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Ironman Coeur d'Alene - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
72F / 22C
Total Time = 15h 23m 59s
Overall Rank = 1839/
Age Group = F25-29
Age Group Rank = 59/75
Pre-race routine:

My husband and I flew in to Spokane from Dallas on Thursday around noon and spent the rest of the day checking in to the hotel, hitting up the grocery store, and then went to dinner and a movie to relax. In retrospect, staying in Spokane was a bad decision, as we were constantly shuttling back and forth from CdA and there wasn't really anything to do in Spokane when we were there.

On Friday morning, we headed over to CdA for a practice swim. The moment I put my face in the water, I knew it was going to be a lot of fun (sarcasm) during the swim start on race morning. I do OK in the cold water once I'm in it, but the initial shock takes my breath away. We drove back to Spokane for a hot shower and brunch, then back over to CdA to get registered, pick up my bike, and drive the course (courtesy of FlyBoy, who was super awesome to take us out for a drive). The hills looked pretty intimidating from the car. We headed back to Spokane after that for a nap and dinner.

Saturday morning I was back in CdA for a 10-10-10 S/B/R with a friend from my tri club that was also racing. We swam from part of the lake near her rent house, ran and then rode to spin out our legs. I felt OK dusting off the cobwebs, although I developed a nagging calf pull that freaked me out for the rest of the day (but I never felt a twinge on race day). I dropped my bike and T1/T2 bags off at transition, and headed back to Spokane where we packed up the hotel (we stayed in Post Falls for the night before and after the race) and went to PF Changs for lunch. Fried rice is my standard pre-race lunch/dinner. We checked in to the hotel in Post Falls and then drove to CdA to see another movie (ironically, neither movie we saw while there was good, but at least they were something to do that didn't require much energy). Since we had a late lunch, we weren't quite sure what to do about dinner. I wasn't super hungry, but I did want to eat something, so we went to a little hole in the wall near the hotel and got take out to eat in the hotel.

Went to sleep early, around 9:15 - no problems falling asleep or staying asleep, probably due to the fact that we were still on CST time - and woke up at 3:45am. 2 cups of awful hotel coffee and a bagel with almond butter on the drive over to the race start. We found parking with no problem thanks to FlyBoy's recommendation, and I was in transition airing up my tires (with a borrrowed pump that didn't quite work) and getting my nutrition set up by 5:20. Drank my ensure, dropped off my morning clothes bag, used the porta-potty, put on my wetsuit, and made my way to the start.
Event warmup:

No warmup needed :)
  • 1h 31m 58s
  • 4224 yards
  • 02m 11s / 100 yards

I wanted to avoid the massive chaos of the swim start for my first IM, so I seeded myself in the back, to the right, waited 1:30 after the gun went off, and slowly waded in with the rest of the folks around me who seemed to have the same idea. The first 500 yards or so were really difficult, as I was having trouble getting into a rhythm where I could get a breath without inhaling water, which was causing me to panic a little. Finally, I got into a good rhythm and had a good, albeit slow, rest of the swim. The first loop I swam really wide, which was not ideal, but I swam closer to the buoys on the second loop though it was a lot choppier and harder to stay on course.

The cold never bothered me. In fact, it felt refreshing once I got over the initial shock (which I had expected to happen based on my pre-race practice swims).

First lap: 44:29
Second lap: 47:29
What would you do differently?:

The next IM, I will probably seed myself a little more appropriately. I didn't get any bad contact during any part of the swim even though I caught up to the main pack, but I also didn't really get any draft benefit from them.

I did a lot of OWS in choppy waters here in TX in prep for the race, but I just don't think you can adequately simulate in practice what happens when you put 2500 athletes all moving forward in a tiny lake and the wind picks up.
Transition 1
  • 13m 46s

Long run up the sandy beach to the wetsuit strippers, grabbed my T1 bag (no issues locating it as I had walked the bag area that morning and picked out a landmark it was near), into the changing tent where there was no room to sit down and no volunteer to help (what happens when you have a MOP swim, I guess). I wasn't cold in the water, but I was quite cold by the time I got to the changing tent. Not easy to get dressed with cold fingers, but the harder part was trying to get dressed standing on slippery grass! Made sure I had everything and ran to get my bike.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. I had budgeted a 10-15 min T1 and came in right in between.
  • 7h 50m 15s
  • 112 miles
  • 14.29 mile/hr

I knew going into this race that my bike would be slow. I am not a fast cyclist and didn't do enough hill training (especially those looooooong climbs) to put up a good (or, at the very least, good-for-me) time. My goal was to take the first loop super comfortably, because the hills seem to be exponentially harder on the second loop. I had also budgeted for 3 5-6 min aid station stops throughout the course.

The first loop went fine. It took me a while to get warmed up during the out and back to Higgins Point, but once we went back though town and up to the hills, I got into my granny gear and just spun up the hills and coasted the downhills, feeling good. One of the reasons I picked this race even though I knew I wouldn't be fast was because I needed a bike course that broke up the monotony to keep myself focused, which this course did. It was absolutely beautiful and the roads were really good. The first section out to the turnaround flew by, and when I did turn around, I was amazed to notice I'd been battling a stiff headwind the entire way. The ride back into town was super fun, as it was a net downhill with a tailwind. I rolled into the second loop with a 15.3 garmin avg, not counting my 2 rest stops totaling about 10 min each.

