Ironman Coeur d'Alene - TriathlonFull Ironman

View Member's Race Log View other race reports
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
United States
Ironman North America
83F / 28C
Total Time = 13h 38m 1s
Overall Rank = 1289/2710
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 54/145
Pre-race routine:

Planned to get up at 3:30am to be at race by 5am when Transition opened, but by 2am I was pretty much done sleeping so I’d get up and eat something, then lay down and relax, eat, relax, eat, relax until time to get up. Then eat some more (over the course of this time I had one Ensure, 2 bananas, and a couple of bowls of granola with soy milk), get coffee at 4am when the hotel started serving breakfast. Caught a 4:30am ride to the race and was there by 4:45am with plenty of time to drop off Special Needs bags, do transition stuff, use the facilities about 4 times, etc.

Ran into my girlfriends around 6am and lubed up and suited up with them, then headed down to the beach around 6:30 to see the pros (who had started at 6:25) and get a good start position. Had fun standing around with Lee Ann and Kirsten, listening to music, absorbing the vibe of the day. It was a mass beach start, and I wanted to be in the 2nd row and was there, no problem.

Event warmup:

None -- jammin' to the tunes: Dave Matthews Band (Ants Marching), Boston (More Than a Feeling), enjoying the vibe.
  • 1h 05m 24s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 33s / 100 yards

7am, BOOM!! The cannon sounded and we were off!! I expected it to be a rough start to the swim with lots of physical contact. I tried to push the first 400-500 yards to earn some space – but that wasn’t happening. I kept getting pummeled and squished and it was driving me nuts. Kept making progress, and when I came out after the first loop I heard “32 minutes,” which was good by me. I knew the second lap would be faster and more spacious and comfortable – I was anxious to get out there again. Ack!! It was no better than the first loop! I was around men (could tell by the color of their caps) just fighting for space. My cap got pulled partially off, the goggles got kicked and water-logged. There was also some good chop once you got out, which made breathing not always a certainty, and I got a few good swallows of water several times when I had planned for air. In any case, I just held on and tried to do my thing. In all, I ended up at 1:05, good enough for 5th in my age group, so I was pleased with that.
What would you do differently?:

Maybe try to take the buoys wider -- might have found clearer water out there.
Transition 1
  • 05m 43s

Felt like there was such a long way to go from the lake to the bags to the tent to the bike... Awesome woman in the tent helped me get my things all set. I put some sunscreen on my face and ran out and found Dana who slathered some sunscreen on my back. Thanks, Dana! Always nice to see a familiar face out there! Long run out to the bike over tennis courts – I felt like I had two left feet running on a hard surface in my biking shoes. Saw the VO2 folks, got my picture taken by Cindy, and on to the bike. Turned on my Garmin right away but it wasn’t getting the signal. I waited a bit but then grew impatient and said “screw it,” and took off.
What would you do differently?:

Maybe turn on Garmin before swim -- but I was keeping open the possibility of using it the entire race so wanted to save that 1.5 hours of battery life.
  • 7h 06m 19s
  • 112 miles
  • 15.76 mile/hr

My plan on the bike was to take it nice and steady the first loop, manage nutrition and hydration, and if I felt good push a little harder the next go-around. I fell into a nice and steady pace and felt good. Everything was pretty uneventful. I set my Garmin to beep every 20 minutes at which point I’d take 3 sips of my Infinit, followed by 2-3 swigs of water, plus water whenever I was thirsty. Now, I *have* done the pee-on-your-bike thing in the past, at a rainy race. But on a hot, dry day, over the course of 112 miles, I decided I did not want to spend the day basking in my own urine, and that I would stop to pee. Around 15 miles I had to go pretty badly, so stopped at mile 20. Super-nice volunteers held my bike and got me some water. Topped off my front bottle and hit the road. Continue on. The course starts with an out-and-back, then comes through town before going out into the rural areas and the land of hills. Then you come back into town, and repeat. Fortunately I had ridden the course a few times during the VO2 Multisport training camp in April so knew exactly what to expect. I dialed back on the hills, just did my slow-and-steady thing.

