Ironman Coeur d'Alene - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
United States
Ironman North America
70F / 21C
Total Time = 16h 36m 4s
Overall Rank = 2137/2800
Age Group = M40-44
Age Group Rank = 372/376
Pre-race routine:

Woke up about 4:15ish after getting about five hours more sleep than I figured I would (yes, I slept for five hours). Ate two pieces of PB&J toast, threw my bike and Special Needs bags in the car with my wife's uncle, Chris (well, I didn't throw him in the car), and took off for Coeur d'Alene at about 5 a.m. I made Chris stop at a gas station so I could get a Big Gulp's worth of Diet Coke in my system. I needed the caffeine - and the liquid warmth for my wetsuit.
Event warmup:

I guess wandering aimlessly like a decapitated chicken was my warm-up. My friend Cindi met me at my bike and kindly took my Special Needs bags to the drop-off point. I borrowed a pump, walked around nervously, took Chris' Special Needs bags to the drop-off point (passing it forward!), and then returned to the long lines at the Portapotties. By this time it was after 6:30 and eventually volunteers ushered a few of us to the public potties and let us back in the transition area. I was thankful for that, because, well, I had to go BADLY and I wouldn't have made it to the swim start had I waited with all of the other triathletes in line. Only bad part: I lost most of my liquid warmth that was supposed to go in my wetsuit.

  • 1h 39m 45s
  • 4224 yards
  • 02m 22s / 100 yards

It was about 6:45 a.m., and I was finally getting my wetsuit on. Somebody in a loudspeaker told us to hurry to the beach, so I dropped my morning clothes' bag off and headed over there. Before I could make it to the beach, though, I had to s-l-o-w-l-y march with a few hundred other late-arriving wetsuit-sporting peeps, presumably also Ironman participants. I finally made it through the timing chip checkpoint to get activated, and there I was on the beach.

There were a TON of people there. I knew about 2,350 of the 2,800 signed up were there for the day, but I was STUNNED to see that many people on the beach for the swim. I didn't see a familiar face as I walked to the right side of the mass, and then - before I anticipated - a cannon exploded and the massive human tide rolled out to the buoys! It was insane to watch those people up front. I took my time walking down to the water, splashed some water in my face and dove in to the FREEZING COLD water! BRRRRRRR!!!!!

I don't know if the portion of my brain and body that were supposed to care about the water temperature became numb, but I didn't worry about the FREEZING COLD water (52-54 degrees supposedly, and in the 40s at the turning point).

Though I got in the FREEZING COLD water at the back of the pack, there was still plenty of contact. I accidentally (really!) grabbed someone's tush, and I got elbowed and swam over and smacked for most of the first 1,000 yards. I tried not to let it bother me, and I was doing it to others. It was hard to find open water out there, though. Even so, my stroke felt good and I couldn't help but smile on the inside knowing that I was in an Ironman race!

I about did a front flip when I got out of the water and saw that I'd done the first 1.2 miles in 46 minutes!!! That is VERY fast for me, and I didn't feel too spent. A HUGE smile crossed my face and I pumped my fists a bit as I got out, crossed the timing mat and got back into the water. I couldn't find my family in the crowd, and they weren't quite situated yet anyway because they figured I was still on Lap 1. I thought I was in for a two-hour swim - 1:45 at the very fastest and 2:20 or later at the worst.

I definitely felt slower the second lap, and part of that was bad steering on my part. In fact, I cost myself a couple of minutes by redirecting myself back to buoys just to make sure I passed them on the right side (unlike many others!). Oh well.

My arms got heavy toward the end, and I was running out of steam, for sure. But the worst part of the whole swim was the sting of a wetsuit scratch and hickey. Even that wasn't a big deal.

I got out of the water in the 1:39 zone, and I was thrilled. The phrase, "Seriously, you have no business in this race" went through my head several times during the swim because somebody on this website claimed I was going to put people in harm's way because of my lack of preparation. And I didn't really get into the pool nearly as much as I should've until mid-April AND I feared I wouldn't make the cutoff, so to give myself 40 extra minutes from the swim was AWESOME!!!!

