Sunday, September 02, 2007

Ironman Canada 2007 - Race Report

Lake Okanagan, Penticton.

Thursday: Got into Penticton in the afternoon and went to the registration booth and got myself registered. Later in the evening I went for a short jog along the beach. Picked up Vinod from the Airport at 9:30pm – 'Team India' had arrived!

Friday: Picked up our bikes. Vinod and I went for a short ride later that evening.

Saturday: We were up early for the 2K underwear run – totally hilarious! 150+ people in briefs running through town to the cheers of the towns' folks – the run ended up at the beach where we were put through some calisthenics. Vinod in his Boxers and me in my Speedos were among the crowd (I will not post the pix)

Ironfamily - Tracy, Janice, Mark "Irondog", Rajeev, Renuka and Vinod

Met Mark, Janice and Tracy for lunch. John, Vinod's team Sheeper buddy, joined us too. Finished the bike check in and relaxed the rest of the day. Met Lisa Bentley at the expo and Vinod & I had a photograph taken with her. (Lisa won the race the next day.)

Vinod Herur, Lisa Bentley, Rajeev Char

Race Plan: Swim easy, Bike easy and RUN the darn marathon!

Race Day: 3:30AM The Ironwoman Renuka nudges me out of bed – coffee and oats –
Vinod and I leave for the transition area at 5:10AM – Body marking takes forever – get into the transition at 6:00am do all the last minute checks and I slip into my wetsuit and trudge off to the beach.

SWIM 2.4 miles: 7:00AM swim starts – It was crowded! To me the mass start is really what defines an Ironman race, it is crazy out there. About 10 minutes into the swim a swimmer was having a bit of trouble breathing so another swimmer and I stayed with him for a few minutes, trying to calm him. He finally decided he needed to rest so he swam to the center channel to look for a surf board to hold on to. He told us to carry on....I hope it worked out for him.
I was out of the water in 1:24 – took forever in T1 – the Porta line was looong!
Video of the swim start:

BIKE 112 Miles: I had my nutrition figured out this time – Hammer Sustained Endurance – each bottle was 343 Calories (I had planned to use 5 bottles) and eGel, each 150 Calories (I had 6 gel packs). A total of 2600+ liquid / gel calories for the 7 hour ride with salt tabs mixed into the drinks. Now I had to remember to finish this during the ride. The first 40 miles were fast – by my bike computer I was at mile 40 in 2 hours and 5 minutes. Stopped just before Richter Pass and mixed my third bottle (so far the plan was working). The next few miles were uphill, I met Mark and saw his new bike with his "" logo painted on it – Black bike with a white logo, it looked really good. The down hills were great, clocked 45mph at one spot – lovely! Met Vinod at mile 70 he was having cramps and some issues with his bike – lower gears were slipping, luckily he met the awesome Bike Barn support team and they fixed his bike. Reached the final climb at Yellow Lake - eased up over it (...this is where my race had unraveled last year.) The crowds were lined up on either side and it was great! A 74 year old triathlete blows by me – totally amazing! There is a pretty girl with a huge poster saying "Looking for a husband" - I laughed and said "you are too pretty and I'm too tired - it won't last." The down hill section was smooth and again clocked 45mph at one spot. Off the bike in 6:57 – all 5 bottles and 6 gels were consumed – no excuse to fail on the run this time.

RUN 26.2 miles: The plan was to run a sub 5 hour marathon – started off at a decent pace and was wondering if I could hold it throughout. Told myself no walking this year. At mile two, I had run more than last year! At mile 14, I had run more than my 2005 Lake Placid race. Met Mark at mile 15 – he was too funny – his drill sergeant routine cracked me up – I was laughing for the next mile. Mile 21, I started on cola and was still holding the pace and was feeling pretty good – once back into town, the crowds and energy picked up, I increased the pace. The last 2.2 miles were the fastest of the lot – saw Renuka and she had a big beautiful smile on her face with a hint of shock! (I was way ahead of schedule) My finish time was 13:14:51 – I was thrilled – I ran the plan and it actually worked! The marathon time was 4:34....with negative splits - first half in 2:18 and the second half in 2:16...not too shabby Eh! I wanted a sub 5.....and got it!

The splits:

Million thanks to my lovely wife Renuka for all the support – the driving, bike pickup, cheering, diet & training tips - she is developing into a fine coach. Thanks to my good friend Stan Ho for all the bike rides and bricks this year. Again, a big thanks to Vinod - we have now made this journey twice – and hopefully 2008 will have a few more events we can do together. Thanks to Anil for the rides to and from the airport at unearthly hours. And of course all our family & friends who were tracking the race online – reading all the emails later was like reliving the race.

Was this just a one off good race day? A fluke? Or is there a 12:30 finish in me? Do I sign up for Canada 2008? Or Brasil 2008?
Decisions decisions...Life sure is tough! :-)