Ironman Coeur d'Alene - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
United States
Ironman North America
52F / 11C
Total Time = 12h 45m 30s
Overall Rank = 1014/2153
Age Group = F 35-39
Age Group Rank = 31/126
Pre-race routine:

My husband and I stayed at the Holiday Inn Express in CdA on Saturday night. We met up with a great bunch of BTers at Tobin's (T in Liberty Lake) for a delicious spaghetti supper. I had driven the bike course prior to the dinner and was feeling much better about was to come. I went to bed @9:45. My alarm woke me at 4am race morning. I quietly went down to breakfast and ate oatmeal, two bagels with peanut butter, a cup of coffee and a cup of orange juice. Race day attire was a sports bra and my tri shorts under my wetsuit for the swim, and bike jersey and the same tri shorts for the remainder of the race. No need to get fancy with costume changes. Keep it simple was my motto of the morning. I was thrilled with the fact that I had no dreams or nightmares last night. Always the sign of a good race when the mind is peaceful in sleep the night before. Hubby got up and escorted me in my race apparel with sports pants, t-shirt and my new Ironman jacket over top and my ugly orange crocs on my feet.
Event warmup:

Stood in line at the port o potty and talked with other racers. Shimmied into wetsuit. Wished my hubby a Happy Father's Day in case I forgot by the time the race was over. Took in the sights of the swim start. Watched the pros in the water being chased by the helicopter. Reality was setting in. I am really racing an Ironman and nothing is gonna keep me out of the water when the cannon goes off! (Of course, I did wade into the water and peed in the wetsuit. Probably the only real "warm up" that I did :) )
  • 1h 10m 27s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 40s / 100 yards

So I thought I was hot stuff by taking the aggressive line at the swim start. First 200 meters really brought the fact that I was an IM virgin to the forefront. You'd have thought I was a naughty girl by how many times I had my butt slapped by other competitors. Thank goodness for the rubber duckie suit, because each time I was dunked under, I just popped right back up. My inner pessimist tried to talk to me during this part of the swim. It told me that I couldn't keep this kind of stress up for 2.4 miles and that I was going to be exhausted for the bike start. It told me to sit up and let the masses go. I sat up, only to realize there was no way out, too many people around me and that I must keep swimming. So my inner zen master spoke up and told me to close my eyes, relax, and let my body do what I trained it to do. That's what I kept telling myself. Let your body do what you've trained it to do. And pretty soon I was approaching the turn buoy.

Let me say that water temp was pretty much a non-factor for this race. I was very comfortable in my wetsuit and race-issue latex cap. It was choppy, but not nearly as rough as it had been during Friday's practice swim.

Ok. Back to the turn buoy. I had been pushed to the right of the buoy line and it was a battle to get to the left to round the buoy. Very physical here. But I can say with confidence that none of it was malicious. Everytime I popped my head up to sight, I could here a chorus of "sorry" and "oops" when people bumped and hit. Rounded the buoy, even brushed my left shoulder on it, then found a nice pair of feet to draft to the next buoy. The masses had thinned out by now. I was in a group of about 6 people. I was drafting and I know people were drafting me cuz I'd feel my feet get slapped every now and then. It was all good. We were a train. Couldn't believe how straight and comfortable the return trip to the beach was. Often backed off the pace here to avoid running over my draft mate. No hurry right now. Today is a long day. Just relax and enjoy.

Made it to the beach, took a few high steps and plunged right back in for loop 2. Lost the train, but didn't care. Settled into 3 stroke breathing and just got into a rhythm. Sighted about every 9 strokes. Discovered I was taking this trip wide to the left of the buoys, but was enjoying myself. Once I could see the red turn buoy in the distance, I altered my course to the left and made a nice straight line to the buoy. No issues here at all. Even found another great pair of feet. This guy had a smooth, four beat stagger kick and was easy to draft. I stayed with him all the way to the finish of the swim. I just let him pull me and I glided and eased my way back to the beach. 3 stroke breathing, very relaxed. Exactly how I wanted my swim to be. When I made it to the beach, I was whooping and hollering as I pulled my wetsuit to my waist. Wasn't in any hurry. Just took it all in.
What would you do differently?:

