How to lose 10lbs in one day, or my Ironman 2006 race report

Short Story:

I finished my third Ironman Canada triathlon (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and 26.2 run). I came in at 13 hours 59 minutes and 39 seconds, about a 2 1/2 hour improvement from last year which was a 16:37 time. My swim was 1:27, my bike was 6:35, and my run was 5:44. It was more or less a good day, it was hot, about 90 degrees, but I had a good time. As usual, the folks from Canada were great. Oh, and I made the official video again! :)

The Long Story:

The Start

I started the day off at 4am. I ate a big 'ol bowl of steel cut oatmeal with raisins and maple syrup. I got my bags ready, headed over to Alex for some Peet's coffee went to the hotel lobby to chit chat, went back to the room, went to the bathroom, kissed Katina good bye, and took my bags out to the hotel lobby to get out on 5:15 van or so to get to the start. I actually got a ride w/ Debby, Marin, and Maritza and we went and dropped off our transition bags and got body marked. We went to the hotel bathroom and then headed to our bikes to pump our tires and last minute inspection. All was good, I was able to empty my bowels twice which is important since you really don't want to do that during the race.

The Swim

We got changed into our wetsuits and headed over to the beach to get ready for the swim which started at 7am. I did a little warm-up, found my friend Jeff (we were supposed to swim together) and we headed out for the swim. I lost him immediately and I just started swimming. I got into the middle of the pack so I could take advantage of the "draft" and it was a long, long swim. I "rolled over" someone's back which was cool, a technique we were taught when someone is trying to get into your swim space. Rolling over someone's back is a pretty cool method, it's not like the person can do anything when you're on their back. After the second turn around heading back to shore, it was cool, I felt like swimming with a pack of dolphins. When I got out of the swim, I saw my teammates cheering me on and I saw Katina and gave her a kiss before going into transition.

I finished the swim in 1:26, about 12 minutes faster than what I swam two years ago. My transition time from swim to bike was only a little over 5 minutes, about 5 minutes faster than last year.

The Bike

The bike was kind of uneventful, pretty as always, but still uneventful. I got onto my bike after a quick transition. I smoked the first 37 miles, it was flat and mostly downhill, I was averaging about 20mph or so. I kept it relaxed and tried to breathe through and not push too hard. When I got to the first challenge, Richter pass which is a fairly major hill, I attacked it as hard as I could and saw Alex and gang.

I cruised through the next 30 miles, saw Mary, Judy, and Paul w/ their outfits. I saw a bunch of folks on the "out and back" portion of the bike course, and then headed towards Yellow Lake. After the "out and back" is when the race really starts. People pretty much hit a wall around mile 70 or so of the bike ride. I just started feeling a bit of a cramp in my legs and I geared down and took it easy for the next 20 miles.

I started up Yellow Lake and cranked all the way up. It wasn't as hard as previous years at all. I was hoping for Katina to be at the top but they left a little late and got stuck in traffic. It's alright though. After I got to the top, I descended into town and started cranking home on the descent and flats. I thought I was going to burn out my legs for the run but I had strong legs still and was able to pass a bunch of folks on that last burst.

I finished that bike in 6:35, about an hour faster than I biked the first two years. That was pretty good.

The Run

I was hoping to run the whole marathon. I was able to run the first 7 miles only stopping briefly for water at each aid station. After mile 7 and catching a friend of mine on the team (who was recovering from a torn meniscus), I started a run/walk. The run is fairly brutal, slightly uphill for the first 13 miles. Thankfully, on the way back it was downhill. Michelle, a former IronTeamer, caught up with me and we started running together for a while. It was funny because our Coach Wayne sent out her race plan (a planning guide for the race) to the team. She caught up to me at the lake and I would run ahead and she would catch up and I would stop, and I would catch her until mile 22 or so when I didn't see her again. If it wasn't for her, I would've had a 14 hour time.

I was picking some steam coming into town and finally saw Katina. We ran in together, I didn't ham it up as much as I would've liked as in previous years but it was still good. I always run into people after I cross the finish line. Same happened here.

My final time for the event was 13:59:39.


After the race, we took the official finisher photo, I got some food, got a little massage (not so great), and then headed back before the finish to watch the rest of my teammates finish the race. We had a bunch of people from IronTeam/Team in Training do the course this year and it's quite an amazing group. One person who finished has leukemia, another is a pediatrician who's had patients with leukemia, and many more all different body shapes, different backgrounds, different challenges cross the finish line.

My goal this year was simple — get faster so I can finish faster and head back to where everyone is so I can watch them finish. While I'm not nearly fast enough to watch everyone on the team finish (our fastest guy came in at 11 hours 15 minutes), I was able to see a bunch of folks finish their first Ironman. It's pretty cool to watch.

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