Back in July my coach held her annual Ironman Canada training camp out in Penticton. What a weekend it was! I was pretty nervous heading in to camp. Sure, I’ve raced Ironman before, but how would I feel this time climbing Richter and Yellow Lake this time? Would my fitness be good enough?
Thursday – shake down ride and open water skills
We met at Skaha Lake on Thursday afternoon for a short shake down ride along the east side of Skaha, up McLean Creek Road, then riding back along the marathon course. We took it pretty easy on the ride, making sure no one got dropped. As we rode back along the marathon course Coach Angie encouraged us to pay attention to the road, to the hills and turns and to think about what it would be like to run back along that road.
Once we were off the bike it was time to get the wetsuit on for a quick swim in Skaha Lake. We talked sighting, practiced a mass start and did a bit of swimming.
Bike: 31.33 km (1:14:02)
Friday – ride the Ironman course, brick run, yoga
Friday was the big day, our day to ride the Ironman course! We were to set off in two groups, us slower ones leaving earlier. We didn’t ride the entire course from transition and through Penticton. There is too much traffic and there are too many lights, so we left from Skaha Lake instead.
My game plan for the day was to try to ride smart and to have a fun ride. Right from the beginning I settled in with two other ladies, Tanya and Shannon, who have both done this race several times. Tanya led us and kept our pace nice and easy. The first 1/3 of the course is fairly flat (with a net downhill). I’ve heard it said that you cannot ride this part of the course too easy. Riding behind Tanya I realized what that meant. We were spinning so easy that my heart rate was in the 120s. On Ironman day I believe I was in the 130s, so this was a change! If I would have been on my own I’m sure that I would have gone out too hard. As we hit the climb up Richter I learned a lot from watching how Tanya shifted her gears and tackled the climbs. All of sudden there we were at the top of Richter and I was feeling great! What a confidence boost!
We were gifted with a great day as there was minimal wind through the rollers. I attempted to count the seven rollers but I counted about nine out there, then through the out and back. I worked hard to keep on top of my nutrition. Then as we were about to exit the out and back the SAG wagon with my Infinit had moved on and we were supported by our second wagon. I could have probably used another bottle of Infinit at this point, but it wasn’t there. Unfortunately it probably put me at a bit of a deficit climbing Yellow Lake. The climb was still tough but I just kept pedalling and even passed a guy near the top. I don’t think he liked a big group of women passing him as he made a comment to Shannon! Finally at the top of Yellow Lake my SAG wagon was there and I was able to grab some nutrition and eat some Fig Newtons. Now time for the final descent! At this point in time the wind was starting to pick up and a storm was preparing to blow through. It was crazy going down and I was getting blown sideways, then the wind was in my face. Finally, back at Skaha for a brick run as the storm came through.
Bike: 166.2 km (6:53:53)
Brick Run: 0:15:02
Saturday – 30 min run, open water swim, ride “the wall”
We started the day with a nice and easy run along the water in Penticton, followed by a long open water swim. The run went well, but the swim was not as much fun. A power boat was running up and down the edge of the swimming buoys, making it really wavy out there. I just couldn’t catch the water. Next up was Coach Angie’s version of a recovery ride, the wall. The wall includes a steep, short climb followed by a fairly hilly ride afterward. Two years ago at camp I was not able to make it all the way up. This year I really wanted to make it farther than I had before and this made the climb really emotional for me. There may have been a few tears, but thanks to some pushes and some encouragement from my awesome friend Kelly I made it to the top. It was such a great feeling of accomplishment!
Bike: 52.98 km (2:20:17)
Sunday – long run
The last workout of camp! Kelly and I ran along the marathon course together. I was still working on building up my running endurance so we were supposed to run 2:15 and see. If I felt good then we could go a little longer. Kelly and I took the run easy, settled in to our 4:1s and talked about the landmarks to look for along the way. We made it to 2:30 and had a great day out there!All in all it was a great camp. While I may not have been sure of my fitness going in I left feeling like I can have a great day at Ironman. It was a great confidence boost! Thanks to all my fantastic teammates and coach for a great camp!