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Ironman Coeur d'Alene - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
United States
Ironman North America
68F / 20C
Total Time = 16h 22m 22s
Overall Rank = 1998/2186
Age Group = W30-34
Age Group Rank = 126/142
Pre-race routine:

I did everything on my lists and several things that weren't like duh! drop off Special Needs bags which was like a block or 2 from the transition area and stand in line for the portolets for like 20 minutes.

After successfully eating my 2nd bagel and heading out after saying goodbye to Preston who had woken up with me and was talking to me and relaxing me the whole morning I headed out to transition.

OY VEY! The wind was blowing and it was pretty chilly out :( I was really happy I was wearing my comfy pink yoga pants and hooded fleece Disney Princess (also pink) sweatshirt. After getting body marked I headed to the bike area and pumped my tires, added water to my aerobottle, filled my bento box with GU and placed my bottles of cocktail on my bike. I added armwarmers and sunscreen to my T1 bag and tortilla chips to T2 then went to the bathroom again :)

I had like 20 min before meeting up with my dad and Preston so I went into the women's changing tent to get out of the wind and review my race plan and meditate a bit on the day and listen to some music and relax.

Back when I did my first Danskin sprint triathlon in 2003 Sally Edwards gives each group of swimmers a secret word before they start. Once she gives you the word she has you swing your arms while saying "I am a (insert word) swimmer" I thought back to my word which was Stupendous and repeated to myself I am a Stupendous swimmer.

This helped calm me a bit because the whitecaps and wind seemed to be getting worse not better. Finally it was 6am and I met up with Preston and my dad to get my cold bags. I quickly added them to my transition bags and then we walked down a few blocks to drop off my Special Needs bags.

Each of my bags had been marked with a piece of pink and green feather boa so they stood out and were so amazingly easy to find. WOO HOO! Thank you Tink for the idea :)

I handed over my tri bag with my Keens and all my extra stuff, hugged my dad, kissed Preston and got a little choked up when he whispered in my ear "Have Fun".

Before every race he's told me to just HAVE FUN, whatever happens. It's like our ritual and it reminded me again what a wonderful support he's been to me over the years. Even on my worst days if I could remember to have fun I'd still be a winner!

I headed back to transition and was faced with a HUGE line for the portolets, crap (literally). There was no choice, I had to go so I waited in the line. After what seemed like an eternity I got in there and got finished. Luckily standing in the long line gave me a chance to eat my pack of Sport Beans, drink some water, BodyGlide my legs and get most of my clothes in my Dry Clothes bag. Multi-tasking at it's best.

I headed into the changing tent to pull on my wetsuit and met up with my longtime friend DonnaLee who was here volunteering. Hooray! She was helping other ladies into their wetsuits and it was great to see a smiling face.

Once properly suited up I started the penguin walk to the timing mat. There was a small opening in the lake wall where we all had to walk through to get our chips activated. Somewhere in the melee of very nervous athletes (it was 6:50am and we were moving very slowly) I ran into Shannon. WOO HOO!!!! Shannon and I had been training together on BeginnerTriathlete and finally got to meet in person during race week. She is awesome and it was so calming to meet a friend for the long walk :)

While in line we hear Mike Reilley (the voice of Ironman) come over the PA system and announce that while we're all adults and can make our own decision, in light of the very rough lake conditions people would have the option of doing a duathlon.

WHAT??????????!!!!!!!!! OMG - this is probably the only point in the day where I almost freaked out. If the conditions were so bad people could do a duathlon that meant they were beyond a little chop. It's almost unprecedented for that to happen. YIKES!!!!! Shannon and I looked at each other, then looked at the water and almost in unison said "This is the Ironman, I'm doing the swim"

We finally got to the opening and we walked arm in arm across the mat. A wonderful fun way to start the day. We said goodbye and I headed to the far right of the beach where I met up with my other BT friend Doug. It was so windy we couldn't hear anything that was happening at the far end of the beach but I heard they played the National Anthem and then as the cannon went off U2's It's a Beautiful Day started playing. I didn't hear that but I heard the cannon and we all surged forward into the wild water.

  • 1h 41m 32s
  • 4224 yards
  • 02m 24s / 100 yards

I started my watch and then dove right in. The water was pretty warm especially considering how cool it was outside and I started swimming.

Breathe, Long Relaxed strokes, I am a stupendous swimmer, feel the waves and try to roll with them.

Breathe, follow the masses, protect your head, watch out for wild breaststrokers.

Look for buoys, OMG I can't see anything, the waves are too high, think Leopard!!!!! Look for caps and follow them.

Breathe, ACK huge gulp of water. Cough, Cough, Breathe, Breathe, don't freak out, try to tread water, DUDE seriously treading water sucks when the waves are hitting you in the face because you can't bob high enough to get over them.

Long relaxed strokes, protect your ribs, watch out for breaststrokers, Why are we stopping????

WOO HOO - the buoy! We're at a complete standstill and there must have been like 300 of us all treading water moving very slowly around this buoy. We're all chatting and laughing about the conditions and how no one is swimming and I'm like "I thought this was the Ironman, not the Dog Paddle man."

A few people thought that was funny and then we were off again.

Repeat all of the above and next thing I know I'm touching the sand and heading through the turnaround to start loop 2.

47 minutes - WOW, in spite of the waves I'm kicking ass!

Realizing I am wearing a sleeveless black wetsuit and look exactly like a million other athletes I yell "GO SPEED LEOPARD" as I go up the beach and dive back in.

