Thursday, September 3, 2009

Overcoming obstacles- IM Canada

Ironman Canada 2009 was my 33rd Ironman-distance race and my third time to the beautiful town of Penticton. This time I would be sharing the town with my parents which made it even more special. This was their first time to Canada and they were not disappointed- they loved it!
I arrived on the thursday and my parents arrived on the friday. I had organised a wonderful homestay for them out at OK Falls (the run turnaround)- I don't think they quite new how wonderful it was going to be. Doug and Di Corbishley have the most amazing house right on Skaha Lake and it is to die for. My parents were in heaven.

I stayed right in town on Lakeshore Drive with the same homestay I have had the past two times here- Wilma is an absolute darling and I love staying with her. Sometimes you are lucky enough to meet a really beautiful person inside and out and Wilma certainly fits this description. We have become great friends over the past few years. This is the great thing about homestay. It always spins me out when athletes shy away from homestay and prefer to stay in a hotel. They honestly do not know what they are missing out on. I have the most amazing homestay families- my German family in Roth and my Canadian family- I wouldn't trade them for a 6-star penthouse.
Well arriving on the thursday meant there was not much time for sight-seeing or socialising pre-race. I like doing it this way as there is less chance of me 'stuffing' things up. I am a creature of habit so it is best to keep me in my normal routine as long as possible. Before I knew it race day was upon us and it was exciting to get up nice and early on sunday morning ready for a long day of racing. Of course I had high expectations- as athletes we are all high-achievers and we expect only the best from ourselves- no excuses! I wanted to win the IMC title for a third time. I wanted to join amazing athletes like Lisa Bentley and Lori Bowden in winning three from three. I was happy with the way I had been training in Boulder- I had really enjoyed all of my training sessions and most of them had been going to plan. However, I had not had the smooth year I had hoped for. My surgery in March took the wind out of me and just when I thought I was getting back on track, I got hit by a car while training in Germany. But at the end of the day I have been racing as a professional for 10 years now and really have not had any major hiccups so I was just going to have to suck it up and move forward. My motto has always been that when you toe the start line of a race you give it all that you have got on that particular day- no excuses, no regrets. It was Ironman Canada and I love this race so I was going to give it all I had.
The swim was great- the lake is just beautiful- clean, crisp and one huge loop so not a lot of pushing and shoving going on, although I still managed to cop it in both eyes and have two nice scratch marks underneath both eyes to show for it. I exited only two minutes back on Tereza Marcel. I was very happy as she is a great swimmer and I expected her to have a lot more time on me. Onto the bike and for the first 15 kms I was slowly cutting snippets of time on Tereza. Everything was going to plan and I just assumed it would only be a matter of time before we were riding together. This was the scenario that had played out in my head pre-race (note to all athletes- have several different race day scenarios planned out). At around the 30km mark I was given another split of 3minutes. I automatically thought they had it wrong- I was making up time not losing time. Unfortunately Tereza had stepped it up a notch and I was not riding as strongly as I had hoped. I spent the next 100km getting splits of 5mins, 7 mins, 12mins, 15mins........ then I was like 'ok, no more splits. You need to start concentrating on you and you only'. It is really difficult when you have set yourself a goal and all of a sudden it is totally unachievable. You are out there going as hard as you can and then you have to try and change your mind set and your goals- not an easy or fun thing to do. But this is why we race- the thrill of overcoming all of the obstacles thrown at us on the day is a great feeling. Rarely do things go exactly as you have imagined or dreamed. We can prepare perfectly but race day is never perfect- not even for the eventual winners.

Into T2 I was 14 minute back. It had been a very tough bike ride- hot, dry, windy and smokey from fires that had started close by. How was I going to approach this? Last year I was Tereza, I was the girl with the insurmountable lead. Now I was the girl chasing, chasing the leader who was kilometers up the road.
I got to see my parents right at the beginning of the run- this made my day. I knew from then on that no matter what the end result, they were going to be proud. So I soldiered on and ran as best I could. I concentrated on looking after myself- hydrating, refueling and staying positive. I really did struggle with the smoke on the run. I had picked up a mild sinus infection during the week which normally would not bother me but it was giving me grief on the day.
It was a good feeling getting to the the turn around at 21km. I knew that getting to the finish was never going to be a problem for me. It was wonderful to see Lisa Bentley out on the course- she could see that I was doing it tough and her words of encouragement really helped pick my spirits up.

Once back in town, running down Main Street is always a treat. I don't think it would matter how bad I was feeling, you cannot help but smile from ear to ear. The crowd support is awesome- it is almost addictive- you kind of want to turn around and run through there again (don't worry I didn't do it). I got to then see my parents and my homestay, Wilma again and I gave them a smile and just shrugged my shoulders to my dad- he understood. He knows me inside out. He knew that even though I was so happy to finish, it wasn't a great day of racing for me. But I crossed the finish line with a smile and it was genuine. I love to race no matter what the outcome. I know how lucky I am to live the life of an elite athlete. I gave Tez a big hug- she had an amazing race and thoroughly deserved the win.
At he end of the day I achieved two of my three pre-race goals- I got my spot to Kona and I finished with a smile on my face.
Now it is back to Boulder and preparations will soon begin for the big day in Kona. It will be my 8th time there and I am looking forward to it as if it were my first.

10 comments:

  1. Congrats on a solid IM Canada race!!

    I was taking photos at the race and I have some great shots of you on the run. Email me and I'll forward you the full rez pics.

    Good luck and kick butt in Kona!

    Al

    info@blanktoast.com
    or
    blanktoast@gmail.com

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  2. Well done Belinda.
    Thanks for sharing your race report.
    Enjoy Kona .

    Jaime

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  3. Thanks for the race report! Good luck in Kona, we'll be rooting for you!

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  4. Belinda, enjoying your blogs and posting to the shop board. All the best for the big one. Your a champ.

    Bob and Barb

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  5. We know Knoa is when your going to kick ass, and we all can't wait to see it.Train hard.

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  6. At the 8km mark on the run I was already struggling, but when you ran by and I saw how you were still smiling and pushing hard when Tereza was far off in the distance I told myself to suck it up and get my ass in gear! Always a pleasure to watch you race. I hope you come back to Penticton again and again. Have a great race in Kona!

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  7. Hey slack ass give us a race report. You gave a great interview on IM talk and you were right you suck at updating this thing. JK

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  8. Well done! I was also there! I enjoyed a lot this IM, and I ´ll be back.
    I saw you queuing at the Pasta Party with your family.

    Congratulations Belinda!

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    Thanks for your Time and Have a Wonderful Holiday Season.

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  10. Belinda,

    Awesome report. I am writer for the website evotri.com which unites thousands of multisport bloggers. We do a pro interview section on the site and I was hoping you would be interested in participating. It would just be a short email with some questions you could answer whenever you got around to it. My email is Johnpaul9637@gmail.com... Please contact me if you are interested. Killer race over the wknd!!!

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