Ironman Coeur d'Alene - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
United States
Ironman North America
60F / 16C
Total Time = 11h 52m 49s
Overall Rank = 579/2400
Age Group = F30-34
Age Group Rank = 14/124
Pre-race routine:

I got into CdA on Tues evening. Checked into the house and got settled on Wed., did a practice swim, grabbed groceries, and then met with several BT'ers for dinner that night. The Wed swim was cold, but flat. That included grabbing a picture with Julie Dibens who was there as well and that was fun. Thurs I went down to practice swim with some of the BT crew. The swim was very choppy but warmer than Wed. Grabbed a beer with PhatKnot that night. Then I picked up my Iron Sherpa and dear friend Tia. On Friday I headed down and did a practice swim with a huge group of BT'ers. Water was colder than previous and still fairly choppy. A note on the BT Crew: truly, the IMCdA BT crew was awesome out here. The forum was rocking for 11 months solid, and putting faces to names made it seem like a big team event. So shout out to all of you--it was truly great! After the swim, gave Tia some of an idea what the layout was. Then, we went and picked up Jody, another Army officer who was doing this race too and staying at the house with us. That night we went to athlete dinner minus Tia. Stayed for dinner part, left for athlete meeting, haha! We know the rules and the course! Saturday was a lot of not too much. Got the bike and bags checked in after a few tweaks from the Felt guys. After eating some lunch at the house, we went and watched the newest Pirates of the Caribbean. Came back to the house and made sure everything was laid out and ready to go. Got to sleep a bit before 10PM. Actually slept the best that I had in days minus waking up a couple of times to pee (yay for hydration). Woke up around 0350, started the coffee, got dressed, started to eat my breakfast and that was the first time I got a hint something wasn't 100% right. I usually am all for eating my b'fast pre-big workout or race. Plan was a banana (check) and 2 PBNJ (N=nutella) waffle sandwiches (frozen waffles). I ate the first waffle, but only half the second one. Just wasn't hungry and this is ODD for my mornings, any morning. But, I did get in some decent calories, so it shouldn't have thrown off too much. Anyhow, around 5AM we drove down to the race site (close enough to walk 2/3rd of mile--but Tia is recovering from knee surgery and didn't need to walk that far both ways). Got body marked. Headed over to bike to load all my nutrition onto it. Ran into Bonnie and Sarah there--nice to see friendly faces first thing in the morning. Bike was good to go. Got my special needs turned in. Used the bathroom a couple of times to be sure. Then just hung out with Tia and Jody. Watched the pros start, and then got the wetsuit on and slathered in body glide and aquaphor (but clearly not enough as time would tell). After the pros it took some time to get over to swim start--man, it was ridiculous, and some guy behind me kept pushing--I wanted to yell "the washing machine hasn't started yet!!" Wore old socks to the beach to keep feet warm. Ate a GU about 15 mins pre-start.
Event warmup:

Umm, pre-swim fight in the cattle herding to the beach? Other than that, nothing!
  • 1h 14m 49s
  • 3862 meters
  • 01m 56s / 100 meters

So, I started myself about 3 rows deep if there was such thing as rows, and more left towards the buoys. At the start everyone was off and for probably the first 200-300m it was basically swimming with the head up. Chaos everywhere, but despite the closeness, this wasn't where most of the contact was, it was once we thinned out enough the people could put their heads down and swim that this swim became a slugfest. The water was cold, but truly, it wasn't really bothering me much at all. When I think back at the swim, I remember the heels to the chest, the hands on the back, the butt, it seemed nonstop for the first leg down. I did find myself right on or inside the buoy line. The turn buoys though--good grief, utter chaos, there was no way to easily do that unless you just went inside, but of course, you're not supposed to do that. Anyhow, it was rough, then it was really hard to see the next turn buoy--in fact, I cut too far left instead of straight, and got off course here a bit and had to cut back right to get around the 2nd one. Sun totally blocked it out a lot. Made note of that for the 2nd loop. After the 2nd turn buoy I did find some more clear water. Thank goodness! Not only that, but I found some feet from some other gal! Sweet! I did have one guy try to literally push me off her feet, but I wasn't playing that game, held my line, and I probably kept her feet for half way down that leg to the beach. But, then it got all crowded again, especially as you got closer to the beach. Made it to the beach and you'd have though most people here were wanting to enjoy a stroll on a beach. IT IS A RACE PEOPLE! I did my best to bob and weave around the folks walking and finally made my way back into the fray. It was still a fray. Stuck straight to the buoy line, fought the mess at the turn buoy again, made a straight line to the 2nd one this time, and then headed towards home. Again, got some feet for a bit and some clean water, and then I had a few more folks just really trying to beat me up. I truly have never had as much contact as I had here. A couple of times I thought, hmm, I think my left arm might be chaffing a bit, and you know, my feet are a bit cold, I hope they work okay when I get out. On that last leg, I did have the very lower part of left hamstring knot up just a tad--thought it might cramp, but it went away, so that was excellent. Finally made it out of the swim. Yay! I was ready to be out of that water. A few of the blows I took out there were to the chest and I drank a bit more of Lake CdA than I had desired. I also found myself thinking, "I feel a bit nauseous, wonder what is up..maybe it's just the lake water."
What would you do differently?:

