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Ironman Coeur d'Alene - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
75F / 24C
Total Time = 10h 30m 24s
Overall Rank = 123/2400
Age Group = m25-29
Age Group Rank = 11/149
Pre-race routine:

Where to start with race? I think I better start 2 years ago. 2 years ago I qualified for Kona and had a lackluster race. From there I set in motion a 2 year plan to race get back to Kona via a qualification at Ironman Coeur d'Alene 2012. I raced 70.3's in the 2011 and achieved pretty much everything I had wanted to. Unfortunately I started to feel that little seed of doubt in the back of my mind that had most likely been planted because a mental burnout on long course racing. I had a great winter spending long hours in the basement of The Bike Hub and really improving my bike and swim. All the while I felt I was building my run in a way I had never done it before. With a consistent day in and day out easy running.
This all lead me into a spring in which all things were pointing to some pretty good fitness. I started with the Rapid Rabbit run at East Valley High School. I finished second overall in the 5 miler and improved upon my 2010 time by 10 seconds. Not an amazing amount of improvement but still really solid none the less.
After than came Bloomsday. I finished that with a 15 seconds PR and I really felt things were coming together. Up to that point I had been hitting a consistent 14 hours a week for about 8- 10 weeks. This is not quite the amount of volume I had hoped for, but I have a 17 month old daughter now and 8 hour training days on Saturdays aren't as appealing. In addition I can't take off on my day off unless my wife happens to be off as well.
At the end of May I decided to test my triathlon strength at Onionman. It's an olympic distance race about 3 hours south of Spokane in Walla Walla. A town sooo fine they named it twice. This is the race I've used every season to see where I'm at. It was a super windy morning on race day and the swim bouys must have gotten blown in a bit as the swim was a bit short. Looking at my placing coming out of the water it was obvious that I was faster than I had ever been at this race and I felt great. The bike was tough but I came to T2 with a bike split that was 1.5 minutes faster than last year at 1:02:30 and I was 5 minutes faster than 2010 (the last year I did Ironman). The run came together just fine and I was able to run my way into 4th place overall with a 15 second PR on the run course.
So, as I said everything was looking good for a stellar race in Coeur d'Alene. At this point I was 4 weeks out from Ironman and May had already seen some reduced training volumes. I was only averaging 13 hours a week and these should have been my biggest week. I got sick a couple of time and struggled to make it to the pool early in the morning as I had all year. From there I ended up coasting into Ironman with some okay workouts, but I just didn't have that fire deep in my belly. Last time I raced Ironman all I wanted in life was to qualify for Kona. This year all I wanted was to get through it. The original goal was to win my age group, but I wasn't sure I had a shot at that anymore. If I did it was based on 1. luck and 2. experience.
Lets skip ahead to race morning.
Event warmup:

I had a pretty bad head cold for about 2 weeks leading into Ironman. By the time race day came around my body felt okay, but I was still super congested. I figured the cold water would help clean it out and I would move along with my day.
Race morning started at is always does at 3am. I hadn't been sleeping well in the week leading up to the race and had been depending on Nyquil to get me through the coughing fits I would have so I could get to sleep. The night before the race unfortunately I had to depend on the Nyquil again to quell the coughing fits. It did the trick but I was afraid it would leave me feeling sluggish.
Thankfully when I woke up the excitement of race morning seemed to kick all that drowsiness out of my head no problem. I was still congested but it really didn't matter. I headed to Cda by myself for the first time ever and quickly moved through body marking and getting my bike set up. I met with my parents briefly and got the wetsuit on and headed down to the lake.
I had about 25 minutes to mess around down by the water and I ended up swimming around for about 5-10 minutes just to get used to the cold water before heading up to take my place on the beach.
While waiting and looking for a place to start I was happy to run into Martin Scates. He sort of indirectly taught me how to swim a few years ago by organizing a masters swim and I've always looked up to him and his experience as he is a 29 time ironman and multiple Kona qualifier. Shortly after Troy Nelson and Conrad Band ended up standing right next to us and we sat there and waited for the gun to off.

