Ironman Calgary 70.3 Recap

Hey Fitfam,

I know its been a long time…

Life has been hectic and I really haven’t had the energy to write lately, but I really wanted to write up a race report.

IRONMAN CALGARY  70.3 WAS AWESOME!

It was everything I had hoped it would be.

The city, the volunteers, the views, ….

We left Red Lake on Wednesday July 20th after work and slowly made our way to Winnipeg. We had a lovely dinner with one of my very best friends in Kenora. That night It stormed like I have never witnessed in a vehicle. I was pretty scared. Luckily it passed quickly and we made it safe and sound around midnight. As we pulled up to the hotel the power went out. It made for an interesting night….

The next morning we woke up and got an early start. We had a long drive from Winnipeg to Medicine Hat. Canadians always complain about the drive through Saskatchewan saying that the prairies are super boring. I completely disagree… The drive was terrific, the farms, flat lands, colourful fields, we loved every minute of it.

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That night we stayed in Medicine Hat, AB. We found a great little pub and enjoyed a fun supper while watching the Tour de France – a little cycling inspiration…

Friday morning we made the last little trek into Calgary. We took a few hours and did some exploring in Drumheller, made the fastest museum tour possible and headed to Olds Alberta to check out the college for Miss Rebecca.

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I managed to just make packet pick up. I got up the nerve to switch out of the newbie category and put myself into the 35-39 age group. I felt my training had been solid and wasn’t afraid.

Saturday morning I got up early had breakfast with the kiddos and Tim and I went to scope out T1, drop off my bike and gear. I got a quick swim and left Gretchen racked and ready to go.

We then took an hour and drove the bike course. It was breathe taking. Some huge climbs but done too steep.

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I spent the remainder of the day eating and shopping with my family. That evening I put the finishing touches on my race bags and attempted to sleep.

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Luckily the amount of sleep you get the night before a race really doesn’t affect your results, because I certainly didn’t sleep.

At 4:30 I woke up made myself some oatmeal topped with Sidder’s Syrup of course. Had a cup of coffee and put on my tri suit. Grabbed my many bags and headed out to my race.

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I expected to be really nervous or overwhelmed or emotional, but I wasn’t. I was calm and excited and ready to race. I set up my T1, mixed up my bottles. In line for the porta pottys I chatted with a friendly competitor. It was her first time racing Calgary as well, but certainly not her first race. Later I learned she was a PRO. She was so kind and so encouraging. 🙂

Soon enough I was getting zipped into my wet suit and standing on the beach ready for the swim. I knew I was a decent swimmer so I put myself near the front on the left of the wave. The gun went off and we were in the water. IT WAS INSANE! Totally mayhem, like a mosh pit in a lake. Legs and arms and splashing. My first thoughts were WTF was I thinking I am way over my head. But I have never been one to back down, I just kept plugging away . Eventually it got much better and I had a kick ass swim!

I excited the lake ran up the beach to the wet suit strippers, that was interesting i really didn’t know what to do, but they got my suit off. I trotted to T1, took my time got dried off shoes on and walked to the bike course.

The ride start was great, a little chilly being early and wet, but the course was well marked and lots of amazing volunteers to guide you. I was passed by nearly everyone in the field, but I was there to race my race not theirs. I took the time to thank each and every volunteer on that bike course. Spreading my joy made my day even better!

The course headed west for about 45 km then turned back east towards Calgary. You basically climb for the first half of the ride. It wasn’t easy by any means, but it certainly was no where as tough as some of the climbs I face at home. Only a few were lung burning. My first half was slow, my second was fabulous. I ended up making up a lot of time and finished with around a 3:37 bike split. Right on target…

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I had never been quite so happy to go for a run as I was at T2.

I racked my bike, took 2 Advil, laced my shoes and headed out.

It was hot!!!

I filled my hat and bra with ice and plugged away. I continued on with my positive attitude and cheered on all my fellow competitors. Many thought I was crazy but I could tell it helped a few…

Things were ok for the first 10 km. But my belly was starting to get funky. I was started to bloat … perhaps coke on the run was a bad idea…

By 15 km I was starting to fade, it was HOT!! My belly was yucky and I wanted to be done. I knew that even if I walked I could beat my time goal of 7 hours, so I did just that. I started run/walk intervals. I ran when I could and walked when I could no longer run. To me the only thing that mattered was that I finished. I would have crawled if I had to….

The Calgary run is tough as you have to climb a massive hill around kilometer 15, then pass the finish line and run a few more KMs. You can see the finish, you can hear the finish but you are not finished.

Finally I came to the shoot, I picked it up and ran in, some guy yelled “drink my beer” So being the good Canadian girl that I am; I drank his beer! Best Beer of my life! I “flew in” across that finish line and received my medal! I finished in 6 hours and 47 minutes. My family met me at the finish line.

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IT WAS SURREAL! I had accomplished my goal!

Unfortunately I was too hot too sick to stick around and enjoy the moment. So my family and I picked up my bike and bags and I headed back to the hotel for the best shower ever!!

We ended the day sitting by the pool, then went out for the BEST burger of my life!!

Looking back … I need to get faster on the bike, I need to learn to be comfortable in aero, I need to dial in my nutrition, I need to avoid fizzy pop on the run!

The HIGHLIGHT of my race, was when I came around the corner about 50 km into the bike and my girls were waiting on the side of the road with a sign. Rebecca yelled out “yay Mama” Oh boy that brought tears to my eyes! I got a YAY MAMA!

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