Race Report: Ironman Mount Tremblant

I am an Ironman!

Race: Ironman Mont-Tremblant
Race Date: August 18, 2019
Authored by: Melaney Bouthillette

By the numbers: My finish time was 14:21:32, #1626 out of the fortunate 2230 people to finish

Training hours: Yes, it takes a lot to train for an Ironman, without counting the years leading up to my fitness base, I put in about 390 hours of training since last December to get to the start line.

First off, one of the reasons I picked this race was for the location and local support. Mont-Tremblant is an amazing destination that fully embraces the Ironman and welcomes athletes year-round to train. I felt this both when I went to train there over the summer and during my race week. Also, I love Canada so I am biased. This is known to be a difficult course, similar to Lake Placid, but I would choose a bike course with an elevation profile over a flat course any day.

Race Day:

4:30am wake-up call. Not too early compared to local races since I was on site so that was nice. Key to the race- stay on site, you’re steps from transition and it’s so convenient! I ate all the food on my breakfast list, put on my race tats, or rather, had Mike put on my tattoos which resulted in my age having a backwards “3” on my leg. His response, “what do you expect for 5am?!”. No biggie, amusing, and made sure he got my race number 7’s right! Tied up my bags and we took off. 

Set-up is pretty easy at such a big event since you only need to check over your bike, pump up your tires, and drop your special needs bags. We then walked over to the swim start but I stayed a little above where everyone was packed in to have some space. Waiting wasn’t too long, heard the pros go off (with fireworks!) and I waited until around 6:30 to go join into the beach chaos. I walked down, volunteers were already cheering and dropped off my clothes bag and ran into my training friend Kelly. That was great since we got to chat, and we both went into the water to get adjusted. I always try to do this now since I get cold easily and it definitely took me a few breaths to get comfortable with the cold but otherwise it was fine. I filed back into the line and then waited to start. By the time they got close to the end, everyone was just walking slowly into the water without pausing. I seeded myself far left as I had planned so I could swim over to the side and avoid the crowd. I waded into the water and then just started at a moderate pace. Actually, the water is what was worrying me the most but in the end it was totally fine. The crowd wasn’t too bad and I actually should have seeded a little forward b/c most feet I found were slower so I had to keep passing and passing. It got more crowded a little further out, maybe b/c I was catching up to more of the pack, but still manageable. I was thinking about being pulled along by the crowd- a man we had run into the day before said the swim is like a vortex, it just pulls you along- so I thought about that and how I should try to swim more in the crowd to get a pull. I didn’t really need to sight or look for buoys (all that practice wasted!) b/c I just followed the crowd. I looked at my watch twice, once at the first turn buoy, it was 35 min. And once again at the second turn buoy back, I think it was about 42-43 min. I was on track to be faster than my anticipated 1:30 which was great. To pass the time I started to count to 50’s, it was about 100 strokes between buoys. Next thing I know we are shallow and wading out of the water to the steps. BAM! I did the swim, very relieved and very happy with my swim, honestly the conditions could not have been better.

Swim: 1:22:43

I got my wetsuit stripped off and then walked to the transition tent. I saw Mike and my mom on the side at this point cheering which was nice. I took my time changing fully into bike shorts and put my jersey on over my tri top. The women’s changing area was quite crowded so no one could really assist you but that was fine. I carried my shoes out to my bike.

T1: 9:56

The bike! I knew I needed to not really push hard anywhere on the bike, go with the rollers and be steady on the climbs. The first loop seemed to go quick. I saw the pros coming back off the highway when I was just going on! Wow, they are fast. I stopped once for a bathroom break since I already had all my fuel needs and I caught Mike again on the side in town before heading to the first Duplessis loop. I made it up most of the hills without standing so I knew I was doing okay. At the beginning of the second loop I made a longer stop to get my special bag (PB&J sandwich, powder fuel, chews). I took these, went to the bathroom again and filled my bottle with water I found and mixed my drink. I took a sec to eat half my sandwich and put the other half in my pocket. I chatted with a few people stopped here which was nice and we had a laugh. One guy had a good laugh at my backwards “3” on my leg. 

