Monday, August 29, 2016

Ironman Mont Tremblant Race Recap - Run Leg

Did you miss the swim and bike legs? Check them out, here and here

After handing off my bike to a volunteer, I took my bike shoes off and ran through the transition area toward the tent. My legs felt so heavy, and I was worried. Thankfully, it seemed like the rain was going to let up a bit.

When I got into the changing area, I put my run stuff on quickly and then walked out toward the run course. I had no idea how the rest of the day was going to go, but I was determined to try.

Heading out of transition

Mike's parents did cheer me on as I left for the run, and then as I was walking/running away I heard my mom and dad cheer for me. They almost missed me, because of where they had been on the bike course and how fast I was in transition, but I turned around and waved to them.

I started running and as I turned I saw our friend, Andy. He cheered me on and I started to utilize ultra running strategies. I knew I was going to walk up the majority of the hills, but I tried to keep running as much as possible. My brother and sister-in-law cheered me on as I started the rest of the run, and I tried to stay positive. I knew it was going to hurt, but as long as I could walk I would make it.

The run course is a big out and back with a small out and back and a slight diversion from it on the way back. I was just focusing on walking up the hills as fast as possible and then utilizing the downhills and flats. Eventually someone tapped me on the shoulder, and it was our friend Ricky! He was on his second loop (I was jealous) and we talked a bit before he got ahead of me. He did use a port-a-potty so I got ahead, but then he passed me again.

I also saw, on the way back, another person from Rochester who we had met at the athlete meeting on Friday. We high-fived and I kept going.

The bike path portion of the race was a bit congested for me, and I kept looking for Mike (I must have missed him while he was either on the small out and back or the deviation from the out part of the course). I was holding decent enough paces, considering how shot my legs were from the bike and lack of training, and I just kept giving myself goals to reach.

 Mike heading out for his second loop

Right before the turn around on the out and back, Ricky passed by me again! He must have used another port-a-potty and I passed him. He made his way through the turn and I made sure he was alright, which he said he was and told him to go finish it (he did great!)

As I made my way along the bike path, I reached the one aid station before the small out and back. That's when I saw Mike! We high-fived, I told him this was hard and then he yelled at me before I walked away and he continued on to finish up his second loop. He signed "I love you" to me and I signed it back, and then we went our separate ways. I hoped he would finish up strong, he did look a little pale to me (and he said later he felt great the first 10 miles and then it was a little bit rough).

I enjoyed the small out and back because it was on a dirt path and then I started to go back on the main out and back. I also liked the small deviation from the main course because it was almost all downhill, and at this point I could still run the downhills.

Running by my mom and dad back toward the ski village

As I made my way back to the ski village, I saw my brother and Hanna. I was walking, and my brother told Hanna to keep up with an Ironman walking pace, ha (I guess I was walking faster than she was)! He then told me that my mom and dad were a bit further up, and I said I guess I should start running. I ran by my mom and dad while they cheered me on and then I got to the hills again.

As I walked/ran up the hill, a spectator said something to me in French. I said, "maybe, English only". I had been mostly smiling whether people were cheering in French or English.  I got closer to special needs (which I bypassed) and then I ran through the ski village.

This experience was amazing. I was able to pick up my pace because of all of the people cheering, but unfortunately I had to go right for my second loop rather than left for the finish.

I saw my mom and dad and brother and sister-in-law again and kept going. I was definitely walking a lot more the second loop, but I was just focused on getting it done. I told my dad that even if I had to walk until midnight that I was going to finish.

I was hoping that I would see Mike again, but I didn't. We must have missed each other while he was doing the small out and back or the deviation. I hoped he would finish, and just focused on my own race.

I was really hoping for a faster marathon time, but my legs and hips were shot. I had to walk a lot more and kept negotiating with myself for how long I would run. Sometimes it was only for a tenth of a mile, but it was better than nothing.

After I made the turn on the main out and back, it was starting to get dark. Luckily, there were some lights set up on the bike path but it was really dark in some spots. One time another participant going out asked me something, but in French. I said, "English only" and she must not have known English because she kept going. I felt bad!

