Ironman Coeur d'Alene - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
United States
Ironman North America
69F / 21C
Total Time = 12h 28m 32s
Overall Rank = 745/2196
Age Group = F25-29
Age Group Rank = 20/91
Pre-race routine:

This is a journey of six friends with one common bond: triathlons. I am the newest addition to the group consisting of Tim (aka konichiwa), Brad (aka weds19), Kristin (aka kristin), Heidi (aka hdhtri), and Craig (aka cpjohnson). I'm lucky enough to have met these awesome people through this amazing sport. It's been a highlight in my life to have them to train with.

Five of the six of us signed up for IMCDA the day it opened up. Kristin decided to wait until after she completed IMLP to decide if she would take on training again. We started training the weekend after Thanksgiving. In those 7 months, we didn't get to train together a whole lot (because we are spread out between PA, VA, and Connecticut), but we kept track of each other's training on BT. We met for a training weekend in Lake Placid over Memorial Day, and we all competed as female and male relay teams at Eagleman. You'll need to know this for later on: we had a bet during Eagleman that us girls could beat the guys if they gave us a 30-minute cushion. The loser would have to donn swim caps at IMCDA covered with whatever the winning team wanted to put on them.

We all arrived in Coeur d'Alene on June 21. We spent the first three days registering, checking on bikes, and getting in a short swim, bike, and run. We shared a lot of laughs, and all were pretty calm leading up to the race. That is one of the benefits to doing the Ironman with such a big group. We were all there to keep each other loose and relaxed. It was hard to be nervous when people are constantly cracking jokes.

The morning of the Ironman, we were up at 4 am to force down a PB bagel, 1 bottle of water, and 1 bottle of Gu20. Heidi's husband Nate (natedog) and Tim's father drove us down to the transition area around 5 am. After dropping off some last minute stuff into our transition bags, we headed to body marking and then the transition area to get nutrition onto bikes. We pumped up the tires and then all met near the bathrooms to get dressed into the wetsuits and talk to my parents as well as Tim's parents. It was the greatest thing to have my parents there to see me off on my long day. After we separated from our parents, we put on our swim caps. The women lost, so our caps were filled with funny things. The favorite one on my cap was, "If you get to close to me, you are probably drinking my pee." (A reminiscent of me peeing on my bike during the Kinetic Half in April.) We headed down to the water, and this is where it started to hit me that I'm about to do an Ironman. Before this mark, I was so relaxed and calm. I started to cry a bit, and Heidi and Kristin were both there to rub my arms and help me calm down. Its not that I was nervous, but I was just struck with how monumental this moment was.
Event warmup:

Just shivering from the chilly air.
  • 1h 13m 53s
  • 3862 meters
  • 01m 55s / 100 meters

We are down on the beach around 6:45. Tim, Kristin, and I head down to the water's edge to get ourselves wet and fill our wet suits up for water. We head back up to the rest of the group, where we wish each other good luck and share nervous feelings. I start tearing up again, give Tim a big kiss, and wait for the gun to go off. It does, right on time, and we are off. I am behind Tim, Brad, Kristin, and Heidi. I lose everyone immediately in the masses. The first 5 minutes are brutal. I am boxed in; getting kicked, punched, pulled under, etc, every stroke of the way. I started the swim in the middle middle, but I quickly made my way left to the buoy line. There were even more people in this area. I then experienced my first real plunge under where I couldn't get back to the surface right away. I finally broke through to the surface, and I was gasping for air. I had a slight panic attack that lasted about 15 seconds, and I kept telling myself that I needed to pull it together and just get back into MY groove and worry about myself. This really worked, and I spent the rest of the swim saying that same thing over and over again. Every time it got crowded, I just reminded myself that I needed to stay calm and just keep moving forward, that things would loosen up and I would find my space again.

