I apologize for my delay on a race report, but I had to get 1400 miles of driving out of the way after finishing Ironman Canada on Sunday. I was glad I took the land route this time around, but I think I will opt for a flight to southern BC should I race therea gain.
I lined up right behind my good friend Gordo at the start of the swim as I had hoped he would have a feel for where the best pack of swimmers (for us) would be once we got rolling. Unfortunately I lost him shortly after the cannon went off and it was largley in part to my left goggle eye filling with water and limiting my sight. Oh well.
After a few minutess I found myself swimming just behind a pack of five or six athletes (with a train of my own behind me). I bridged up to the back of that pack and we all stayed together for the final 3000+meters to shore. The group was fairly controlled and the pace only picked up when the camera crew came alongside of us. Its all about looking good for the camera.
The group hit the shore a little over 57 minutes which definitely surprised me, but I was less worried about swim PRs given the company I came out with. A quick transition (my fastet T1 yet in an IM) and I was rolling. My general plan was to float the first 40 miles to the base of Richter Pass before opening it up a bit. I kept things under control to the base of the pass and even had a couple athletes sitting 10-20 meters behind me to keep me honest. Once we hit the pass I opened it up and by the second step of the climb I had dropped anyone that had gone with me from the start.
After descending I found myself dealing with a good bit of wind and the rollers were turning into mini climbs given the speed I was forced to ride. Nevertheless I felt good and once I got through the rollers I kept my heart rate hovering under 160 in the flats and the out-and-back. I continued to push to the base of Yellow Lake and the fantastic amount of spectators along the YL climb carried me to the summit. From there you get a net downhill to the finish which is quite welcome although the headwind was not.
Another (somewhat) quick transition and I was out onto the run. Serge Meyer (SUI) and I started the run together and after a couple miles it was clear that we were not going to split up. My brother told me that I was 5 minutes from 8th and 6 minutes from 5th at the startof the run so I was hoping that Team Serge/JD could work together to run ourselves into the money.
We ran nicely to the turnaround in OK Falls and got a look at the competition up the road. It was at this point that Serge and I actually spoke to one another.We basically concluded that money spots were possible, but we would have to make sure that the pace did not fall off. The return was a bit more difficult. We had to deal with a headwind on the way back, but the second half of the marathon in an Ironman is just plain hard so that was likely the primary issue.
Sadly, I fell off pace around mile 19 and simply did my best to hold everything together to the finish. Places 6-11 (I was 11th) were within five minutes of one another so it certainly was a frustrating finish. I did manage a new run PR of 3:02:xx and continued my streak of setting new marathon PRs in every Ironman I have raced to date (six total now).
I can say that I took a lot away from this race. Racing professionally at the Ironman distance takes both fitness and tactics into account. Making the right moves at the right time can be the difference between success and obscurity. I am learning what it is going to take to fulfill my goals in the future.
Thanks to my family, friends, sponsors, and my Canadian homestay (Scott and Sarah McMillan; www.f9tc.com) for all the support you have given me this year (and beyond). I will send another update shortly about upcoming races.