Jeremy Hopwood

Jeremy Hopwood

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Ironman Canada 2009 – The Race Report

If My Race was a Movie

"If you have not watched "Dude Where's My Car" more than six times skip this section or go rent the DVD now!!!

I do not have the literary talent to compare my race to a movie ala Jordan Rapp but if I had to choose a movie title for my report it would be "Dude Where's my Run" - As for the full 26.2 miles on the run course I looked for my run mojo just like Jesse and Chester looked for the Continuum Transfunctioner.

Unfortunately for me I never fully found it and although I did see a cheetah, blow up dolls, tigger, superman and the cast from a kodoo commercial on the course (For real!!!). I did embezel about six slices of pizza straight to my stomach in the post race area.

My Race Report in a Few Words

The full race day analysis ala "Science of Sport" for another day with HR data, mile splits and nutrition summary will be saved for another post as put bluntly it is quite boring to write and I am sure it is just as boring to read. So brief qualitative of analysis of the day is located below

  • Overall = Good not Great
  • Pre Race = Good
  • Swim = First 1/2 - Good / Second 1/2 - Blah
  • Bike = Very good
  • Run = First 6 Mile - Good not Great / Last 20 Mile - Blah to OK and not a disaster

The Main Feature -Ironman Canada - August 30th 2009

Total Time - 10:26:07
143/2602 Overall
125/1866 Male
13/107 M25-29

Race Week

Good lead up -was super relaxed and conserved my energy well. Coming into the race weekend felt ready and fresh for race day. The day before the race just followed my routine and kept relaxed. Had lunch and dinner with friends and grabbed a good nights sleep. There is a lot of hype around IMC and if I am not racing it next year I plan to go enjoy it - however a lot of energy can be wasted but buying into it all pre race and I made sure to spend most of my time in South Penticton and Westbench prior to the race.

Race Morning

After my normal pre race breakfast of eating whatever I feel like on that day I dropped of my special needs, checked my transition bags and loaded my bike with bottles and nutrition before lining up for the washroom during which time I put on my sunscreen and did the other pre race stuff.

Leslie was volunteering at swim exit so got her to zip up my wetsuit and after a quick kiss got in the water and did 3 x 40m as a warm-up. The just tried to zone out as much as possible until soaking in "Oh Canada" and then focused on the day ahead.

3.8km Swim 1:18:45
1596/2602 Overall
1248/1866 Male
86/107 M25-29

Was not to worried about getting beat up so positioned myself middle right on the line and about 5 or so back. Once the gun went started swimming asap as it was more than waist deep and did not see the point in wading like many were. First few 100m was rough but nothing crazy, copped a good few shots to the face but nothing big and just worked on keeping my fingers pointed down and trying to hit a rhythm.

Was pretty much in packs the whole way and just used others for my sighting with the cursory check now and then. Felt I executed the first half of the swim well and was 38 minutes after the about 1950m which had me on track for about 1:14:00. Must have faded in the last 1800m as came out of the water in 1:18:42.

This time was pretty much my C Goal (B was 1:15 and A was 1:10) - It was what is was though so started trucking into T1 as this point and started to focus on the bike. I am going to become a swimmer over the next few months with the aim of being a FOP swimmer by next year so I can start to mix with the cool kids early on the bike.

T1 - Swim to Bike 3:37

520/2602 Overall
352/1866 Male
38/107 M25-29

After getting "stripped" grabbed my bag (Doing pre race jog throughs makes this easy) and got into the tent. Made sure I was methodical and got my bike shoes on well before repacking my bag quickly and exiting the tent. I think I need to drink a little less pre race as once again (As in last year) I needed to use the porta-potty in T1. Once this was done grabbed my bike and began down main street.

Nothing special about T1 and overall pretty happy with process and executed it well.

180km Bike 5:14:54
101/2602 Overall
98/1866 Male
10/107 M25-29


My bike was all about keeping in the zone . After the swim my HR had spiked a little so worked on getting that down while going down main. Had to yell a lot to get a clear path on the left and really only got into aero about 3 or 4km into the course once it was a little bit safer to do so.