The second bike loop got hotter and windier. I took one more bathroom break at the same stop before the turnaround. The way back was a little more difficult. There was a full on headwind headed back, I could see the brush on the side of the road and trees moving. I tried to tuck my head down and be steady. I wanted water at the last highway aid station and they had run out (doh!). When I made the 180 degree turn off the highway to head back around and down into town there was silence (confirming the headwind I thought I was feeling). Luckily, the first aid station on the Duplessis loop had water and I grabbed a whole bottle to fill up my top bottle. I was getting pretty thirsty so I think I should have drank a little more towards the end of my bike. One more Duplessis loop, a little more challenging than the first but still not bad and I was done. There were plenty of people walking the hills so it gets the best of some.

Bike: 7:30:43

I came back into transition thinking, wow, how wonderful, no issues and decent weather the whole time, how lucky! They took my bike, a nice Ironman touch, and I walked to the tent. I saw Mike on the side and then I heard M-H yelling as well (she made it!), so those were nice pick-me-ups. I changed into my compression shorts, visor, my backpack, and put on sunscreen in the tent. I took off jogging out of the tent feeling pretty good. After a little bit I slowed myself down to about 9:30-10 min./mile because I didn’t know how long I could last otherwise and I was afraid of blowing up towards the end.

T2: 7:03 

The run was fun and I took it all in. The volunteers at the first aid station helped me fill up my bottle completely (so great!) and then I was good for fuel for half the run. I stopped at a bunch of the aid stations for water and ice in addition. A little bit into the run I was getting a headache so I drank some more, thinking I was likely dehydrated. After a little bit I realized it might be my visor so I took it off and put it around my race belt, and tada, problem solved! I usually don’t run with the visor so I think the visor was too tight for me. I remember from the run that I just wanted to keep moving. I took the run 5K at a time and didn’t have any issues. I saw someone with a Tri-Hard jersey on and I thought I could catch up to say hello but even though he was slow, so was I! Haha, it was hopeless to try to catch up, like a turtle chasing a turtle. Towards the end of my first loop I knew I would see my family so that was nice, they were by their hotel outside cheering and Mike was taking pictures. He said “you’re still running!”, and while I was slow, I knew I could keep going. Right before the aid station there was a water stop so I stopped to grab a full bottle to empty into mine. A nice volunteer even got me a cold bottle. I stopped at the aid bags and took out some stuff that I wanted to keep but not wear and stuffed into my backpack pockets, filled my bottle with Skratch, and got my ginger ale and pretzels. I continued walking and drinking and ran into M-H right after the pick-up. I stopped to say hello and take a picture. I then took off jogging again for loop 2. For the second loop I took the strategy to walk the hills and take the time to eat here. On the first big uphill I walked quickly and tried to eat my pretzels. That was a joke, it was like the saltine challenge where 1 pretzel dried up my entire mouth and I could barely eat it. I guess this is a sign of being dehydrated. I then thought to screw the pretzels and focus on water and my bottle of Skratch. Thinking after, I never did bring pretzels on a warmer run to try this out so that is my fault, nothing new on race day kids. I took in more water this round and I remember seeing Kelly on the hill and we had a nice hug to say hello. The 10K out was light out. I got past mile 18 and then I got to start thinking, I’ve never run over 18 miles, cool! I think it started to get dark towards the 10K turnaround and I remember it looking neat to see the silhouettes of people running up and down the path and the sky had nice colors for the sunset. Almost back to the MT Village I saw Kelly heading in the other direction and we gave high-fives, we knew we both had it at this point! It got dark towards the end, and on some of the paths, very dark, so I took my time, watching my steps, walking the hills and managed to keep a good pace the whole way back. It was really cool to see the big spotlights on the other side of the lake heading back.

The finish line is great (obviously), you get to climb up a little hill in the dark where no one is watching (so you can walk, haha!), and then it’s downhill from there. I took in all the high-fives along the way and looked all around. I slowed down as I crossed the finish line to hear my name. I think the first time they said my name they said I was from Maine, so luckily they corrected and said MA, and I heard it that time! Good thing for repeats. I couldn’t really see anything from all the lights at the finish line, so I didn’t know where Mike or my mom were standing. I got shuttled past the finish and the volunteer was wonderful at helping me out, getting me all my stuff, and talking to me. He said, come back for the last hour, it is worth it. 