  • 1h 12m 7s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 43s / 100 yards

It was a weird feeling this year. I did not have the nervous excitement. I had more of a feeling of dread than anything else. Not good when you have nearly 10 hours to go from there. The cannon fired and I dove in the water with the three local Spokane guys around me. I honestly thought I should swim 1:05 pretty easy and I took off relaxed but still pushing hard to try and get out front of the majority of people.
It didn't work. I was swimming in clean water for I what I would guess was 300 yards and then I was trapped. I couldn't go forwards and there were people climbing all over me. For the first time in a mass start I was panicking! All I wanted to do was stop, but that was not an option. I knew stopping would only cause the next 1000 people to swim over the top of the me. So I continued to plug along but I never really go to swim the way I wanted. I started to let those negative thought creep in and I should have known that I was in trouble for the rest of the day. The rest of the 1st loop was quite physical and I came out in 34 minutes.... Not a good start at all. Cda is always a few minutes slower the second loop. Especially if the wind kicks up. Of course it did and I really struggled that second loop. This was partially the weather, but also partially my lack of dedication to the swim in the last 8 weeks leading up to the event. My own fault...
The last 100 yards of the swim my legs started to cramp pretty bad and I started feeling really cold.
Thankfully I made it out. I ended up at 1:12 and I was demoralized. You always tell yourself Ironman is a long day, but this was not how I wanted to start. The swim should feel easy and the last thing I wanted to do was feel like I had to start chasing on the bike to make up for a lackluster swim. Thats what happened though.

What would you do differently?:

I needed to stay consistent with my swim. I had made huge strides in the winter, but I pissed them away at a critical time.
Transition 1
  • 04m 30s

Wet suit stripper always make this easier. Running up to the strippers I saw my friend John Martinek and I really wanted him to strip me ;). Unfortunately he was occupied and stripping someone else. Just then I heard my name. I looked over and saw a friendly face in a crazy wig. Nate Duncan was there and he ripped the suit off of me no problem.
I popped up and I was pretty dizzy. I also couldn't see out of my right eye as it had filled with water for both loops and was very irritated. The eye didn't really bother me though. Thankfully I have 2 of them and lefty never lets me down. I got my bag no problem but the change tent was super full and dark and I couldn't see. I ran in 5 feet and turned around and ran back out. I changed in the grass outside and skipped the change tent all together.
I also skipped the sunscreen on accident. I would pay for that even though it was overcast.

  • 5h 16m 52s
  • 112 miles
  • 21.21 mile/hr

Ahhh. The bike. Over the years this has become the place where I go to work and make up a lot of ground. I had a lot of work to do too.
I got clipped in and took off! I was riding a much faster setup than I had ever ridden. As some of you may know I rode for Planet X last year and was planning on staying on my Exocet even though the team was no longer in existence. Last September my first frame cracked at the seat post and this year about January I had my replacement frame crack in the same place. I rode it for a couple months with Duct tape holding it together. I was teased mercilessly every time I took it into The Bike Hub, but they always fixed it for me no problem, and they had to fix it a lot. I think they started to hated that thing as much as I did at the end. I waited for months and months to get a new one and finally gave up around May and asked for a refund. The search for a new bike ended on with Trek Speed Concept. The Bike Hub helped me make sure it would fit and I got a pretty good deal from a guy on Craigslist who had barely used it. It's funny I feel like the guy I bought it from (Tyler) became a friend and was one of the best cheer leaders on race day.
In addition to the Speed Concept I had borrowed a disc and Zipp 808 front from my training partner Jon Moen. I only carried an aero water bottle and the profile design between the bars aero bottle. I don't think too many people had a more aero setup than I did out there.
This set up lead to me catching and passing a huge amount of riders. I made up 32 spots in my age group and really felt great coming off the bike. Sure I went through a couple of rough patches but I took it easy going up the hills and felt that I rode the course the very well.
On the first loop I caught Troy Nelson early on and eventually caught Conrad towards the turn around on 95. I thought that was odd, because he rode a 5:02 to my 5:09 in 2010 and I know he's a monster on the bike. I talked to him briefly and continued on.
At about mile 45 someone came riding up next to me and paused to talk. I turned and say it was Conrad. He explained to me that he realized once people started to pass him that he must be riding too easy. With that he took off up the other side of Micah grade and dissappeared really quickly. I didn't see him again until they failed to get him his special needs bag and we started riding together for a little bit through town.
After we back on the highway he dropped me again no problem. The second loop the wind picked up a little, but honestly this was the least wind I've experienced out on the course. We really lucked out with a mild day. Everyone was telling me how much faster this course was going to be, but it turned out to be much slower for everyone. the top amateur time were around the 5:10 to 5:20 range. On the other course they were closer to 5:00.
In the end I ended up with a 5:16 and made up 32 spots in my age group. I came off in 8th in my age group and 61st overall. I was actually feeling pretty good too.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing... I had a great bike ride.
Transition 2
  • 02m 31s

