Ironman Coeur d'Alene - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
United States
Ironman North America
55F / 13C
Total Time = 16h 29m 20s
Overall Rank = 1985/2153
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 345/362
Pre-race routine:

The best place to start telling this is Friday evening.  I was tired.  I get tired when I get nervous.  I've always been that way.  I just want to sleep.  Everything has to be set up for transition on Saturday, so Friday night I started getting everything ready.  I took a look at my bike and expected that I would just fine tune the gears, make sure the tires are at the right pressure, and put some lube on the chain.  Well sure, except my end shifters and my brake levers were loose and falling off my bike!  Obviously this is not good.  The only thing I can figure is that they rattled loose on the drive.  So, anyway, I had to un-tape my end shifters, reinstall them, and readjust my derailleurs. Oh yeah, that was fun.  The brake levers weren't so bad.  I was able to tighten them up without uninstalling everything.  Next I went to air up my tires.  The front tire was a bit low, about 90 lbs of pressure, so I put it up to 120 and turned to check the back.... BANG!!  Yep, the front tire blew.  I went to bed.

I got up Saturday morning and changed my front tube, got all my gear ready and headed into town to get everything set up.  Now, the transition at an Ironman isn't like you are used to at a normal triathlon.  And after this experience, I can understand why.  First, the only thing you put at the bike rack, is your bike.  Your gear doesn't go anywhere near your bike.  You are given 5 bags.  You get a bike gear bag (T1), a run gear bag (T2), a bike special foods bag ( also called special needs), a run special foods bag, and dry clothes bag.  So, it's pretty obvious, all your bike stuff (T1) in the bike gear bag and all of your run stuff (T2) in the run gear bag.  Half way through the bike you get a chance to access the bike special foods bag.  If you think you'll need anything at all, put it in that bag.  Same with the run.  Saturday morning I put my bike on the rack, found the areas were I put the bike gear and run gear bags, all laid out nice and neat by race numbers.  Well, then I went back to the condo and was in bed by 7 p.m.  Before hitting the sack, I ate what I could of what I hoped would be mild stuff.  I had a bagel, two nutrition shakes, some peanut butter and bread, a couple of bottles of gatorade, and lots of water. I also got five bottles ready with HEED and then slept like a baby!

Sunday morning I was up at 3:00am.  First thing, another bagel, two more nutrition shakes, and more water and gatorade.  I took a shower, stretched some, got the family up, and headed for town.  Did I mention we are thirty minutes away from the venue?  We got there about 5:15 and the place was packed.  People were everywhere.  I took my bottles of heed and my bento box full of shot blocks and loaded up the bike with enough food and calories for a week.  I also found my bike gear back and loaded my jersey up with peanut bars and extra CO2 cartridges.  Oh, about then my stomach started turning (GI issues), and I had to get inline for the port-a-pottie.  After a bit of nervous bowel evacuation, I found the family, talked to them for a bit, and then headed for the port-a-pottie again.  Yep, nerves are a bitch!.  So, by now, it was time.  I got the wetsuit on, put my clothes I'd been wearing in the dry clothes bag, put that in it's designated space, and worked my way with the crowd out to the beach.
  • 1h 38m 38s
  • 4224 yards
  • 02m 20s / 100 yards

I was amazed.  I went from nervousness to pure excitement.  There were already 1000 racers on the beach, but only 100 or so in the water warming up.  I jumped in, got over that initial cold water shock, and swam though the waves for a bit.  Yes, I said waves.  It was choppy as hell.  Thursday morning I got up and went for a practice swim.  I got all the worried about the waves out of my system then.  I swam for about ten minutes and then went and found by place on the beach.  Now all 2100 and more racers were standing there.  I stayed in the back and inside close to the bouys.  The gun sounded and off we went.  A slow, gradual walk out to the water.  Seriously, this is the slowest race start ever, but that's a good thing. 

Once I actually got to where I could swim, I was glad I warmed up.  The water wasn't cold and the waves splashing in my face didn't bother me at all.  I had stayed back far enough that it wasn't very crowded.  The problems of swimmers too close, getting kicked, hit, and ran over was no worse than the wave starts at a half or an oly.  What I didn't expect, is that I'd be running over people!  I'm a slow swimmer, damned if there weren't some slower than me!  I did get my rhythm down right away.  Occasionally the waves would short chop my stroke, or a wave would drop out from under me and really screw up my pattern, but I was able to adapt quickly.  I swam by one guy and as I passed him, I took his hand to my mouth.  I swear,  he was swimming with closed fists!  He had to have ripped his skin open on my teeth! 