All of the above, 3 times worse for round 2. I could not see the buoy to save my life. People were hanging onto kayaks and surfboards and I was getting tossed about every stroke. I started seeing particles that looked like puke in the water, oh geesh.

For some reason I started thinking of lines from Napolean Dynamite and started laughing underwater. Hehehe, at least I could still crack myself up. Finally, finally found the buoy and made the turn. Went way off course as I was trying to get back to the beach but eventually I was kicking hard to warm up my legs and staggering up the beach and across the mat.

WOO HOO - 33% done with Ironman. I survived one of the worst swims ever. I felt fine I yelled WOO HOO as I was starting to wog up the beach.

KICK ASS - I did that swim in just over an hour and 40 minutes. I would have rocked my best super secret time if not for those waves. I was just shocked.
What would you do differently?:

Actually feel like I was swimming in a lake not the freaking ocean during a hurricane :)
Transition 1
  • 09m 55s

As I stripped the top half of my wetsuit off I could hear my family and friends yelling for me and I was yelling and waving right back at them. HOORAY - I was moving on to the bike.

I wogged up to the wetsuit strippers dropped onto the ground and in 20 seconds my wetsuit was off and I was headed for my bag. As I said before it was so easy to spot because of the boas. I grabbed the bag and wogged into the changing tent where it was mass chaos.

Apparently like nearly all of the women in the race came out of the water at the same time. I saw my friends Amanda and Joanna and wished them both great rides and finally found a spot at the end of the tent. I dried off, pulled on my top and dried my feet and then DonnaLee found me and helped me get my sleeveless jersey on and helmet, shoes, pockets filled and I was out the door.

Got some additional sunscreen and headed towards my bike. My support team was going so crazy - it was awesome!!!! I smiled and cheered and grabbed my bike and wogged it to the bike mount line.
What would you do differently?:

Not put so much extra stuff in my bag.
  • 8h 04m 52s
  • 112 miles
  • 13.86 mile/hr

I checked the clock as I mounted my bike and it was 8:51 am. Sweet right on schedule. I smiled and started pedaling.

The first part of the bike course is a gradual uphill past tons of spectators. I took it easy up the hill, waving and smiling and trying to settle in for the first loop. As I pedaled I was also really keeping an eye out for other racers and trying to make sure I took the turns easy since I'm not super comfortable riding with a ton of other people.

We hit the first big hill on the way to Higgens Point and I just spun into my lowest gear. At the top of the hill we passed the first aid station which was coming back in the other direction and there were tons of flags, cheerleaders cheering us and lots of people clapping and ringing bells.

I had opted not to put armwarmers on and I was glad for that because I wasn't cold at all on the fast downhill to the turnaround. Through the 1st aid station and sweet! managed to grab a bottle of water and not crash. That was good news because it was one of the only things I hadn't really practiced in training.

Back through town and all the screaming people and we were off. Probably one of the biggest mental benefits going into race day was knowing the course from a bike. Not just driving it in a car but actually pedaling each hill twice :) Prior to the race I had set some checkpoints for myself. I was planning to ride from checkpoint to checkpoint. I had already gone from T1 to Higgens Point, then from HP to town. Now I was on my way to the high school.

Followed my plan and spun easily, waving at spectators, smiling and sipping water. It was kind of cool to have mile markers since I can't see that on my bike computer.

In case you don't know I'm a little obsessive about numbers so early on in the training season I decided to put a piece of medical tape over my speedometer so I couldn't see speed or distance only time. I kept it on there for the race because I wanted to stay focused on going easy.

Past the high school and there were so many people at this roundabout we had to go by. WOO HOO!!!! I waved at them all and chatted with a few cyclists as they passed or I passed. Now we're headed out for a long flat straightaway through Hayden.

OMG - there is a man in a giant Elmo suit on the other side of the road. HEHE - that is awesome. We pass all the festivities around Hayden Days which the town has scheduled to coincide with Ironman and there are people all over in lawn chairs, with signs, with bells, blasting music from their cars. It's amazing the difference it makes when there are people cheering you on.

Hi people, thanks for coming out! WOO HOO!!!!

Hit another aid station and got more water. My plan was basically to sip my cocktail which consisted of:

2 scoops CarboPro (calories and carbs)
1 scoop GU20 (electrolytes)
1 packet Crystal Light Lemon Electrolyte drink
1 packet Crystal Light Lemonade
600 mg salt
1 packet Sweet-n-Low

I had 2 bottles of this drink on my bike (one Lemonade, one Peach Iced Tea) and then 2 more bottles in Special Needs.

So I'm sipping my cocktail, watching the road, taking a GU, here comes an aid station, grab some water pour it into my aero bottle. Smile, wave, thank the volunteers, repeat.

We make the turn and here I am at the next checkpoint - the golf course :) I say to a volunteer that I think I might stop and play a round of golf and he just got this blank look on his face. Hehe! As soon as we hit the golf course we hit the hills but I'm ready.

Downshift, slow and steady, nice circles, nice cadence. Breathe deeply, no waving here, don't take your hands off the handlebars. Easy does it Leopard. Watch out for cyclists weaving up the hill. Very interesting, I'm actually passing a few people. Wonders never cease. I finally get to the top and then I'm cruising past lots of residents in lawn chairs cheering and clapping. Awesome!

I can't say enought about how wonderful the crowd support is here in CDA. The people are just amazing. Nearly every neighborhood had people with music, signs or even posters telling us we could use their bathrooms if we needed to. Thank you all!!!!