I was definitely tired at the end, I’m sure that is not surprising to hear. I had no appetite so I went into the tent, got my clothing bag, and put my legs up against the tent pole on the side. I stayed there for a little bit then went to have my photo taken with my metal. I finally managed to get out of the tent and Mike was right outside waiting for me. We went and sat down on a bench, I was a little lightheaded and didn’t think I could walk around too much. Mike went and got my mom and then nicely went and got my bike and gear bags as well. I regrouped and walk out of the area, I got my picture in front of the big IM sign and then walked to the hotel. Having the hotel close by was such a lifesaver! I rested, showered, and went back out to watch the final 30 minutes of the night. It was great to see the perseverance of people coming in at the final moments. 

This race was made a little extra special when I decided to put my story out there and fundraise through the Ironman Foundation for the Colorectal Cancer Alliance. Through the Your Journey, Your Cause, Ironman allows you to use their platform to raise money for any charity of your choice, no limits on the amount (so no pressure). I was overwhelmed by the generosity of people and made well over my goal and am pleased to help out in a little way in memory of my dad who I wish was there on race day.

 

2019 Transition Clinic

On April 6, 2019, Team EnVision met up in Concord for a fantastic transition clinic guided by Coach Becky Paige and Professional triathlete Karen Smyers!  While it was a tad chilly to start off our morning, we enjoyed a great walk-through of transition 1 and transition 2 by Karen while we sipped our coffee and discussed tips and tricks that should be considered to make anyone’s transition easier come race day.  Karen covered the basics for those who were new to triathlon while also providing expert tips to those of us that are triathlon veterans!
To get warmed up, a few of us practiced our wetsuit removal technique.  Putting on the wetsuit was the real warm up exercise though!
As the morning warmed up, the group viewed how Karen and Becky performed T1, bike mount, bike dismount, T2, and run start  as a series.  They put on a great race for us!  Team Envision then gave it their best go, practicing the full set of transitions a few times to clean up all those time-sinking habits we might have created that didn’t do us any favors, or to build up a brand new motor memories for things we haven’t tried before.
Becky and Karen then expertly worked with small groups of us to help on particular focus areas we wanted to improve, such as a barefoot to shoe bike mount, flying leg mount/dismount, bike handling skills, shoe specifics, and more!
Overall the clinic was an excellent way to shave off those extra minutes wasted in transition to speed up our next race, and left us all feeling more confident heading into our season.

Team Envision 2019 Race Series

We are EXTREMELY excited to announce the 2019 Team Envision Race Series!

The Team Envision race series are selected triathlons for all members of all abilities. We want to encourage all members to race, have fun, and build camaraderie. The Race Series consists of seven races this year.

For each of these races, our bright red Team Envision tent will be there.  We encourage prospective members to stop by and meet us there!

Season Opener Triathlon and Duathlon
Saturday, May 11
Duathlon and Sprint Triathlon
Hopkinton, MA

Harvest Sprint Triathlon
Saturday, June 8
Sprint and Olympic Triathlon
Wareham, MA

Patriot Half Triathlon
Saturday, June 15
Half Distance Triathlon and Aquabike
East Freetown, MA

Boston Triathlon
Sunday, July 28
Sprint Triathlon, Olympic Triathlon, and Aquabike
Boston, MA

Sharon Triathlon
Sunday, August 11
Sprint Triathlon and Aquabike
Sharon, MA

Cranberry Trifest
August 24 – Sprint Tri
August 25 – Olympic Tri and Aquabike
Lakeville, MA

Title 9 Triathlon
Sunday, September 8
Women Only Sprint Triathlon
Hopkinton, MA

Team Training Weekend

TE’s premier annual event  is our Training Weekend, which offers daily opportunities to swim, bike, run, stretch and roll, eat great home-cooked food, attend clinics, share great tips and resources, and make some new best friends.

Training weekend is held in the beautiful setting of Southern Coastal Maine at University of New England in Biddeford.  We run and bike through the beautiful rolling terrain, swim in the gorgeous UNE pool and at a nearby beach, and relax in the hot tub. Participants should feel free to adjust the intensity levels and attendance of group workouts and/or head out on their own to fit individual training needs.