Not stop swimming in the first 200 meters. Big mistake. Trust my swimming ability and have faith that the masses will thin. Other than that, nothing!
Transition 1
  • 06m 21s

Hallelujah for wetsuit strippers. Two men yelled that they were open and I ran up to them and yelled "Strip me!" and laid down on the ground. Whoosh! That puppy was off and folded across my arms. Found my bag and trotted into the changing tent. Sat in the chair, had a volunteer spray me with sunscreen, pulled on my bike jersey, dumped out half my food on the floor of the tent and the nice volunteer gathered it up for me. I stuffed my sunglasses and arm warmers into my jersey pockets, slapped on the aero helmet, strapped my shoes and trotted off to get Sir Velo. I was stoked! I was about to begin my favorite part of the race.
What would you do differently?:

Not dump my food out. Didn't really care about transitions for my first Ironman and am really pleased that it was this fast. I did not rush one iota.
  • 6h 03m 45s
  • 112 miles
  • 18.47 mile/hr

My goal for this portion of the race was to be conservative during the first loop, then race after mile 70 if I felt like it. It took all the willpower I had not to go out like a bat out of hell because I felt good!! I love, love, love the bike. It is my happy place. I took a gel as soon as I got out on the open road. My watch said 1:20. So my eating and drinking regime had begun. Gel or blocks every 30 minutes chased with water, swig from aero bottle every 15 minutes (Gatorade Endurance). I carried 4 bottles on board. A little overkill, I know. But I am a clod and didn't want to chance too many bottle hand offs. Aerobottle and two bottles on the rear were GE, bottle on the downtube was water. Stayed seated on all the climbs on the first loop. Knew I could have gone faster, but for the first time ever in a long course race, I wasn't nursing an active injury and had a chance to put together a solid race instead of just limping through the run. Told myself that I was racing the race I had in me today and nothing else mattered. I was really proud of myself for letting my ego go and not going crazy cat and mousing on the first loop. I was in perfect acceptance of whatever time it was going to take me today. My super secret dream goal on the bike was 6 hours, but I didn't know if that was really achievable considering the terrain and the fact that I'd swam already and still had a marathon to go.

Going up to Hayden Lake, the climbs were a bit more strenuous than they appeared to me in the car. I realized that one section was a grunt. That's what we call a short, steep gradient that you have to grunt to get over. I had lost a lot of momentum up to this point, and I fought to stay seated. Once that was over, there were more steep rollers, but nothing that intense.

After the turn around on Ohio Match Road, I knew the worst of the hills were behind me until the next loop so I really expected to pick up the pace. I was surprised when my legs felt like crap going over rollers. These weren't steep, but they kept coming. My inner pessimist spoke up and told me I was in trouble if my legs feel like this at mile 41. I had been eating and drinking on schedule, so I knew it was a nutrition thing. My inner Zen master told me again to race the race I had in me today. If I needed to back off, then back off. Do the best you can with you have. No pressure, no worries. Just keep pedaling!

Government Way back into town is flat as a pancake. And let me tell you, my legs knew it. Since it felt good, I hammered. Nothing too hard to make breathe heavy, but just a good, big ring gear, aero tuck, steady high cadence back into town.

I felt like a rock star with all the cheering spectators and I was very happy with my ride. I don't race with a computer or HR monitor. I just go by feel. And I felt great even on the hill by Lake Coeur d'Alene. I was able to spin up and not stand. I tried to eat some peanut butter crackers at this time cuz I was getting pretty sick of blocks and gels, but I had technical difficulties with my ziplock baggie and felt like I was wasting too much time trying to get it open. I did manage to free one cracker and I shoved the whole thing in my mouth to crunch it down. Well that wasn't too cool, cuz my mouth was drier than I realized and it was hard to swallow. Note to self. Actually practice eating peanut butter crackers on the move instead of on the side while stopped!

Climbing time again. The sun is out, I am using my momentum for all it is worth on the grunt this time. And there on the side of the road is a fast-looking chick all decked out in orange. A volunteer is holding her bike and she is barfing her guts out. I think I know what happened. My guess is that she fueled right before the climb then took it too aggressive and shot her heart rate way up. Best way I know to make yourself puke. Felt sorry for her and hopefully she got back on after her stomach calmed down.

