Ironman Mont Tremblant Race Report

High level – The day could not have gone better. For a 10+ hour race I’d say this was as close to perfect as I could dream of. When you PB by over 30 min, it’s been a good day! Even my transitions went well!

  • Swim 1:05
  • T1 5:16
  • Bike 5:33
  • T2 2:16
  • Run 3:30
  • Total 10:16

27/407 Age group Men40-44, 123/2200 overall

 

PRE-RACE

I was feeling some pressure about performing well, but that pressure was entirely self-inflicted.  As always I had some doubts about being able to perform to my expectations. I REALLY wanted to put together a race that demonstrated what I considered is my potential. Although I’ve been happy with previous IM results I always felt there was more I could do. My prep for this race was basically flawless. I was more ready for this than any previous IM races.

Mont Tremblant is an incredible venue for a race. Lots of family and friends were around and I had 3 clients racing also.  I knew that having so many people around would be inspiring the day of the race.

I wasn’t overly nervous about the race but taking care of the logistics (checking in, special needs bags, transition bags, bike prep) always has me a bit on edge. Staying 300m from transition was fantastic and made for an easy walk down in the morning.

 

SWIM

It was a wave start for the swim making it very civilized. I started left of the main pack and swam the first 1800 m mostly on my own – not completely straight but in the right direction. I struggled at times to keep my mind focused, but overall did a good job of this. After the turnaround I decided to be more aggressive and swim in the midst of the pack to get some draft. Ultimately it was a pretty uneventful swim that passed quickly. I swam well by my standards (sub 1:40/100m pace) but covered some extra distance by not going straight.

Swim time 1:05:20, 1:43/100m, 67/407 AG, 313 OA

I was out of the water and quickly out of my wetsuit with the help of the strippers. The run to transition is about 400m long through a tunnel of cheering people. It’s amazing. My Achilles bothered me a bit on this short run which was a bit concerning but nothing to think about now. I had a dedicated volunteer all to myself in transition and was quickly on my bike. I missed the sunscreen people and hoped that wouldn’t be an issue later.

 

BIKE

My plan was to go easy (below goal power of 165-175 watts average) for the first 10 km of the bike out to Hwy 117. I averaged 162 watts for that section – Perfect!  When I am able to warm up properly it makes a big difference to my ride performance, particularly late in the ride. However it requires a serious ego check because it means getting passed by many people. And I was passed… a lot… but it made me smile because I could see that many of the people passing me were working way too hard way too early. In Ironman you usually pay a heavy price for this mistake.

The next 50 km of the bike is along Hwy 117 and a short out and back in St. Jovite. This section felt fast. I don’t look at speed on my bike computer so I didn’t actually know how fast I was going but my power was in the proper range and nice and even – 170 avg, 177 normalized.  Even power output is critical for managing energy over a long distance race. It wasn’t overly warm yet but I still made sure to drink a lot in anticipation of a warm afternoon. This also resulted in me taking the liberty to relieve myself of all these fluids 4-5 times on the bike – sorry for the extra details! I made sure to stay on top of my carbs and salt to maintain a proper balance with the water.

Back into town via Montee Ryan, then first time through the hilly Duplesis section. Still feeling strong but energy has dropped a bit. I allow myself a quick look at the time towards the end of the first loop and it confirms that it’s been a fast loop at 2hr 44 min (33 km/hr). I wonder if I’ve overdone it a bit but that’s the beauty of riding by power. I know I haven’t overdone my power – 169 AP/177 NP. The goal for the second half of the bike is simply to ride 165-175 watts average. The challenge is on. This is the real test of my bike training. How will my endurance be? Well, as it turns out I was very ready for this part of the day. My endurance was great and every time I thought I might struggle to maintain my power, it was right where it needed to be. There were a lot less people riding with me by the end of Hwy 117 the second time and I didn’t surge to get rid of them but rather just rode steady at my comfort level and people fell off; this is new for me. Before I started the climb up Duplesis the second time I allowed myself to look at my bike time again. I knew it was going to be a good time and I was pleased by what I saw. With just the hilly section to go I was 5:05! I knew I’d be around 5:30-5:35 for the ride. This was better than I expected. Prior to the race I thought this was possible but I thought it would mean I had gone too hard. Although I was tired, I knew I could still run well. I had done well to take in all aspects of my nutrition (carbs, salt, water). I was ready for the run!

