The first North American IRONMAN was held in 1986 in Penticton Canada; the tradition and sole of Ironman Canada moved to a region of Whistler hosting this prestigious event. It is big enough to have all the amenities of a world-class resort, but has held on to its unique mountain culture and hospitality. The vibrant base Village, hiking trails, epic skiing and snowboarding, four championship golf courses, restaurants and bars, and accommodation to suit every budget, make it a natural fit for IRONMAN Canada.
Like a few of the "founding Ironmans" the history and the spirit of Ironman racing originated in these towns and communities. Like Ironman Australia moving from Foster Tuncurry to Port Macquarie, the venue has changed but the heart and prestige of these historic events has not.
This is why i came to Canada, i know now that their are numerous Ironman events spanning across the globe now, but for me i've always been drawn to the sole of the sport, not the destination. When preparing for a full Ironman mentally, i need some meaning behind the events, it's a long day and to go through the rigorous 8hrs plus racing i need to commit to the cause, so for me history is one of my key inspirations to go to this event.
Race day, was almost perfect conditions, the swim was clean beautiful calm waters (except of the 2nd lap) where you had to negotiate through the masses of an ammuter field, luckily it didn't slow me down too much and i was in a nice position exiting the water in 2nd place just on the toes of 1st.
Really didn't know what to expect on the bike, i arrived late into whistler with no time to look over the course, and the course maps where not very clear and did not really indicate how hilly the course was.
So i went out quite fast (as you do in racing) and took out the timex bike preme early in the race,
After which Uber biker (uber athlete) Marino Vanhoenacker put the hammer down on me and broke away shortly after down one of the descents.
I soon after settled into more of a reasonable bike pace to get through the Ironman in one piece.
By the closing stages of the bike, Marino was miles ahead crushing the bike and i was still 2nd but with defending champ Trevor Wurtele only a 1min or so back.
Starting the marathon i just tried to settle into a comfortable rhythm and not blow my gaskets too early.
Trevor soon passes me which he looked quick and comfortable, Jeff Symonds was which seemed to be miles behind at the first turn around on the run looked like he was too far back to make a difference in the podium.
Boy i was mistaken, it seemed not too long after that, that he caught me on the marathon. He was flying, running a 2.40 marathon on which was anything but a flat course.
Jeff ended up running into 2nd, during which i had to not give up too much emotionally or physically it would of been easy for me to just give up, it seemed like everyone was starting to look better than me, i just got on with it and just tried to do what i could do. Fortunately for me, Trevor had hit the wall, and i caught up with him with about 9 km's to go, by then i just grinded away and was fortunate to pull off another Ironman Podium for the year.
Just to show how well the mens race was, the top 3 (yes me too ;) all went under the previous course record so if was tight and fast!
Leading into Ironman Australia i had put together a pretty good summer of training behind me in Sydney, things seemed to be going well.
I also entered Ironman Melbourne as i thought that i might have a chance to sneak in a good race down there to put me in good stance to qualify for Ironman Hawaii.
Now looking back at that first move to race Melbourne, i was probably about 3 weeks shy of being race ready, and with a field like melbourne i should of really known better.
So onwards and upwards, unfortunately i didn't finish Melbourne suffering bad cramps in my hip flexors and quads so i had to pull the pin, this gave me some adequate time to work on some kinks to polish me off and to get me ready for Ironman Australia.
Ironman Australia, everything seemed to be on track, so i approached the race with some confidence and a different race plan to Melbourne.
My plan was to stick to a constant pace, don't worry so much about the factors around like the other athletes, just put together a race without any spikes in my threshold.
Problem with spiking, surging pushing myself outside the comfort zone, is that in a full ironman you can pay for it later down the track, and pay big!
I felt like this was my problem with a race like Melbourne that i got so caught up with athletes around that i lost focus of my race plan ahead.
Ironman Australia; Everything looked like it was going ok, Bell and the french guy got a lead out of the swim on me, with Bell extending his lead even more on the bike.
I wasn't too concerned by the closing stages of the bike, i had kept to my race plan which was staying at an even threshold and i'd passed the french athlete so i was in 2nd with Bell having a considerable lead on the bike.
Starting the marathon in 2nd i wasn't too concerned about Bells lead, i knew he was racing 'scared' so to speak, not so much scared of us athletes, I think he was pushing too hard as he wasn't confident with his back end marathon trying to give himself a big buffer over the rest of us.
Unfortunately for him, it didn't pay off and he was reduced to walking.
My marathon started off a little shaky, my back had seized up for the first 15km of the run (i believe from sleeping on a bad hotel bed) which now looking back at the end result probably cost me the win at the end of the day.
The canadian guy who won, was a relatively unknown athlete to me, though it didn't matter if i knew him or not as i raced the way i raced despite my competition.
I eventually caught bell like i thought in the early stages of the 2nd half marathon, but unfortunately for me running so slow in the first half marathon till by back loosed up, i had lost quite some considerable time to the fast running canadian, so as i was just getting into first place, this would only be for a matter of seconds as the canadian was already shoulder-shoulder to take the lead for himself.
By the closing stages of the marathon, the race looked like it was set in stone, the canadian was running well, but only slightly quicker than me, but it was enough for him to take the win.
I am still pleased with my race, as allot of my own analysis into my race, was mostly "cosmetic work" like having a good bed to sleep on, which could've been a 5min advantage enough to be the difference from winning to 2nd place.
Another bonus is that i was the first Australian, so technically that's my 2nd Australian title ;)
Posted by Paul Ambrose at 4:40 am