Ironman Canada

Congratulations to our newest order of Iron Men and Women! Names and times as follows with splits in brackets (swim / bike / run):

Shawn Stratton - 10:43:49 (1:01:02 / 5:32:08 / 4:02:26)
Michael Colbert - 11:20:37 (55:51 / 5:21:16 / 4:47:43)
Jason Pretty - 11:46:16 (1:06:09 / 5:48:24 / 4:40:54)
Alexandra Lys - 12:28:41 (52:46 / 7:00:26 / 4:29:19)
Michelle Cooze - 13:08:22 (1:32:43 / 6:51:08 / 4:35:08)
Randy Knight - 14:05:06 (1:22:52 / 7:17:26 / 5:07:35)
George Colbert - 14:07:35 (54:19 / 5:52:12 / 7:00:04)
Flora Seymour - 14:45:25 (1:07:56 / 7:18:42 / 5:55:08)

Shawn's Race Report is on his blog HERE.



On August 17, 2009, Charleen and I welcomed my first child into the world; Emma Jane was 8 lbs 5 oz and my first miracle, long story short, I had tried this before with no success. I don’t think I have stopped smiling since.

It was a tough decision to train and travel to IMC alone, as it was going to be our trip, but with her full support I decided to toe the line in Penticton.

I landed on Tuesday evening, had a couple of swims, a bike ride and a run in my underwear to keep myself relaxed. I met with fellow EN folk on Thursday night for a great meal and chit chat.

I hadn’t really been sleeping well up to race week, so I made sure that I was asleep by 10:00 pm every night and I must say this was a key to my success on Race day. 


Woke at 3:00 am drank 2 chocolate Boosts and a almond granola bar (600 calories) tried to sleep. At 4:30 I woke, gathered my gear and headed out to transition (butterflies big time ). I joined a group of friends on the way there; it was pretty quiet as everybody was in their game face. I went through body marking, sorted out my bike with Gatorade, tubes, co2 cartridges, race nutrition ,2 x 24oz bottles of Boost, thermolyte tabs and tools. It promised to be a hot day and it was (90 to 100 degrees all day) I pulled on my wetsuit, walked through transition and wished luck to all my friends and made my way through the timing gantry onto the beach. I watched the Pros start, listened to the announcer say there was 2 minutes to the swim start. 


I would normally spit in my goggles at this point and rinse them in the lake but my mouth was as dry as a rattlesnake’s bellybutton, the butterflies were gone now, as they were consumed by the gulls that were now flying around in there, counted down the last 10 seconds and hit the water. I started in the middle of the pack at a slow pace, I thought most of these guys would be steady swimmers, wrong; I stopped and started 6 times before the first turn, people just completely dropping their legs. I was very anxious for the first 1000 metres, my heart rate finally dropped down from maximum and I swam steady along the buoy lines back to the beach. 

Time: 1:22:20 :- ) 


Pretty uneventful really, put on my gear outside the change tent to avoid the chaos, took time here to gather my thoughts and rid myself of the swim wobbles, visited the sunscreen ladies and hit the road.

Time: 7:36 


Right from the start, the heat was going to be a huge factor and after last years Half Iron meltdown, I decided to adjust my power numbers down considerably!

Having listened to RnP’s bike course podcast many times, I took it out slow for the first 40 miles, taking on 240 cals/hr, I have enough on board for 3 hrs, my dark spot on the course happens between the rollers and the out and back, special needs at 70 miles is an oasis, grab my second bottle, extra socks and head out again. At the 85 mile mark my feet are on fire, my toes are numb and pushing the pedals is painful, it is 100 degrees throughout the valley and the wind is not helping, I stop massage my feet and put on a second pair of socks, both feet are starting to blister and my right foot is bleeding, the Yellow Lake climb is slow and painful and the last descent into town is a lot slower than I would have liked.


Time: 7:17:20 :- ( 


In the change tent I gather myself, change my socks, shoes, and hat. Take another Boost, hit the sunscreen ladies and head out for the run 

Time: 9:38 


Feet feel a little better in my running shoes, but they are still sore. Heading out on the run it is station to station on my plan pace, the only exception being the hills in the middle of the course. The run was hot and the smoke coming over the hills from the wildfires nearby just made it more difficult. Fueled by gels and water for the first half and oranges and Gatorade for the later, I had no nutrition issues and finished strong. 

Time: 5:07:35 :- ) 

TOTAL TIME: 14:05:07  :- )) 


No coulda, woulda, shoulda here, plan execution is the key. My plan gave me confidence, guidance and a great result. My Swim was good, my Bike was variable, my Run was steady and my nutrition flawless, Thanks Coaches Rich and Patrick, EN Rocks! 

