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Ironman Coeur d'Alene - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
United States
Ironman North America
70F / 21C
Total Time = 12h 34m
Overall Rank = 790/2197
Age Group = M25-29
Age Group Rank = 71/147
Pre-race routine:

I arrived in Seattle the Wednesday before the race. I made the trek across the State of Washington en route to Coeur d’Alene. The drive itself was rather uneventful though there are a number of beautiful venues along the way. I found my way to Idaho in the evening and began to settle in.

I took part of 2 BT swims and met a number of people. The water was miserable as a severe chop was intimidating most swimmers I spent most of my time with Doug & Bonnie. Denver arrived on Friday and provide much needed stress relief.
Event warmup:

Despite my initial thoughts, I managed to sleep the night before the race. Chinese was the selection for dinner (slim options) and a bottle of Ensure before bed. I had the alarm set for 1:00 am to rise, go to the bathroom and have another bottle of Ensure. Then at 3:30 am it was time to get up. I would say I got a solid six hours of sleep. Prior to the race, I spent each morning rising early in an effort to not adapt to Pacific Coast time. So the 3:30 wake up call wasn’t a struggle at all.

Breakfast consisted of a banana, ensure, bottle of water and PB bagel at 4. I just forced the food down my throat. Surprisingly, my nerves and stomach were relatively calm that morning. We departed the hotel shortly before 5:00 am.

At 6:00 I ate a granola bar for a few extra calories and began sipping on a bottle of cytomax. Nervous energy was in the air. I did some light stretching and brief warm ups. How do you really stretch for an IM? I wasn’t going to bike for another 2 hours or run for another 8. Seems almost pointless but I wanted to jumpstart the heart rate. So I began putting on the wetsuit and then headed down to swim start.

It was pure chaos. 2200 athletes crammed on a beach staring at the choppy conditions. I frantically paced around watching the crowd filter into the area. I saw a few friends, wished them luck, then hit the water for a few warm-up laps. Then I stood next to Stofa shivering for ten minutes.

  • 1h 15m 59s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 48s / 100 yards

As if competing in an Ironman isn’t daunting enough, Mother Nature likes to reek her havoc on the event too. The race director came on the loudspeaker and stated that because of the water conditions, any athletes who wished not to swim could compete in an Iron-distance duathlon instead. You can imagine what that did to the nerves. About 60 athletes pulled out of the swim start.

The swim start was everything I thought I would be. About 2 minutes into the water I freaked. I was being tossed around and swam over in the mêlée. I came up and was bobbing like a cork. I adjusted my goggles and tried it again. I just kept thinking happy thoughts. I didn’t come this far to lose it on the swim. This time I took a good kick to the ribs. I came up gasping for air.

The hardest part of the swim was trying to navigate. I would estimate that on the first twenty minutes of the swim, I wasn’t able to keep my head in the water and effectively breathing for more than 15-20 seconds at a time. There was no stroke. Too many times, I was faster than the person in front of me but because there were five people in front of me, I couldn’t easily swim around them. So I just hung out.

Once we rounded the first buoy things began to thin out. The next turn had us making our way back to shore with the aid of the current. I took a few more hits and kicks but the thinned out crowd was more manageable. I popped out of the water for the first lap at a surprising 37:XX. I took a moment to gather myself before diving back in to the mess.

The second lap was less stressful. I didn’t have the luxury of 1000 people in front of you knocking down the chop but you also didn’t have the kicking and fighting. Surprisingly, I made a nice move to the inside of nearly all the buoys going out. I wasn’t swimming off course. I found my elongated stroke and bilateral breathing. I made the rounds, could see shore and was ready to get out of the water. I also spent the entire second lap trying to clear out my bladder. I peed at least 6 times during the swim.

I came out of the water at the 1:15:xx mark and couldn’t be happier. I went sliding into a pair of wetsuit strippers and I was off.

