Ironman Coeur d'Alene - Triathlon

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Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
107F / 42C
Total Time = 16h 49m 59s
Overall Rank = /
Age Group = 45-49
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Up early to eat my usual race day breakfast: whole wheat bagel with peanut butter and a banana. The race start was moved up an hour due to the predicted heat, so my race would start around 6am. I was up at 3am so there was enough time for the food to settle and to, umm, get things moving.
I will add here my week long hydration routine. I've raced St. George 70.3 in '14 and '15 in 95 degree heat. I knew that CDA was predicting record setting heat so I did what I did for both St. George races. A week out from race day, I began adding plain pedialyte to every 32oz of water I drank (usually about 120oz a day). I did that consistently every day and began each race totally hydrated. Now, I also live in the desert so I may be somewhat acclimated, but it worked for me for St. George so did it for CDA.
Event warmup:

There was no real warm up--just the hustle and bustle of getting situated, waiting until the last minute to get the wetsuit on in case I needed to hit a porta potty one last time. The nerves started to crank up, but truthfully I felt more calm waiting for the swim to start than many of my other races. I guess I had been waiting so long for this race that I just wanted to get it started. I had done a swim the day before and loved the water. I knew I would be totally comfortable--especially with the rolling start.
  • 1h 37m 43s
  • 4224 meters
  • 02m 19s / 100 meters

I was so proud of my swim! I know I am a slow swimmer, but I never faltered. I freestyled every meter of that course, not once going into a breast stroke or stopping to tread water. I kept telling myself 'you'll be here for a while, just stay steady, find your rhythm and swim.' My sighting was terrific, totally in synch with my stroke counts. This was probably the best swim of any race that I've had. I truly enjoyed it. In fact, I found myself smiling underwater several times because I was just so happy to be swimming so calmly. When I came out of the water to start my second loop I said the volunteer directing me, "that was so fun, I'm going to do that again!" Plus, this was Ironman!!!
What would you do differently?:

Honestly nothing, it was perfect. Not enough time in this life to make me a faster swimmer! I'm perfectly fast enough for me.
Transition 1
  • 11m 20s

This was a new experience. I totally changed into my bike kit. The lady helping me was awesome--trying to get a wet body into dry clothes is hard! I got all my gear on and I was ready to go! I hit the porta potty, the sunscreen station and went to get Ruby! I was racked right at the end by a fence where spectators stood--I ran over and gave all my family members a kiss through the fencing.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing really, maybe moved a bit faster.
  • 7h 58m 6s
  • 112 miles
  • 14.06 mile/hr

