Thursday, September 13, 2012

IRONMAN Canada 2012

The trip started off with a ride from Spokane, WA into Canada.  Nick and I flew in with Cody and Zach, then we met Corey at the airport.  Drive time was about 5 hours give or take to Pentiction.  The funniest part was when we plugged in our U.S. GPS, it didnt recognize Canada.  The only C that came up was the Caymen Islands, weird?  So, no go on the GPS for the trip.  Corey, Nick and I were stopped at the border getting into Canada.  Of course, Nick had to pick the line that never moved.  The 20 minute wait that was on the board once we got closer to the Border Patrol, took really about an hour.  Think the border patrol chick didn’t like us or didn’t like triathletes.  First, the 2 jackasses in the car, Nick and Corey, didn’t sign their passports, so she made them do that.  Then it was a thousand questions... where are you from, what do you do for a living, have any drugs, guns, what are you doing here, etc.  Then she decides to make us go into the building for a background check.  How sweet of her.  The guy was pretty cool in there, he just asked us a few questions, took our passports and we were out of there in about 20 min or so.  There were 2 other guys in there that looked pretty sketch, so I think they wanted to get us out of there because one was being taken into a back room and the other one was having his computer searched.  Weird.  Anyways, we were off and on our way into Penticton.  
Nick & Andy 

View from our deck!
Once arriving in Penticton.   We noticed the amazing scenery!  Tons of rolling hills, big beautiful lakes and a ton of wineries.  Isn’t this why we were coming up here?  To drink all the wine and tour!! :)  We rented a pretty cool place about a mile from transition.  We met up with Cody & Zach (who beat us to Penticton!!)  and Melanie, the home owner, she took us through the house and gave us a run down of everything.  Pretty much talked our ears off for an hour and all we could think of was how tired and hungry we were.  After that we decided to head out to grab a bite to eat.  Got to see Andy too... he met up with us for dinner!! Went to Earl’s.. there we realized there wasn’t a very good beer selection in Canada... made Corey and Nick sad!  HA!

TEAM Newton/PCF Atletes for a Cure 2012
At the IRONMAN Expo
Thursday - We slept in Thursday.  Nick is the best hubbs ever and put my bike all together for me.  We made sure everything was ok and laid out all of our crap.  After that, we headed down to Ironman Village, said hello to our Newton Running Peeps, and shopped a bit in the Ironman store (always spend too much $).  The line for packet pick up was unreal, so Andy took us over to this cool breaky place on the water that he ate at the day before.  Once we got back, the line was gone.  Picked up our race packets, went to the store for some snacks and drove the bike course.  Driving the course definitely gets you psyched for the race!  The 1st 40 miles seemed pretty calm and after that it was climb after climb, roller after roller and ended with a nice little descent!  I just remember Andy saying, shit hits the fan after the Canadian flag/Gas Station...make a right and hello Richter Pass!  

After that, we headed back to the house to clean up for the Team Newton/Athletes for a Cure dinner up at the Lost Moose Lodge.

Team Newton/PCF Dinner @ Lost Moose Lodge!
Beautiful view from the Lodge.
The Lost Moose Lodge was amazing.  Thanks, Jerry Lee and family & Newton Running! Timmy, Nick’s co-worker, said it would be cool to ride there... yeah right.  I think he was trying to haze us because it was a beast getting up there.  It would of been a fun ride down.  The view once we got up there was amazing.  You could see all of Penticton and the Okanagan Valley!  The Athletes for a Cure/PCF dinner was for us to get to know all the other team members from all over the US who have been raising money for PCF as well.  Super cool to meet all the athletes we would be racing with on Sunday.  We met some peeps who I know we will stay in contact and maybe see again at another race in the future!  Awesome!!

Friday - We met up with Andy’s Aliens at the swim start for a .  We happened to run into a couple new friends we met at the Newton dinner who swam with us too.  Cody, Nick, Corey, Jordan and I all helped each other out with our wetsuits and then decided to play around in the water because Cody brought her sweet underwater camera.  Sweet!  We swam for about 20-30 minutes.  The water felt awesome... not too cold and not too warm, super calm and clear.  I loved it!

Post swim we got our bikes together to ride some of the bike course.  Since Andy had been there for a few days before us, he knew the course and lead the way.  It was beautiful.  It starts all along the lake and around and back.  We pretty much rode the run course, minus the section that went through the neighborhood that we discovered on race day!  Yikes!