What would you do differently?:

Nothing. I felt like I did the best I could. I am not a physical swimmer, probably too courteous. Next time I might fight more and swim through people. I had to adjust my goggles about 20 times. That was the most frustrating part. It felt like stopping during rush hour traffic.
Transition 1
  • 08m 48s

Welcome to naked town. The men’s change tent was rather large. Instead of looking for an open chair, I simply found a spot where I could work. A volunteer dumped everything out for me. In preparation for the race, I had decided to do a full change in both transitions as comfort superseded time.

Here is where I was straight silly. I have a tendency to become comfortable with my slow pace in transition. So instead of grabbing my stuff and making adjustments while running to my bike, I did them right there. This included waiting for my Garmin to locate all the satellites, adjusting my arm warmers and tying up my bike and finding a volunteer to give my bag. Next time, I am saving the 3-4 minutes and flying through there

What would you do differently?:

Stop thinking and start moving. Find a pair of long distance trishorts. I am pleased with this; I estimated 7:30-10:00. It makes me feel better to take an extra minute to personally thank a volunteer
  • 6h 12m 38s
  • 112 miles
  • 18.03 mile/hr

The bike started without a problem as you raced through downtown and a swell of crowd support. I wasn’t too worried about the bike. My chief concern was employing my nutrition plan, remembering to hydrate on the cool day and not go out too hard. Nutrition plan was ½ Powerbar, 2 bloks, 1 gel every 20 minutes, 2 bottles of cytomax and 3-4 bottles of water. I made it out to Higgins Point when I realized that I set up my nutrition incorrectly. I forgot to open the Ziploc bag and I couldn’t open it with my free hand. I decided to cautiously pull it out of the box to use my teeth. Oops. There goes a powerbar. No worries, I had an extra in my special needs bag

I had to pee immediately on the bike but I am often too stubborn to stop. Within the first hour I realized my nutrition plan was a bit off. I felt bloated from the swim after drinking half the lake. This made processing solid food a bit difficult. I was noticeably hungry. I decided at mile 40 to exit the bike in the name of relief. This was one of the coolest parts of the race. A volunteer met me before the porta potty and held my bike. When I came out, she was standing right in front of it with my bike. Sweet.

I could tell at this point I was pushing it a bit on the bike. I didn’t hammer the hills but I did attack them. It seemed that most people had never trained on hills. The terrain was nothing that I had not seen; just 112 miles of it. Coming bike into town is on a gradual decent. The plan was to allow these 10-15 miles to serve as active recovery. Well someone ordered a sharp head wind that provided no relief. I finished up the first lap in about 3:04. I thought it was a bit fast but I felt good. I knew I was behind in my nutrition at this point. The bloated feel and taste of lake water wasn’t going away.

I hit the mile 63 special needs bag and I was so confused. I didn’t know what to get out. I grabbed a cliff bar and something else. Apparently, I didn’t grab the second scoop of cytomax. Next time I am making a list of things to do. I was overcautious so I put too much in there.

At this point I started riding with a good group and we continually played leapfrog. I took another pit stop at mile 75 and then hit the hills. I could tell that I was a bit fatigued by this point. The stomach felt bloated and everytime I reached into Z4 I felt like I was going to vomit.

The winds were picking up too. I altered my strategy to slowly turn on the climbs and then make up ground on the downhill. This seemed to work flawlessly as I would catch everyone on the downhill when the wind grabbed the disk. Mile 90 and mile 100 were the toughest. I was just beat. I switched over to Gatorade GE for some extra calories because I need to rid myself of the lake water taste (didn't work). I also stopped at 2 powerbars and switched exclusively to gels and bloks. By mile 100, I grabbed anything I had in my box to make me feel better including E-caps and advil. The headwind didn’t provide the relief needed when coming back into town. I started to yell at myself to get through the final 30 minutes. I exited the bike at 6:12 and was more than thrilled.