Wow. Wow. Wow. The bike course. As soon as I got started I took my two salt tabs, ate 1/2 a Larabar and drank quite a bit of water (which I repeated every hour). I knew the name of the game on the bike was to STAY HYDRATED. I kept the advice 'drink early and often' on the bike at the forefront of my mind. I kept my aero bottle full with water at all times and a Gatorade and water in the cages. I could feel the heat as soon as I headed out. The small out and back was a blast--but again I kept my pace conservative. Just like in the swim, I told myself 'you're going to be out here for a while, calm down. Slow is steady, steady is fast.' I headed out for the big loop--that was an absolute blast. I was hot, but I was loving it...loving how good I felt, loving the steady climbs, loving the fast downhills--it was a blast! I came back in for the second loop--when I saw my family I yelled "that was so fun, I'm going to do that again!" I headed back out for the first short out and back which took me to the Special Needs. I wasn't sure what to expect but as soon as I entered the area I heard my number being called out several times and before I knew it a sweet volunteer was handing me my bag. I had extra nutrition and salt tabs but didn't need them--I was right on schedule with everything and had plenty left. I also put in a $10 Starbucks gift card and gave it to the volunteer as a thanks for being out there for us. Came back in from the short loop and headed back out to the climbs. By now the temperatures were really cooking--I learned later that out on the big loop temps climbed to 118 in some spots. I was hot but not feeling any symptoms of heat stroke, etc. On the first big climb I began seeing bikes on the side of the road but no riders. I started scanning the edge of the trees and saw rider after rider sitting in the shade looking hot, tired, confused, dejected. I realized this heat was beginning to really get dangerous. I reached the first aid station and people were off their bikes, sitting in the tents, having water poured over them. I was still fine, just hot, so I kept moving along. About this time my left foot started going numb--it was painful but more annoying than anything. It began to bother me so much though that I thought 'crap, is this is what is going to take me out? Not the heat but a numb foot?' so I got proactive. On the downhills, I unclipped and moved my ankle around, clenched and unclenched my toes, etc and then would clip back in. That did the trick. If the numbness came back, I repeated that sequence. Finally made it out the big turnaround and headed back into town. About mile 80 the heat really began to take a toll. Still no signs of dizziness or anything, just felt like I was biking into a furnace. A paramedic took the temp of the pavement--147 degrees. I could feel that heat coming up through my feet. It was brutal. Saw more casualties on the way back in. I could tell many people were not going to survive the bike. One piece of advice I kept reading about your first Ironman was to live in the moment...don't think ahead to the run when you're on the bike--just enjoy the moment you're in. About that time I hit a glorious downhill. I was alone, I was surviving the heat, and the course was breathtaking. I was totally overcome with emotion--I was so grateful to be moving forward when so many people could not. I breathed in the pine, I took in the colors, had tears streaming down my face and screamed 'whoooooohoooooooooooooo' the whole way down. I told myself--remember this moment. You'll never have this moment again! It brings tears to my eyes now just writing about itI It was one of those rare moments of feeling totally alive, present and just grateful.
The last 12 miles were a definite struggle but I finally rolled back into town. I kept thinking if I get back to town, the only thing I have to do is stay upright on my own two feet and keep moving. Over the entire course, climbs and all, I never let my heart rate climb over 150. That and staying ahead on refilling my water plus the salt tabs, nutrition, and steady pace saved my bike.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. In that kind of heat I handled myself perfectly. I started conservatively, kept my ego in check--when I felt I could push I didn't. That army motto of 'slow is steady and steady is fast' replayed in my head a bazillion times.
Transition 2
  • 15m 37s

People aren't kidding when they say you can't wait to just get off the bike. I felt the same, however, when I handed Ruby to the bike catcher, I leaned down and gave Ruby and big kiss on the frame and said "You were a champ today Ruby!" Off I went into the tent. Same story there...the volunteers were great at getting us ice water, helping us change, taking care of everything we needed. Sitting there, the thought of going back out into that heat was almost overwhelming. But, I was still feeling good--hot and tired but good--so back out into the furnace I went.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. Oh actually one thing. On the way out of the tent I realized I could have sat right in front of a fan the entire time I was changing but I just didn't see it. I would have stood in front of that sucker buck naked if I had seen it!
  • 6h 47m 13s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 15m 32s  min/mile

