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Ironman Coeur d'Alene - Triathlon

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Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
Total Time = 00m
Overall Rank = DNF/
Age Group = M45-49
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

I've put off this report as long as I could but realize I need to get some thoughts written down to understand what happened and how to fix it. I already know why this DNF happened and know how to fix it. I will have some race specific information in this report but I do want to spend some time describing what I now feel led to my DNF. I hope this report will provide some help to others that may not have had one of their races go as planned.

I need to start by going back to IronMan 70.3 Texas on April 7. I was in great condition and well on my way to a great build for IMCDA. I had executed my race just as I wanted to and came out of Galveston with a PR 4:39. I was pleased with my fitness and knew I had 11 weeks to make a strong push for my 2nd KQ at IMCDA.... That was until I got out of my car after my 4 hour drive to Austin. It was then that my IMCDA plans should have come to a complete stop.

I got out my car and could not put any weight on my left leg due to seering pain in my left calf. 4 days later I was diagnosed with a blood clot (DVT) in my Gastrocnemius vein. I was immediately put on a new blood thinner and told to shut down all training. I did a lot of research the next week and found that my particular clot RARELY broke loose to cause pulmonary embolism (in other words, death). Being the stubborn person I am I chose to continue my training (even though my wife was very much against it) hoping I could train well enough to compete at IMCDA.

What I also came to find out is that the major side effects of my blood thinning medicaton were fatigue, muscle/joint pain, and bleeding. For the next 8 weeks I trained with incredible fatigue. My training was extremely challenging. My nose would bleed for the first 2-3 hours of long rides. I'd either stuff tissue up my nose or swallow the blood and spit it out. I had many long rides where I literally had to get off the bike because I had no strength to peddle. My knees would be killing me but I plowed through it hoping strength would come back to me when I went off the medication. I couldn't run more than 2 miles at a time without stopping. Slowing down did nothing. My legs were so fatigued the only way to continue was to completely stop, get my heart rate down, and continue again for another couple miles before I had to stop again.

I probably should have decided to DNS at this point but I held on to the hope that if I could stop the medication I would feel better come race day. Well, I ended up stopping the medication 3 weeks before the race and had 1 week of incredible training. Strength and pace were close to where they should have been and I was feeling optimistic.

Because I was off the thinners I made the next critical mistake. I started taking my prescription anti-imflamatories to help with the joint pain I was having as a result of the blood thinners. This, I believe, was the final nail in the coffin.

I have used these anti-imflamatories during peak training the last 4 years and now that I look back I have had cramping issues since taking these drugs. My cramping for CDA strarted 3 days before the race. I was hydrating to prepare for race day and would pee every hour. I'd be sitting watching TV and my calves would start to cramp. I was flabbergasted, I hadn't even started the race and I was already dealing with cramps. I have no doubt the anti-imflamatories cause my kidneys to function incorrectly thus causing hydration/cramping issues.

So, with the pre-race issues already started I was ready to give it my best shot come race day. I told people this would either be a really good day or really bad day as I wasn't going to CDA just to finish. So it wasn't surprising when I DNF'd as I knew going in this was a very good possiblitly.

And now, the race day details.
Event warmup:

This was like any other race morning. I had my big breakfast and headed to transition to get set up. The water was nice and calm and I got in the water to get a good warmup swim. I got out and seeded myself in the 1:00-1:15 swim group.
  • 1h 04m 23s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 31s / 100 yards

I actually liked the rolling swim start. The only problem is people seeded themselves much to aggressively. I was at the very front of the 1:00-1:15 and group and started swimming over people immediately. The first loop was still crowded and the first turn and short section after the turn were still a little chaotic.

I got out of the water after the 1st lap and my watch said 31 minutes. I was happy with that and new the 2nd lap is usually a little slower. By the time I got halfway to the turnbuoy my cramps started cramping. I stopped kicking to let them settle for a bit. After the last turn back to shore both hamstrings started to cramp and all I could do was pull without kicking.

I came out of the water in 1:04 but I'm sure I could have been 1:03 or less if I could have kept kicking. When I stood up to get out of the water both legs completely cramped up on me. I had to lean against one of the volunteers to work them out.

I was already pissed and told myself this is going to be a long day. Then I realized it is going to be a long day and a lot of things can change during IM. My plan was to get on the bike and hope I could work out the cramps.

I was 21st in the AG out of the water and figured that still put me in a position to compete if I could get my legs to come to me.
Transition 1
  • 04m 46s

This was a MUCH longer T1 than I had planned but I had to stop on the beach to work out my cramps. I put on helmet and sunglasses, grabbed my shoes so I could run to my bike without them. Put on my shoes and I was out of T1.
  • 5h 30m 26s
  • 112 miles
  • 20.33 mile/hr

Got on the bike and took it really easy on the first out and back. It was pretty packed and the marshalls handed out quite a few penalties to people around me. I'm not sure I agree with handing out penalties on this first section because there just wasn't anywhere to go. I got nailed in Kona for this exact same situtation with nowhere to go but was able to get out in front here.

As we got to the first climb my legs still felt like crap and I could still feel the cramps. I was moving ahead of a lot of people but just could not push the pace because of the cramps. I'm normally very strong on the climbs and even though I was going by people I just couldn't push it. I started taking additional sodium to see if it would help with the cramps but they never subsided the entire ride.

I was happy with my first loop and although I felt like crap my placing was solid. By mile 75 of the bike I had moved into 7th place in my AG. I was right where I wanted to be because I am usually strong the last 20-25 miles of the bike. That wasn't the case today as I just started to feel the fatigue I had felt all throughout training because of the medication. People in my AG started passing me the last 20 miles and I knew at this point KQ was done as the fatigue was too much.

