guys are so cool… some that I remember hearing (I am so sorry I don't remember everyone) were Care, Jasper, Mike, Lala, Elladee?, MC, Lisa, Clint, Sara, and Alison.  So great to have a big hug from Jazz at the finish.   I heard Clint a lot out there and I appreciate it so much buddy!  Especially the calming words after I was run over by the tv scooter..haha!  I know there are a million more of you guys but I was kind of in a hypoglycemia induced coma for probably 15kms of that marathon so I was foggy on what happened for a lot of the day but there were people from my mountain bike career, XTERRA people, Victoria folks, Vancouver people.. it was crazy.  Thank you guys so much… I tried SO HARD!!  That feels so good today.. thanks for helping me get that out of myself.

chalk IMC

You guys are soooo awesome!

So thank you to my yoda, Kelly Guest of Livefit coaching, for helping me transform into someone who can actually almost win a race that includes a run marathon.  I can’t wait to try again.  I want to crush a marathon so bad.  Thank you for all the elite juniors I train with that help me attempt to ignore my age:  Hanna, Elspeth, Holly, Hamish, Megan, Abby, and Lydia.  Thanks to Clint Lien’s group for letting me drop in and hang out with some athletes who are my own age and thank you to the Thetis Lake Friday morning swim club for constantly crushing me every Friday.  You guys are amazing.  Thank you to Houshang Amiri for letting me train with his U23 http://pacificcyclingcentre.ca/ cycling stars in the winter.  Here’s hoping I can keep up for a while longer!  Thank you to my regular run training partners Danelle Kabush, Kelly, Nick, Mike, Buttons, Care, Marilyn, Trent, Hilary and Elspeth.   Extra thank you for Danelle.  You are the best- not just as a training partner but also for the mindset!  Look her up for mental training because she will make you unstoppable http://danellekabush.com/sponsors/ .

Thank you to my sponsors who believe in me and see that I can race at the highest level at this point in my career.  Easily, I am as fit if not even fitter than I have ever been in my life.  Trek Bikes is amazing – what a privilege to be on this team.  Thanks to Bontrager for the amazing wheels and shoes.  Thank you to Shimano for pedals and shifting that were bombproof on the worst of days.  Thanks to Rudy Project for the amazing helmets and glasses.  Thanks Blueseventy wetsuits for allowing me to swim solo and lose 3 ish minutes to fast swimmers in my first Ironman.  Thanks Powertap for helping me train on the bike with proper objective data.  Thanks Champion System for the cool clothes with my own designs.  Thank you Frontrunners Victoria and Asics for figuring out my footwear to transform into a runner.  Thank you Procity Racing for heckling me and keeping me grounded throughout my long career… oh and race tuning my machines to perfection.  Thanks USANA for keeping me healthy and Sci Con Bags for keeping my bike healthy during travel, thanks Saltstick and Powerbar for providing nutrition.

 Summer holidays then Challenge Penticton August 30. Right now I am so sore.  Thanks for reading.

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