Monday, July 2, 2012

Ironman, Coeur d’Alene 2012

Getting to the start line

Most of the stress of race week was getting my kids to Idaho and making it to athlete check-in before it closed. We managed to get there with an entire hour to spare. Awesome.
Fact: Kids love airports
I made a short list of stuff I needed to pack for the race. This doesn’t include my clothes/toiletries for the rest of the 8-day trip. As you can see from my manifest, triathlon is a stupidly complex sport. No one should have a hobby that involves making lists like this.
That's right, crack pipe
Runners don’t do this. Here is a runner’s race list:
  • Shoes
  • Skinny legs
  • Bad hair
For what it’s worth, our hotel was entirely too pimp for this player. We had a killer view of the swim course, and for that matter, most of Lake Coeur d’Alene. The extra money you pay for a view is TOTALLY worth it. This particular view came with a remote control that opened the wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling windows. The bed faced those windows. There is no better way to wake up.
Creepy little toddler

The actual race parts

Here’s a picture I snapped on race morning at 5am, when transition opened and only a few athletes are up and around. The lake was glassy and the sky was rumbly. Those 2 would reverse within an hour of the start.
The boxing ring

The swim start involves 2500 people running down the beach and into the water. That sounds like a lot of people, and it is. Here’s how it breaks down:
  • 1000 start breaststroke immediately and freak out. Dodge these people and their wide frog kicks. They are destined for hypothermia, the warming tent, and a rectal thermometer.
  • 200 punch me in the kidneys and push my legs down. The cold water leads to tight back muscles, which are easily strained. Unrelated, I pulled a back muscle on the swim.
  • 3 women had an item on their list that I did not: long finger nails. They scratch. Avoid, or end up with claw marks.
  • 1 guy, me, not being careful catches a heel to the jaw, which still has a metal plate holding it together. I thought I was done. I was happy with my 5-minute effort, and was about to go back to bed. Then I tested out my bite, and decided it wasn’t broken. I raced on, for another 12 hours.
I’m being totally cereal right now, you guys. That mass swim was the most violent that I’ve ever participated in. There is no reason to grasp onto people when you swim. We are all quite smooth and slippery in wetsuits. Just glide past people, no need to attack.
The bike was fine. My back hurt from the Greco-Roman, but it wasn’t a big deal.
I exited T2 at 2:30 PM. That means I had 4 hours to to finish in 11:30. My goal was a 4 hour marathon, so I honestly though I’d do it. The first mile is uphill, and that’s when shit got dark. This 2-loop run course has a BAD hill that you climb, descend and then climb again, each loop.
My goals kept changing:
  • 11:30, if I can average 9:10/mile
  • 11:45, if I walk the aid stations
  • 12:00 if I walk 1 minute of each mile, and some extra on the hills
At the final turnaround, I calculated “6.6 miles in 1:08:00 to make 12:00 finish.” That was enough to get me going. I trudged along, looking down at the road. I pulled my hat down so I couldn’t see the climbs. I closed my eyes for long stretches. I think I fell asleep (blacked out?) at one point.
The final half-mile is downhill, and it’s got to be the best finish in all of Ironman. The street is lined with people cheering. I looked up and saw 11:55 on the clock when I finished. That’s 1 painful minute faster than my Ironman Arizona time in 2010.


I enjoyed the run at IM Arizona. This race was NOT fun. It was hard, very rewarding, but I was in the pain cave from mile 2 to mile 26. It was one long nightmare.
The real success at this race with transitions. I cut out 8 minutes of screwing-around time in transition from my first Ironman race.

Getting home

We spent a week messing around in Idaho after the race. Northern Idaho is some of the most beautiful country I’ve ever been to. The people are great, and the forests are just spectacular.
My girls!

I was pulled aside at the airport for further screening. When the TSA opened my gear bag they recoiled in disgust. It turns out I shoved everything from the race into a plastic bag the night of the race and left it in there for a week. Oops!
  • Wetsuit, definitely peed in, still wet
  • Bike shorts and jersey, wet
  • Bike shoes, may have been peed on
  • Running shorts and t-shirt, very wet
  • Bottle of Gatorade, open and spilled
The wite/orange bag contains the nastiest nasty ever
All of that nasty had been sealed tight and fermenting for a week. The TSA picked it all out and determined it was only a threat to my family. They gave it all back to me and started to wipe down the entire table and floor at the security check point.
All of that is true.
Now I’m home and rested, mostly recovered. (Actually I’m on a plane, traveling for work. I lie to you all the time, so it’s fine.) I’m not sure what’s next for me, but I don’t want to go for any long bike rides for a while.
Here is a more technical race report, if you're into that sort of thing.


John said...

Sounds painful and awesome. Congrats on the finish man. Time to relax for sure.

Bobby and the Presidents said...

Best race report I've ever read.

Craig M. Brandenburg said...

I pulled my hat down so I couldn’t see the climbs.


Rebecca Jo said...

That's total payback to the TSA for all the misery they impart on people!!!!

Travis Moore said...

I like how crack pipe is on your bike gear list, I bring mine on the run!