The second loop was harder. The out and back to Higgins Point felt fine, but the first hill once we passed back through and out of town seemed to go on forever. The wind had picked up more. I rode near a guy from San Francisco for probably about 20 miles, and we chatted as much as possible, which made it go by faster. I stopped at mile 85 for a rest stop and he kept going, but I eventually caught back up to him at the turnaround. Unfortunately, the nice tailwind I was expecting at the turnaround never materialized, as the winds had decided to shift just when I needed them to, so my avg pace didn't improve much from the low it had fallen to going up hill. The last hill heading back into town was pure torture. One of the folks around me asked if we were going back the same way! That got a lot of laughs. I was pretty tired of being on my bike by the time I rolled into transition, with the wind both directions of the second loop. Makes me glad I had to ride into so much wind in training.
What would you do differently?:

During the 20 or so miles I rode with the guy from San Francisco, I slowed down a bit more than I should have to match his pace. Not much, but a little. I'm not sure whether that was a good thing or a bad thing, as I may have had a better bike split but could have had a worse run. So, who knows. I did come off the bike feeling fine.

In the end, I feel I paced myself appropriately for my level of fitness and my strength on those monster hills. I didn't blow up and I never felt tired, just mentally ready to be done.
Transition 2
  • 06m 9s

Pretty smooth T2. I had budgeted 5-10 min and am OK with this time. I did a full change and body glided everything, which helped.
What would you do differently?:

  • 5h 41m 51s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 13m 03s  min/mile

This was a really good run for me. Slow, but I had expected to be much slower. I negative split the run, with the exception of the 3rd split where I took 2 long (waiting in line) bathroom breaks and special needs stop. I did have major blisters emerge on my heels, which isn't uncommon in races but never happens in training. They were incredibly painful until mile 15 or so when they just stopped hurting (adrenaline, maybe?). I kept up a steady run/walk routine the entire marathon, so I was still running at the very end, which was exactly my plan and really fun to do when everyone else around me was walking.

Like a robot, I followed my plan. Run when the garmin beeps, walk when it beeps again, repeat. Eat a GU every 3 miles no matter what. Drink Perform at every aid station for the first half, then switch to coke at every aid station, and sip water from handheld bottle in between as needed (refill water at aid stations as needed). Eat a salt tablet every hour.

I'm proud of this run. I'm not fast, but I felt really good and followed my plan. I guess this validates that I paced the bike correctly.

6.6 mi 1:24:51 12:51/mi
13.4 mi 1:25:55 12:38/mi
19.5 mi 1:29:45 14:42/mi
26.2 mi 1:21:20 12:08/mi
What would you do differently?:

Not take as long waiting for the porta potties and go quicker through SN.

Other than that, absolutely nothing.
Post race
Warm down:

I heard Mike Reilly say my name but didn't hear him say "You are an Ironman" which I have been desperately wanting to hear for the last 6 months of training. My husband says he said it, though, so I guess he did :)

A cute little kid caught me at the finish line and walked me to get my medal, hat and shirt, picture taken, and then to the medical tent so I could get my ankle iced and then a massage!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Training. Over time, I'm sure I can get faster, but I performed pretty much exactly as my training times predicted.

Event comments:

This was my first IM, so I don't have anything else to compare it to, but I really, really enjoyed it. I would do CdA again in a heartbeat. I didn't sign up for next year because I really need a later season IM with how busy I am at work in the spring, but I will definitely be back in a few years.

Last updated: 2011-07-30 12:00 AM
01:31:58 | 4224 yards | 02m 11s / 100yards
Age Group: 51/75
Overall: 1708/
Performance: Average
Suit: Zoot Fusion
Course: 2 counter clockwise rectangular loops
Start type: Plus:
Water temp: 57F / 14C Current: High
200M Perf. Bad Remainder: Good
Breathing: Average Drafting: Average
Waves: Average Navigation: Below average
Rounding: Average
Time: 13:46
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
07:50:15 | 112 miles | 14.29 mile/hr
Age Group: 59/75
Overall: 1985/
Performance: Average
Wind: Headwind
Course: 2 loops of an out and back to Higgins Point, back through the town, then out east to the hills (mountains!).
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 06:09
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
05:41:51 | 26.2 miles | 13m 03s  min/mile
Age Group: 59/75
Overall: 1839/
Performance: Good
Course: 2 loops out through town to a paved trail by the lake, up 2 monster hills to the turnaround. About 10% of the course is on a slanted surface, which was really unkind to my left ankle, which I have sprained 3 times in the last year and still aches sometimes.
Keeping cool Good 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

2012-06-27 11:51 AM

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Extreme Veteran
Carrollton, TX
Subject: Ironman Coeur d'Alene

2012-06-27 1:04 PM
in reply to: #4283070

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Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene
Great race, and a great read.  Congratulations on your first IM!
2012-06-27 1:48 PM
in reply to: #4283070

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Williamston, Michigan
Gold member
Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene
Congratulations on your first Ironman!! great job out there and smart racing!!  You did spectacular!!
2012-06-27 3:04 PM
in reply to: #4283070

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Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene
Loved your report. Nice race!

Congrats on becoming an Ironman!
2012-06-27 5:28 PM
in reply to: #4283070

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Woodland, California
Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene
Great job and great report!!
2012-06-27 6:12 PM
in reply to: #4283070

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N Carolina
Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene
Congrats!!!!  You are an Ironman!!!!

2012-06-27 11:02 PM
in reply to: #4283070

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Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene
Good job. Way to stick to your race plan. Glad you enjoyed the day.
2012-06-29 11:05 AM
in reply to: #4283070

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Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene
Congratulations! Nice job and report!! As for MR telling you that you're an Ironman.... sometimes they have the video of your finish for you, so maybe you'll hear it then? Doesn't matter, you're still an Ironman. Well done!
2012-07-01 10:13 PM
in reply to: #4283070

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New user
Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene
nice job, Good pacing allowed you to run strong late into the day.
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