The first lap was easy, well, compared to what I had expected.  Once up on the beach, it really would have been nice just to go start the bike ride, but noooo.... I needed to do one more lap!  The next lap was a lot more work.  The wind picked up even more than at start and the waves were getting bigger.  This slowed me down a lot.  At one point, I could swear they were moving the buoys further out into the lake!  This lap was more difficult.  The bigger waves were screwing up my rhythm and I caught a couple mouthfuls of water that made me choke some.  Finally I started getting closer to the beach, but I'll be damned if they weren't moving that further away too!
What would you do differently?:

For me, this was a great swim. Aside from more time training, it couldn't get better.
Transition 1
  • 09m 22s

I came out of the water and headed up to the "transition area".  Again, it's not like what  you expect at an everyday triathlon.  First thing you run up to people standing there ready to peel your wetsuit off for you.  This is a good thing, because my arms were useless at that point.  They quickly pulled it down to my legs, I dropped to the ground, and then they pulled it off my legs.  I grabbed my suit and ran toward where the bike gear bags were laid out.  The bags are well organized and its not hard to find.  I got the bag and ran into the changing tent.  Immediately there was a volunteer there ready to help.  He dumped my bag and quickly organized all of my gear.  I didn't wear my trishorts under my wetsuit.  The extra seconds to change didn't matter, but starting out in the cool weather with dry clothes was a great benefit.  I sprayed myself down with trislide, got dressed, got my shoes and helmet on and headed for the bike.  The volunteer put my wetsuit and anything else I left behind back in the bag and I didn't have to worry about it.  The run to the bike and then out to the bike mounting point was probably a good 200 yard obstacle course. 
What would you do differently?:

not a thing.
  • 7h 58m 22s
  • 112 miles
  • 14.05 mile/hr

I started out good on the bike.  My stomach was bothering me a bit, more of those dreaded GI issues, but I thought it would settle down.  My goal was to keep an easy pace for the first loop and as long as I was feeling good, make up time on the second loop.  I was doing okay until about mile 20 when the GI issues went from uncomfortable to just down right pain.  I skipped the second aid station because there was a line at the port-a-potties and figured I stop at the mile 30 station.  Aside from the cramps, I felt great.  I didn't realize there were three big climbs before the next aid station and the stomach cramps didn't help the hill climbing much, but it didn't really slow me down.  By the time I was at the aide station, I was right at 16 mph average.  I know that is slow, but it is right at what I planned for the first loop.  The wait in line at the john and the time it took to take care of business is the main detriment to my average speed!

I felt quite a bit better.  The weather at this point was great and I was making up a lot of hills on the descents.  There are a metric shit load of hills on this course, I was pacing myself, but over all I felt good.  Of course there were those skinny chicks that would pass me on every hill and I'd speed right by them on every descent.  That is soo annoying!  I really would love to be 50lbs lighter so I could climb faster... that or grown 6 inches taller!

Around mile 45, I felt my right knee getting a bit tight.  I didn't think it was a big deal.  I was getting out of most of the hills and I spun it out a bit.  By the end of loop one it was still tight, but I didn't think much about it.  As came to the end of loop one I was at about 3:15.  I was thinking that a 6:30 hour time might just be possible!  If not, I knew I had a 7 hour ride with no problem.  Well, that was until about mile 65 or so when I hit the first hill of the second loop.  My slightly achy knew turned into full blown tendonitis!  I felt like someone was stabbing a knife into the inside of my knee!  Probably the same damn people that kept moving the swim buoys further out!  When I topped that hill I pulled over and popped aleve that I'd packed in my bento box.  Of course those take times to kick in.  The next  hill was bad.  I couldn't even use my right leg.  I was powering in with the left leg and pulling what I could with the right, but that wasn't much.  I think I was getting about 4 mph on each hill.  Somewhere around mile 70 a guy had set up his own aid station in front of his house and he was handing out advil.  I took four of them.  On the next hill, the dreaded English Point, neither the advil or the aleve had kicked in.  It was a very painful, painful climb.  After topping out on english point, the course is 20 miles of rolling climbs.  The descents were brief moments of relief while each climb was agonizing pain!

By the time I got to the end of the last climb, I knew I still  had 25 miles of biking, but I had no idea how I was going to run with my knee the way it was.  I stopped and took one more aleve and worked my way back into town.  I had been eating and drinking a lot, so I had good energy and felt strong aside from the knee.  Around the 100 mile mark, the drugs must have kicked in because my knee just stopped hurting.  I finished the bike strong.  I made up some time, but there was a strong  headwind on the way back in and the time made up was only minimal.
What would you do differently?:

More Time In The Saddle. A busy work year kept me from riding as much as I should have. Only think that could have made me better was riding more.
Transition 2
  • 07m 16s

T2 is just like T1.  When you get off of the bike a volunteer grabs it and takes it to your rack for you.  Another volunteer grabs your run gear bag (or at least helps you find it).  You get into the tent and a volunteer helps you dump your stuff, helps you organize, and even runs and gets you drinks if you want.  My volunteer got me hot broth.  The strong headwind and cold temperatures had cooled me off quite a bit so the broth was good. 
What would you do differently?:

I had two pair of socks. I choose the wrong pair. I have some bad blisters now. I've ran with those socks before and didn't have a problem. I guess they are just getting old!
  • 6h 35m 43s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 15m 06s  min/mile

I headed out of the tent and started at a slow jog.  My knee felt good and I felt strong.  With that in mind, I knew I had a good five and a half hours or more to go, so I was planning to pace myself.  I ran for about 8 minutes, walked for a couple of minutes, ran again, walked again, etc.. etc... There were people all around me, there was a lot of excitement in the air, and overall I felt good. 