Swim faster. I need more open water swim time for sure. I also need to swim in my full sleeve wetsuit more so I have the ease of it and adapt my shoulders to it vs. using the sleeveless and speed sleeves. This was approx. 2 mins slower than my IMAZ swim, but given the crowded nature of it, and the time I got stuck behind people heading out on the 2nd loop, I'm truly fine with this. I was expecting 1:12-1:18, so I'm good with 1:14ish. Need more OWS
Transition 1
  • 04m 49s

Got out of the swim with a lot of other folks, so had to search for the wetsuit stripper, and really you don't have much time out of the swim till you're at them. I had gotten the suit down off my shoulders, but not off my butt enough, but the great volunteer helped me get it off. Ran towards my bag--which thankfully was an outside bag and my number had me right at the end of a row, so it was easy to find, as soon as I came up on it, a volunteer hands it to me. I headed into the tent--no volunteer, too many busy helping the naked ladies, which is fine. So I got my speed sleeves off, tried putting arm warmers on, wasn't working on wet arms, was going to say screw it, but got my helmet on, shoes on (intended to carry those to the bike and put on there, but forgot, was slightly discombobulated like often happens after those long swims). Then a volunteer did help me get those arm warmers on, and I took off--so grateful for their help as I knew she'd take care of stuffing my things into the bag. Headed out to my rack, was a long run to it as I was way up front, but once I got to the bike it was really close to the bike out, so that was great. I did accidentally overshoot it initially, so finally got it, and headed to the mount line.
What would you do differently?:

Get the wetsuit down more; wear full sleeve wetsuit (one less thing to take off--speed sleeves); not wear arm warmers (definitely didn't really need them--but the previous days of weather said I did); on this course, carry my shoes to bike and put on there; not overshoot my bike.
Still PR'd it compared to AZ.
  • 5h 56m 25s
  • 112 miles
  • 18.85 mile/hr

The bike- I was excited to get onto the bike. I got clipped in nice and fast and headed on out. I was feeling decent overall, HR didn't seem bad (wasn't wearing a HRM for the race). Got into a rhythm and started nutrition about 5-8mins into it. Heading out towards Higgins point I was moving nicely. I decided if a gear felt hard at all, I'd shift out of it. It stuck to this concept the whole ride. I kept it easy up Bennett Bay Hill, got turned around and headed back towards town and the hills. I was passing quite a few people, but still said I wasn't going to work too hard on the hills. For that first loop, I just did what I could to spin up the hills without exerting too much, and still work the downhills. I did notice I'm pretty bad at turns, I just slow down way too much and seem to have to go pretty wide. I played leap frog with a couple of folks over and over again (all legal, no drafting). I was refilling my water at each aid station with no problems. I couldn't remember exactly from the CT video of when the hills would finally end, but once we started heading back towards town, I could tell we were near starting lap 2. Starting lap 2 I was still feeling physically fine, but had no desire to eat any of my nutrition. That doesn't mean I didn't, I did. However, a hilly course does make this more difficult, cause sometimes I realize it's time to eat, but I'm working up a hill, so I'll wait till I'm at a point where I can do that. At the time I thought I was staying on top of it pretty well. In retrospect, I think on the 2nd loop I let it slip some. It was also on the 2nd loop where I pushed my arm warmers down. I truly shouldn't have worn them as I really didn't need them--but it'd been so cool the previous days, I thought I'd be cold. I also had worn my calf sleeves (under the wetsuit) for the same reason, and put toe warmers on. Needless to say, I did start feeling warm--not overheating, but not totally comfortable either. I tried to stay on top of water consumption, but again, in retrospect I think I probably lacked some here. I also think I may have missed a nutrition moment in there or two, but not sure. Also, I started getting some pain/hot spot (but not blister like) from my bike shoes. Also something unusual for me. On the first loop I had been passed by a guy I knew from Austin, but on the 2nd loop--last 10-15 miles I think, I passed him back and told him to finish strong. Right near the turn around on Northwest to head in, he was back with me and thanked me for pushing him to go harder. He headed out, I saw he was 40 now, and then repassed him and asked him when he got so old. I finished just slightly before him. My back wasn't feeling bad when I finished up, so I thought I was good to go in the back department, but it had become clear to me on the bike that I had some unwelcome cramps I'd have to deal with.

