Ironman Coeur d'Alene - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
United States
Ironman North America
62F / 17C
Total Time = 13h 45m 41s
Overall Rank = 1299/
Age Group = W 35-39
Age Group Rank = 52/119
Pre-race routine:


When I signed up for CDA last July, I did an IM time calculator to estimate what my final IM time would be. I was quite diheartened when it stated that I wouldn't finish. After this cold realization, I searched many books and websites to find a training plan. A coach would have been great, but with a family of 7 on a very small budget, this was not possible. I decided on the beIRONfit program, and selected the competitve plan so that I would be able to finish. I stuck to this plan almost religiously, and missed only 5 or 6 workouts, peaking at 22 hours/wk before my taper. This plan gave me the confidence I so desperately needed, and I left Omaha with the strong belief that I would finish. I had no knowledge of what the day would bring, and I didn't even want to guess what time I could do it in. My first goal was to HAVE FUN!! I knew that I would not win this race or qualify for Kona, so speed did not metter. If I wasn't enjoying myself and soaking in every moment, there was no point in even going! My second goal was to finish, and my third goal was to finish at about 16 hours.
The family and I left Omaha Wednesday after my son's summer concert around 11:00am. We drove through to Wyoming and stayed at a KOA just beneath Devil's Tower. We hiked around Devil's Tower Thursday morning then resumed our trek to Coeur d'Alene. In Montana the camper had a flat. It was easily fixed once we drove back to a small town to find the correct sized lug wrench! Fortunatly, this was to be the only flat for the whole trip. We arrived in CDA late Thursday night.
Friday morning I arrived at the Gatoraid bottle to meet up with the BT crew. Unfortunately, there were 500 other people there as well, and I couldn't recognize anyone! So I did a 1.2 mile loop of the swim course. It was a little choppy, but not too bad. The ride back into shore felt like I was body surfing! After the swim, I did a 40 minute jog, then headed over to register. The volunteers during the registration process (and throughout the entire race) were excellent! I went back to the hotel to shower then drive the bike course. From the car, the hills didn't look too intimidating.

Saturday I organized my bags then drove to the race site. I did a quick 10 minute test run on the bike, and a 1.5 mile jog. Then the fam and I went through Ironman village. The special Ironman event clothing looked great, but the price tags were too much to bear. Afterwards, we went to an indoor water park. I had mac and cheese for dinner then went to bed at 8pm. I actually slept well and woke to the alarm at 4am. Breakfast consisted of 2 choclate fudge poptarts (yeah, I know, but it works for me), and a 12 oz glass of milk.
Event warmup:

The morning was quite cold with temps in the high 40's with a brisk wind coming off the lake. I went to my bike and transition bags to place my gels and special drink cocktail bottles consisting of: 3 scoops carbo pro, 1 endurolyte, and 1.5 packs of crystal light ice tea mix. Next I was body marked. Then I was able to find flushable toilets .2 miles away with no waiting. For some reason, probably nerves, I always manage to "fully empty" prior to a triathlon. And I was happy that it worked once again (one less thing to worry about later). Next I put on my body glide and wetsuit, said goodbye to the family, then started to make my way to the swim start. As I was nearing the chip mats, Mike Riley got on the loud speaker and stated that the water conditions were rough, and if anyone wanted to drop out of the swim and do a duathlon, they could. The girl next to me started crying. But I said to myself, 'the water doesn't look any worse than it did 2 days ago, and I cam here to do an IRONMAN, not a duathlon!!!' Most others around me expressed this same sentiment. Once over the timing mat, I looked at my watch which said 0700!! Just in time! I put on my neoprene cap, googles, then race swim cap, and the cannon went off!
  • 1h 33m 19s
  • 4224 yards
  • 02m 13s / 100 yards

