Kitchener Waterloo Fighting Koalas

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Ironman Mont Tremblant race report


Sunday August 17th, 2014

After racing triathlons for 14 years I decided to tackle IM Mont Tremblant!

The days leading up to IMMT were cool to cold and rainy. The wind started to pick up as well. We arrived at our B&B that we stayed at Thursday afternoon, settled in then heading into town to buy some food.
The plan for me was to get up early on Friday and head to the swim course to do a nice swim but Friday morning was cold and rainy. Once I got into the village and the expo I wanted to buy a few things for the race like gloves due to the cool weather. I then headed up to where the registration was and decided to get that over with firstly before my workouts. It was a long line up but went smoothly and once I was finished I headed back to my car to do some workouts.
So I decided to skip the swim and get in a little biking along the bike course heading up to Lac Superior. This section of the bike course is very hilly with multiple steep climbs going up and super fast and twisty downhill descents. The steepest climb is at 14% and honestly didn’t feel that bad climbing it.
Once back from the bike I headed out for a short run and wanted to run down to where T1 would be and run back up the first big climb on the run course. This is a long 6% hill to run up and didn’t feel that bad either as I have been training on a lot of similar type hills in my training leading up to the race.
Workouts finished and I heading back to the B&B.
Saturday was bike check and bag check in day. Again it was cool and rainy out but no issues in getting there and getting my bike and run bags in order along with racking the bike.
We went out for dinner around 5pm and then went straight back to our room and in bed and lights out by 8:30pm. I set the alarm for 3:30am and slept very well with a solid 6.5hrs of sleep. When I woke up I did not feel tired at all. Had a coffee and then my normal breakfast pre-workouts/races of a cinnamon raisin bagel and oatmeal. We then had to drive to the small airport about 5km away and get bussed right into Mont Tremblant. Luckily, it was not raining but was cool and windy out. Once there I checked my bike and run bags then went into T1 to get my bike ready. Everything was good so then heading up for body marking. Once done with that we, meaning me, Michelle and Tricia, walked the 1km over to the swim start.


Getting all set for the swim and heading out for a quick warm up, I suddenly realized that I didn’t have my chip time ankle bracelet on! Oh no, how could I be so stupid?? But then I remembered they have replacement chips for people like me and right under the swim arch they had a table set up. The ladies their were, it’s ok, this is why we are here. Wheww! Disaster averted.
Ok, head out for a little warm up and get into the water and it is cold. They said it was 67F but I know it was probably more like 63F. Now, I don’t mind the colder water but on a day when the air temperature is about the same or cooler it could be an issue once out on the bike. Anyways, the gun goes off the men pros are gone and then the women pros and then waves of age groupers. My wave was 5th and orange swim caps. The beach area is fairly narrow and stays narrow out into the swim for a good 400m or so. Therefore, I was expecting some contact and the boys didn’t disappoint! But overall it wasn’t too bad and once past the pinch point the water really opened up and I was to swim in lots of clean water. Pretty simple course as you head straight out with 13 yellow buoys then a red turn buoy. The wind had picked up and was creating some chop on the lake. A couple of time I got a mouthful of lake water! My sighting heading up to the first turn was bang on! I thought I was drifting to the left but apparently not. Heading back towards the swim exit they had 13 orange buoys to lead the way. It then clouded over and started to get pretty dark out and I did drift a little bit to the left towards the shore. I wanted to avoid the left side as it gets rather shallow and I had t swim over some rocks less than 100m to the exit.
All in all a decent swim for me and out of the water in 1:10:42. 1:10 is exactly what I predicted for myself!
I know I can swim faster than this but I race day mantra was nothing hard, nothing hard. Just pace yourself the entire day. Every time I wanted to swim faster I would look up at the mountains and just keep swimming at that effort level.
Swim exit was smooth and quick. The wetsuit strippers do a excellent job getting your wetsuit off and you on your way. The run from the swim exit into T1 was along the road which usually has a nice soft mat laid down but because of the rain and the threat of rain the race organisers decide to not put the matting down. Bah, killed my feet but made it into T1 ok.


T1 at the Ironman was a new experience for me and initially I was overwhelmed! So many bodies jammed into that little area and I couldn’t find a seat to sit down. Finally I found one and got all my biking gear on headed out to the bike. 11+mins in T1 was horrible.


