My first Triathlon
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Ironman Canada - TriathlonFull Ironman
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Penticton, British Columbia
Ironman North America
75F / 24C
= 11h 44m 35s
Age Group Rank
My Race Report:
FINISH TIME: 11:44:35
Well, it's 8:15am, the day after my second IM finish here in Penticton. My knees are sore mostly, but strangely, my quads, which were on fire after IMFL, don't even hurt. Not sure why, but what a day out there!
I got my slot back in March at the 70.3 in California, and spent the spring training for Eagleman 70.3, so after that was over, I just started upping the mileage in the last 9 weeks leading up to IMC. Training went well, and I was ready.
So, on to race day, slept about 6 hours the night before, and was up at 4am eating cereal, a bagel and a banana and set out for the race. Found a decent parking spot just two blocks from transition, and dropped off my SN bags and got bodymarked.
I like to arrive early and was one of the first in transition and took my time getting everything together. 2 trips to the portapotty later, and it was time to get ready to swim. It was a slightly cool, overcast morning, but no wind.
Now, I am not the type that likes "water-wrestling" as I call it, so I lined out on the outside. This was the largest mass-start in IM history, and Mike Reilly kept reminding everyone of that. The pros started, and the rest of us jockeyed for position. There was a BIG group of us lined up on the outside, all of us in the "I don't want to get clobbered in the head on this swim" group. So, "Oh Canada" is sung, and the cannon goes off, and we all start "power-wading" into the lake. It's pretty shallow for about 50 yards, so you can't really swim or your hands hit bottom, so we all just kept wading, and I angled further outside as I walked, and then started my swim.
I was nice and relaxed and kept an easy pace and settled into my stroke. The course is a triangular out and back single loop, so I stuck about 50 yards outside the buoy line and really barely made contact with anyone the entire swim. I think the mass start of that size is doable if you have the space for people to spread out. I remember feeling a small headache coming on, and hoping once I got my goggles off, it would go away. Fortunately, it did. My goal time was 1:15 on this swim realizing that I swim extra distance being on the outside. I came in just under that. You also have to wade the last 30 or so yards in due to the aforementioned shallowness.
SWIM TIME: 1:14:23
After the wetsuit peelers, I was off into the change tent, which of course was crowded, but I found a spot on the grass and dumped out my bag and got everything rolling. At IMFL, my T1 was over 12 minutes!!!! So, I wanted to come in under 5 minutes, and managed to go just over that:
Off on the bike, you ride right up main street with mass crowds on either side. I was hooting back to the crowd, just having fun with it. I kept an easy pace and my goal was to keep it easy to save energy for the hilly backside of the course which starts around 40 miles into the bike. So, we head out of town along Skaha Lake, and then turn off on McLean Creek Road, and I have to say, this ride, along with the entire bike course, was the MOST BEAUTIFUL bike ride I've ever had in my life. The sun had now come out. Bummer I couldn't have taken it at a more leisurely pace, but I still made an effort to enjoy the scenery. This is truly God's Country out on this course. Bucolic settings that come straight out of a Winslow Homer painting! Anyway...so there I am cruising along at 21-22mph without much effort and as I pass some places with flags, I see that we have a tailwind, which of course is responsible for my speed, but I also realize that wind is going to be a headwind coming back. Uh oh! Onward south through the Okanagan Valley, and to the turn at Osoyoos, and now we are heading up the dreaded Richter Pass.
Now, I did not pre-drive the course as I prefer to see all the scenery for the first time during the race. It helps take my mind off the pain. So, I have no real concept of how long or steep this climb will be, but I trust my training, which included plenty of hills, and start spinning up the hill. The climb is littered with people cheering us on, and it is fantastic. I was cracking jokes along the way saying stuff like "someone said this course was supposed to be flat!", and "hey, do we have to do a little run after this?" and of course singing "Hurts So Good" as I climb. Climbing is something I like, so according to the results, I passed 28 people on the bike
(I'm a lame cyclist
) and I'm pretty sure all of those were on the hills! Stopped at a portapotty halfway up the climb. So, we get to a sort of flat near what I thought was the top, but then there's another climb, so back to the spinning and finally I'm at the top, and now there's a LONG, FAST downhill. My personal speed threshold is about 35mph and I was doing that speed sitting up on my bike holding the bullhorns! I kept thinking how someone would die if they crashed at this speed. Of course some guys/girls were blazing in full tuck all the way down the hill.
