Ironman Muskoka 2015 Race Report – I. AM. AN. IRONMAN.

It was a long day, and I cut it rather close, but it ended up with those magical words “Lindsay – YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!”

Mission #HometownIronman = Accomplished

Swim – 1:05.48

As expected, my swim was smooth, easy and non-eventful.  This was my first time doing a rolling start and it was amazing.  I had clear water the entire time and I didn’t see anyone who had vastly mis-seeded themselves so there wasn’t any swimming over top of people to do.  Sighted OK – went off course a little in the last straightaway home, and was a little wide to the left the entire time, but it went well.  Didn’t kick at all (except once when someone kept touching my toes – stop it!).  Pretty happy with my time considering the effort that I put in.  Focus was to save my legs for the bike course and spend as little energy as possible.  The hills were calling.

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T1 – 7:56

That hill up to transition is just mean. Carpet would have been awesome.  Or a golf cart. Wetsuit strippers were fantastic!  Had a bit of trouble getting my jersey on in transition, and almost missed the sunscreen people and had to double back to them because I burn when I think about being in the sun, but all in all, not bad.

Bike – 8:33.10

I’m going to start this part of the recap by saying that I’m not a strong cyclist or even really a mediocre cyclist and I don’t enjoy riding.  And I’m a terrible climber.  This course – AKA The Beast – was definitely not made for me.  I may have tamed The Beast, but it totally made me its bitch along the way.

No real big surprises as I knew the course well.  North Portage was hard – twisty and technical – and Dwight Beach had rough spots but it could have been worse.  Hopefully it’ll get some TLC next year because you’d be able to rip this section up if it were smoother.  I loved the stretch on 117 between Dorset and Baysville because the roads were rolly with downs equal to the ups and you could really get moving.  South Portage back to Lake of Bays had some nasty little steep climbs, but the cheerleaders were awesome.

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Going in, I had the unofficial and mostly unspoken goal of trying to do this bike course in 8 hours, and at halfway I was at 3:55, so it was doable, but the second lap had some issues for me.  The wind picked up a bit on 35 and 117, and while wasn’t strong, still hasn’t cool.  On the Seabreeze turnaround, I didn’t quite make the turn sharp enough, brushed a road pylon on the edge and ended up in the ditch with my bike.  Yep, I fell off my bike on the easiest part of the course with no interference while going super slow.  Luckily, no injuries to me or the bike, so with a little laugh at myself I stopped to pee and adjust my brakes, which were the only thing that seemed a little rattled from the visit to the ditch.  If anything, if you are going to end up in the ditch it might as well be a ditch at the aid station. Back on 35 my chain came off but it was a quick stop to get it back on and off I went and it never gave me any trouble again.  Stopped in Baysville for a quick hug and picture with my mom.  Totally worth the time spent.

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The last 9KM up North Portage back to Deerhurst was just brutal.  I fully admit to walking up one of the last hills after getting a third of the way up and saying “F— it. Not worth it” and I wasn’t alone – there was at least 5 of us walking up it together.  Whizzed back into Deerhurst and spotted my cheering section right before transition.

Finally done and time to run.

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Kudos to the guy who did the bike on a mountain bike with platform pedals.  I looked him up in the results and was sad to see he was a DNF after doing at least 32K of the run (he crossed the last checkpoint).  No matter what happened, he should be proud of tackling that course – beast mode, indeed.

T2 – 12:26

WTF. It totally didn’t feel that long, but I understand why it did me 12 minutes in transition.  Complete change of clothes (which was worth it) and I seemed to know all the volunteers in the changeroom so I stopped to give them all hugs.  Stop in the portapotty. Stop to get sunscreened.  I have a nerve problem in my neck so after being on the bike for so long, I couldn’t feel my fingers on my left hand, which made things that required fine motor skills really hard (unclipping my bike helmet was impossible) and everything took longer than it should have.

Run- 6:36.23

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Very quickly into the run I realised how badly that ride had chewed up my legs.  IT band and quads were done from the beginning and I could barely lift my legs.  Walking was way faster (like at least 1:15/km faster) so after about 4 km of run/walk, I switched into power walk mode and motored my way through. Except when I saw a camera.  Then I ran 🙂

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First half went OK, but then it got dark and then it got lonely.  Hit the 32K turnaround checkpoint and let out a sigh of relief – barring breaking a leg, I was going to be a finisher.  Hwy 60 back in the dark by myself was tough – knowing that I was close, but still had a ways to go was sad and there weren’t spectators along this part (at any point in the day, not just at the end).  I saw a deer run across the road at Grandview and that perked me up a bit.