I stood and jammed the grunt. Felt great. Have a great smiling pick of me, too! Eased up the following rollers and knew race time is approaching. Mile 71 is here! Then I get to the turn around at Ohio Match Road and my legs feel like crap. Again. Realize that it's just that pert of the course for me. I think my legs were still trying to get rid of the spent lactic acid from the climbs and weren't quite ready for those rollers. This makes me feel calm and relaxed. I know my legs will be there when the road flattens out back to town.

And yes, they are. But there is a bit more wind now than when I left. That's ok. That's why I'm wearing an aero helmet and have Sir Velo dressed in the 404's. Last little roller and I hear a pop, fsssssss and a weird warping noise. Oh sh!@. Not a flat. I just passed the mile 91 marker. I'm staring at my front wheel. It looks okay. Then the guy ahead of me pulls off the road. Relief washes over me. Then guilt. I really hate it that he got a flat, but I am so thankful it is not me.

Hammer time! I am passing people like they're riding tricycles. I almost get hit by a car that tries to outrun a volunteer. That's a nice way to get the HR up! Aero time and go! I see mile 101. I tell myself "You've got this, girlfriend!" and suddenly feel the urge to pee. I can't bare to soil Sir Velo and there is no way I'm stopping with less than 10 miles to go. So I come screaming into town with a full bladder and a smile. I've just ridden 112 miles non-stop. A first for me. Ladies, Hincapie tri shorts are da bomb! Never had such a comfortable ride. (Well as comfortable as you can be after 6 hours in the saddle)
What would you do differently?:

Nothing! Think I rode very smart and sensible for me. I guess practice opening Ziplock baggies on the fly. I do love the bike and I absolutely loved this course. A nice mix of hills and flatland. Nothing boring. Nothing too hideous. Gorgeous scenery. Two thumbs up:)
Transition 2
  • 06m 25s

I felt like I needed a walker when I first got off the bike. I just wanted to stay hunched in the aero position. The full bladder didn't make the transition any easier. Saw Shannon (The Goddess) as I went into the tent. Another volunteer had my bag. Took off my helmet and shoes, peeled off my cycling socks. Pulled on my toe socks. Took 2 Tylenol. Sunscreen. Shoes. Hat. Off to the port a potty. TOld everyone around me that I was in no hurry to get to the run course.
What would you do differently?:

Have a light jacket for run special needs. Southern girl does not expect to freeze her arse off in late June.
  • 5h 18m 34s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 12m 10s  min/mile

I am not a runner. Just in case you haven't figured that out. Before this race, I had never done a marathon. I had run 2 stand alone half marathons and had raced 3 HIMs. My body hates distance running. I was injured for all 3 HIMs and injured myself at the last stand alone half mary where I PR'd at 2 hours, 34 seconds. So, I'm not speedy on my own two legs. Just want to clarify this in case some people think I blew up on the bike and struggled on the run. No. I just really suck at running.

I felt great for the first 2 miles. I was surprised at how easily my back loosened up and how I felt like I was just out for a long, training run. This made me happy. I tried to joke with others around me, but they were not in the joking mood. Then I realized I wasn't with my peeps yet. This happens a lot. I come off the bike and am with all the super-serious racers. I'm out there having fun. Even if I become a super-serious racer, I hope I can still have fun.

I ran through the first two aid stations. I took a gel at the thrid one. I have taken Power Gels before, just never the Tangerine flavor that I was lucky (?) enough to have grabbed. Ewwww. Tasted like shoe polish. Chased with water. Yuck. I was doing pretty well with my 5/1 intervals. I saw my husband at mile 3 and was happy and cheery and I could see his excitement. After all, I was just beginning the 8th hour of my race. Not too shabby for a 1st timer!

Well things began to go downhill. My tummy did not like the Tangerine PowerGel. I started to get a cramp in my right side. So I only took water at the next 2 aid stations. Then the sun disappeared and the wind started howling off the lake. As I glanced at the angry, white-capped waters, I offered up a prayer of thanks for the calmer conditions this morning.