Before you know it, I am approaching the beach and done with my first loop. I was out of the water in 35 minutes. I was very happy with that effort, especially since there were monsterous waves and chop. I was planning on jogging on the beach, but for some reason I didn't feel like it. Instead, I walked back into the water and started swimming once I was in up to my waist. Almost immediately after getting in, I see Kristin swimming to my right. Because I only sight to my right and take a breath every other stroke, I was able to keep a good eye on her. We swam side-by-side pretty much the entire second loop. I only saw her on the first straight away, but I later found out that she could see me on the second straightaway. It was completely awesome to swim together for such a long time. It was very calming to know that among the 2200 people in the water, one of your good friends is right along side of you.
What would you do differently?:

Not much. This was my first mass start, so I did not know what to expect and think that I kept my cool pretty well.
Transition 1
  • 05m 42s

I heard my name announced coming out of the water and pumped my arms in the air. I headed over to the wetsuit strippers and asked them, "What I am supposed to do?" They told me to just lay down with my legs up and they would rip it off of me. This is the first of many many times I said, "Thank you for volunteering." Those volunteers are amazing. There were 3500 volunteers for 2200 athletes.

So I run with my wetsuit in my hand and get my T1 bag. Said thanks to the volunteer who picked it up for me, and then headed into the female changing tent. I plopped down in the first open seat that I found, and a volunteer immediately was there to help me. She asked if it was okay to dump my bag out and after I said yes, she started setting my shoes and gear up for me. The first thing I do is grab the butt butter and squeeze it onto my fingers. The volunteer says, "Would you like me to rub that in for you?," thinking that it was sunblock. I kindly told her what it was for, and we shared a laugh. She helped me finish getting ready, and before you know it, I am out of the tent and running to my bike.
What would you do differently?:

Wear the same bottoms on the swim and run. It took me forever to get my tri shorts on because I was so wet.
  • 6h 40m 13s
  • 112 miles
  • 16.79 mile/hr

I see my parents on my way out of the transition area, and they are screaming their heads off. At this point, I assume that everyone is ahead of me. I knew Kristin and I finished the swim at relatively the same time, so I wasn't quite sure where she was at. I headed out on the course, and my HR was 160 to start. I settled in so much quicker during this bike than most others. I got my HR under control and tried to keep it in the low 150s. The first loop, I felt great. It was a great course because there were quite a few out-n-backs to see people that you knew. I kept my eye out for everyone else in front of me, but I couldn't see anyone. Good news is, I was watching the people across from me so much that the first 20 miles flew by. Around mile 25, I am headed down a big hill, and I see Craig about 200 meters ahead of me. I catch him right as we are making a left-hand turn to head uphill. We talk for a minute or two, and he tells me that "Tim and Brad are behind us." I screamed, "Behind us?" But we started getting too far apart to actually be able to talk and there were probably 2 or 3 people in between us. So, now I am confused and wondering are the guys really behind me? Not too long after, I see Tim and sure enough he is behind me. But I am still thinking in my head that maybe he is on his second loop?

The ride continues smoothly, and before I even think about how far I've gone I am heading back into town toward my parents and Tim's parents. I head back into town and immediately hear my parents yelling for me. I see Craig again on the small out-n-back section (we saw each other so many times during the bike, which was awesome) and he still looked really strong. I fly by my parents and the transition area and head onto my second loop.

After the first out-n-back portion, I see Heidi and about 4 minutes behind her is Kristin. I yell for both of them and keep on cruising. I head back into town and again see and wave to my parents. I was too busy looking for them that I took the right turn too sharp and almost collided with the curb. Luckily, I squeezed by without hitting it, and I got my head back into the course. On Government Way, I saw Brad and gave him a shout. I was still feeling pretty good, but all would change around mile 75.

After heading through Hayden Lake, my stomach really started to bother me. I could feel myself slowing down, not because my legs were tired, but because my stomach was so upset. I didn't want to stop eating, because I knew that meant I would just start to bonk, so I kept eating the Gus and tried to back off drinking Gu20 for a while. I switched over to water. It didn't seem to help too much.

