Heather’s Ironman Canada 2010 Race Report

I was a bit stuck on how to start this blog post and asked my always humorous husband for some advice.

In his very-serious-quotation-voice he replied “How about: ‘moments of greatness are few and far between’ or ‘you need to lose to appreciate winning’ and then ‘of all the losers, you were first in that group, no one lost ahead of you, you were the #1 loser!”.

Ha ha ha (the last is from a Seinfeld skit that we like). Trevor always makes me laugh and a great deal of laughter on a daily basis is probably how we manage to live together in such close quarters with such ambitious goals!

My favorite cheer from Sunday was “you live in a camper – YOU RULE!!!”

People say some brilliant things. I also had a smile on my face for much of the final miles of the run (and not just due to the fact that they were the final miles of the run) because about 20 different people said “your mom is so proud of you, she’s trying to make it to the finish”. My mom was running along from Skaha lake bubbling over with pride the whole way telling everyone about her daughter, and well, they just had to pass it along. It feels pretty special to be so loved (even when it’s slightly embarrassing)!

My dad had a folder full of satellite maps and plans for how best to spectate the race and where to stop to get the most pictures of the most parts of the race, and it was so awesome have all of my family (Nola, Glenn, Lynne, Kristen, Remo) and so many great friends out on the course cheering their heads off. Racing at home is very special. Thank you all so much.

I also feel truly lucky to race against such a great field of women who are phenomenal athletes and classy individuals. I immediately clicked with champ Meridith Kessler down in St. George Utah, and I was extremely touched by her kind words in her awards speech. She never faltered in her race, took home an awesome win, and as I said at the finish, if it couldn’t be me, I am so glad it was her! How lucky am I to have my toughest competitors also be such kick ass people!? It’s pretty fun to race against women that you truly respect and who push you to bring out your best performances.

I’ve been in a bit of a funk after this race, frankly, and I didn’t want to write a post that was a big downer and did an injustice to the incredible accomplishment that was my race. It was a new PB for me 9:17:17 and, heck, the two 17’s even look cool.

I’ve tried really hard to be positive, and put it in perspective. It’s not my placing that bothers me – it’s just that I made some fundamental mistakes. I lost time for stupid things and I wasn’t in a strong place mentally for much of the day. The real battle in Ironman is that against yourself and I really didn’t do my best on Sunday.

Trev mentioned the swim a bit. I messed up again at the start and missed the group that I should have been with, so I ended up leading the chase pack. I got very frustrated by an aggressive pro guy who wouldn’t let me get on feet (especially when they were my husband’s!!) and wasted way too much energy trying to get around instead of staying long and smooth and swimming my best. I was happy to finally find Mike Neil off to the side and we swam a pleasant and strong final 500m.

Unlike my embarrassing bike mount in St. George (forever immortalized by my favorite sports announcer of all time, Phil Liggett) where I couldn’t feel my feet or hands and it took me awhile to clip in, I at least managed to mount my bike nice and smooth after T1. All that practicing in my parent’s driveway this summer helped!!

Unfortunately though, the ride to Osoyoos was not good for me. I usually get into a rhythm on the bike and really start to enjoy myself, but I wasn’t feeling strong – mentally or physically. For some reason my injury from Kona last year was really bothering me when I was in the aero position (high hamstring, adductor magnus insertion) and I was starting to stress about damaging myself. The gap to the leaders wasn’t closing and I had to fight to get rid of negative thoughts. I actually thought at one point “I can’t drop out, Greg from TSN did all that cool footage in our camper”. You know you are at a low point when that is what you start drawing from! Sheesh.

I really couldn’t wait to get to Richter’s and start climbing. Fortunately, I came around there – yay hills – and I was in a much better place when I managed to reel in the women’s field by the turn to the out and back.

Meredith stuck with me though, and by the climb up to Yellow Lake, I let the torrential downpour, thoughts of trying to drop her, imagining how the run would play out and generally not being in the moment, keep me from paying close enough attention to my body. Enter the mini bonk. I could barely squeeze my frozen hands to get the gel into my mouth out of my water bottle, the whole climb was a painful blur with legs that weren’t working properly and by the time I came around Meredith had got a minute or so gap out in front.