All members are invited to this great weekend that includes two breakfasts, two dinners, two lunches, snacks, comfortable living suites, coached practices, interactive clinics, and tons of fun!  And don’t forget to bring all your gear and plenty of clothing options because you just never know what the weather will bring.

When: June 21-23, 2019
Where: UNE Campus, Biddeford, ME
Estimated Cost:  $200 each based on 12 attendees  – TE members only due to our insurance policy.

Race Mania 2019

Come by to meet Team Envision members and learn more about us! A special membership discount and invitation to a team activity will be offered to those who share their contact info with the TE!

Register for Race Mania now!

Race Report: Ironman Maine 70.3 2018

Ironman Maine 70.3 – August 26, 2018

Catherine’s Race Report:

Pre-race & Event Venue
Got up to the event on Friday to prep for the event.  Stayed at a motel right downtown, and while the convenience factor of being able to walk to all race venues was good, the location was fairly loud due to the amusement park, bars, and kids.  Would suggest staying further away from downtown if you choose to do this race.  On Saturday did a bike + run easy, short brick to shake out the bike and the legs which was good to resolve any bike travel issues.  Also did a swim in the afternoon.  Would suggest doing a test swim in the morning, the afternoon water conditions were not at all the same!  Went into race day excited, but typically jittery.
Race morning
Ate my oats and blueberries while getting ready, and headed off to transition and set up.  Had very little room, this was a much bigger race than I was used to, but seemed ok getting everything in place.  Long-ish walk over to swim start.  Husband walked with me and I handed off my transition bag and flip-flops to him before getting onto the beach.
Swim – 35:48
Swim was self-seeded waves of 6 people at a time by estimated swim finish.  I seeded myself in the 35 – 37 min wave thinking I’d be a bit slower in the ocean, and that seemed to be pretty good.  On start had to run down the beach, then walk/wade out into the water a good 50 yards or so before it was reasonable to dive and start swimming.  Felt like an eternity, but everyone was in the same boat so tried not to rush it.  Swim went really well, water temperature was great this year. Came out of the water no issue and ran up to the wetsuit strippers.  BEST. THING. EVER!  First experience with that, and loved the simplicity of it.  Then had a little bit of a haul down the road to transition, but it went by quickly.
T1 – 6:42 (I think this counts the run over to transition)
Note that the exit is out of the back for the bike – I started going the wrong way as I thought it would be where we had been walking in and out of transition since yesterday.  Forgot to throw the extra pack of clif gel blocks into my back pocket so only had what I could fit into my bento which is fairly minimal.  Hoped that I could get non-caffeinated blocks on the way once I realized this.  Finally got my garmin edge set up properly pre-race so I wasn’t messing with it for the first 10 minutes of the race ride this time.
Bike – 3:01:51
The course is hilly with various stretches of flatter spinning.  First half flew by, and felt like I was doing a good job of keeping it consistent & easy given the hills.  Was eating and drinking a lot.  Second half, I realized I had miscalculated a couple of things:  I had two water bottle holders, with two bottles full.  I had no place to take on water bottles from aid stations, and I was going to go through the 3 before I was off the bike.  Started to try to moderate on the third bottle of water so I could get in at least one more salt tab before the run started.  Should have left one holder empty since they didn’t have bottle swaps, they only had poland spring bottles.  Also ran out of fuel.  Aid stations had fuel but I was nervous to eat some of it.  Managed to get and eat a clif bar.  As far as power/speed, felt great throughout.  Second half I made a few game-day decisions on some flats and hills to power through a bit stronger since I was feeling like I wasn’t working very hard out there.  In the end this was probably my biggest mistake of the day as these likely contributed to a terrible run.
T2 – 3:11
Many of the bikes around me were already back, and there was no room for my bike.  Had to move some other bikes around on the bar to fit into my spot.  Saw husband and his family screaming me on, went over to give some high fives on my way out which was energizing and fun for both parties.
Run – 2:34:50
Wow.  This run nearly broke me, I’ve never experienced anything like this in a race before.  Started off on the run and felt rough, but not as bad as I’ve felt off of my old road bike so thought I was doing ok.  Kept looking at my watch and it was saying numbers like 10:50, 11:15, etc, so thought I was on track for where I should be for the first few miles before I picked up to a 10:00ish pace.  Note that Old Orchard Beach doesn’t have the greatest reception.  My Garmin seamed to do fine on the bike, but my iWatch didn’t seem to do that well.  Ends up I was running 9:30s off the bike. I had decided that I would walk through the water stops so I could get enough water in me, especially given the shortage at the end of the bike.  Around mile 4 or 5, I started to feel my hips and legs really just aching, my back was really painful, and running was feeling overly challenging even though the course really wasn’t that bad. Ran/walk stretches then ensued between mile 6 – mile 12.  My back eventually eased up on the pain a bit, but my hips, knees, and legs were screaming at this point.  This physical state left me in a pretty bad mental state, and I found myself struggling even to do simple miles left math. When I finally got to mile marker 12, I just went with a mantra of “I have a mile in me” and jogged the whole way to the finish.  In this race you pass transition about 1/4 of a mile from the finish which is a nice reminder that you’re nearly there.  Have a love/hate relationship with running, but can usually find some flow during the race that wasn’t there this time!
Final thoughts and lessons learned
  • Ironman Maine 70.3 is an extremely well supported, well executed race.  Support staff, police, race directors were all fantastic, well prepared, and had a great attitude towards the race.  If you’re looking for a very well organized race, this is it.  Everyone in the town supported the road closures and race beyond expectations.  My only suggestion if you are not into the kid scene is to find a location to stay away from downtown.  There were plenty of ways to have a buddy drop you at transition rather than relying on walking.
  • I need some power goals on the bike.  I’m not disciplined enough race day, and I race harder than I train every time.  I need to train harder, race easier, and need some numbers to orient this.  “By feel” is clearly too subjective for me to do this well enough.
  • CORE WORK.  I think my back was killing me because my core wasn’t strong enough for the speed I was pulling on that bike ride.  Winter goal: LOTS of core work.
  • The apple watch has got to go.  Time for a Garmin!  I felt totally mislead on the run looking at my numbers after the fact.