And here's a Race Report from Alexandra ...

2009 Ironman Race Report (Penticton, BC)

Aug 30 

Alarm was set for 4:55am but I was awake at 4 after a restless sleep. Still on NL time I suppose, which Shawn and I purposely did not attempt to get off of. I had a pack of oatmeal, a juice box and a vector bar for breakfast. We didn’t have much to get ready because transition bags and the bikes were dropped off the day before. We walked to the start area in the dark. It was warm out already and there was not a breath of wind. I felt my anticipation rising as we joined the thousands of other athletes for body marking and special needs drop off. I pumped up my tires in transition, added a couple last minutes items to my transition bags (salt tabs, a towel) and stood in line 35min for the washroom. In doing so I missed the pro start which was at 6:45am and barely got out of the washroom in time for OUR start at 7am. I told Shawn a couple times to go on and warm up but he waited to give me a good luck kiss before we went our separate ways in the water.  

I took a similar approach to last time—I started in the front row of athletes, close to the far right. One thing I learned from the pre-race meeting was that you were allowed to be on the inside of the first 2 buoys so I took advantage of the clear water. It was less vicious than I remember from 2006. I drafted with a group of male swimmers out to the first boat (not a houseboat this year because it didn’t show up) and while the pace was a little slow, I just held back and conserved energy. I pushed through them on the short stretch and saw another group up ahead. After rounding the second boat and heading back to shore, I counted 15 strokes that I was back from the next group. A couple of times I tried to pick it up and catch them so I could draft (and to drop the guy who was shamelessly drafting off of me), but no luck and I was already going pretty hard so I focused on my stroke and pacing. I counted my strokes between buoys (140-150) which was helpful because the beach looked close but there were still several buoys to go and I knew exactly how far they were apart. Oh, and was the water ever hot!! I was burning up inside my wetsuit. I think they said it was 70 degrees F. Or 72? As I ran up the beach, taking off my wetsuit and cap/goggles, I heard the roar of the spectators and what a rush that was. I also heard Steve King announcing I was the second woman overall and I wasn’t sure if this included the pros or not (later found out yes it did) but I was pretty pleased. I got through transition fairly quickly thanks to the volunteers helping me dry my feet and put on my race belt. My swim time for the 3.8k was 52min and 45sec. 

The bike started off well. Despite the wet clothes I wore under my wetsuit, I wasn’t cold. I was getting passed by everyone, but I took that in stride because I knew my bike was no where near as good as my swim. The scenery was beautiful. There were three deer who ran across the road in front of me and the cyclist behind me said that must be good luck. I officially no longer believe in good luck. I was excited to hear Shawn come up behind me 45min into the bike ride. We were having an awesome time. At 60km I was an hour and 55min which was on pace for a sub-6hr bike ride except for the fact that I had just finished the easiest 60k. My ‘good luck’ ended with every triathlete’s worst fear—a flat tire. Just before Richter’s Pass. No big deal, I said to myself. I had 2 spares and 2 CO2 cartridges. I hopped off and changed the flat in not much time. As I was filling it up, however, somehow I managed to blow the entire cartridge and get no air in the tire. No big deal, I said, I have another. I proceeded to fill the tire with that one, and it was working, until as I was taking it off the tire went flat again. I didn’t know if I let all the air out or blew it. But in any case, I had no means to fill the tire up now, and that was a pretty big deal. A couple of Osoyos locals were there and one offered to run home and grab a cartridge for me. She said it would be 10min. I said sure, knowing I shouldn’t accept help from a spectator, but there was no support vehicle in sight and no athlete was going to give me a spare cartridge that early in the race. So I stood on the side of the road watching hundreds of people ride by. That’s hard. Then I saw the lady running back with a pump she got from another spectator. Great. We put it on and no air went in. So I must have blown the tube with the CO2 cartridge. I quickly changed the tube (would have done this while I was waiting for her had I known) and started pumping and air was going in. On the other side of the road, an official pulled over and started walking towards me. I thought finally, some help, but no, no he was there to give me a penalty for getting assistance from a spectator. He didn’t seem to mind me using the pump, but it was the fact that the lady was doing the pumping. She hadn’t really given me the choice. That was fine, I took the pump and finished pumping, while the official patronizingly went on in my ear about how I should be self sufficient and practice this before the race. Finally I told him politely I used my 2 tubes and cartridges and he left me alone. And goodness knows, I had a LOT of practice fixing flats on the ring road outside St. John’s. I started up Richter pass then, but I was worried about getting another flat and now had no supplies. So when I saw a support van on the other side of the road I checked for traffic and went over. I asked if they had any extra tubes or anything and they said just a pump and that I should be self-sufficient. THANKS. I got back on my bike and kept going up the hill and then they called me back because the cyclist they picked up in the van (who must have been dropping out of the race) donated his tube and cartridge for me. That was heartwarming. I pedaled up the hill with piece of mind knowing I could fix another flat if I got one. I think everything fell apart around the time of the rollers. I was trying to stay positive and even make up the time I lost (definitely 30min), but the wind was gone out of my sail. I started having intense low back pain, could hardly stand the aero position so I sat up most of the second half of the bike. My saddle was killing me, my feet, the back of my knee when I tried to pull up. I was going slow and it was all I could do to just keep moving forward. My 6hr bike split goal time was totally out of reach. I maintained my nutrition with the e-load and carbo pro mixes Emanuel put together for me the night before, having 2 extra bottles in my special needs bag. Total on the bike I had six 750ml waterbottles of about 300calories each with e-load and carbo pro, 1 bottle of Gatorade and 2 vector bars. Right before the second major hill, I had to stop to serve my penalty at the tent. It was short (a minute or so) and I carried on up Yellow Lake. I was so nice to see Shawn’s family going up that hill. I was so grumpy and they were so enthusiastic, I picked it up a little and passed some people. I was looking forward to the downhill into town, but my back hurt so bad I didn’t take advantage of the aero bars like I wanted to. I really had a hard time getting any power on the bike. I thought my day was done because my legs were shutting down and I thought maybe I didn’t train enough (although I’m sure it was more than last time and I thought the hills in NL were going to work to my advantage), and I was trying to come up with a plan for the run. I was thinking there was going to be a LOT of walking. I saw my family as I came into town and could barely manage a smile. I finished the 180k bike in 7hrs. 

