My man is an Ironman!

4 Sep

We really couldn’t ask for a more beautiful day in Penticton on August 26 for Mark’s Ironman. It was warm with a breeze and no humidity – it was a dream!

As promised, here is Mark’s race report:

Within the first like 10feet of the swim I had my goggles knocked off. Not long after that I was frustrated by the chaos in the water and I stopped swimming and it did not take long for an alarm to go off and say: “Don’t stop you moron go!!” So I then restarted swimming and after about 10 or 15 minutes the packs started to form and I was like a minute or two behind the lead pack and I was happy to just swim there for the rest of the swim. From this point forward the swim was non eventful and I just went about my business.

The bike this time was different than any other bike ride I have ever done in any triathlon regardless of distance. For the first time I was not the passer but I was the passee…big time. From the 70km mark forward I was passed by so many people it was crazy and I don’t recall passing a single person. Thats 110 km’s of being passed! On a guy with a big ego like me, that was tough to take but I swallowed my pride and sat in a comfortable pace.
The first 60k of this bike ride was so easy (and gorgeous). It was mostly flat and we had a tail wind. Big groups started to form but after the 60k mark all this changed. At this point you hit Richter Pass which from start to finish is like 10k of 3X3km of hills and some short recovery flat sections in between to make up the last 1km. The hills are not that bad in terms of grade but they just seem to go on forever. This I was well prepared for both mentally and physically and did what I had practiced. What I was not ready for was the 30 or 40km that followed. Following Richter Pass you get the next hour or so in rolling hills and this took a toll on my legs and this is were people started going by me like I was a transport truck stuck on the Autobahn. After this I realized that if I pushed to hard I would suffer later on. The rest of the ride I took at a very comfortable pace and this is were the mental game really began. At this point so many people passed me and it was really hard to just let them go but I knew it was a long day and I knew I had a snickers bar coming in my special needs bag. I ate my Snickers Bar with about an hour to go in the bike ride and shortly thereafter I hit the second really challenging part of this bike course which was another approx 10k climb up to Yellow Lake. This was truly demoralizing. I had practiced eating a Snickers Bar several times in training and it always seemed to give me a boost but that boost hadn’t kicked in yet. So I had been on my saddle for like 5hours at this point racing for a little over 6 hours my legs were aching and here I was faced with this 10km climb up the side of a f***in mountain. Thank god for the crowds because they cheered you on and I am pretty sure the vibration from their sound waves pushed my but up that hill. Anyways, survived Yellow Lake and then it was really easy back into town. From this point its like 20km mostly downhill and this is when my Snickers bar kicked in. This, in hindsight was awesome because I actually felt great coming off the bike.

The run is what I am most proud of for my first Ironman. I came off the bike feeling great I covered the first 10k in 47minutes. But at this point the hurt started. I covered the next 11.1k in 53minutes as I crossed the half way mark in 1hr 40min. Then after the turnaround at Ironman Canada you have like two pretty tough hills and I was forced to walk. Now in the past at long distance tri’s I have absolutely blown up both mentally and physically in the last part of runs. Here I was prepared for this I knew it was a possibility and I had a plan. At this point I had been on my feet racing for like 8hours so regardless of how much I took in (calorie wise) I knew my glucose levels would be low so, just like I planned ahead of time I knew that walking my heart rate would come down so I slammed back two glasses of Pepsi and a gel and I let that settle. Within a couple of minutes I felt alright and restarted running. This process I had to repeat again over the next 13 or so km’s two more times but I never panicked. I controlled the controllables and let go of what I could not control. With 7km’s to go a very nice 31 year old woman from Chicago caught me. This had nothing to do with who caught me but when she did catch me its like somebody lit a match for both of us. All of a sudden we both picked up and for the next 6km we both started running sub 5min km’s (which is not flying but at the end of an Iromman oh my god that feels fast) together we passed a bunch of people and with 1.5km’s to go I finally pulled away from her. (my own little version of the ironwar and it was AWESOME!) and then with 1km to go my energy levels crashed so I am hurting now and then with the last turnaround in sight I turn at the wrong spot and the crowed goes wild…Hey Hey you turned at the wrong spot…CRAP!!! So I went back and this woman passed me and then I just did not have the gas to catch her again but over all what a run. I felt more prepared for this run than any other marathon I have ever done and it was a great way to end my first Ironman.

So I was super excited when I crossed the finished line I finished 2 in my age group and 129th over all with very respectable 10hr 22min first Ironman.

The entire experience from training all the way to the post race meal was incredible. It has been an amazing journey of self discovery and a battle of never giving up and working hard and hard work paying off.

When you finish an Ironman, this is the kind of treatment you can expect: a nice, greasy burger and a piggy back ride to the hotel.



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