Ironman Couer d'Alene - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Couer d'Alene, Idaho
United States
North American Sports
70F / 21C
Total Time = 11h 59m 39s
Overall Rank = 560/2197
Age Group = 35-39
Age Group Rank = 121/344
Pre-race routine:

Got up about 3:30 and had a bagel with peanut butter with water and some gatorade. I do not do much of an eating routine before my races b/c it seems to hurt me in the swim. I save most of my eating for the bike. Got to the race area and quickly went to the transition area and had my bike tires pumped up by Inside Out Sports!! Turned in my special needs bags and waited until about 6:40 to tackle the wetsuit.
Event warmup:

Yeah, right!!
  • 1h 26m 55s
  • 4224 yards
  • 02m 04s / 100 yards

The chop and wind on race morning was definitely discouraging for us non-swimmer sorts but at least the weather was setting up for nice temps on the run. I was way right on the way out and started making my way towards the turn buoy at about the halfway point on the way out. It was slow going and when I would stop to try and see where to navigate, I could not see any buoys b/c of the chop and all the swimmers so I probably stayed wide a little too long making sure not to cut a buoy. Somehow at the turn buoy, I must have made a mistake, I ended up right in the middle of the pack and things came to a stand still!! I did not like this so I immediately headed to the outside and continued about my navigating. Coming in was definitely faster as now we were with the chop!! It felt fast but I had wasted soo much time on the way out. At some point my goggles got knocked off one eye and I had to wrestle with them for a few seconds. Finally I saw land and knew I only had a lap to go. Got out, pulled the goggles up and reset them. Made my way back to the water and off I went for the second time. This lap was much better. It was just a little more spread out. I do not know if the chop slacked off or I just got into a better groove but mentally the chop did not seem to affect me much on the second loop. When I made the final turn and headed for the bank I finally got into a real groove and was passing people left and right coming in!! I wish this would have happened earlier!! Oh well, it was my first mass start so I was not too disappointed considering all the chop!! I had a goal of 1:16 if everything went perfect and 1:25 if everything went to shit....I guess everything went to shit!!
What would you do differently?:

I would probably have tried to stay closer to the pack on the out and backs to receive more of the draft effect but with the chop it was hard for me to get into a comfortable groove. I just need to spend more time in the water to get better and more comfortable!!
Transition 1
  • 07m 53s

Ran slowly up the beach and into the transition area. Looked for some one to help with the wetsuit. I saw these two guys who looked like they may have had a couple of Red Bulls already that morning and decided that where I needed to head. I jumped on the ground and sure enough.....I have never in my life seen a wetsuit come off that fast!!! I swear if my leg would have gotten stuck in that suit it would have just came off with the suit!! The guy reached down, grabbed my hand, jerked me back to my feet, handed me my wetsuit and off to the tent I go!!! It could not have went any better. Inside the tent I had debated all week on whether I wanted to change shorts in T1 and T2 or just wear my tri suit the whole time. Well, since this was my first ironman I went for comfort and decided on bike shorts. I waited until last to put the shorts on b/c I knew it would be the hardest. I put a bike jersey over my tri top, which went on easy with the tri top being slick and a little wet. With the weather in the 60s, a tri top and short sleeve jersey would not be too warm for the bike. I put on arm warmers but did not pull them up. Now, it was time to wrestle on the bike shorts. Not too awful but I was dancing around pretty good. Got them on, did the butt butter thing, thanked the volunteer who had bagged all my junk up and made sure I did not forget anything and off I went. I stopped by the sunscreen ladies and had them lather me up. I told them the thicker the better!! Okay, I was finally to my bike. I ran to the mounting line jumped on and off I went for a very long ride!!!
What would you do differently?:

Well, looking back on it. The pros must not even go into the changing tent. My guess in they just grabbed their helmet and glass out of their bags and chunk their wetsuits in and head for the sunscreen. That's the only way you can be that fast at this event. I could have saved a couple of minutes by not changing shorts and leaving the arm warmers and jersey in the tent, I did not even use the arm warmers, but hey I was happy to have the bike shorts the extra jersey pockets came in handy!!
  • 6h 17m 11s
  • 112 miles
  • 17.82 mile/hr

Around mile 35 of the first loop I passed a guy on a hill and while passing I heard the following comment about the new bike course...."Last year when I did this race, my legs did not feel this tired until I was almost done with the second lap". Granted the guy may not have trained as hard, but my guess is you are always trying to improve and if anything you train more!! Either way, it told me the course was a bit harder than the year before!!

