Ironman Coeur d'Alene - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
United States
Ironman North America
73F / 23C
Total Time = 12h 56m 43s
Overall Rank = 1058/2351
Age Group = F25-29
Age Group Rank = 25/74
Pre-race routine:

Woke up at 4 AM and ate an english muffin with peanut butter. Got things ready and ate a bowl of plain instant oats and a banana. Got in the car, drove to transition and started the process of special needs drop off, potty using, item adding to run and bike gear bags, body marking, sunscreen applying, and putting on my wetsuit. Walked toward the beach and got myself mentally ready to cover 140.6 miles.

One special treat I got due to my low bib number (127) was being racked super close to the pros. It was a very special treat that one of the greats just happened to be in this race: Craig Alexander! I kept watching them while I was getting my bike prepped. I have to admit I may have been a tad starstruck :) Maybe that's why it took me so long to start heading toward the beach?
Event warmup:

None really. I stretched a little.
  • 1h 27m 15s
  • 4224 yards
  • 02m 04s / 100 yards

This was the part I was most nervous about. I had done a practice swim in that cold choppy water on Friday, and knew if the wind was kicking up waves like that race day, I was going to be in trouble. Thankfully it was much calmer, but I still have to say the swim was brutal. I got to the beach kind of late, so I was lined up in the middle of the middle. I knew it wasn't a good place to be, but there was little I could do about it. I had put Vaseline on my hands and face, but forgot it was there. I rubbed my goggles and promptly realized that sighting with all that Vaseline smeared on the lenses was going to be a b****. When we all got in, it took probably 300 yards before I could safely put my head in there were so many people around. I got kicked in the mouth twice, dunked a few times, and in general was surrounded by so many people during both laps that I never felt comfortable. I alternated between getting a breath and swallowing water, so by that second lap I had to pee so badly it hurt. Haven't perfected the art of peeing and swimming simultaneously, so I suffered the entire way. I weaved in and out of the buoys a lot, so I'm sure the Vaseline ended up adding some distance to my swim. The sun ended up blinding me during maybe 50% of the swim. The only thing that got me through was thinking "I can't wait to get on my bike" over and over.
What would you do differently?:

NOT put Vaseline on my goggle lenses! Seed myself farther to the right. Practice OWS in less than ideal conditions so I can feel comfortable in cold choppy water (the chop was coming from bodies, not from wind!).
Transition 1
  • 15m 14s

I had no idea I was so slow here, but it makes sense. I was shaking badly when I got out of the water. My dexterity was next to nil, so taking things off and putting them on were a real challenge. I got the wetsuit strippers to help me out, then ran to the porta potty to fix my painful problem. Ahhhh that's better. Then I just grabbed my bag and changed on the lawn. This might have been a mistake, as I could have benefited from having help in the tent. I was so disoriented that I kept putting things on in the wrong order. Helmet then shirt, then race belt then shirt, etc. I finally got everything on correctly, had some sunscreen slathered on me by a volunteer, then off to the bike.

What would you do differently?:

Use the help of volunteers in the changing tent. Practice transitions more. I usually practice them a lot more, but because training volume was so high I neglected them completely.
  • 6h 32m 22s
  • 112 miles
  • 17.13 mile/hr

This was BY FAR my favorite part of the day. I was shaking quite a bit for the first 30 minutes or so, but once I warmed up I enjoyed the heck out of that course. I smiled often, waved at people, saw my cheering section and gave them a fist pump (haha!) each time, interacted with other racers, and made sure I took in the beautiful scenery.
I took it very easy the whole first lap. I had planned to use heart rate as a guide, but I stupidly had just gotten a cadence sensor and had forgotten to set the garmin back to displaying heart rate. Ah well, RPE it is!
I headed out along the lake and downshifted on the hill well before I started working hard. Tried to avoid riding too close to anyone (I was paranoid about getting drafting penalties). It's a bit difficult to stay far from people on this course. The time I exited the water must have been a pretty popular time to do so, because the number of riders in the first 30 miles or so was huge. Once we hit the hills in Hayden it cleared up a bit, but I was never totally alone.
I made sure to keep my effort totally aerobic. English Point hill was the only time that I got out of the saddle and pushed. In the instances when I could see the upcoming hill, I would ride the downhill hard to get myself halfway up the other side. I totally stopped looking at my speed, because my tendency is to push too hard when I see I'm going slower than 20mph on the flats. I think all of these tactics served me well, because when I jumped off the bike, my legs felt great.
I did have one panicky moment during the second lap. I must have somehow kicked my front derailleur, because suddenly switching from big to small ring was difficult. Right in the middle of the hills. Uh oh, I kind of need both of those! I kept motoring along, until one shift kicked my chain right off the big ring and around my crank arm. Dang it! I coasted down the hill I was on, pulled over and put the chain back on. I really should have tried to adjust the derailleur at that time, but I didn't. My shifting was sketchy for the next few miles, but I knew if I made it past the hills I would be able to leave it in the big ring. Thankfully that was the only technical issue I had.

