Ironman Coeur d’Alene Race Report

June 27, 2010 was a good day.  It started out with the 5 am alarm.  It was at that moment that my husband and I realized that we should have gotten up earlier.  We ditched plans to bring Mike’s bike and went downtown.  I was fairly calm, as I had already had months to freak out.  I just needed to do what I trained for:  get through the swim and make all the cut-off times.

I went off to set up the bike, find my sister Molly to be my official body marker, and lost Mike in the shuffle.  Getting onto the beach proved difficult as 2,700 athletes merged into one entrance, which also was lined with spectators.  Right before getting into the beach entrance, there was Mike!    He took a quick photo and I gave him a hug and kiss and pushed onto the beach.  Making my way to the left lined me up with the buoys.   While chatting with another athlete about goggle placement, the gun went off, much to our surprise.  There were not many people in front of my so I walked into the lake.  Many athletes were swimming in from the side of the beach that had the entrance.  Right before I dove, I saw Karen Powell.  We gave each other a good luck hug and off we went.  The swim was really great!  I had been fearful about the mass start, but no problems.  I was never more crowded than at any other race, except for the first buoy turn.  They had warned us about that at the athlete’s meeting, so instead of panicking; I put my head down and swam to the inside to get out of the crowd.  Then made my way to the next turn, out onto the beach, drank from my gel bottle that was in the front of my wetsuit, and went for my second lap.  The water was relaxing and bouncy.  I had a moment in the lake where I realized I am made to go long, slow distances.

Made it out of the lake right on my expected target:  1:47.  Into the changing tent, where the volunteers do everything!  I had read to take my time and I did.  I actually got frustrated because I had been there too long and took off.  As I got to the bike mount line, Aubrey was there, reminding me to settle into a long day.

Bike course:  I had ridden it many times.  My goal was to keep my heart rate down so I had energy for the long haul.  Highlights on the bike:  having the pros pass me.   Michael Lovato said “nice job” to me and I cheered on Linsey Corbin and the other pros.   Andy Potts blew by so fast I didn’t even know who it was!   Also, the volunteers were great.  I was going through a lot of water and grabbed a new bottle at every water stop.  They never missed a hand off.

Lowlights on the bike:  pounding headache and knowing my Tylenol was 4 hours away, realizing I had been going so easy that I had to push to make the cut off.  I realized that at Mile 70 and had a higher mph through the last part of the course.  Stomach started hurting.  Made the cut off with 3 or 4 other athletes behind me.  Everyone behind that was stopped.  Bike time: 8:31.

Sister Madonna Buder was my T2 helper!  (Look her up if you don’t know her.)  That transition went faster as I had an experienced triathlete helping me.  Thank goodness I was off the bike and onto what I know – running a marathon.  In this case, shuffling a marathon.  But, shuffle I did.  No walking, just shuffling.  Got the Tylenol, stopped the Perpetuem/Heed mix and went to gel/water for nutrition.

My stomach did not stop hurting and I forced the gel because I knew I needed the calories, but it was never to the point where I thought it would stop me.  Karen popped up again and gave me encouragement.  Suddenly, someone said I needed to get to the marathon turn around in the next couple of minutes or I would be cut off (again!).  At mile 135, I had to sprint up a hill to the marathon turn around with all the volunteers shouting to help me up the hill.  And I made it!!  Everyone behind me got cut off.  That sprint gave me such a boost, I kept going all the way back.  I passed about 10 or 11 others before the finish line.  Aubrey was 2 blocks from the finish line to cheer me in.  I made it!  It was an incredible feeling.   Total time:  16:47:28.  Chasing cut off times all day!

I was so happy.  My family was there, including Molly who had gone from body marker volunteer, to finish line catcher.  Honestly, I would do it again tomorrow as I had a very Zen day.  One lap, then another, 10 mile marker (bike), then another, one mile shuffle, then another.

My husband and sister know that I call them my “village”, but you all are part of the village, too.  It could not have happened without the training rides, running and general encouragement of all of you!

at 11:47 pm   at 11:48 pm.

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