Returning to the scene of the crime. I liked Ironman Mont Tremblant so much, I signed up for the Half Ironman. It is a spectacular venue with everything being so close and "family friendly," I couldn't resist.
We arrived on Friday afternoon to a rainy day. I can't believe how many times I was checking the weather channel and Accua Weather on my Blackberry. The forecast kept changing and was different for each one. Who to believe???
Much like Ironman Mont Tremblant last year, I knew lots of people racing: Rom, Doru, Peter A, Adam B, Lisa, Paul and Cathy and Mike A. It made it much better as we hung out with Rom and Paul's kids (eight kids all together). At one point, all the kids were in our room screaming and jumping on the beds. The price I pay for doing this sport!!
Friday's registration was a breeze and not very busy. In fact, Mont Tremblant was not all that busy compared to Ironman. Maybe it was still early and lots of people would be coming in on Saturday. The air temperature was warming up but the water temperature was cool. Three weeks ago, an Olympic distance race at Tremblant was cancelled because the water temperature was only 11 C (52 F). I ran into Paul S and he had swam earlier in the day. He gave some good advice: 1. the cold water was shocking, 2. don't try and swim hard at the beginning. Originally I wanted to go for a swim both Friday and Saturday but I was too tired from driving (yes I know its only a 600 km (370 mile) drive, but its exhausting with the kids and the number of stops).
Rom, Peter, Adam and I went for an early morning swim at 7:00 am on Saturday morning. It was cool, rainy and overcast. As Paul had mentioned, the water was a bit of a shock but was ok after 10 minutes. Peter and Adam are fast swimmers and took off. I took it easy and swam with Rom. We about 400 meters out and decided to turn back while Peter and Adam kept swimming to the swim exit. I did want to take the bike out for a spin and ride up to Lake Superior but it just kept raining.
We went up to the top of the mountain for lunch. Not sure why we went up now as it was pouring rain, overcast and foggy. We couldn't see anything. The lunch was, well cafeteria at best. On the way down in the gondola, Rom went with the kids while I went with Tammy, Jake, Nadia (Rom's wife). Unfortunately, we got stuck four times for about 20 minutes. Rom said my girls were freaking out each time the gondola stopped. I'd post a video that he shot of my kids freaking out but that would be too cruel.
Goals: Swim - 35 minutes, Bike - under 3 hours, Run - under 2 hours, Total Time 5:45 - 5:50
Transition Set Up
Some drunks on the streets woke me up at 3:00 am. That's the one trouble with Mont Tremblant. There's always guys/girls coming here for one last party before their wedding and getting hammered. I drank a bottle of Boost Extra Calories (350 calories). I really should have been this stuff before my workouts but never did get a chance to buy any. I couldn't fall back to asleep so I was on Slowtwitch until 4:30 am and then fell back to sleep. I met up Rom in the lobby and we headed down to transition. I got about 200 meters away from the hotel when I realized I left all my water bottles in the room. Just like Ironman. I ran back and got them. There were tons of people heading down to transition. I quickly set up my gear and then found Lisa. We chatted for a couple of minutes before she had to run back to her room (she forgot a bottle). I got back to the room and drank another bottle on Boost and ate a peanut butter sandwich and that's when the trouble started. I went to the bathroom. And then again. Again. And then again. I'm slightly lactose intolerant and while one bottle of Boost is okay, not two. What was that thing about trying new stuff before a race?
This race was a wave start (and so will IMMT). I'm fine with a wave start. The swim was uneventful and I got a pretty good draft. I lost the draft on the back stretch and veered off course. I looked up and saw that I was about 50 meters too wide from the buoys. I blame the faulting sighting for my slower time.
Transition 1: 5:40
For IMMT, the 400 meter run to transition was covered in a nice red carpet. This race had 2/3 of the road covered. My shins were killing by the time I got to the carpet. My transition time was actually not bad. Way better than IMMT.
Seeing that I've ridden this course several times (twice with NRG training camp and twice at IMMT), I'm pretty familiar with the course. The bike was fine, except my Polar watch was not picking up any heart rate and I was wearing my Polar strap. Odd it was working at the swim start. My Powertap will not pick up my heart rate when I wear my Polar strap. Well sometimes it does but its not dependable. I set my Powertap to show calories burned so I could remember to eat/drink and I would have to ride without heart rate. About half way through the ride, I changed the calorie setting and there was my heart rate on the Powertap. About 2/3 of the way through the ride, as I headed back to the resort on Montee Ryan, there is one small section about 200 meters long for a no pass zone across a narrow bridge. An ambulance with its lights on was coming in the opposite direction. It was a fairly tight squeeze as pylons blocked either size. I commented to a fellow rider at the time, that would have hurt, getting hit by an ambulance. I continued up to Lac Superior and then back down whipping into the village. On the descent, I almost ran over a rider as I was flying down. I wasn't sure if it was a guy or a girl as the name on the bib was Ronnie, but he/she had impressive calf muscles.
