20 In ironman canada/ race report

race report // ironman canada – 2017

The short of IRONMAN Canada: It wasn’t my day. 

I gave everything I had and then some, but came up short of my goal (which was, no surprise, a Kona spot). 

I know I should be proud – and I will be eventually – but when you have really high expectations of yourself, set big goals and train your ass off for months, to come up short… well, it hurts. A lot. 

But what did I expect? My race was the outcome of the stories I told myself for much of the build: that I would have rather lazed in the hammock than slog through three 80-minute intervals during a long ride. I fought for so many of those intervals, my internal dialogue I have to do this rather than I get to do this. I lost the bike love. I focused too much on things out of my control, which took the joy out of the journey. And I let myself get in my head – the worst possible place you can be. 

I never want to go into a race feeling like that again. And you can bet I never will. 


With that, a few race day details on my second slowest IM ever… 

Race morning started kinda like any other – an early alarm, coffee, a not-big-enough breakfast, Imodium, Midol (ugh). My cycle started Tuesday, so I felt like garbage Thursday and Friday (constant borderline migraine). I definitely didn’t feel like my sharp ready-to-go self on race morning, either, but I did my best to ignore it.

Since the race, I’ve re-read part of Roar by Stacy Sims for some insight into hormones. While I was in the lower hormone follicular phase, that doesn’t mean my hormones didn’t have an impact. Estrogen spikes during this phase, too – typically higher than during the luteal phase – which can have a pretty big impact on how you feel (or at least it does for me most months). Because of that, it wasn’t the ideal time for my A race. I’m not solely blaming my day on my cycle, but I honestly think it was a big factor in how it all played out (nausea = can’t eat = no calories on the run).

Swim start at Alta Lake – the most beautiful swim venue.

Race day – and really, every day – reminders.

Anyway, it was a stunning morning at Rainbow Park. Not even a ripple on Alta Lake. About 20 minutes before go, full of race day jitters, I shimmied into my sleeveless ROKA (bought the week prior to the race because of my full-sleeve wetsuit anxiety), which turned out to be perfect. From the get-go, I settled into a steady rhythm, fully in tune with the water just inside the buoys. Both loops flew by and before I knew it, I was approaching the beach. I spotted Nick right at swim out – he scored a media pass thanks to awesome Christine – and couldn’t stop smiling. I knew I had a great swim (a PR of 1:05!) because I entered T1 with speedy Beth

The bike started out solid, climbing and descending the Callaghan Valley. But around mile 20, when I shoved part of a waffle in my mouth… OMG… gag and near vomit. That’s certainly never happened on the bike, and so soon?! WTF. I knew then it was gonna be a long day. That said, it didn’t make me let off the gas. This course is spectacular, and my legs felt amazing. And my Argon 18? Pretty sure it was built for Canada’s 6,000+ feet of climbing and screaming fast descents (clocked my fastest speed ever – 50.3 mph! – on the descent into Pemberton, and it was amazing). 

My gagging/nausea issues continued the entire ride (no surprise because nausea is normal during my period). Every time I tried to eat, I could only swallow with a drink of water, and even that was difficult. And at one point I had to spit out my favorite Skratch chews. My stomach just wasn’t having it. But my legs continued to grind right on my power target. The climb back from Pemberton is no joke – part horrible, part awesome. And for all 20 windy miles of it, I thought long and hard about pulling the plug in T2. Not only did I feel awful and nauseous, I was also terribly low in calories (maybe 900 – half my target). How the hell would I run and finish a marathon?!

As I rolled into T2, I knew two things: one, that I was near the top of my AG, and two, that I at least had to try. How could I not? I felt pretty terrible from the first step, but somehow managed to string together a few on-pace miles. By the time I saw Nick at 10k I was going downhill fast and holding back tears. After some encouragement and learning I was in first, I kept putting one foot in front of the other and pounding the Pepsi. How long could I hang on?

Holding back tears at 10k.

At the halfway point, I knew. The nausea was full-on awful and I couldn’t hold it any longer: vomiting so violent I’m pretty sure I pulled an oblique. How fun. But I kept moving forward – scared and sad – because I knew I was losing time. 

As painful as the last nine miles were – there’s nothing more demoralizing than having a 13-minute lead and then running your slowest IM marathon ever, watching your dreams disappear – there was a bright spot: Running the last six miles with Caroline. I’m sorry it wasn’t your day, either. But know this: You’re a gem, and don’t ever give up. #bloodsweattears sisters always. The next time we race together, it’s gonna be a different story. Deal?

Somehow found IM finish line #7 – and still smiling (but only because it meant I could stop moving and get some much needed sodium – and vomit again – in the med tent).