Wine Tasting!!! 
Beautiful view....
Nick & Linda chillin on the deck!
After our workout, we did a little vino tasting.  Only like 6 wineries... but could of been down for more.  Once a little tuned up, we cleaned up for the Ironman Welcome Dinner at the Convention Center.  It was pretty cool seeing that this was the 30th year for Ironman Canada, there were quite a few people that have done this race 20-30 years.... insane!  There were 3 guys named Dick that have done it every year and they are now called the ‘Dick Heads’.... hilarious!

Corey and his Pre Race Sweets!
Nick ate 10+ cookies too!
Saturday - Today was all about gathering all our race bags; bike/run bag, bike/run special needs bags and morning clothes bag and taking them up to the race site, along with our bikes.  It was so funny this being our 2nd ironman and how much less crap we put in our special needs bags.  Last year, I remember Nick putting in an entire grocery list in there.  This year much less.... for our Bike Special Needs; 1 baggie of swedish fish, 1 bag of PowerBar Gummies, 2 gels, 4 tums and a small coke.  My run special needs (which I didn’t even grab); chapstick, 2 gu’s and a piece of gum.

Good times on the deck....
I think Cody and I had the BEST transition set up ever....we were next to a bench, we thought it was cool at the time, but realized that we weren’t even going to be sitting on it!  HA!

That night we had a nice little BBQ at the house with the CET and Alien Team.  :)  The house we rented had a sweet grill and back deck with view of the lake where the race start was located!  It was great to have everyone over, chill, talk about how excited everyone was for the race to get here and goof off a bit.

Pre-Race Game Face!
Sunday -  RACE DAY!  Thought this day would never come.  We were all up and ready by 4:15am.  Cody’s dad planned on dropping us off at transition around 5:30, transition closed at 6:30, race started @ 7am.  We all pretty much ate the same thing that morning... bagels w/peanut butter and banana with coffee.  

We had a fun little group shot before everyone dispersed and did their thing.  Drop off special needs bags, number marked, check on bike, pump tires, add in any fluids or nutrition to bike, add anything else we wanted to our bike/run bags that we dropped off the day before and then we met back up in transition to chill.  Ran into Andy and his Aliens.  Said our good lucks and hugs and we were off to the water.  They played the Canadian national anthem, I got choked up a bit, gave Corey and Cody a hug, Nick a kiss and were started to get in the zone of what the day was going to bring.

The swim start was a little different than Arizona.  We all just chilled in the water, about hip/waist deep, and gradually walked our way in until we could swim.  SO much more relaxed of a mass start.  We all creeped over to the inside of the buoys for the start.  Smart move because it was less packed!  The course was pretty much a long rectangle that veered a little to the right.  And so our race begins....

Let the FUN begin.....
I would have to say, this was my best swim ever.  Okanagan Lake was calm, the water was cool and you could see pretty much everything.  Nick later said he saw some scuba divers at the turn, but I didn’t see them.  Prob would of freaked me out.  I never had any real issues.  I was able to get into a groove and get comfortable on the swim.  I was never really attacked by people or trampled on.... it was great.  I exited the water around 1:10ish and felt great.  I was pretty surprised and so pumped to have finished the swim feeling great and ready to take on the beast of the bike.

I just love ironman distance because of the awesome support, esp the changing tent volunteers.  I had this awesome woman who had just raced Mt Tremblant a few weeks before.  She pretty much helped me put on all my clothes (yes, I wore my swim suit under my wetsuit and changed into my LG Newton Running/PCF Tri top, LG cycling shorts and white ZOOT arm coolers/SPF :).  I got to hit Cody on the ass as I ran out of the changing tent too!  Always fun to see friends during a race.  Running out of the tent, I hit up the sunscreen boys and a potty stop, and then I was well on my way to 112 miles in the saddle.

