Ironman Coeur d'Alene - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
United States
Ironman North America
58F / 14C
Total Time = 10h 05m 58s
Overall Rank = 92/2153
Age Group = M35-39
Age Group Rank = 19/313
Pre-race routine:

Alarm got my attention at 3:30am…time for breakfast. I like to have my last solid food at least 3 hours before race time. I shuffled to the kitchen and ate a banana, a couple of small cinnamon swirl bagels with peanut butter, and chased it with some Gatorade. Back to bed for a while and then officially started the day at 5am. I could hear the music and announcer at transition from my apartment bedroom through the open window. It looked to be a nice start to the day with mostly clear skies and a light breeze although definitely cool.

It was really nice being so close to transition. I collected most of my gear and headed down to set up. After a quick stop at body marking I went to my bike, pumped the tires, got my computer hooked up and bottles on then made a pass through the transition gear bag area just to double check everything was as I left it the day before. It was now about 5:45 and I dropped my special needs bags and cruised back to the apartment. I already had my tri suit on but pulled the wetsuit half on and then made my way over to Calypsos to pick up a latte on my way back to transition for one last check of my bike. I felt very relaxed and calm…good start to the day.
Event warmup:

I like to get in the water and loosen my shoulders up so I got out to the beach by 6:30 or so and eased into the water. I spent maybe 15min stroking around and relaxing. They pulled us out of the water about 8min before the start.
  • 1h 08m 2s
  • 3862 meters
  • 01m 33s / 100 meters

The wind was blowing in off the lake and it had some light waves and chop kicked up. I seeded myself 3-4 rows back and maybe 50m outside of the buoy line. The canon went off and I calmly walked into the water trying not to get caught up in the chaos. Turns out that 95% of the people in front of me didn’t belong there and/or the waves and chop amplified the congestion. The first 400m were like a rugby match. I had absolutely no room to get a single clean stroke and everyone was just flailing recklessly. I felt helpless and frustrated to be stuck in the middle of that but remained calm and just waited for a little space. Eventually I had enough room to focus on swimming and from that point out to the turn buoy was fairly uneventful.

The chop wasn’t too bad if you just relaxed and tried to get a rhythm. I swam inside of the buoys and gradually drifted out to make the turn. At the turn everyone decided they had to be as close to the buoy as possible and I found myself in the middle of another scrum with people pushing and shoving. More of the same at the next turn and eventually I got clear and swam inside the buoys back towards shore with minimal incident. I didn’t see the clock when I hit shore so I had no idea how fast/slow my first lap was. The second lap was less congested but the wind had picked up and the waves were now significantly bigger and coming head-on. It was mostly just a nuisance that I had to deal with. I felt like I was swimming fairly smooth and even strong on the last leg back to shore but it ended up being a bit slower probably due to the stronger waves on the way out. I swam right into the shallows and run up the beach. It felt like I had a decent swim and my time was about what I expected given the conditions and the 5min of idiots pummeling each other at the start. I went 1:03 at IMFL in 2007 with perfect conditions and very minimal interference.
What would you do differently?:

I don’t know if I could have done anything differently. Maybe starting wider would have helped avoid the chaos or maybe seeding myself closer to the front row and trying to get out a little. Just about everyone I’ve talked to had the same impression of the start though…rough water and brutal congestion.
Transition 1
  • 03m 25s

The wetsuit strippers were up by the gear bags. They seemed to be all in a mass rather then lined up. It took me a second to find someone available and I think I chose poorly. The lady started tugging rather lightly at my wetsuit and wasn’t making any progress. I told her to just yank hard but I ended up having to pull the legs off over my feet myself which was tough to get over my heels. I ran up the row, snatched my bag and swung around into the changing tent. It was a little slow getting my socks on my wet feet and the same with my arm warmers (the were rolled and I just needed to get them over my hands but it was still a little tough wet). I typically race without socks on the bike but it was in the 50s and I wanted to keep my feet from getting too cold…hopefully. I was quick getting to my bike and out to the mount line. Between the wetsuit issue and socks I probably gave up 20-30sec over a good clean transition.

  • 5h 38m 26s
  • 112 miles
  • 19.86 mile/hr

I was very calm heading out on the bike. With 112 miles to go there was no need to be aggressive right out of the chute but lots of other guys were hammering away immediately. I just pedaled easy and spent a minute or two getting my arm warmers pulled up and having a drink before settling into the aerobars. I didn’t have a magnet on my rear wheel so had no speed or distance but that wasn’t important as long as I had my power meter for I thought The plan was to ride very easy for the first 30 miles and then settle into race pace with appropriate adjustments for hills.

