September 1


Caroline Wilson – 2013 Ironman Mont Tremblant Race Report

     CarolineIronman Mt Tremblant was my “A” race of the season. I trained hard and felt I was race ready. We arrived in Mt Tremblant late Wednesday evening after a long day of travel. I was more than ready to run, bike or swim after sitting for an entire day. Our bikes arrived Thursday afternoon and we completed an easy ride along the run course. Friday was a swim/run and Saturday was a ride/run. My legs felt great and the light workouts felt easy. I was excited and nervous to race. I had high expectations for myself. I was swimming better than ever expected, I was riding well and running confidently. This was going to be my race!


     I did not sleep well the night prior to the race. This is nothing new for me. Race day jitters get the best of me. I was out of bed by 3:45 (12:45am on the west coast!!). I was pleased I did not have too much trouble forcing down my pre-race nutrition (peanut butter sandwich, greek yogurt, banana, and Gatorade). Paul drove us ladies down to the start. We wanted to be at transition when it opened at 5am. I quickly found my bike, had the tires pumped up, had Wayne lather me up with sunscreen, checked my T1/T2 bags, and dropped off my bike special needs bag. It was time to walk over to the swim start.

SWIM:  goal = <1:20  actual = 1:30:24

     The swim was a wave start that started on the beach. I planned on swimming along the buoy line and positioned myself accordingly. Despite that fact this was not a mass start, I felt as if I was in a washing machine. I was kicking vigorously to get away from the other swimmers. I am typically a 2 beat kick swimmer. I experienced difficulty finding clear water. A quarter into the swim I was finally able to relax a little and concentrate on my swim technique. That did not last long. At the first turn buoy (approximately 1.2 miles) my L quadriceps cramped. I was forced to swim with just my arms. After rounding the second turn buoy, both of my calves cramped.  I was dead in the water. I was very disappointed when I exited the water and realized how slow I had completed my swim.

TRANSITION 1:  goal = <7’  actual = 5:56

     It was close to a ½ mile run from the water to the bike transition area. We had discussed how to deal with your wetsuit while running and I slung it over my shoulders holding onto the legs allowing me to run normally without tripping all over the wetsuit. At this point I told myself to let my performance on the swim go…I had plenty of day left to rock the bike and run! I was pleasantly surprised to see my Mom in T1 volunteering and yelling at me to have fun! It was a great way to start the bike leg of the race!

BIKE:  goal = 5:52  actual = 6:17:34

     The bike course was a challenging 2 loop course with lots of rolling hills and steep stair steps at the end of each loop. I initially felt ok on the bike, not great, but I was not overtly worried. I was not hitting my target wattage but I figured I would be able to pick it up.  That just did not happen. My L quadriceps that cramped in the swim began to cramp on the steep stairs steps at the end of the first loop. This is when I became concerned. I finished my first loop in 3:02, 6 minutes slower than projected.    

     Things went downhill during the second lap. I was unable to increase my wattage and it actually steadily declined. My legs just would not go! The wind became a factor during the second loop as well. It was a relentless headwind. It did not matter what direction you were riding. By the time I hit the steep stair steps the second time, not only was my L quad cramping, but both off my calves joined in the fun. UUGGHH!! I completed my second lap in 3:15, 19 minutes slower than expected.

TRANSITION 2:    goal = 2’  actual = 1:35

     I was able to dismount my bike quickly, but had some trouble taking off my shoes to run into the transition tent. I donned my running shoes and hat and headed out of the tent. I was pleased with my T2 time! At this point in the race I knew that my hope of a top 5 AG finish was out of the question. I was disappointed in my swim and bike, but knew I had the ability to rock the run! I told myself to suck it up and finish the day strong!

RUN:  goal = 3:46  actual = 4:34:27

      I headed out of transition just as the Race winner Luke Bell was heading to the finish. It was cool to see him run by!  I know how my legs respond to running off of the bike. I am typically uncomfortable for up to 2 miles and this was no different. That was until I began to experience sharp L lateral knee pain. It was sharp enough to buckle my knee. I walked a little hoping my legs would loosen up. I began running again and the pain returned quickly. I employed various tactics to manage my pain – shorten my stride, stretch, and slow my pace. Walking was the only time my knee did not hurt. I had a decision to make. Run through the pain and risk significant injury or walk/jog and finish the race with hopes of no injury. I choose to walk/jog the run. I was devastated. I was determined to finish and walking was the only way it was going to happen! I smiled and encouraged my fellow competitors, but I will not lie, all I wanted to do was cry!!!

FINISH TIME:  goal = <11:10:00  actual 12:29:56

     Wow, what a learning experience. Any day you cross an IM finish line is an AMAZING day. With that being said, I did not race to my potential, and I was bitter about that. I felt as if I failed myself, my family and my coach. I came into the race with high expectations of myself. I knew I would need everything to go my way…nothing went my way. You train for months for a single day. You know your body has accommodated to the training stresses and is ready to be pushed. Race day is a different beast. For whatever reason my body gave me the finger August 18th! Speaking with my colleagues and fellow IM triathletes I have a few ideas as to what may have contributed to my cramping and knee pain. I will address these issues while preparing for my next ironman, IM Los Cabos March 30, 2014.

The race was extremely well organized. The volunteers and fans were amazing. The race course was spectacular! I would highly recommend this venue to anyone considering racing an ironman. I was blessed to race with an amazing group of Team FC athletes.  Joby, Keith, Jillian, Adrienne, and Laura you are all rock stars!! Our fans Wayne, Lauren, Paul, Mia, Jennifer, Sean, Carol and family were the best!! I will never forget  “ Bravo, Bravo…Go, Go, Go” followed by other words of encouragement in French. I had no idea what they were saying.  It just made me smile!!

Was I disappointed in my race? Absolutely. Did I cross the finish line with a smile? You know it. Would I do it all over again? In a heartbeat!! The disappointment from this race will only fuel my desire to compete again, to push my body to its limits, and cross another finish line. 


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