Only 6 more sleeps until Challenge Penticton - aka the original Ironman Canada.
Yes for all of you that think the Penticton race is no more you are wrong. SO VERY WRONG it is alive and going strong.
Without bringing up all the drama and yada yada basically the folks in Penticton rebranded their race. They wanted it to be about the community and athletes again and not so corporate which is where it had been going in the last few years when IRONMAN became a brand and a corporation.
The group that won the contract is CHALLENGE - not well known in North America but huge in Europe and elsewhere in the world. Their mandate is athlete and community first. They run the biggest Iron Distance race in the world - Challenge Roth which is my dream to race in but that is another story.
So back to Penticton - the course is the same as the old course,l the volunteers are, as always, amazing and yes the iconic Steve King is still calling the finish line. New things - they have a relay option which is a fantastic way to introduce newbies to the distance and this year they have added a Half-Ironman distance both individual and relay options. Another great way to introduce people to long distance triathlon.
I had the pleasure of racing in the inaugural Challenge full distance race last year and it was everything Ironman had been and more. I was quite anxious last year as I had some struggles with nagging injuries and really did not get training until the beginning of March again. To add another wrinkle I was doing it without a coach - financially it was not feasible for us. Joe had been in a car vs bike accident (he was on the bike) in February and suffered a very bad concussion - so bad that he was off work for several months and then on restricted duties until this year. This meant he was not training and my other training partner had a lot of work issues so I really was doing this one solo. Fortunately I had my training plan(s) from last time and I took them and created a schedule.
People always say I could never do an Iron distance race - YES YOU CAN IF YOU WANT TO. 3 things are needed - perseverance, dedication and desire. You have to want it, you have to commit to the training plan and you have persevere and keep going on days when you just don't want to. As someone said once - "do when others don't and you will be able to when others won't. Anyone that knows me will tell you when I make up my mind and decide then I will do what I need to do to get to my goal.
Last year's goals - Finish faster than the first time and after Oliver - HAVE FUN doing it.
I am thrilled to say both accomplished - coles notes - swim - very windy - slower than I had hoped. Bike - had issues with nausea from swim and tummy settled down around out and back - bike was faster. Run - well I got it done and finished strong dancing. Probably would have been faster but I was determined that I was going to have fun on the run so I spent a lot of time hugging volunteers at aid stations, dancing with spectators when there was music and getting my photo retaken because I was not happy with the action shot of me running along the road. Seriously - I made the poor photographer take it 3 different times to make sure we got it right - he thought I was nuts - LOL. Was I as fast I had hoped - like I said I spent alot time goofing around on the run - but I was faster by over 15 minutes and more importantly I had a lot of fun - so much that we are going back this year. Joe to do the full and I coaxed Joe's dad and June Bug to do the full distance relay with me.
Our team is called - Gets better with Age. It was a toss up that name or "what would you do for a glass of wine" (spin off on the Klondike bar ad). I went with "Gets better with Age" because June Bug is a smidge older than me - running the marathon and Joe Sr is a young 72 years young as my cyclist, and yep me the swimmer.
I will fill you in on the race reports - but let it be known that the Joseph Witnesses/Shaunettes will be back on course cheering and screaming for all with a few suprises up their sleeves. It is going to be AWESOME.