Andy coming in from the bike...
The bike course was awesome.  I knew the 1st 40 or so miles were going to be nice and fast, passing by beautiful Skaha Lake and a TON of wineries.  Everyone that I spoke to that gave me some great pointers about the race said to stay calm and do not hammer the beginning of the bike because it will bite you in the ass later.  So, I stayed focused on hydrating, fueling and staying comfortable.  I knew once I made that right hand turn past the flag in Osoyoos, we were well on our way to some climbing.  Hello Richter’s about 11k long and about 1300 ft of climbing, which takes you to about 2300ft of elevation.  The BEST part about these climbs were that there were a TON of spectators everywhere.  I felt like I was on the Tour with the amt of people on both sides of the road.  Some people even followed us along the entire course.  Heard there were some naked spectators cheering too, damn, I missed seeing those!  My sweet little hubby passed my at mile 45, as I was climbing at prob 4 mi/hr and I hear.... “hey good lookin”  Thanks, babe.  I just watched his butt slowly drift away in front of me.  I told him, “I will see you later!”

Get me off this damn thing....
After Richter Pass, there were about 7-10 rollers (aka 7 bitches), that were quick, but they definitely put some fatigue on my legs.  My body felt great except my neck/traps...thinking I tense up too much and needed to relax more.  Fueling was great.  I focused on taking in more solids on the beginning of the bike (Honey Stinger Waffles, PowerBar bites, Swedish Fish and bananas).  Tried to take in about 2 bottles/hour = 1 IM Perform/1 water with 1-2 salt sticks/30 minutes.  Felt great. Never cramped, but did have to pee at the bike special needs.  Which gave me time to pee, drink my coke, put on some BioFreeze on my neck and a little more ChamoisButter! :)  Did a little stretch and back on the bike.  Also got to see Jordan

I remember driving the course and thought Yellow Lake was closer than it was, but I felt like it took forever for the last 40 miles to go by.  I was ready to run and the hills felt like they were never ending. 

We finally hit the Yellow Lake Climb.  It was about 1500ft of climbing within 20km.  The wind was picking up here too, so when you hit some descents that you thought, yes, this is going to be some great rest, nope, think again.  The wind was in your face.  Awesome.  But the spectators were crazy and were totally fueling the last part of the climbs for me.  I loved every minute of it.  Saw some awesome signs out there.  People are so creative!  The last part of the bike was windy, but a steady downhill and back into Penticton.

Nick finishing strong!!!
Quick change of shorts (from cycling shorts to tri shorts), grab visor, potty break and more sunscreen and onto the run course.  Heading out of transition I saw Cody’s parents and Zach in the VIP area (so wish I could of just sat down and had a beer) gave some high 5’s and onto the course.  The first few miles were loaded with people through the downtown of Penticton.  I noticed on my way out that there was this tiny out and back section in the beginning and at the end of the race (about a mile or a little more) I thought, this is going to suck on the way back because you pretty much pass the finish line and turn left, loop around and then straight onto the finish line.  Anyways, my mission was to stay hydrated, fueled and find Nick :).  During the out and back stretch, I saw Cody, then saw our awesome Team Newton peeps cheering for us... So cool to have support out there.  Ran into Mark Webb and there TNM fans too.  Gives you a total boost of adrenaline to see people you know during a race.  Another cool thing being a part of Team Newton/PCF, there were about 18 other athletes out there racing, which definitely boosted your energy everytime you would see someone.  The run was an out and back along Skaha Lake and then some.  About mile 8-9ish, I heard someone come up to me on my left calling out my name.  It was Tiger on a bike with a camera.  He said Cody was right behind me doing great, gave me some positive words and then he went to find Nick.  At about mile 10-11ish, I saw Nick pass by me.  He said the turn around was up ahead and the run special needs.  I knew the way back was going to be a beast because I was descending more than I was climbing going out... I mentally prepared that it was going to suck and I may have to walk.  But I was on a mission to catch up to Nick.

Check out this awesome video from Newton Running:

My goal for the run was to take in a gel/water every 3rd - 4th aid station and coke/ice/water in between that.  I felt awesome until I hit the turn around point.  I took one last gel (PowerBar Straw-Banana) at my special needs and took my gum...yum.  From that point on, I was so sick of gels.  I felt like I was going to puke if I took another one.  So, I alternated between water, coke and chicken broth.  I actually started feeling better.  

