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Ironman Canada August 26th, 2012

Karen Rasmussen - Sunday, October 14, 2012

Ironman Canada August 26, 2012
(2.4mi swim, 112mi bike ride, 26.2 mi run)
Race Report for Karen Rasmussen

Pre-Race Preparation


We drove into Summerland a little before 5pm and made ourselves comfortable at the Summerland Motel. The drive, border crossing went smoothly. Anthon and I went out to dinner at the Local, a trendy restaurant on the waterfront with good organic, local food.  I avoided any greens, opted for the chicken and roasted sweet potato dish, no alcohol. Slept decently that night, allowed myself to sleep in until 7a.m.


Blue Wave Aquatics swimmer swims in the Ironman CanadaGot up and went for a scary 30 min bike ride, then 10 min run. Stupidly, rode back on a very busy Hwy 97 against the traffic, because no immediate crossing was available. I felt like the gust of winds from the trucks was going to push me over the bike.  Made it back physically and mentally intact.

Registration for the event took about an hour. I enjoyed the athlete energy around me while waiting in line.  Drove the course and felt humbled by the Yellow Lake and Richter pass ascent. I started to feel nervous for the first time since arriving to Penticton. I attended the Athlete Welcome Dinner and the 30th Anniversary Tribute to Ironman.  Got teary eyed, Met a nice father and daughter team over dinner, Ken and Autumn. This was Ken’s fifth Canada Ironman. He had helpful tips about the course, expectation for morning of race. Got my gear bags ready that night.


Blue Wave Aquatics Swimmer Run in the Ironman CanadaChecked in bike by 10am and got familiar with the transition area. Volunteers were great in showing me around, easing my anxiety about finding my gear bags, locating my bike. Then went for an easy 15-20 min swim in the lake, water temperature was great, very choppy. Out of the water connected with 50+ year old female, Elizabeth, from San Francisco racing in her second Ironman Canada.  We talked about the bike course, the race support, again my anxieties lessened by all that positive energy. Went back to the motel, prepared by special needs bag, my bike drink bottles, morning clothes, and laid down for a nap. Anthon and I went out for an early dinner at the Summerland Golf and Country Club. Mindful of my pre-race bowel issues, I stuck with pasta, light red sauce, and grilled chicken, no vegetables (no fruit that day as well). Went to bed at 9p.m. and set alarm for 4am.

Race Morning

I couldn’t sleep until I dozed off around 3 a.m. Did not hear the alarm, awoke with a start when Anthon started shaking me at 4:35a.m. Oh My God! I tried to keep my anxiety in check. I had planned on consuming 800 calories slowly over an hour period between EFS liquid and shot bloks. I barely stomached 300 calories before I started feeling nauseous.  I decided to forget the bloks and do my best to sip on the liquid until 5:15, maybe got in 400-500 calories total for that morning.  Got to start at 5:20, breezed through body marking, special needs, went to the bathroom twice in transition before lines got long. It ended up being a very smart move.


Saw Anthon at the start, got in a kiss ? Started far left on the start.  Took me a couple of seconds to start moving after gun went off. A bit startled. Swim felt like it took forever. I couldn’t sight a thing due to an abundance of arms and white water caps. It sure felt like I was zigzagging. There were lots of arms and legs everywhere the first 1200 meters and then some clear water swimming.  Stayed relaxed, did not push, and knew it was going to be a long day. I took my time to exit the water, rocky leading up to the sand.

First Transition

I might as well have had a cup of coffee. No rush, dried my feet, sat down, plenty of time in sunscreen, went to the bathroom, walked the bike out of transition.


Blue Wave Aquatics Swimmer finishes Ironman CanadaAlthough I fear what can go wrong on the bike, I was happy to get on it. Stayed conservative the first relatively flat first 40 miles, letting hundreds of cyclists pass me during this time.  I was good about not letting myself get frazzled over this. Felt very good at the Richter Pass Ascent, climbing pace was steady, cheering crowds were amazing. Heard my name called out several times. I handled the hills after the pass well, by mile 65 really looking forward to Cawston, where I could take a potty break and pick up my other bottle. No incident at special needs at mile 75, except a longer than expected line at the potty. First time to pee (4hrs 15 min) since getting on bike.  The ascent to Yellow Lake was long and steady. I started feeling the heat at this point.  I diluted my high salt drink with more water as I was having a tough time quenching my thirst. I took water at every aid station, every 15 kilometers. The thrill of reaching the summit of Yellow Lake was amazing; the crowds gave me the extra push with the last climb. The descent into Penticton, the last 12 miles, felt long. The bottom of my feet were burning from mile 100 and I started fantasizing on how good it was going to feel getting off the bike.  The transition was a welcome sight.

Second Transition

Volunteers took my bike, changed into running shoes, and visited the potty, walked out of transition. Again, no rush, could have finished a second cup of coffee.


Blue Wave Aquatics Swimmer Completes 2012 Ironman CanadaFelt so good to be upright and moving forward.  I immediately experienced abdominal cramping, but no nausea.   Fortunately there was a potty at every mile, so used it mile 1, again at mile 8, and 15. Legs started feeling better at mile 3. I walked through every aid station sipping on my GU flask and taking in water.  Temperature at that point was 86-87 degrees so used sponge on chest and ice in hat to keep cool. Very effective! I did not feel hot during the marathon. Many athletes were walking the run, so passed several hundred at this time.  I was inspired to keep running. I was welcomed at the turn-around at mile 13 with enthusiastic cheerleaders. I filled my flask with another four GU’s.  My right quadriceps spasmed at mile 15, but kept running as I felt physically and mentally good otherwise.  I could taste the finish at mile 20, started to take in flat pepsi at that point. Soda has never tasted so good, and I’m not a soda drinker.  The last 2 miles were emotional. I started to pray that my right leg would hold up. I focused on staying relaxed and tried to pick up the pace. The last mile on Lakeshore Drive, out and back, was lined with spectators cheering. Seeing Anthon on the drive giving me a high five made me so happy. It was surreal. I felt like a winner, my own race, but nevertheless a winner.


  • Swim 1:10:32
  • T1 9:48
  • Bike 7:01:57
  • T2 7:52
  • Run 4:35:20

Overall Time 13:05:29


  • Overall a solid performance
  • Stayed focused, positive even with a leg spasm, abdominal distress
  • Enjoyed the whole experience, had FUN
  • The tremendous community and volunteer support (I wanted to hug each one of them)
  • Did a good job on nutrition the days leading up to ironman – easy on the greens, fruit, low fat, minimal gluten
  • Kept anxiety in check

For Next Time

  • Make sure more than one alarm is set morning of race
  • Keep transitions shorter
  • Less conservative on the bike


Filed under: BWAQ Swimmer Stories, Competition, Iron Man


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