Overall I felt like I executed my plan fairly well and finished the ride feeling ready to run. I thought I rode 5:29 or so which was a little slow but not all that bad considering there was some wind and I intentionally took all the hills very easy. What didn’t occur to me until after the race was that because I didn’t have a wheel magnet my computer paused the timer whenever I was coasting. That meant my 5:29 was actually a 5:38, which is way slow compared to what I expected was realistic. Based on my training, power meter data, and experience at IMFL in 2007 (5:03) I figured I could ride 5:20-5:25 on a good day but should probably ride 5:25-5:30. I’m at a complete loss for why I only went 5:38. Seems like it could only be one of 3 things: 1) I significantly underestimated my threshold power and therefore my power pacing zones, 2) screwed up my planning and didn’t set my zones correctly, 3) my power meter was reading low and I was riding too conservatively as a result.

Even intentionally riding easy the first 90min (roughly 30 miles) my NP was 198W (190W avg) with a 180W goal. Although I had a 12-27 and compact most climbs I was still in the 230-280W range sitting up and spinning easy so that pushed up avg and NP up. The last 90min I had NP = 211W (204W avg). My pacing target for the entire ride was 190W and I finished with NP = 206W (198W avg) and felt really good. Based on that it would suggest that my FTP is significantly higher then I estimated. Even at 260W (what I used to set pacing) this ride ended up at about .79 IF overall and 343 TSS. Around 300 TSS is reasonable. Much above 300 and the run should start to suffer. At 340+ TSS I should have been in trouble for the marathon but I had a great run and felt really good up to mile 23. If I assume that my FTP was really 280W I would have been about 295 TSS, which is reasonable to run well off the bike. My pacing zones also would have been higher and got me off the bike 5-8min sooner for about 300 TSS. That would all make much more sense…riding 5:30 with 300 TSS at .73 IF and having a good run.

I had no specific issues on the bike. There were a couple of brief "oh shit" moments when the wind caught me a high speed and I got a little squirrely on the road. I think I "dehydrated" myself 3, maybe 4 need to stop at the port-o-pot I was happy to get off the saddle...5+ hours riding in tri shorts isn't really fun.

What would you do differently?:

I just went too conservative even though I was following my pacing plan. Maybe the computer issues had me holding back too and learn.
Transition 2
  • 01m 14s

T2 was smooth and quick. I handed off my bike and shot straight to my gear bag and darted into the change tent. I vaguely remember the volunteers in the gear bag area cheering for me as I shot through while lots of other people were moving at a much slower pace. I took the first chair inside the tent, dumped my bag, changed socks, pulled on my shoes, grabbed my hat and watch and took off.
  • 3h 14m 43s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 07m 26s  min/mile

What a run! I carried my Garmin in my hand for the first ~5min. I just wanted to relax and settle into an easy jog. My target for the first 6 miles was about 8min/mile. I felt great coming out of transition but I learned my lesson at IMFL and knew I needed to hold back. I kept slowing down trying to let my average pace come up from the 7:31 that was showing on my Garmin. I must have accidentally hit the stop button while holding it because I realized that the pace wasn’t changing at all. I hit the resume button just before the first mile marker and only logged .43 miles in 3:12 (7:31/mile) but probably ran the first full mile closer to 8-8:15 pace. From there I was running very easy and right on target. I let my legs freewheel on down hills regardless of the pace. There is no sense fighting gravity when it is essentially free speed. Miles 2-6 were 7:49, 7:39, 7:56, 7:49, and 7:40. From that point my plan was to hold steady around 7:30/mile for the rest of the run and give whatever I had left in the final miles.

I really felt like I was running conservatively and a tailwind or downhill always seemed to more then make up for some uphill or head wind. 7:28 was my slowest mile up through mile 23 and I was averaging closer to 7:20 with a couple 6:5x miles in there around mile 18-19. I kept wondering if I was setting myself up for disaster on the back half of the run by continuing to click off 7:10-7:20 miles but I decided that I felt really good and didn’t have anything to loose so what the hell…I’ll either blow the doors off the marathon or crash and burn. At least I’ll know that I gave it a shot. I thought I might even be able to accelerate through the last miles but after mile 23 it finally got hard. I hit this point at mile 20 or so at Florida in 2007 so this was an improvement. I just had nothing left and ended up logging 7:35, 7:40, 7:40 for the last 3 miles of the run. I didn’t hurt but my legs just wouldn’t go anymore…I lost the gear I had been comfortable cruising in all day. Near the very end it had started to rain very lightly and I was lucky to just beat the nasty weather. I made the last turn down Sherman and as soon as I hit the downhill to the finish I felt my hamstrings start to tighten and threaten to cramp. I kind of hobbled the last 300m but made it without completely knotting up. I had a great run. Despite slowing the last few miles I held a very comfortable sub 7:30 pace up to that point and logged a big negative split.