Between the 91- and 96-mile markers, Tim caught me. He was looking strong, and he slowed down to bike with me for a few minutes. We talked about Brad getting a hole in his tire and I told Tim that I had seen him around his mile 54. I told Tim to go ahead, and he reminded me to take the last 20 miles easy to get ready for the run. After that, he was off, and I was back to feeling crappy. By mile 100, I was praying for a bathroom (at this point, I hadn't stopped at all to pee, as I chose to pee on my bike 5 times). But, this bathroom stop was necessary, because I may be crazy enough to pee on the bike, but I am not crazy enough to do my other business on the bike (which by the way, I did see a few people with brown stains on their shorts). So, I stop and mile 106 and lose about 5 minutes for the stop. I feel much better, though, so it was well worth it.

I have 6 miles left on the bike, and I start to mentally prepare for the run. I'm excited to be off the bike, but nervous for the 26.2 miles I have left. I head back into town and see my parents once again. I stick my tongue out to show my fatigue, and then flash a smile.
What would you do differently?:

1. Look into different nutrition options. I think all the sugar from the Gu and Gu20 started to affect my stomach.
2. Work on leg strength in the off season.
Transition 2
  • 03m 19s

T2 was great. A volunteer helped me find my bag, and I was in the tent changing before I knew it. I again had a great volunteer whom I chatted with. I don't remember what we were talking about, but she was really nice and very supportive. I put two toe condoms (don't know what they are really called, but they looked like thick condoms) on both pinkie toes to protect me from blisters, changed into socks (didn't wear any on bike) and sneaks, put my visor on, grabbed my nutrition and meds, put my water bottle on my hand, and I was out.
What would you do differently?:

In general, hustle a bit more.
  • 4h 25m 27s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 10m 08s  min/mile

I started out in the run and felt great. I have done two century bricks, so I knew the first 3 miles wouldn't really be an issue. It would be the next 23.2 miles that I didn't know how I would feel. I saw Tim about 0.5 miles in, and he was looking good. We exchanged I love you's and kept moving in different directions. He was about 1.75 miles in.

I did the first mile in 8.44, which is a lot faster than I intended to go out. I am honest when I say that I really thought that I was going 9.30s here. But, when I saw the 8.44 on my watch, I immediately slowed down. Second mile was 9.04, but still faster than I wanted. Third mile was 9.14, and I again wanted to push my time down to 9.30. My HR was extremely good. I was in the low 150s or high 140s. I even dipped down into the 130s toward the end. Next time, I need to push myself a bit more and try to keep my HR up. But, for my first race, I am happy with this run. I didn't know what to expect, and I was afraid of pooping out if I went out too hard.

My initial strategy on the start of the run was to definitely run the first 10 miles and then evaluate how I was feeling. On the first out-n-back, I again saw Tim. I was closing ground on him. It's strange, because normally I watch my competitors (not saying Tim was a competitor, because he wasn't) and see how much ground I have to cover to catch up/pass them. This race wasn't like that in the slightest. My only concern was myself. Staying in my head and making sure I felt good. At that point, I already had run 6.5 miles and still felt good.

I stopped for my first pee break between miles 7 and 8. Shortly thereafter, I saw Nate at the top of the hill Higgin's Point, and he told me that I was "reeling Tim in" and would catch him soon. I still wasn't worried about catching him as much as I was just plugging forward.

Mile 10 approaches, and I see Tim walking. I catch up to him and slow down, ask him if he wants me to walk with him. He starts running again and says that he will try to run with me. And so we continue for 16.2 miles. It was the most amazing day, being able to run with him for 2+ hours.

Somewhere around mile 12, a person in the crowd says, "That's nice. A husband and wife running together." We both chuckled. I guess just because we have the same uniform on, the person assumed we were married. Hopefully someday we'll be married and be able to do the whole Ironman together, but for this race, he's just my boyfriend and best friend.