So, we get to the bottom and start heading toward Cawston and now the headwinds are hitting us. I was seeing the same people in my general area for most of the race. You'd pass them, they'd repass you, etc. I was never more than 20 feet from another rider for the first 80 miles of that bike ride. Definitely alot of people out there, but not really any drafting packs that I saw in my "MOP" position. One thing that helped me pass the time mentally was looking at people's names on their bibs as they passed me in an effort to come up with a name for my soon-to-be-born son.
Cawston features this cruel "out and back" where you actually turn off and head back south for about 10 miles and they have the SN station at the end of the out-and-back. I ride past my bag, and a guy runs it up to me. I had put a sandwich, peanut butter pretzels, Fig Newtons, and a cookie in a Priority Mail box
(to keep it from getting squished in there
), and had some Chamois Butt'r. So, I dumped out the pretzels and Fig Newtons into my Bento Box
(which was about half full still
) and relubed with the Chamois Butt'r and put my sandwich in my mouth and continued on down the road, only stopping to pee off the side of the bike, and then pressed on. Didn't want to give up too much time, and in the end, glad I didn't get off the bike and stretch as I had originally planned. I was feeling pretty good at this stage. Now, keep in mind, the SN is 75 miles into the bike!
I know the next climb up to Yellow Lake is coming around mile 85 or 90, and I power on into the ever-increasing headwind. As I begin the climb, we start getting very light rainshowers with gusty winds as we get into Keremeos. I was only able to maintain about 12-14mph on the early part of the climb and of course that dropped off as it got steeper. The crowds along the climb were AWESOME, and the climb was over before I knew it...only about half as long as Richter. Now, the fun began. It was about 12 miles of downhills leading into Penticton and a nice, relaxing coast for most of it. Once into town, I wanted to go easy to get ready for the run. It started raining and the headwind cranked up another notch as I came into town. Sort of a cruel joke! You've ridden 109 miles and now have to deal with this. So, I'm getting wet and having to deal with a howling headwind. Once downtown, the rain stopped, but that 2 miles with rain was enough to get my socks wet. My bike split, which I thought would take me 7 hours, surprised me!
Back into T2 and the legs felt pretty good. I had a few low moments on the bike as with all long rides, but mostly had felt pretty good. Under 5 minutes later, a sock and shorts change later, and I'm off on the run.
I started the run and my watch read that I was 7:35 into the race. Now, I had my goal. I had predicted a 13-hour race, but now sub-12 was within reach. I missed that at IMFL last year because of crappy transitions and too much walking on the run, so if I could carve out a 4:24 or less marathon, I was in there! I also wanted to have some cushion so I could enjoy the finish chute, something I'd forgotten to do in Florida.
I kept it nice and easy through town and really enjoyed all the spectators. I yelled back at them. Having your name on your bib is really cool for both you, the racer and the spectator. I was at about mile 3 as the leaders, Kieren Doe and Jonnyo went by almost finished. Man, I envied them!
Once out of town, the spectators are really spread out, so it became a mental game. I had skipped the first two aid stations in an effort to save time. For me, on this run, somewhere around mile 6 or 7 I think, the run went from tolerable to painful. My lower back, my calves, I was just hurting. I remember thinking "damn, I have a LONG way to go! This run goes along Skaha Lake, which is beautiful, but there are these little hills along the way, and those just take it out of you on an Ironman run. By mile 10, I was pretty much in agony, with a permanent grimace on my face, but I had my wits about me enough to pace myself, and find that I was holding a nice, steady 9:35 or so pace. I had calculated that even if I slipped to a 10 min/mile pace, it would be just enough to come in under 12 hours, but again, I wanted a cushion in case of disaster. I would walk the aid stations
(though I did run through two of them eating/drinking as I went
), and drink Gatorade/water, and eat gels every other aid station. I even drank Coke at one, which I've never done. My stomach was not feeling outstanding, though I wasn't having GI problems. It was just the feeling of everything sloshing around in there, but I felt that I had to force myself to drink and eat gels so I didn't cramp or bonk.
