Covid 19 Updates: Return to Group Training / Coached Sessions
Virtual Spin Classes and strength and core classes are ongoing. Please go to our training and events section for more information. All in person coached sessions are on hold. Once we are able to host group training again these coached sessions will require all athletes to have a 2021 Triathlon Alberta membership for insurance purposes. We will be using the cohort model for swim sessions but within that will be encouraging as much distancing as possible between members.
Covid 19 Return to Play Guidelines
As a registered club with Triathlon Alberta and Triathlon Canada we have been supplied with safe return to play guidelines and will be adhering to these for any in person group or coached sessions going forward. You can read the guidelines HERE
Triathlon training, socials, racing, support and fun in Airdrie, AB!
Mission – to encourage development and participation in the sport of triathlon through an inclusive and supportive club structure focusing on: group workouts and activities – fun, mutual support and enhancing healthy and athletic lifestyles.
Vision – engaging our members in triathlon and multisport activity from beginner to advanced levels, with a focus on camaraderie, personal growth and sporting excellence!
New to triathlon? Seasoned IM veteran? Just want to come on out for some exercise but not race? The ATC is ALL INCLUSIVE…all ages, experience levels etc. are welcome. Young? Old? It does not matter…come join in the fun and make some new friends at the same time!
Want to learn even more? Drop us a line @ firstname.lastname@example.org and follow us on twitter @airdrietriclub, STRAVA , as well as on Instagram…AND make sure you hook up with us on Facebook / Airdrie Triathlon Club.
Workouts & Training
The ATC strives to provide opportunities for members to train as a group and enjoy the benefits that come from pushing yourself and achieving your goals. As many members are on different training programs for key races and at different stages in their training and athletic curve, we do our best to support and encourage ALL athletes to come out and join us when they can. The more the merrier…training alone with the tunes cranking can be a good thing, but meeting others, working out together and hitting new levels of fitness and personal success is even better.
Come on out and join us for fun, inclusive and engaging group sessions. Please note the word “inclusive”…at the ATC, we believe in just that – inclusive, group workouts. While heading out with a group of super fast tri geeks for a ride / run may be challenging and allow you to become faster, most likely it involves getting dropped off the back within a couple of km’s never to see the main pack again. For us, we are all about ensuring a challenging but also supportive environment.
What about coaching you ask? We have that covered for you: our very own Sharon Styles and Kiera Gosse are here to help! These two ladies will be working on crafting some group sessions and clinics for the benefit of all ATC’ers. Don’t forget to check out Coach Sharon and Kiera's customized programs, one on one coaching, camps and more over at Team TriLife.
Looking for something in particular when it comes to coached training, group sessions…? Drop us a line and let us know! We look forward to seeing you at workouts and races!
The ATC is an all-inclusive Alberta Triathlon Association affiliated Club and we want YOU to join us!
2021 Adult Membership: $20.00
2021 Youth (17 years and under) Membership: $10.00
ATC members can look forward to the following benefits for 2020:
Please Note: By participating in activities as a member of the club, you agree to do so AT YOUR OWN RISK. The ATC is not liable for any personal injury and/or damage to personal property associated with participating in club activities or training sessions. A detailed waiver must be agreed to online before proceeding with your membership purchase.
Please read it completely prior to registering.
Don't delay and sign up now!
Once your ATC registration has been completed, you will be sent a welcome email with coupon codes for race registrations. You will also be issued an ATC membership number electronically. Please ensure you have that with you in order to take advantage of your Club discounts at the merchants detailed above.
Want to learn more? Check back to this website for updates and events. You can also email us at email@example.com, and follow us on twitter @airdrietriclub, Instagram, STRAVA and Facebook. We look forward to having you join us as a member of the ATC.
Please Note: By participating in activities as a member of the club, you agree to do so AT YOUR OWN RISK. The ATC is not liable for any injury/damage to personal property associated with participating in club activities or training sessions. A detailed waiver must be agreed to online before proceeding with your membership purchase. Please read it completely prior to registering.
All ATC members who wish to register for in-person training sessions will require a valid Triathlon Alberta Membership in order to register for those sessions. Virtual training sessions do not require a Triathlon Alberta Membership. You will be prompted to purchase your Triathlon Alberta membership, or provide your current number, during registrations of the training sessions that require it.
OK, enough rambling - click on the link below and get started!
Training & Events
Check out these awesome opportunities to join us for clinics and events !