Based on my HR data I executed the ride well and spent 98% of time in my zone. The first major test is McLean creek road and spun up this nice and easy pulling back my effort whenever my HR spiked. Knowing the descent helped and I nailed this staying aero for all but one of the corners. I was super cautious around other riders as in IM racing the bike handling skills can be creative at times.

It was then onto Highway 97 and to Osoyoos. Took this section nice and controlled and made a lot of passes through here before hitting the base of Richter. It was then past the husky and up the hill. Looking at the flag the wind was non existent and at this point I thought it could be a fast day on the bike. Did not spike my HR at all on the climb up Richter and just focused on executing my nutrition and hydration.

Once I hit the summit of Richter just focused on getting as aero as possible for the descent and felt I nailed it. Overtook a lot of people and maxed out around 80km/h through this section. Then hit the rollers and my tactic was to keep the effort as smooth as possible. Felt I did this well even into the 20km/h headwind that had sprung up.

Through the out and back just tried to keep on concentrating and keeping an equal effort and before I knew it was at the base of yellow lake where my support crew was at. Hardest part about yellow lake was keeping my effort low as the crowds out supporting give you a shot of adrenaline which can cause you to work too hard.

After spinning up Yellow had to work all the way to T2 due to the head wind. Once again nailed the descent and overtook quite a few people although had got closer to the front of the field at this stage and the course had thinned out a bit.

My Goal on the bike was to keep it in zone and definitely achieved this and based on my bike time relative to the field would have to give it a "A"

T2 - Bike to Run 1:38
13/2602 Overall
10/1866 Male
3/107 M25-29

Doing jog throughs on transition check in day always helps. Pretty much started unpacking my bag as a ran to the tent and got out of there quickly. Not much else to say although pretty cool that of the people I train with we had 4 of the top 17 T2 times.

42.2km Run 3:47:15
150/2602 Overall
127/1866 Male
14/107 M25-29

Came out of T2 and the legs felt ok but not great. Set into a rhythm coming out of town and was holding 7:37 Mile pace through the first 5 miles. Then I hit my first decent uphill and started on the verge of cramping. This continued to be the theme of the day where could run well on the flats and downhills but had no mojo going uphill and really had to condense my stride. Was hoping it would come clear but alas it was not to be.

It then turned into a 20 mile interval workout where I would push the flats and downhills and drag myself up the hills. Saw lots of carnage out on the run and saw a lot of people toughing it out. Hit OK Falls and halfway at about 1:49:30. Uphills out of OK falls where a struggle more due to a leg wanting to cramp rather than effort which makes me think my run struggles were due to a lack of core strength rather than pushing the bike to hard or a lack of run fitness.

Kept working on the way into town and made sure to yell support when I saw people I knew. Ran the whole way in except walking at every 2nd aid station or so. Once I hit the peak of main started the run into town and this is where it gets interesting.

With 1 mile to go somebody came up on my shoulder and my thought process was as follows "please don't be in my age group". Looked down and saw 28 on the calf so had to get into race mode. Re overtook so I had the inside line on the corners to Lakeside then put in a mini surge just as I was passing a couple friends cheering. This didn't change the situation so eased back until the aid station before the turnaround and put in a bigger effort. Did not dare look back but at the turnaround I had put a gap of about 30m on the guy. From this point on its just 600m so just worked as hard as I could, passed one other guy in my age group with about 400m to go and just gave it from his point on. Looked back with 75m to go and had a 125m gap so was able to enjoy the finish.

Not happy with my run time but happy with how I toughed it out for a 3:47:15 run and made two age group spots up in the last mile . In the end the run goal would be put down as a C Goal achieved as I did not totally blow up however I did not achieve my target time of 3:20 (A Goal) and 3:35 (B Goal).

The Finish and Overall

Had some fun in the chute with a few high fives and had the energy to hurdle the finishing banner. Thinking to celebrate IM CDA I am going to limbo the banner if I am not in a race down the chute - this may take a bit of practice during the Christmas party season :) This year I would give my finish celebration a B Plus - looking for an A come next year!!!!