Finally to the turnaround at OK Falls, and there were big crowds cheering us on. I hit the portapotty and had to lean against the side of the thing while I peed with my eyes closed. I was pretty shelled and still had 13.1 to go. I was finding my limits in this race, which is why I do Ironman.
I did some quick stretches and then pressed on, all the while with the goal to hold onto my pace. I had to resort to power-walking up the hills, but I'd break into a jog as soon as I crested them. The aid stations and miles clicked away, and I'd just keep trying to hang on until the next aid station where I would get to walk for a bit. Just a mile at a time. People along the course would say "good job Jay" and I could only wave back. I was in too much agony to respond. Getting back to Penticton seemed to take forever, but finally I was back into town and knew I had just 3 miles to go. I imagined local running routes that I do that are that distance and kept thinking "you can run 3 miles in your sleep Jay". Finally, I was back downtown and powering along at a good clip, knowing that unless something terrible happened, I was finishing well under 12 hours! There's a cruel twist at the end of this run in that you are only about 100 yards from the finish and the route takes you away from the finish for about 1/2 mile, and then a u-turn takes you back. The crowds were thick and I felt a tear coming on, partly from the pain, and partly from the knowledge that I had dealt with being on the edge of my limits on this run and perservered. I really had doubted myself several times on that run, but always kept my eye on the prize. So, coming down the finish chute, I high-fived people, and then stopped a few yards before and did a pop-and-lock and then moonwalked, before turning and doing my trademark leap across the line
(well, I guess Greg Welch trademarked it
) as Mike Reilly yelled out "Jay Reale from San Clemente, California, you are an IRONMAN!".
I was SO happy to be finished!
The pain was over. I had crushed my 13-hour goal by over 1 hour and 15 minutes! As I got my food and my massage, picked up my gear, etc., I had to analyze why this marathon was so incredibly difficult for me. I felt really well-trained for the race, and had beaten my marathon time at IMFL, but that marathon I don't remember being so painful. Was it my nutrition? Did I go too hard on the hills on the bike? I'll have to give that some serious thought before IMLP next July! Called my wife and spoke to her, and of course, because once again I had underestimated my time, she missed my crossing the line on the internet.
Dropped my bike at the TriBikeTransport area
(great service by the way!
), and hobbled to my car. It was now already about 8:45pm and I wanted to be back for the midnight finishers, and was concerned about finding parking, so I slept in the car for 45 minutes and then decided I'd just go back to the motel and come back.
Back at 11pm I found a spot on the scaffolding and enjoyed the music, the crowd, and watching legends like Madonna Buder cross the line. A tremendous energy at these races, and I can't believe Mike Reilly can keep his energy level up for 17 hours! One poor women struggled across the finish line about 2 minutes after the cutoff, but everyone stayed and cheered for her which was cool. Fireworks finished off the night, which probably woke everyone in Penticton!
So, IMC was a fantastic experience, and I would love to return to do this race again some day. The volunteers were phenomenal and the town and people were very welcoming. It's high on the "must-do" list for IM's for sure. So glad I was able to be here on the 25th Anniversary year. What a race!
1h 14m 23s
01m 46s / 100 yards
6h 09m 35s
4h 09m 53s
09m 32s min/mile
Last updated: 2007-09-01 12:00 AM
01:14:23 | 4224 yards | 01m 46s / 100yards
0F / 0C
Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
06:09:35 | 112 miles | 18.18 mile/hr
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Shoe and helmet removal
04:09:53 | 26.2 miles | 09m 32s min/mile
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]
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