The run. Ohhh the 'run'. The run was something else. By now it was 4ish o'clock--that reallllly reallllly hot sticky part of the day. The plan was to run to each aid station, walk through it, and run to the next. I wasn't planning on carrying water, just living off the course. However, the day before a lovely woman I met from our FB group mentioned carrying a handheld water bottle because in this heat, it might be a long time to get from station to station. I took her advice and carried a handheld bottle. That one piece of advice saved my run and probably saved my race. I was able to run the first 4 miles fine, stopping at stations,drinking their water and refilling my bottle as well. People were constantly soaking us with sprinklers, water guns, etc. It was wonderful. At each station I put ice in my hat and also had a Chill It towel I kept dunking in ice water and wore around my neck. That whole system worked, I never felt like I was overheating. Around mile 5 or so we had a steep climb. My plan was to power walk hills and run downhill. About half way up the hill I could feel something bugging me on my right foot up under my arch. I kept going but it became so bothersome I had to see what it was. I stopped and took my shoe off. Because my feet were soaking wet, the insole had dislodged and due to the uphill motion of my feet, the insole was crunching up and sliding back under my arch. I fixed it and continued on. It happened again. I stopped again and fixed it. I ran the downhill and it was fine. However, when I turned around and started back uphill, it happened again. I finally just took the damn thing out of my shoe. I was just going to toss it in frustration, but then got a grip. I realized, OK, this is a problem, find a solution. I decided to tuck the insole into my race belt and carry it with me to Special Needs. I had dry socks there. I figured once I got dry socks on and the insole dried out, it would be OK. My right shoe felt weird, I worried it would cause some type of weird cramping to be walking/running without an insole. I had another thought like I did on the bike
: is this the thing that going to take me out of the race? A stupid shoe insole! I finally made it to Special Needs and again a sweet volunteer had me sitting down, helping me take off my shoes. I put on the dry socks, put the insole back in, and prayed it would be ok! I sat for a few moments and read the little notes my family had written for me--they made me cry of course! I also read the note I wrote to myself which told me to get up and get moving. I handed the volunteer her Starbuck's gift card, got up and away I went. By now mentally I was mush. I didn't know what time it was. I couldn't make sense of my split times to figure out how much time I had left to finish by 11pm (again, the start time was moved up so the cut off time for Mike Reilly was 11pm). I made it to the Hot Corner and saw my family. They were all cheering for me but all I could do was yell and cry 'do I have time? Am I going to make it?' They all yelled that I would make it, just keep moving! Heading back out was probably the toughest thing to do. Not that I thought about quitting, but I thought about going back out into some of those lonely stretches, after having come so far throughout the day, and not making the time cutoff. But then I remembered that advice: live in the moment, don't think ahead. I was grateful to be on my own two feet moving forward. I put my head down and got after it. I ran when I could, walked when I couldn't. Smiled when I could, gritted my teeth when I couldn't. I never let my feet get wet on the second loop--another of my smart decisions that saved my day, the insole problem wasn't an issue again. When I hit mile 19 I heard someone say it was 9:00pm. It was then, finally, that I knew I was OK, I just had to keep moving. The last four miles were dark and lonely but I took in the sights and the sounds of the night. A pack of us were all strung out, silently marching toward Sherman Avenue. Then I made the turn. Those last 5 block or so were the best blocks I've ever run...I read you feel like a rock star and I did. I went into the ugly cry immediately--hand up to my mouth trying to stop the sobs from coming--I wanted to keep running dammit, not lose my breath because I was crying! I got closer and closer and the crowd got louder and louder--so loud I was afraid I wouldn't even hear Mike Reilly call me an Ironman! But suddenly there he was running backwards with me and I heard "Kim Reamer...YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!" I was so overjoyed I grabbed him and hugged him as hard as I could! I had done it!
What would you do differently?:

People will say 'you shouldn't have let your feet get wet in the first place.' It was impossible to keep our feet dry on that first out and back. It was so hot, people were desperate to be cooled off--we were just sprayed and sprayed, puddles everywhere. The second loop was better because it finally began to cool off.
Post race
Warm down:

Laughing, crying, sobbing, smiling! My family was so proud--it just felt amazing. My dad, who is a retired doctor, was just relieved I had survived the heat. He had worried all day for me--it was pure joy for him to see me finish healthy. There was just a lot of talking, recapping certain points on the course, stuff like that. The best part was sitting with my two daughters alone while everyone went to get the car and telling them over and over I hope they see that anything is possible if you believe and work hard, they can do anything. It was great.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

The heat, my God, the heat.

Event comments:

This race is now in the top three of the hottest Ironmans in North America. Mike Reilly said out of the 140 races he's announced, this was the hottest he's ever done (yes, including Kona). There was almost a 25% DNF rate. 31% of participants ended up in the Medical Tent during or after the race. To say I became an Ironman at Coeur D'Alene in 2015 gives me bragging rights for life! Ha! I am truly humbled and grateful that I survived and triumphed on a day like Sunday, June 28!

Last updated: 2015-06-30 12:00 AM
01:37:43 | 4224 meters | 02m 19s / 100meters
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
Suit: Zoot
Course: Two loop course
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 72F / 22C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Good Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 11:20
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed:
07:58:06 | 112 miles | 14.06 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
Wind: Little
Course: Two loops made up of a small out and back and then a big out and back.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 15:37
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
06:47:13 | 26.2 miles | 15m 32s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
Course: Two loops: out and back and out and back
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5] 5