In the second transition I ran to my bag and change the tent but then stopped for the volunteer to apply sunscreen. I wasn’t in a big hurry. I left and started running, a little defeated. Amazingly, though, my legs felt FRESH. It was like as soon as I got off that horrible bike and into my running shoes, the training I had done took over and I was able to carry on. I stopped at the washroom at the first aid station because I missed it in transition. I started drinking pepsi and Gatorade at the first aid station because it tasted the best at the time and I didn’t really have a strategy for nutrition on the run. Aid stations were about a mile (10min apart). I found myself not wanting to stop running at the aid stations but I needed to take in some fluids as it was 30degrees and the sun was beating down. I remember last time trying to walk only the aid stations and that not lasting long, but this time I was able to do it. The run out went quickly because I was looking for Shawn and knew he’d be on his way back around 9hrs 15min if everything went well for him. That’s about when I saw him and it was great. He looked strong and knowing he would be waiting at the finish line helped me keep running. The run became more challenging after 10miles. I was mentally prepared for the turnaround to be at 13, but we got to 13 and still had another climb and an out and back by the special needs bags. All I had in my special needs were notes from my family and Shawn and a gel from Melissa. I walked much of the uphill climb out of OK falls and the hill seemed to go on FOREVER. But then I focused on passing people again and made my way back to town again walking only the aid stations. It became progressively harder and harder to resume running after them and my pace slowed a bit but I never considered walking back. When I got to town the sun was starting to set. My family was there and Emanuel ran with me for a bit. I was so scared about getting another penalty (“pacing” was illegal) that I asked him to stop. The crowd was amazing and on the out and back on Lakeshore I suddenly felt lighter and after the last aid station I looked straight ahead at the finish line and went for it. I passed a guy in the finishing chute and felt like a bit of a jerk for it, but I wanted an unobstructed picture and couldn’t slow down. I finished the 42.2km run in 4hrs 29min. That’s 15min faster than 2006.  

Shawn was at the finish line and my brothers (who both took the bus from Calgary to be there for me) and I was SO relieved to be done. My total time was 12:28, which is 32min slower than in 2006. I can’t help but wonder how different my experience would have been without those flats. Whether the 30min is all I lost or if the mental cost led to more than that. I guess I’ve been lucky thus far to never have a flat in a race. Everybody comes to ironman with their own obstacles they’ve overcome and their own stories. I know personally I had a much tougher time this year than in 2006 when I was in first year medical school and didn’t know what doing “call” meant. I’m not in a rush to do this again, but I’m proud of my finish and I’d say 3 of the 4 disciplines went really, really well (that’s swim, bike, run and nutrition). I look forward to exercising for an hour a day and settling into the new house back in St. John’s.