Ironman Coeur d'Alene - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
United States
Ironman North America
50F / 10C
Total Time = 13h 29m 11s
Overall Rank = 1295/2800
Age Group = M40-44
Age Group Rank = 251/376
Pre-race routine:

The days leading up the race were cold and windy, not the conditions I expected, but I kept telling myself, I asked for cool temps, cold is good, I can handle wind, better than heat, I'll take it. Drove part of bike course on Friday (thought, ok those hills weren't bad, but there is alot of them, didn't think I saw the big one yet) and other half on Saturday (saw the big hill on English Point, yep, it will be a challenge on second lap especially, was glad that it was at the begginning of all the hills and not at the end. I went back and forth trying to figure out how to deal with the cooler temps, so I packed a long-sleeve in both transition bags and a bike jacket in bike bag. I guess I would rather be overprepared than not. Saturday took a short bike ride on run course for 22 minutes to check bike, everything seemed ok, but I haven't ridden in weeks, so I felt really slow.

RACE DAY: Room service woke me up at 3:30AM for breakfast (actually got to bed early and slept pretty good), 4 whole wheat pancakes (ate 3.5), 2 poached eggs, cup of Starbucks coffee, then 2 ensures (first time trying these) and water. Took in more calories prerace than ever before, hoped it would help on this long day. Laid back down, but I was too juiced for this big day so I got back up and did some light stretching. I posted an update to my facebook account when I got up, "I dedicate this day to Papa J! Live Strong." My father in law was diagnosed with kidney cancer early this year and was in stage 4. He's the greatest father in law you could ask for and a great inspiration to me. I got dressed in my wetsuit partially and warmer throw away clothes, put some vaseline on face to protect from cold water.

Walked outside about 6am and it was a perfect day, sunny and cool, brought a huge smile and great feeling to start the day. I stayed at the host resort, so it was really nice to walk out of my room and be at the race site. Walked over to transition and set up bike nutrition, borrowed pump (from a buckeye!). I reset my bike computer and tried to pair HR and cadence sensor, HR was fine and candence picked up so I was happy since I always struggle getting these paired, probably just doing something wrong. I put in GU gels, shot blocks and endurolytes into bentobox. I took special needs bags to drop-off, body marked (now I know why no one had wetsuits on, duh). I forgot my regular glasses in room in case I'm out after dark, panic, headed back to room, Samantha and Maya were getting ready to meet me at our prerace meet up spot. I headed back to transition to put glasses in run T2 bag. Pro canon went off, the day has officially started, a streak of adrenaline rushed through me, very excited now. Met Samantha and Maya, took a few pics, headed over to swim, crazy crowd trying to get there. The athletes started to panic as the time drew near and pushing through crowd to get to the beach. When I went to pull up my wetsuit, some lady behind me just pulled and yanked and pulled and yanked it up, I guess that was a help! I wore shoes and socks onto the beach, throw aways, to keep the feet warm, this worked out good, flipped them off about a minute before gun. My heel was bleeding because the old shoes had worn through and had some hard plastic that rubbed the back of my heel, the sight of blood on my sock gave me a shock, but then realized what had happened and it wasn't a big deal. Amazing how any little nuance kicks me into nervous mode, but I usually calm down ok after I pull it back together, nerves are wound up so tight before races. As I headed to beach, some younger athlete said, it's just another training day, that put it back into perspective for me, because I usually like to tell myself that to calm the nerves, but hadn't until he said it, so thank you!
Event warmup:

None, short jog back to hotel to get glasses, I didn't even put my feet in the water prior to the race. Tons of swimmers practiced every day, but I didn't want to get into the cold water. My B2B half iron last fall was cold and gave me a good idea of the cold shock that I would feel to the capillaries. I had a small headache, probably just from the stress of the race I guess.
  • 1h 15m 27s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 47s / 100 yards