Registration is now open for our training sessions. Here is the link to register: https://ccnbikes.com/#!/events/2021-atc-training-sessions-march-to-june
You will require a current Airdrie Tri Club membership to register ( $20 Adults / $10 Youth ) Link for the 2021 memberships: https://ccnbikes.com/#!/events/airdrie-triathlon-club-2021
Youth and Adult Virtual Spin Sessions- Wednesdays ( Youth must be 12 years old to join )
Winter / Spring 2021 spin classes are virtual! These classes will be live and interactive coached via zoom ( or similar platform ). All athletes will receive a RPE ( rating of perceived exertion ) and FTP ( power based targets ) version of the workouts emailed to them with the option to have the workouts automatically loaded into your training peaks calendar. We will also create a zwift meetup for the workout and you can join via zoom and zwift and download your workout right into zwift.
These spin classes are run with your own bike and bike trainer. We have a limited number of trainers to rent out for a small fee for our youth. Before registering please confirm your child’s wheel size with one of our coaches to be sure we have a trainer that fits your child’s bike.
The Youth will start with the adults and will finish earlier depending on their age. They can choose how long they want to spin for. 45', 60', 75' or the full 90'.
**Wednesday night Adult spin class March 3 to April 28th ( no class April 7 ) 6:30pm to 8pm $64 for the 8 week session
**Wednesday night Youth spin class March 3 to April 28th ( no class April 7 ) 6:30pm start ( finishing time depends on age ) $48 for the 8 week session
**Youth Trainer rental $10 for the session
Youth and Adult Virtual Strength and Core Sessions- Tuesdays ( Youth must be 12 years old to join )
These classes will be lead on zoom, using bodyweight, dumbbells and exercise tubing if you have them. You do not need specialized swim tubing to attend these classes. This will be a strength and core class designed to compliment your triathlon training.
**January Session-Tuesday night Strength and Core class Jan 5 to Jan 26. 7:30pm to 8:15pm. $24 for the 4 week session
** Feb session- Tuesday night Strength and Core class Feb 2-23rd. 7:30pm to 8:15pm. $18 for the 3 week session. No class family day week.
**March session- Tuesday night Strength and Core class March 2-30. 7:30pm to 8:15pm. $30 for the 5 week session
PLEASE NOTE ALL IN PERSON SWIM COACHING SESSIONS ARE ON HOLD UNTIL RESTRICTIONS ARE LIFTED. IF POOLS OPEN WE WILL OFFER SWIM PROGRAMMING UNTIL GROUP TRAINING CAN RESUME
Drop In Training
If you are interesting in dropping in on any of our training sessions please check with coach Sharon first to see if there is space ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) Once space is confirmed you can pay your drop in fees with the link below ( you must be a current member of the ATC )
Airdire Triathlon Camp - TBA
Held at Genesis Place in Airdire this camp is for all abilities. It includes 2 swim sessions, 2 bike and brick sessions, a run clinic and interval session, functional movement session and nutrition session.
For a detailed schedule and to register please email email@example.com
We offer coached training sessions for ages 10-18 to incorporate triathlon training and racing skills as well as instill fitness for life! Current offering for youth is Virtual Spin on Wednesdays. Register here ! ( Swim and run will resume as covid restrictions are lifted )
Train, race and hang out in style!
ATC Store - *NOW OPEN YEAR ROUND*
We're pleased to announce that the ATC gear store is now OPEN for business...year round! Get your training and racing gear now and be the best dressed athlete at the race (check out the stylish ahem, models, in the pic showing off the ATC wind jacket, buff, casual tech jacket..). Here are some important points for you prior to ordering:
Anyone can order from the store! Share the link! Fans need gear as well to cheer on their fave triathlete right? Child/Youth/Adult sizes available! Any number of items can be ordered at any time, you just pay for shipping costs. Order with a friend/training partner to share the shipping cost!
Shipping costs are price-based: For orders with a subtotal under US$100 (or CAD equivalent), the shipping fee is US$15, orders between US$100-$199, shipping is US$10 and orders over $200 automatically receive free shipping.
Our store website runs in USD, but there is a currency selector tool at the top centre of the site – simply select Canadian Dollars and that’s what you’ll be charged in. You may also notice a BC PST charge in your subtotal – this is a default setting and will switch to Alberta GST/no PST once you input your shipping address.
A quick FYI that some items fit smaller than you may expect. Please refer to the description of each item for links to sizing charts for further specifics to ensure you get the size you need.
ATC Board of Directors
Who are we? Well...now that you asked, be afraid, be VERY afraid.