With about 3.5K to go I met some volunteers who were coming out to run in with us stragglers towards the end to try and get everyone left out on the course in before the cut off.  Volunteer Nicolle joined me and ran me in to the finish shoot – chatting along the way and laughing with me when I said that I had to pee on the side of the road (and then panicking because I wasn’t sure my body remembered how to pee).  It was awesome to have her with me, just to have someone to chat at me in the last little bit. Caught a couple people running with her.  Hit the last aid station and saw The Husband and some friends and my legs were shaking – toasted from the day.

But that finish chute?  Totally worth all the struggle and pain.

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Total Time – 16:35.43

My catcher gave me my medal (so heavy), my shiny blanket, and some Gatorade and took me to get my picture and to see my cheerleading squad.  Lots of sweaty hugs for everyone!

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Post Race Thoughts
I did it!  And I had a lot of fun!  And I’m never doing it again!  I will definitely do more sprint and Olympic tris, and probably more 70.3 distances, but I really don’t enjoy riding enough to want to ride anything close to 180KM ever again, no matter what the terrain.  So glad I did it though, and to do it at home was something special because the memories that I have from along the course were amazing – I swam in the lake that I used to work at doing hotel lifeguarding duties.  I rode past the Baysville Curling Club where my parents played when I was little and I spent so many nights trying to find reception on the old black and white TV and stealing pop out of the machine while the adults were curling.  I ran past Huntsville High School where I spent my teen years, whether I was in class or not.  I ran past Grandview where I worked at in university during the summer and got married at a couple years ago.  It was a neat experience to have.

Thank You’s:

  1. The Husband – James, you were so #supportive through this past year and I can’t thank you enough.  You had to put up with my anxiety the most and you deserve a finisher medal all your own for dealing with my crap and holding my stuff.  Love you.
  2. Mom – You were everywhere on the course either for a wave or a hug.  You’ll never know how happy it made me to spot you in the crowd before the swim start.
  3. Dad & Mary – Thank you for all of your help!  You bought me my wetsuit, which made me super fast.  I’m sorry you couldn’t be there on the day, but I was thinking of you 🙂
  4. Coach Brock – When I came to you a year ago, you didn’t tell me I was crazy (though you may have been thinking it) and you said you could make me a finisher, and you did (albeit slower than we were both probably thinking – damn run)
  5. Hyde Park Crew – I have the best neighours/friends.  You were always there to offer support or a beer whenever I needed it, and I’m super grateful.  Big thanks especially to Kirt, Ruth and Liisa who came up to cheer – I was so glad (though slightly incoherent) to have you there.
  6. #TeamSkyFit – Team support is the best support, even if it is mostly Twitter complaints about Brock’s workouts (#BlameBrock) 😉
  7. Swim Ontario – I have the best co-workers.  Mine are better than yours, I guarantee.  Unwavering support since I decided to so this and a pretty flexible schedule – its every triathletes dream.
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The Countdown is Definitely On

Oops.  Didn’t update my training since June.  Bad blog.

That isn’t to say I wasn’t training, because I have been.  Training my little tuckus off.  Long runs, rides and swims, work, and a mini 3 day vacation have occupied my summer.  And I’ve had a great summer – flew right by.  I simply forgot to update.

And now, here I am.  My countdown app on my phone says that I have 3 days, 18 hours, and 50 minutes until the start of Ironman Muskoka.

And I’m a little bit terrified.  And by a little, I mean A LOT.  I know I’ve done the training.  I know I should be fine.  The majority of the time I am fine.  But then The Fear hits me when I’m least expecting it and I have a little bit of an internal meltdown.  It never lasts more than a minute at a time, but there are becoming more frequent as the race gets closer.  Lying on the couch with The Husband and The Dog watching TV and I’ll become extremely nervous and just let out one pathetic sigh.  And The Husband laughs at me.  He always asks whats wrong, even though he knows what is wrong, and the answer is always the same.

“Nothing.”

Because nothing is wrong.  Not really.  I have a family that loves me.  Great friends.  A job that I enjoy.  A sport that challenges and inspires me daily.  Nothing that is going on really fits into the category of something being “wrong”.  I’m just nervous and  I’m more nervous about the unknown than I am about the known.

I know that its going to be a tough day.  I know that I’m not a strong cyclist – this is a hard bike course and there is the chance I won’t make the bike cut off (though theoretically I should be fine unless I get ALL THE FLAT TIRES). I know that this is going to be a solid chunk of my day:

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This will be me on the trike. I promise to stay to the right! (photo from Ironman Muskoka Facebook meme war)

But while these things are on my mind, they’re not really what I’m nervous about.  I’m nervous because so much is out of my control.

