Even though these races have long since passed, I’d love to give a brief overview of my race and experience with both Ironman Victoria 70.3 and Ironman Canada. Finding the time to actually sit down and write has been tough, but I’d like to continue sharing my experiences while I can and to help me remember and learn more from them in the future.
I traveled to Victoria, BC with two of my girlfriends, Raechel and Abby. It was awesome to have some great friends with me to travel and spectate my race. They were such huge supporters and made sure everything was in order and ready for me to race. We stayed at the cutest little cottage only a mile or so from transition. It made it so easy to do my check in the day before the race and to arrive ready to go on race morning.
This was my first ever Ironman brand event. Everything was super well organized set up. The volunteers were also amazing. Check in was a breeze on the day prior to the race and my friends and I all enjoyed the nice temperatures of the lake for a practice swim.
Race morning was fairly uneventful. It took me a little while to unload my hydration and nutrition onto my bike and feel like my transition zone was ready. I hadn’t raced in about 9 months so I was triple checking to make sure everything was set! I had just enough time to make a quick trip to the bathroom before getting in the swim start line. Unfortunately no time for a swim warmup.
The race had a rolling swim start, which I found to be awesome. It was very easy for me to find a good draft and just flow through the swim course. I was actually surprised at how many athletes I was passing during the swim. Overall my swim was smooth and steady. I was extra surprised to come out of the water in 34 minutes! My swimming has really improved through the course of Ironman training!
I got going on the bike quickly. The 56 miles actually also went by so fast for me. The course in Victoria is full of lots of rolling hills and turns. Sometimes there were steep downhills right into 90 degree turns and right back up hill! This meant that I really needed to keep my focus on the mechanics of riding and shifting. I wasn’t able to keep my power up quite as high as planned, but I know this will improve with practice at future races. Besides the rolling hills, the course is really beautiful. Vancouver Island was green and full of trees and farms. There were views of the water along the way too. I stopped once to use the bathroom, but otherwise was moving forward the whole ride.
Before I knew it I was off the bike and back in transition. The run was a two loop course, mostly on trail around Elk Lake, where we swam. It was so nice to have the shade of the trail. The terrain was mostly flat with some small rollers and one short and steeper climb. I plugged along pretty well for the first half the run. I tried to make sure my pace was feeling fairly easy to avoid the burnout later on. I ate a few Clif Shot Bloks that I carried with me and grabbed water at the aid stations. After about 7 miles, I switched to Coke to drink for an additional pick me up with the additional calories and caffeine. The last couple miles were tough, but I pushed it in with all the energy and focus I had left.
I finished in 5:26, good enough for 10th in my age group. I’m really proud of this effort and result for my first 70.3. I also learned a few things during this race for improvements in the future. For starters, I did not take in enough calories on the bike. The need for increased calories while riding is something I did not appreciate until later in this year’s training cycle. I think I took in just about the minimum necessary to complete the race. In the future I’ll need to make sure to take in the right amount of calories, and I think this will help me with the run. I really liked this 70.3 distance and I look forward to making improvements in all areas and racing it again!
Post-race we enjoyed a picnic lunch at a local winery then (after a quick nap at the rental house) a nice dinner in downtown Victoria. I’d love to go back to Victoria for another vacation. It was so beautiful! Many thanks to Raechel and Abby for supporting me in my first 70.3 and for helping me on this adventure!!