Saturday, October 11, 2014

I'm Number..Cough Cough...One!

Ironman 70.3 World Championships, Mont Tremblant, Quebec. Where the best of the best come to duke it out over 70.3 miles of swimming, biking, and running, then make up the calorie deficit via vast quantities of poutine. Qualifying for this race was my big, hairy, audacious goal of 2014, so I was thrilled and a little nervous to be there. If you've never been to Mont Tremblant, it's kind of like a Disneyland + ski resort - costumed creatures (and in this case + a few thousand spandex-clad triathletes). The town is located next to a lake and at the foot of some ski lifts. As a result, the views are picturesque and there's even an adorable gondola between the bottom part of town (including the finish line) and some of the hotels. This also means the run course included some 25% inclines. Oh yes. How did I do? Well, if your unit of measurement is the amount of fun a person can have and quantity of joy at the finish line, then I probably won. If you're into actual numbers and placement, I was 101st in my age group. While that's slightly off the podium, if you think of all the 30-34 year old women there are IN THE WORLD, I'm pretty pleased with myself.

Probably the only time I'll take a bike on a gondola.

Keeping with the theme of fun vs. facts, rather than a traditional race report, here are some things that surprised and/or amused me. May they do the same for you:

  • For some reason, I was originally placed in the women's 65-69 age group and got some really shady looks from the other women in my bike rack. ("What's my secret? Sunscreen, drinking lots of water...and actually being 35 years younger than you.")
  • You know you've made it when a Japanese tourist wants to take a photo with you. In this case, however, it was my bike's water bottle setup that he cared about. 
  • While there were volunteers with sharpies doing body marking, nobody actually had their age on their calf. Except me. No wonder there was no line. 
  • The swim start included a Royal Air Force fighter jet flyover, though I think people enjoyed posing for photos with the Mounties more.
  • The lake was eerily clear and I could see the bottom for a ways offshore. rocks... SHIPWRECK! Actually, it was maybe an old dock or construction or something (I was too busy actually swimming to investigate) but it was definitely unusual.
  • The level of competition was just incredible, and definitely a kick in the butt to get faster next year. I was holding the same watts as in a normal race and getting passed like I was standing 50 year old women. 
  • One year of college-level French is apparently enough to negotiate for a space blanket post-race. (Then again, as we know from Panama, my foreign language skills are apparently heightened by dehydration. Wish I'd known this in college.) 
  • If your flight is delayed, delayed some more, and then ultimately canceled, be sure to ask for food vouchers from every employee you encounter. Bonjour, CAD $96 steak-stravaganza

Many thanks to my family and friends for the cheers, Elliott for sherpa-ing, Coach Kerri for getting me there (and beating me by 0:30--ouch!), and Rose PT for keeping me healthy and strong. Here's to a fun off season!

Mission Accompli