Around mile 30, I was just starting up a hill when all-of-a-sudden a guy’s hand pushed me on the back and I was getting pushed off the road into gravel and a ditch. I don’t know how I did it but I managed to un-clip and stop before I went over. I’m still not sure exactly what happened. Coincidentally, right at that time, Andrew was passing me and saw the event transpire. He asked if I was OK and I told him I was fine. I got back on my bike and was going up the hill and Andrew was going nice and slow making sure I was OK before he was going to ride on. It was very classy, and I really, truly appreciated that. Thanks Andrew (and I still want to hear what you saw!). Going down the next hill I saw a guy on a Felt bike with a HUGE wobble – wonder if it was the same guy and he was having major mechanical issues. Who knows.

Shortly thereafter, I really had to pee again. Ugh! I did not want to stop to pee every 20 miles of this ride, although I was happy to know I was keeping up with my hydration. It was a hot day by Seattleite standards (80’s) and I was nervous about the heat. Stopped at mile 40 to pee, topped off my front bottle, and on my way. Had a good ride back into town and out to Special Needs. I did feel like the sun was frying me to no end, so at Special Needs I got a new nutrition bottle and took a minute to slather sunscreen all over again. Had to stop again to pee, around mile 62. I kept my HR right around where I wanted it, 130, and up to 140ish on hills.

Off on the second loop, feeling fine. I was keeping up with my nutrition plan and also ate a pack of margarita shot bloks (high sodium). My pace was consistent, and my HR was staying down. I was expecting it to drift up on the 2nd loop, so perhaps I was slacking a bit, but it was actually around 125 for much of the 2nd loop. Towards the end of the second loop I wanted to set myself up for the run so made a conscious effort not to push it. Many people have written about a strong headwind coming back into down, but I didn’t notice it much. My toes were killing me! I just wanted to stop and bend my toes back for 5 minutes. It was really bugging me! Made it back into town, happy to be done with the bike, and a bit nervous about a marathon yet to tackle.

What would you do differently?:

Maybe try to push a little harder on the 2nd lap (and possibly first), but I was very nervous about the heat as our spring has been unusually dry and wet. This being my first IM, I did not want to push too hard and find out on the run that I had erred earlier.
Transition 2
  • 03m 22s

Yet again, awesome volunteers did everything for me. A guy stopped me and made sure I knew 100% that he would take care of my bike after I dismounted. Got my gear and got to the tent with my wonderful next volunteer. I turned on my Garmin (Dave’s) and asked her to set it outside to get the signal. She put sunscreen on me, got me my nutrition (Gu chomps), and was super nice. All lubed up and ready to run!
What would you do differently?:

  • 5h 17m 13s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 12m 07s  min/mile

I’ve had problems starting my runs too fast off the bike, so I really wanted to get this right as a marathon is a LONG way. So I started off nice and easy... but my stomach wasn’t feeling so hot. I’ve had my stomach feel a little off before, but usually a big burp helps it, or it just settles down as I ease into my pace. Only this time it was rapidly getting worse. I really felt like I had to puke and wasn’t sure what to do. I walked a little, had some water at an aid station, and tried to run. I really wanted to start in on my nutrition as I knew it was a long way and I was worried I’d crash and burn if I wasn’t able to eat my chomps. Ran by Special Needs, and had I been thinking clearly, I would have remembered that I had put Tums in there. DAMN!! I only realized that about an hour later, and then it was about 8-10 miles before I’d be back again. Total bonehead move, which I attribute to heat, fatigue, and just mental depletion. I started walking, and kept trying to run, but my stomach would have none of the running. My tummy was bloated and I knew I wasn’t absorbing my nutrition.

Around mile 3, I knew I’d see the VO2 folks and was hoping beyond hope for some magic bullet advice to get me through. Ben suggested some coke, and also said to go ahead and throw up. Around the corner from their house, I did stop and heave but not much came up -- horrible feeling. At about mile 3.5 was an aid station and I got some coke. I walked around a corner and my tummy was not doing well... and I stopped and was able to vomit, and vomit, and vomit, right in front of a lovely group of spectators all camped out on the grass cheering on runners (with kids and all). Several of the women were SO SWEET and immediately were helping me. They gave me napkins and a bottle of water and then tons of encouragement (“Even if you walk the rest of the way you can still finish this!”). As I was throwing up I felt so horrible I realized that this might be the end of my race. I did not want to give up, but I did not want to be stupid and end up in the medical tent for the rest of the day either. I contemplated my options – part of me said, “Stop. You’re done. This is not your day.” And the rational (irrational?) side said, “You’ll never forgive yourself. You’ve worked too hard. Failure is not an option. Finishing in 17 hours is not failure. You can do this. Even if you walk for the next 22 miles, you can do this. Forward progress. Forward progress.” So off I went, walking tentatively...

