Owen Martin’s report from Ironman Canada
“I arrived in Canada the Sunday before race day, I stayed in Vancouver then drove up to Penticton on the monday morning. I am happy I made this choice as I was driving in daylight, and the journey up was stunning! It took us 5 hrs and it passed in a flash, although the conversation was at a premium, as Ash was peeled to the window of the car. She said she was looking to see if she could spot any bears! We arrived in Penticton and the weather was glorious. I unpacked and went for a run on very heavy legs.. I was not to bothered about this because of all the traveling.
During the week I was pretty relaxed, coming to Canada I told no one and I think this took a bit of pressure of me. I just put my head down and got stuck into the light bits of training I had to do. One thing that supprised me though was the aggression of drivers towards cyclists. I was on my own and riding on the hard shoulder, the amount of near misses was scary. Apart from that the locals were really friendly and even more excited about the race than most of the athletes.
Going into this race I had one mission only, to cross the finish line! and if I got Kona after that.. Great! Like I said in my pre race report all I was looking for was the LOOK!
Race Morning.. I got up at 3.15am and got sun screened on, across the road to dennys which did serve quite a healthy menu, which was to my surprise! The normal routine followed.. Porridge, bagel with peanut butter and jam coffee..banana!
Off to T1.. Canada is a race were you get body marked, The race had plenty of helpers and I didnt have to que for long at all. A short walk and into transition.. it was quite chilly but that would change as the day went on.
The Ironman Canada Swim..
It is a really wide start and I thought this would be a good thing and maybe not much of a bash fest.. I positioned myself right in the middle were I was told the faster swimmers would be… Bang and off we went! With in 30 secs I got kicked in both eyes giving me frogs eye:( I didn’t stress at all, it just left sighting a bit more difficult. I could never seem to break free of the washing machine effect.. there was no real boxing more shoving and pushing. I cramped in my left calf and at the same time my right shin.. that was a first! Still I remained calm, cramping was not going to stop me finishing, so I was fine with that.
swim over and I looked up to see 1.05 by the time I ran through the mat 1.06. I was a bit disappointed but it was not the end of the world! And thankfully after the race I learned everyone swam slower than expected. T1 was great.. it was my 1st time in a race were was wetsuit strippers.. jesus they can get the suits off quickly.
The Ironman Canada Bike..
I had driven the course during the week, and I was really excited to get going! Its simply the most stunning bike course I have ever done! It was pretty flat and fast for the first 15/20 mile then the first of the proper climbs.. This was the only one I didn’t cover on my race recce. It was just enough of a climb that if you went up it all guns blazing that would be your legs gone for the day. I have recently got a quarq power meter on my bike, and although I train on power on my computrainer I seldom go by numbers on race day.. Use the force i was once told and that’s normally what i do. But the bike was quite hilly and I knew if I didn’t put a power cap on I would pay for it later. I decided 300w was good with a cap of 320 only on the hills. And I can tell you when i got to Richter pass I was bloody happy I did…. I can tell you driving a hill does not neceserley give you a good judgement on the length and steepness of a climb. From I mounted the bike until the base of Richter I had not being passed once.. then all the heros came by! Oh look at me!! I can climb fast.. I am Contordor I can only imagine what they were thinking passing me. All i know is they were not in too good of shape by the time I passed them all again mid way through what was a damm tough slog.. enjoyable! But tough. After a very very fast decent came what are knowing locally as the 7 bitches. and they are just that! not really that steep but boy could they zap your legs. Next up was the out and back, were I got a chance to see exactly were I was in the race, and to my supprise I was doing pretty well. This filled me full of confidence, and also with seeing Ash a few times out there all was good!
Next up was the final climb of the day before the lovely 20k decent back into town. The climb up to the twin lakes was a lot longer and steeper than when i drove it, it was bloody long and hard, by the time i got to the top my little legs just had enough climbing for one day.. I can tell you I was glad I placed a power cap on myself! there was a good decent to recover, but the final 15k or so was into a headwind which meant I still had to keep pushing right to the end. The crowds back in town were just fantastic! Enough to lift even the most flailing of spirits! I was feeling good..real good! I could see getting of the bike that the pros were about 2 mile into their run, and they had a 15 min start on me. So all was good for the run.
The Ironman Canada Run..
Owen Martin running to a Kona slot at Ironman Canada
T2 was good.. The first mile just felt too easy! I was looking at my watch and it was telling me I was running at 6.20 pace, I thought my watch was wonky until I hit the 1 mile marker… I was running at 6.20 pace! The breaks went on and I slowed right down. I knew there were some hills on the run and adjusted my pace to suit. My plan was to run at 7 min/m until the turn round then up the pace.. And then came the first climb.. 2nd 3rd 4th 5th and maybe the 6th.. by that stage i quit counting! I was feeling good, but with all the going up and down my quads were on fire.. The little man was out! Walk..just walk a little!! Its nice!! And this is all before mile 10! At mile 12 I was running shoulder to shoulder with a guy who had done the race 5 times.. we were chatting away and running down another hill.. and we kept going down and down! I said to him “please tell me we don’t have to run back up that” YUP was his answer.. F**k me I thought! We turned at half way.. And the only way was up! after that climb my legs were shot to pieces. And then it was just a battle for survival. My pace slowed as did everyone elses and it was just a case of making it to every mile marker, for the first time in an IM run I was properly suffering! But loving it! I walked through a couple of aid stations, and at about mile 20/21 I was about to explode.. Then came my Angel in disguise. A swiss guy shouted at me to run with him, and i did.
I don’t know if it was just having company or the fact I was back running in town and the crowds were amazing. But I was getting stronger. It was then a guy passed me in my AG and for the first time the whole day I thought of Kona. I can remember thinking” I don’t know were I am in the field, but he is not beating me today” I caught and passed him pretty quick, but the change in pace was too much for my swiss buddy. I did slow for him but he was shouting GO GO GO.. and I did! From mile 25 until 25.5 I felt great.. I had the finish line in sight and my legs were just shouting to me to stop.. I couldn’t believe I was considering walking and the end was only a few hundred meters away.. I was just Bolox**
I crossed the finish line and waited for my new swiss buddy! We hugged I thanked him, he thanked me.. And thats the last I seen of him. Its very doubtful if he will be reading this.. but THANKYOU again!
As normal Ash was there.. And as usual she was more excited than me! She was along with my good friend Xavier with his wife Sandra who drove all the way from Whistler to see me race.. Thank you my good friend!
So after all the hugs and kisses.. I sat down on my own…. looked around, and there it was.. What I had come for! THE LOOK:) And I was one happy dude.
And as an added bonus it turned out I had done enough to get myself back to the BIG ISLAND:)
Now I get to do it all again in 7 weeks… I really don’t know how my body will cope with doing 2 IM in 7 weeks! But one thing I can promise is that.. I am not going there for a holiday.. certain people take note of that:)
Ok.. by now your saying shut up Owen! And I will
I just want to thank those 3 people for those kind, and encouraging e mails when I was in a dark spot. You know who you are! THANKYOU
To my little wife Ash.. Jesus she has to listen to some c**p from me.. thank you babe xx
Until the next time…ALOHA:”