Ironman Canada 2004 Race Report

Well, about all I can say regarding this years Ironman Canada is I had a FANtastic bike split - 5:13 and FIFTH out of 303 in my Age Group!! My swim was also a personal best placing me in the 40th percentile rather than the 50th which I have been previously. Unfortunately, I had the usual stomach problems on the run which caused me to walk the second half finishing in a lack-luster 12 hours or so... But, I finished and I'm super psyched about my bike split

Here are the watts details so I don't forget what happened:

First half watts target: between 200 - 210
First half watts ave: 204 W
First half HR ave: 145
First half speed: 34 kph

Second half watts target: between 215 - 225
Second half watts ave: 201 W
Second half HR ave: 146
Second half speed: 35.5 kph

I think the second half actual watts is lower then the first half because there was a huge downhill at the end of the second half that was partially climbed in the first half - however the SRM statistics clearly show a positive split as you recommended.

Since I am a middle of the pack swimmer, I calculated I had to pass about 1000 others on the bike during the first half - I exceeded my watts target periodically during the first half to get around packs and clusters of others illegally drafting when the officials motorcycle wasn't lurking. It settles down more during the second half when I was out three alone and could focus and relax. My legs were a bit sore for the first hour or so due to lack of blood flow which I can blame on the swim (I don't kick at all). Frankly, the effort in the second half aiming for 230 watts felt easier than 200 watts in the first half. Contrary to IM cda, I had absolutely no problem holding high watts during the second half - and no fatigue at all - felt very comfortable the whole race. I have Jason Yanota to thank for that by giving a super peaking training program to follow for the 3 weeks leading up to the race. It's the first time I've ever done any real structured intensity on the bike and I think it worked for me.

I was a bit alarmed near the end with a slight quad cramp in my right leg - had them once before 2 years ago at IM Idaho and they turned into very bad cramps which converted my run into a walk. This time as soon as it happened on the bike, I slowed right away. They came back for a little while on the run, but weren't fatal.

The temp was probably 15 or so at the start of the bike and 23 at the end. I figured I took in about 4 x 600ml bottles of water = 2.4 to 3 liters. It was cool(ish) and I urinated twice during the bike ride, so I felt like I was taking in enough water. Also some unknown quantity of lake water ingested during an hour of swimming. In looking back at it now, that may not have been enough....

With the water, I took about 6 sodium tabs (Hammer Endurolytes) x 200mg = 1200 mg. If it's hot out, I'll take 15 tabs.

As far as nutrition goes, I wanted to slightly under intake to see if it helped with the stomach cramping during the run - I never felt hungry or low in blood sugar at all. As it ended up, I took in WAY less than I normally do - I don't think I was paying attention or something... Didn't even realize how little I ate until I just checked my empty Hammer flasks.... Ended up being 450 calories of Hammer gel + 1 1/2 cliff bars for a total of only 825 cals. I drank a bit of Gatorade as well - probably an additional 100 cals for a grand total of 900 to 1000 calories. Typically I do 250 to 300 cals per hour which for a 5 hour race would equal about 1500 calories (and stomach cramps on the run).

When I started the run I felt very good and was maintaining a pace of 8:00 to 8:30 min/mile at a HR of around 140. I got some slight stomach cramps, but not that bad and was able to continue to maintain that pace. Then after my first 10km or so, my quad suddenly cramped and had to stop and walk until it went away. It was at that point that I noticed obvious salt stains all over my clothes, so started to drink and take in more sodium immediately. In fact, the salt stains were so visible, they were pointed out to me constantly by others throughout the run. Then I started to feel super crappy - sick feeling, a bit dizzy, queasy stomach and repeated bouts of diarrhea throughout the remainder of the run which was now a mostly a walk. Throughout the run I probably took in an additional 10 Endurolytes tabs and urinated twice.

So - my plan was to do a 1:15 swim with a 5:15 bike and a 4 hour run for a total of 10:30 which would get me close to Kona qualifying times with the roll-downs. As it turned out, all I needed was a 4 hour marathon and I would have achieved my goal. So I need to solve this problem. Here are some possible reasons:

1. ave 145 HR over a 5 hour bike ride is too much and I pay for it during the run with GI problems due to poor blood flow to stomach

2. effort on bike is too high and I'm running out of glycogen (doubtful)

3. effort on bike is too high and lactate is building up (could explain stomach issues and cramps???)

4. diet on the bike is wrong

5. hydration for the conditions is wrong (I've purposely over-hydrated before and had the same issues)

6. sodium intake is wrong

7. Some mysterious mix of any or all of the above.


I'm not exactly sure how to solve this problem. As far as races go, my next IM is Ironman Idaho in June of 2005 and possibly the California Half IM in March (not sure about that one yet). My focus now really needs to shift to this trans Canada project - both vehicle design and fabrication as well as training.


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