Goal: Use swim as warm-up, a bit of an oxymoron with 55 degree water temp. My neighbor, Justin, loaned me his neoprene cap, boy did that help, my head and ears were perfect the entire swim. Mass start, I've heard so much about this experience, the washing machine, slug-fest, etc. it had me a little worried. My plan was to start midway back and middle right side and avoid the front and inside lane mayhem. I ended up getting to the start line last minute because it was so packed with people. I started in the back row, middle right side. I didn't even touch the water before the start. U2's Beautiful Day was playing to get us started and it fit well with the perfect weather and this song always brings positive energy to me. After the starting gun went off I walked up into the water and splashed my google because I didn't want them to fog up, put them on and started my swim with a couple of dolphin dives. The cold water was a real shock to the system, but my B2B half last fall had cold water that gave me some perspective on this feeling. There was quite a bit of traffic and I had to navigate through some swimmers to pass, only a couple times an aggressive swimmer came by me, I just let them go and got out of the way for the most part. Everyone was pretty cordial about giving way and trying to keep it from becoming a slugfest, probably because I was in the bop grouping at the start. I got into a smooth rhythm pretty quick and felt good about my stroke. Drifted wide, as usual, my navigation is horrible, but continued my easy steady pace. Few mouthfuls of lake water, thought it might make me sick, but thought, at least I'll be hydrated! And it wasn't salt water so it didn't taste that bad. Breathing was normal so that was good too. Had a notion to swim to inside lane, but came back to the game plan of easy warmup and staying out of the mayhem. Ran on to beach for second lap, I think I heard 36 minutes from announcer, he said these are average swim times for first lap to the crowd. I was satisfied with that and pretty close to plan. I remember Bon Jovi's Livin' on a Prayer was playing, "Oh, we're half way there. Oh, oh, livin' on a prayer". Got back into water and started swimming, then about the half way mark I ran headfirst directly into a kayak and had a good chuckle with the kayaker and racer who was holding on, didn't phase me and kept going. Then right after last turn in I got a cramp in my left calf, threw me off because I've never cramped in a race on the swim, thought omg, what does this mean, I'll be cramping on the bike and run too??? I did some pull drills for a few 100 meters, then slowly kicked and it seemed to have gone away. I tried to draft early on but I always started swimming over the person and had to pass them, it wasn't until after the final turn on second lap that I was able to draft and it definitely helped. I think this was the first time ever I got to draft well in a swim, although it didn't last long. I started kicking harder to get blood flowing back into my legs for last 300-400m, it seemed to work. Swam up to volunteer, stood up and crossed the timing mat, I made it to T1! Yea!
What would you do differently?:

Don't start in back, be more aggressive. Get wetsuit on a little more ahead of time and put more body glide on neck, I have a huge raspberry on my neck.
Transition 1
  • 15m 37s

Didn't have any goal for transitions, just wanted to get through the day and felt in the end my transition times wouldn't matter to the "just finish" goal. So I came out of the water feeling good, jogged up to the transition area, dropped in front of a wetsuit puller, he yanked it off in one quick pull. Trotted over to bags, picked out bag with a little help from volunteer. Ran to tent, but set up outside in the sun, everyone was doing it, plus the sun felt good after the cold swim. So I decided not to put on any extra clothing that I might not want, cold is ok by me. Feet and hands were numb, but I didn't really notice much other than moving so slowly. I stopped everything and took a pit stop, was in there FOREVER, my big carb load meals were unloading (TMI). Didn't worry, thought I don't want to stop again and want to feel good for the rest of the day. Put on bike shorts, CP socks (took awhile, wasn't sure if they would help or not, but thought what the heck, especially with the cooler temps), put on chamois butt'r, lucky OSU Buckeye jersey, shoes, garmin, gloves, and TT helmet. I stopped to read a note from my wife she made up for each of my bags, it gave me a smile. I dropped off bag and jogged to bike. Jogged bike to exit. I knew this was slow, but almost 16 minutes...JEEZERZ!
What would you do differently?:

Totally ok with the results for this day. Future: Rethink carb load strategy, probably over did it, ya think? Practice transitions and try to be more quick, don't take my time.
  • 6h 57m 6s
  • 112 miles
  • 16.11 mile/hr

Happy with sub 7 hr bike. Took off out of transition, pretty easy ride to start. My HR was showing up on my bike computer, but my speed and cadence didn't, I tried time and time again to pair the sensors with no luck, oh well, my plan was pretty much based on HR and I could get my speed from my garmin 310XT, so no real worries. I liked the celtic musicians playing bagpipes. I had an instant neck cramp and headache unfortunately, similar to my last long rides in training. My plan was to ride first 30 miles in Z1, then get through the hills keeping HR in low Z2, then keep in Z2 for as much of the rest of the ride as possible. Hills were ok on first lap, I went easy, but sped like crazy down them with easy pedalling to take advantage of free speed but keeping low HR. I took in some good nutrition and kept drinking, but didn't have to over drink because it was so cool. I took lots of endurolytes, at least 2 per hour. First lap was faster than expected, top end of range at 16.7mph. Wahoo! Kept thinking about my hip and when it was going to start to talk to me on the second lap. By the time I got to the first lap finish, I started to feel a pain in my groin area, made me worry, but I also had to pee so bad I couldn't wait until the next rest stop. I was hoping that my pain was from an exploding bladder and not my groin. It felt like this in training a few times. I was on a short side road that no one was one, stopped and jumped into the bushes, that was another long pit stop, a racer on the bike passed and just laughed at me, knowing I was just a few miles from the aid station. Jumped back on bike, great news, no groin pain, what a relief, yea!

I got lots of compliments on my bike along the way, usually from someone with one of the new Trek SC's. Alot of shouts of go bucks and a couple go blue.

Second lap saw the honey badger signs that Bonnie posted, smiled and laughed. Hills got harder, alot harder. One of the hills with a slow down sign I didn't heed to enough, I blasted through them perfectly in first lap so I probably was a little over confident going into this lap. I was going too fast and couldn't make the turn, luckily there was a stone road that went straight and up hill that I used to stop and turned back onto the road, a guy behind me said "I'm glad you made that one." Me too. At this point I was really happy that I bought an 11-28 cassette with the extra granny gear. I thought I popped my chain off changing gears going up a hill, but it was fine, just got stuck changing the gear I guess. Neck was hurting and kept trying to loosen it up, nothing helped, but HBDC! Then bike tape on my left handlebar started coming off, oh great, I never changed the tape and didn't think it was hard but didn't know if I should stop or if my brake would fall off it came fully undone. I finally stopped for a pit stop and wrapped it back up, it seemed fine and held for the rest of the way. It felt like the second lap was taking forever and the hills wouldn't stop coming. Finally got out of the hills and knew I was on my way back. Picked up pace as I lost my avg speed from above 16, went down to 15.8 avg. in hilly section. I knew I could pick up time on the ride back, and it clicked up to 16, then 16.1, started racing a few bikers in final miles, was fun, but backed off and let a few go to keep HR in Z2. About 4 miles to go, a girl with a squirt gun stepped out and squirted me right in the mouth, perfect shot, she must have had a lot of practice today, surprised me that she did it but it felt pretty darn good. I knew I was finishing the bike on/ahead of plan and was excited to get to the marathon. With my neck cramp/headache, I never wanted to run a marathon more than right now.

Matras from BT buddies and others that kept me going and helped me make right decisions:

Trust your training - this helped early on mentally when I was concerned about not training for last month due to hip pain
Stay inside your box - this helped me refocus several times and not race or push up the hills
When you feel good => eat - this one I repeated several times and I didn't have a definite nutrition plan going into race, but stuck with what worked in training and added some bars/gels/bananas. I think this helped set up my marathon as well.

My bike fit was all wrong, had neck cramps and headache the entire 7 hr ride. It would have been so much more enjoyable otherwise, everyone was saying how much fun they were having and I just could barely keep my neck still. I was trying to stretch it out the entire ride, but nothing seemed to help.