A few more up and down climbs and I chatted with the oldest woman doing the race for a few minutes then we headed for the steepest climb of the day. WOW - it was tough but I talked myself up it and actually talked to a few other ladies who seemed to be struggling. They were happy to hear this was the worst hill on the course.

More cocktail, another GU, more smiles, thank yous and hills. WOO HOO, I was now on my favorite part of the course which is a goregeous climb directly overlooking Hayden Lake. I sang songs at the top of my lungs as I zoomed down the other side of the hill.

Before I knew it I was nearing the Llamas and horses and heading up Rimrock Rd which has the most hills in a row. I ate my Uncrustable (portable PB&J sandwich) and as always it was delicious. I followed it with a salt tablet and more water. At this point I had seen several of my buddies from camp (Amanda and Joanna) since we were on an out and back stretch.

I hit the turnaround and headed back to finish my 1st loop.

After spinning easy for the first 50 miles I was really bummed that we were going right into a headwind on the downhill back to town when we should have been able to get free speed. Oh well. I had decided at the 40 mile mark to take a 2 minute break to pee since I seemed to be right on schedule and really didn't want wet shoes and socks all day. A very nice volunteer held my bike while I dashed into the portolet.

As I was about 2 miles from the start of my 2nd loop the race clock and media motorcycles zoomed past. Sweet, the pros were about to get off the bike. I looked for Michael (refer to the nice picture from IM camp) since we were all hoping he'd win the race but I didn't see him.

Saw the signs for finish or 2nd loop and said to myself "Ready for Round 2? HOOYAH"

Almost as soon as I started the 2nd loop I saw my family and friends and I was waving and yelling and smiling like crazy!!!!! WOO HOO I'm more than 1/2 way done with the bike.

Back up to Higgens Point and it was easy to find my Special Needs bag. It took a little longer than expected because my bag was heavy and had way to much stuff in it to sort through. Oh well. I ripped open my bubble envelope and low and behold my bottles of cocktail were still cold. YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is amazing. I am so glad I did that. Prior to IM I had heard about someone freezing their bottles and putting them with an icepack into a bubble envelope. My friend Katherine tried this at IM AZ and it worked well so I was thrilled it worked for me too.

I'd gone through almost both of my cocktail bottles on the 1st loop so I put 2 new bottles in my cages, stashed my delicious Peeps and a still frozen Uncrustable in my back pocket along with a tube of Bodyglide before filling my Bento box with Baked Cheetos and Taco del Mar tortilla chips. Yummy!

I thanked the volunteers and headed a few hundred yards up the road to a bathroom on the trail since the portolets were behind me. I peed again and reapplied my BodyGlide. I was off and headed back to town.

Hello family and friends - WOO HOO!!!!!! I'm on my way to the hills for the last time. More waves, smiles, thanking the awesome traffic control volunteers and I was off towards the hills for the last time. As I headed up Government Way towards the High School I reapplied Chapstick, drank water, ate some cheesy Cheetos and salty tortilla chips and continued to enjoy the day.

I cheered other racers when I could, talked to myself, sang songs, smiled and waved so much and then before you knew it I was past the Elmo (OMG - he's still out there????) and into the hills.

After spinning up the first set of hills and rounding the corner I could see there were numerous people walking their bikes up the steepest of the hills. Come on Leopard, dig deep, slow and steady, you've done these hills the 2nd loop before, remember that a-hole from training weekend who breezed past you and told you how hard these would be on the 2nd loop and how t-o'd you were when you said "THIS IS MY 2nd LOOP" - Channel that feeling, you can do it, deep breaths, gut it out, keep going, there's the top, you can do it.

WOO HOO - the top of the hill brought several fun conversations with a few girls who recognized me as the Biggest Loser from the banquet and as we climbed the next set of hills we chatted about weight loss and motivations for IM, where they were from etc. I ate my next Uncrustable and salt tablet saw many many people I knew (JR from Portland Fit, Stephen from PDX, Amanda, Joanna, Jared from BT) and made a few new friends with various people as we slingshotted back and forth on the climbs and descents.

Hit the turnaround at Ohio Match Road and it was on - Yes I was headed for home. Another quick pee stop at an aid station, more waves and cheers and cocktail and tortilla chips, a few sticky marshmellowy Peeps and I was cruising back down 4th towards home.

ELMO!!!!!!!!! Finally I was on the right side of the road and OMG this guy in the Elmo suit was still there. He must have been burning up in that suit. He was accompanied by an older woman in a housecoat ringing a bell and even though I normally despise Elmo, he cracked me up the entire day so I tried to get a high five but barely missed :( Oh well, thanks Elmo you made my day!

With just 6 miles to go I had to pee again so I decided to hit the last aid station so I wouldn't have to go in T2. A quick in and out and I was in my big ring headed down the home stretch. As I hit the last downhill on NW Blvd I saw Preston - PUP!!!!!!!! I'm almost done with the bike and I'm having fun - HOORAY!!!!!!!

2 miles to go and I was at about 7:52 on my bike computer so I knew I'd end up just over 8 hours on the bike. AWESOME. As I'm cruising for the final turn there's a guy on the side of the road with a sign that says If I blow this horn I think you're HOT! so of course I'm thinking he probably won't blow the horn for me but just as I pass he blows the horn and yells "BOOTYLICIOUS" - OMG I almost crashed into the curb I was laughing so hard. Nice!

I see the sign 2nd loop straight, finish turn right and I'm like Oh yeah finish here I come!!!!! My family and friends are there yelling and cheering for me and I'm down the chute and there's the dismount line. I hop off and a volunteer grabs my bike.

