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Ironman Coeur d'Alene - TriathlonFull Ironman
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Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
Ironman North America
= 11h 09m 9s
Age Group Rank
If you're looking for a race report with excitement, drama, emotion, tales of tears shed on the journey to racing an Ironman, or bubbling with the ecstacy of an IM finish...you probably should hit the back arrow on your web browser right now. When I signed up for CDA a year ago I knew it was going to be strictly a B race - a long training day to figure out some things about my nutrition/hydration/pacing strategy for Ironman Wisconsin that will follow this coming September. I purposely kept a low-key, emotionless approach to this race without putting any pressure on myself about Kona qualification, PR, etc. My training partners frequently asked me about my race goals and whether or not I'd eat the entry fee to Wisconsin if I KQ'ed. Every time, I told them KQ was not in my vocabulary for this race. After racing IM WI the past 3 years I wanted to try another venue even though June is early in the season for an IM for someone from WI. This spring I put a lot of emphasis on getting my early season bike fitness to be much higher than in past years and March-May I put on a lot of miles, intensity, and strength. As a result I intentionally was willing to let my run fitness suffer a little bit, which showed up in my early season duathlons. But, coming from a 30 year running background I knew once CDA was over I could work on the run fitness in time for IM WI.
I arrived in CDA on Wednesday so that I wouldn't feel rushed getting settled in, registered, and to get a couple of swims in. There was a persistent south wind roaring up the lake in the days leading up to the race which made for some rough conditions. I swam on Thur, Fri and Sat mornings and sucked in a lot of lake water in the process. Had a good visit with Lar Dog
) at the Gatorade swim. After the swim on Thursday I walked around the expo as they were setting up. I visited the K Swiss booth and tried on a pair of their K-ONA race shoes
(the Ironman limited edition
) and fell in love with them. Picked up my bike from tribiketransport on Thursday afternoon and went out to the turnaround point of the course along the lakeshore to ride that part of the course that I didn't ride when I came out here last fall to check out the venue. After getting back to the motel I went for a short run in the new shoes and knew right away that I'd probably race in them on Sunday. Went back to the motel and got ready for the Friday night banquet. They had a huge tent set up near the resort. Got in line by myself but later on met McFuzz and Colleen inside. On Saturday I repeated the swim and bike routine and also did a short run after the bike. Went back to the motel to finish organizing my transition bags and then drove back to the venue to drop off my bike and T1 and T2 bags. Back to the hotel to do the final organization of special needs bags and to decide what I'd actually race in with the chance of cool rainy weather on race day.
Got to bed around 10 PM and set the alarm for 1 AM so that I could wake up and drink a bottle of Ensure before going back to bed. Woke up again at 3:30 to have a bagel, banana, oatmeal and another Ensure. Left to drive to the venue at 4:15 to try to get a decent parking spot. I ended up getting a great spot near the baseball stadium right near the transition area. This was an ideal spot because I could take a short walk to drop off my special needs bags and then head back to the vehicle to finish getting ready.
Waited until about 6:30 to get my wetsuit on in the transition area before heading to the start. The narrow sidewalk to the start area was congested with racers and spectators which made for slow going. I had put anti-fog drops in my goggles and hoped that I had time to get to the water to rinse them before choosing a start spot. With about 4 minutes to spare I rinsed the goggles and then picked a spot on the beach about 3 rows back. It was my first time starting an Ironamn without treading water for an eternity
(like we do at IM WI
), so it felt kind of weird jogging to the water.
1h 12m 56s
01m 44s / 100 yards
It was a typical IM swim start although the hand to hand combat seemed a lot less than my past races. The waves weren't too bad so I wasn't taking in much water like I did the previous 3 days. It seemed as though I was holding my own and actually passing a few people. I never really found a good pair of feet to draft off of so I just sought open slivers of water to stay out of trouble. The corners got a little congested but weren't too bad. On this 2 lap course you exited the water after the first lap to cross a timing mat before re-entering the water. I checked my watch and it read something like 34 minutes so I was fairly happy with that.
The second lap was similar to the first with occasional clashes of bodies and then all of a sudden open water appearing before your eyes. After the last corner I got a kick to the face which broke the seal on my goggles so I had to stop and tread water as I readjusted them. The rest of the home stretch went by quick and before I knew it I was hitting the beach and starting to take the wetsuit off my shoulders. I looked at my watch and thought to myself "this course better not be measured short" because I shaved off 7 minutes off of my previous IM swim. I hit the wetsuit strippers and they had a hard time getting the suit off of one of my heels. I jokingly said "c'mon guys!" and they laughed and apologized but managed to finish the job. I yelled a quick "thank you" to them and then ran to the rows of T1 bags.
What would you do differently?:
Nothing. This was a 7 minute improvement on my last Ironman swim so I was fairly happy.