I’ve been racing for 7 years now and am hooked! I’ve done Sprint, Olympic and Half-Ironman distances and in 2017 I completed my first full distance Ironman in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho! I love that triathlon is a sport that allows you to race along-side pros and first timers. I love the excitement of race day and I love the routine of long rides, runs and swims. I love that my kids can race with us and I love watching people accomplish their goals and cross the finish line! I only continue racing because it’s fun, it’s challenging, and no matter how difficult it can feel at times, it always makes me smile!
I started running in the spring of 2010 when my daughter was 9 months old. I joined a Strollersize class that combined various exercises with short sprints and walks; it changed my life. I ran my first half marathon in 2012, and in 2014 I completed a full marathon. I knew I wanted to do more, and I had long dreamed of getting into triathlon, but swimming was the biggest barrier holding me back. I started swimming by getting into the pool while my daughter took swimming lessons, and later that year I was taking lessons, joining swim clinics and overcoming my biggest fears of open water swimming. I did my first Sprint and Olympic distance races in 2015, and in 2016 I completed my first 70.3 distance! I truly believe that fitness is a big part of a healthy lifestyle, and it's never too late, and you're never too old to start something new, and to keep setting new goals!
Sharon Styles Hamm
I have been doing triathlons since 2007 and have been a triathlon coach since 2009. I am a NCCP competition level certified as well as a certified personal trainer. As a coach I love working with athletes of all levels! From those looking to finish with a smile on their face or be happy in the swim to those looking to set personal bests or to get on the podium. My goal is to provide quality training and coaching sessions to ATC members. As a triathlete I love competing at all levels! Some of my racing highlights include ITU Standard Distance World Champion 35-39 in 2014, Calgary 70.3 overall age group champion in 2016, Ironman Arizona 2016 2nd place 40-44 and Ironman World Championship 2017 qualifier.
My first race ever was a sprint distance at Wasa Lake, BC.
I repeated that race again the following year and was very much happier with how my race went. I teach spin at Genesis place, and fitness classes at Oranj fitness and do some triathlon coaching for beginners as well. I love to motivate people getting into the sport, or pushing them gently in the right direction towards the sport😀, and will be actively coaching and helping to inspire any ATC members along the way!
Linda has been competing in sprint triathlon for 8 years. Though she dabbles with the idea of doing something longer she always falls back to sprint distance. Besides triathlon, Linda swims competitively with Nose Creek Masters and medalled at Nationals in May 2018. She has completed the Across the Lake Swim in Kelowna 6 times and plans to continue with this amazing event. Linda also completed her first ½ marathon in Canmore Sept 2018.
When Linda isn’t training or competing she sits as a member of many boards. She has sat on and chaired over 40 board/committees during the last 20 years. She is thrilled to work alongside this great Airdrie Triathlon Club Board
Director at Large
I have been doing triathlons for 5 years and was the triathlon chair for the 2014 Alberta Summer Games. I am a solid mid packer with hopes to be a solid upper mid packer one day. I have improved my swimming from looking like a hippo to a beluga whale, my biking is solid and my run is dependent on the day. My longest distance to date is the Calgary half Ironman.
Director at Large
Friends of the ATC
Support those who support our sport !
Dynamic Race Events hosts a ton of great races in BC. They produce Sprint, Standard, Aquabike, Duathlon and Half Iron distances triathlons. They are a Western Canadian company, owned and operated, by triathletes for triathletes.