Race Report: Steelhead 70.3 2018

Steelhead 70.3 – August 2018

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Nathalie’s Race Report:

Why do a report on a race you DNF? I guess because it was a learning experience that may be worth sharing… I did not train consistently this year and hopefully I will retain the lessons.

My husband and I like to destination race and discover different venues. So we headed to Benton Harbor, Michigan: we flew to Chicago with our bikes and it was a couple of hours drive from there.

The swim was a bit challenging. Although it is a lake, it is a BIG lake and the waves can be a bit rough. The temp was just above wetsuit legal, I am not a confident enough swimmer to go into choppy water without a wetsuit for that distance, so I elected to join the last, wetsuits-only, wave of swimmers.  And I am glad I did as I passed a number of athletes who struggled and stopped to hug buoys along the way.  It was a long 1.2 miles in 56mn…

The bike was rolling hills, a bit of a blurr now that I try to recall, rather scenic, 3h34 for the 56 miles is not unusual for me.

The run, usually my preferred leg, was my demise. It was getting hot, but I have raced successfully in hotter conditions. I thought I was going to make it ok and maintain 11 mn mile, but at mile 5.5 I started hyper-ventilating and it went out of control. I was not able to manage my breathing, had to walk, and was forcibly (and noisily) gulping air, which alarmed fellow runners and spectators. I was on the verge of panicking and realized that I was not going to recover and finish. And this is the part that is new to me: I never had to rely on the support system of the race. As I went through several bouts of hyperventilating and crying, the spectators, volunteers, police officers, medics all in turn attended to me, guided my breathing, reassured and comforted me. They were amazingly empathetic and kind, and I am so appreciative and grateful to all these strangers who were helping me in a moment of distress.

All is well, this was not a lasting injury and I learned that I can’t just fake it and rely on general decent condition to go into distance racing. I need to prepare adequately, and resume a path of more consistent training. This will be possible with the fun camaraderie and strength of my fellow Team Envision members and coaches. And I am looking forward to it!