Laura Seaman – Mont Tremblant 70.3

People Who Inspire Me: Laura Seaman

It would seem obvious, and a bit cheesy, for me to write a long introduction about why Laura inspires me. She is the one who has to live with this long process. She is my most pragmatic supporter. She supports completely, unless I need someone to kick my ass, which she dutifully does. I am inspired by her relentless pursuit of her goals. She ran the Ironman 70.3 race in Mt. Tremblant at the end of June and here is her report.

By Laura Seaman

Scott asked me to write something for his blog about my race at the Mt Tremblant 70.3 – my initial thought was “but I’m no Carrie Grinter, Patti Warr, Ian Child, Shane Pegg or Mike Pinkney” – these are individuals that I know that Scott looks up to for their athletic endeavours.  Why would Scott be asking me to write something (other than the fact that his training has him so mentally tired that he himself hasn’t written in months and he may be looking to outsource) but I’m the engineer and he’s the English guy so it really doesn’t make sense to outsource writing to me, there must be something more to this.

I thought about it for a week, trying to figure it out.  I remember a text that Scott sent me while I was away for work.  It was about a run workout that Scott had mid-week.  He said that the only reason he laced up his shoes was because he knew that I would have completed the workout.  That’s my contribution to inspiring athletic endeavours – I’m not incredibly impressive: I’m not fast, I’m not strong, but I am stubborn, slow and steady.  I’m also realistic when it comes to what it takes when you take on these challenges.

Laura Body Marking

It may sound like I’m making light of my strengths, I’m not, I’ve learned over the past few years to embrace them.  I believe in getting the absolute most out of your time here on earth.  For Scott and I, that includes taking on physical challenges.  I signed up for a half-ironman (HIM) three years ago because I’d lost a good friend in Haiti.  She had emailed me to tell me that she was going to do it the Friday before she left, I couldn’t believe it – Katie didn’t swim with her head in the water but was signing up for a HIM?!?  I have no doubt that if she’d been able to participate; Katie would have rocked that 1.9K open water swim.  In Katie’s absence, I signed up and completed Timberman that summer (I’m proud to say that Chrissie Wellington beat me in that event).  I bring up this race because I think that year was a foundation one of setting a goal, doing the training required and accomplishing it.

The next year saw me unable to race Timberman due to the death of Scott’s father. So this year, I decided to try my hand at the Mt Tremblant 70.3.  The race seemed like a good fit, it’s early in the year so it would allow me to be Olympic-obsessed (and not have to worry about the effect that would have on my training) and it would give Scott the opportunity to check out the course before his race.  My ultimate goal is to complete a HIM in 6 hours.  Participating in Mt T would allow me the chance to see where I stood and what I need to work on moving forward.

Training took a turn for the complicated when I said yes to an opportunity to work in our Calgary office for eight weeks.  I ended up renting a bike there and learning to navigate the city and surrounding roads during my rides and runs.  I got to take advantage of trail running around the city as well as all of the paths along the waterfront.  My time in Calgary would have been a good excuse to modify expectations:

  • My rented bike didn’t have a computer so it was hard to judge how the bike training was going.
  • Don’t even get me started on the wind coming off those Rockies on my long rides – that was incredible!
  • The hotel pool was not conducive to swim training so I joined the local public pool – it was close to my hotel but only 18.25m (60ft) long so I was getting good practice at my flip turns.
  • The cool Calgary weather wasn’t giving me any confidence when Scott kept telling me how hot it was in the east. (I ended up running inside for the final 1.5 weeks just to make sure my body would be used to heat and I took some hot yoga.)

There were many opportunities to beg off race preparations but I’m stubborn and really wanted to use this HIM as a benchmark.  And now, on to the race report:

Laura Wetsuit

I flew to Ottawa the Friday before the race and met up with Scott for supper at our favourite Italian restaurant in Little Italy before driving to Tremblant.  The atmosphere in the village was really fun – all of the athletes and their families gathered together in a great location.  Scott went for a big ride Sat morning while I slept in then did a little exploring.

Race morning went better than usual as I was able to get almost all of my breakfast into my stomach and then the big show began.  The swim start was very cool.  They had the Snowbirds doing fly-overs and a canon to start the race.  There was even a Mountie on the dock for pictures.  Very awesome.  I think that the best view in Tremblant is the one from the water.  My swim warm-up went well and I felt pretty good in the water.  I didn’t have any significant expectations for the swim; my goal was to match the time I’d swam at Triple T earlier this year.  The swim went great – the water was very clear and a great temp.  I beat my goal time by approx three minutes – YAHOO!  It’s the fastest pace I’ve ever posted in a triathlon.

Laura Bike

It was a very long distance to the transition area (estimates put it around 800m) which is far enough and especially when you are carrying a wetsuit but I used the trick of draping it over my shoulders and that worked well.  A quick pit stop and then I made sure to drink half a bottle and hopped on my bike.  The bike course was great and I felt good.  I kept waiting for it to get harder.  There were definitely some challenging climbs over the last approx 15K (but nothing compared to the hills we faced at Poconos).  I was able to maintain an average speed of 25.5km/hour, so I’m pleased but this is definitely an area for improvement towards my six hour goal.

I ran out of water on the bike course and at some point my stomach was tired of the food I was eating so I felt queasy coming off the bike and thought I’d have to start walking the run course.  I made sure to eat a bunch of chews in transition and set off.  I told myself that I should run to the first aid station to get as much liquids in me as possible and re-evaluate.  I ran 8min/km for the first kilometre and drank and ate a bunch to try to settle my stomach – my hands were literally full of fuel at that first aid station!  I averaged about 9min/K on the second K and thought, “This could be a LONG run if I keep up this trend”.  But the good news was that the pretzels from the aid station were helping to settle my stomach so I no longer felt the need to walk.  

I maintained consistent 8min/km for the next while (like I said earlier, slow and steady).  I picked it up a bit around the halfway point and then settled in to the same pace again.  Overall, my pace was 7:48/km – I’m really very happy with that – but again, an area for improvement for the six hour goal.  It’s hard to wrap my head around the fact that I’m consistently running sub-6:00 kilometres and then I average 8:00 in the race but I have to remind myself that the 90km bike ride is going to have an impact on my run.

Laura Run Finish

[Editor’s Note:] Laura finished the race in 7 hours and 8 minutes. Beating her goal of 7:11. On top of that, she beat her previous best Ironman 70.3 time by 54 minutes!

Anyways, I think that’s it for the race.  We travelled back to Ottawa where I hopped on a plane back to Calgary and Scott drove back to KW.  It was a very fun and whirlwind weekend.  I was sore Monday and very tight Tuesday but nothing too crazy.

And now we are in the final countdown for the main event.  I’m able to draw on the wisdom of Carrie Grinter, Patti Warr, Ian Child, Shane Pegg and Mike Pinkney as Scott starts to question signing up for the Ironman.  I remind Scott of Carrie’s sage advice – she recommends taking the breaks when your body requires them.  We often think of Patti and her expert opinions, including that Scott would be strong enough to do this if he put in the training – he has.  Ian completed Ironman UK just last weekend and Scott really enjoyed their training rides together.  Shane is always supportive of Scott’s efforts and Coach Pinkney has dramatically changed Scott’s run with his pointers and words of advice.

Scott’s going to miss not having his Dad there to cheer him on but I’m sure that all of the family will be making enough noise to encourage him throughout the race.  I know that I will be crying on multiple occasions, bursting with pride at the outstanding results of all of Scott’s hard work.  I’m very proud of him!