The Backstory: My first Ironman experience! Ironman has been a dream of mine forever, albeit a distant one. It's crazy to think that I now have a half Ironman in the bag and a full Ironman is within reach. I signed up for this 70.3 before I had ever done a triathlon of any distance, or even owned a road bike. I bought a road bike for $500 off Craigslist on July 1st, less than a month before the race. My first ride, I fell twice from not being used to clipless pedals LOL! July was crammed with last minute bike training and brick workouts!
Why Whistler? I LOVE Whistler. It's such as beautiful place. The drive from Vancouver to Whistler is probably the most beautiful drive I've ever taken. I have been there twice in the winter for snowboarding, but have never been in the summer. I looked over the Ironman race calendar, and going purely based on beauty, and not realizing the hassle and cost of traveling with my bike, my heart was set on Whistler. It was actually a lot of stress figuring out how to get my bike up there, and if I could have done it all over again, I would have used the $300 all-inclusive bike transport service. But at the end of the day, I figured the logistics out, and I'm so happy I chose Whistler for my first Ironman experience.
The Itinerary: Ashley and I flew into Seattle on Thursday night, and Friday morning had breakfast with a friend before exploring the famous Pike Place Market. We had dinner at an amazing vegan restaurant in Vancouver called The Acorn, and had some beers and listened to live music at Guilt & Co. Saturday early we drove from Vancouver to Whistler, and handled check-in and all the gear drop offs that morning. In the afternoon, we had some down time and hiked up to Lost Lake to relax and take a dip in the lake. Pre-race dinner was sushi in the village, and then we stayed in the rest of the night and watched Thor Ragnarok at our hotel while I wrote out my exact race day nutrition plan.
Swim: 34:11 (18th/88)
Bike: 3:04:43 (38th/88)
Run 1:59:41 (23rd/88)
FINAL TIME: 5:46:20 (21st/88)
The swim course was beautiful. The water was 70 degrees, and if I did this again I don't think I would have worn a wetsuit. Anything under 40 minutes for my swim split would have been good with me, so I was pretty stoked on the 34 min time.
I was pretty worried about the bike leg, because that's where I had the least training, the course had well over 3k of vert, and I had literally ZERO practice climbing. I was also literally the only person on the course without an "aero" racing kit or tri suit. That didn't stop me from getting as aero as possible though, I had just watched the Tour De France a few days before, and tried my best to emulate some of the are positions I saw LOL. I literally had no clue what I was doing, but I did zoom past many people on some of those downhills with max speeds north of 50 mph.
Despite some super tough climbs, the ride was awesome and the course was so gorgeous and stunning. I estimated about a 3:30 bike split based on my training, so when I came under 3:05 I was super surprised and happy. But... I would soon learn that I didn't leave very much in the legs for the run...
Coming out of T2 and heading out on the run, two awesome volunteers lathered me up in fresh sunscreen before heading out, you can see it on my left arm not rubbed in (above), obviously I was in a hurry. I thought the run was going to be the easiest and my best leg of the race, and man was I wrong. My goal was to run a 1:40-ish half marathon, and I wasn’t even close. I barely broke the 2 hour mark, coming in at 1:59:41. It was a 2 hour struggle. It was hot, well over 90 degrees. I walked every aid station. I had to stop looking down at my watch because my pace was disappointing and the miles were passing painfully slow. There were 2 main thoughts repeating in my head: 1. “Tonight I’ll be in my bed.” 2. “There’s no way I could ever do a full Ironman.” When I finally crossed the finish line the first thing I told Ashley is “I’m so happy that’s over.”
A couple hours later, after a pizza, a nap, and a shower, we went back to the finish line to cheer on some of the full Ironman finishers. I was immediately re-inspired. I’m going to do a full Ironman someday.
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