What would you do differently?:

Not drink half the lake. I love water on the bike but it was straight disgusting because all I could taste was the lake. I tried to remind myself to ride my own race and not get caught up with faster rides. Sometimes I would gear down to take it easier. I knew I went hard on the first lap so maybe I back of next time around. The course was technical in nature but nothing that I don't typically ride. I wished that I executed my nutrition better.
Transition 2
  • 03m 55s

Not much to do here. I did another full change to run in my compression shorts and tri top. I put bodyglide on the feet and I was off in less than four minutes.
What would you do differently?:

Have less wardrobe changes than a Britney Spears concert?
  • 4h 52m 41s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 11m 10s  min/mile

Well I knew the day would come down to the run. I have never run a marathon before. And my final three long training runs fell apart due to weather and GI issues. That left me with a weak running base and my longest run occurring on Easter Sunday and only reaching 16 miles. I fully expected to hit the wall at 18-20 and drop.

My plan was simple. I wanted to comfortably run the first 7.5 miles to the turnaround then make adjustments. I wanted to finish the first 10 and then I would take a brief walk break. I mentally tried to trick myself thinking that if I made it to 10 I could stretch it to 13. I also knew that I was a bit behind on nutrition so that would be a factor in the long run. I just needed to concentrate on the first 90 minutes.

My first three miles felt good (9.07, 9.17, 9.16). I saw Denver at mile 2, stopped briefly to say hi. The crowd support was unbelievable. During mile 3, I saw the leaders and they were neck to neck running. About five minutes later, I saw Lovato struggling to catch them. I made it to mile 5 before taking a restroom break. I was starting to feel run down. And the unfortunate thing was that I didn’t want water and Gatorade was even less inviting. I grabbed a banana and popped a gel for a few extra calories. I made it to the base of the hill at mile 7 before taking a nice walk. At this point, my times were slipping to 10 & 11 minute miles. I was still holding out for the 10 mile mark.

It wasn’t without tremendous effort but I made it to 12 miles and that was my wall. I decided to walk half a mile to recharge myself. I made it back to Denver and talked to her for a few moments. Miles 12-14 were the hardest. I was on the edge of bonking. I needed calories. I struggled to pick it up running through town trying to feed off the energy and support. I made it to special needs just in time. I found nothing but lifesavers that looked good. I came back through town, saw Denver and unloaded everything I had in my jersey. No more gels!!! I refilled on e-caps, took a few advil and told her I would see her in 2 hours. I needed to make it 10 more miles and I was an Ironman.

At this point, they began serving chicken broth…the nutrition of champs. My stomach had been uneasy most of the run. I couldn’t figure out what it wanted to do. I was waiting for it to open up so that I could empty it but it remained tight. The chicken broth seemed to settle it. Not to mention that it was the only thing to keep me going. Nothing was working…cola, pretzels, fruit or water. Nothing but chicken broth. I was struggling and began to see my dreams of a 4:30 marathon slip away. I just told myself to concentrate on finishing because it was still a phenomenal race.

I adjusted my strategy at this point…run the mile and walk the long aid stations. If I could stomach food do so, if not just stick to chicken broth and a sip of water to wash it down. This strategy seemed to work. My run/walk strategy was working and I soon found myself at the final turnaround. I only had a 10k left!!!!

It is an amazing emotional feeling that overcomes you in a race of this stature. I was pulling back into the game. Earlier I was wondering where I would find the energy to make it down the final half mile looking good. But the chicken broth was working. Miles 21 and 22 came and went. Then I reached deep down and found a sudden surge of energy. I continued to walk the entire aid stations but my time was dropping back below 10 minute miles. And the times continued to go down. I hit mile 24 and felt great; running at 9:14 mile.

At this point, all I wanted to do was break a 5 hour marathon. I began to calculate my overall time and thought I was on the cusp of breaking 13 hours for the day. Not to shabby. My best race scenario had me finishing in 12:47. I hit mile 25 with a vengeance as I literally slapped the mile marker. I was hurting but gaining speed. I could hear Mike Reilly’s voice in the foreground and said I was coming for him. Mile 25 was sub-9. I made the final turn onto Sherman Street and it was lined with fans. I was cruising at sub-8 pace feeling energized. In the distance I could see the finish line.