It was a quick run into the changing tent and there were plenty of open seats. There weren't any available volunteers so I had to open up my bag and sort things on my own. I took my time emptying my bag which took a little longer since I put everything in plastic bags the day before since bags are left out in the open overnight and it was supposed to rain. I chose to put on my arm warmers and a bike vest since the temps were supposed to be cool. That turned out to be the right combination. Ran out to the bike pickup spot and then ran past the mount line until I found a clear spot to get on the bike so I wouldn't get tangled up with other racers. Time to pedal.
What would you do differently?:
Next race I'll definitely speed things up - intentionally took my time for this race.
5h 37m 52s
My main goal for the bike leg was to keep on top of my hydration/nutrition and prevent the dehydration that shut my stomach down the last 2 IM races. I drank only water out of the aerobottle for the first 20 minutes to settle my stomach and get it ready for taking in Infinit the rest of the race. My heartrate was going over 140 so I pulled back a little to settle down. I was ready to give up a few minutes for the bike split in order not to screw things up for the run. I made a decision several weeks before the race that I wasn't going to mess around with saving weight and time by using a super concentrate of Infinit. I loaded up the bike with 3 bottles of normal strenght Infinit and had 3 new bottles waiting for me in my special needs bags. To me, this is just as easy as the "feed off the course" strategy and I could care less how much extra weight I was carrying. If you feed off the course with Gatorade you first have to worry about grabbing a GE bottle, put it in your bottle holder, then grab a water bottle and fill your aerobottle. With all the people slowing down to grab bottles the quicker you can get through an aid station the better - so to me = easier and I get to drink what I like rather than GE. Until more IM races start using something better than Gatorade Endurance
(which will never happend due to sponsor $$$$
) I'll stick with Infinit.
Although I had wattage goals in mind, I pretty much threw those out the window due to the headwinds and tailwinds out on the course. I went by RPE and heartrate for much of the race. In addition to riding the course on a visit to CDA last fall, I had ridden the CDA real course video on my Computrainer several times so everything seemed very familiar.
After the hairpin turn and then abrupt hill on English Point Rd, something went wrong with my rear wheel. It began to rub and eventually would barely rotate. I hopped off the bike and tried to figure out what was going on. It seemed to be mounted straight but I flipped the quick release hubs to make sure. Hopped back on the bike but something was still wrong so I got back off. This time I made sure the brakes weren't rubbing and that didn't seem to be it. Hopped on and off 2 more times and never figured out what was going on. I released the brakes switch to open the pads up even though I knew that wasn't the problem. On the next rise I tried to switch into the 25 cog on the rear but the rubbing started again. On a steep grade I asked the guy that was in back of me if he could see anything wrong with my wheel and he didn't see anything. I decide I'd just have to stay out of my 25 for the rest of the race and not worry about it since there was nothing I could do about it. I'm sure that not having the 25 available for the hills forced me to burn a few matches the rest of the ride which probably didn't help on the run. Although my official bike split had me at about 19.9 mph, my powermeter had me at 20.5 mph for the time I was actually pedaling on the bike after mechanical pit stops...which was my target avg speed for the race.
My nutrition/hydration strategy was to take in 20 oz of Infinit and one S-cap per hour. I supplemented with water from the aerobottle frequently. After 2 hours I ate a portion of a powerbar I had brought along and then finished it in the 3rd hour. I knew that hydration was going well because I peed 3 times while on the bike. Stopping at special needs to take on 3 fresh bottles of Infinit didn't take much time at all. The course starts a gentle uphill after special needs so I didn't really lose much momentum by stopping.
The crowds in town were fun to ride through but I don't think CDA has anything to compare to the crowds on the hills at IM WI. The second lap was pretty uneventful except for the turnaround on the north end. An officials motorcycle tried to turn around in the narrow bike turnaround made of cones and it got stuck - couldn't make the hairpin turn. They should have gone straight through and turned around off the course before resuming. I clipped out of my left pedal and gently went around the motorcycle and started the trip home. I was still feeling pretty strong and passed racers on a steady basis. The straightaway into town seemed to take forever and a headwind didn't help. There is one small out and back leg near the venue you have to do before going into T2 and I just wanted that portion to get over with because my butt had had enough. I thougt about getting out of my shoes the last 1/4 mile but decided to stay in the shoes.
What would you do differently?:
Not much. Although the bike split wasn't super fast, I was pretty happy with how it went. I had no stomach issues the entire ride so I knew I had a good hydration/nutrition strategy nailed down.
Took my time getting my T2 bag and finding a seat in the tent. Removed my bike vest but left the armwarmers on because the skies had clouded up and I figured the wind off the lake would get chilly later in the run. We had been lucky with no rain during the bike and I took the gamble that it wouldn't get wet on the run. I had a Fuel Belt of 2 x 10 oz of Infinit which I put on before heading out to the run course.