Transition 2: 1:59
Pretty fast (for me). I took off my bike shorts and ran in the tri shorts I had underneath. I turned on my foot pod and took off
This was going to be an interesting run. Since last October, I tore my right calf muscle twice (different spots) and then had Achilles tendonitis. As usual, Kevin (chiropractor) fixed me up pretty good. Needless to say, my runs have been lacking which is always the case given how many times I get injured. I checked my Polar watch, knowing that I had no heart rate but at least I could use my foot pod to measure my speed. If I wanted to break two hours, I needed to run at a 5:41 min/km pace. For the couple of bricks that I did do, I was running at an easy 5:15 min/km pace or faster. I looked at my watch and my pace was showing........0:00 min/km. I looked at the foot pod and the light was on. Now my watch wasn't picking up my foot pod. Its never done that! I resorted to timing the old fashion way - measure how long it took me to run past each kilometer marker. Around the 6 km marker, I was holding a 5:30 min/km pace which was perfect. My quads were killing me as running out of the villages had a couple of short rollers and they were burning as I ran up the hills. Even on the flat trail, I could feel my quads. It wasn't hot but pretty humid. I was cramping up so I was wolfing down the salt pills. I brought the salt canister from my bike, so I had two canisters that were half filled with pills. By the end of the run, I had taken all of them. Maybe 20-25 in total. The aid stations were getting further and further apart or so it seemed. I started to walk the aid stations. I was also people watching looking out for any friends. I knew I wouldn't see Lisa until after the turn around (9.5 km) as she started 30 minutes behind me on the swim and I'm a faster biker. Trying to keep my mind distracted, I tried to calculate where I would see her. I saw Adam run smoking by (4:30 min/km pace) and saw Paul S. I caught Mike A who was planning to only swim and bike but I convinced him not to DNF and walk the run course. He hurt his calf and wanted to save his legs for the Toronto Triathlon in a couple of weeks. He didn't even bring his running shoes but ended up buying a pair at the expo.
By the 12 km mark, my run was blowing up fast. I was no longer interested in what pace I was running at. I started to count to 100, over and over and over and over again. As I hit the second turnaround (around 16 km), Doru came running by. I knew he started in the wave behind me (5 minutes) and we had a bet after I beat him (barely) at IMMT. He slowed down so we could run together but I told him to go as I couldn't hold his pace. Coming off the trail and into the Old Village of Mont Tremblant there were a couple of small rollers. My quads were screaming. I had to resort to walk/run up the hills. There was no way of breaking two hours for the run. I was totally exhausted. I was getting close to the resorts but I was counting to 100 and then walking for 30 seconds, then running for another 100 seconds. Even as I ran/stumbled/walked up the last hill and people were cheering. Finally I ran under the arches of the retirement home and towards the village. People were yelling and screaming. I continued to stumble/walk/run until I finally reached the village. The crowd support was great but there weren't as many people as IMMT however if no one was there cheering, I would have been walking the entire way. I finally stumbled across the finish line and fell down. Aid workers were immediately by me asking if I could breathe. I finally was able to stand up and saw Doru. I had to hang onto the fence from sheer exhaustion. Tammy was by the finish line and I waved her to come over to the other side of the finishing area. Vanessa came running over and went to hug me but when she saw how wet I was (from dumping water over my head), she yelled AIR HUG!! And ran back to the fence.
Overall Time: 5:47:09
After the race, I met up with Tammy just outside our hotel. Paul was there waiting for Cathy to come in so we all waited. Finally Cathy came by and the kids wanted to go to the jumping castle. I wanted to wait for Lisa as I had not seen her on the course. She should have finished before Cathy but no sign. Tammy and the kids were getting restless so she took them to the jumping castle and I went upstairs to change. I checked my Blackberry and Lisa had sent me a text around 11:30 am. She was pulled from the water during the swim, coughing up blood and foam. Turns out she probably had SIPE. She's ok now.
I really need to stop thinking, "its only a half ironman." This race hurt almost as much as the full ironman probably because I was overweight and not as well trained. The changes of signing up for the full in 2014 are very good. My nutrition plan is not very good.
Races For The Rest Of The Summer
Not sure. The original plan was for Calgary 70.3 and Rev 3 in Ohio but with my dad in the hospital, Calgary 70.3 is out. Maybe a couple of shorter races depending on what others are doing.