I did, however, often have a moment on the ride, especially on the 2nd loop, where all I wanted was a nap. Really, I wanted a nap. That, and children's songs (Veggie Tales and the like) were running through my head. I don't even have children! (but I do love Veggie Tales)
What would you do differently?:

Less cool weather gear; more water; more nutrition (pretty confident I got distracted some on the 2nd loop); and really, that's about it. I think, in general, I did the bike well. I do not think I blew my legs out here, but I think I did push it at a good pace. For this IM, I had only my aero bottle and a downtube nutrition along with a small seat bag for flat repair, and bento box with supplement nutrition. This was considerably less than the two chamber bottle I had in '09 and no rear bottles. I will stay with this configuration. Nutrition was 1 x 4hr bottle of Infinit; 2xGu Gels; 2xHoney Stinger Waffles. (2xExcedrin; , I know what people say about this, but I've raced with it before, and I was trying to prempt some issues--but it was necessary on this day--men, you won't understand, don't try).
Transition 2
  • 01m 11s

Came out of my shoes as I came into the bike in chute; got to the dismount line and got off and a super volunteer was right there and I just let my bike go to him! I took off for the run bag area, taking my arm warmers and helmet off, and yelling my number. When I got near my bag they had it for me. Went to the tent, only 1 other gal in there, 2 volunteers for me. Yanked off the calf sleeves (had already rolled them down in the last 10 miles of the bike) put on socks, put on shoes, volunteer turned on the Garmin, grabbed my hat, Garmin, and gel flask and took off out of the tent and onto the run course.
What would you do differently?:

Not wear calf sleeves. OTHERWISE-I FREAKING ROCKED IT! If T2 times got you to Kona, I'd be heading to the Big Island! Hahaha! Seriously, I beat a good majority of the pros (men and women) on this time. I was just totally efficient and fast. Again--my legs felt good coming off the bike. I'm pretty proud of this transition time! I thought this would lead to a super run.
  • 4h 35m 35s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 10m 31s  min/mile