What would you do differently?:
4h 07m 17s
09m 26s min/mile
My legs felt really good coming out of T2 and I thought I was running just under 8 min/mi pace but it turns out I was at 7:40 pace for the first 2 miles...oops. I managed to get the pace on track and then stayed on 7:55-8:00 min/mi pace for much of the remaining first lap. Heading back through town on the second lap there were lots of people cheering racers on. While going through the residential area just before heading out to the lakeshore loop I felt my stomach with just a twinge of getting backed-up so I cut back on the pace a bit to let it process stuff.
As usually happens in the later stages of an IM I lost my appetite for taking in any nutrition or even liquids but I forced myself to take in Infinit and water. However, later on I started to get chilled by the wind and it got worse when a light rain began at about mile 20. Then I started taking in warm chicken broth at aid stations. I walked thru stations so not to spill the broth. I also grabbed a foil thermal blanket to wrap around my shoulders to fight off the wind and rain. Also at mile 20 my sciatica started to act up, reducing the power in my left leg. At one point my left leg collapsed when I put weight on it. But after that it stayed at a nuisance level the rest of the race. My run fitness wasn't going to allow me to maintain a decent pace so I was going pretty slow the remaining 5 miles. I took a couple of walk breaks but really wanted to try to break 11 hours so I convinced myself that a slow run is a lot faster than walking. The wind and rain were pretty miserable along the lake. Although I managed to keep a slow run going, I didn't want to use any mental energy to run any faster. If this was an A race I would have spent a bunch of mental energy to try to maintain 8 min/mi pace on the second lap but for this race I wasn't gonna dip into the well. I knew that I was at least going to finish with a PR of some sort so I just let the miles pass by. I missed the 24 mile marker so it seemed like the last part of the run took forever. I finally approached the downtown area and made the turn for the finish stretch. I didn't want to go through the chute with the foil blanket so I threw it away and headed to the finish. Unlike my last IM finish where I didn't even want to look at the crowd as I limped in, I gave a couple of high fives to spectators and heard Mike Riley call my name out. I had kept such a low key approach to the race that I didn't really celebrate too much as I crossed the line. They put the medal around my neck and I kept walking with the volunteer as he made sure I was OK. I loved the K Swiss K-ONA shoes...loved 'em...not a hint of a hotspot and no blisters whatsoever.
I passed up the finisher photo and kept walking to the food area. I grabbed a couple of pieces of pizza and a handful of cookies and sat down at a table with several other racers. I felt pretty good and was talking to other racers but they seemed a little out of it and didn't want to talk much so I got up and starting walking to the transition tent to change into dry clothes. The rain outside really started to kick in and I was glad I wasn't still out on the run course.
After changing clothes I grabbed my bike and dropped it off at the tribiketransport booth. Their service is well worth the price because now I didn't have to worry about my bike until I got back home after a week of meetings on the east coast to follow. Because of the rain I just wanted to get back to the motel, eat and shower.
What limited your ability to perform faster:
I knew my run fitness wasn't top notch at this stage of the season so the run leg went pretty much as I expected.
The next day my legs didn't feel too bad at all. I guess a slow marathon will do that for you. I brought the rest of my gear to the tribiketransport booth. I didn't want to spend much money on this trip but I ended up buying a nice finishers jacket. As I walked around the venue several people commented to me that I was walking around like I wasn't hurting too much. Since I hadn't dipped into the well during the race I felt pretty good. I looked at the Kona qualification list and it looked like it would have taken about a 10:15 in my AG this year.
I killed some time drinking coffee and eating breakfast in town before jumping into the rental car for the airport in Spokane. Unfortunately I had to fly to Washington, DC for a week of meetings.
CDA is an awesome venue set in the mountains. I'll definitely be back in a couple years - hoping to get into IM Canada next year. I think I got everything out of this race I wanted. Some might wonder why pay all the money just for a "training race". I want to race a bunch of IM venues and you can't duplicate a race in training so I killed 2 birds with one stone with this race. After progressively worse performances after my first IM, I needed this race to get the monkey off my back. I also wanted to nail down some racing strategy ideas, and my hydration/nutrition plan. My goal has never been to finish an IM. I want to learn how to race them. This race will help me get there. Now a recovery and a buildup to IM WI on Sept 13. Sorry I didn't provide a riveting report, but thanks for reading!
Last updated: 2008-08-12 12:00 AM
01:12:56 | 4224 yards | 01m 44s / 100yards
2 lap rectangle
0F / 0C
Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
05:37:52 | 112 miles | 19.89 mile/hr
2 loops - through downtown CDA then out to the lakeshore for an out and back. Then back through town and then you head north for a large loop before returning to town and then repeat.
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Shoe and helmet removal
04:07:17 | 26.2 miles | 09m 26s min/mile
2 loops through CDA and surrounding lakeshore - awesome course due to surrounding scenery
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]
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