The race was never about time for me. I realistically thought I would finish around 13:15. I knew I was ahead of schedule on the bike but the run never came together. I still thought I was pushing sub 13. Imagine my surprise when I saw the clock in the 12:30s!!! Holy shit. I totally miscalculated my times. I was about 20 minutes ahead of schedule. I am not sure I have ever been so pumped up. I was nearly jumping up and down while running. I was flying down the chute screaming FUCK YEAH!!! I think the pictures accurately depict my excitement.

I don’t even recall Mike Reilly saying my name. He was drowned out by my own screams. At 12:34:00, I became an Ironman. 790th person to cross the finish line!!! And I felt great. Mission accomplished.
What would you do differently?:

Build a stronger run base. Take in more nutrition on the bike. Less walking during the aid stations.
Post race
Warm down:

Volunteers grabbed me as I crossed the finish line but I didn’t need any assistance. In fact, I was nearly dancing while in line for my finisher’s medal and picture. I wrapped the mylar around me and made my way to Denver. The adrenaline still was kicking hard. We made it to the car to retrieve additional clothes and my phone to call my parents. Silly me left the mylar in the car and proceed back toward the race finish without putting on more clothes. Suddenly the chills set in and I dropped. I needed medical attention. The meds wrapped me back up, elevated my legs and found me some real food. …and didn’t I just love it. Then I started milking it a bit.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I am more than pleased with my performance. I really can’t complain at all about my time. I knew running would be a limiting factor but I pulled it together nicely. Unless you are elite, an Ironman is not about speed. It is about consistency in training and adjustments on the course. Knowing your body and how to adapt in conditions will guide you to the finish line. The training is 10x more difficult than the event. I was surprised how it all came together on Sunday. I would do another Ironman in a heartbeat too. It was one of the most exciting and thrilling things I have ever done. So maybe Arizona and/or Florida is in my distant future.

Event comments:

I can't say enough about the volunteers and support. The town really embraces the event. There were on a few stretches where you didn't have crowd support. This includes the whole run and bike course. Neighbors would just sit in their driveway. Volunteers were tremendous. They truly make the race.

Last updated: 2006-07-26 12:00 AM
01:15:59 | 4224 yards | 01m 48s / 100yards
Age Group: 65/147
Overall: 621/2197
Performance: Good
Suit: Orca Evo Full
Course: 2 loop rectangular with bouys on left
Start type: Run Plus:
Water temp: 60F / 16C Current: High
200M Perf. Bad Remainder: Good
Breathing: Average Drafting: Average
Waves: Below average Navigation: Good
Rounding: Average
Time: 08:48
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
06:12:38 | 112 miles | 18.03 mile/hr
Age Group: 66/147
Overall: 717/2197
Performance: Good
See 6/26/07 posts for 10 mile splits
Wind: Strong with gusts
Course: 2 loops out to Higgins Point and through Hayden
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Average Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 03:55
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
04:52:41 | 26.2 miles | 11m 10s  min/mile
Age Group: 87/147
Overall: 1035/2197
Performance: Good
See 6/26 log for mile splits and HR data
Course: 2 loop out and back
Keeping cool Good Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
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: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2007-07-01 9:27 PM

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Nashville, TN
Subject: Ironman Coeur d'Alene

2007-07-01 10:14 PM
in reply to: #868179

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Portland, OR
Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene
Awesome and amazing race baby - YOU ROCKED IT!!!!!!

It was so much fun hanging with you last week and I couldn't agree more about the chicken broth. It was like a magic elixir

Can't wait to see the pictures!
2007-07-01 11:34 PM
in reply to: #868179

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Denver, CO
Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene
dude, way to gut the run out!  that is awesome considering the run distance you reached in training.  congrats ironman!
2007-07-02 1:00 AM
in reply to: #868179

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Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene
F*CK YEAH !!!!

Awesome race report. Almost makes me want to try an IM.
2007-07-02 1:03 AM
in reply to: #868179

Subject: ...
This user's post has been ignored.
2007-07-02 6:52 AM
in reply to: #868179

North Carolina
Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene

Great Race!! I saw your swim time and knew you must be exactly what you wanted to do!! Glad you made the adjustments that allowed you to finish strong. I think we all took some of the lake with us that day!! It was truly an awesome experience!!