Straight forward T2. went through pretty quick.
  • 3h 54m 24s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 08m 57s  min/mile

The run started off not too bad actually. I had a plan to run 7:30 per mile for the first 20 and then if I could drop it from there. Right out of T2 I was running with Troy and one other guy. It was awesome to hear the all the yells from family and friends and I wasn't feeling too bad. I quickly realized that Troy and the other guy were running much faster than I planned so I decided to stick to what I had planned. It stayed that way and I let Troy go and at about mile 1 I found out I was in 8th in my age group. I was dissapointed and I let it effect me. To make matters worse I had quickly had 2 guys in my age group run by me like I was standing still at mile 3.
For some reason this made me completely shut down mentally. I don't know why but I began doubting my plan and thinking there was no way a 3:15 marathon would be fast enough. My pace slowed and people started passing me like crazy. I didn't feel great physically but it was 75% mental. By the time I made the turn around my pace was 7:55 and I just didn't care anymore.
I was contemplating quitting but I knew I needed to get back into town.
So I continued on slowly and made my way back only to find that coming into town I started to feel okay again. I picked up the pace again and I was passing people like crazy.
Don't get too excited thought. I only lasted about 4 miles then I shut it down for good. I was headed back out of town though and at that point I decided I would finish but it would be a long sloooowww run. I walked a lot that second lap but was able to start running again for the last miles. On the way back to town I had number like 12 hours floating around in my head, but I made the decision that I would enjoy the finishing chute. I would high five my friends, kiss wife and daughter and just soak it all in. I've always been in such a hurry at all my other races and never taken the time to high five people and enjoy it.
It doesn't matter how bad your day went, when you run down Sherman Ave. it is the greatest feeling. I found friends and family all the way down and couldn't wait to see Morgan and Amelia. When I finally came across them I gave Morgan a big kiss the went to kiss Amelia. She was so excited she was squirming all over hard to kiss. It was an awesome moment and one I'll never forget.
While I didn't accomplish the things I wanted to accomplish it is still a tremendous achievement to finish an Ironman. I hope my dissappointment does not come across as arrogance. This race is a ridiculously long race. It doesn't start at 7:00 am.... It starts January first. You train and train and some days things don't go perfectly. Actually they never go perfectly. It's really how you deal with the adversity that makes a fantastic Ironman. I did not deal well this year and ultimately that did me in.
After the race I never wanted to think about another Ironman. As I sit here a week later, my negative feelings toward the race have subsided. I will not be racing one again for a long time. I've found that I really enjoy 70.3 and olympic distance racing. I will continue to race but my love for my family and my desire to spend time with them outweighs my need to train at a really high level.
I will race a few more times this year but I think I'll wait to do the next Ironman when I have a mid life crisis like a normal guy.
Post race

Last updated: 2011-07-10 12:00 AM
01:12:07 | 4224 yards | 01m 43s / 100yards
Age Group: 50/149
Overall: 542/2400
Performance: Bad
Course: 2 loops lake swim
Start type: Run Plus: Shot
Water temp: 58F / 14C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Below average
Breathing: Below average Drafting: Below average
Waves: Below average Navigation: Below average
Rounding: Good
Time: 04:30
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Below average
05:16:52 | 112 miles | 21.21 mile/hr
Age Group: 8/149
Overall: 61/2400
Wind: Some
Course: 2 loops with a good amount of climbing out highway 95.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 92
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 02:31
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
03:54:24 | 26.2 miles | 08m 57s  min/mile
Age Group: 11/149
Overall: 123/2400
Course: 2 loops with a good sized hill
Keeping cool Good Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

2012-07-01 1:04 AM

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Extreme Veteran
Spokane, Wa
Subject: Ironman Coeur d'Alene

2012-07-02 11:16 PM
in reply to: #4288846

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Kansas City, MO
Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene
Nice job Scott!!   The mental part is the toughest.....   Glad you finished and stuck it out.  I don't know that I will ever come close to your times, my goals are to break 11:30...  But with all my IM's I have been married with two kiddos that I always want to be around.  What plan did you use this go around??   The BT Advanced??
2012-07-03 8:56 AM
in reply to: #4291868

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Extreme Veteran
Spokane, Wa
Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene
thanks for reading. Having a kid has made things infinitely more difficult to fit in. I didn't actually use a plan this year and that probably contributed to me missing a ton if workouts. I did most of my key long workouts but the weekday stuff got put on the back burner.
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