Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Ironman Mont Tremblant: The Run


Running into T2 on that red carpet after handing off my bike, I actually stopped, took off my cycling shoes, and ran barefoot into the tent. I don't like running leg a penguin for that long!!

Considering the negative thoughts that I had about running at that moment and not wanting to finish the damn race, I was quite surprised at how well my legs were doing at that moment.

But I didn't think about it and just got into my running gear as quick as possible. Then I started to walk.

I didn't want to run. I just wanted to walk. So I walked out, to the sunscreen crew, got all lathered up, and started the run.

Regardless of how well the bike went, I knew that running would feel "funny." Well, any brick run always feels "funny", but not like after biking 112 miles, ESPECIALLY after botching the bike.

But this "funniness" didn't feel too "funny." It was in the normal realm of "funny."

So I went with it.

I quickly saw my parents and then I saw Beth.

Schmoopy alert!!!


I learned something from the last couple of brick runs after riding 100+ miles: If I ran at a normal pace I would be running 8 min miles and I would burn out after 30 mins.


If I ran as slow as humanly possible, I would still be running 8:30-9:00 min miles and yet I could sustain that pace forever. Its that strange sensation of going fast for so long, that your perception of slow is WAY slower than what you are actually physically doing.

So I did this.

Coming out of T2, you make a few turns, then you go up a short, but steep hill. It would be the first true test of how your legs would feel. It was already hot and bright and sunny out and I knew that going slow would save my day.

There is a famous actor in this photo racing behind me. He is covering his face, of course!

My legs also didn't hurt! WTF?!?!? MY LEGS DIDN'T HURT!!!!

It was a miracle! 

After blowing up on the bike, which, statistically, should yield a crappy marathon, gave me the best long run of my life!

So I created a mantra every time I felt myself speeding up:

My race, My pace, SLOW THE FUCK DOWN!!!

And it worked! Here are my mile splits:

click to enlarge

I ran as if I was going to blow up at any moment. Talk about running scared!

If you notice the graph, you will notice 4 blips. Those are bathroom breaks. Hey, you gotta go! No issues like at Lake Placid, just normal long run breaks.

As for nutrition, I didn't eat for roughly the first hour. I just couldn't. I wasn't hungry and couldn't stomach anything other than water. At around the 6 or 7K mark I saw Kevin for the first time. He was looking strong.

At the first turnaround, I took my first Gu. I didn't want it, but I knew I had to take in something for fear of my body bonking. I continued to run in fear of my life.

As I was getting towards the end of the dirt path back onto pavement, I saw Sarah, Jeff, and then Dave. I now knew where everyone was, and I used this on the 2nd lap as landmarks to find people and would gauge that as to how I was doing vs them. I wasn't competing against them, it just gave me something to look forward to. It is all about breaking up the monotony!!

As I was coming into town for the first time, I saw Kevin coming on his second loop and he again looked strong.

Then I saw my folks and Beth and I yelled to them "1:56!" before I headed up into the village to complete the first lap. I did lap #1 in 2:02.

As I headed out of town it was getting gloomy. It had been getting gloomy since about the 5K mark onwards, but I knew it was going to get gloomier as the run continued.

I still ran scared of blowing up.

Basically every 30 mins I took a Gel and when I reached the beginning of the dirt path on lap #2, I started in on the coke. OMG. Coke. Simple yet tasty yet easy pure energy. At the turn with about 7-ish miles to go, it was starting to get cold and drizzly and I heard the magic words "chicken broth." I started YELLING for the chicken broth!!! I had one cup of it. It was so warm and comforting that it literally snapped me awake. I mean, I wasn't in a funk or anything or even sleepy, it just snapped me MORE awake! Unfortunately that was the only station I found that had broth. It was enough though!

With 5K to go, I was starting to feel it. My feet up that point were what hurt the most, and NOT my legs. Those two things quickly switched and my feet felt better, but my legs, especially my quads and hamstrings were starting to really really feel it. But! I only had 5K to go. I just had to keep on moving...

Up this point, at 37.xx kilometers in, I didn't have to walk once. I only walked a few steps at aid stations to get a drink down without spilling it on myself. I never had to walk because I couldn't run any further. This was a matter of pride mostly because of A) To prove to myself that I could redeem my poor pacing choices on the bike and B) To redeem the pride I lost from walking the last 8 miles of the marathon at Lake Placid.

At last I was on the home stretch coming back into town and around the lake. There were three climbs ahead and I dreaded them, just waiting for my legs to give out. It never happened. I powered up those final three climbs with ease (and total shock!) and once I was passed the special needs area, I started to get SUPER fired up! I knew this race was in the bag and I had REDEEMED myself from the bike and from that Lake Placid run and started sprinting down the long long finisher's chute, high fiving total strangers until I came up to the finish line and I was an Ironman for the 2nd time in my life.

Feeling strong!

After crossing and a volunteer grabbing me, I felt great! Well, great in that I did NOT need to go to the med tent and I could still walk (not great) and function. I found Beth and then my folks showed up.

I went and got my bike and bags and headed towards the hotel just as the sky let loose. I finished just in time!

I was SO satisfied with this race.

1:00:08 PR!!!!


  1. STFD is an awesome mantra.

    Congrats, IMx2!

  2. Just absolutely fantastic. Love that mantra! So pleased that you found your redemption.

  3. I hope I learn as much when it's time for my second one! Congrats!

  4. So awesome. Congrats again. Great to see you out there. And I agree with the 'slow down' approach. Every time I saw an 8-- pace I would be like 'whoa there...'.

  5. You make a very good point that you feel so slow running right after going so fast on the bike! I'll have to remember that. Nice job on slowing the pace down so you could make it the whole way. Good call! An hour PR is ridiculous! Way to go, Jon!!!

  6. Come on man! Schmoopy alerts are supposed to be posted BEFORE the schmoopiness.

    I am still envious of your splits. I didn't post my for a reason. It looks like a giant bell curve. Whoops.

    Passing that special needs area for the 2nd time was absolutely amazing wasn't it?

    And just because you have come to expect it... "I finished just in time!" - TWSS!

  7. Another PR to add to your long list this year. Love your mantra! Freaking awesome run right after a fast bike too. Congrats again on your race. :)

  8. Nice job! And you guys make really cute schmoopies.

  9. Well done my friend, well done. This has certainly been your year!!!

    Also, loved the schmoopy, obviously. :)

  10. Schmoopy wins!!

    Congrats on your SUPER AWESOME RACE!!!!

  11. Congrats on your run and HUGE IM PR! I wonder if I can use the slow down approach in a regular marathon? That would be nice...

  12. Sounds like you ran a very smart marathon - nice job not red lining it early on, that would have made for a brutal race! Congrats on the PR!

    And yes, the dining hall at New College was what the dining hall in Hogwarts was based on (along with Christ College). If you are a big Harry Potter fan you would love Oxford.

  13. CHICKEN BROTH!! Would you not have preferred some poutine instead? or whatever the heck it is you guys talk about. congrats! sweet pr!

  14. Great job bro. All that strength training paid off for you on that run.

  15. Nice work !!!

    Congrats on Ironman 2.0

    you had a great great race
    but we could have gone without the schmooopy lol

    enjoy the break and fall weather



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