Check out these great reports from ATC'ers on their races! Send us YOURS and we will post it up: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jill Munday - Ironman CDA 2017
Post race update, sorry if its repetitive in anyway, cant remember what I blabbed on about last night - trying to capture the event while emotions are still high. Its very hard to put thoughts and feelings in order over what we did yesterday. First of all, I massively underestimated the enormity of an Ironman. I assumed it was just a triathlon but longer and harder. I knew there would be a mental element to it and as a first timer I am so proud of how we prepared for it, while managing full time jobs and kids. We did the work and were physically ready. We trained long distances, in wind, rain, heat, late nights, cold water, choppy water, open water, rode hills, longs flats.......we really exposed ourselves to as many possible scenarios as we could. We knew what hurt and when and what to do to fix it for the next training day. We trained our nutrition, figuring out what to eat, how much and how often. We used the stuff offered on the race course to avoid surprises. We had realistic expectations of our times to complete. So to sum up........we were ready. Now on to race day......physical stuff first. Take out the mental game and I had an outstanding race. My swim was fantastic, 10 minutes faster than my estimated best time. The bike course I actually really enjoyed- it was fun and varied, so you didn't get bored. Don't get me wrong, it was gruelling. The hills were relentless and The final 50km were soul crushing. But with the struggles I encountered this year on my bike, I was amazed at how good I felt at the end and how ready my legs were to run. I think it was about the same for Sean up to this point. Personal best swim time, soul crushing bike. It was the heat that hit him hard and he started to struggle on the final 6km. So onto the run. We both got changed and out of transition in decent time, wanting to keep moving. I know Sean was struggling so as in hard training runs, we started walk/runs to ease into it. Sean couldn't maintain a run but we passed many people with our insanely fast power walk. "Just keep moving forward" is the motto of the race. When Sean said his kidneys hurt and realized none of the fluids he'd drank were coming out, I knew things had changed in a way we hadn't planned for. Sean kept moving forward after checking in with medics and I made sure he was taking in fluids and still coherent. What it became apparent that things were not getting better, I followed Sean's lead. He knew there was a real chance he wouldn't finish and wanted me to go ahead without him to finish for both of us. He kept Moving forward and made the cutoff time at the start of the final run loop. Shortly after, his kidneys told him it was time to stop.........only 7 miles from finishing. I cant express how proud of him I am and how in awe I am at his strength to keep moving. I, meanwhile, ran hard to make sure I finished. My watch wasn't working so I had no idea what pace I was at so I just went fast. I also had no idea if Sean was ok so wanted to be done as quick as possible.
I experienced a very eerie part of the race in the tail end. Everyone is quiet and fighting their own struggles. I met up with a lovely lady, Lucy, who kept the same pace as me and had no headlamp with her so I asked if she would mind my company to keep my own head in a good space while I lit the path with my light. We were both grateful . We split up at the last turnaround because I wanted to pick up my pace to ensure I got to the finish line (she finished the race shortly after me btw - 9 time ironman finisher). I was starting to feel hungry and that is a sign I am going to crash. I ate my emergency gel (those things are so gross I only carry them for emergencies). My stomach was starting to feel rough. Dustin, my amazing bro in law found me on the last mile and jogged along with me in his flip flops. Every volunteer I passed said 'one more mile'. I was on my last mile for way longer than 1 mile. When I finally saw the park lights again (a beautiful sight ) I let my emotions take over and bawled my way down the finisher chute. It wasn't the euphoric moment of happiness I had envisioned. I was happy I did it, sad I couldn't share it with Sean and wanted nothing more than to find him at the finish line. With that being done, we got to experience the other thing we didn't prepare for... the post race. I couldn't eat a thing for fear of throwing it all up but knew I had too. I always thought those tinfoil blankets they wrap around you were silly but as I shivered uncontrollably, it was a god send. The post race massage was heavenly. Sean tried to have one but started changing color pretty quick and they recognized that things weren't right. He went to the medical tent to see if an IV was in order to rehydrate. Thankfully he was cleared with just instructions on what to monitor. Finally back to the trailer, 21 hours after our race morning alarm clock started us on this day. We showered, slept with matching barf bowls beside us just in case (didn't need them thankfully ) and slept solidly for 4 whole hours. Sean's kidneys started processing fluids again so he was up peeing all night which is a great sign. We are both respectably sore, Sean annoyed that he has all the same pain, but not the medal. Overall, I'm impressed with how I feel. Could do without the enormous 6th toe of a blister under my pinky toe, but all in all feeling better than expected. Part 3 to follow and wrap things up.
Part 3- the hard part. The emotional part. The part you cant train for. I say I underestimated the Ironman but I didn't respect how trying it is. I listened to all the inspirational stories and appreciated them but didn't appreciate that they are so much more than just another inspirational story. Its not just a longer, harder triathlon....completing in an all day endurance event exposes you to parts of yourself you don't know exist. I'm amazed at how I kept myself together while at the same time going through more emotions than I ever had. I'm amazed that Sean kept it together to keep moving and yet know when his limit had to be reach to stay safe. I'm full of so much gratitude for our Friends and family and kids who have supported us from the get go and shared this experience with us. We couldn't have done it without you and you cant imagine how it felt to read comments of support and see our cheer squad out on the course. It means more to us than words can express and it is what kept us moving forward. So many people say how inspirational we were, and I'm pretty darned proud of us, but the inspirational stories were the guy who completed the day with a prosthetic leg, the multiple ironman finishers (Sean talked to a guy on his 22nd Ironman ), the 77 and 72 year oldest male and female competitors, the final person who crossed the finish line just before the 17 hour cutoff....these people epitomize what perseverance is. To sum up, cuz this can go on forever......I really can't put into proper sentences what this experience was like. I can say I have the most amazing family and friends and kids ever (and strangers- all the people who followed our day on my sisters minute by minute update on Facebook ) and I have the best training partner and husband in the world. I wasn't sure about a lot of things yesterday but I am sure that I would never have crossed the finish line without him. Thanks for being amazing and for supporting us.