I’ve read plenty of Ironman race reports and watched enough events on TV to know that people puke and continue on all of the time... and often feel better. I’ve also learned enough to know that if you’re having stomach problems, slow down until they pass – pushing yourself will only make it worse. So I walked. And I walked. And I was patient. I was passed by friends – Joe was there with a pat on the back as he went off looking awesome on his second lap. I saw friends going the other way – some looking great, some less great. But it was fabulous to see them just the same! I saw Kate, Charles, Andrew, Kirsten, Lee Ann – I felt awful and like a total loser walking and they were looking so much better, but I couldn’t change my circumstances. I don’t know how long I walked, but it was probably until about mile 8 or so when I was able to run a little. Not much, but a little. I kept sipping water tentatively, and ate some ice chips (AWESOME!). Funny – at one aid station I passed watermelon. I’ve been on a major watermelon kick this spring and every time I ate it I thought to myself, “This would be soooooo good during an Ironman run!” There was my watermelon, and I didn’t dare touch it. That made me sad.

So I was feeling better and running more when I came to the hill of the run. This was no time to be a hero, so I walked the hill up to the turn-around, then started running down. And then I was able to run more. Yay – it was happening. I was going to do this and I was not going to walk the entire way. I still had a long way to go, but I felt pretty good given the circumstances. I saw Sue and Jennifer, looking good both of them. It’s inspiring to see others chugging along!

At about mile 10, I got to run by the VO2 house again, and Gerry came and ran with me a bit. I told him about my stomach issues and he told me that I’d be fine running on coke – he had done it before and it was enough nutrition for the marathon, and maybe try sucking on some orange slices. That little pep talk helped a ton (THANKS GERRY!) – made me a little less stressed about totally bonking or worse. So I made it my plan to keep running, walk the aid stations and take in coke and water and keep the tummy in check. It worked. I was able to run and was holding 10-10:30 pace.

I had given my family “permission” to bag out on the bike part of the race, and knew the plan was to see them around the halfway point of the run. I *needed* to see them. I needed to tell them what was happening. I needed to see the kids and feel their energy. I started looking for them hopefully, worried I’d miss seeing them or they’d miss seeing me. (Another bonehead move – I didn’t show Dave the outfit I was wearing so he didn’t know what to watch for.) But of course I’d recognize my kiddos... and I did, and I was sooo happy to see them and Dave. I got to hug them and see their signs and tell them the problems I was having. Dave told me I looked strong and much better than most of the people going by them – that was good to hear! Another boost!!

And I knew Special Needs was coming up and I wanted to get my Tums. Got ‘em and immediately ate two. I was mad I was carrying 2 packs of Gu chomps in my shirt plus a pack of shot bloks that I wasn’t going to be eating and really wanted to ditch them. I remembered how much the kids (weirdos) love this stuff, so the next time I saw them I gave them each a packet of chomps and they were thrilled. They ran with me for a bit and that was such a treat. They are strong and so energetic. Loved it!!

Ran through town again, by the VO2 house, and Dana ran with me a bit and encouraged me (THANKS DANA!) – it was so nice having the VO2 peeps there every time!! I also loved running by my vomit-assistance peeps. They cheered me on so loudly every time they saw me and I just kept heaping thanks on them and blowing them kisses – they made a huge difference in my day and I wanted them to make sure they knew it.

Going back out I got to see my friends again: Charles, Andrew, Kate, Kirsten, Lee Ann. I was sticking to my plan and just drinking coke and water at aid stations. Coming up to the last hill was both daunting and motivating. I walked the hill and the cheering squad at the top was incredible. And crossing that timing mat, I felt like I finished a mini Ironman. I did a dance and smiled and whooped it up with them, as I only had about 10K to go and I was gonna do this.