WOO HOO I am off the bike and I loved it!!!!! I had a great time, I was right on pace, my stomach felt great and I was heading toward my beautiful pink and green boa tied bag for T2.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing, including stops and factoring in the headwind I was right where I wanted to be :)
Transition 2
  • 08m 58s

I grabbed my bag and jogged into the tent. As I hit the tent I yelled "Susan, DonnaLee" - WOO HOO, I was here! I got lots of hugs from my buddies in the tent and then it was like let's get me off and running. DonnaLee and Susan dumped my bag and I started giving instructions. Since I hadn't peed on the bike I didn't need to change my shorts. I need the bottles from my frozen bag into my fuel belt. I need to get my cycling shoes off and find my vaseline so I can get my running socks and shoes on. Please spray my legs and body with sunscreen, can someone pour water onto this washcloth so I can wipe my face? I want my chocolate covered cinnamon bears in my pocket, WOO HOO I finally get to wear my cool running top that Preston designed from RunningBanana, visor on, nope please don't help me with my shoes and socks, I want to do that myself. Apply vaseline and get shoes and socks on, read my motivational cards while getting BodyGlide on my inner arms and thighs.

Chapstick in pocket - Check!
Race # on - Check!
Fuel Belt with cold bottles of GU20 - Check!
BodyGlided - Check!
Feeling happy and ready to run - HOOYAH!!!!!!

More hugs and cheers from inside the tent and I'm off and running. Turn my interval timer on as I exit the tent. It's set for 3 minutes of running and 1 minute of walking. Check the race clock as I am heading out, super sweet it's 5:05. Just 5 minutes behind my projected plan. WOO HOO!
What would you do differently?:

Again so much stuff in the bags, next time I'll put all the just in case stuff in a huge ziploc so it doesn't get mixed in with what I really need.
  • 6h 17m 6s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 14m 23s  min/mile

Almost as soon as I crossed the timing mat I saw my mom and Carol P :) Hugs and shrieks as I can't believe I am running. WOO HOO!!!!!! I do the out and back on the Dyke Road and hit the portolet just before Mile 2. Quick in and out to pee and I'm running again. This is a really fun part of the course because of all the people and I'm finding that unlike the bike where I can only wave or cheer I can actually hug or highfive people now that I'm running. TOO COOL!

After heading through town I take an inventory. I'm doing my 3/1 intervals, my legs are feeling good, I have no aches or pains, I'm still smiling and my stomach feels great. I eat a chocolate cinnamon bear and drink some of the salted GU20 in my fuel belt. I see BT friends, camp friends and various others from my town and we wave, high five or smile as we pass. Since most of us now have our Run # on, it has our first name so I try to encourage people as I see them pass me in the other direction. "Nice job Heather, Way to go Anne, Looking good John"

This course is absolutely perfect for interaction amongst athletes and spectators and then between the athletes themselves. I saw everyone multiple times :) I was just about mile 4 still smiling and happy, eating pretzels and taking some water at the aid station and getting ready to make the turn onto Lake Coeur d'Alene drive when who do I see?????

ELMO!!!!!!!!!!! Are you kidding me!!!!!!!!! This Elmo is awesome. He's everywhere and now he's here. I run past and give him a great big high five and thank him and his older companion with her bell. This is so cool. I'm laughing all the way to mile 5.

Another cinnamon bear and a GU at the next aid station and since I'm running I can actually read the signs on the side of the road. WOO HOO - there are a few for SpeedLeopard. Yeah, that's me! I love reading everyone else's signs too when I'm not seeing people I know or smiling and thanking volunteers.

Mile 6 and 7 pass quickly and I walk up the huge hill to the turnaround and then run the entire way back down. I'm able to see Amanda and Joanna and I know they are doing great. You go girls! Miles 8 and 9 come and go and I'm still doing my run/walk and chatting with various people as I go. Several groups were like we're walking this thing if you want to join us and I was like thanks but I'm doing my intervals for the entire 1st loop if I can.

Mile 10 and I eat my Sport Beans, yummy! I swear they are the best invention and for some reason I always eat them at mile 10 during any long run or race. The sun was really shining and it seemed warm to me so I was getting a sponge each mile and putting it down my sports bra. It wasn't hot enough to warrant ice but the cool water did feel good.

Mile 11 and I decided to try a chocolate chip cookie from the aid station along with the water and GU20 I was drinking. Hmmmm.... it was pretty crunchy and anyone who knows me will know my thoughts on crunchy cookies :( Ah well, I'm still cruising forward.

Smile, wave, thank the volunteers. Sweet - this house is playing the Rocky theme. Nice! Next neighborhood is playing MC Hammer, do a little dance, drink some more GU20. Walk up the last hill on the way back to town and see Shannon from BT - WOO HOO girl I'm having fun!!!!!

Mile 12 passes and I'm passing the split where the volunteers say left to finish, straight for 2nd loop. I was like "I'll be back", this cracks me up and I keep running. Back on Lakeside and there's my crew cheering just before the park. I stop and give my dad and hug and tell him Happy Birthday!!!!! I shriek when I see Carole and tell her I'm still running and I feel great. This is awesome :)

I hit the park and pump my arms as I start my 2nd loop. Mom, Carol P and Cathy are on the other side of the street so I yell "I'll see you guys in a few minutes". I see Karie and Ruthie and give them both hugs. I keep running and see my best friend Siani who looks ADORABLE in her orange running skirt with matching socks. I give her a huge hug and she is choked up which in turn choked me up because she's just amazing and has been an absolute rock for me my entire adult life (Girl - I love ya!!!!).

