Ironman Canada done. Again.

I’m home. I flew to Portland last week and drove to Penticton, British Columbia, for my third Ironman. This past Sunday, I raced. I raced well. Then I drove back to Portland on Tuesday, and I flew home today. I’m not sure how I can capture this race in words, but I’m going to try to capture at least some highlights.

  1. I finished in 16 hours and 22 minutes. My race time didn’t end up starting with a 15 like I had hoped, but this time is still a personal best for me. It was 11 minutes faster than when I raced Coeur d’Alene in 2008, and it’s 30 minutes faster than when I raced this same race two years ago. I’m thrilled.
  2. I thought I had a pretty uneventful swim with a few thousand of my good friends, but it turns out I got clawed. That’s the back of my neck you see, with a lovely two-inch gash. That, a black toenail, and a huge blister on the bottom of my right foot are the extent of my physical wounds from this event. I’d say I came out unscathed.
  3. On the bike, I saw a woman have a horrific crash. No other cyclist was involved, and no car was involved. Somehow her wheels just came out from under her and she flew into the middle of the road. I stopped to see if she was okay, and she was. Her shoulders, arms and legs were gashed and bleeding, but she was okay. I was rattled, but I continued, assuming her day was over. Turns out, she got back on the bike. I saw her pass me on the run. Pretty cool of her, huh? That kind of spirit is one of the many things I love about Ironman.
  4. Despite witnessing the crash, I had a great time biking. I shaved 50 minutes off my bike time from when I did this course two years ago. I thought my biking was getting better. Now I’m sure of it. I was trying to keep an average of 15 miles per hour. I did well until miles 75 to 90, when I fell short of that goal. But still, it was awesome to ride to the top of the first big climb, called Richter Pass, and think, “Was that it?” Two years ago, I was begging for the top of Richter Pass to show itself, and when I got there, I was gasping for air. I’ve come a long way in two years.
  5. I had a long transition between the bike and run because, when I got off the bike, the bottoms of my feet burned like hell. I got changed and ready to run and stood up and promptly fell down. I just couldn’t stand, so I sat in the transition tent for a while, eating and drinking and hoping my feet would recover. That was a first for me. I’ve never felt my feet on fire before.
  6. Because my feet killed, I walked the first mile or so. After a much needed pep talk from Erin, I started to run and being on my toes actually helped dull the pain. Once I got to running, I ran steadily until mile 18. Then my right knee started to give, as it sometimes does when I’m tired. So the last 8 miles were a run/walk effort. I was hoping to run the whole thing, but I’m still really pleased with how I did.
  7. At the finish, I was laughing and smiling and took the opportunity to high-five the folks in the grandstand leading up to the finish line. I saw my friend Judy do that years ago, and I’ve wanted to do it myself, so this time, I did. It was a great feeling to have the entire front row of the grandstand put their hands up for me in the those final steps. And when I crossed, I received an awesome medal and a too-big finisher’s shirt. Oh, what a feeling!
  8. During the race, 82-year old Sister Madonna Buder, the oldest person ever to attempt an Ironman, passed me on the bike. I then passed her on Richter Pass. That woman flies on the flats, and she’s 82! After I passed her on Richter Pass, I managed to hold her off the rest of the way. She finished just ten minutes behind me. They had to create an age group for her — the 80+ category. I want to be racing when I’m her age.
  9. The race I did – Ironman Canada in Penticton – is no more. This year marked the 30th anniversary of the race, and it marked the final year the race would occur in Penticton. I’m heartbroken over that because I’ve been going to Penticton since 2009 either to volunteer or race. I love that place and this event, and I’m sad to see it end.
  10. I’m thankful for the support I got leading up to this race. Fred, MJ, Catherine and Matt all helped me get in good rides. Jeanie helped me swim and met me for lunch right before I left town. Kerry, Jenny and Poppe helped me get in my runs. And Erin pushed me to do hilly and tough rides that made Richter Pass seem like a mole hill. I am so thankful.
I love the Ironman finish line. Each experience is precious, and I’m out to have more. I’m signed up for Ironman Coeur d’Alene in June of 2013, and I’m already excited to start training.

15 thoughts on “Ironman Canada done. Again.

  1. Taline, OW! Your poor neck!This is such an amazing account of your Ironman! Your endurance is astounding (and I must admit I get tired even thinking about this!) Congratulations! Yes, you will be that 82 year old …. I have no doubts!xoxo,Michelle

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