Redemption is an amazing thing…. 2 years ago, August 2016; I had to stop 70km into the bike course of the Ironman Mont Tremblant. This year I came back to not only finish but beat my best ever Ironman 70.3 time. What a great feeling! But let’s rewind.
Friday, June 22nd
Last weekend I got to compete in my 10th Ironman 70.3, in Mont-Tremblant, my home course. My boyfriend and I drove to Canada Friday, picked up my brother in Montreal and then arrived in Mont-Tremblant mid-afternoon. We checked in, got our bib and package and visited the expo. I ran into so many friends that day, and all weekend, it was so much fun to catch up with a bunch of them. After 7 hours in the car and a lot of walking in the village, my legs were feeling pretty bad, but I got out of the door for a quick 15min shake run, which, much to my surprise felt really good! My parents arrived later in the evening, we had a lovely family dinner, and I went to bed pretty beat.
Saturday, June 23rd
I slept in and ate a huge breakfast… the best part of the racing!! My brother and I went for a shakeout bike, which not only felt terrible but I realized my bike wheel was rubbing pretty hard, again… It’s like déjà vu. Later on, I went and did a shakeout swim with my mom before heading to the bike tech guys so they could hopefully fix my bike.
Skip this part if you don’t care about my mechanic. My BMC TM01 has a very narrow frame, which makes any tired and wheels bigger than 23mm impossible to put in. Given that my new Irwin race wheels are 25mm we had to make some break bad and brake adjustments to get it in and not rub, when we installed the wheels the week prior, unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. Thankfully the mechanic could adjust it perfectly, and I had a rub free race, which felt amazing. Plus the wheels definitely made things go faster and smoother.
Back to Saturday, after everything was fixed, I dropped my bike at transition, organized all my bags, ate dinner and went to bed excited to race!
Sunday, June 24th, Race day
My 4:15 am alarm didn’t have to ring as I was up by 4, I had my usual, banana, oatmeal breakfast with a bunch of water. We were lucky enough that our condo was right next to swim start, so I decided to set up my transition zone at the opening at 5:15 am so I could come back to the condo, rest use the bathroom and just relax in the calm before having to head to the start. It worked out really well, and I only went to the start around 6:40 am, right when the announcements were starting. Pros went off with the sound a canon and the roaring of 6 jets F-18 coming by at 7 am. We then all line up in time corals for the 7:10 rolling start. I ate my pre-race gel and waited my turn.
Swim 1900m; 31:08
It was my first experience at a time rolling start, where we self-seeded ourselves where we thought our swim time was. I went into the 29-32min corral, knowing that I’m usually around 32min and more, but I have been getting faster in the pool, so it was a good test. I really like it, 6 by 6 we ran in the water when the green light appeared, dolphin dived like pros and went on for 1900m (1.2miles). The water was pretty comfortable at 18.4C (64F), and there was barely any wave. The only annoying thing was the sun blinding me on the first turn. I probably spent 30sec trying to figure out where was the next buoy, which probably cost me the sub 31 but still very happy with my time, a significant improvement. All the other athletes around me were trying to figure out where we were supposed to go, which was pretty funny. When I finally figured it out, I went on my way, accelerated on the last 200m and ran to Transition.
Bike 90km; 2:44:27
My coach and I decided to pace the bike based on heart rate, so I tried my best throughout the bike portion to respect it, both on climbs and flat portions. I had a hard time pushing the bike on the flat to reach the HR I was supposed to, and I think it all comes down to power. I need to get more powerful on the bike, and while we’ve been working on it, it is a long process, and I’m not there yet, so much more work to do, to get as fast as the top girls. Other than that, the bike went well, I got my nutrition very well, ended up biking around what we thought I could, and it was overall a strong bike for me, especially for an early/mid-season race.
We got pretty lucky with the weather, it never got too warm, so I didn’t have to drink so much water to the point of being uncomfortable. The wind started to pick up 2/3 of the bike in but it never really bothered me as I’m used to much more when I train on the coast of Maine.