Overall this race achieved my B Goal of 10:30. A perfect day would have seen me go sub 10 hours (A goal) and my C goal was sub 11 hours.

Post race

Post race after a quick visit to medical and some Gatorade knocked back 6 pieces of pizza. It was then home to clean up, have a beer and then go out for a steak dinner and a couple margaritas before heading back to see the last 30 minutes at the finish. To me this is one of the best parts of the day where you are still on an adrenaline high and can share in others achieving their goals.

If you are every at or racing and Ironman try to make the effort to get back for that last 30 minutes.

Jer vs Pro

Here are my times in comparison to the winner Jordan Rapp

8:25:13 (Jordan) vs 10:26:07 (Jeremy)
23% slower

51:20 (
Jordan) vs 1:18:45 (Jeremy)
53% slower

1:42 (
Jordan) vs 2:09 (Jeremy)
103% slower

4:34:47 (Jordan) vs 5:14:54 (Jeremy) 15% slower

1:05 (
Jordan) vs 1:38 (Jeremy) 9% Faster

2:55:33 (
Jordan) vs 3:47:15 (Jeremy) 29% slower

The Self Interview

Have reflected a little bit this week on the day and trying to piece together what my thoughts are post race. So here goes a few of the questions others have asked and I have asked myself;

Question 1 - Are you Happy with the Result?

This is tougher to answer than most people may think. The race was a PB over the distance by 1 hour and 1 minute and I improved my times in all three disciplines. Having said that all that I am not content with the result and I will be using the day as motivation over the winter and into next year where I plan to use what I learned from race day and the process to improve my execution and results in 2010.

Aside the above thoughts I was happy with the day and how I worked through the race and most importantly I had a lot of fun out there. This was the first step in a multi year process to get fast and achieve some good results and there are enough positive aspects for me to be confident that will happen.

Question 2 - What would you have done different?

Still trying to work this one out - are thinking maybe a little bit more hill running and a lot more swimming. Also think the stronger I can make my core the less likely I am to have leg issues on the run. My core is a lot stronger than 12 months ago but there is still room for huge improvement.

Question 3 - You are Australian - shouldn't you know how to swim?

If I had a dollar for every time that has been asked. Through a few chats and reflection over the past 6 weeks or so I have decided that I am going to become a swimmer and not just someone who views it as a stepping stone to T1. For 2010 my aim is to be a FOP swimmer and are looking forward to a lot of technique work and miles in the pool over the coming few months and rocking the swim in 2010.

Question 4 - You going to do this again?

Heck yeah - looking forward to starting training again and my main race at the moment is Ironman Coure'd'Alene which falls on my 30th Birthday. Also thinking of trying to get a race in back in Oz and the Geelong 70.3 could be a candidate but still need to work that one out.

More to Come

I am sorry but still have more to post on IMC 2009. Are cutting the many photos and video form the day for a short youtube production (Less than 5 minutes is my target) and will do a technical post with HR, splits, nutrition, gear review/summary and tips from Jer for those doing IMC in years to come.

All of these will be posted by the contest draw (Sept 15th) as mentioned below.

Enter the Contest!!!!

Congrats - you made it this far!!!!!!

Please feel free to leave comments, challenges, dares or the location of treasure in the comments section. I am going to select the best 5 comments in my humble opinion (If I get that many :) ) and undertake a random draw that will be videotaped and may or may not include tequila (If you have a really good idea for the method of prize draw this may get you in the Top 5!!!)

To thank all those who read my blog and have sent me messages of support during the year I am offering for the winner I will purchase a 12 month digital subscription to Triathlete Magazine. Flame away!!!

Contest closes on September 14th 2009 and I will announce the winner on the blog.


  1. Interesting that we would share many of the same sentiments about the day. Happy with the overall result but not satisfied, perhaps because we each know that a better race lies within us. As to what could have been done diffently, I agree that this still requires additional thought.
    Anyway, all that aside, congratulations on your race Jeremy. Good job man. Look forward to seeing you out on the bike over the winter.

  2. Holy crap my ears perked up when I read the word "tequila". No seriously, your race report was very down to earth and seemingly quite honest, and fun to read!