I made it to the one aid station before the small out and back, and knew I didn't have much longer to go. I had already been counting down the kilometers. The small out and back was a nice break from pavement, but it was really dark!

I'm pretty sure I saw the final participant out on the course, since he had a cyclist with him. One other guy, still heading out, looked at his watch and said, "only 3 hours left"! I was getting tired and was a little out of it, but I knew I would finish.

The small deviation from the course hurt more this time because of the downhill, but I got it done. I didn't have much further to go and I just tried to run as much as possible.

As I made my way up those final hills toward the special needs area, I made the turn toward the ski village. As I walked a little bit, my brother and Hanna were there! They told me I was so close and where my mom and dad were along the finish line (although I still missed seeing them) and that they didn't know where Mike was. I must have looked concerned because my brother said, "oh no he finished, we just don't know where near the finish line he is!"

I started running, and they started running toward the finish, and then everyone was cheering for me. I high-fived so many people it was crazy.

As I neared the finish, I tried to find my mom and dad but I missed them. I did see Mike and we high-fived. As I neared the finish line I heard Mike Reilly. He was saying, "and here is Jamie, from Rochester, New York. You ARE an IRONMAN!"

 Ironmen x 2!

After all the adversity, the struggles, the doubts, I was a two-time Ironman.

It may not have been faster than the first time, but finishing was just as sweet.

I know we have more Ironman races in our future, and I am so thankful that I get to do this with my training partner in life and triathlon, Mike. I am so thankful for my family for coming to cheer us on and being there for us while we do this crazy thing we love. And for my friends, near and far, who support us no matter what, I couldn't ask for better people in my life! You are my friends who have become my family.

Ironman Mont Tremblant, you were good to us!

Run Leg (26.2 Miles) - Jamie: 5:40:27, Mike: 5:33:23
Finishing Times - Jamie: 14:41:19, Mike: 13:20:21

Friday, August 26, 2016

Ironman Mont Tremblant Race Recap - Bike Leg

Did you miss the swim leg? Check it out, here!

After running along the red carpet and into the transition area, I grabbed my bag and ran into the women's changing area.

I didn't take too much time getting my stuff on and my stuff from the swim into my gear bag, and I decided to wait until I got to my bike to put on my bike shoes since I hate running in them. As I left the transition area, I heard Mike's parents cheering for me and I got on my bike after the mount line.

Heading out for a 112 mile ride

Admittedly, we did not train much on the bike this time around. Last time we had over 3,000 bike miles before Ironman Louisville and this time we were around 1,600 bike miles. Also, we didn't train on hills as much as the first time around and Mont Tremblant's bike course is pretty hilly. I knew that it was going to be a challenge this time around and I was actually worried about being able to finish the bike leg.

Regardless of my doubts, off I went. The first few miles were uneventful and I even hit over 30 mph one of the miles! Then, maybe 3-6 miles into my bike leg it started to spit rain. We knew that rain could potentially be a factor but I had been hoping that it wasn't going to happen. Unfortunately, it didn't get better for a long time.

As soon as it started raining, I knew that I was going to be more conservative on the downhills. We had never ridden there before and wet tires are no fun! Montée Ryan had some hills, but they were going to be worse on the way back. Since this race was in Canada, we had kilometer markers every kilometer. It was tough to see those, since they happened ALL THE TIME!

Since Mike had a 15 minute head start on me and he is a better cyclist, I didn't know when I would see him. It was pouring already and I tried to keep my sunglasses on, but I was sick of wiping them off and I couldn't see anyway. I put them on my forehead for the rest of the bike leg. At around 20K, I saw Mike! I waved at him, but he didn't see me. I was a little sad, but I kept going.

The bike course is made up of numerous out and backs and I had a little ways to go to the first turnaround. I hate turning around on my bike, but luckily they all went fine!

I eventually turned around on 117 and then made my way back. I could tell I had a headwind, but it wasn't too bad yet. I just focused on moving forward and tried to get up the hills as quickly and easily as possible.

There was a section on the bike course that took us through Mont Tremblant and we rode by where we had dinner the night before! We went through another turnaround section and started to make our way back toward the ski village.  I still felt pretty good, but the rain was getting to me.