Out and back on the Dike Road along the lake and I run/walk along with a group of 4 very nice ladies and 1 guy all of us doing our first IM. We chat for a while and I kind of leapfrog them since I can't keep up with their speed walking but I pass them when I'm running. I keep looking for a timing mat because I figured they'd be posting our 1/2 marathon splits and I know I'm past mile 13 by now. Sure enough here comes mile 14. I take a quick look at my time and see I've been running for 3 hours exactly. AWESOME!!!!! The sun is still up and as we ran this section on the first loop I told a Team Z girl named Julie that if we saw mile 14 with the sun still up we'd make it to the finish for sure :)

12.2 miles to go and just under 4 hours to do it. I know I can finish this thing. WOO HOO!!!!! Every step I took I was smiling and as I hit the turnaround on the Dike road I felt so happy. Throughout the day I had set incremental goals and I had just checked another off the list. I was still running and I was on my 2nd lap.

Having won the Biggest Loser contest Friday had its advantages and as I neared Special Needs the main Ironman official there was cheering and going crazy telling everyone "this girl lost 170 lbs, isn't that amazing?" I appreciated her enthusiasm but I was just another racer out here on a long day. There were 2200 other stories just as worth telling :)

Again super easy to spot my bags! I grabbed my Motivational Menu and read my quotes while the volunteer was opening my cold pack with new (amazingly still cold) Fuel Belt bottles of GU20. I took my mini-pack of Chocolate Cinnamon Bears for later and grabbed my baggie of Mike & Ikes. This was a good decision! Thanked the volunteers and kept on running. I felt like I was Forest Gump at this point. As I headed back through the park into town I see Preston's hat peeking through the crowd.

PUP!!!!!!! I practically sprint to the barrier and throw my arms around him. I love you!!!!!!! Everytime I saw Preston he had a smile on his face and that was just awesome. I could not have asked for a better, more amazing husband. Check out the great picture of the moment.

Back up through the crowds and back into the neighborhoods. I'm nearing a milestone. There it is, at the top of the hill. Mile 16. For most people on this day it's just another mile but for me it signified the furthest I've ever run in my life. Each step moved me into new territory and man I was loving it!!!!

I hadn't taken my 2 Tylenol as planned in T2 cause I didn't feel I needed it and I still didn't need it but once I passed that magic mile I figured it was better to be safe than sorry. I was still within shouting distance of the speedy walkers and we walked/ran some intervals together through mile 16 and 17. After that mile marker I decided to try the Coke.

BLECK!!!!!!!!! I don't drink regular soda. I haven't in 5 years but I was looking forward to some yummy crisp cold Coke. What I got was cool generic cola and it was not the same. I took 1 sip and knew it was a no go. Fine, that's fine (said in my best Cartman voice). Next year IM can you please have the real stuff? :)

I was taking water and had started snacking on my Mike and Ike's and I have to say they were so delicious! I had used them as a treat on the bike but I thought they'd be a good portable snack for the run and I was right. Unfortunately as I was trying to eat and run I lost like 20 of them out the side of my bag. Oh well, I would just have to ration them for the next 9 miles.

At mile 17 the sun has set and it's getting past dusk and up ahead I see the truck with the glow sticks!

WOO HOO - We're getting our GLOW STICKS!!!!!!! I'm so excited about this but the people around me didn't seem to be that excited that they were out here past dark but for me I was like Super sweet, I'm getting another part of the IM experience. The volunteers fastened them around our neck and off we went.

It was about this time that I was starting to get a little cool and I was also getting kind of tired of the GU20. Hmmm...... I wonder how the Chicken Broth tastes? Got a cup of steaming broth and holy mackeral that was some yummy goodness. I was still doing my intervals although a bit slower than before but I did walk the length of the aid stations with my broth. OMG - it was the most delicious thing. I ran with my friend Jeff from BT for a while before we made the turn for the final time onto Lake CDA drive. And I know you're all dying to know...... was Elmo still there?

Too funny! He must have had to go to the bathroom or something, poor guy but when we rounded the corner there was the woman and she was waving a stuffed Elmo. This just struck me as hysterical at this point. Next aid station brought more chicken broth and water and I stopped to get a rock out of my shoe. I knew I had time to make it before midnight so why not be comfortable.

Between aid stations I encouraged other racers, scanned the horizon for my buddies on their way home to the finish line and I ate Mike & Ike's. Mile 19 came and went and as I hit the 20 mile mark I gave the mile marker a little kiss (via my hand) because I had run a 10k tons of times and I knew I was home free and I was still running and smiling.

I ate another Chocolate Cinnamon Bear and decided to get a space blanket because it was now dark and I was getting cold. Run, walk, thank the volunteers, watch the road in front of me because it was dark and all that could be seen were these glowing green halos around peoples necks and hats as we moved up the last long hill to the turnaround. Now that I had the space blanket I was making jokes about being Superman because it was like a cape around me as I ran the whole way back down the hill.

I saw my camp friend Joanna and it seemed like she was keeping a good pace and would make it before midnight. I also saw my buddy Amanda and I was worried she might not have enough time but with a broken toe and mechnical issues I know she just wanted to beat the distance and time wasn't the driving factor for her anymore. She looked determined and was pressing on with a smile!

