Ironman Coeur d'Alene - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
United States
95F / 35C
Total Time = 12h 28m 24s
Overall Rank = 598/2227
Age Group = F25-29
Age Group Rank = 18/72
Pre-race routine:

What an experience. This was my first Ironman and this is my first real post to this website. Well the week before the race, things weren't looking so good for me; I had to get a last minute bike adjustment on the DAY BEFORE I was to ship my bike out to Coeur d'Alene (CDA) for the race. My knees had mysteriously started hurting badly on my last couple long rides. I figured they were just tired of all the high mileage and that the taper would help. When I went out for an easy 45 minute ride the Wednesday before we were leaving and could barely finish because of the pain in my upper knees, I knew there was a problem! Vern, Carmel Fitness and Cycling, in Indianapolis, IN fixed me right up. It turns out, my seat height was 2 cm too low. My knees were perfect the whole race on Sunday. I HIGHLY recommend this guy (See!!

So on to the race report. To anyone who has never done an Ironman event, but has maybe thought it would be cool, I HIGHLY recommend it; it is worth every minute of the 6+ months of training! The atmosphere is amazing; the Ironman Village is indescribeable. CDA is a wonderful city for a race like this. It is gorgeous. I have never had so much to look at during a race before.

Gosh, how do you start these things? I don't really know where to start with my race report. Do I start 3 days prior to the race? Race morning? Well the pre-race basics are that we arrived in CDA on Thursday before the Sunday race. After we got checked in to our hotel, we picked our bikes up in the Ironman Village from This is a great way to go - simply, cost effective, and convenient! Then we rode the first lap of the run couse. IMCDA is a loop course; each segment of the race has two loops. Friday morning at 7am (race start time) we went for a 20 minute swim in the COLD (60 degee) water. I'd never been in water that cold; I got a little dizzy. I was glad I experienced it for the first time this day and not Sunday morning. Then we got coffees and drove the first loop of the bike course; YIKES!!! Can we say HILLY?? In my opinion, definitely hillier than the Hilly Hundred. Everything I read, said it was not that bad. . . I guess hill definitions are all relative. For someone from central Indiana, this was a HILLY course!!!! I decided then and there, that I was going to have to take it very easy on the bike and just try to enjoy the scenery. The rest of the day Friday we spent getting our IM merchandise, checking in, and visiting all the exhibition booths. Friday night was the Athlete Banquet. This was awesome. I cried almost the whole time; words can't really describe the emotions I felt this night. Saturday morning we did a short bike-run brick from the hotel - 15 minutes of each, again at 7am. We spent the rest of this day pretty much laying around and snacking. This day seemed to last forever. The only thing we did was check our bike and gear bags into the transition area around 1pm. Then we ate dinner at 2pm and spent the rest of the evening in the hotel room. We snacked throughout the evening. The crazy thing is that I actually slept Saturday night. I can NEVER sleep the night before a race. I'm not sure what was up; but it was nice.

We got up at 3:45 and I had my breakfast of 2 slices of white bread with peanut butter and honey and 1 can of ensure. We left for the race site at 4:30 and were there before things even opened at 5am. I had a couple cups of coffee while we waited. Between 5 and 6 we got all of our gear bags organized and dropped off our special needs bags. I talked to another girl fron Indiana who was doing the race. I sipped an endurance formula gatorade during this time.
Event warmup:

At 6:20, I visited the restroom one more time and had my wetsuit on by 6:40; we then went down to get into the water for a quick warm-up, but they were already calling people out. I took a quick qu on the way to the water. Then we basically just jumped in, got wet, and got back out. It felt better than Friday (It turned out it was 3 degrees warmer.). We were spread out on the beach for about an 1/8 mile, 30 or so deep. There were 2200 competitors in this race. The Pro women started early and then the rest of us at 7. At 6:58, Mark (my husband who was also competing) kissed me good luck and then at 7, the canon sounded and we were off.

  • 1h 24m 41s
  • 4224 yards
  • 02m / 100 yards

I stayed near the back and wide for the start because swimming is my weakest event. I took my time and entered the water 5-10 seconds after the start. I got right in with little incident. If anyone is nervous about the mass start, I highly recommend this technique. I quickly found someone at my pace who was not kicking much and began to follow him. This worked awesome because I did not have to break my stroke to sight. For the first few minutes I checked every so often to make sure he was going the right way and he was always dead on. So for the rest of the way out, I just kept my head down and followed right behind him. I so wished I could've thanked him. This swim was a rectangle - about .5 out, .2 accross, and then .5 back. Then you run on the beach, hit the time mat, and jump back in for the second lap. I lost my trusty sighter and drafter at the first turn; it did get a little crazy and cramped at the turns. By the time we got headed back, I found another person to swim behind. I was able to do this on all four long legs of the swim. It paid off; I had not expected to get out of the water in under 1:30 and I swam a 1:24! This is 2:15/100 pace; that's as fast as I swim 100s in a pool!!!! Even though I am a slow swimmer; this was my favorite part of the whole day. The water was pristine and I was able to freestyle the whole time; I never had to stop and rest, or tread, or back float, etc. When I finished the swim, I was in 1600ishth place.
What would you do differently?:

Get faster in the water. This was my best swim ever; but I am still a pretty slow swimmer.
Transition 1
  • 04m 59s

I got my goggles, neoprene cap, and swim cap off easily. I also got the top 1/2 of my wetsuit down (I wore a jon by the way, the fulls make my arms too tired.) I then laid down in front of a volunteer and they peeled it right off for me. Then I carried it to the gear bag area; I was able to find mine pretty quickly. I got out my helmet, shoes, socks, sunglasses, and race belt. I got everything on pretty smoothly; then I shoved my wetsuit into my bag and had to run around a bit to find someone to take it from me. They kept wanting me to go into the change tent, but since I was changing, I did not want to get stuck in that mess. I just wore a zoot two-piece tri-suit for the whole race. Finally someone took it, I stopped for some sun screen and then headed to my bike. I got my bike off the rack easily, but I was on the FAR end of the transistion area so I had to run my bike all the way to the opposite end; this took some time. I ended up with a T1 time of right around 5 minutes.
What would you do differently?:

I would like to be a little quicker on this first transition next time. Practice should help this.
  • 6h 32m 16s
  • 112 miles
  • 17.13 mile/hr

As I mentioned above, after our drive on Friday, I was prepared for a hilly bike. Mark (my husband, coach, and trainer) had told me I should ride mile 1-30 easy, actually holding back; 31-60, I should just settle into a nice pace; 61-90 is where I could push it and actually try to race a little; and then 91-112 I should again fall into a nice, steady pace, evaluate nutrition, stretch the legs and prepare to start running. This is pretty much what I did. The first 20 or so miles of the bike follow Coeur d'Alene Lake Drive and go right along the lake. There are a couple small climbs in this portion. I talked to a lot of nice people on the bike. After this first segment, we came back through town and then headed out to the hills. The first big climb, came around 25 miles; I just put it in my granny gear, slid back on the seat, and took my sweet old time getting up. The decsent was fun, but scary. I was going close to 40 at times, but there were some really sharp switch-backs. I had to actually stay on the brakes the whole time. Because of this, it was hard to gain back a lot of the time lost climbing. After this hilly section was over, we got out on some pretty flat roads (although, still rolling hills). The problem now was that we had the wind in our faces. We rode for a while on a trail, called the Centenial Trail that actually goes through a lot of Idaho and Washington and I think other states as well. We rode over an old Railroad bridge, which was fun and interesting. We also rode around a greyhound track and through some parking lots. There really was never any good, long, stretch, where I could just get down in my aeros and mash. (I think this might have ended up being a good thing for the run.) Then we came back though town, on a nice downhill. . . got to look fast and impressive for the fans. Then we went out and did the same loop again. Did I mention that by this time, it is getting HOT. It was close to the record high for this race. They actually had one year where it got close to 100. On our day, officially, I guess it ended up hitting 95! So the second bike loop was a bit slower for me; I felt like I was following the plan, but I think the heat just naturally slowed me down a little. I was feeling good though coming into T2. I had to make 2 pit-stops; one on each lap which always annoys me. My nutrition goal, was to drink a 20 oz, 6-scoop bottle of perpetuem on each bike lap. I got my first one down with no trouble. By the second lap though, I really couldn't choke it down any longer. I switched to gu and water every 10 miles. I think this worked pretty well. I think I also got about 80 oz of water down through the ride. I also took 3 electrolyte tabs each hour. Asside from what I used on the course, I used all hammer nutrition products. I grabbed a gatorade and just took a few sips at one of the aid stations on the second lap. I was craving it, so I figured that meant something. On the second lap, I also tried to remember to keep myself feeling cool by pouring some water on my head every now and then. That felt good. I encouraged everyone that I went by and everyone that went by me. I made some bike-leg friendships; people that I would go by, then they would go by, then I, then them and we always talked and joked. That was fun and really helped me keep a positive attitude. Every time I encouraged someone, I felt better about myself and my race. This really enabled me to stay in a "positive box" and I think this played a big part in my having such a positive race experience. As I crossed the dismount mat, I was feeling really great. When I finished the bike, I was in 1200ishth place.

What would you do differently?:

Train on some hills. Where are those in Central Indiana?
Transition 2
  • 02m 24s

This was a pretty quick transition for me. As soon as I dismounted, I handed my bike off to a volunteer, I then ran to my gear back and switched shoes, changed my helmet for my racing cap (that all of my 7th grade students had signed for me so that they could "be there with me" on race day), and my gel flask. My socks felt pretty dry, so I did not bother changing them. Then I ran out. I was out of T2 in about 2:30.
  • 4h 24m 5s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 10m 05s  min/mile