What triathlon’s all about.

To my squad – THANK YOU. Team Coeur Sports, you make the best women’s tri apparel around, but most importantly, you created a community of strong, inspiring and uplifting women. I’m humbled to be a part of it. And the rest of my team – you make training and racing possible. Christine – thank you for everything, from your warm hospitality (and hammock!) to putting on such a top-notch race. Coach Andy, thank you for everything, including stretching me well beyond my comfort zone day in and day out this year. Sorry if I wasn’t always fully in it. And sorry I couldn’t execute this race as planned. And Nick. There aren’t words to express my gratitude or how much you mean to me, so I won’t even try.

What would I do without this guy? My everything – in sport and in life ♥

Now, can I have a redo? 

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  • Reply
    08/17/2017 at 9:57 pm

    Your post makes me sad….but it makes me very PROUD! Your determination is awe-inspiring & I am always amazed! I wish the day (& the finish) had been what you hoped & trained for!

    • Reply
      09/07/2017 at 7:36 am

      Thank you, Mom! The next one for sure :)

  • Reply
    08/18/2017 at 8:25 am

    Pushing through a rough day -on so many levels – shows your grit. An IM is never easy, but I can imagine that it’s particularly hard to see goals and dreams slip away (stating the obvious, sorry about that). Sending positive thoughts your way as you recover.

    • Reply
      09/07/2017 at 7:36 am

      Thank you so much, Kristina. xo

  • Reply
    08/18/2017 at 8:30 am

    I am so sorry that your lost your joy while training and that your race didn’t go as planned. Onward!! Whatever your next goal is, friends both in person and online will be here cheer you on!!

    • Reply
      09/07/2017 at 7:37 am

      Thanks so much, Amy. Onward to the next adventure!

  • Reply
    08/18/2017 at 1:50 pm

    I’m so sorry it wasn’t your day, but am so proud of you for giving it your all out there. Because, in the end, that’s all we can do right? For better or worse, we put it all on the line. And THAT is what makes a truly successful race, regardless of outcome. You will be back with a vengeance, I’m sure of it! xo

    • Reply
      09/07/2017 at 7:38 am

      Thanks much, Jennifer. And you’re right – when we give our best, that’s success. Onward to the next. And no doubt there will be redemption :) xo.

  • Reply
    08/18/2017 at 8:00 pm

    Sorry the day was not what you planned. I hear you on the cycle energy zap/migraine/nausau. I experience it every month. This past month it it the day after my last Tri of the season, the run was awfully slow, the energy just wasn’t there!! Enjoy the rest of your summer and enjoy some guilt free hammock time!

    • Reply
      09/07/2017 at 7:39 am

      Isn’t it the worst, Carin?! Ugh. Sorry it affects you, too. Thanks so much for the cheers!

  • Reply
    08/19/2017 at 7:38 am

    Proud that you finished smiling!!! #goalz That sooo sucks about the vomiting :( But what an accomplishment to finish IM #7. Like, WOAH. Wonder Woman.

    • Reply
      09/07/2017 at 7:40 am

      Aww… thank you, Lee! xo.

  • Reply
    08/19/2017 at 12:15 pm

    I’m sorry that you didn’t have the race day you wanted, but you pushed through. Can’t wait to see what you do next!

    • Reply
      09/07/2017 at 7:42 am

      Still deciding, but more to come for sure! Thanks so much, Mary. xo.

  • Reply
    08/19/2017 at 9:43 pm

    It was great to see you in our beautiful hometown race, Erin! Giving it your all was a victory in itself…AND I also completely and totally understand your disappointment. Ironman is tough because we channel so much energy into ONE day. Hugs.

    • Reply
      09/07/2017 at 7:45 am

      Jen – it was so great to see you in Whistler! It is tough, isn’t?! Oof. But it’s also awesome because we learn so much along the journey. Can’t wait for the next round :) Big thanks for all the cheers!

  • Reply
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    currently // summer 2017 - sweet sweat life
    09/04/2017 at 11:25 am

    […] AG race results and got pissed. I honestly don’t know that I’ll ever feel good about IRONMAN Canada – and that’s ok – but rather than dwell on it, I’m choosing to look at it as […]

  • Reply
    Leslie @ TriathleteTreats
    09/06/2017 at 8:17 am

    You did awesome! Ironman is a long and hard day. I was cheering for you and was so excited you were in first!!! You gave it your all and next time it will be better!!! Recover well and you will come back stronger!!!

    • Reply
      09/07/2017 at 7:46 am

      Thank you much, Leslie! I’ll be back for sure :)

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