Out on the run I was in a better head space and I was determined to be patient and reel her in (Jasper Blake gave me the perfect cheer at that point). I was doing just that until my stomach started to go. Too much Liquid Shot and too little water – I know not to do this, I know exactly that I needed more water at the aid stations, but it was so cold I wasn’t on it and I had to make a porta potty stop that cost me a little over 1 minute. Porta potty stops are the worst. You debate whether going or not going will slow you down more… but when you can no longer control the ol’ sphincter that pretty much decides for you. I also started to get bad blisters on the balls of my feet. I tried to wear my AVIA racing flats (loved them in all my halves this year) but they felt too thin for the full marathon so I opted for the pair of more cushioned AVI-LIte III’s that I left in my special needs bag. A good choice, but still, more time lost.

By then I was about 3 min down and I managed to hold that gap for the rest of the race. It was good toughness training for sure, but seeing myself on TV so much lately (saw the Vancouver Half Iron coverage right after IMC!) I can pick on weaknesses in my run form that kept me from bringing it up those few notches.

Seriously, my run has improved so much (my goal was 3:10, but 3:13 ain’t too shabby) and I am so much better of an all around triathlete, I really have no good reason to be bummed. My races have been awesome this year, I know what I need to work on, and I have a fantastic coach in Nick White from CTS who’s totally on top of all I need to do to step up my game. He and his partner Natalie were here for the race and we had a great time hanging out. They are super chill, quality people, and Nick seems to know the magic of how to instill quiet confidence.

I am also super lucky to work with such great companies who give me the tools to do my best in the swim, on the bike and during the run. I am fueled by First Endurance – the best nutrition company out there, no question. The new Phantom from Aqua Sphere RULES, I love my Blue Triad and my Rolf Prima wheels, AVIA keeps me decked out in skulls and funky shoes, Custom House – A Western Union Company has helped keep food on the table, as do the folks at Cougar Canyon in Vernon, and CycleOps gave us deals on power meters that totally improved the way we train.

Stay tuned for updates on our plans for the rest of the fall. Thanks for reading!


~ by trevorandheather on September 1, 2010.

6 Responses to “Heather’s Ironman Canada 2010 Race Report”

  1. Wow – I get first comment! Heather, you are so hard on yourself, but I reckon that’s pretty cool, as it just shows your killer instinct. As I said on Trev’s report, I was really looking to following your respective days, and I was gutted I couldn’t. I also admire your humility towards Meredith – which couldn’t be easy when she’s beaten you. I’ve enjoyed following your season, and I have to admit that Team Wurtele inspire me to keep training.

  2. You do RULE!! And not just because of your camper!
    I’m SO incredibly proud of you no matter how you place, and yes, you are hard on yourself, but I guess that’s one way you get to where you are.
    Adorable Linda….running to your finish….made me a bit teary! I can just imagine her chatting it up with everyone telling them you’re her daughter and how proud she is!!!
    Can’t wait to hear what’s next! Maybe something in the East next year?? Hmmmm? 🙂
    Much love!

  3. Kudos for seeing the positive in your day, that’s not an easy thing Race results are all relative so I suppose it wouldn’t help to say, holy freakin’ hell I WISH I was as fast as even your worst day! 🙂 Team Wurtele always rocks it out there no matter what the race outcome and I will be cheering you on as long as you are racing. As for your fall racing plans…IM Cozumel is driveable…just watch out for the Federales 😉

  4. I thought you ran a great race. Both of you guys are a huge inspiration and I’ve really enjoyed following your blog. You’re also part of the reason I signed up for next years IMC (my first! queue scary music.) Strangely you two were standing out in front of OK park as I walked out of the sign-up tent to my car…

  5. Congrats on putting together a great performance, it was a brutal day out there and it was easy to make little mistakes when you brain is frozen 😉 You looked solid coming back in on the run!

  6. Great race report Heather and looking forward to what is next. Treasure that you have someone around with such a sense of humor, those lines he gave you were truly hilarious!

    Good job hanging in there.

    Love the pictures too-especially the first one, you guys are so cute together!

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