I was a runner before I started triathlon; so this is usually my stongest event, but I had no idea what to expect today because I had never done a marathon after riding a century+ ride and swimming for an hour and a half. I hoped that I could maintain about 9 minute pace and that I could run the whole thing. The thing is, with all my research and training, they (the authors, coaches, books) never tell you much about the run. They just say, go aid station, to aid station, practice walking because 99% of all first time triathletes walk at some point during the marathon, stay in your box, do "whatever it takes" to get to mile 18, then drink flat cola. . . . Anyways, needless to say this leg was a pretty big unknown. My nutrition goal was a gel shot and water at one mile, then gatorade and an electrolyte tab at the next. My legs felt like their normal flat post-bike state for the first mile. My first mile was an 8:50, then I had an 8:40, then and 8:30, then a 9, then a 9:10, then 9:30, then a 9:40, 9:50, 10, 10, 10, 10. For quite a few miles I was running right at about 10 minute pace and this was about the best my legs could do, without possibly going to hard and blowing up. At about mile 15, the started getting LONG, I was running some 12-13 minute miles and the crazy thing is, I still felt like I was going 9-minute pace. I have been running since I was 12 and I usually know what an 8-9 minute pace feels like. It was a pretty weird sensation. Other than being pretty slow for miles 15 on, nothing else felt bad. I never got sick or even nauseous, I never had to stop and walk, never got any leg cramps, or other random pains. At mile 15 it was getting a little rough, but I knew that at mile 20 I could start the "crack" of long-course triathlons, flat cola! I had never used it in a run or race before, purposely. . . .I wanted to experience the magic for the first time. So at my slow 13ish pace, I got to mile 20, and had the cola. It did give me a pick up. My miles started coming down to 12 then 11 then close to 10 for mile 22, then I got a pretty big side stitch for about a mile and had to slow down again. I decided it was too hard to drink coke and run. I decided I could walk just the last 3 aid staions, just long enough to drink my gatorade, then water, then cola. I did this for 22, 23, and 24. Then I was like I have less than 4 K to go. My little crazy head-case high school girls can run this far (I coach xc). . . .here I go. At 24, I was at 12:04. I thought, "if I can't run 2.2 miles in 26 minutes, I don't deserve to call myself a runner." I crossed the finish line in 12:28. Now wait, you didn't think I would write this novel-long race report and not give you some details on the final two miles did you?? I didn't think so. Wink So I didn't grab anything except coke at aid station 25; I just shot that and kept going. A few minutes past the 25 miles marker, a guy came up behind me; I hadn't been passed in miles. (Even at 12-minute pace, I was still passing 20-30 people a mile.) I asked him, "how many minutes from the finish line do you think we are?" He said, "Oh probably about 6." He then asked me how I was doing. I then started to lose it; I said "fine. . . but I'm worried. . . (trembling voice, beginning to cry). . .about my husband. . . I haven't seen him since mile 9; he was only at mile 5 and he was walking. . . I never saw him on the second loop. . . " He assured me that Mark was fine and that there were lots of race officials taking care of everyone. Then I said "Yah, I'm sorry; I guess I'm just exhausted and getting emotional." Right then I noticed a 4-wheel golf-cart type thing pull up beside me, I look to my right and there is Mark sitting in the back. He said "I'm ok. They're taking me to the med tent. You just go finish; it's right up ahead. I'm proud of you." So then of course, I was flooded with emotion, sad because Mark could not finish, but excited and relieved because up ahead I could see the finish arch. I then told my new friend. I'm going to do this for Mark and I and I kicked it in the last 1/4 mile. I finished feeling strong. Of course I cried when I crossed then finish line. Mark is fine and in good spirits. I will save his story for his race report. When I finished the run, I was in 598th place. (I moved up over 1000 places from the swim finish to the end of the race.)
What would you do differently?:

Order a cooler day.
Post race
Warm down:

Found my huband in the med tent, got a massage, tried to keep from throwing up or dying. Couldn't eat anything.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Extreme heat, Hilly bike course

Event comments:

This was a perfectly organized and managed race. The officials, volunteers, and all other people involved with gettting if off smoothly were awesome. I highly recommend this race to anyone!

Today I can actually walk normally and go down stairs with out using the railing. Thanks for taking the time to read my race report. I hope that it offers some help, guidance, or encouragement to someone.

Last updated: 2006-06-29 12:00 AM
01:24:41 | 4224 yards | 02m / 100yards
Age Group: 56/72
Overall: 1656/2227
Performance: Good
Suit: Ironman Instinct Sleeveless
Course: 2 loop rectangle course; about .5 mi out, .2 mi across, .5 mi back, and then onto the beach, over a time mat and back into the water for loop 2.
Start type: Run Plus: Shot
Water temp: 63F / 17C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Average Navigation: Good
Rounding: Below average
Time: 04:59
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Good
06:32:16 | 112 miles | 17.13 mile/hr
Age Group: 30/72
Overall: 1130/2227
Performance: Good
Wind: Some
Course: A 56 mile loop that we rode twice. Details on course are below in comments section.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Average Hills: Below average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 02:24
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike Average
Running with bike Good
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal Good
04:24:05 | 26.2 miles | 10m 05s  min/mile
Age Group: 14/72
Overall: 327/2227
Performance: Average
Course: Out and back that we did twice. Followed the lake. Not much shade, a little breeze.
Keeping cool Bad Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
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