Montée Ryan on the way back had some tough hills, but I made it through. I went by the golf course (and must have missed my brother and sister-in-law) and rode by special needs on the other side of the road. After a right hand turn I made my way back to the bike start and kept going on Chemin Duplessis.

I can't quite remember when I saw Mike again (it was either Montée Ryan or Chemin Duplessis) but I did and this time I yelled out his name! He saw me and said, "oh hey" and we kept going. 

At the bridge where a lot of spectators hang out, I started to look for my family and Mike's parents. I hadn't seen anyone yet so I was hoping I would see someone soon. As I made my way past most of the spectators, I saw my mom and dad. They didn't notice me so I had to yell out for them!

As I started the up and down section of the course, things started to get a bit sketchy. Pretty soon cyclists on the other side of the road started to indicate to slow down and then someone said there was a crash. Not too long after an uphill I saw a bunch of people on the ground! I tried to go by them without getting in the way and then right after that I saw some people standing on the side of the road with broken chains.

From then on everyone was told to go slower and there was a lot of communication between other cyclists on both sides of the road. And then again not too long after, there was another cyclist on the ground being held by medical or a race official. Someone near me was looking at them and almost got in my way, so I told him to stop rubber necking and keep going.

I was admittedly a bit shaken up at that point, but I kept going. The hills were unrelenting and my legs were already tired. And I wasn't even halfway done!

Finally, after two really bad hills, I made it to the turn around. If it wasn't raining I could have pushed the pace, but as my luck would have it it started to POUR! I was really concerned since I was getting cold. I just told myself to get to the second loop and reevaluate how I felt then.

The way back, luckily, wasn't as hilly and I rode by my parents again. This time they saw me, but it was brief. After a small out and back with a turn around, I started my second loop.

I was in a dark place at this moment because other than Mike briefly and my parents briefly, I hadn't seen anyone else on the bike course. I was wondering where they were and I was contemplating dropping out since I was cold, tired and my legs hurt. The rain wasn't letting up either.

Mike on Chemin Duplessis

As I rode by special needs (bypassing it), I saw two people on the other side of the road near the golf course. And there they were, my brother and sister-in-law! They cheered for me with the biggest smiles on their faces, even though they had been standing in the rain for a long time, and on I went. I knew I couldn't let them down. I had to at least attempt to finish the bike leg.

I didn't hit over 30mph this time around on the downhills since the roads and my bike were so wet. There was a tailwind on the way out and I tried to use this to my advantage since I knew the way back would be more challenging. Right around the 20K sign, I saw Mike for the third and last time on the bike.

I kept going and made it to the turnaround on 117. I was happy that there were only two more turnarounds left!  The roads were really wet and I was cold and tired, but I kept going. I knew I was going really slow and I just tried to get the bike done.

I did ditch a water bottle at one of the aid stations before the turn around so that I could get more Gatorade. I also was worried about my chain because there were a few sketchy moments when I put my bike back in the big ring, it was crunchy and didn't switch over very quickly one time. Luckily, I never dropped a chain! My bike did not like how wet it was, though.

I rode by my brother and Hanna one more time and then made the turn for Chemin Duplessis. As I rode by my parents again, I told my dad that I was tired. He said he knew, but onward I went. I really did not want to do the hills on Chemin Duplessis again (and Mike later told me he didn't know how he would do the run after that part of the course). The hills killed me this time, but I didn't walk my bike on any of the hills like some other people did. It was still raining, but it seemed like it was going to let up. I worried about my legs, they were starting to lock up and I really didn't know how I would run.

After making the final turnaround (yay), I made my way back to the bike finish. My mom and dad cheered me on as I neared the end and I made my way to the dismount line. I got off my bike and handed it to a volunteer. I also took of my bike shoes and ran into the transition area.

I was worried at how heavy my legs felt, but I had to at least attempt the marathon.

Bike Leg (112 Miles) - Jamie: 7:39:36, Mike: 6:29:52
Transition 2 - Jamie: 4:25, Mike: 4:56

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Ironman Mont Tremblant Race Recap - Swim Leg

I know, I haven't posted in a long time!

