Race Report: Ironman Mont Tremblant

It’s been more than one month since I raced Ironman Mont Tremblant and I’m finally getting around to writing up my race report. It’s a bit overwhelming thinking about how to sum up a 13+ hour day in one blog post, which is part of why it has taken me so long to get my thoughts on the blog. I also went on a trip to Europe post-race, which was AMAZING, but I will have to write about that another day. In any case, here is my race report.

The hubs and I headed up to Mont Tremblant on the Thursday before the race. My friend, Taryn, who I have mentioned many (many!) times before on this blog was racing, as were a few new friends I’ve made through a local women’s multisport group (message me if you want more info on joining up with that group!). I met up with two of these ladies, Sarah and Ashley, before the athlete briefing on Friday night.

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One of my Ignite teammates, Kevin, was also racing, as were several other athletes from the D.C. area. I loved seeing familiar faces in the days leading up to the race in and around the expo and transition. For the most part, I tried to stay off my feet but for a few short workouts to shake things out before the big day.

On Friday, Taryn and I rode part of the bike course together and, honestly, it scared the living daylights out of me. The section we rode was quite hilly and I think I was riding maybe 12 miles an hour average during the ride. Yikes! I went to bed on Saturday night excited about the race, but very nervous at the same time, knowing this would be a much more challenging bike course than I faced in Chattanooga last year. Of course, I hoped for a good day, but you never really know how things are going to go until you’re out there.

Race Day

On race morning, I reminded myself that in Chattanooga, things did not go as I would have hoped on the bike, but I was able to overcome those challenges and still have a great day. As I wrote on Facebook: “The good thing about having multiple flat tires in your first Ironman is that you know you can overcome (almost) any obstacles that come your way on race day!”

I met up with Taryn and we walked together to the swim start.

Before the race, Taryn, Ashley, and I got into the water and warmed up a bit, where we ran into Kate H., who is on Team HPB. It was very comforting to have the ladies to hang out with before the start. Soon enough our wave was called. Ashley and I walked into the water together and off we went. 

The Swim: 1:38:25 (86/112 AG)

I never really felt like I settled into the swim. I tried to get on some feet, but I just never felt like I was on the “right” feet. The swim continues to be something I need to improve on – and I will. Swim conditions were rough, especially during the section parallel to the beach and I’m a slower swimmer to begin with, so I honestly wondered when I got out of the water whether I had even gone under two hours. Yeah, it felt like I was out there a *really* long time. I didn’t wear a watch, but when I looked at the clock at the swim exit, I knew that while I was slower than I had hoped, I was not close to 2:00 (thank goodness!).

The run from the swim exit to T1 is quite long. I saw Jon and Taryn’s husband along the way and I said something to Jon about hating swimming and then scooted into the transition tent to change.

It had started raining as I was running to the change tent. We knew from stalking the weather forecast in the days leading up to the race that it was going to be a wet day, but I was hoping for intermittent light showers.

The Bike: 6:39:59 (47/112 AG)

Unfortunately, it was basically pouring rain throughout the entire bike ride (for me, at least) and I tried to balance riding safely with pushing the pace where I could. As you may have heard, there were numerous crashes along the course. Riding past bloody athletes laying on the side of the road was frightening, honestly, but I’ve ridden in the rain a lot this year and I know how to ride safely in rainy conditions. In addition to the rain, there was quite a bit of wind and I was afraid to ride in my aerobars at certain points during the ride (especially thinking about Alyssa’s windy crash earlier this year). But honestly my number one priority was staying upright and if that meant sitting up a bit, that was fine with me.

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I finished the bike in just under 6:40. The best part of the ride was that I had ZERO flats! I moved up from 86 to 47 in my age group, meaning I passed a lot of ladies on the bike. I was feeling good.

The Run: 4:56:43 (43/112 AG)

I loved the run the Chattanooga, so I was super excited to start my run. I saw Jon again as I was running out of the change tent. I waved to him and off I went.

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The first loop of the run went relatively well. I was pretty happy with my pace, especially since my stomach was not cooperating (this has been an issue for me at every race this year and is obviously something I need to address). However, when I got back to the village at the end of the first loop of the two loop course, I didn’t see Jon and I started feeling deflated when I realized I had to run the entire loop again. That’s when the wheels starting coming off. I really struggled on the second loop. I stopped to walk several times (which I did *not* do in Chattanooga). I was able to coax myself back into running, but I was definitely feeling down on myself for walking. I started spiraling a bit into negative thoughts. I reached halfway in 2:21:41 and really wish I would have been able to maintain that pace for the second loop. 

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I finished the run in barely under 5:00. This is my biggest disappointment and regret of the day. In my next Ironman, I *will* run the entire way. 

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What I liked about this race:

Mont Tremblant is gorgeous!

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We stayed in the village at Tour des Voyageurs, which is right next to transition and the finish line. We were within walking distance to many restaurants and a small grocery store. We parked our car and didn’t have to move it the entire time we were in Mont Tremblant. I would definitely recommend staying in the village if you race IMMT. It’s just so convenient.

I also really liked the bike course. If it hadn’t been raining, I think the bike would have been a lot of fun because of the opportunity to gain speed on the descents. I had to ride conservatively on the descents because of the slick conditions this year, but on a nice day, I think they would have been a blast.

What I didn’t like about this race:

The run is largely on a trail, so there are few spectators to cheer you on. In Chattanooga, I relied heavily on the awesome crowd support to get through my run and I really (really!) missed having that here.

Overall, I am happy with my day and proud to have finished a second Ironman. As always, I wouldn’t have been able to do this without Alyssa’s amazing guidance and support. She is the best! And a huge thanks to Jon, of course, for continuing to support my triathlon goals.

I’m not sure if I will race 140.6 again next year or not, but I know I want to do another Ironman at some point for sure.

Next up for me is the Marine Corps Marathon on October 30, which I am running for Team Fisher House. If you aren’t familiar with Fisher House, a Fisher House is a home where military and veterans’ families can stay at no cost while a loved one is receiving treatment. These homes are located at major military and VA medical centers nationwide, close to the medical center or hospital they serve. The program began in 1990, and has offered more than six million days of lodging to more than 277,000 families. Fisher House has earned four stars (out of four) from Charity Navigator and an A+ grade from Charity Watch.

If you are so inclined to make a donation to my fundraising effort, please know that we are extremely grateful for your contribution, no matter how large or small. Every little bit helps!