This was probably the only time all day long it paid to have extra weight on my body. That insulation helped out!
What would you do differently?:

Lube up my neck much better. I put some BodyGlide on there, but obviously not enough.

I'd start swimming more often earlier, too.
Transition 1
  • 11m 51s

I was so excited about my great swim, but my body was a bit tired and cold. So I was very happy to have wetsuit strippers help me out as I clearly was brain dead at this point.

I started to put my cycling gear on outside by my bag, and was told to go into the tent. Oops!

I was moving slowly from the cold probably and nerves, and I almost peed my pants in the tent until I noticed a helpful pee trough! Phew!

I was not in speed mode inside the tent and wasted a few minutes, but I was still well ahead of schedule by the time I got the sunscreen applied by cute volunteers and headed to my bike.
What would you do differently?:

Speed up. Not start peeing on my leg in the tent.
  • 7h 54m 50s
  • 112 miles
  • 14.15 mile/hr

It was a rush coming out of the transition area and getting onto the bike course. There were people lined up on the streets cheering, and it just got me pumped to be out there!

I then smiled and giggled like a schoolgirl when I saw a sign on the course a couple of miles into town that read, "Jody Genessy, Prove Wrong!" This sign was amazing. It wasn't aimed toward all of, as I love this place and have great friends and have received TONS of amazing advice. But I did get body-slammed by some people here along my Ironman way (we'll save this discussion for another day). This sign helped me focus my desire to prove all doubters wrong by showing them that I'm worth believing in! (And, for the record, at times I was among the doubters!)

Along the route, I was also boosted by the amazing spectators (mostly strangers) and by an occasional glimpse of one of my also-participating friends (Steve Avery, Steve Miller, Josh Pettit, Bill Hirstius and Chris Kenney). I kept looking for my friend Cindi, but it turns out she suffered from hypothermia on the cold swim and had to be helped out of the water. Major bummer! I was also looking for my friend, Leopard8996 (Bonnie), but the freaking water also messed up her day!

Anyway, I felt great the first lap and tried not to burn all of my matches the first 56 miles. There were A LOT of hills, and they were tough ones so it was impossible to not use up a good chunk of energy, though.

I finally saw my family at about the 13-mile mark coming back into town, and what a shot in the arm that was!!! It seriously made my day seeing my wife and two of my three kids cheering for me. :)

I had fun along that first loop with another cyclist (a 20-year-old woman), as we kept passing each other up - over and over and over. Another guy jokingly called me his "Nemesis" because we also played leapfrog. Generally speaking, I'd pass them up going downhill, and they'd get me going up or on the rare flat parts.

I was relieved to hit the first checkpoint at about Mile 34, because I knew people were waiting for an update at home!

It took a loooooong time for them to get that second update at that same spot, however. Though I finished the first 56-mile lap in about 3.5 hours or so and felt I could've done it even faster, the second 56 miles were rough. Especially around Mile 70. This marked the beginning of the really hilly part, and I was really doubting myself and wondering if I could make it!

It sounds cheesy, but somebody had written the word, "BELIEVE" in chalk on the road at about this point of my mental/physical struggle, and I took it to heart. I'd been told many times that I'd want to quit out there and that I just had to keep moving forward, and that's what I did. I didn't even end up walking up hills like I assumed would be necessary due to their steepness and me losing steam.

I finally made it to the second checkpoint at Mile 90 and I was relieved to let people following me know that I was still plugging and chugging along!

The ride back to town was uneventful and fairly slow, but I was also boosted by a sign that read in French: "(Name) ... Souviens tous qui pensent a toi" ("Remember those who are thinking of you"). What an awesome reminder! I was lifted by that, knowing that family and friends, even strangers, were and had been pulling for me and rooting me on!

Though my second lap was much slower, I was still happy to be well ahead of the cutoff point. I needed that extra 45 minutes in a big way!

The weirdest part of the bike was that it was my feet, not my legs, that hurt the worst. And my dogs were barking for the last 30 or so miles! OUCH!
What would you do differently?:

Train more! Ride more hills! I did do a good job of eating and drinking and keeping my electrolytes up. so that was a bonus.