What would you do differently?:

Get a bike fit! Push a little harder. New hb tape before such a big event? Need to figure out why my bike is always my weakest leg and what I can do to improve this critical part of triathlons. Aero bottle on front, I had one but never got it on in training and didn't want to make any last minute changes to setup.
Transition 2
  • 06m 31s

Volunteers took bike at bike finish line, which was nice, jogged to get bag and into tent. Volunteer came and helped me dump bag and get ready. I put on my runners, then realized I needed to change shorts, took off shoes, put on compression shorts and put shoes back on. Put a few Rocktane gels in my pocket. Read note from Samantha and Maya which picked me up. Generally felt unfocused and slow, but wasn't worried about it. Walked out of transition.
What would you do differently?:

Not put shoes on until I change shorts. Practice transitions, focus and try to be faster.
  • 4h 54m 30s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 11m 14s  min/mile

Coming out of transition I was walking with a guy and we both agreed that we were happy to be off the bike and never wanted to run more. The announcer asked, what # buckeye?, what # buckeye?, I replied with my finger #1, he replied, "of course", after I passed him, he called my name out, oh that's why he wanted my #! lol!, my race # was on my back still from bike. I pulled race belt around to the front of me. Since everyone seemed to start jogging, I started to jog not knowing how long I would last. My plan said to start at a comfortable pace, I figured 12 minute miles should be comfortable at this point, but I slowly inched down to 11 minute miles and still felt comfortable for first 6 miles. My left achilles started to tighten and I thought it was going to stop me from running the marathon at some point. It felt this way the entire run, I tried to stretch it a couple of times just a little, but it didn't help. My right achilles ached on the second lap, but neither caused me any real issues. Then my plan said I could slowly increase pace each 10K, but I decided to keep it at 11 minute pace to play it safe, there are many, many more miles to go, like 20 miles left. But then near the end of my second split, I realized I was looking at total pace and not lap pace, I switched to lap pace and I was down to 10:35 pace for the second split and felt pretty good, but slowed back down a bit. The crowd was just unbelievable, they kept rooting me on and my Buckeye jersey got tons of screams and shouts of encouragement, it's my secret weapon against any course. The pirate ship aid station was fun. The crowd kept telling me I looked great and I was just smiling the entire time, they made me feel like a total ROCK STAR!! Also, there was a young girl with a microphone on the course that was awesome, the first time I passed I thought it was an awesome mixer tape, then I came back by and saw it was an actually little girl talking into a microphone, now SHE ROCKED! Seriously, she sounded like a professional.I came to the aid station that they first offered chicken broth, I heard so much of this, I had to try it, pretty tasty. Then I thought maybe not a good idea this early in the run, but I took some at almost every station they offered, until final miles I skipped it. I took it only with water and didn't try mixing it with Perform. Then about mile 10 a camera man on the back of a motor bike followed me for a mile, thought they were taping someone behind me, but he kept focusing on me. I heard another runner say boy, must be nice having your own crew for the day. LOL! He stayed with me for a while and I just kept smiling away for the camera, it didn't have a local TV station logo or any logo on it so I'm not sure who it was, then he smiled at me and took off. I saw my wife and daughter at halfway mark, forgot to kiss them, then came back from turnaround and hoped to see them again, I did and gave them big kisses. This was a highlight of the race for me. My wife and daughter are my best fans and supporters, I feel as lucky as it gets to have them here and always supporting me. I couldn't have done it without them.

