Whistler 70.3 2017 was a great race! Dom and I both signed up earlier this year and we were excited to do an Ironman event with some of our other team members. We had 4 people that raced the half and 3 that did the full. We also had a pretty amazing cheer squad.
Pre-Race: Vancouver and Whistler are both AMAZING places. So much beauty. We spent a few days in Vancouver exploring via bikes, we swam in a 50 meter pool right ON the ocean AT sunset (so gorgeous), and we did some easy runs.
We arrived in Whistler on Friday and were able to get our bikes and get all checked in. The check-in process was much more efficient than some of the previous IM races I’ve done. That meant Saturday we were able to explore on our bikes and do a short swim in Lake Alta. The ride was an easy 10 miles…some easy rollers, nothing too crazy. We thought it was the end of the 56 mile course and we were all thinking…that’s not too bad. We had heard the last 15 miles were pretty hard and I have to admit we were all a little confused. More on that later. The swim was perfect. It was windy and a little choppy but perfectly clean fresh water, no sharks, and surrounded by mountains. Heaven!
Race day/Swim: The full swim started at 6:45 and I heard it was perfect. Nice and flat. By time the half started at 8:45 the winds had really picked up but it was still a decent swim. I can handle a few mouthfuls of fresh water any day over the salt water we normally swim in (it always makes me sick)! Dom killed it on the swim! I was happy with my swim.
Out of the water and onto the bike. Well, we were wrong about the easy rollers that we thought were the end of the course. They were the start. And they were not easy with a crazy head wind. When we were reminiscing about the race later that night we all admitted that we kept checking for flat tires and rubbing breaks because we felt so slow! Finally, after about 20 miles I started to feel like I was warming up. We saw most of our teammates on the course a few times which was a fun pick me up. Our friend Jen that same to cheer was AWESOME. She was on her road bike and was able to show up at all the right times. When I started to descend at about mile 30 and I reached close to 50 mph, I had a hard time fully enjoying the downhill because I realized I would soon be going back up. We do hill rides every week and I RARELY hit 50 no matter how hard I try. All I could think was…there is only one way back to the village and it requires a u-turn at the bottom of this hill! I saw Dom around her mile 43. She was about 10 minutes ahead of me and I didn’t sense the same enthusiasm in her voice as I did when we passed each other earlier. Once I made the U-turn I realized why. It was one nice, long climb for 12 miles. I think there were a couple flat areas, but when I saw 7MPH on my Garmin I had to dig pretty deep to find my strength to just keep pushing. Looking back, I actually loved the bike course. During the 12 miles climb I had very different feelings and the killer head wind from EVERY direction did not help. Later we realized how bad we both had to use the restroom and the last stop was at mile 46. We both decided to suck it up and wait until transition because it would have been hell to get moving again on that hill.
And now the run. This is where the race got a little deceiving. I guess in hind sight we really didn’t study the course at all. I know the last 12-15 miles of the bike would be climbing but the 530 feet of elevation gain on the run didn’t even get a second thought. But somehow it was hard. Maybe it was the tough bike course, maybe it was the rollers, maybe I was under trained. The consensus from almost everyone I talked to was that it was hard so I’m not going to say I was under trained, I just wasn’t properly trained for this course.
All in all I loved Whistler 70.3. I loved the beauty, the people, the weather, the lake and the challenge. Dom and I were reflecting on our races and we definitely will train different next time. I had a very laid back approach to this race. I always do. I put in the quantity but maybe I need to focus on quality. When it comes to race day, I don’t quit. Nothing except for being taken away in an ambulance or a race being cancelled would make me quit. But when it comes to training sometimes I don’t follow through with that extra hill or those extra 5 miles of a brick run. That approach cost me for this race and it’s something I will finally do different next time around.
Stay turned for our next race! Or better yet give us a suggestions!