Around mile 11, my stomach issues return. I gut it out, and Tim reminds me that I have Pepto pills in my medicine bag. I take them, and it helps. We loop through town, and this is the first our parents see us running together. They are screaming for the both of us, and I can't help but smile and wave at them.

I stop at the bathroom to try and unload at mile 13, but nothing happens. I don't want to waste too much time in the port-o-potty, so I leave and start running to catch back up to Tim again. He walked through the aid station to get more Heed. I reach him, and we start running together again. Around this time, we start walking through each aid station to drink flat soda. This really does help my stomach, and immediately I am yearning for each mile so I can have more soda.

We come back through town and see both sets of our parents. They are screaming for us and taking pictures. We head back out to do our second loop. We are halfway through the run. Around mile 17, Tim asks if I will stop and walk with him. I'm not too keen on this idea, because I am afraid if I stop running, I won't start back up again. He was so adorable and said, "You don't have to stop running, but I would appreciate it if you did." I couldn't say no to that. So, I struck a bargain with him. I said we would walk through the aid station, take our time drinking the soda, and then see if he felt like running. After the aid station, I started running and asked him to try. He did, and we made it up the hill to the turnaround. Now, it was just home to the finish line (in 8 miles!). Around this time, Tim started doing a run/walk, where he would sprint ahead of me so that he could have a few seconds to walk while I caught up to him. Then, he would start running with me again until his next sprint ahead.

Around mile 21, things started getting emotional. I realized that we only had 5 miles left, and at our pace, that would be under 1 hour away that we were crossing the finish line. Tim and I kept sharing our sentiment with each other. I cannot say enough how wonderful it was to hear Tim tell me that I am amazing and that he couldn't believe how I was still continuing on. It meant the world to me to really understand how much Tim was proud of me. I was moved and in awe of his ability to tell me these things. At mile 25, he asks me if I want to finish ahead of him. I decline, because I am enthralled with the idea of being able to cross the finish line together. We ran 16.2 miles together, held each other in good spirits for over half of the marathon, and what better way to cap that off than by crossing the finish line holding hands? We make the left turn to head onto Sherman, and the crowd is just consuming. The streets are lined, and everyone is cheering. I am crying. It's weird, because I don't have any tears (I've probably sweat out all of my fluids), but I definitely was crying. We are both crying and telling each other how awesome it was to run together.

And then we both see our parents, and they are going nuts. Tim asks me if we want to pass the guy in front of us (we were sprinting at this point, and he going a bit faster than I so that I needed to ask him to slow down), but I said let him go. Turns out, he is a good friend of my boss' and he is also from Northeast PA. He finished exactly 10 seconds ahead of us. We hit the finish line, and are elated.
What would you do differently?:

Push a higher heart rate.
Post race
Warm down:

I crossed the finish line with Tim, and immediately there was a volunteer there to make sure I was okay. To be honest, I felt fantastic. I felt like I could keep moving around and had enough energy to stand upright and make sure Tim was okay. I wanted the volunteer off of my arm so I could get back to Tim. I wanted to just be near him and share the moment with him, but the volunteer kept asking me if I was sure I was okay. He looked a little concerned to let me go so easily. He was very sweet, and I am sure he saw too many people who thought they were okay but really weren't. I thanked him for his help and reassured him that I was fine.

We walked over to our families, got our picture taken, then headed for some food and massage. I started to wish I would have grabbed a space blanket and started feeling sick while eating the pizza. But, I forced it down and felt better for having eaten it.

After Heidi and Brad crossed the finish line, we sat around eating and talking and then were joined by Craig. We all headed back up to the finish line to watch Kristin come in. What a fantastic feeling to know all 6 of us crossed.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Not a lot. I felt very mentally strong for this race, which helped tremendously. I had some stomach issues from miles 75-106 on the bike and then again on the run, but I was able to push it to the back of my head and keep going.

