IM Mont Tremblant Race Report - by Kim Sass


This IM swim was going to be a new experience for me based on the new swim initiatives that WTC began this year.  The changes for this race included a wave start and numbered buoys – 13 on the way out and back.  Most importantly, I actually found a real bathroom to use before an IM…and the line was only 5 people deep!  If you ever do the half or full in Tremblant let me know and I will tell you where it is! The start was awesome, 2 jets passed over after the Canadian national anthem was sung and at the beginning of each wave they let off 2 streams of fireworks.  I was in the last wave and the waiting around wasn’t too bad.  It took me until the 2nd buoy or so to get my own water and it pretty much stayed that way thru the swim.  I came upon people in the earlier waves and it was relatively easy to pass them.  This was one loop swim and I had a hard time telling where the turn around was so the numbered buoys were extremely helpful to me gaging how much further there was to go.  Turn buoys were relatively clear and easy to get around.  After the 2nd turn buoy I stayed to the inside and had a pretty straight and uneventful swim in.   Very happy with my swim time! 
Time:  1:09:54
Out of the water I headed over to the wetsuit strippers – one of my favorite parts of an IM race!  It was a long run into T1 but it was lined with people so it passed quickly. I was careful not to spike my HR so I jogged to the tent and the volunteers helped me the rest of the way.  Happy with my transition time because it included a long run to the tent and the long run thru transition.  
Time:  7:09
My swim time put me into a position that I knew I was going to be passed by lots and lots of people on the bike.  As Kelly said after the race “biking is clearly your limiter,”  I knew this before the race as well.  I tried to stay as right as possible and not get into anyone’s way.  I was unsure of what I was going to wear on the bike because the morning temperature was in the upper 50’s – low 60’s and I didn’t want to get cold on the bike.  I decided to not wear anything on my arms and it was the right decision, clear skies and the sun was out but not too hot.  My HR was spiking so I focused on getting it to settle into the appropriate zone.  The bike course heads out of the village towards Highway 117.   This was the longest section of the bike distance wise and no part of it was that bad, it consisted of a few gradual uphills and downhills and flat sections.  There was one challenging hill on the way back that seemed to be at least .5 mile long and a 5 -7% grade.   After that section the course heads out to Saint Jovite which is a short out and back section that was fun to ride through with people cheering and music playing.  Then you head back into the village going up and down the hills that you went out on.  The last out and back section is what everyone talked about leading up to the race.  It is about a 10K section that consisted of 4-5 steep short uphills, when I looked at my bike computer while climbing I saw anywhere from 4 – 14% grade on those hills. Majority of people had to get out of the saddle to get up these h ills, I definitely felt like I didn’t have enough gears on my bike.  After the turn around there was a lot of great downhill but still two hills that were challenging.  The second loop of an IM bike is always challenging for me and the heat and headwind didn’t make it any easier.  I heard Mike Reilly make a comment about the rising temperatures as I headed out on my 2nd loop.  The Highway 117 section got a lot more challenging on the second loop because there was no protection from the heat or the wind.  There was a headwind on this entire section and I couldn’t push the downhills because I was worried about crashing due to the wind.  The rest of the second loop went okay and I was relieved to get the challenging out and back section because there were plenty of trees that gave me coverage from both the heat and the wind.  Still challenging but I was so excited to get off the bike that mentally I was in a better place to get through this section.  Not happy with my bike split but my average heart rate was where I needed it to be so I can’t complain.  
Time:  7:18:14
Took my bike shoes off and was actually able to jog to the changing tent!  Usually my legs are just not ready to run but they felt great.  Got my sneakers, visor and race belt on and I was ready to roll!  This was a really short transition for me compared to my other IM races.  
Time:  4:41

This was the part that I was really looking forward to for this race; my main goal of this race was to have a good run and hopefully run a 4:30 marathon.  For the run course they closed down one side of the street and painted a blue line down the center, runners had to stay to the left.  I was worried that this was too narrow but it actually worked out fine.  People were very accommodating when I would call out passing on your left or right and there was only one time that I came upon 4 guys running across the entire section.   My legs felt great coming out of transition and I passed people who were walking up the first hill.  I shuffled up the hill focusing on my heart rate and making sure it didn’t spike.  The first couple of miles of this course are the hilliest section, they are not long hills like Lake Placid but they are still challenging.  The course then goes onto a trail that begins at the 5K mark and ends around 15K or so.  I absolutely loved this section, the surface of the trail was great and it was shaded the majority of the way.  Heart rate and pace were right where I wanted them to be and I still felt great.  As you run back towards the village you encounter the same hills that you ran down on the way out.  The run thru the village was AMAZING!  Tons of people lining the chute and I certainly felt like a rock star going thru there, so much fun!   As I started my second loop I was amazed at how great I felt.   Shuffled up the hills again and felt fine doing it.   As I began the trail section I got to talking to a girl who was running a similar pace.  We either ran together or she was slightly ahead of me the entire rest of the way.  Towards the end of the trail section I started hurting, my knees were sore and I began getting side stitches which caused me to have trouble breathing.  I backed off on my pace whenever they came on but they continued pretty much the entire way back into the village.  The last 10K of the marathon was tough but I was able to continue to run but my walks through the aid stations got a little longer.  As I got close to the village it dawned on me that it was still light out and I let myself start thinking that maybe I was going to PR.  I wasn’t keeping a total race time clock and I was scared to look at my marathon time, I kept it on my HR and pace screen the entire time.  My pace picked up as I got closer to the village and I felt like I was sprinting towards the finish line…of course it helps that this section of the course is all downhill. 
Run: 4:31:52
The finish line was awesome, great crowd and music.  As I crossed the finish line the clock said 13:36:50, I was okay with that time, not thrilled but I was satisfied.  I got some ice for my back which felt like it was spasming and sat down.  This was probably the worst that I felt after an IM, I got light headed and my legs started cramping up.  I had a few people around me ask if I was okay.  Amanda, Kelly’s friend who I stayed with, came over and congratulated me on my race and PR.  She shocked me when she said that I finished at 8:11pm which gave me a time of 13:11, the race clock was set to the men’s pro time who went off 25 minutes before me.  I was thrilled and in a little shock, my goal was to finish in 13:30.  
TOTAL TIME:  13:11:50