As The Husband tells me regularly, I’m a bit of a control freak.  And much to my chagrin, I don’t control the following things:

  1. The Weather (though that looks pretty good)
  2. The length of time that sunscreen is good for
  3. People crashing in front of me on the bike
  4. The fact that its orange Gatorade on the bike course (seriously?  Orange?? Blah.)
  5. The sun going down before I finish the run (its possible I will, but not probable)
  6. The 800m walk back to the hotel after I’m done seems really far
  7. Getting in the shower and feeling all the chafing burning that I know will be there regardless of what I do

But, the race is coming and I’m going to give it my all in 3 days, 18 hours and 14 minutes. Nerves be damned.

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A Year of Training – Week 45

Monday –  Injury Prevention exercises – focus on hip flexors and glutes.

Tuesday – 50 minute ride focusing on cadence.  My cadence is generally really low, while it feels like its high.  Working on it makes my legs feel like jelly.

Wednesday – Power at the gym, and then 6K of running hills.  I’ve done this specific hill workout about 5 times, and it never feels better, but every time I’m a little faster and a little stronger!

Thursday – HIIT on the bike trainer due to rain.  Lots of speed play and high cadence.  SUPER SWEATY.  I’m not a lover of the bike, but I thought this one was fun!

Friday – 40 minutes open water with a friend with me on her paddleboard.  Uneventful and a bit boring.  Swam into the same stick twice (going back and forth in the swimming area).  Arm still feels wonky from Welland Half.

Saturday – BRICK!!!  26K ride followed by 6.5K run, with hill sprints at the end.  I love getting my workout done before 8am, because then I just get to chill out for the rest of the day.

Sunday – Went and did the North Shore Challenge swimming race so that I could do my open water swim with people instead of on my own.  Recap is HERE.

Weekly totals:
Swim: 3500m
Bike: 60K
Run: 12K
Gym: 2

Total Time: 7:14

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North Shore Challenge Recap

I had a 60 minute open water swim on my schedule for Sunday and then a teammate posted on Facebook about a race at Rattlesnake Point and I decided to sign up because open water with friends is way more fun than open water by yourself!

I registered for the 3.8K and was all set to race at 8am!

Things don’t always work out as you want them to.

My mom and I drove down to Jarvis and stayed with friends the night before.  Saturday was pouring rain, and we woke up on Sunday to find that it had slowed a bit, but still wet.  Drove out to Rattlesnake Point, only to find that the race had been reschedule to 10am.  No worries – got all my stuff and headed down to the beach to check out the waves.

Almost for some open water swim craziness… #TeamSkyFit #northshorechallenge

A video posted by Lindsay (@lindz_taylor) on Jun 28, 2015 at 4:44am PDT

Went back to the pavillion to stay dry and at 8:45 we were told that the 3.8 was being pushed to an 11:30 start in hopes that the waves might die down.  I understand pushing a start due to weather, but I had something to do back in Toronto on Sunday afternoon, so this was a little frustrating to my OCD organized life because there is a big difference between 8am and 11:30 and I had been planning my day as if I was going to be done the race around 9.  After a quick email to the coach, I decided to switch into the 1500m event that was still starting at 10 so I could get back home on time.

At 10am the horn blew and we headed out into the water.  This was the waviest swim race I’ve done and it was both awesome and challenging.  It was really hard to sight – I’d be on the top of a wave and wasn’t able to see the next buoy and the water was super murky because of all the rain, making the swim feel really blind all round.  I stopped a couple times and took off my goggles just to get my bearings.  I don’t think I went very far off course, but it was unsettling to be in the water and have no idea where I was going.

I had a lot of fun, but its definitely wasn’t quick because of the conditions – finish time was 33:33, which was only a smidge slower than my 2000m swim in the Welland half a couple weeks ago and this was way tougher.

Great (but wet) day!

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A Year of Training – Week 44

Recovery Week post Rose City half.

Monday – Went for a massage to get some of the muscle tightness worked out.  The fingers on my left hand aren’t working properly – like the message isn’t getting from my brain to my fingers.  Post massage they are a little better, but still not right.

Tuesday – Lots of stretching and range of motion exercises.  Hand is better, with fingers able to function and type, but feels weak.  Having trouble gripping things.

Wednesday – 30 minutes on the trainer to wake up my legs.

Thursday – Participated (wouldn’t call it race) with #TeamSkyFit at #EkidenTO. Only did the short 5K leg (which ended up being 5.7 because there was no one at the turn around and we all ran long).  Legs were slow and tired, but I actually felt really good for 4 days post Half Ironman.  No muscle stiffness or pain 🙂

Friday – Nothing!!!