Well, this is NOT what I can do. I will start this off by saying I did NOT blow out my legs on the bike. This was NOT a leg issue. I started out of T2 feeling amazing and thinking I'd be doing great, but about .5-1 mile out my stupid lower back totally seized up (not spasm, just complete tightness and pain) just like at CA70.3. Not to mention, the issues I semi-felt on the swim/bike now came full to bear. I truly don't know that I have ever had cramps that made me want to double over like that. You know in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom when the guy reaches into the other guys chest and pulls out his heart? I had visions of doing that to my girly parts. Of.all.freaking.times. I ran the first few miles, just keeping it easy--immediately took some Excedrin again (worked at CA70.3) and kept trudging along, the back started feeling better, but not the other stuff. My legs wanted to go, but I just couldn't. So, after walk/running up Bennett Bay Hill the first time around and running most of it back up and down, I realized I had to walk the aid stations. I will also say that I think I may have been slightly dehydrated here. I think I totally underestimated, at the time (and as I've already mentioned) what the extra "warmth" gear would do to me on the bike when it came to hydration. I should've drank more water on the bike. I don't know if was from the pain or some level of dehydration, but that 2nd part of loop 1 was just pretty bad. I walked most aid stations, and occasionally had to throw another walk in there cause I thought I might double over otherwise. Told Tia, as I headed out onto loop 2, that this was going to be longer than I thought! But no, I didn't think of quitting. I was here to do it, and in whatever way I could do it, I would. I saw lots of people out there on the run, some looking great, some not looking great. When I had to walk I tried to do it the fastest I could. I started taking coke at about mile 14 and kept that going. Oranges became wonderful too, and an occasional power gel. But coke and water were my go to's every aid station. The support along the course was nothing short of phenomenal. I just kept going as much as I could. I actually could pick up a decent pace when I started running again, but the running seemed to induce the lady cramping the worst. The back had lessened a bunch, I took another 2 Excedrin in there somewhere near beginning of loop 2. I knew any PR was out, but I would finish as strong as I could and thought sub-12 was truly feasible. The last 3 miles, while still walking the aid station, I made things much more deliberate, the end was in sight. While I did have my game face on, I DID have fun with the circumstances. I talked to people, talked to some of the fans, tried to encourage some other runners out there. Yeah, it sucked not to be having the run I could've had--but because I can't (or more like refuse to with chemicals right now--though I am pondering) control certain things like mother nature, the fact was, I was still out there, I had a solid swim and bike, it was a beautiful course, I WOULD be an Ironman, and guess what--I was NOT getting shot at, I was NOT getting blown up, and I DID have all my limbs and senses and sound mind--those I race for as a member of Team RWB, they can't claim to have all of that. Having a sucky IM run (for me) is nothing in comparison. Finally, I got to that last mile and something blocked out all the pain, and I picked it up, and when I got to the "Finish Left, 2nd Loop Right" lady, I loudly yelled out LEFT! LEFT! I then made the turn towards Sherman street, and people are right, you don't even remember running down that street, but instead are carried by the cheers of the spectators! Some were quiet and I kept raising my arms to get them louder, and they were. I did pass some folks on Sherman Street (but not in the chute!!) and you would have never known right then that I had just had one of the most difficult runs for me ever (probably the most!). It didn't matter. I did it--I persevered for another 140.6 and I was going to do it in less than 12 hours! I got near the finish chute, and this time I slapped hands on both sides of the chute, put my arms up in victory, heard Mike Rielly say "Brittany Meeks, come on Brittany, you did it! Brittany Meeks, a member of the US Army!" And that got the crowd even louder!! I did it, I finished it, I was an Ironman!
What would you do differently?:

Gotta figure out why, on climbing courses, my lower back seizes up so bad. But frankly, while a gorgeous course, I just don't care for climbing much. I like to just pedal and pedal and pedal, so I'll stick to flatter/rolling courses in the future. Umm, not be a woman--okay, not really, I love that I'm a woman, but I may have to actually give birth to kids someday to simply justify the 1-2 days of lady part hell every month. This really kicked my butt.
I think I'd carry a hand held bottle next time to just help me stay a bit more hydrated--just easier to drink when I want. I dunno, we'll see.

Again--I did not blow out my legs. I am truly confident about that and I want to be critical here so I improve for the future. My legs felt fantastic, but the back and other body part totally limited me. It is what is. It's hard to say how I'd do this run differently because it kind of was out of my hands. I will say, the loopy moments I had were probably entirely my fault in the hydration/fueling department when it comes to what I did on the bike and the first loop of the run. That first loop, I was pretty distracted by the pain and trying to figure out how I was going to run the marathon. I'm quite sure I neglected something important here. But, when I hooked into the coke on loop 2, it helped my cognizant thinking A LOT.
Post race
Warm down:

