Race Coverage

"Jake, You're In!"...


By Jake Braam(Facebook)


Ironman Canada Race Report 1/3

Here are the categories:
1. Planning (hills, nutrition, weather, tips)
2. Race Execution
3. Post Race

Planning (for you non-triathletes this will probably be boring):

I'm not big on planning or studying course maps or meditating. I find the more I study the course, the more anxious I become during race week. It's better for me to study the course a day or two before and more or less wing it. That being said, Coach Anthony Jagielo had me well prepared for the brutal climbing on the bike course with the training plans he produced. We also drove most of the bike course two days prior to race day....


Hills: My plan was to start on the lower end of my watts range and then increase my power output on the second loop of the bike course. In theory, this would prevent me from overshooting and blowing up my legs for the run.

Nutrition: Most of the nutrition plan is broken down by hour. Prior to race start, I always take in a gel with about 90-100 calories. This offsets some of the calories I'll burn during the swim. During the bike, I planned to take 1 serving of a carbohydrate drink, 1 gel, and 1-2 salt tabs per hour. Aside from that, I started out with Nuun in my bottles until I ran out and then I grabbed water bottles from the aid stations. The plan for the run was to consistently sip on gels throughout the race. Very few pictures from the race show me without a gel in my hand during the run. (To be honest, the nutrition plan for the run went out the window and I'll explain why in the next post.)

Weather: One of the most challenging aspects of Ironman Canada was the weather. Although we had a sunny day, we did have a huge temperature range. At race start, the temperature was right around 45 degrees Fahrenheit and would later reach 75+ degrees. So, I took a space blanket (you know, the tinfoil looking blankets they hand out at the end of marathons) cut it apart and zipped it into my race kit to cover my chest and abdomen. This gave me some wind protection and extra warmth for the first part of the bike. Once the temperatures warmed up enough, I pulled the space blanket out of my kit and handed it to a volunteer. I highly recommend doing this if you are expecting cold conditions at race start. The blanket provides warmth and keeps the body as aerodynamic as possible.

bikejake.pngIronman Canada Race Report 2/3

Race Execution
Swim: The breathtaking backdrop of mountains and clear, crisp lake made the 2.4 mile swim go by quickly. And yet, I came out of the water in 68 minutes. I ran up the shoreline into transition thinking I probably just blew my shot at Kona.

Bike: All I remember from the first 20 miles is my legs and arms feeling numb from the cold air and soaked race kit. At 20 miles in we started the largest climb (which we’d do two times). At this point I started to believe in the Kona dream again. Not only was I passing people on this climb, I was eating them up and still well within my limits. The race consisted of many out-and-backs on the bike course which I loved. It gave me a chance to shout encouragement to my friends. Speaking of which, watching Sean Cooley absolutely smashing watts and Jordan Roby mixing it up with the top of the field gave me so much energy. Remarkable to watch! Most of the bike is a blur for me. Things that went wrong: I ate all of my nutrition too early and went 75 minutes without calories, my salt tabs melted halfway through, and I kept running out of water.

Run: I saw Anthony, Steven, and Anna right out of transition. Anthony ran alongside me and told me I was in 7th place in my age group. He told me not to panic and just reel everyone in. After 3 miles I found my rhythm and just started rolling. I took EVERYTHING at the aid stations!! Coke, Red Bull, water, gels, salt tabs. I really think my ability to take in calories and liquids made the marathon happen. When I came around to the halfway point Anthony was going bananas. He said, “Jake, you’re in 4th and you’re running faster than everybody else! Just hold and surge the last 2 miles and you’ll get there.” With two miles to go Anthony yelled at me again this time with panic, “You’re 2 minutes down from second! You have to give everything now!” I started to mount a charge and felt a small, but firm, pinch in my calf muscle. It receded immediately, but it was a warning from my body to my mind. “You push now, and your muscles will revolt.” So, I settled back into my pace and accepted there would be no final big push to the line.

Ironman Canada Race Report 3/3

finishjake.pngPost Race
FINISH LINE: I know the numbers well enough to know I probably didn’t work my way into 2nd in my age group. Throughout the race I maintained my composure and kept a tight reign on my emotions... all of that went out the window when I saw that finish line (just look at the photo I posted 😆).

After spending some time gathering myself and getting photos taken, Jordan and I needed to go back to the VRBO to shower. So, Anna, Jordan, and I made our way back to the condo. When I went into my bedroom I had the chance to jump on my phone and look at all the messages, social media posts, etc. Then I just started tearing up. I guess I didn’t realize so many people cared about my race. For the rest of the evening I carried a portable battery charger because you all kept blowing up my phone. THANK YOU!! I appreciate all the love. The rest of the evening was spent with my friends watching finishers, eating dinner, and just hanging out in Whistler. It was perfect!

AWARDS: At the awards ceremony, I received my award for 3rd in my age group. At the time I thought my age group was only going to receive two slots for the World Championships. At some point during the awards ceremony Anthony started walking through the crowd of people and we locked eyes. All he said was, “Jake, you’re in!” I couldn’t believe it so I jogged up to the stage with him to find the Kona qualifying list, which showed Age Group 25-29 had been awarded 3 slots. I double checked the list probably ten times before I finally believed it. I gave him a huge hug and walked back to the larger group of friends and everyone just kind of freaked out. Lots of high fives, hugs, and big smiles. Seeing how excited my friends were for me was the highlight of the day. That’s the best part of the sport: the community. Thank you 🙏🏼 @ Whistler, Canada

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