On my second loop I was about 10 yards behind a guy and was gaining on him on an incline but the road was not smooth, so I was taking it easy. As we were getting near the top this one guy comes past me pretty fast!! I watch him as he goes past me, he is now directly behind the guy who is in front me b/c we were staggered a little. He was more to the left and I was on the far right. I keep watching the guy who just passed and he drops down in aero....well he is gaining on this guy in front really fast!! I yell at him....."LOOK OUT"!! At this point it was barely quick enough. The guy looks up and he is right on the next guy, so he grabs the brakes and tries to turn but over-corrects and the front tire goes right, then left, then back right!! Over the handle bars he goes!!! Thank goodness we were on an incline and were probably going 10-14mph. I asked him if he was okay and he said yes. I then went by the other cyclist that almost got hit....I think his back tire did get scraped and he asked me what happened. I told him that the guy just looked down and road right into him!! Not his fault at all!! I told him he was lucky that guy did not take him out when he crashed!!!

I finished up the second lap and was more than ready to get off the bike!!
What would you do differently?:

I had trained on some pretty good hills so the hills on this course did not hurt me to bad, but I was surprised at all of them. It was a much slower bike course than I anticipated. If I were to do it again, I would probably do some more hill repeats but that's about it.
Transition 2
  • 02m 52s

This was a lot quicker than T1 but there was less you had to do. You did not have to rack your bike, you just handed it to a volunteer....This is Ironman, baby!! Grabbed my transition bag and headed back to the tent. Ripped off the jersey, which left me with my tri top to run in. Dumped the bike shorts for running shorts which went on with ease at this point. The volunteer shoved everything in the bag and off I go!! Hit the sunscreen on last time and across the timing mat I go.....time to get serious!!
What would you do differently?:

I guess if I had worn a tri suit all day then I would not have had to put on my running shorts, but again I thought the comfort was worth it!! I probably could knock a minute off if I wore the tri suit all day and moved a little faster, but who knows. Is it worth it??
  • 4h 04m 48s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 09m 20s  min/mile

I came out of transition and my thoughts were to just get in a comfortable groove b/c it was going to be a long day. I wanted to take in all the surrounding and the energy of the crowd during the first loop to help the time melt by. I looked at my heart rate monitor probably 5-6 times through the first 4-5 miles and never looked at it again. My RPE was working fine so off I went. By this time my body was not wanting any more GU so I was concerned about what to eat along the way. I knew I needed something. I decided to go with water and all the oranges I could eat!!

Coming into the race, my goal was 12 hours. I had thought that maybe if everything went right I could be faster but would be happy with 12 hours. After the tough swim and then experiencing all the hills on the bike, I had mentally prepared myself early on the run that 12 hours just wasn't going to happen.

So I just ran. While coming back into town the crowds were getting bigger and everyone is calling your name. They keep saying my pace is looking good, just keep it up. So that was my goal....just stay with the pace. The aid stations had no endurolytes and the oranges just were not going to cut for the whole second loop so I decided to stop off at my special needs bag on the run for my last pack of endurolytes!! This ended up being a great decision. I started popping these things about every 20 minutes. After I grabbed my special needs and headed back out, I looked at my watch and it said approx. 10 hours!!! Hmmm, if I can maintain I can still do 12 hours!!

I headed back through town and out on the road by the lake. This is where my pace started to slow. I was hitting some 10 minute miles but again I was okay with that as long as I kept moving. Around mile 19 I hopped in the bathroom to take a whiz and man did that feel good. I had been waiting for an open porta potty for about 6 miles!! I kept moving knowing at this point I had wasted too much time to make 12 hours.

Since I was not going to break 12 hours I decided that when I got to the big hill at the turn-around, I would just walk it. So, I get to the base and start walking. I take about 10 steps and could not do it anymore. It was to slow for me, I had to keep running so I took off up the hill passing people left and right. As I made the turn and started coming down the hill it was like I got a third wind!!! When I got to the base, I said well let's just see how long I can hold this. I get to the next mile marker and it says 8:30, then the next 8:15!! I start looking at my watch....oh crap, it I can hold this I still have a chance. At mile 23, I told have worked to hard, you have to go for it!! I put my head down at just started running as hard as I could. I did not stop at the last two water stops b/c I knew I was cutting it close!!

