Great White North 2015- Race Recap

Well race #1 of the season is done!

The Great White North Long Course (Half-Ironman) distance triathlon took place on Sunday July 6, 2015. As always this race proved to be a fantastic day with amazing volunteers and a race staff!

This was my 4th year in a row completing this race. It was my first ever half-iron distance race, well my first triathlon ever in 2012 and it will always hold a special place in my heart. That first year I went out ‘just to finish’ and finish I did in 6hours and 20min. Fast forward to this year, I finished in 5hrs and 14minutes. A 10min PB from my race last year! My 2 biggest wins being my swim time and my run. The 20km headwind on the majority of the bike course made things a bit slow heading out on the 1st part of each loop, but was a huge help coming back in to Stony Plain each time.

The morning started off cool and windy, the nerves were there, but not like they used to be. I felt confident in my training and strong. The water for the swim was warm and I mad sit through with little to no thrashing from my fellow race-mates which is always a bonus. The bike was a tough rolling hill course with 2 loops, I managed to hold a pretty steady pace even with the headwind and my legs felt strong. The run started off with some pretty numb toes coming off the windy and chilly bike, once I got the feeling back I was happy to maintain a solid pace enough to bring me in for an 1hr 40min run split. Coming off this run I feel like I have a better idea of what sort of pace I can maintain at Ironman.

Photo courtesy: Ken Anderson Photography.

Photo courtesy: Ken Anderson Photography.

I felt strong the whole race and felt like I was able to really leave it all out there, something I’ve never really done before. I felt so comfortable on my bike, in large part thanks to Nicole Zacharias at National Spine Care in Calgary for her painful  (but helpful!) IMS sessions that have my hips and traps in working order again so I am no longer seizing up on my climbs!

Overall, this race has left me feeling ready for Ironman, I know I am stronger than I was in 2013, and I am excited to see what I can leave on that course. The butterflies have definitely started and I am hoping for a relatively nice day. Although after pushing it through the wind at GWN I feel more confident that faced with not so decent weather in Whistler that I have the strength of mind to take it in stride.

As I prep the rest of this week and into next I have the words of RC in my head: “You’ve got this”.

Taking on my 2015 Race Season.


The 2014 season was a busy one! I completed 4 half-Ironman’s one of which was the World Championships in Mont. Tremblant, QC. It was a long season, my longest yet with the most races I have done in a season. At the end of it I felt a huge sense of accomplishment, tired but satisfied.

Finding out that last season I finished in the Silver ranking (top 5% of my age group) for Ironman was a welcome boost of confidence! I also consider it a bar set. I look to Ironman this year with the goal of top 20 in my age group. Which means coming in around 11hrs. It will be tough for sure but if I put my mind to it I know its possible.

The first step for me at the beginning of a race season is always about goal setting. My main goals for this coming training season are centred around 4 pillars. 1)Training 2)Nutrition 3) Rest and 4) Balance. Some people will argue that #4 is a necessary casualty of Ironman training and one you just have to deal with. I plan to do my best to ensure that it remains a pillar. If I have learned anything these past few years, its that life really IS too short to get tunnel vision, even when focused on an admirable goal. There are too many amazing people around you and too many amazing things to experience to forsake it all as you push towards a solitary endeavour.

To keep myself focused on my goals, I will sit down weekly and assess my previous weeks performance in all of my pillars and create new goals for the coming week. I will find a way to reward my dedication as well as a way to honour my amazing support system along the way. Ironman really is just as much about the journey as it is the destination. This year will bring me one step closer to the top of my age group, and my dream of a Kona finish. I intend to embrace the journey and not lose sight of what’s really important- that I have the gift of a body and a life that allows me to compete and people that support me in it. That is what its really all about.

** I dedicate todays blog to a good friend that passed away this week before his prime, but who’s focus and zest for life was enough for 10 lifetimes. In Darcy’s memory I look to embrace life and my goals.