Wrapping up our trip to Idaho as we head home tomorrow......after a year of non stop Ironman dominating our lives, its back to real life again. Then maybe, just maybe, I will lay off the triathlon talk for a bit.....except for this weekend when I get a chance to download the race pics and post them!!!! Its been a great week with the kids- had a fun day at Silverwood amusement and water park, explored Coeur d'Alene today and did some shopping for back to school. Sean and I ...have been reflecting and replaying the race over and over. It was an awesome trip and an awesome experience but it has been so hard to be ecstatic over all our hard work as the day didn't go as planned and we weren't prepared for that possibility. I am so proud of myself for being able to complete the race and so confident that Sean will have his chance again to get his medal. (Yes we will be doing another ironman in the future so he can have his second chance). I got so caught up in a fairy tale story of how we trained together and became ironmen together but having Sean be so proud of me and celebrate my race even though it didn't go the same way for him makes me so grateful to already have a fairy tale story and the most amazing partner anyone could ever ask for.
When we prepared for this race I had a few key mantras to keep me focused throughout the day. The most obvious was to "keep moving forward". I also put a sticker on my bike that said "be grateful" because I always like to remind myself when I am getting sore or tired to be grateful that I am healthy and physically able to do triathlon and to appreciate the beautiful surroundings I get to experience that most others don't (i watched the sunrise from the lake with 1000 other swimmers around me and watched it set over the lake and behind the hills will fellow runners) . "Be grateful" was always a quick way to pause and re-energize During a race. This time it took on a much more significant meaning. I was grateful that I wasn't the cyclist being airlifted to hospital and grateful to hear she had survived the crash. I was grateful when the bike ended so I could run with Sean. I was grateful he was safe in the end and so grateful that he still felt like celebrating my finish and was there to see me crossed the finish line . I'm beyond grateful for my family who came to support us and let us do our race prep routine while giving our kids an amazing week and for all the rest of the support we got from everyone else who wasn't here. In short......I am grateful. Just wanted to get that out there.......it wasn't a good race and it wasn't a bad race.......it was an experience and it made me feel like a very lucky person and to never stop being grateful.
Rochelle Braatz - Cultus Lake Tri 2017
Yesterday I completed my first Olympic distance triathlon at Cultus Lake which I committed to at the ATC tri camp this past April. With the help of my wonderful coach Sharon she put together a program for me. Well that program didn't always go to plan for me with summer vacations, 5 kids and work but you all know what that's like...that's life....you do the best you can. I almost didn't get to that start line Sunday morning because Saturday night I just had this awful fear of the swim which has been a thorn in my side all year. I went anyway and when l got there i saw all these ITU Penticton hats so I thought oh they must be doing the half iron...nope! All these amazing people were going to do the standard as their final "fun" race of the season...awesome. I must have looked frantic because one of those athletes approached me and she just started talking and after about 10 minutes she said you came all this way there is no way you are not finishing this race. So I got in the water and did a warm up swim...felt ok.... I kept telling myself ok just break the swim up you can stop as needed. The horn went off and before I knew it I was around loop 1 with no breaks and only needed two quick breathers in loop 2. I was out of the water and headed to transition. Now I had a great swim for me but let me remind you of my competition, even with my swim I was 4th last out of the water with some people doing it in 21 minutes. I was smiling though, was so happy I entered transition wrong, ran the wrong line, back tracked and found my bike. I hit the mount line and was gone. Alright I thought I am good I can do 40 km. I hit about 5 km and OMG the first group of riders led by Jeff Symonds is on their way back, good grief...okay just keep pedaling. I hit about 25 km and here come the half iron cyclists like McClaren race cars to my Pinto. I hear 475 (my race number) 475 you are doing amazing..I almost fell over cause I thought I was getting a drafting penalty and then I laughed cause who was I kidding there was no one left to draft...I kept pedaling and wouldn't you know it here he comes again lapping me again GO 475...I love this guy. Heading back into the park and I am tired, I did not do my nutrition right on the bike. I get to the dismount line and off the bike. Transition again...got it right and I was off...dang forgot my inhaler so back into transition...uggghh out for the run. My legs were cramping so I walked fast for a bit and worked my way to a run, I started clocking the km but still had a loop to do...just keep going. Oh who do I see? my favorite half iron guy now lapping me in the run....fabulous....go 475...I had to smile. I looked down at my shoes and the backs were red...great...bleeding blisters...just keep running. When I could hear the people at the finish I was like there is no way I am done this run...I don't run this fast...like ever. Sure enough there was the Mecca of the finish. I crossed that line as proud as if I had done an Ironman. This was a big day for me...I had conquered the open water swim. I made sure to find my half Ironman cheerleader after the race and thank him for encouraging me on. These athletes never cease to amaze me with their kindness. This was an awesome day!
