Tammy decided to make this our summer vacation (part one) and we stayed at Deerhurst Resort (home of the G8 last month). Clearly none of the diplomats stayed in our room as it was a little disappointing for $250 a night. We had a junior suite which allowed for Tammy and the kids to sleep in the bedroom while I took the fold out sofa bed. The kids were sooooo excited that we were going away that Rebecca wanted to know if we were taking an airplane to get there and the others wanted to pack their bags a week before we left. They started packing Thursday and were ready to go Friday except we weren't leaving until Saturday. I also found out that we were staying for two nights instead of one. I emailed Sharon my assistant to cancel my Monday morning meeting I had schedule. I didn't protest that much as they deserved a summer vacation.
The drive was a little longer than I expected but we made it there with no problems. When we arrived in Huntsville around 1 pm, Jake and Vanessa were sleeping so I wanted to check out the course so we drove the course following the map I downloaded from Tri-Sports website. The map was not very detailed and we seemed to drive forever as it definitely seemed longer than 27.5 km out. There were some nasty hills especially coming out of the town. This wasn't going to be fun. We ended up turning around and drove back into town and off to the resort. By this time, everybody was tired and whinny after being in the car for more than four hours so we headed over the the resort.
Check in was for 4 pm but when we got there around 2:30 pm, our room wasn't ready so we ended up hanging around checking out the place. We waited and waited and waited until finally the room was ready at 4:15 pm. Hardly impressed but what could we do? If the room isn't ready, it isn't ready. After getting settled down, we walked over to one of the restaurants at the resort for dinner. The food was ok but slightly overpriced.
Settling down was a harder than expected as the kids went to bed and I tossed and turned for hours. I was drifting off when are phone rang. It was swimming buddy Paul (whose wife I kicked in the head trying to do a flip turn several months ago). They were staying at Deerhurst as well but in a different building. We promised to hook up before the race and he was targeting a 3:33 race time. Ugh
Sunday morning finally came (I was awake around 4 am) and we headed down to the race site. We parked and as we were walking down, we ran into Lisa and her hubby. Getting registered and set up is always a clusterfuck so at least we were there earlier than usual. Once we were ready I saw Paul and Cathy and talked to them for a couple of minutes before we had to head over to the swim. The walk to the swim start was a lot further than I had figured and we had the wagon with the kids and all their backpacks. The website said something about a train running back and forth from the swim start and the main building but I didn't see anything.
Paul was swimming in a different wave so he left before me and I didn't see Lisa but she's way younger so she would have been at least two waves ahead of me. I looked out the course and the markers seemed so far away. Someone must have measured wrong because that looked a lot further than two kilometers!! My wave started and away we went. Because it was such a wide start there wasn't much jostling around and within a couple of minutes, I found a pair of friendly feet to draft off. Throughout most of the swim I managed to draft and it did make a difference. Coming out of the water I took a quick look at my watch and was somewhere around 40 minutes but it was a little hard to see as I stumbled up the steps and was pretty dizzy from swimming so long. I saw Cathy and the kids and they yelled something at me as I stumbled towards transition. I saw Tammy and kids further up. T1 was better than Guelph but it still felt like it took forever to get my wetsuit off and get going.
Riding out of town I knew there was a nasty hill coming up and I was still dizzy from the swim. When I came up to the hill I shifted down and used my "Granny Gear" - a third chain wheel to make hill climbing easier. I figured it was better to use it than struggle up the first of many hills. I continued along and was booting down a hill in aero position when a race official yelled at me to slow down. I wasn't sure why and initially thought the road was too bumpy but as I rounded the corner there was a police SUV with his lights flashing directing everyone turn left. WTF??? This wasn't the route I thought we were travelling. Good thing the guy yelled at me as I was doing at least 50 km/hr and would have blown through the intersection missing the turn.
As we went on, it seemed like the turn around was never going to appear. There were some more nasty hill climbs that I kept thinking how great it would be going down instead of climbing them. Just past the turn around point I saw Lisa. I figured she would hammer it and try and catch me so I picked up the pace. Coming down the hills was a lot more fun than riding up and I easily hit over 60 km/hr. Unfortunately, my speedometer wasn't working correctly and I was only getting a reading some of the times. Coming into T2, I took my feet out of my shoes and rode barefoot. That didn't work to well as my shoes were dragging and one came unclipped. I had to stop while an official picked it up and handed to me. More time wasted.
The fuel belt I brought kept falling off when I ran and I ended up holding my water bottle as I ran until I drank enough water that I could put the bottle back into the holder without it falling off. I'm not sure why this was happening as I've run before with it on. The run course was the hardest I've ever done. It had lots of small rolling hills and within the first couple of hills my right quad begin to throb. It was ok on the flat surface as several times I looked at my watch and saw I was running faster than 5:00 min/km. Eventually the hills began to take their toll as my speed dropped dramatically. The run course was a double loop in around town and had several out and backs. The first time I saw Lisa she was just starting the run and looked fresh but the second time I saw her, she looked gassed and the last time I saw her she looked bagged. I never saw Paul but than I figured he must have finished a while ago.
Usually during the run, I have enough energy left to pick up the pace and finish at a half decent pace but this time, the hills were killing me and the thought of stopping was getting more and more appealing. Lots of people were walking the hills but I kept remember the article that Lisa sent me about quitting. Finally the finish line appeared and I hammered it home (3:31 min/km pace). Tammy and the kids were there to greet me and thankfully my race was over.
That was by far my hardest race. My back was killing me on the ride and my quads were aching on the run. I thought for sure they would seize up. My final time was 3:50. I said I would have been happy to come in under four hours and although I did beat my goal, this course showed me that I have much work to do for Muskoka 70.3.
Note: Hats off to Derek V and Mike D who completed their first Ironman Lake Placid. Kick back and enjoy a beer or two or three or............You're an Ironman and you've deserve it.