The start of the run for me.... so far so good...
At about mile 16-17, I saw Corey.  He was looking strong.  I asked him how he was doing, and like Corey, he says, “Oh, not too bad”  Then he says, “you know Nick is a mile ahead?”  HA.  Thanks, Corey.  About a half mile after that, I saw Andy.  He looked good too.  Told him to finish strong and he said, “Nick is right there, do you know that?”  Duh.  At mile 18, I caught up to Nick.  He will tell you that I didn’t say anything and just passed right by him.  Not true :).  I grabbed his hand, asked him how he was doing and told him I loved him.  He said he felt good and told me to keep going.  I so wanted him to run with me and cross the finish line together!  HA.  That would of been cool though!  After passing Nick, I was exhausted.  I was ready for my power nap.  There were a few places on the side of the road where spectators brought out their couches, seriously, and were cheering on them.  I so wanted to just lay down for a minute.  Mile 19-23 were never ending.  I was so ready to be done with this race and thought there was no way in hell I was going to reach my goal of getting under 12 hours.  This is where I felt like were the hardest mentally part of the race for me.  I was ready to walk, but I was ready to be done. I kept telling myself, the more I run, the faster we will be done with this.  My joints hurt, body was tired and I wanted to sleep.  I kept saying, where the hell is the town.  I knew once we got into town, there were about less than 2 miles left to go.  I realized at about mile 24, I had 20 minutes to get under the 12 hour mark.  Not sure what came over me, think pure adrenaline and I SO thank the volunteers and spectators for this, but I picked it up, paced a bit with other athletes and finished strong.  As soon as I crossed the finish line, I heard Erica and Anne screaming from the VIP area to the left.  I just ran up to them and said thank you.  I felt like I was going to puke or faint, but I needed to walk to get my HR down.  I would have to say, that was my best finish ever.  Not sure where it came from, but loved every minute of it. 
YES!  New PR... awesome!

A volunteer took me to the med tent, but I said I was ok, I just needed some ice on my legs.  I thought for sure my hip flexors were going to rip off my body.  He sat me down, gave me some gatorade, fruit and water.  I sat there for maybe 5 minutes, but then I got anxious that I was going to miss Nick finish.  I walked back into the finish line shoot and there he was!!!  Finished strong.  I was so proud of him!!! I would have to say this was the best feeling ever... racing an ironman with my husband.  Not sure how many times in our lives we can do this, but talk about a flood of emotions.  He is always my biggest motivation and supporter, but doing something together that we worked together for the past 6+ months, even during a stressful time of moving and new job, etc.... it was one of the most amazing feelings ever!

After Nick and I grabbed some food, water and chilled for a bit, we went to the VIP area with our Newton peeps to cheer on the rest of the athletes finishing up.  Cody finished strong and we reunited in the VIP area too!   Cold beer and chips....delicious!  It was so awesome to spend the past few months training with her and Nick.  Cody always keeps us entertained!  Thanks, Code!  One of the highlights of this race was being able to medal the athletes finishing ironman (since Newton was a big sponsor of the race, they got to work the finish line by medaling some athletes and asked if I wanted to help... of course I did)  All of a sudden, I saw an Alien Endurance uniform coming towards the was Andy Clark.... I was freaking out, this was his 1st ironman and I got to give him his 1st medal and hug him as he crossed the finish!!!  SO COOL!  Corey finished not too long after that.  We all gathered in the athletes tent where all the food/drinks are located.  During this time, Corey and I chatted about the race, he did his typical I want pizza and coke and just look at it.  HA.  We also lost Nick’s mom, Linda.  Not really smart of us to have directionally challenged Linda at her 1st ironman spectating race solo and didn’t give her anywhere to meet us.  We now know for next time to put her in VIP!  So Nick went out to find her while Corey and I chilled.  Post race was pretty uneventful.  Just showered and chilled.  
Couldn't wait for a bloody mary....

Monday was filled with a delicious breakfast on the water, followed by numerous stops at wineries and finished off with a nice BBQ overlooking the Lake.  Tuesday..Corey, Nick and I headed to Spokane (only a 5 minute stop this time through customs) had a nice beer tasting and chilled for the rest of the night.

IRONMAN Canada is in the books.  Awesome race all around.... from volunteers to spectators, Team Newton, PCF/Athletes for a Cure athletes, friends, family and my awesome hubby!  Thanks to Kompetitive Edge, Team Timex Factory Team and Newton Running!  What a race.  Loved it all.  Thanks for all the love and support.

Thanks, Linda for all the support!!!

Clark Endurance Athletes at the Finish!!!

Corey looking happier than ever to be done!!  2 in the books baby!

A little walk through the woods... headed back to Spokane.  The legs needed some movement!

How we finished the trip.... beer tasting for the boys!

IRONMAN Canada 2012! :)