Airdrie Triathlon Club - Airdrie Tri 2017
It was an awesome weekend for our ATC members and youth team!!
We had some first time adult racers who did amazing! From our coached stroke improvement clinics:
Kim Rafuse Smith participated in her first race, after training diligently with Coach Sharon and I to learn how to swim and improve her stroke!
Chantelle Richelhof completed her first ever sprint triathlon with very impressive results!
Christopher Andrews competed for his first ever triathlon and successfully completed the Olympic distance!
Barry Zerr swept in and came in first place overall for the Olympic distance!! Way to go Barry, that hard work paid off!
Rochelle kicked butt in her first ever sprint distance triathlon!! Way to push yourself Rochelle! Jeff Adrian has been training hard for his upcoming half at great white north and had a goal of 2:30 for the Olympic distance which he hit bang on, way to work hard Jeff!
Cam Fuller competed in the Olympic distance relay for the big win! And such a short time post surgery! Go Cam!
Mark Overdulve competed in the sprint distance with an impressive time! Way to go Mark!
We had 15 kids participate in the event! Every single one of them finished the race with big smiles and looks of pure determination!
4 youth participated in the TRI it distance because of the age grouping and just rocked this distance!!
We were so impressed with the commitment and passion these kids exhibited! Both Sharon and I were so inspired by their fierceness!!
Howard Kirbyson, Merle Trudel Steele, Jaime Messina, Heather Kelm, Sarah Nunn, Susan Devins, Virginia Perez, Jamie Borthwick all raced this weekend as well! Some making a comeback to tri's after a 6 year hiatus! Way to go!
Lastly, it must be mentioned that the fastest woman I know, and my mentor and inspiration, Sharon Styles Hamm had an incredible first triathlon of the season, taking the sprint distance overall female win!
Congratulations to all for a fantastic start to the season! Wishing you all fun and excitement in the races to follow!
Sharon Styles - Ironman AZ 2016
I guess this starts way back in 2009 when I joined Angie with team TriLife..... So many from our team raced Ironman Canada that August and I remember reading the race reports and bawling my eyes out and thinking one day I would do one. I really started to get the itch about 4 years ago but decided to put it off for the year I turned 40 so I could put more time into chasing my teens around with their competitive sports.
So that brings us to 2016 and 9 seasons of racing triathlons under my belt and 4 years of racing half IM's. So although I was a 40 year old IM virgin, I had a ton of triathlon experience under my belt and I wasn't racing this just to finish, I wanted to have my best day out there and as the date got closer the internal pressure was building. I finally decided that I had to let outcome goals go for this race and really just make the day about me and executing each event to the best of my ability. For those of you that know me I "race" every event I enter. I want to know what place I'm in when I get out of the water, off the bike, etc.... But for this race I knew I couldn't have my success be dependent on where I placed so I gave my supporters instructions not to tell me what place I was in until I was halfway through the run and only then if I asked for the info.
What Marty was doing while I was busy pulling my valve core out
But still....the nerves and expectations for myself created enough stress for a very poor night of sleep. I slept well for about 3 hours then tossed and turned until about 30 minutes before my alarm was set to go off at 3:45am. The beauty of being up half the night with an anxious stomach was that by the time I got up and had to eat my stomach wasn't doing too badly. I was able to get most of my breakfast down and Marty and Tara and I were on the road on time and in transition nice and early. I got my special needs bags dropped off, set my nutrition up on my bike and as I was inflating my tires I pulled my valve core out! Eeek! I took a big breath and here I was thankful for arriving early as the line for the bike mechanics was short. He re tightened my valve core (now a tool I will be sure to have with me race morning from now on!) and inflated my tires. I double checked my bike and run gear bags and met Marty under the mill street bridge for wetsuit time. Event though I knew hands down I was physically ready to be honest I was still feeling pretty unsure and nervous at this point. I was really hoping the excitement would take over but it really didn't. So many unknowns of doing this for the first time were filling my brain. I finished getting suited up, Marty gave me the best pep talk and sent me on my way to line up for the rolling swim start. I walked away with tears in my eyes wondering what the day would hold for me.