Saturday – Went to the 5 Peaks race in Milton at Rattlesnake Point and was a sherpa for a friend, holding all the stuff and dog sitting.  It was a beautiful day to be out and about in the running scene!  Well organized and low key event!

Sunday – Massage and muscle trigger activations.  All ready for the big build starting this week!

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Rose City Half Triathlon Recap

On Sunday I completed my first Half Ironman distance triathlon (2000/90/21) at the MultiSport Canada Rose City Tri in Welland.  While I didn’t have a fantastic race, there were some great parts, some good parts and I figured out lots of stuff that I need to work on for the rest of the summer leading up to my Ironman Muskoka goal in August.

Transition set up was smooth and uneventful.  Had a slight moment of panic when I was leaving to head down to the water and my hair elastic snapped and I couldn’t find my back up.  Luckily there was a girl in transition who had about 50 (probably had been in my position before) and I was saved!

Swim 
Water was pretty warm – balmy compared to my dip at Sunnyside Beach a week before!  It was an in water start and it felt super congested for about 400m but then things suddenly opened up and I was pretty much on my own.  I felt smooth and easy in the water I was convinced that I was going far too slowly, but I was trying to minimize my kick to save those legs for the rest of the race.  Stubbed my foot coming out of the water on a big rock that they had warned us about at the swim start.  But I was quite pleased – Coach and I had discussed that I thought I’d be about 35 minutes for the swim and I was a little under that, so yay 🙂

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T1 
Run up to T1 was painful on the feet, but alright. Got my food in my pockets and I was ready to ride!

Bike 
This is the story of the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad bike ride.

I felt good out of transition, was settling into my intended groove when…. BANG.  Five minutes in, I ran over a nail, popping my tire and tube.  Hopped off my bike and started on the change.  Triathletes are awesome – almost everyone passing me asked if I needed any help/tools and while I was fine, I appreciated the gesture.  Had a little trouble getting my wheel back on, but was up and riding again in 11 minutes.  But I couldn’t get back into a rhythm for the longest time.  Cadence was low.  My front brakes kept rubbing.  I was concerned that I was going to go over a pot hole and the punctured rear tire would blow and I’d be stranded.  My foot cramped up and the bike shoes (which I already disliked heavily and wanted to replace) became The Worst Thing In The World. Essentially my mental game was thrown and I couldn’t get it back.  The rain was actually welcomed because it broke me out of my self induced pity party.  A girl passed me close to the end and I thought she said that we only had 15 minutes until the time cut off, scaring the crap out of me and got my butt into gear.  Turns out she was saying we only had 15 minutes left until we were done 😛

It was about 30 minutes slower than I wanted, and the slowest ride of the day, but I learned a lot about myself.

And I bought some new bike shoes yesterday.  I don’t care if its a mental thing – I really hated my old ones.

T2 
Ooh, legs forgot how to work after dismounting.  Changed shoes.  Grabbed hat and was off.  Apparently I spend almost 2 minutes in here, but it felt super fast.

Run 
Left my watch on my watch, so I ran by feel – it was a slow, but consistent, shuffle!  I liked the course on the bike paths, but it was a little lonely on my last loop because mostly everyone else was gone.  Just kept shuffling along.  Stuck mostly to water and ate some snacks at the aid stations because I got hungry (as if I done a lot of exercise that day).   Finished with a smile on my face, laughing at The Husband laying in his deluxe lawn chair waiting for me 🙂

Finisher

Final Time – 7:28.

Definitely slower than my goals coming in but all said and done, I’m proud of myself.  I’m a finisher!  I don’t normally wear my race medals for long (its a swimmer thing) but this one I wore until I was back in the car.

The Husband asked “So, could you do that again, right now?” and my response was that I’m genuinely terrified for Ironman Muskoka.  That bike course is so tough and today’s bike went so poorly when it was flat that I’m really worried about that bike cut off time.  A couple days out, I’m feeling better about it.  I have lots of time to spend on the bike between now and then, and I can only improve.

I’m just going to keep moving forward.

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A Year of Training – Week 43

Monday – Recovery day! Race week is upon us!  Rose City Half Triathlon on Sunday… EEK

Tuesday – 16K on the bike on the first part of the Ironman Muskoka course.  This course is NO JOKE.  I have The Fear.

Wednesday – 3K strides with the dog.  She was hot and unimpressed with going for a run, until she went swimming. And then was unimpressed that she had to have a bath afterwards.

Thursday – Was supposed to do a short ride, but took a nap instead.

Friday – Short 15 minute shake out run

Saturday – Saw Jurassic World and then drove to Welland to spend the night so I didn’t have to get up at stupid o’clock to drive down in the morning.

SundayRose City Half.  Had its ups and downs, but I’m a Finisher!!!.

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