oregon adventures

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Ironman Canada

Back on Aug 28th I finished my third Ironman. Left for Penticton Canada on the 23rd. Julie rode up with me and we caravaned with the Headhunter's van and then Jim and Terry joined the caravan in Yakima. Nice drive up with only one incident. Just south of the border, I saw Jim brake hard, I braked hard and then saw what caused it, a big horn sheep in the road. As he walked away, Julie said "he's smiling", sure enough the big horn looked back at us and appeared to smile as he sauntered off. Got to Penticton and checked into the Slumber Inn right on the beach. My first thoughts were, "what a dump" and "I paid how much for this". By the end of the week it proved to be worth the money and the perfect location.
The rest of the week we rode the big hills and drove the whole course. Swam some in the beautiful and warm lake. Ran a little around the town. Mostly though I sat outside Jim, terry, and Denise E's room because it had the view in the picture on top and it was in the shade the whole time. Did crosswords or just sat. Got in vacation mode and didn't even wear my watch. My phone's data plan didn't work in Canada, so I was cut off from Facebook and Phillie's scores, just relaxing. My right knee was acting up until Saturday I took the bike over to transition and put it on the rack and then set the transition bags in place. When I stood up from setting the last transition bag in place my knee didn't hurt and I teared up a little thinking "I'm going to do this!".
The motel was right across the street from the swim start, couldn't get any closer. Got ready and soon was standing on the beach with Julie and Mark and the gun went off and it was time to swim. I'd heard about Ironman swims being crowded. The ironmans I'd done had under 500 people, this one had 2800 people all starting at the same time. It was combat. At one point I got frustrated and when another person swerved in front of me kicking, I grabbed their foot and pulled down. Then felt really bad, that was uncalled for. So after that I just tried to keep my line and hit and got hit. After what seemed to be forever I reached the first turn at 1600 meters and then a short 450 meter part that flew by and then the long home stretch of 1800 meters. I was going buoy to buoy and trying to figure out if they were 200 or 150 meters apart. It seemed to be 150 meters, but there were too many by the end, so not sure. Finally the swim was done and it was time to ride. Started out good and zoomed through town seeing lots of people I knew watching. The first 40 miles were fun, but I held back and didn't hammer with the thought "have to run after". After 40 miles it turns onto the Richter pass climb and my stomach was complaining by then. I ate a sandwich and took some e-caps and climbed really good, then the downhill. All year training I had been terrified of downhills, but this time I just tucked into the aerobars and flew down the hill. Then the seven bitches as they're called. I think there were more of them. Fun downhills, but lots of momentum killing steep short climbs that sap your strength. By now my stomach wouldn't let me stay in the aero bars more than a few seconds. Got to the long out and back that was pretty rolly and seemed to go on forever. I stopped at the bike bag stop and the volunteer girl refilled my bottles for me because I was a little loopy. Took some Pepcid Ac's and going back out the out and back I was belching really loud. Always just as a pretty girl was passing so it seemed. But the stomach was getting better. I looked around and noticed the ride wasn't jam packed any more. I must have really slowed down. Turned onto the Yellow lake climb and just slogged up the hill popping Pepcids and e-caps and drinking like crazy. It was well over 90 by now. Or in the 30's since it was Canada. At the summit of Yellow my right leg started cramping really bad, so I tried riding and stretching, but it got worse so I stopped and shook the leg out for awhile until it stopped and then took off again. The downhills here were really twisty and I was flying , but had to slow for some guy riding in the middle and then weaving all over even after being yelled at "on your left". Not worth the effort, so I just relaxed and waited until after the curves and got past him. Then down into town and I wanted off the bike. I was hoping I could run, the stomach was better, but still bad. Off the bike and into the run tent. Asked a volunteer if he was doing the race next year, he said no his wife was and he had just done Leadman. That started a conversation with another guy sitting there and after a 10 minute transition I was off on the run. Flew through town and the giant crowd. Then slowed to my race pace of 11 mins/mile or so. Walked through the aid stops drinking water and then at the last trash can would walk 10 steps and then start running again. At 6 miles I took some more Pepcid and e-caps and changed it to 15 steps. At mile 10.5 was a big hill and I came up to Jason and John, so I stopped and walked up the hill with them. They were having a great time and I walked a while with them and then coach Denise passed on the other side and said "come on Jeff catch me". So I ran the downhill and then it went back up even steeper than before and something in my snapped off and I said "screw it" and walked up the hill. Then a slow jog into the bag stop. Read a letter from Sarah she had given me to put in the run bag. Then started up again, but not with much enthusiasm. Just then I hear "Jeff" and it was a girl I had run a couple miles with before she had gotten nauseous and had to slow down. So I stopped and waited for Trisha and we walked and ran together the rest of the way. She was nauseous still, so we would walk about half a mile then run half a mile to the next stop. One time we came up on Brian, so we walked with him for awhile, Then we came up on Chris, so we walked with him awhile. By mile 22 or so we tried running for longer periods to get it over with and were like zombies by then. She had thrown up at one of the stops and was feeling a little better. We ran the last mile past the crowds and out and then you turn around and come back the final push past the crowds again. Trisha said, "I have to stop" so with .3 left we stopped and she dry heaved on the side of the road. Then we ran the last part and high fived along the side of the chute and came across the line hand in hand.
Finished at 14:42:32 good for 2029th place. Trisha was married with kids, so we said goodbye and the I met up with Julie and we went back to the finish line and got to the front row and banged on the sides of the chute cheering on the last hour finishers.
I finished and felt great afterwards, but didn't leave it all out there. First time I walked more than a tiny portion of a race, but wasn't beat up and could hike no problem later on my vacation trip home, but that's another post.
Great job to all the Headhunters!


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