I found Tanya Salomon as I entered the chute and we lined up at the one hour sign and kept each other company. She is an absolute champ and I have so much respect for her! I'm so glad I was able to wait with her. When the cannon went off we started funneling to the stairs and I went to the far left where there were fewer bodies entering the water. The first 100m meters was pretty smooth and then I started catching people that didn't seed themselves properly and ended up getting quite a bit of contact as I got boxed in a few times. I had someone pulling down on my calves quite a bit! I went a bit to the right for some clearer water and after a while veered back to the buoys on the left and found a bit of company. I may have swum a bit extra here. I didn't try to draft at all in this race. The water was so murky it was very hard to see anything (even worse than good ole last mountain lake back home in Sask). I was sighting a ton to make sure I didn't run into anyone, making my back a bit sore. I was surprised at how many people were still around me 1/3 of the way through the swim, but of course I had never done a race with this many people before! Definitely not many pink caps around me, mostly men. Sometime after the halfway turnaround I took one too many strokes without a sight and and got kicked square in the mouth. It shocked me so much I had to stop for a bit and tread water and gather myself. My lip was bleeding, I could taste the blood! My googles had been knocked askew and I fixed them and started swimming again. I ended up with water in my googles and it was burning my eyes so I had to stop again and fix the googles. All of this definitely messed with my focus and I know I slowed down in the final km of the race. I kept thinking "this is a really long time to be in the water"! But I was still really happy with my 1:03 swim time, right where I wanted to be.
I saw Marty and Angie exiting the water and heard my name from a couple others but was too focused on finding my land legs and getting to my gear to see who it was. I rolled through transition, grabbed my bag, ripped it open before I hit the tent and was quickly in my helmet and shoes and on my way to my bike. I had my bike in hand and headed to the mount line and was off. As I made my way out to the street my Carstairs crew was there cheering and I offered a quick wave and was out to start the 180km ride.
I settled in, started sipping fluids and went to have a look at my hr. My whole plan for the bike was to ride a few beats lower than my average at the Challenge Penticton long course race.... Except my hr wasn't reading! I scrolled through the settings hoping it would pick it up, but to no avail. No HR for the whole race! Ok.... Plan b I guess! RPE! I settled in and listened to my legs and lungs. The first lap was interesting for sure! Lots of age group men were already in "packs" not right on each other's wheels but no where near 6 bike lengths apart! Maybe 1 or 2! I did see draft marshals either giving some of them warnings or penalties but definitely not enough! The drafting by some of the men was terrible! I did as planned and dropped back through these packs as they passed me trying not to give away any energy to their tactics. I was really happy with how the ride played out for the most part, being able to ride a clean race without having to drop back too many times nor burn matches to get away. I did have a couple times where a guy would pass me and pull in front of me way too fast making me actually hit the brakes to avoid hitting him. I also had a close call at the turnaround on the beeline on the second loop when a slower gal on her first lap was having a hard time making the uturn while 4 or 5 of us faster cyclist were also trying to make it. Very sketchy! I found sitting in aero for so long was making it a bit harder on my stomach than what I was used to so was a bit slower than I usually am at getting my fluids down but was able to catch up as the ride went on. I did try taking in some solid food on the first lap, which I don't normally do in a tri and that seemed to work well. My stomach did feel a bit fuller than usual towards the end of the bike so I was a bit worried at how that would play out on the run for sure.
I was able to see Marty and Angie and the TTL support crew at McClintock a few times so that was great. Marty moved into the underpass and it made the cheering nice and loud! I was pretty happy with how I paced the bike, riding the first two laps exactly the same, an hour out and 45 minutes back and the wind changed on the third lap making the way back a bit slower so I was an hour out, 19 minutes back for a bike time of 5:19. I think my rpe on the bike started around 4 and maybe only built to a 5 or 6. I really wish I could see the HR data from that ride!
My legs felt pretty good coming off the bike! I hustled through transition and decided for a quick portapotty stop, because, no I did not pee on my bike :). I was out pretty quick and settled into a 5:10 pace on the run. My plan was run around a 5:05-5:10 and then walk the aid stations to try for an avg of 5:15. My stomach was feeling off to start and I didn't feel like taking in anything sweet but I knew I still had to get the fluids and calories in so stuck to my fueling plan of taking a gel at 30 minutes and then one every 45 minutes after that. I took in water and Gatorade to start at each aid station, except when I had taken a gel and then only water. After 3 miles my stomach settled and my legs were coming around and it wasn't too hot so decided to run the aid stations. I was also dumping water on my head at every aid station and taking in some ice as well (great to chew on between aid stations). I starting taking in coke in the second half of the marathon and that went down really well.