    As an interested observer and someone who wants to see you reach your goals, I find your willingness to share such detail of your experience to be inspiring and fascinating. Consider readers like me an invisible push on your back when you are down or looking for a little extra motivation to get up and go. You're a winner in our minds, no matter what.

    Couple questions:

    When you were yelling for support, what were you seeking?

    Also, is it more reasonable to compare your results to your age grp winner than to the rappstar? Afterall, you're almost 30! *gasp* ;-) The 12 agers that beat you, them's the villains, no?

    Finally, you mention you wolfed down 6 pieces of pizza after the event. That is quite a mental image. Were you like a starving contestant on Survivor who, after 21 days in the bush wins a burger, gulps it down in a feeding frenzy and then pukes it up on the way back to camp cuz your body could no longer handle a bit of cheese and stuff?

    Or was it a special triathlete pizza?

  3. Reagan

    Re yelling support - it can be as simple as yelling someone's name you know to saying one of the catch phrases that comes up when you are training. Just anything to add a smile into the tough part of the day.

    Pizza was domino's - mainly cheese with a couple slices of peperoni. Body is just craving food and the oiliness of pizza does the job well. The NHL teams actually get pizza made and scrape of the toppings during the overtime of games to get the fats and oils in.

    The reason why I compare to the lead pro is that you know that they have executed their race pretty well so are a good baseline. What I am hoping to be able to do is normalize the % across the three sports.

  4. Congrats on your race and the PR! Glad to hear you enjoyed yourself out there and still had enough left at the end to RACE and move up a couple spots in your age group!

    I can completely agree with you about the feeling of not being totally satisfied, despite the huge PR and having had a very consistent day and well-executed race overall. This is something I have thought about a lot this year. Most of us have such high expectations of ourselves in this sport, which occasionally sets us up for disappointment if we don't reach our lofty goals. We are always going to find things we could have done better and things we need to improve upon when doing our post-race reflections. This is actually a good thing as we are always striving to achieve higher.

    For all my races this season, I have made sure to have the same common goal, more important than all my other goals, and that is: To Have Fun! As a result, I have enjoyed myself immensely at all of them and still had great results!

    Great end to your season - now it's time to enjoy some much needed rest!

  5. Thanks Lisa - I definetely had a fun day out there and really enjoyed the experience. So many positives to take out of the day and had so much fun out there on the course.

    Think I was pacing richter well as was asking people if they were having fun yet when it got quiet :)

  6. Clearly you need more ninja training...

  7. Hi Jeremy!

    Bloody amazing effort although not at all surprised given your talent for the distance running when in school (although you spent most soccer games just standing in goal!)

    Hope that life in Canadia is treating you well. Drop me a line when you are next in Adelaide (this decade?)

    All the best!

  8. Hats off dude.... 10:26 is pretty awesome (especially coming by way of some B and C goals throughout the day.)

    Imagine how much the other dude in your AG is kicking himself for showing his cards (and calf) with a mile to go? He should have laid in wait... and tried to pounce closer to the line. He'll be replaying that one in his head for a while...


  9. Hi Jeremy,

    First of all congratulation for you awesome race.

    I also wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you for your blog. I am a silent reader and read you regularly and leading to IMC -religiously. I would log on to your blog every day, see what you did for training that day, checked myself and if I done half of it- I knew I was good. (you are on a different level than I am, speed wise, crazy wise, age wise, gender wise). In a virtual way you were part of my personal journey to a very successful race this year. I took from your blog (and will keep taking as long as you keep writing) tips, enthusiasm and lots of inspiration. So thank you for sharing.

  10. brilliant results, how have i not come to your blog before? i think i'd mentally already been here but clearly physically that was lacking. and if that sentence didn't make any sense i apologise, it's late :)

    anyways GREAT race report; loving the compare times with the winner, 103% slower caught my eye and then realised it was only for T (phew!)

    personal q+a is good too, especially for goal setting. it's easy to forget all this business as you continue, particularly if you're racing a lot.

    (ok lots more catch up reading to do, have only made it this far)

    super result though and equally great photo line finish. i was aiming for a jump side kicky thing last tri but never got there. next time!