My hands felt like pieces of meat. Freezer-burned meat. They were read and raw and numb. I went to a very bad place mentally. I was shuffling and my eyes were on the ground, not trace of a smile on my face. I saw mile marker 6 and knew I was in serious trouble. The inner pessimist was shrieking at me. Mile 6! You're not supposed to hit the wall until mile 16! If you feel this bad now, just wait til you get to there! My inner Zen master was out to lunch. I hit the big hill and walked. I felt like a zombie. Just dead and hollow and cold. In for a very long night. I picked up my walk/run intervals going down the hill and thought about what was going on with me. There must be a logical reason behind this.

It dawned on me that I hadn't taken in any calories since the nasty Tangerine gel. The light bulb lit up on top of my head. Next aid station I took Gatorade, banana and chicken soup. Mmmm. Chicken broth was so good. It was warm. I wanted to wrap my hands around that paper cup and draw all the warmth from the broth into my flesh.

I'm at mile 8. My right foot has a bad hot spot. My toes ache. I am waiting to see if my tummy will accept my nutritional offerings. I continue shuffling back to town. I can smell rain. It's not coming down yet, but it is imminent.

Now I'm at mile 10. I'm tired, but I take my same concoction of food at each aid station. Gatorade, banana, chicken broth. Bizarre. But good. And I understand that I need loads more calories than I'm used to taking on long runs because of the cold (and the fact that I've swum 2.4 miles and biked 112).

At mile 12, there is a surprise for me. My husband! He is in the residential area away from the city park where transition is. He walks with me into town. He asks me how I feel. I say "like sh@$". My pain and misery must be quite evident because he says, "you can walk the rest if you need ot". I look at him like he's nuts. "No way am I walking a half marathon!" We part as I enter the section of down marked "second lap, right" I am back in my gloomy little world, but feeling a bit better.

My husband is there again after I make the turn around and head back past the transition area. I am calling for special needs. My right foot needs vaseline on the hot spot. Now! I get my bag, pull off my shoe and sock and slather vaseline on the hot spot. No blister. I have a clean pair of socks in my bag. I pulll them out and and sit down on the curb. Panic time. I'm sitting down on the curb not moving. I can't feel my hands. I can't get the freakin' toe sock onto my toes. My hands are cold. I decide not to mess with the left foot since it is fine. I will only change the right sock. If I could ever get the toes in place. My husband appears and wants to help me. No!!!!! You are outside assistance. Don't touch me! He finally gets it and stands by consoling, but not actively helping. I finally get the sock on, stuff my foot into my shoe, then have the darndest time trying to pull the tongue out. Arghhh!!!!!! My hands are so freakin' cold. What's this? I warm, sweaty sock? A clean sock still waiting in the bag. A-ha! Gloves! So I pulled on my socks over my hands and took off again. My husband stands cheering, hoping for the best.

I am feeling loads better now. My hands don't hurt from cold. I am getting some energy from the nutrition. I'm almost done. Less than a half mary to the finish! Yeehaw! Wahoo! W00T W00T!

I am actually passing people during my run intervals now. I am smiling. I am here in the moment again. This is a gift. A great big cold gift to do this race. I am lucky to be here. Even if the rain has started falling from the sky and the wind is angrily trying to tear my hat off my head. Nobody put a gun to my head and told me I had to do this race. It was my choice. My dream. My goal. And by golly, I'm out here doing it!

Big hill again, walking it. Take a cookie at the aid station at the bottom of it cuz I know I'll have plenty of time to munch on it, enjoy and digest before I start running again. Mile 20. Only a 10K. It is in the bag! I look down at my watch. Holy crap! I'm under 12 hours. I might make my coach's goal of 12:30. Anything is possible. Even on a rainy evening in Idaho.

My legs are telling me they are tired. My run turns in to more of a shuffle. That's ok. I'm going to finish. And finish within my goal of 12-14 hours. Wahoo baby! Life is good. It is cold and wet, but good. I hear the flapping of the mylar blankets. I see the dedication of the volunteers dressed in rain ponchos still handing out nutrition. Still cheering, singing and dancing. Amazing.