I don’t think running slightly faster then my target 7:30/mile hurt me overall. I only gave up 25 seconds total over the last 3 miles and “banked” 3:55 up to that point compared to running steady 7:30/mile pace. This was about as close to a perfect run as is possible. In the running world an even split or slight negative split is typically the fastest so I may even have left a little time on the run course considering how much I negative split by. Some might be interested to know that I walked at nearly every aid station except maybe 2 or 3. At no point did I NEED to walk…I felt very comfortable through mile 23. I decided from the beginning that I would take advantage of the aid stations as a short break and be sure to get the nutrition and fluids that I needed. I didn’t use a specific walking interval, just enough to get what I needed. There were several instances where I didn’t even take anything from the aid station but opted to walk 10-15 steps anyway. It was a nice mental break and gave me an opportunity to stretch a little and change things up.
Post race
Warm down:

Quality time in the medical tent :)

What limited your ability to perform faster:

My stupid pacing on the bike.

Event comments:

I remember my arms being very heavy as I approached the finish line but I managed to get them up high as I crossed. Unfortunately the camera people weren’t very good at timing the shot because my finishing pics look like I’m about ready to hit the deck. A volunteer grabbed me and held me up while I stumbled along. My hamstrings were very tight and my feet were kind of burning. We got to the grass and I wanted to take my shoes off and walk barefoot in the cool damp grass. That’s when I realized I had a nice slice on the inside of my little toe…no idea how I got it but my sock was bloody and there was a large chunk of skin hanging off my toe. Time to go visit medical. I sat down while they cleaned up my toe and I quickly got very cold. By this time it was raining and the temps had dropped to near 50. When I got up to walk away I was too cold to move and started to have uncontrollable convulsive shivers. They decided to take me to the warmer medical tent. I laid down and got a light massage with some blankets on me. That helped a little but I really needed to get out of my wet clothes and take a long warm shower. The only problem was that I couldn’t get myself back to the apartment. One of the volunteers actually walked with my over to the transition area to pick up my morning clothes and keys. The shirts I had from the morning definitely helped a lot and I was able to get back to the apartment. Luckily it was only a couple of blocks away.

After a shower I slowly sorted through my gear and organized a bit. All I was thinking about most of the day was getting a big burger and wings at the brewery after the race but I had absolutely no appetite for a good 2hrs after finishing. Eventually things came around and I headed out, stopped by Calypsos for a warm vanilla latte (the place was a zoo by 7pm with the cold rain outside), and then to the brewery for some beers and grub. Hayden walked in about the same time and we grabbed a beer and secured a large table that would eventually host about 20 EN peeps coming and going over the next few hours. I was there the entire time…enjoyed a few beers, bacon cheese burger with fries and a little later some fish tacos About 11:20 a couple of us headed back out to the finish. I really enjoy seeing the last finishers cross the line. Even though it was cold and wet they still had the party going on and I probably saw 25+ people run down the chute and earn their Ironman medal.

Last updated: 2009-06-30 12:00 AM
01:08:02 | 3862 meters | 01m 33s / 100meters
Age Group: 63/313
Overall: 328/2153
Performance: Average
Suit: 2XU Elite full
Course: 2-loop rectangle out from shore and back. Mild waves/chop on the first lap picked up significantly on lap 2.
Start type: Wade Plus: Shot
Water temp: 64F / 18C Current: High
200M Perf. Below average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Below average
Waves: Average Navigation: Average
Rounding: Below average
Time: 03:25
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
05:38:26 | 112 miles | 19.86 mile/hr
Age Group: 61/313
Overall: 323/2153
Performance: Below average
Wind: Some
Course: 2-loop with a short out-back to begin. Mostly rolling hills with a few moderate climbs but nothing long or steep.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Average Hills: Below average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 01:14
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Average
Jumping off bike Average
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal Good
03:14:43 | 26.2 miles | 07m 26s  min/mile
Age Group: 3/313
Overall: 25/2153
Performance: Good
Course: 2-loop out-back through town and along the same route as the out-back portion of the bike loop. A few longish very mild hills and one steep section at the turn-around.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Ok
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] 4