The support I had on the run course was amazing!! Angie at the McClintock turn around twice, Toni and Dave on each side of rural a few times and Marty on both sides as well multiple times and locations. My Carstairs posse by mill street three times and one of the gals I coached in cross country and track was at the top of the hill (she surprised the heck out of me! I was so excited!), by run special needs... She got around! I saw Sarah VT a couple times too! Wow it was awesome!! Marty cracked me up every time I saw him! He was pretty excited by how well I was doing and feeling and I think the second last time I saw him I told him he had to stop it or I was going to cry! I don't know where this visual came from but every time I passed a timing wire I had this visual of a living room full of my supporters back home standing up out of their seats and cheering, like their favourite team had just scored a goal. Seriously.... I know I'm weird! I smiled a ton on the run course, always giving the people cheering a smile, maybe not as much in the final miles but I smiled a ton during the run! I cheered on those I passed or that passed me as much as possible, taking in the energy from around me and hopefully giving some back.
The muscle pain started around the half way mark and I was worried about how the second half was going to feel so I slowed down a wee bit but my energy still felt great and I continued to try and work with a 5:10-5:15 pace as much as possible. I saw Angie at the 14 mile mark and told her, "ok, you can tell me now". But she didn't know so she and Trevor figured it out and texted Marty and when I saw him around 16 miles he told me I was in fourth and running them down. I was pretty happy with fourth to be honest and knowing my place wasn't going to change my pace or my plans but it was nice to know. I don't know when I passed third place but I passed Tanya at the far turnaround on the other side of the lake. She had absolutely annihilated the bike split, even with a flat. They changed her whole wheel and she didn't have enough gears so perhaps she had over biked a bit and was feeling it on the second lap of the run. I have so much respect for Tanya and she has been a great support for me building up for this race. I asked her if she needed anything, told her she was amazing and kept pressing forward.
The final two miles were so hard! I saw Marty and wanted to stop and give him a kiss but I knew if I let my legs stop it would be a bad idea. I saw the Carstairs posse one last time but was starting to get emotional so didn't swing across the road for high fives that time. I saw Jacque and gave her a pat on the back and told her she was doing great. We were going through the base salt station and they had loud music blaring. Once the music died down I heard her yelling at me to go! It was awesome! My legs hurt but that draw to the finish kept me going! I hit the bridge and knew once I crossed it that I would see the 25 mile marker and I was so excited I yelled out loud "I'm on the bridge!"
The best place in the world! The finisher's chute!
Once I hit Rio Salado and the one mile marker I started getting emotional thinking about the finish line and I though a lot about my kids watching the finish line feed and of course the support I knew was going on back home. I had to say out loud to myself a few times "not yet" to keep my emotions in check. I had one last hit of coke (haha) at the last aid station and pressed on! I saw Angie a couple hundred meters from the finish and she was so excited! I was starting to lose my cool so I told her to stop, lol! I couldn't even look at her! I picked up the pace a bit going up the hill and made the final turn into the finishing chute and then finally let myself go emotionally. Marty and the Carstairs posse were in the stands and I hit them with high fives and was bawling! You know, the ugly cry where you can't breath very well? I was alone in the chute and once I hit the carpet I slowed to walk to take it all in and let the emotions flow. I threw my arms in the air... I had done it! I was an Ironman! Finally!!!! As soon as I crossed the line I made a heart with my hands around my eyes for my kids and blew them a kiss then burst into full on tears as my catcher wrapped a blanket around me.
I walked around a bit in the finishers area, afraid to sit down and made my way over to the fence to find Marty. I started crying again and gave him a big sweaty / Gatorade / coke soaked hug. The Carstairs crew and Angie came over and they got the same! After the hugs I went back into the finisher area and chowed down some pizza :) I was shocked I was able to eat! After eating I got changed and made it to the finish to see Tara cross and then decided to pack it in and head back tired and sore and completely thrilled!
By the numbers:
Swim: 1:03:31 1:38/100m. 5th age group, 39 all women (including pros) 208 all competitors
Bike: 5:19:11. 33.8km/hour. 6th Age group, 35 all women 221 all competitors
Run: 3:43:21 5:18 min/km. 2nd age group, 27 all women 171 all competitors
Overall time: 10:11:44
2nd age group, 7 amateur female overall, 27th out of all females including pros. 171 all competitors
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