It was a scorching hot day for competitors in the Ford Ironman Coeur DAlene in Idaho on Sunday, June 25 as almost 300 of over 2,200 starters didnt make it to the finish line.
Whistlers Marie-Anne Prevost persevered through the heat to post a time of 10 hours 46 minutes. She was 115 th overall and second in the womens 30 to 34 age group.
Within her category she was 15 th in the 3.8 km swim, first on the 180 km bike, and fourth in the 42.2 km run, finishing her day with a 3:51 marathon. Prevost actually had the lead until Staci Studer passed her on the running leg on her way to an impressive 3:33 marathon one of the 20 fastest runs of the day.
Prevost still finished just 10 minutes back of Studer, qualifying her for a spot in the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii in October.
"It was a strategic decision," said Prevost on her decision to race in Idaho in late June instead of Ironman Canada in August. "I went to Idaho because I thought I could try to qualify for Hawaii and have time to recover if I did well enough. It was a bit ambitious, I was aiming high there, but thats why I chose Idaho."
Prevost had no problems with the heat, although she continually poured water over herself and even packed ice into her shirt to stay cool.
"When I got to the finish line I was sloshing around in my shoes," she said. Otherwise everything went better than she expected.
"I could analyze that race to death, but I felt great the whole race. There were a few little issues along the way, a sore calf there, an abductor here, but I was able to work through all of that. I was just beaming down the last 100 metres. It was honestly beyond expectation."
Prevost says the bike was her best leg, and credits her mountain biking for pulling past other competitors on the twisting downhill sections. Other riders were braking in some sections while Prevost felt comfortable letting the bike go.
"I was riding mostly with guys and they were like wow, you picked a good line gong downhill. I think most of them were used to biking in a straight line, it was a little curvy but it wasnt crazy."
Mentally, Prevost stayed focused by picturing all of the people back home who were following her progress on the website.
"I knew people were watching online so every time I went over a timing mat and heard the beep, and there were a lot of laps of the courses, I thought that people would be able to see that. Its a strange feeling but you can feel the people at home supporting. Its sounds corny but thats whats so fun about training with everybody here, and the Whistler Tri Club, theyre so supportive."
Its already been a long season of training to get ready for Idaho, starting back in January. She went down to part-time at work to spend more time preparing, and "took it quite seriously". Prevost credits her partner, Bob Deeks, for helping her through the training, motivating her to go for runs and rides, and helping with things like dinner when she was exhausted.
"Its really a team effort. I dont for a second think I did it myself. Nobody does it alone, theres so much work, so much emotional support. You do have to have a plan of some sort."
Prevost has two Olympic-distance triathlons in July and one in September, but will take a break in August to train for Hawaii. She is meeting with her coach this week to go over the race in Idaho and set goals for Kona, where shell be facing the best racers from her age group from dozens of other qualifying races.