I need some more strength building in my legs to bike and run faster.

Event comments:

I consider the five people who did this Ironman with me to be my family. Despite the miles that separate us on an every day basis, they are so close to my heart and understand me in a capacity that most others cannot. I am so grateful to have raced with them and shared my first Ironman with them. I can't wait to do more races with this fine group of athletes and friends. Each one has inspired me in their own way.

Tim: I can't say enough times thank you for always being there for me and having patience with me when I get too stubborn. You have inspired me in your sheer compassion and humbleness.

Brad: The way you persevered from the hole in your tire is amazing. You didn't let it ruin your day, and came back to kick the marathon's arse. Your attitude is one that I hope I can duplicate if mechanical problems ever arise in a race.

Kristin: You are a machine. You are out there to have fun, and no matter the amount of pain you are in, you always gut it out. I love that about you. You are such a giving friend and athlete.

Heidi: Can you say calm under pressure? The fact that you thought about tying your seat back on to the post is amazing. I fear that I would have lost my head and cried if my seat fell off. Seeing you come back and have a great run was so inspirational. You were smiling the whole time and shouting words of encouragement.

Craig: You looked great throughout the entire day! Hearing you talk about how you were going to crush the course and have a PR were so encouraging. You did kill the course and had a great day. Your positive thoughts before the race helped me project that same attitude.

Also, Nate was there to cheer us on and deserves to be part of that family as well.

Nate: I can't wait to race with you next year. Your constant jokes and wisecracks are enough to put a smile on anyone's face. Thanks for taping us this weekend. I am looking forward to the video.

The Ironman is not only a physical race. It's very mental as well. You have to learn how to pump yourself up and motivate yourself to keep moving forward. I could not have covered 140.6 miles in one day if it wasn't for the people around me. Seeing everyone on the course, and seeing my parents on the sidelines, made the day so enjoyable. I can't wait to do my second!

Profile Album

Last updated: 2007-06-17 12:00 AM
01:13:53 | 3862 meters | 01m 55s / 100meters
Age Group: 26/91
Overall: 508/2196
Performance: Good
Suit: Blue Seventy
Course: Two counter-clockwise loops
Start type: Run Plus: Shot
Water temp: 62F / 17C Current: High
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Good Navigation: Average
Rounding: Good
Time: 05:42
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Good
06:40:13 | 112 miles | 16.79 mile/hr
Age Group: 27/91
Overall: 1209/2196
Performance: Good
Wind: Some with gusts
Course: 2 56-mile loops.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 90
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 03:19
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal Good
04:25:27 | 26.2 miles | 10m 08s  min/mile
Age Group: 15/91
Overall: 642/2196
Performance: Good
Mile 1: 8.45, HR 150 Mile 2: 9.03, HR 154 Mile 3: 9.20, HR 154 Mile 4: 9.33, HR 153 Mile 5: 9.41, HR 153 Mile 6: 9.51, HR 152 Mile 7: 9.41, HR 152 Mile 8: 10.41 HR 152 (potty break) Mile 9: 9.38, HR 153 Mile 10: 9.49, HR 155 Mile 11: 9.33, HR 157 Mile 12: 9.38, HR 156 Mile 13 and 14: 19.57, HR 154 Mile 15: 11.25, HR 148 (potty break) Mile 16: 10.24, HR 151 Mile 17: 10.21, HR 149 Mile 18: 10.20, HR 150 Mile 19: 10.39, HR 148 Mile 20: 11.10, HR 149 (potty break) Mile 21: 10.58, HR 150 Mile 22: 10.36, HR 149 Mile 23: 10.17, HR 150 Mile 24: 10.43, HR 150 Mile 25: 10.55, HR 145 Mile 26.2: 12.36, HR 149
Course: Two loops along scenic Lake Coeur d'Alene
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
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: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5