My nutrition felt good but looking back now I took in too much sodium. This, combined with my medication pretty much caused my kidneys to shut down and strop processing fluids. I peed 5 times on the but had no idea I was already on the path to deyhdration.

When I got off the bike I had slipped to 15th place in the AG and figured I just run it easy to keep my time respectable.
Transition 2
  • 05m 12s

I got off my bike and I was already starting to feel a little disoriented due to dehydration. I peed again in T2 and it was perfectly clear. Again, absolutely NOTHING led me to believe I was dehydrated.
  • 1h 48m 33s
  • 8.3 miles
  • 13m 07s  min/mile

I started running and 1 mile out of transition both legs completely locked up again in cramps. I tried to work them out and tried to run but just 1 running stride would always cause my legs to cramp. I walked about 3 miles and had a decision to make. I could either turn around and walk back to transition and call it a day or I could go to the 6.5 mile turnaround and see how I felt.

I decided to keep walking hoping I might be able to run at some point. When I got to the run turnaround I had decided to turn in my chip when I got back to transition. At mile 8 I peed again and again it was totally clear. However now I realized my fingers were starting to swell, then my arms were swelling and I had to loosen my watch strap 3 holes because it was getting so tight. I stopped at a medical station to ask them what was going on and they said as long as I'm peeing I should be ok. I walked another .3 miles when my legs locked up again.

I knew there was now way I was walking another 5 miles so I told one of the racers going up the other way to tell the medical folks I am done and I need their assistance. I got into a volunteers truck and he was driving me back to transition. I borrowed his phone to call my wife to leter her know I was ok because I knew she was watching my splits and was wondering what the heck was going on.

3 minutes after hanging up with my wife everything started spinning and going dark. The volunteer had tos top at the barricades to move them so we could cross the road. At the first stop I started feeling nauseus and opened the door in case I had to vomit. We came to another barricade and at this point I was 60% unconscious barely aware of what was going on. He stopped to move the barricade and all I remember is telling him to ram the fucking barricade as I felt like I was going to die. I passed out and all I could hear was the volunteer on the radio back to medical telling them he had a medical emergency.

We had to cross the bike course to get to medical so they put me on a wheelchair and were running and pushing me across the course to get me into medical. Once in medical they laid me down, elevated my feet, and gave me medication to help the nausea. I was feeling a little better but not much. For 45 minutes they kept trying to get me to drink but my stomach just would take anything. Finally after 45 minutes they gave me an IV. 30 minutes later I felt great and could have gone back to finish the marathon if they would have let me.

In hindsight, I'm a little pissed at WTC's policy on IV's. Because so many athletes would come into medical after the race for IV's to recover they have stopped giving them immediately and try to get the athlete to hydrate themselves first. Well, OK fine, but I was fucking unconscious, why wait so damn long to give me an IV?
Post race
What limited your ability to perform faster:

I have no doubt the medication I was on for my blood clot was the huge issue. Fortunately I am off the medication and I have stopped taking anti-imflamatories. If you're reading this and take anti-imflamatories and have issues with dehydration and cramping I recommend stopping the NSAID's immediately! Since IMCDA I have trained in 100+ degree temperatures with no signs of cramping since stopping NSAID's.

I have no regrets for at least attempting to race. I have no doubt I could have finished the race had I raced conservatively. I just didn't see the point to racing conservatively and wanted to race for Kona again. I knew DNF was a possiblitly and when faced with the thought of walking another 18 miles I knew it just wasn't worth it. I'm just glad I got off the course when I did.

I am now ready to race again and have a ton of unused fitness and firmly believe I have solved my cramping issues. While IMKY is out I will race a HIM in Kerrville, TX in September and Austin 70.3 in October to test my cramping issues. In the next few weeks I'll decide if I go to IM Cozumel for Thanksgiving or wait until IM Los Cabos in March.

What's even better is I now have a key motivator for KQing. "Redemption" is a word that is already carrying me through tough 100 degree workouts and will be my motto for my next IM.

Last updated: 2012-11-01 12:00 AM
01:04:23 | 4224 yards | 01m 31s / 100yards
Age Group: 27/
Overall: 288/
Start type: Plus:
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current:
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 04:46
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
05:30:26 | 112 miles | 20.33 mile/hr
Age Group: 15/
Overall: 0/
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 05:12
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
01:48:33 | 08.3 miles | 13m 07s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Keeping cool Drinking
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]

2013-07-11 12:16 PM

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

2013-07-11 8:30 PM
in reply to: #4801538

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Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene
Wow...thanks for this report.  Definately something I will keep in mind even though I almost never use NSAIDs.  Did you ever think about what may have caused the blood clot to begin with or something you could have done to help prevent it?  Maybe making sure you go for a walk or short spin before the car ride to get the blood flowing?  Or a pit stop to walk around in the middle of the drive?
2013-07-12 9:17 AM
in reply to: Jason N

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Extreme Veteran
Austin, TX
Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene
Originally posted by Jason N

Wow...thanks for this report.  Definately something I will keep in mind even though I almost never use NSAIDs.  Did you ever think about what may have caused the blood clot to begin with or something you could have done to help prevent it?  Maybe making sure you go for a walk or short spin before the car ride to get the blood flowing?  Or a pit stop to walk around in the middle of the drive?

My clot was definitely caused by the 4 hour drive from Galveston to Austin. I should have gotten out of the car a couple times to stretch and move the legs. That probably would have prevented the clot.
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