I waited only about 30 seconds, and started in the center, but back of the pack. Getting used to the water temperature was easier than it was for the practice swim 2 days ago. I expected many pounding arms and legs, but was pleasantly surprised by how little contact I had! There were occassional brushes, but that was about it! The first half of the loop was against the waves, wind and current. So it felt like I was going nowhere, and I was resolved at going an easy pace. My rhythm kicked in quickly, and I found several pairs of feet to draft off of. Since the waves were about 2-3 feet high, sighting was problematic. About 3/4 of the way to the first turn bouy, a kayaker stopped my little group I was swimming with, and told us to go more to the right. Apparently, my little group and I were sighting off the second turn bouy!! Oh well, it was nice open water! The first turn bouy was not that crowded, but by the time I got to the second turn bouy, there was a total swimming standstill. Everyone was treading water! Noone could move until the person in front of them had moved. Quite a few people were yelling out "keep moving!." The way back in was heaven, and I sighted well. The next thing I knew I was out of the water (at around 45 minutes) and beginning my second loop. On the beach I just grinned largely because I couldn't believe I was actually doing an IRONMAN!!! The second loop was fairly uneventful. Close to shore, I was somewhat disappointed that the swim was done. I really enjoyed it and wanted to do another loop!
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. Although my time is slow, I have trained for many hours in the pool with a Mater's swim coach. I think I might be at my peak for swimming time.
Transition 1
  • 08m 47s

I saw my husband and daughter at the swim exit, and they were cheering me on! I grabbed my bag and ran to the change tent. It was a zoo!. I found an empty chair and emptied my bag. I decided that I would do a full change in clothes because I didn't want to be cold and wet on the bike. I wore my bike shorts, tri top, and pearl izumi fitted bike jacket. By this time, a volunteer help me put my stuff back into the bag, and I left.
What would you do differently?:

  • 6h 58m 48s
  • 112 miles
  • 16.05 mile/hr

My bike computer can spit out a lot of information, but it can only display 2 things at a time. Four months ago I decided that I only wanted cadence and time displayed. I did not want the temptation of mph displayed for fear I would push the pace. I kept my cadence as close to 90 as possible, and spinned in a gear lower than what I knew was comfortable (so basically an easier gear). The crowd support was just amazing! There were hoards of people all along the route yelling and cheering. Once I was into the hills I began to have some fun! Although there were 2 quite tough hills to get up, once I was there, I would crank my gears to the toughest one and fly down them. This worked well, and I managed to be halfway up the next hill before I needed to shift down. After the race, I checked my maximum speed, and it was 44.8mph!! Some of the time I laughed out loud. "I can't believe I'm doing an IRONMAN and LOVING it!!" Encouraging people along the way and chatting briefly with others made the time go quickly, and before I knew it I made it to the turn-around, and beagn my way back into town. On the flats, the wind became a head wind, but with a slight down hill, it wasn't too bad. Once I got to the 56 mile point I looked at my time, and it said 3:16. Not too bad!!
At this point, my hydration started to catch up with me, and I couldn't wait until special needs to go. I actually stopped at a run port-potty. At special needs I picked up my 2 new bottles of cocktail and consumed a large oatmeal cream pie (little debbie). I was quite warm by this point but didn't want to take off my jacket for two reasons. The first one being I did not put on any sunscreen (duh!) and the second one was that this jacket was $56, and I wanted to make sure that I got it back!
The second loop was a little tougher. My quads really burned on the hills. On the steepest hill, I saw 6-8 people walking their bikes up the hill. I was tempted, because I was in granny gear, standing up, and my thighs were killing me. I just forced myself to look down and ignore the walkers. At the top of the hill, who did I see?? Why one of the race photographers! I think he was trying to get pictures that were not blurry (due to speed), and that had lots of emotion in them! The second loop went quickly, and the ride back into town was wonderful. I saw my family at mile 106, and that gave me a great boost! At the end of the bike, I was ready for more, and was not ready for it to end!! Overall I made three porta-potty stops and one special needs stop (all probably accounting for my slower time on the second loop).

What would you do differently?:

Transition 2
  • 06m 2s

A great volunteer took my bike for me, and I hit the porta-potty again! Another vounteer was holding out my transition bag as I ran through. However, there was no volunteer to help me in the tent this time. I changed my shorts and socks then put on my running shoes. I placed a flask of gel and a flask of concentrated carbo pro in my shorts, put on my cap and glasses, then left.
What would you do differently?:

You'll see later.
  • 4h 58m 47s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 11m 24s  min/mile