It was great to meet you and the rest of the BTers.

2007-07-02 7:23 AM
in reply to: #868179

Winder, GA
Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene
Awesome, awesome work, Andrew. You are an Ironman! Your race report and your excitement makes me ponder doing an IM race in the future. Way to stick it out and finish with flying colors! Congrats!
2007-07-02 8:24 AM
in reply to: #868179

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

Andrew, it was great meeting you and getting the final preparations together the week of the race.  You are a true Ironman and a FAST one at that.  Congratulations my friend.  I am certain our IM paths will cross in the future.  IM Moo next year?????

And the part where you said most people hadn't trained for the hills properly - that was me.

2007-07-02 8:39 AM
in reply to: #868179

Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene


That is simply awesome. 

2007-07-02 8:45 AM
in reply to: #868478

Woodstock, GA
Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene
Great Job.  That was a heck of a race.  We are all very impressed.  Good to have you back in Atlanta.  Now when you need a slack rest day you can ride with us on what we consider one of our brutal rides. 
2007-07-02 9:19 AM
in reply to: #868179

Sous Mon Diadème
Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene

I got goosebumps reading that! Congratulations, Ironman.

2007-07-02 9:22 AM
in reply to: #868179

Newbury Park, CA
Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene
Congrats Andrew!  You did awesome out there.  I'm sorry I didn't see you out on the course - where you wearing that green beacon of yours?
2007-07-02 9:53 AM
in reply to: #868179

Atlanta, Ga
Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene
Awesome race, and great race report. I learned a lot reading it. You are a great racer, keep up the good work and I hope to train and race with you in the future. See ya at Peachtree.
2007-07-02 10:01 AM
in reply to: #868179

Subject: ...
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2007-07-02 10:16 AM
in reply to: #868179

Highlands Ranch, CO
Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene
Congrats on a great race!
2007-07-02 11:35 AM
in reply to: #868179

Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene
Great race, A! 

2007-07-02 11:37 AM
in reply to: #868179

Smyrna, GA
Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene
You know, you really make that whole Ironman thing sound easy   Glad to hear it worked out so well for you.
2007-07-02 11:40 AM
in reply to: #868179

Alpharetta, GA
Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene

Awesome RR, AD (and about time you posted the damn thing!!)...that was great to read and it was great following your progress the day of.

You're an Ironman Rock Star!!

2007-07-02 12:06 PM
in reply to: #868179

Atlanta, GA
Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene
Awesome RR!!  I was looking forward to reading it and hearing about all the details!!  You did great!! 
2007-07-02 12:18 PM
in reply to: #868179

Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene
Awesome job man- after riding 100 saturday, it really puts an IM into persepctive- I am fully impressed with your performance. Congrats on becoming an Ironman!
2007-07-02 1:08 PM
in reply to: #868179

Marietta, GA
Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene
Fantastic job!! What a great race report, you really captured what you went through on the course, you are an amazing athlete. Congratulations IRONMAN!

2007-07-02 2:23 PM
in reply to: #868179

Coeur d'Alene, ID
Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene
Great job Andrew.  Good time considering stomach!
2007-07-02 3:05 PM
in reply to: #868179

Acworth, Georgia
Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene
Congratulations, Ironman Andrew!  The swim start always seems to be chaos.  Way to gut it out!
2007-07-02 8:32 PM
in reply to: #868179

Williamson, GA
Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene
Congratulations IRONMAN!! I heard your name announced as you crossed the finish line

I was in CDA to cheer on my brother and his buddy, but had no idea what an amazing day it would be. The day flew by and we left the sidelines for only a few minutes here and there. To watch you guys (and gals) push your bodies and practice what you've been training for was amazing and very inspiring.

I loved reading your race report. Great job pushing through the nutrition issues!

2007-07-02 9:34 PM
in reply to: #868179

Extreme Veteran
Denham Springs
Subject: RE: Ironman Coeur d'Alene

Great Race man... I'm adding you to my friends list. I really want to complete a Half next year so I may have some questions




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