One other thing: I was really worried about the pain I've been experiencing in my second and third toes on my right foot. But they went numb early on, so I only had to deal with blister pain! Phew. I should have tested some shoe inserts weeks beforehand, though, to help things out.
Transition 2
  • 05m 3s

I was THRILLED BEYOND WORDS to see my family again. I saw a couple of them briefly riding into transition, but then they surprised me by being at the transition exit. You can see the pure joy on my face in a photo sequence my wife took of me while I headed out to the run only to be momentarily sidetracked by my three kids and her. I stopped, gave hugs and kisses - and a wave to the youngest in the stroller - and waddled out of there a very happy, albeit sore, man!
What would you do differently?:

I was in a hurry to get my cycling shoes off and put on my running shoes because my feet hurt. But I should have rubbed some Vaseline on my feet. I didn't know it but I'd already developed the beginnings of some horrible blisters!

I also should've packed Vaseline to help out my manboobs but I forgot. Thank goodness the aid stations had some!
  • 6h 44m 37s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 15m 26s  min/mile

First off, I have said all along I would be happy to just get onto the run, and I was. Except my legs felt HORRIBLE! I didn't even attempt to jog for a mile or so, and I was very worried that my pace would slow down to a creeping crawl and I wouldn't make it. But I had just over seven hours to play with, and that helped me mentally.

My feet, especially my right foot, hurt from the get-go. I could tell blisters had either formed or were forming, so it was uncomfortable the whole way! Ugh.

Eventually, about mile 1.5 or so, I mixed in a slow and short jog. I couldn't believe how many others were walking. It actually made me feel better knowing so many others were suffering with me!

Seeing my sign again inspired me to run for another minute, but then I walked and walked and walked up the first long hill.

Thank goodness for the aid stations every mile. They were amazing. I didn't want to my calves to cramp up from a lack of electrolytes, as has happened on so many of my long runs, so I ate potato chips. I ate some pretzels. I ate bananas. I ate ice chips. I even ate a cookie! And I drank water, drank Ironman Perform, drank cola (YES!!!) and guzzled chicken broth. And I did that for most of the run/walk/waddle!

For the first half or so of my marathon, I kept waiting for my blisters to pop open and just kill my feet. I also kept waiting for my legs to simply call it quits. In the meantime, I kept walking and - on the way back to town - forced myself to do even more jogging.

I finished the first half of the marathon and received a bittersweet surprise: Cindi was waiting for me! I was saddened to see her, because she wasn't out there with me. I was also thrilled that she would come back out and cheer me on. She smiled, gave me a hug and told me, "You're going to do it! You're going to be an Ironman!" It was a needed boost!

I didn't see my family at the turnaround, as expected, but I did get a some loud cheers from sons of the family we stayed at, so that was nice. I lubed up my feet again - for the third time - and changed socks at special needs. I also took some Ibuprofen and went my merry way. I still had four hours to do a half-marathon, and I felt pretty confident I could do it. Still scared that time and my body would expire first, but pretty confident.

Soon after, I came across my friend, NerdJock (Ashley), and she was a light in the darkness. We walked together for a half-mile or so, and she told me to just walk uphill and run downhill with her.

I tried to do this for a while, but my feet were just too uncomfortable to keep her pace. So I sent her on her way.

Strangely though, about a mile later - and after we climbed the first of the two big hills on the run, I started feeling a bit better. I jogged downhill and almost caught back up to her.

Then, on my next jog, I somehow found the strength inside of me to keep jogging after I caught her! I assumed she'd catch back up, but I felt so good that I couldn't stop going on my new and improved pace!

A bit later as darkness started to fall, my wife drove by cheering at me. It was awesome! She then stayed by me for the next half-mile or so and waited for me to go up and down and back up Torturous Turnaround Hill. I made it to the final checkpoint a good half-hour before the cutoff, and I walked back up the hill with a good, steady pace. Every step still hurt, but it was a manageable hurt.