It was getting to be the warmest part of the day (maybe hitting 80, not exactly sure) and I was over half way through the marathon and I started to slow my pace down some and started to feel some heat sickness, so I started to walk, put sponges on my head and drank water at aid station. I started up again and felt fine, I used the sponges and drank water at next few aid stations, it really felt good and think it kept my core temp from rising. Then the temp started to cool down and I felt even better again, but getting harder to start up the jog after eash aid station walk, mentally hard to start, but once I got going, the slow stride came back. I made it to The Line (mile 18) and knew my time was coming in at my best possible prediction, everything had gone according to plan and better in fact. I wanted to pick up pace again, these thoughts were reoccurring throughout the day, but I thought, why risk it? remember Florida and pushing at the end, not stopping at last aid station for water??? hello! stick to what is working. I am ahead of where I thought by a good margin, it would only mean 13:15 versus 13:29 at best. So I did stick to what was working.

Coming down Sherman Avenue was everything and more of what I heard about it, total ROCK STAR feeling. I did a few O-H-I-O's and then slapped hands all the way for the final blocks, it is a feeling I will never forget. One of the happiest moments of my life for sure. I crossed the finish line and my catcher asked me how I felt, I felt great, he said you look great, this was a recurring comment that was so uplifting to have done an Ironman and actually felt great on the marathon, I never expected that. Then, at that moment I thought, it is over, really, already, it's over...sorrow, but the feeling went away as soon as I went over to see my wife and daughter. The cooler weather was a key success factor for me I think too.
What would you do differently?:

Follow plan more aggressively and believe in my training even more. Push harder final 8 miles would have been doable I think. Drink more, use the ice water sponges earlier (before I feel heat sickness).
Post race
Warm down:

Samantha and Maya were right at the finish line rooting for me, what a great moment. Got finisher pic. Got a pick of me with my wife and daughter (my daughter put her arm around me which felt sooo awesome). Then I went and got a couple pieces of pizza, sat down to eat, boy that feels great, sitting down that is. We went back to the room because I just felt like lying down and resting and it was way past my daughters bedtime. I ordered my traditional post race meal, cheeseburger and fries. Samantha went and got me an icepack to put on my hip, even though it didn't hurt, I figured it would help it recover. Strangest thing was it never felt better in the following two days.

This was probably the biggest natural high I've ever experienced in my life. I was an Ironman and on top of the world right now. Next day, I went to the spa for a sticks and stones massage, that was awesome.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Bike fit. I worried about hip, but for this race, I saw it as a blessing in disguise because it helped me pace the entire race well and I felt so unbelieveably good on the marathon, it was a great feeling. Probably bike power, without knowing what mine is, the bike is always my weakest link. Probably would benefit from some strength training, have never done any in my life really.

Event comments:

Ironman Coeur d'Alene, it doesn't get much better than this!! Awesome crowd and volunteers, spectacular race course and perfect weather.

Oh, what a feeling!

Profile Album

Last updated: 2011-01-15 12:00 AM
01:15:27 | 4224 yards | 01m 47s / 100yards
Age Group: 131/376
Overall: 743/2800
Performance: Good
Suit: xterra vortex3 full
Course: Mass beach start, 2 laps rectangle, short jog on beach to get to lap 2 Swim start:
Start type: Run Plus:
Water temp: 55F / 13C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Below average
Waves: Average Navigation: Below average
Rounding: Average
Time: 15:37
Performance: Bad
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
06:57:06 | 112 miles | 16.11 mile/hr
Age Group: 310/376
Overall: 1528/2800
Performance: Average
Kept in Z1 and Z2, alerts rarely went off when I was out of zones, only a few times on big uphills, because I was spinning slowly in such a low gear.
Wind: Little
Course: 2 laps with a long section of hills, lots of hills.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Average Hills: Below average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 06:31
Overall: Below average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
04:54:30 | 26.2 miles | 11m 14s  min/mile
Age Group: 251/376
Overall: 1295/2800
Performance: Average
Once I was well into the run, my HR was on 142 forever, like my HRM was stuck there. I felt good, HR looked good, this was turning out better than I expected. My HR didn't increase until I picked up my pace the last split and it was still under the 160 mark, probably around 156, still need to get my data from my garmin.
Course: 2 laps, out and back, one big hill at middle of each lap.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
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