Mile 21 and 22 brought more chicken broth and Mike & Ike's and I still felt great! I was doing my intervals going from group to group although by now there wasn't anyone running toward us because the final finishers had started up the hill behind me now. I had a bit of gravel in my shoe so I stopped and got it out because again, no reason not to be comfortable right?

At mile 23 I decided to dump my fuel belt. I wasn't doing the GU20 anymore because I was hooked on the chicken broth and I needed a new one anyway and I sure didn't want it in my finishing photo (vanity I know). So into the trash can it went along with my space blanket because now I felt like I was burning up. I met up with this guy who'd had stomach issues and done 5 IMs before but was convinced if he started running again he'd puke. I was like "ok but I'm not running very fast, I'm more jogging and I'm only doing it for 3 min so try it and see how you feel". He said we could keep walking and we'd make it before midnight and I was like "dude, we can walk 30 minute miles at this point and still make it". He ended up coming with me for almost .5 mile and then smiled, said thanks and off he went jogging into the darkness.

About this time I met up with a man and a woman who were run/walking. They recognized me from the banquet and we started chatting about how I'd lost the weight. The woman had done Kona and was telling the man (a first timer) and I about how she thought the CDA course was tougher on the bike than the Kona course. Well, that'd be AWESOME since I do hope to do Kona someday. We chatted about her daughter and how she works at a medical clinic as a nutritionist and she would love to have my story as an example to all the people getting surgery especially since she was from Texas and a lot of people are getting the surgery there. I gave her my web address and told her to email me because diet and exercise is the only way to go and I was happy to share my story.

Mile 24 and we were into the neighborhoods again. There were still people out here with tiki torches and music. One house was having a lawn party and played the Macarena as we went by. I did a little leopard dance and they all cheered. With every turn we got closer, I hit the aid station just before Mile 25 and drank my last chicken broth and ate my last Chocolate Cinnamon Bear. I was feeling good and I knew I was almost home.

I turned towards the final hill and I saw my friend Doug who had already finished but he came out to cheer me on! It was great to see him and Shannon and he said "You're an Ironman girl, Enjoy it". I hugged them and walked up to the top of the last hill.

As I crested the hill and hit the mile 25 marker I thought I saw Preston. I was like "Preston?" no response....., "Pup?". It was so dark and I looked so much like the other athletes in terms of size he almost didn't recognize me. I hugged him so tightly and we started walking.

During my 1st triathlon and my 1st 1/2 Ironman Preston had walked out to bring me in the final mile and here he was just after 11pm and it was like old times. We held hands as we walked and talked. How was my day? How was his? We both got choked up as we enjoyed the quiet moments before we made the final turn.

Getting to this place was a team effort and to be able to have this time together was truly priceless. We hit the split where the volunteer was directing us to turn onto Sherman and I hugged and kissed him and said "Thank you for everything! I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you". I saw my best friend Siani at the corner and we shrieked and hugged and then I started running.

The last 8 blocks to the finish line are all downhill and once I was on Sherman with Preston and Siani running ahead of me I just wanted to enjoy the experience. I'd been thinking about it for years and I remembered how I felt as I crossed that first finish line at the Danskin 4 years ago. There would never be another 1st Ironman experience. I high-fived every kid, the streets were lined with people and I was smiling and high-fiving other athletes who had returned to cheer for all of us finishing in this last golden hour.

Our dear friend Larry ran up next to me and I was like WOO HOO Larry, I'm here and I'm still running. He ran behind me a few paces (I didn't realize why at the time but he got some great pictures) :)

I ran under the arch and I could hear Mike Reilly's voice up ahead, I could see the finish line now. People were cheering and screaming and having a great time. I was pumping my arms and smiling and cheering right along with them. I had been on my feet for 16 + hours and I was still having fun. It had been a wonderful day and now here I was about to enter the finishers chute.

I've heard people say that it's like you're floating once you hit the chute and I definitely agree, I could feel the crowd carrying me forward like on a wave of cheers and high fives. Over the absolute mayhem of the crowd I could her the song "YMCA" and I laughed out loud because what better song to finish to then one that is just plain fun and happy. I could see the tape and the actual finish line and I put my arms in the air and jumped through the tape.
What would you do differently?:

Not a whole lot since this was my 1st ever marathon and I'd never gone further then 15.8 miles in training. I'm sure I could go a little faster but I felt great and had fun the whole time.
Post race
Warm down:

Even better than just finishing, I felt AWESOME!!!!!! I was shrieking and smiling as I was scooped up by my buddy Susan who was working the finishing chute. She wrapped me in my space blanket, gave me my finisher medal, finisher hat and finisher shirt (I'd heard lots of late finishers get XL or XXL shirts cause they run out of the correct size, but WOO HOO I got a size L, which was a big deal cause I'd worked hard to wear a size L - hooray!)

Larry told me my parents were just at the end of the chute and I sprinted towards them shrieking and there were hugs and happy tears all around from all the amazing family and friends who had supported me not just on this day but my entire life to this point.

I hugged, cheered, shrieked, laughed and got a little teary for a few minutes with everyone as we took pictures and chatted. My buddy Drew who finished like 4 hours earlier and who I trained with for the last 6 months had come back to cheer me in and it was great to see him (Dude, move to Portland because you are so cool and I loved hanging with you race week!)

People kept asking me "Are you okay? How do you feel?"


As we headed towards the massage tent it started to rain and then it started to pour and I sent a silent cheer for my 2 buddies still out in the cold night. I knew they would see the finish line. Ladies - You rock!!!!