I have a 5K to go. Time to pick it up! Legs say no. Shuffle. Walk. Whatever, just keep moving forward. I am going to finish in daylight. No glowstick! I am giddy. 2 iles to go. Mike Reilly, here I come! Start to jog. Catch up to three other fellows. I say this is it. We've made it. No response. Dudes. You're about to finish an ironman. How cool is that? I think it is way cool and then we make the turn onto Sherman and I see the big, black Ford arch and the inflatable Mdots. I'm coming, Mike Reilly!!

Suddenly, my legs are not fatigued. I'm running effortlessly and fast. It is my Forrest Gump moment. Run, Pam, run!! People told me that I finished to the Beach Boy's "Good Vibrations". I did not hear this. I ran under the black arch and the crowd cheered. I pumped my arm to the right. The crowd went wild. I pumped my arm to the left. More craziness. Those cold, wet spectators made me feel like I was something! Then I saw my kids huddled together saying, "Mommy, mommy!" I saw my dad beaming at me with pride. And I locked eyes with my mom who had tears in hers. And I couldn't stop smiling. And I was still running.

I didn't have anything cool to hold up as I finished. But I saw the big clock. And it said 12:45. So I leaped into the air to try to touch those numbers.

"Pamela Ogle, you are an Ironman!"

Damn straight I am. I did it. I really did it.

I trained for this using 5 min. run/ 1 min. walk Galloway intervals.
What would you do differently?:

It would be so easy to nit pick and criticize my performance, especially a week later, but I'm not going to do it. I am proud of my race. I am proud of my effort. I ran the race that I had in me on that day. It wasn't perfect, but it was close. I used the gifts and talents that God has bestowed upon me. My entire family was there at the finish. My husband was waiting just behind the finish line for me. Shannon (the Goddess) caught me and made sure I got all my finisher stuff and my picture.

Thanks, Shannon, for helping fix my hair so I had a decent finisher pic! I will post it here when I figure out how to do so.
Post race
Warm down:

After all the finishing hoopla, I gave my parents cold, wet hugs and my kids cold, wet hugs and stumbled off to the transition area to change. Some bad stuff happened here when I lost my hubby and was wandering aimlessly with 3 heavy bags. I made it back to the finishing area, sat in a warm tent and wolfed down 2 slices of cheese pizza. Managed to find my husband with the help of a volunteer and his cell phone.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Once again, I'm not gonna play this game. I performed as fast as possible given my training and the conditions on June 21, 2009. I am proud of that effort and will not dwell on woulda, shoulda, coulda.

I am incredibly happy with my race. I am an Ironman. I did what even I did not think was possible just 4 short years ago.

Event comments:

I will never forget my first Ironman. It was everything I had hoped it would be and more. I would love to do IMCdA again. Maybe once my kids are old enough to drive!

Last updated: 2008-06-25 12:00 AM
01:10:27 | 4224 yards | 01m 40s / 100yards
Age Group: 10/126
Overall: 436/2153
Performance: Good
Suit: Blue Seventy Helix Full
Course: Rectangular double loop. On-shore wind, so heavier chop on the out portion. Rolling return to the beach. I lined up third row, slightly right of the buoy line. This was a very aggressive position. I am a decent swimmer and I signed up for the Ironman to experience the washing machine. So bring it, baby!
Start type: Wade Plus: Shot
Water temp: 66F / 19C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Below average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Average Navigation: Average
Rounding: Good
Time: 06:21
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: No
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed:
06:03:45 | 112 miles | 18.47 mile/hr
Age Group: 13/126
Overall: 710/2153
Performance: Good
Wind: Some
Course: 2 loop winding through downtown Coeur d'Alene and out through Hayden. All the hills were in Hayden, winding up to Hayden Lake and then back toward Coeur d'Alene.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 06:25
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike Average
Running with bike Below average
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
05:18:34 | 26.2 miles | 12m 10s  min/mile
Age Group: 78/126
Overall: 1438/2153
Performance: Average
Course: 2 loops through downtown Coeur d'Alene and along the lake. Steep mofo of a hill at the far end that was so easy to spin up on a bike. Too bad my legs don't have that gearing. On the way into town on the bike, I had seen a bank sign flashing the temp at 58 degrees. The temp steadily dropped from here on out. So keeping cool was never an issue.
Keeping cool 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