Having previously raced here in 2012 for the inaugural 70.3 race, I knew the bike course fairly well. In my training leading up to the race I really focused on gaining endurance, biking at the proper effort level, and pacing correctly on the flats on hills. I didn’t have a lot of extra training time to head up to Collingwood to train on the big hills so I made to with biking routes with plenty of hills and just doing multiple loops. Therefore, leading into the race I knew from previous race I had to be conservative on the bike in order to have a chance at a decent run off the bike. Couple that with never doing a marathon let along an ironman and my entire plan was to be conservative. So I was looking at averaging 27-28km/h overall on the bike.
I was close! But for whatever reason I had pee a lot on the bike! I wasted at least 15mins stopping at portapotties at aid stations. It was really annoying so the last 50kms I did not drink as much and that seemed to help.
The weather played a huge factor with the wind right into our faces the entire time going out on Hwy 117. The first section of 117 is very tough to begin with, with lots of hills let alone the headwind! At least we had the wind at our back after the turnaround and heading back to St.Jovite. The long 6% climb was ok, just got into the easiest gear and tried to stay under 200 watts the whole climb, which I was able to do on both laps.
Then it was time to bike into Lac Superior and start climbing the “staircase”. The staircase is multiple very steep but short hills with the steepest climb at 14%. Everyone was in his or her easiest gear just grinding away to get to the top! I did very well in this section on both loops never getting my heart rate above 150 bpm and keeping the power from spiking and burning out my legs.
Overall I was somewhat happy that I was able to stay focused and keep my pace/effort level where I needed to be, but not so happy about losing so much time to the amount of bathroom breaks. Finally finished the bike in 6:52:29, much slower than what I predicted for myself of 6:15.
But my legs felt good for the run!


No problems in T2. In hindsight I should have had a change of clothes with the weather being cooler and getting rained on while out on the run.
I start off running and right out of T2 is a big hill. I initially thought I would walk up this hill but I felt ok running up the hill and continuing on! No legs cramps, heart rate did not spike and off I went unto the marathon!
Never having completed a marathon before this was new territory for me. The run course is hilly the way out of T2, and of course coming back in, for 5-6km. I specifically trained just for this section in my long runs and it helped a lot. The first 21km loop went very well with minimal walking through a few aid stations and one or two hills just walking the very steepest part but was able to keep running!
Getting back into the finish chute I had to turn to the right to head out for my second loop. I thought this would be hard to do but seeing all the people gives you a big boost, and, I got to see Michelle and Tricia along the side cheering me on! I just had to stop for a quick kiss from Michelle!
Unto the second loop and hitting the first big hill again I did walk up the last part of the climb. Then into the town and all the rolling hills I was still keeping my effort level and still running! The further I went to further into the unknown I was going. By this point in the race my stomach was just on the edge. Just the thought of having to gag down another gel made my want to puke! So at the aid station around 28km I think I skipped any food and just had water. I keep running but then really needed to start walking. So I walked right to the end of the trail section and turnaround and along the way my tummy started to grumble! Haha, there is the reason I am walking, I am hungry and need food! Instead of gels I switched to pretzels, some chicken broth, gummy chews and coke! Coke was like rocket fuel and I was able to start running again after getting the food into my stomach. I kept running and running and then a great thing happened to me with 6km to go. I had a huge adrenaline rush after going through the aid station at the turnaround point at the end of the Le Pe’tit trail! I just felt like I could fly and took off running for the finish line. Hill after hill and I just kept running feeling strong! It was an incredible feeling running the last 6km faster than I thought I could never have run a marathon before!
I was getting really pumped and getting spectators cheering for me along the course and then running into the finishing chute was absolutely amazing! I threw my arms into the air and screamed out to the spectators and they all screamed back for me!! So cool!!
Then I crossed the finish line I could hear Mike Reilly announcing; number 2409 Robert Harriman from Kitchener, ON, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!
Finished in a time of 13:32:45.
Predicted time 12:30 range. A little slower than I predicted but this being my first ironman, my race history, I did what I was suppose to do and I was rewarded with being able to finish strong those last 6kms! To me, that is a major victory!
Great experience overall. Love the course and all of the challenges.
Just trying to figure out if I am going to sign up for this race again next year, or wait until 2016 to do another IM? We shall see in the next week or so.

That is my race report for IMMT!
Rob Harriman