My goal for the marathon was to run the first 13 miles. I had never done a marathon, and didn't know what one would feel like after swimming 2.4 miles and biking 112 miles. But I had done several long runs and 2 half marathons, and felt that if my nutrtion was accurate, I should be able to run the first 13 miles. Right out of transition, it felt soooo good to run, and I really enjoyed it. But about two miles into the run the muscle in my lower leg just in front of my tibia began to spasm. It hurt worse if I tried to stretch it, so I began to think about why this would occur, and it suddenly dawned on me with a sickening reality. I only consumed 4 endurolytes the whole race, and I did not pack any with me on the run. Nor did I bring along any ibuprofen. This called for an impromptu moment, and a drastic change in my nutritional plan. The gel flask I was holding contained a total of 1000mg of sodium in 500 calories. The carbo pro I was holding contained no sodium in 500 calories. I decided to dump the carbo pro and begin consuming mostly gel and gatorade endurance--lots of it. By mile 6, the spasm was gone, and I was feeling pretty good. I was able to run all the aid stations and the hill at the turn-around. On the way back into town I saw many peolpe walking and figured they were probably on their second loop. By mile 11 I began to get sore all over. I was able to meet Bonnie and Doug by this point, and it got my mind off of the soreness for a while. I stopped at special needs to pick up another gel flask. At mile 14, at least half of the field seemed to be walking. It was very tempting to walk, but I said to myself, "if you walk now, what is it that will get you back running again? Yes it hurts, but all the other body functions are working great! Heather, you've run 20 miles in training, you CAN do at least 20 miles!" So I just kept running, even through the aid stations. At mile 18 I looked at my watch and noticed that it said 7pm. My mind, in it's delerious state said "Wow you can do this in 16 hours!" Then I did a double take and got really excited as I realized I had reset my watch to pacific time. I could do this thing in less than 14 hours!! Wahoo! At mile 20 I began walking the aid stations, and walked up the hill to the turn-around. As soon as I was at the top, I began running again, from aid station to aid station. By mile 23 I was completely nauseated, and really thought that I would vomit. My GI system had finally shut down, and my legs needed the energy. I tried the broth and gagged, then dry heaved. NO WAY! The only thing that would make the nausea go away was walking. So at mile 23 I began walking a block, then running a block. Through this part of town, there are lovely houses with their residents all outside cheering you on. Some even had their sprinklers on and pointed out at the street. This helped my mental state emensely. The last 2.8 miles went by so slowly because of my run/walk/nauseated feeling. As I rounded the last corner, a volunteer said, "Come on Heather, you can do it, the finish is a 1/4 mile away." I said "really?!?" And she said that you could see it from there. As I looked down the street I could indeed see the finish, the end, the complettion of 7 months of hard work and sacrifice. I began running and crying at the same time. My pain and nausea disappeared and I truly felt like I was flying. It was so effortless!! I looked for my family at the bleachers, but couldn't find them. Mike Riley called me home, and I was elated!
What would you do differently?:

Endurolytes, endurolytes, endurolytes!!!
Post race
Warm down:

I got my medal and shirt, then took a funny picture with the finishing photographer. Of all my pictures, this is my favorite. Next I grabbed 2 cookies and a bottle of water from the food tent. I consumed these while I was waiting for my massage. After an hour of waiting for my massage, I skipped it and decided to find my family. Due to my finishing time being more than an hour earlier than my predicted time, they did not see me cross the line. But as happy as crossing that line in the time frame that I did while it was still light outside. It didn't matter at all. I am so thankful to them for giving up a lot of "mommy" time these last 7 months so that I could train. Now, it is time to focus on them.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Other than endurolytes, genetis, and age? Nothing.

Event comments:

This race was far better than any race I have ever done. Much of the credit goes to the race director and the organization, but the majority of the success goes to the citizens and volunteers of Coeur d'Alene without whose endless and eager support many athletes would not have finished. I am so thankful to have done my first IM in such an amazing town. Thank you!!!!!

Profile Album

Last updated: 2006-07-17 12:00 AM
01:33:19 | 4224 yards | 02m 13s / 100yards
Age Group: 78/119
Overall: 1573/
Performance: Average
Suit: Promotion full
Course: Rectangular 2 loop course
Start type: Run Plus:
Water temp: 58F / 14C Current: High
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time: 08:47
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Good
06:58:48 | 112 miles | 16.05 mile/hr
Age Group: 58/119
Overall: 1495/
Performance: Good
Wind: Some
Course: 2 loop course. Half is flat, half is quite hilly.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 88
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 06:02
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
04:58:47 | 26.2 miles | 11m 24s  min/mile
Age Group: 47/119
Overall: 1132/
Performance: Average
Course: Two loops with one moderate hill on each loop.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
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: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 5