Forward progress, forward progress. Stick to the plan. And that’s what I did, into town. Saw Linda on the trail – yeah!! I was hoping to see her today! Passed the VO2 folks one last time, feeling most awesome. Coming into town they split you off – finishers one way, people needing to do the 2nd lap the other way. I LOVED taking that finisher’s turn. It just spurred me on. I was getting close and knew the crowds would be there. The more I ran into town the faster I got, and I began choosing people to pick off in front of me. On the home stretch I was running with a smile so huge. This was MY moment!! People were holding out hands for high fives and giving off such great energy. I just wanted to dance a jig and hug them all. But I had people to pass!! I kicked it in and crossed the finish. You know what??!! I did NOT hear Mike Reilly tell me I was an Ironman (as I had imagined in my darkest hours of L4 repeats on the trainer!)... But it didn’t matter! I didn’t need some strange man to tell me what I already knew. I was so happy!!!!

What would you do differently?:

Get my Tums the first time I passed special needs!!!
Post race
Warm down:

Post-race, I was greeted by my support person. I got my hat (LOVE MY HAT!! I did that race for this hat!), got a shirt I didn’t know I’d get (cool!), got my medal, and then my woman took me over for a picture. She totally cut off people in line to get me up to the front and the photographer tried to get her to take me to the back of the line. She told him I was wobbly and needed to get to medical, so he took my picture. I asked her if I was really wobbly and she said, “No, you’re not wobbly at all!” Sneaky woman! Got intercepted by medical who suggested water and chicken broth and asked if I was feeling nauseous. I wasn’t, but wasn’t about to eat. Signed up for a massage and then found Dave and the kids. They were on the other side of a fence, so it was hard to be with them and need to stay in recovery. My number got called for my massage, which was heaven on earth. Loved the guy who rubbed me down. We had some great chats. Funny – he wanted to take my hat and put it in my bag and I told him, “No way. I worked so hard for this hat and it is not leaving my hands.” (I’ve coveted this hat ever since I saw Andrew wearing one at training camp – he told me I’d get my own in June, and it’s been a long wait!) Post massage I started to feel sick so headed back to the medical folks and sat and drank a couple more cups of chicken broth. I was really done hanging out in there and wanted to be with my family. So I grabbed some pizza (feeling optimistic – didn’t eat it until 11pm that night) and sports drink and headed out to hug the fam. Got my gear bags and my bike and headed back to the hotel, where I spotted the jacuzzi. Ahhhhhhh... I knew that’s where I was headed. Made that my post-race shower – relaxed, headed back to the room for jammies and pizza, and tried to wind down and sleep. My day was done. My work was done. I did what I had come to do. And it was awesome.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Tummy issues on the run.

Event comments:

This was an awesome experience and the perfect realization of a 30-year-old (at least!) dream. The kids are ready to go back. The hubby has already said I should book next year's hotel. For now, I will recover, enjoy the summer, and then make my decisions...

Profile Album

Last updated: 2009-06-25 12:00 AM
01:05:24 | 4224 yards | 01m 33s / 100yards
Age Group: 5/145
Overall: 219/2710
Performance: Good
32 minutes for the first loop
Suit: Full sleeved wetsuit
Course: Two counter-clockwise loops in Lake Coeur d'Alene, exit first loop on the beach and re-enter the water.
Start type: Run Plus: Shot
Water temp: 62F / 17C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Average
Time: 05:43
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
07:06:19 | 112 miles | 15.76 mile/hr
Age Group: 51/145
Overall: 1421/2710
Performance: Good
HR around 130 for the first loop (higher on hills), and 125 on the second loop.
Wind: Some
Course: The course starts with an out-and-back, then comes through town before going out into the rural areas and the land of hills. Then you come back into town, and repeat.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Good Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 03:22
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
05:17:13 | 26.2 miles | 12m 07s  min/mile
Age Group: 54/145
Overall: 1289/2710
Performance: Average
Course: Short out-and-back along the lake (about 1.5 miles total), then through town and a longer out-and-back with a hill at the far end, then back into town and repeat.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5