At about Mile 21, I saw my wife again - the kids were asleep, except for our little one - and she took my picture a couple of times. I happily told her that she'd better get back to the finish line. Her Ironman was headed that way!

At this point, I knew I was going to do it. Had no doubt. It was just a matter of how fast/slow I'd get there. I kept trying to jog as much as I could, but I mostly walked the last couple of miles. I was simply spent.

Before I get to the fun finish, I need to point out a couple of awesome parts of my run. At one point, I saw Josh and he freaked out and hollered and flexed his muscles and made me yell back in return. FUNNY! It got us both pumped.

Another highlight was seeing my buddy and mentor, Steve Avery (trigator2151), out there on the course. But he didn't just give me a high-five or scream encouragement to me. He stopped his progress, turned around and started walking with me (in the wrong direction for him!). He wanted to make sure his Grasshopper was gonna make it, and he took the time to give me advice (stay hydrated, keep up on the salt and nutrition, etc.). He did this THREE TIMES, and I think it was about the coolest thing ever. Steve was there for me this entire journey and really carried me through some tough times. He also was extremely generous with me, making me a deal that I could borrow-but-keep his CycleOps trainer as long as I did the IM. He also hooked me up with some other stuff, and I'll forever be indebted to him!

It was fun approaching Sherman Avenue. One older Hells Angels-looking guy cheered me on when it suddenly registered in his head that he was cheering on a dude who was 70 pounds overweight. The shock on his face became evident and he yelled, "YOU ARE MY HERO!!!" Awesome.

Another guy told me he remembered me and said he didn't think I was going to make it. Awesome!

With the finish line party within earshot, I finally decided to make my final sprint right before getting on Sherman Avenue. And I didn't stop that entire third-mile or so. I just kept running and smiling, although I did almost break down and cry at one point.

People were wonderful as I approached the finish line. The only thing I wanted to make sure of was that I had my own photo as I crossed! Sounds dumb, but I really wanted that memory in a picture! A dude in a Batman cape was walking ahead of me and a fast guy came out of nowhere and passed me in the chute. I also passed by Mike Reilly who said my name and my city. I'm sure he said I was an Ironman, but I was too busy slapping people's hands and screaming, and I passed Batman in the final few yards - he was walking and I didn't want to stop to wait for him!

The joy I felt as I finished that race was indescribable. It was SO SWEEEET!!!!!

Soon, I was being held up, receiving my finishers' medal, hat and shirt, and being hugged by my buddy Steve Miller. My family then came out of nowhere, and I celebrated with great friends, including Miller, Cindi, Josh, Bill and their families. It was a wonderful moment, capping a year of struggles and heartbreak and hard work and firsts and long runs, rides and swims, and doubts and triumph and belief and, well, it was just an awesome moment that was a long time coming!

I'll never forget how I got there and who helped me get there!

Here is a pre-race column I wrote:

And here is the post-race column I wrote for my paper:
Post race
Warm down:

Ate two pieces of amazing pizza and walked around with a perma-smile and sore feet/legs!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Being 60-70 pounds overweight. Not training hard enough, early enough! Blisters didn't help, either.

Event comments:

My fingers are long-winded, so let me just sum up my entire experience in three words: Awesome, awesome and awesome!

Last updated: 2010-07-22 12:00 AM
01:39:45 | 4224 yards | 02m 22s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/376
Overall: 0/2800
Performance: Good
Suit: 2XU -- XXXL
Course: Lake Coeur d'Alene - two loops (1.2 miles)
Start type: Run Plus: Shot
Water temp: 52F / 11C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 11:51
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Below average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
07:54:50 | 112 miles | 14.15 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/376
Overall: 0/2800
Performance: Good
Wind: None
Course: AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL!!!! It's like getting punched by a pretty woman. It hurts but at least you enjoy the scenery while getting walloped!
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 05:03
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
06:44:37 | 26.2 miles | 15m 26s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/376
Overall: 0/2800
Course: Much hillier than I'd expected -- supposedly about 1,000 feet of elevation, but felt more than that!
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]