The last portion of the bike called Duplessis is always the hardest one as you’re pretty much climbing a ton of steep hills for 10km (6miles) before turning around and going downhill for 10 all the way down to the finish line. Thankfully my legs were still responding well, and I timed my nutrition well enough that I still had a decent amount of energy to finish the bike portion. That’s something that I haven’t done well in the past. I dismounted my bike ran to transition to grab all my stuff, and now it was time to run!
For people interested here are a few numbers, I ate 4 gels on the bike, half an energy bar, a handful of pretzels and drank 2.5water bottle, 2/3 of my concentrated energy drink. My average Hear rate was 156 (I should have been around 160) and my NP was 184Watts.
Run 21.1km; 1:35:41
I had two goals starting this race, finish my race in less than 5 hours and run under 1h40 for the half-marathon portion. Starting the run, my watch said 3:19:40, I knew that if I ran my 1h40 half marathon, I would probably be able to get right under 5hours. So, with that in mind, I started the first few km trying to settle my heart rate and my pace thinking that we had planned for a certain thing until at least the halfway point before I could let things go and just, go for it.
However, every time I tried to slow down, my body didn’t really want too, so I ended up going by feels and figured I would pay the price for it later and I would just have to deal with the pain and push through. In the end, I did the first and second half in almost the same time, which is pretty good.
The run can be split into 4 parts, the first part is rolling hills from the transition to the town of Mont-Tremblant where there is a lot of people cheering and a lot of energy, the second and third part are on a bike path, close to the public, and it’s only you with the other athletes. It’s actually really peaceful, except for the energetic aid stating that are always welcome. I love this portion, I get to settle into a nice rhythm, concentrate on my race and just put one foot in front of the other, and the last part is back to the finish line on those rolling hills that seem to never end.
The first half was just me, having a blast and passing a lot of people, focusing on forms saying hi to my brother who was on his way back to town. I was way ahead of my goal pace but feeling good. From km 12-15 I was starting to hurt, but a guy in front of me was running just the right pace that if I didn’t too much about the pain and kept following him, I was staying consistent. I ended up losing him, but that’ because he accelerated! When I finally exited the bike path I knew I had 5km to go and it was time to give everything I had left. I also crossed my mom who looked like she was doing good, which gave me a boost of energy. At this point, I also knew that even if I slowed down a lot I would get my sub5hours, and this carried me all the way to the finish line. I saw my dad 19km in who cheered me and I sprinted down the village, down the finish line with a big smile on my face.Nutrition wise, I had a chew every 2-3km with a cup of water and gatorade.
This run is probably the most fun I have ever had running, at least that I can remember, yes it got hard at some point, but I had a blast, and really, I couldn’t have asked for better. I ended up having the 7th fastest run of the day and ran my second fastest half marathon ever. Then I asked myself if maybe I should have pushed a little hard on the bike, … Maybe but I’m going to work on that!
Overall it was a fantastic race, I ended up 8th in my new F25-29 age group, and while this part was and still is pretty disappointing to me I realized that I finish 20th overall, which is my best overall result ever and that 8 of the first 20 first were my age, something that you almost never see. Also, although 8th wasn’t what I was aiming for, how sweet is it that my fellow AG ladies are so strong. At the end of the day, Mont Tremblant 70.3 was to test where I was at, put out a great race and execute something I can be proud of. I now have a lot of work to do on the bike for Maine 70.3 in 2 months. And I should really get to it instead of eating all the cookies, ice cream, chocolate and fries I can find!
This weekend would not have been possible without my boyfriend, who did a lot of the 14hours of driving we had, calmed my nerve, and took amazing pictures (all his), my parents who always support me both in school, triathlon and the many adventures I always want to take. Also, congrats to both my mom and bother who put out a fantastic race. My coach Jorge, who has been working with me for a year and a half now and has made me stronger and faster. Thank you to Velofix Boston and Quilicot for fixing my bike. Thank you to Irwin cycling for the amazing race wheels which not only make me faster but also make me look 10X cooler than I actually am.