So, after getting through the chute feeling ecstatic to be done and making it below 11 hours (my personal goal was 11-12 hours on this course) given the troubles of the run, a very friendly volunteer catcher made sure I was good. She kept me walking, got me water, I got my shirt, hat, and medal. She got someone to take my chip off, got me over for a finisher pic that is really fun! I look so much better than I did during most of that run, haha! And then made sure I linked up with my friend Tia before she let me go. I thanked her profusely. Found Tia, told her I was going to get a massage and some food. Went to the massage tent expecting to wait like at IMAZ, but basically walked right in. That was awesome and very relaxing. I think I nearly fell asleep on the table. After that I grabbed 2 pieces of pizza and ate them (which is a lot more than I wanted to do post-IMAZ). Headed out to find Tia, gave her my stuff, put on my sweatshirt, and went down to the lake and soaked my legs for about 15 minutes. The cold water was great. Then, Tia and I headed back to the house, a nice 2/3rd mile walk, but I was cool with it and truly not as sore as IMAZ (I'm sure cause I didn't run the whole marathon at a good pace). Made it to the house. Got clean, found some nasty chaffing--especially left arm. I knew that was happening throughout the day--started from the speed sleeves, worse by the arm warmers, and likely worse from running. Apparently my back where part of the shelf bra in my top was rubbed on the right side as well, and a tiny bit on my right arm like the left arm but not nearly as bad. Then, I was starving for some mac and cheese I had bought. I ate some of it and then it hit me--just like at IMAZ, I suddenly thought I might be sick, I might throw up. So, as much as I REALLY REALLY REALLY wanted to walk over and watch the late finishers, the most I could manage was for Tia to drive me down near transition, pick up my bike and gear bags and head home. I didn't sleep great either, but thankfully didn't throw up this time.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I was ready for this race. I think my swim and bike were solid and that pacing was correct. I believe I did neglect strictly following my nutrition plan because of letting myself get distracted on the bike by the hills, and allowing the lady part body issues to hinder my desire to consume what I needed to consume. Clearly, something is wrong w/my bike form and climbing. I never have these problems in training though, so it's odd that it occurs in races. But something about hilly courses, and by hilly I mean real climbs, not rollers like Austin 70.3 or Redman, causes my lower back to blow up. Couple that pain (which thankfully Excedrin helps mitigate) with some of the worst lady cramps I ever have had (we're talking I thought I'd double over in pain, and I have a HIGH pain tolerance, it was just too much for me to have a good run. I also am convinced I'm not where I should be race weight wise. If I want to break 11 hours (which I know I can) I gotta get lighter--when I'm home from these 2 weeks of travel, I'm going to focus like a laser beam on that this summer. But, even with where I am, I had more in me than I could put out at this race. In fact, my inability to put out on the run is actually helping me recover faster. I felt pretty darn good and actually thought about working out as early as Tuesday. As of today (Thursday) I'm itching to work out. I feel great. Other than healing chafe spots, I wouldn't believe I did an Ironman last Sunday. I had a blast at CdA--especially with my friend coming up to watch (and convinced she wants to do one in 2-3 years), meeting a fellow Army officer who stayed with us and races fast, getting to spend so much time with amazing BT'ers and new Team RWB racers, cheering on some other West Point grads ('07 and 2x 2011 grads--one was the captain of the Army Football team--just over 1 month graduated and he's racing an Ironman in just over 14 hours, that impressed me!), and of course knowing that the Honey Badger didn't care, made this a great event. No, I didn't finish in the "time" that I wanted. But I'm not defined by that time. I'm not defeated by the struggles on the run. In fact, I'm convinced I'm stronger. I can and will be smarter, and I only have deeper motivation to recover well and tackle IMAZ better. So, in a nutshell:
- Avoid lower back pain
- Avoid Aunt Flow's visit
- Hydrate better if it warms up some
- Forgo the "warm" gear if it really doesn't look like it will be really cold
- Get used to real long sleeve suit to get rid of chafing
- TRULY get to race weight.

Event comments:

CdA is a CHALLENGING course--the swim may be pretty chilly, so if the cold gets to you--beware! The bike is hilly, don't let anyone tell you otehrwise, and know that the hills actually GROW between loops. It's true, I swear. The new run course with Bennett Bay Hill in totality (over and down x2 each loop) is no joke. It's tough. The volunteers are FABULOUS! The town is out in force cheering. The scenery is amazing (though, likely, while on the run you'll be very tempted to join the kids playing in the lake!) and breathtaking. The cheer supporters, especially on the run and in town, are amazing and awesome and fun! Running down Sherman is sure to make anyone feel like a hero, like someone special, and you actually float down the street like you had wings--no, joke!

Great race. Not sure I'll be back cause there are other races to do and I gotta figure out this climbing/back thing, but if I do figure that out--it's one worth repeating. Simply amazing town, scenery, area!

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Last updated: 2010-06-28 12:00 AM
01:14:49 | 3862 meters | 01m 56s / 100meters
Age Group: 29/124
Overall: 701/2400
Performance: Average
2 laps- First lap was around 36 minutes I think.
Suit: Wet Zoot Sleeveless w/QR Speed sleeves
Course: 1.2 mile rectangle x2 loops
Start type: Run Plus:
Water temp: 55F / 13C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time: 04:49
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
05:56:25 | 112 miles | 18.85 mile/hr
Age Group: 12/124
Overall: 553/2400
Performance: Average
Wind: Some
Course: 2 loop course.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Below average Cornering:
Gear changes: Good Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Not enough
Time: 01:11
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal Good
04:35:35 | 26.2 miles | 10m 31s  min/mile
Age Group: 14/124
Overall: 579/2400
Performance: Below average
Course: 2 loop with a fairly decent hill right near the turn around--climb up the hill, go down the hill, turn around and go up the hill, then down the hill.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
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] 5