Got my massage while eating 3 pieces of cheese pizza which were such yummy goodness after 16 hours and 22 minutes of non-stop activity. Siani got my bags for me while Preston walked me back to the hotel where we all said goodnight and I popped on to my Weight Watchers Message board to drop a quick note to the amazing ladies who got me started on this fun and crazy thing called triathlon. I slipped out of my race gear and running shoes and kissed them because they carried me a long way. Preston got me some of my favorite recovery food (Pumpkin Flax granola with Rice Milk) and mixed me a bottle of GU20 which I drank while we chatted about the day and then at about 1:30 am we headed to bed.

Event comments:

We got about 6 hours sleep before I woke up a bit stiff but mostly hungry! We had a great breakfast at the hotel which included lots of congratulations cause I was wearing my blue finisher shirt :) Got my pictures, headed over and bought some finisher gear, saw a few more friends and picked up my special needs bags before hitting the Finisher's Banquet. It was pretty fun but it was pretty focused on the AgeGroup and Pro winners. I did get to see my camp coaches Paul Huddle and Roch Frey which was fun!
Dinner at the hotel and the manager bought us dessert so Siani, Preston and I shared a kids sized celebratory Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream Sundae - Yummy!!!!

Tuesday we packed up and Preston drove us back to Portland where I've been relaxing, resting, stretching and now going stir-crazy as I reflect on the total blast I had in Coeur d'Alene.

These last few days people have asked me "What's Next?" and the answer is I don't know. But I do know that I loved the Ironman. I loved the people who cheered us on for hours on end. I loved the volunteers who were selfless and amazing and so thankful to have us there enjoying their city. I loved the people of Coeur d'Alene, who manned the shops, worked in the hotels, the restaurants, the coffee shops. You are all amazing and your hospitality was unmatched! We will definitely be back. North America Sports puts on a great race and I can see why people return to these races year after year. Every detail was awesome and I had the most wonderful time.

To my family and friends who endured countless hours of me talking about training, racing, plans, my nutrition, my equipment and then of course why I maybe couldn't go out on a certain weekend, who supported me virtually and in person, who cheered me on before Ironman was ever even a possibility. Thank you! I would not have made it to the starting line let alone the finish line without all your support. You were with me every step of the way and I love you all!

And finally to my husband Preston. You believed in me when I didn't believe in myself. You pumped my tires when I was afraid they would blow up. You rode 2 and 3 miles with me when that was as far as I could go and behind me when I had my blood clot. You cried when I crossed the finish line of my first triathlon and you have loved and supported me no matter what passion I was pursuing. The moments I got to spend with you during race day were so special and I will treasure them. We started as a team and we continue to be a team. You are my hero and the reason I'm able to run down my crazy dreams. I love you!

Stay tuned for more SpeedLeopard adventures in the future. Who knows what's next but I can tell you I will definitely do another IM because it was just that fun!

Last updated: 2007-01-21 12:00 AM
01:41:32 | 4224 yards | 02m 24s / 100yards
Age Group: 118/142
Overall: 1852/2186
Performance: Below average
Suit: Sleeveless Orca
Course: 2 Loop - Out and Back
Start type: Run Plus: Shot
Water temp: 64F / 18C Current: High
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Average Navigation: Bad
Rounding: Good
Time: 09:55
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: No
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Good
08:04:52 | 112 miles | 13.86 mile/hr
Age Group: 127/142
Overall: 2065/2186
Performance: Good
Wind: Headwind
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 08:58
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Average
Jumping off bike Average
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Average
Shoe and helmet removal Average
06:17:06 | 26.2 miles | 14m 23s  min/mile
Age Group: 121/142
Overall: 1903/2186
Performance: Good
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 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

2007-06-30 8:18 PM

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Portland, OR
Subject: Ironman Coeur d'Alene

2007-06-30 8:41 PM
in reply to: #867419

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Portland, OR
Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene
I hope everyone takes the time to pop over to my blog. I tried to paste all the details in here but I got an error.

I truly had a remarkable day and much of that was due to the wonderful training plan and comraderie I found here on BT.

Hopefully all the detail will help the future IM to be
2007-06-30 10:32 PM
in reply to: #867430

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Farmington, MI
Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene


You are incredible!!  I loved reading your blog.  I don't even know how to describe how inspiring you are-- I don't think I've ever read a more up beat, positive race report!  You laughed the entire race!!  You're crazy girl!

Congratulations, Ironman!!

2007-06-30 10:49 PM
in reply to: #867419

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Wind Lake WI
Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene

This was the best race report I have ever read. You summarized the reason for doing an ironman- to have fun and finish. Sounds like you had a great day and had tons of fun.



2007-07-01 7:45 AM
in reply to: #867419

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Chesapeake, VA
Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene


I read every word of your race report.  I loved it!  Thanks for sharing so much of your day with us!  I am so proud of you - your story is so very inspirational!  I was so tired late at night, but there was NO way I wasn't going to be out there to see you pass mile 25.    Congrats again Ironman! 

See you at another IM in the future!! 

2007-07-01 8:46 AM
in reply to: #867419

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North Carolina
Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene
Great Job Bonnie, you did awesome!! I loved your report!!

2007-07-01 11:17 AM
in reply to: #867419

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Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene
Oh make me want to do an Ironman...
Wow, your race report was so inspirational...I remember reading about you in USA Today, as I was soaking in the bathtub after doing my first 2+ hour bikeride...

