Ironman Canada: Zac Efron, Racing Leotards, and Temporary Insanity

Ironman Canada: Zac Efron, Racing Leotards, and Temporary Insanity

Good lord, this post is so belated that it’s probably not even worth publishing. Oh well, deal with it — I’m pretty sure Jason poisoned me with the lunch he made, so before I wither up and die I might as well share my recap of Ironman Canada 2009.

In August Jason and I headed to Penticton, BC, to watch some of our training buddies race the full Ironman and so Jason could sign up for the 2010 race (you basically have to sign up for full Ironman races on-site because they sell out so quickly). He had been badgering me non-stop to sign up as well, and I kept vehemently shooting him down, telling him again and again that I didn’t think I’d be ready and that I wanted to improve my half distance times before even thinking about tackling a full. Eventually Jas stopped hounding me and figured he’d just go it alone next year.

We packed up some things for the weekend and were just about to leave when Jason randomly decided to call his dad and see if he wanted to tag along. Brief aside: Jason’s dad is awesome. He’s the kind of spectator you want watching you race because he’s genuinely interested in athletics and sports. He’ll show up at 5 am to watch things get set up and will wait around all day until the race ends. Best support system ever.

Anyway, surprisingly enough, Jason’s dad wanted to tag along at the last minute so we headed to his parent’s house and picked him up for the long haul to Penticton. (Or, rather, we drove to Jason’s parents’ house and Jason’s dad drove from there. Woo hoo, free ride!) The area in and around Penticton is gorgeous — huge lakes, rolling hills and valleys, wine country galore. I’ve also never seen a town embrace the Ironman like Penticton. There were signs everywhere welcoming athletes and advertising the Ironman. Hell, the town Subaru dealership is even called “The Ironman City Subaru.” After coming from the most redneck, anti-Ironman Ironman race I’d seen, Penticton felt like I’d died and gone to athlete heaven.


I should wipe my ass with this postcard and send it to the fine townsfolk of Lake Stevens.

When we got into town, we made our way to the house that we were staying at for the next couple days. My friend/chiropractor/fellow triathlete Nathan was racing Canada and had rented a house, and he had an extra room to spare. What I didn’t expect was for the house to look like the family who owned it had just left hours before we got there — personal photos and whatnot were left out, making me feel like I had just broken into someone’s house and decided to crash there, Goldilocks-style.

Undoubtedly because Nathan despises me for canceling so many chiro appointments, he decided to save this room for me and Jason:


That poster of Zac Efron holding the camcorder was pointed right at the bed. Ew.


It's like the Disney Channel barfed all over the walls.


Okay, that's just creepy.

Not only was this girl obsessed with Zac Efron…


…she also seemed to side with Team Brown:



Jason’s dad opted to sleep on the floor since he was a last-minute house guest, so the three of us spent the night inside a 13-year old girl’s room, surrounded by glossy two-dimensional teen heartthrobs, nightmare-inducing clowns, and a lavender phone shaped like a pair of lips.

Race day arrived, and we awoke to find an amusing checklist left on the counter top by one of the racers staying in the house:


Gotta remember to glide that chode!

We headed to the start to watch the race and to support our friends.


Swim course

I was absolutely blown away by the crowd of people who showed up to support the race. There were groups of spectators everywhere, and they cheered just as loudly for non-pros as they did the pros. It was by far the most supportive fans I’d ever seen. (No joke, Jason, his dad and I even got cheered on by people when we went for a 6 mile run. It made our wimpy little workout seem like a major accomplishment.) The race was amazingly well organized, too — I’ve never seen anything like it. The last couple of people who emerged from the swim received deafening cheers and screams because they were dangerously close to missing the swim cutoff. Thankfully, they made the cut and were able to enjoy the thrill of getting their wetsuits stripped off by volunteers. (BTW, if you’re looking to purchase a wetsuit, be sure to read some triathlon wetsuit reviews before choosing the right one — you definitely want to have a good fit if you’re dragging yourself through 2.4 miles of water amidst 2,500 other people.)

All day long I saw all sorts of people racing Canada. There were pros, old people, young people, overweight people, (lots of) skinny people. I even saw the guy who races each year with a new “gimmick” — I’ve heard that in previous years he’s raced dressed as Elvis and using a one speed bike. This year he once again went the costume route:


I’m not sure if he’s supposed to be a leopard or a cheetah, but either way, that is one impressive getup considering how swelteringly hot the day was.

My favorite race outfit, however, was the guy sporting the Life with Louie t-shirt:


I could only snap a shot of the back of the shirt, but still, that is an awesomely dated and obscure choice of attire for a 140.2 mile race (who runs a marathon in a cotton t-shirt?!).

Eventually my teammates started to pour in. Mark was first, and he absolutely spanked Canada (and deserved to — he trained so hard all year-long and exceeded everyone’s expectations). This picture pretty much sums up how other racers felt to see him nearing the finish:


It was so awe-inspiring to see my triathlete buddies approach the finish line one-by-one. Everyone had a phenomenal race, and I was so excited and proud for them.

The next morning we got up early so Jason and Nathan’s friend could head over to the Expo Hall and sign up for the 2010 Ironman Canada. After much deliberation and a bout of temporary insanity, I did the unthinkable and signed up with them (it only took 3 G-D hours to do it too, and there wasn’t even a rollercoaster at the end of it). I hadn’t planned on committing to a full Ironman so soon, but Penticton really won me over with its beautiful course and the incredible support and organization. So I HTFU’d, plopped down an obscene amount of money, and began counting down the days until next August.

I’ll keep you all updated on my training regimen from now until D-Day — it’s sure to be rife with complaints, blisters, sunburns, near-drownings, early morning grumblings and prep races. Hopefully you’ll come along for the ride and experience a year’s worth of prep for a full Ironman race. I’ll try to make my journey as amusing as possible for you. 🙂

7 Responses to “ “Ironman Canada: Zac Efron, Racing Leotards, and Temporary Insanity”

  1. Bri says:

    hahah wow, the body glide check list is priceless….did you find out who’s it was?

  2. Rebecca says:

    I think it was Ann’s boyfriend Aaron. 🙂

  3. Teresa says:

    Omg, you had me cracking up entirely and then when I got to mark’s photo I was rolling on the floor. Great post! So glad you will be racing there next year! Go Mediocre athletes.


  4. Rebecca says:

    I’m going to need your help to prepare, Teresa! 😀

  5. Dedee Jason's cousin says:

    language language!!! =)

  6. Sheri says:


    If you are looking for accommodations in the future we offer 1 to 4 bedroom condo, town home and vacation homes sans the personal belongings and cheesy pictures on the walls.

    Options including pictures can be viewed at

    Toll Free: 1-866-273-9737

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