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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