Second loop in 2:49 – 32 km/hr (164 AP/173 NP)

Overall bike stats:

Bike time 5:33:14, 32.5 km/hr. 65/407 AG. Up to 62 in my AG and 241 OA
167 AP/176 NP = 1.05 VI
.69 IF (based on a threshold of 255 watts)
2.79 w/kg
TSS = 265

 

RUN

The goal for the first 10 km of the run was to be careful not to go too fast. This can spell disaster. Initially I had thought no faster than 50 min but coach Miranda suggested that it would be ok to be between 4:45 and 5:00 per km. She was right on the mark with that. I ran the first 10 km in 48:40 and it was fine. I was tired but I knew if I could just keep my energy up with my nutrition I could deal with the other issues and keep from slowing down too much. Second 10 km (coming back into the village) in 49:09. What a rush to run through the village and head out for lap #2. I saw my parents and gave them a high five. Carm and the kids were there too but I somehow missed them. My first loop was 1:42:41. Looking good as long as I don’t fall apart.

The last 21 km of an IM marathon is such a mental grind that I think it’s very important to have something to focus on to keep you moving. Walking very slowly through aid stations starts to get very attractive.

With a 1:43 first half I knew if I could run close to 5 min kilometers to finish I’d achieve my goal of a sub 3:30 marathon. Easier said than done but this is what I focused on to keep me going. I had my Garmin set to give me 1 km splits so I could see I was doing ok but it was hard. My neck, feet, quads, IT band, Achilles and glutes were killing me, plus multiple areas of chaffing, but my energy was good thanks to coke and water at almost every aid station and my spirits were up.

My goal for this race was sub 10:30 yet my foggy math was telling me I could possibly go sub 10:20. I didn’t allow myself to really believe that until I was inside 5 km and then I knew I’d bury myself if I had to, now that I was that close. I was able to calculate that I started 13 min after the pros so I needed to subtract 13 min from the race clock to see my actual time. Coming through the village to finish is just incredible and then to see 10:29 on the clock, for a race time of 10:16 was just crazy. I yelled and pumped my fists above my head to finish. Second 21 km in about 1:47 for a marathon time of 3:30 (just under by my watch!).

Run time 3:30, 4:59/km, 13/407 AG. Up to 27 in my AG and 123 OA

 

FINISH

In the finish/food area I was a bit overcome by emotion and sat down with my head in my hands. Not sure why I get like this post-IM but it’s a lot of different emotions at once…proud of the year-long training, happy to not be suffering anymore, and thrilled with the race itself. One of the medical guys kept asking me if I was ok, thinking I was going to pass out. I wasn’t, I just needed a moment to gather myself and begin to wrap my head around my race. When I saw my family shortly after I was a bit choked up again. After that I got to enjoy seeing many friends and clients finish and spend time with them in the finish area recapping our races.

No IMMT race report would be complete however without a mention that they served pizza, poutine, sausage and BEER in the finisher tent post-race!  I have to admit that tall boy went down smooth.

My three clients also had excellent races and this just made the day that much more incredibly special and satisfying.

A few people told me I had a chance of going to Kona with my time …ya right! Out of curiosity to see if it was true, I did in fact go to the roll-down on Monday and the final spot in my AG went to the 18th placed person (I was 27th) who was 10 min ahead of me. Way closer than I would have ever thought possible. One day…

What now? This race has really reset the bar for me. Can I go sub 10? Can I actually get to Kona? I say yes and YES! These are things I have never even considered before but they will certainly provide me with a ton of motivation moving forward.

 

So many people to thank…

My wife Carm who is an Iron spectator extraordinaire but more impressively supports my coaching and racing all year long. My kids who show such interest and enthusiasm for my triathlon passion. My parents who have come to all 3 of my IM races so far.

My clients, many of which are also training partners, who show a ton of dedication and help me learn so much.

WattsUp – Pete and Adam for their support and guidance in many, many ways.

Miranda who coached me for the last three months and had me extremely well prepared, physically and mentally for this race.

All the clients at WattsUp who dedicate themselves to their own goals and show such interest in what I’m training for. It’s an amazing community to be part of.

 

CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS

Consistent training month after month. No replacement for this. It should be pointed out that I did not train crazy hours to achieve this result. My maximum training week was 15 hours and in the last 3 months I averaged about 12 hours. However, for the last 10 months my training has been focused and high quality.

Being coached by Miranda for the last 3 months heading into the race. We all get doubts about our preparation so having a coach really helps to keep the training smart. An objective viewpoint is invaluable. Even a coach needs a coach! Thanks Miranda.

Race nutrition. My race nutrition was absolutely dialed in because I’d been practicing it for months. My energy was good all day long and no stomach issues. Thank you Eload!

Mental preparation that allowed me to stay positive all day long and simply execute my race plan without reacting emotionally to what was going on around me.

 

Another race done, another report written …thanks for reading!

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