at the races Ironman Muskoka 70.3: Pickle Juice, Patience, and Perseverance: the Race Report

Ironman Muskoka 70.3: Pickle Juice, Patience, and Perseverance: the Race Report


I decided to do IRONMAN 70.3 Muskoka about two weeks before gun time, even with the crazy schedule of putting on IRONMAN 70.3 Mont-Tremblant and Mike Collingwood Meech Lake Triathlon.

Preparation and tapper were OK going in. We arrived late at the event, and I was only able to bike the run course the night before so I knew the run course was going to be difficult. The goals for the race were 30-32 minute swim, 2:30 bike and 1:50 run on that course. I was ready.

On race day, I woke up at 4:15 am, took in 500 calories: Holos Breakfast with banana and maple syrup. Then things got started. The swim was a wave start so I got started at 7:25 am in wave six. I got away clean and tried to keep up with a few fast swimmers, after making the first left turn, however, is where the chaos began. I must have passed 200 swimmers in the next 15 minutes. The swim in the channel on the return was clean—31 flat, right on pace—eighth in my age group. But the run from swim-out is long, about 300m, so T1 was slow (and big thanks for the wetsuit strippers at the exit—I would probably still be stuck in that wetsuit without them).

Started the bike and felt good, but my heart rate was high at 145. I caught my breath and settled down to 130 and 220w for the first half off the bike. It felt very easy and smooth the entire way. I got passed by two participants during the entire bike ride and got to pass one back before the end. It was a little windy on the return, but I concentrated on head down, and my nutrition plan. At 88K, I got a small cramp, but knew I could coast down to the bike end.

The race was going pretty much according to plan: about 600 calories on the bike, five gels, Gatorade, 1000mg of LMT salt. My bike time was 2:28:44: third fastest in age group, and now sitting in fourth! But the IRONMAN is long and at T2, I put some socks on, and drank half a bottle of pickle juice (pickle juice, no lie, is great). I started the run, and my Garmin screwed up so I had to restart it while running and could feel the same cramp coming. I stopped to pee at 700m into the run and first aid station, and walked up the first hill. At 1 kilometre, I settled in 5:15/km. I wanted to go out at 4:45, but was hesitating because of the cramp. Pickle juice worked (I told you!) and I had no cramps for the rest of the run.

But the IRONMAN is hard. This run course is difficult, so I tried keeping some energy in the tank and walked every aid station: getting water on my head, drinking, and running between each station. My run time was 2:03:00 flat, and I had tons of energy left. Finally, upon finishing: overall 5:09:35, seventeenth in my age group and I’m happy with the overall execution. Plus, a good indicator of what I need to work on.

Thanks, Coach Lance Watson for your continued input and for helping me dial it in, and a big thanks to the Subaru Triathlon Series for putting on a great race and all the volunteers. Also thanks to the Sportstats team for executing what they do best. Now, as for me, it’s on to the next one. Thanks to FinisherPix for the great pics and please, if you have any questions or comments, let us know. We’re expanding our IRONMAN community at iRun and want to know what you’d like for support. How about a live Instagram chat with coach Watson? Let us know!!!