Finally I saw mile 25....1.2 miles left, stay with it!!! I was hurting at this point but just kept pushing. Finally at mile 26, the sign said finisher to the left, runners on their first loop stay right...I went left and the volunteer said "Way to go, Dennis"!! I turned onto the home stretch and all I saw was the big Ford sign and people lined both sides of the street. As I got closer to the end, I heard Mike Reilly say "If you are going to break 12 hours you are going to have to speed up!!" I saw the clock and it said 11:59:?? I started to sprint and the crowd got louder and louder and I just kept getting faster......Dennis Hutchinson, You Are An Ironman!!!! 11:59:39!!!
What would you do differently?:

Try not to make it as close as I did but the extra energy from the crowd sure was nice!!!
Post race
Warm down:

The finish line people grabbed me and I got my shirt and hat!! We headed towards the food area and I was handed off to two other volunteers. I was a little disoriented b/c of the effort I had given over the last 5-6 miles and was feeling HOT!! So I ended up in the med tent and my body temp was 93 degrees!! How was I hot?? I ate some fruit and drank some fluids and everything was fine after about 20 minutes. I did not need the IV!!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I did injure my foot at the beginning of May and did not get in as much running as I wanted. I was also going to add in some speed work during the month of May but with the hurt foot I decided not too. I do not know if I had got the extra running in if I would have been faster but I like to think I would anyway!!!

Event comments:

When I first put my money down on this race and I saw the $475 charge, I was not too happy but after my experience. I must say it was worth it!! There were other things that I thought they were scamming on but the race was definitely well put together and the volunteers were the best!! The town was great and had a lot of neat places to eat!! The only complaint I would have is the hotels jacking up the rates!! I stayed in the same hotel as a friend of mine did the year before for the race and this year it was $40 more per night. At least they messed up and did not charge me the five night minimum so I only stayed there 3 nights. Then headed up to Montana to visit Glacier National Park!!

Last updated: 2006-12-15 12:00 AM
01:26:55 | 4224 yards | 02m 04s / 100yards
Age Group: 251/344
Overall: 1321/2197
Performance: Bad
Suit: Quintana Roo Full
Course: Rectangle out and back. We did the course twice.
Start type: Run Plus: Shot
Water temp: 60F / 16C Current: High
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Below average
Breathing: Average Drafting: Below average
Waves: Navigation: Bad
Rounding: Below average
Time: 07:53
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
06:17:11 | 112 miles | 17.82 mile/hr
Age Group: 164/344
Overall: 798/2197
Performance: Good
Wind: Headwind
Course: This course was a little different. It was a two loop course which consisted of two out-and-back per loop. The first out and back was about 10 miles and the second 45 or so. On the first out-and-back there was a big hill at the turn-around point. On the run course you also run out to this hill. After the turn-around you ride back into town and hear all the people screaming. For the second out-and-back you head out on some flat terrain for about 7-10 miles and then start hitting the hills. You must go through about 30 miles of some pretty descent hills. I saw a couple of people walking their bikes up some of these hills. Also, some of the roads were not smooth and made the hills even take more out of you. I tried to give little effort on the hills as I did not want my heart rate to get up too high!! Coming back into town we hit about a 7-10 mile stretch of flats but this is where the headwind was right on you so it is not like you could hammer this part of the course either. After the headwind section we headed out on our second loop for more punishment!! One complaint I have was all the turns!! It seemed like we were making a lot of very sharp a lot of the turns were at the base of hills and would turn you right into another hill. This lead to no momentum to take you up the next hill!! The course was scenic and no traffic....all the roads except right in town were closed completely to traffic and the roads in town were closed to one lane. That was awesome!!
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 02:52
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
04:04:48 | 26.2 miles | 09m 20s  min/mile
Age Group: 75/344
Overall: 359/2197
Performance: Good
Course: Two out and back section. Very few hills and the just one major hill at the turn-around.
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 Too hard
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5