|Swag from Ironman 70.3 Calgary - Finisher's Buckle + M30-34 1st Place Award|
Weekend started out with some very sad news on Friday night. A seven year old, Caleb, drowned Friday night at Auburn Bay (swim site of Ironman 70.3 Calgary). This led into the big question on Saturday being would the race continue, which turned into yes, which turned into Ironman 70.3 Calgary honouring Caleb on Sunday morning prior to the race start.
My heart goes out to the parents of Caleb. I cannot even fathom the grief they must be going through. It was a reminder to cherish the time I have with my children as I do not know the plans the Lord has in store for them.
Claudia and I headed down to Calgary on Friday afternoon with the kids and met up with my parents at the Best Western Downtown. My parents had flown into Calgary and were in town to see us prior to driving a car back to Ottawa for Juniper Farms (Jill Henselwoods Stable). It was great having them around for the weekend as it makes the logistics of the race easier for Claudia.
Sunday morning came quite quickly and I was awake prior to my alarm going off at 0415hrs. Despite tossing and turning for a small portion of the night (and another edition of James falling out of bed) I felt quite rested. I had a quick breakfast and then headed out the door at 0510hrs with my Dad. We arrived at Auburn Bay at ~0540hrs and easily found a parking spot a couple minute walk from the race venue. I setup my transition area and started putting on my wetsuit when Mom, Claudia, and the kids showed up.
|Swim Start (photo credit - Ironman 70.3 Calgary)|
The pro-men started at 0645, the pro-women at 0646, the relay teams at 0647, and then my wave (M30-44) was off at 0650. The first section of the swim course was great and I quickly settled into a good solid effort. The swim course last year was off; well, this year was even worse. On the return section of the course they had you do another out and back section which no one was really expecting. Least to say it turned into a complete mess - swim times were 5+ minutes slower than last year. Last year I had the course measured at 1920m while this year I had the course measured at 2281m. Granted the Garmin 910xt isn’t the most accurate but it tends to be consistent. The 350m+ of additional swimming clearly explained my sub-par 35:51 swim – 6min slower than 2014.
The great Andy Potts was 5min slower than 2014 and had to repeat sections of the course twice! The swim course in 2014 was bad; the swim course in 2015 was just atrocious. If Pros can’t even figure out the course then the age groupers have little chance.
|(L) Actual Course Setup (R) Course athletes told they would swim. Note: the actual course swam is not from my Garmin 910xt but my course looks very similar.|
I set out with the mindset that I was going to try and push the bike this year with the goal of riding 2:15. I settled into a good rhythm early on the bike and by the half-way point found myself with virtually no company. At times I even wondered if I was riding the right course though the occasional pylon and volunteer assured me that I was indeed headed in the right direction. I struggled on the later section of the bike and battled through some cramping of the quads. Bike time 2:15:17 rocking my Argon 18 E-118. Power output was 237W Average, 240W NP, with a variability index of 1.01. There is still definitely room for improvement but I was very satisfied with the effort as it was a little over 3min faster than last year.
|Alone on the bike! (photo credit Ironman 70.3 Calgary)|
Onto the run and well I knew it was going to hurt. My quads were very sore, more so than usual. I could feel the onset of cramping but I was prepared to battle. The opening kilometers were a tad fast and much like last year I reigned in my pace by about 4kms.
|High fiving my buddy James prior to heading down into Glenmore Reservoir.|
As I headed past my cheering squad (Dad, Mom, Claudia, Ruth, James, Klara, and Abigail) and headed down into Glenmore Reservoir I heard my dad yell something like the top age grouper was 3min ahead (or did he mean top age grouper in my category) and I was in 7th place (or did he say 17th) and 1st in my AG (or was I hearing things). As I wrestled through what he said over the next few kms it quickly became clear. As we approached the turnaround at ~10.5kms I saw the first age grouper (his lead was now down to 1:30) and the second age grouper was not far behind. Shortly after km eleven I reeled in the second age grouper. (I was really racing the age groupers in my wave M30-44 as M<30 and M>44 went off 5 min behind my wave). By the time we had climbed back out of Glenmore Reservoir the lead was down to ~50s with about 4kms to go (thanks to Dad calling the split). I tried my best but my legs were on the verge of cramping and despite being able to see the top age grouper in M35-39, Antonio Ferreira Da Silva Neto, I couldn’t close the last 37s. Run time 1:22:31 a few seconds slower than 2014. Top Amateur Run Split in my Brooks T7 Racers!
Final time 4:17:47. About two minutes slower than 2014 but that can be attributed to the chaos in the swim. The kicker is I missed being the top amateur by 47s. That being said no complaints from me and my 1st Division win (M30-34) at an Ironman 70.3 race.
1st M30-34, 4th Amateur, 18th Overall. And a ticket to the 2016 Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Australia (which I didn't take) - figured it was time to let someone else have a slot.
|M30-34 Podium L to R: 1st Me, 2nd Les Friesen, 3rd Amr El-Azhary|
We concluded the weekend with post race treats at DQ with the family, a dinner date with domestic niner, and a trip to the Calgary Zoo on Monday. All in all a great weekend racing and spending some quality family time together.
|Post Race Nutrition Stop at DQ!|