This year has been different. Mike and I bought a new house and I FINALLY closed on the sale of our old house. Two days before Ironman Mont Tremblant. To say that this year has been stressful would be an understatement. We only raced a few times this year, training was lackluster and we only had one triathlon prior to Mont Tremblant and it was a sprint (that I still need to recap, oops).

A few months ago, after we transferred to a different 70.3 later in the year, we even contemplated dropping out of Mont Tremblant completely. We decided to see how training would go, and while it was still lacking it went a bit better. We did complete two 100 mile ride/20 mile run weekends and we just went into the Ironman hoping we were strong enough.

We knew it was going to be different than Louisville and finishing was all that mattered. Ironman Mont Tremblant has fairly tough bike and run courses and we weren't going to have the nice current that we had in the Ohio River this time around.

 In the ski village

Organizing gear

Last Friday, Mike and I made our way to Mont Tremblant. My family was already there, lucky, and after a delayed arrival due to traffic Mike and I checked into the race Friday afternoon. It was hard to believe that our second Ironman was only two days away!

After our practice swim the day before the race

My bike ready to go!

Thankfully this was never a factor, but I was worried it wouldn't be a "true" Ironman!

The rest of the pre-race festivities went as well as they could, and I tried to not worry about finishing the race (but I have to admit there were still doubts). After a nice dinner with our families and our friend, Andy, I ended up going to bed pretty early due to a headache. I could hear the Olympics in the background and Mike finally joined me.

I slept really well and thankfully my headache was gone on race morning! We were staying in a condo and didn't have a far walk to the transition area. We got body marked and then put air in our tires and water/Gatorade in our bottles on our bike.

We had about a 15 minute walk to the swim start and when we got there my parents were already there. Soon Mike's parents joined us and Mike and I went to go get in the port-a-potty line. While it was long, it went relatively quickly and we put our wetsuits on right before the start of the race.

 Getting ready to start our day!

Mike's wave was already ready and lined up by the time we walked over there, but he was able to get through and join his wave right before it went off. My wave didn't start for another 15 minutes, so I just stood there trying to take everything all in. I knew the day would have challenges, but I hoped it would end with those four words we all wanted to hear.

As each wave went off, it got closer to my start time - 6:57am.

Finally, it was my turn. I was right in the front and Mike Reilly said we had a minute until our start. With some final words, we heard the start and we were off! We had to run into the water, but I didn't run very far and started swimming right away.

It took some time to get clear water, but eventually I did.

However, that didn't last very long. Since I am a good swimmer, I was in the front of my wave. After a few minutes I started to see orange caps and from then on it was chaos. I felt like I was in a washing machine because everyone was all over the place. I did find open water again for a little while, but I had to maneuver around people constantly.

I felt like the beginning was taking forever, maybe because I had to pass so many people, but eventually the red buoys indicating the turn were visible in the distance (I had been tricked a few times since one cap color was red, ha).

When I made the turn, that's when I felt the chop. It was pretty windy and I must have had a tailwind on the way out. I had to fight for an open water position and just focused on getting to the swim exit. Some people were right next to me or pushing on my legs and I just wanted to get out of the water.

I did look at my watch a few times just to see how I was doing. I could see the exit in the distance and as I approached it I kept swimming for awhile. It seemed like people were standing up really early and eventually I stood up and ran out of the water.

Mike running along the red carpet toward transition

I went over to the wetsuit strippers (my first time using them) and then started running toward the transition area. Mont Tremblant has a pretty long trek from the swim exit (which is in a different spot than the start) to the transition area. They try to make it fun by adding a red carpet, ha. Along the way I saw my brother and sister-in-law and they cheered me on.

I heard my mom and dad (I think) as I ran closer to the transition tent. As I ran inside, I grabbed my bike gear bag and into the women's changing area.

2.4 miles down, only 138.2 more miles to go!

Swim Leg (2.4 miles) - Jamie: 1:10:00, Mike: 1:05:59
Transition 1 - Jamie: 6:51, Mike: 6:11