I'm so thrilled to have the followup that you completed your Ironman, and so succesfully, CONGRATULATIONS!!
2007-07-01 11:22 AM
in reply to: #867419

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Coeur d'Alene, ID
Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene


Congrats.  Good meeting ya even if it was only for a few minutes.

2007-07-01 12:13 PM
in reply to: #867419

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Tiger's Den
Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene
AWESOME JOB BONNIE!!! I loved your RR, it is very inspirational and reminds me why I love this crazy thing called Triathlon. You are an ironman!!! I love that you want to do another one. The race does sound fun. Maybe, just maybe I'll dip my toe into the pool....
2007-07-01 3:37 PM
in reply to: #867419

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Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene

Greatgreat job and greatgreat report.  ANd you are right, there were 2200 other stories to be told out there, but don't forget, YOURS was such and incredible journey it was recognized and applauded (standing!) at the IMCdA Athlete's dinner. 


Shannon (the original!)

2007-07-01 4:35 PM
in reply to: #867419

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Eugene, Oregon
Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene
Hey Bonnie, great report. I was my pleasure meeting you and Preston. Thanks for riding and running with me on Saturday, and letting me park my bike in your room. I met an interesting couple from England on the elevator ride down. I'll have to share it with you some time.

2007-07-01 5:07 PM
in reply to: #867419

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Dallas, TX
Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene
I am so happy I read this at home (not work) and alone... because I'm crying like a baby over here! What an amazing inspiration you are! SERIOUSLY!

First the weight loss... and then an Ironman! WOW! Of course, I am sure you have heard all of that.

What I think I enjoyed the most about your RR is your ATTITUDE and how totally happy you were to be out there racing. That is truly inspirational... your attitude girl.

Gosh, just reading that report almost makes me want to sign up for that IM! Although, I'm sure the registration is closed. I think my IM will be FL. An easy one with warmer water and less hills! Although, your RR made me believe that I could do it!
2007-07-01 6:27 PM
in reply to: #867419

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Keller Tx
Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene


That was an awesome experience just to read about! 

Both of your accmplishments are amazing.  You are an IRONMAN that has conquered the toughest physical test, and the toughest mental test.  On top of that your weightloss is something to be very proud of!

2007-07-02 5:51 PM
in reply to: #867419

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Portland, OR
Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene
WOO HOO - I figured out how to get all the details into the report here

Happy Reading!
2007-07-02 6:03 PM
in reply to: #867419

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Littleton, Colorado
Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene

Bonnie, I am so proud just to know you!  Thank you for sharing part of your day with me--I will always remember crossing that timing mat with you!

Great job becoming an Ironman with a smile!

2007-07-02 7:25 PM
in reply to: #867419

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Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene

Wow...congratulations on becoming an Ironman in style by having fun the whole day.

You have accomplished so much...weight loss, IM and much more.

Loved your RR and hope someday I can have an IM experience like yours. Our paths are similar but also different.

Have you always had such a positive attitude?

Congratulations and thanks for sharing so much of your day with all of is truly inspirational. 

2007-07-02 10:46 PM
in reply to: #867419

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Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene
I was sooo bummed that I missed all of the BT'rs on Friday morning. Throughout the race, however, I was able to identify 2. I was incredibly happy to see you, and to see you having a good time! Your 'inspires' throughout these long months of training certainly pushed me through some difficult times. Your upbeat personality and optimistic way of looking at life has inspired me to try to do the same. Keep me posted with your progress!

Way to go go IRON GIRL!!!!! Waaa hoooo!!!!!

2007-07-05 12:41 PM
in reply to: #867419

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In limbo
Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene

With all that smiling and waving you were doing you make it sound easy!  Well except for the whole biking over 100 miles and running a marathon and all of those minor details.   Really awesome race!  Congrats!

Also I checked out your blog....your motivation menus are very cool.  Your story is incredible, and as a fat girl about to do Danskin as my first tri, you're definitely an inspiration! 

2007-07-05 12:57 PM
in reply to: #867419

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Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene
There would never be another 1st Ironman experience.

It's a great feeling, isn't it??? It's so surreal, you almost trick yourself into believing that you didn't actually go 140.6 miles.

Congrats on your journey. It's simply amazing and inspiring to hear about your weight loss and IM training/race. You have come a long way, and from the sounds of it, there is no stopping you!

I hope to see you on some other IM course in the future and look forward to reading future RRs.
2007-07-05 8:02 PM
in reply to: #867419

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Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene
Congratulations IRONMAN! You had such a solid race and with a smile on your face the entire time! Although we didn't have a chance to see eachother before the race, you are truly an inspiration! It was great to put a name to a face in the massage tent!!! Congrats again! And hopefully we can race with eachother again!
2007-07-06 4:16 PM
in reply to: #867419

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Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene
Wow. I am so glad I stumbled onto this race report....  sitting here amazed and a bit teary eyed.  I'm signed up for IMAZ 08 and i can only hope to enjoy it as much as you did.

2007-07-11 1:11 AM
in reply to: #867419

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Austin, TX
Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene
Thank you for a great report! You are truly an inspiration and an Ironman!

Thank you.

2007-07-11 7:01 PM
in reply to: #867419

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Wylie, TX
Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene
I don't recall anyone ever having a better IM experience. I hope I enjoy my first as much as you did yours.
2007-07-12 11:03 AM
in reply to: #867419

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Extreme Veteran
Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene
Best. RR. EVER!!!  Thank you so much for sharing! 
2007-07-12 11:38 AM
in reply to: #867419

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Nashville, TN
Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene
I have read this 2-3 times.  It nevers gets old!!!
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