Around mile 2 I could hear the first groups of finishers.  That was exciting.  I knew I'd be there soon (relatively speaking).  Around mile 4 I was running into all of the people heading for loop two.  For some reason, the people heading for loop two didn't excite me, it just made me realize how much further I had to go.  Twenty-two more miles.  Really?  Around mile 6 I was still keeping a good walk run pace, but it started to rain.  The wind was blowing off the lake and the rain was cold.  It was suddenly becoming just damned miserable.  At mile 7 one of the aid station volunteers offered a mylar blanket to keep the rain off.  I wrapped it around me and kept on going. 

Somewhere between mile 7 and mile 10 something happened to me that has never happened before.  I gave up!  I totally emotionally bonked.  I became 100% demoralized.  I occupied mile 10 to 13 arguing with myself.  That's it, I'm quitting!  I'm not only quitting this race, I'm never racing again! I'm selling my bike!  What?  Are you insane!  Are you crazy?  Are you really gonna quit a 140.6 mile race at mile 127?  It went on and on.  I really don't know why it happened or what I could have done to stop it, but I was broken.  I felt alone and abandoned.  Physically, I still felt strong, but all of my heart was gone. 

When the end of the second loop came around, and I was right there where it would have been so easy to quit, I knew I had to do something.  I thought if this is like emotionally bonking, then I need to eat.  When I came up on the next person that was walking I stopped running and just started talking.  It didn't matter if they wanted to talk or not.  I asked them where they were from, how they were doing, how was the bike.  After awhile I moved on to the next person I could find.  He was in pain, and not very talkative, but it didn't matter.  About mile 14 I came to an aid station and a guy working there offered to fix my mylar blanket so I would be warmer.  While I stood there he and his two kids, also volunteering with him, turned my mylar blanket into a poncho and put a plastic bag over me, and wrapped my race belt around me.  I had a regular waterproof, insulated coat now!  The whole time they were giving encouragement, talking about how great I was doing, and telling me to keep going.  Damn, I almost cried!  Hell, I just about asked him for a hug!

The next guy I walked with was a financial adviser.  We even talked about the stock market for awhile.  After that, I started coming back to life.  I passed the "I wanna quit" stage and just moved into the "I gotta keep going and not stop" stage.  About mile 16 I came up on two ladies, in my age group by the markings on there legs, who just stopped running and started walking.  I stopped running beside them and talked to them.  Seems they were hitting the point I was about 2 hours earlier.  They were ready to quit.  I told them where I had been and we decided to keep going together for awhile.  We pushed each other to keep going up to the turn around point just past mile 21.  We would pick a spot to run to and then walk for just a few minutes.  Pick another spot and then walk through the aid stations.  Physically, at the turn around point at mile 21, we were all done.  I know I ached from head to toe.  I had blisters on blisters!  My ankles were killing me, energy was starting to lapse away.  The last five miles was a lot more walking than running.

Beyond all belief I finally got to the last quarter mile.  There is a corner you turn where you can see the finish line!  It is amazing.  Even at 11:25 at night, people were lined the streets cheering me on!  Strangers were high fiving me and screaming out "you did it!  You're an Ironman!"   As I crossed the line, I even heard Mike Reilly say "David Cossey, you are an Ironman"  I only wish I could have told him to call me Gene!
Post race
Event comments:

All in all, this was the most grueling, hardest, emotionally draining, exciting, uplifting, challenging thing I've ever done.  I have no idea how it compares to other big life events, or even to another Ironman on a different day, but I'm glad I did it, I'm glad I worked for it, and I'm elated I didn't quit!

Last updated: 2008-12-05 12:00 AM
01:38:38 | 4224 yards | 02m 20s / 100yards
Age Group: 327/362
Overall: 1850/2153
Performance: Good
Suit: yes, promotion
Course: 2 laps out in the lake. Does Coeur D'Alene mean "raging torrent"?
Start type: Run Plus:
Water temp: 65F / 18C Current: High
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Below average
Waves: Below average Navigation: Average
Rounding: Good
Time: 09:22
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: No
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
07:58:22 | 112 miles | 14.05 mile/hr
Age Group: 351/362
Overall: 2019/2153
Performance: Below average
Wind: Headwind with gusts
Course: Two loops though Coeur d'Alene, up through the mountains north of the town and back down through the town. A lot of climbing and a lot of wind coming off of the lakes.
Road: Smooth  Cadence: 65
Turns: Average Cornering: Below average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Below average
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 07:16
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
06:35:43 | 26.2 miles | 15m 06s  min/mile
Age Group: 332/362
Overall: 1946/2153
Performance: Below average
Course: 2 loops along the lake, through the city, and out the along the lake on the east side of town. A relatively flat course with a few small grades.
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] 4