What would you do differently?:

I am really glad I came out to ride the bike course over Memorial Day weekend, because it really convinced me to change my crankset to a compact. The hills were WAY easier this time around, so gearing is super important on this course. A few times I wished I had a 27 or 28 in back rather than the 25 I had, but it was so nice to spin up those hills compared to working my way up the first time I rode it.
I felt very comfortable the whole time riding, but because it was my first Ironman I wanted to be very conservative with my effort. Next time I think I will be able to afford to push the pace just a bit more.
Transition 2
  • 06m 35s

Nothing spectacular here. I went into the changing tent and had a volunteer help me. She was an Ironman herself, so it was nice getting some encouragement from someone who had been there. She found signal for my second Garmin (I had two because of battery life issues), put some Gu's in my fuel belt, and was all around awesome. I changed out of my tri shorts here, because I realized after a few brick workouts that they were going to chafe the crud out of me running after 112 miles.
What would you do differently?:

Practice practice practice transitions. I really am usually pretty good in this department. Don't neglect them in Ironman.
  • 4h 35m 12s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 10m 30s  min/mile

I felt pretty good leaving transition, looked down and realized I was running an 8:30ish pace, so I immediately slowed down. My run training has been spotty these last 8 months ever since the stress fracture I got in October. I only had a handful of runs longer than 13 miles to go off of. I decided before the race began that I would pace super conservatively for at least the first lap. I tried to keep around 9:30-10 minute miles for the first part. I also made a deal with myself to walk the aid stations as long as I kept running in between them. This worked well. Because the stations are every mile I only had to convince myself to run for short periods before I got a walk break. I ran the hill both times, although the second time it was more like a shuffle. Up until mile 20, I had given up any thought of meeting my goal time of under 13 hours. I just wanted to finish. I looked at the time right at mile 20 and realized that if I kept my pace under 10 minute miles, sub 13 was still possible. This was a huge mental boost. I kicked it in for the final 10k at 9:30 per mile to finish at 12:56. That run down Sherman was, as advertised, one of the best experiences of my life. I hammed it up with the crowd, raised my arms in victory, and hop-skipped across that finish line. What a rush!

What would you do differently?:

I probably could have run faster. My whole M.O. this Ironman was "don't blow up!", so I really kept a pretty comfortable pace throughout the day. This worked well because I really never felt anywhere close to blowing up, but the downside of that is I definitely left something on the table. I am totally fine with that for this first race, but next time I will do some experimenting to see just how hard I can push.
Injuries limited my run training. Definitely DON'T increase run volume too agressively. It doesn't end well, period. If I had more quality run training under my belt by race day, I would have allowed myself to run faster. As it stands, this marathon was run over 2 minutes/mile slower than my open marathon PR.
Post race
Warm down:

Walked through the chute and assured the catchers that I was ok. I got my shirt, hat, medal and got my photo taken. Grabbed a slice of pizza even though I really didn't feel like eating, and started forcing it down. Found my family, gave them big hugs, got a little teary-eyed. Decided before I left the recovery area, I better get my free 10 minute massage. It felt great on my super tight muscles! Walked out of the recovery area and back to the car. The rest of the night was spent eating, drinking beers and sitting :)

Event comments:

I was super impressed from start to finish. This town really shows up to support the racers, the volunteers were amazing, and the big time feel that WTC brings to a race was something I had never experienced. Love them or hate them, they do put on a first-rate event.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2010-07-07 12:00 AM
01:27:15 | 4224 yards | 02m 04s / 100yards
Age Group: 40/74
Overall: 1472/2351
Performance: Below average
Suit: Blueseventy Energie
Course: Two rectangular loops. You leave the water after the first loop to run across the timing mat. Back in again for the second loop.
Start type: Run Plus: Shot
Water temp: 55F / 13C Current: Low
200M Perf. Bad Remainder: Below average
Breathing: Below average Drafting: Bad
Waves: Navigation: Below average
Rounding: Below average
Time: 15:14
Performance: Bad
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed: Below average
06:32:22 | 112 miles | 17.13 mile/hr
Age Group: 30/74
Overall: 1266/2351
Performance: Good
Wind: Little
Course: Two loops. Mostly flat heading along the lake for an out and back, then head north to the Hayden hills. Flat all the way back to town.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 06:35
Overall: Below average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike Average
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal Average
04:35:12 | 26.2 miles | 10m 30s  min/mile
Age Group: 23/74
Overall: 827/2351
Performance: Average
Course: Two loops through residential neighborhoods and then out along the lake. There's a nice long hill that you summit, go all the way down, then turn around and head right back up. It's easy on the bike, but can be a soul-crusher on the run. Especially the second time.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
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