Race Report: IM Mont Tremblant 2018

Ironman Mont Tremblant 2018 Race report

The days leading up to the race I did different workouts on my taper than previously for pre-ironman. I was nervous initially but I think they were something I definitely needed. One of the work outs was riding up the hills on the Chemin duplessis 10k portion at the end of each loop. This was really helpful–ominous, but helpful in giving me a realistic perspective going into the bike portion of the race. Ultimately this helped me fare better mentally and physically.

Another difference was swimming in open water more than one time at the swim venue, which I enjoyed! It was a very comfortable wetsuit legal temperature and I swim decently well, so my positivity only grew.

BEfore the race, one of the coolest things ever happened: I got to meet Lionel Sanders and Meredith Kessler! These are two of my favorite athletes on the professional circuit and I cannot say enough good things about them. Meredith is one of the kindest people I have ever met and I hope to be like her one day.

RACE:

Even with the Fog delay of 1 hr the morning of the race, I felt comfortable in the water and swam a decent PR (without a current) of 1:09:52. I was really pleased especially since the first half of the swim was VERY foggy (the fog dropped again after we started). The back half was much more visible and I saw that as an opportunity to push my pace. I was very happy with this swim.

From the stairs out of the water there was a nice red carpet all the way back to transition. Before making it to the tent and my bags, I had the strippers strip off my wetsuit and I was off.

I got to the tent, grabbed my bag and got out my things to change. I usually take my time to really dry off so I am comfortable for the bike portion and so that I don’t forget any nutrition. I got into my kit, grabbed my helmet, glasses, put my cleats on and stuffed all my food in my pockets while munching a Fruit 2U and stroop waffle.

T1: 10:36 (I hope I can get this down in the future)

I rode my bike for 20 minutes of ‘get used to it’ and I was already wanting to push more so I started getting into a rhythm and hydrating. This was the first race I didn’t watch my heart rate. This was for 2 reasons. (1) it had not been accurate lately and I did not want to ‘trust’ it and get stuck at a pace that was way too slow. & I needed to go by feel because (2) there were paces that I wanted to hit and if I could keep it up and attend to my nutrition I could see my improved bike leg. I was ready to blow up because at least then I would know I didn’t have more speed that went unused. I know this might not be what ‘smart’ athletes do, but I was really fishing for improvement. I know I have more talent in me, and I am learning how to coax it out. I had such a great build to this race, I wanted to shell out my bike power.

I did well! The first half of the bike leg I hit at almost exactly 3:30. This would have brought my total bike leg to 7 hours which would have been a PR for me and on a more challenging course I felt this would be a really satisfying time to reach for. The 10k duplessis hill was a challenging set and on the second loop I lost a lot of time here finishing the total bike leg in about 7:30 (7:32:05; average pace was about 15 mph). This was disappointing to me, but this was a very challenging course for me and I felt like conquering this bike leg was a huge accomplishment. I felt strong and really learned a lot.

 

At the end of the bike leg I was near tears, ready to be off the bike and also questioning how I would be accomplishing this marathon ahead. Then I was slowed down on the returning descent by a man that had crashed and was head down on the road. Instantly my perspective was put into place. My tears of worry were transformed into tears of gratitude, gratitude for my ability, opportunity and the amazing place I was riding my bike.

I got to the dismount, ran to the tent like a limping gazelle, finding my legs. I changed my shoes, exchanged my helmet for a hat and grabbed my bib.

T2: 4:12

I started running, again, energized by my gratitude for the entire atmosphere, race, my mom and more. I ran the first 10k in a little over an hour. I felt not too bad! The legs
were working. The run is where some unknown nutrition mistakes usually rear their ugly head. Historically I have had issues with electrolytes (I think) and needing more salt. This time I think the salt was hurting me. The 10k back to the turnaround was much harder and I had lost my goal pace, reaching the half marathon around 2:20. I was near tears again because of the painful bloating. Drew’s (Crew Racing) athlete Heather (@ironvet2084) was at Mont Tremblant supporting her partner and she reached out near the turn around and really helped me. THANK YOU HEATHER. That put me back into the 3rd 10k feeling better as I switched to strictly chasing mostly Coke with water. It helped a lot but I needed to keep doing it to keep feeling well.

The last 10k the wheels totally fell off. This was the most disappointing part of the race for a couple reasons. I felt like I had totally lost my goal pace and was mentally giving up. I was also upset for not being faster for most of the run and the second half of the bike. I have a fire inside me 99% of the time and especially in this last 5k I gave up. I didn’t care anymore and that was disappointing. I also felt bad because I felt like I let Drew down. He really had said this could be a ‘break through’ race for me and that is not what I had, at least not in my eyes.

Run time: 5:52:42

Total time: 14:49:26

I know I have speed and endurance in me. I just need to cultivate my skills to come out together. I am going to make that happen. I have to take the initiative to decide this is what my body is going to do and trust in the training. That’s what I thought I was prepared to do.

BUT I CANNOT EXPRESS HOW MUCH I LOVE THIS RACE VENUE! Mont Tremblant is one of the most beautiful places I have EVER been and I will certainly find my way back in one way or another. PLUS, the have poutine for the athletes at the finish line. Talk about earning some calories, poutine is ideal for recovery. 😀 So was the burger and fries. And all the food I could get my hand on. Pure bliss.

I have steep goals but they are realistic and I refuse to believe they aren’t.

Beat 70.3 time and run the entire half marathon. Goal times:
29 min swim (PR by 3 minutes)
2:50 bike (PR by 19 minutes)

1: 50 run (8:30 min/mile pace; PR by 30 minutes)

5:10 is goal total time.

For full,
Swim goal: break 1hr

Bike goal no matter the course: break 6 hrs

Run goal: run entirety. Shave 2 hours.

Goals: knock off 1:30 from bike time. Knock off 2 hr from run time.

 

Until next time!

Alex