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  • Heather's Ironman Canada Report

    Sun, 2 Sep 2007 00:50:00 -0700

    The 25th Anniversary Ironman Canada race in Heather Fuhr's eyes
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    The "course guys" Dan VanDyck, Roch and Brian McDonald

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    Norm Thibault - looking sweet at the Underpants Run

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    Roch, Paula, Cal and Huddle - Paula's first Underpants run!!

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    Kieran and Landon Fuhr - at the Kid's race

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    Heather happy to be crossing the finish line

    I am happy to say that the 25th running of the Subaru Ironman Canada is now one for the record books. The event in itself certainly did not disappoint. Having never raced this race, despite being a Canadian and having race Ironman races for 18 years – I did not know what to expect. I remember how much support the race received from the community the last time I was here watching many, many years ago, and could only imagine that things have only gotten better. This certainly was the case; the City of Penticton really embraces this event and has turned it into a phenomenon. NA Sports also made a conscious effort to step things up, wanting to make the 25th Anniversary very special. Numerous anniversary celebrations, made the week leading up to the event fun filled.

    One of my favorite events of any race is the kid’s run – this event was one of the biggest that I had ever seen with upwards of 300 kids participating. Included in the field were my two nephew’s Kieran and Landon Fuhr. They did awesome and really enjoyed the run and of course getting the finisher medal was pretty cool too!!

    Another one of highlights of the pre-race activities is the Underpants Run. I had heard a lot about the Subaru Ironman Canada version of the Underpants run, so I knew it was an event that I could not miss. Give the conservative Canadians an opportunity to run around in their GAUNCH – and you won’t believe how many people will turn up. Paula even got to participate in her first ever underpants run!!! Money was raised for children in need and everyone had a blast.

    The race itself was going to be an exercise in execution for myself. My training leading up to the race had gone well, and I was ready to race but I knew my limitations. I set a very specific race plan for myself based upon the training.

    For the swim, the plan was to swim strong but under control and minimize the damage.
    The water was great and I had a relatively uneventful start. I settled into my pace – unfortunately just missing the feet ahead (which would have put me a couple of minutes faster). The swim time was slow, but then I realized after having heard how far behind I was that it was slow for everyone.

    Once on the bike, I raced with my SRM power meter, and from training, I knew that there was a very specific wattage that I would be able to push and if I could stick to that, the ride would only get better throughout. I stuck to the plan on the bike – the girls up front were putting in a great deal of time into me early on, but I did not panic or get upset – I just hit my wattage. As the ride went along the time gap started to stay the same as the girls upfront were starting to feel the damage of the early part of the ride. I did have some rough stretches, in particular the rollers after Richter Pass – we had Kona like winds through this section which was making getting into any rhythm difficult. A little reprieve from the wind during the OUT of the out-and-back section and I was able to regroup and feel strong to the finish of the bike. Sticking with the plan, I came into transition quite a few minutes down (about 15) but very happy with my ride. I did what I had set out to do and what was within my realm of capability given the training that I had done.

    Now it was time to put the Newton’s on and hit the pavement. Out of all my training, my running has felt the best it has in a long time. This is a good and bad thing. Good in that I hoped to be able to run a strong marathon, bad in the fact that sometimes it is hard to hold back to a reasonable pace at the beginning if things are feeling really good. My plan was to run conservative the first ½ of the race and then try and be strong for the last 6-8 miles where the wheels usually fall off. So off I went running at what was feeling like a very comfortable pace – but based upon the mile splits it was probably a bit too fast. I got to the turn around and I was gaining time on the leaders. At the ½ way point, Lisa Bentley had overtaken Linda Gallo for the lead Sara Gross was just behind that. I was about 10 minutes behind Lisa, 8 behind Sara and 5 behind Linda. Figuring out the math, I was going to have to do something pretty incredible if I was going to catch Lisa, but there was the possibility that I could catch Linda. I kept running, but I did start to feel the affects of the pace that I had set on the way out. So much for running strong the last 10km – back to survival mode it was. One of the great things about the run course in Penticton is that there are people cheering you pretty much the whole way. So, even when I started to feel tired, the crowds were there to keep me going. Finally at about 22 miles I caught up to Linda Gallo to move into 3rd place. I kept running as strong as I could to the finish and was very happy to cross the line in 3rd place in my first ever Subaru Ironman Canada.

    Congratulations to Lisa Bentley who had a great day to win her 3rd Subaru Ironman Canada and 11th Ironman title. Sara Gross showed that she is going to be one to watch in the future, and Linda Gallo had a break through race, hanging very tough in the marathon.

    So, all in all the day was a great success. I went out there and did what I could do based upon my limited training, and did so with a smile on my face. A huge thank-you to NA Sports for putting on a great event. Joe Dixon the race director made my first trip to the Subaru Ironman Canada very special and I thank him and his crew for that. From being on the other side of things more this year, I do know how much work it is to pull a race like this off – it is no small feat. Everyone involved needs a huge pat on the back!!!

    For the first time in 17 years, I will not be toeing the line at the Ford Ironman World Championships in Kona. This was a very conscious decision on my part after my race there last year. I look forward to experiencing Kona in a different way – and have no regrets on the decision at all. I feel like I have accomplished everything that I have wanted to in Kona and will thoroughly enjoy being on the sidelines.

    So off to do some paddle boarding and mountain biking for me!!!!