What a beautiful day for racing for the inaugral Ironman 70.3 held in Couer d’Alene, ID. Not only was there a fantastic turnout for the race but the weather was spectacular. It got a little bit warm by the end of the race but I find that is better than being cold; for those of you who either live in this area or have raced in CdA previously know that it can be a bit nasty sometimes. So too warm is more of a blessing than the wicked winds that often blow straight off the lake.
My parents came up Friday before the race for the weekend so while my dad and Brandon went golfing my mom and I went out to CdA to check my bike in, pick up packets, and of course check out the Ironman store. Man, was it windy on Saturday. There was a fierce wind blowing straight off the lake making it a lot colder than anticipated. I remember thinking “I sure hope tomorrow isn’t like this!”.
I ran into the beautiful Kristen Yax in the Ironman Store and got to say hi to her. She’s always been such an inspiration to me so it was fun to run into her again. Ps. She ended up killing it last weekend!
After dropping the bike off we headed back into Spokane to pick up some food for dinner and my mom to go for a run. I always have a hard time keeping myself low key the day before a race and I found that by 4 pm I had been on my feet most of the day and was ready to bring it down a bit. We had a wonderfully low key dinner of steak, salad, and rice while watching golf.
It was going to be a very early start on Sunday, as transition closed at 6 am and we had a 45 minute drive to CdA. So a low key night and relatively early to bed was a must.
3:30 am came pretty quickly and I was surprised at my ability to jump outta bed and get myself moving. I got myself changed, put my eyes in, put my Tri Tat race numbers on, and started to work on some pancakes. MMMMM… dry protein pancakes at 4am, not the most delicious thing I’ve ever eaten for food just does not taste as good at 4:00 am in the morning as it does hours later on a Sunday.
We got to Couer d’Alene a bit after five and luckily didn’t have a terrible time finding parking. I did not give myself enough time to get ready that morning. By the time we got to transition I had about 20 minutes to get air in my tires, set everything up, put my wetsuit on (this takes me forever – silly man shoulders), and slam a GU and 5 hour energy before heading down to warm up.
It was a rolling start for the swim as there were upwards of 3,000 participants in the race. This was my first experience with a rolling start and I must say I loved it! The water temperature was perfect but despite the lack of wind by the time I made the first turn the water was really choppy and there were very large waves. I ended up swallowing a large amount of water due to some waves and running into a bouy
I came out of the water a bit slower than I would have liked but still in a decent time. The transition from swim to bike was long with a fairly long run before you even got into transition. Wet suit off, helmet on and I was off for the bike. Right off the bat one of my GUs fell off my bike due to a very choppy road, leaving me with only one for the whole ride. Despite that I settled in for the ride and realized quickly that it was a much tougher ride than Troika as it was a constant steady climb for most of it. This actually bodes well for me as I enjoy steady climbs. I had some stomach issues on the bike and while I got most of my nutrition down I could not get all of it, water was about all I could stomach. The inability consume enough calories compounded into a very tough 10 miles at the end of the bike and an even more rough first half of my run.
I came into transition off the bike in about 2 hours 51 minutes, once again 10 minutes slower than I wanted yet makes sense due to the struggle to keep my focus the last ten miles or so. I knew I needed to get some nutrition in me so I shouted to my mom and husband for some sugar as I got changed. I met them at the run out for a GU and fruit snacks and forced the GU down.
At this point though the lack of nutrition on the bike and gradual increase of what felt like a bomb in my gut made it hard to get my legs moving. There was no connection between my brain and my legs no matter how hard I tried. At the same time there was this ever growing bomb in my stomach that became harder and harder to ignore as the miles went on. Finally somewhere around mile 6 I think I couldn’t take it any longer and it was either stop at portapotty or have an incredible disaster. Thankfully the course was very well equipped with toilets. I was bummed to have to stop, and stop for somewhere around 5 minutes or more. I had never had to stop in a race and never had stomach issues to this extent in a race. As I sat there clearing out the contents of my stomach (sorry for the visual) all I could think about was the people who were passing me and the time I was wasting. Yet there was something different about this, I wasn’t mad and I wasn’t beyond frustrated. I knew this was not something I could control, it was just something I had to deal with. I knew that today was not going to be the day for a PR and that was alright. Instead it was going to be a day to enjoy being out in the sunshine, a day to focus, and not give up!
Going the bathroom was the best decision I made because it made the second half of the race much easier. I was able to finally get some gatorade down, thank you to my husband for meeting me with a bottle full to carry, and get my blood sugar back on track. I went from running about 9:50 min miles to being more myself and running 8:20s relatively. I am thankful for the amazing support team that I had with me, they got me through that run. My wonderful mother who ran along the side of me telling me to keep going, keep moving, and never letting me give up. My husband for knowing what I needed, having gatorade for me, and providing me with constant love and support. My ever loving father who has this way of willing me to run faster standing there at the final turn urging my legs to keep moving. My fantastic father and mother in-law who were right there at the finish line to say congratulations!
I crossed the finish line somewhere around 5 hours 30 minutes and 5th in my age group. The best thing is I crossed the finish line proud of myself. Proud of not giving up even though I had to stop, for getting myself back on track and pushing as hard as I could the last half of the race. It was not a PR and not the place I was gunning for but it was still a great race, so that is something to be proud of.
I am taking this week pretty easy. For while I do have some serious work to do for Ironman CdA in 8 weeks I needed a week off to prevent burn out. I went into this race last weekend feeling a bit burnt out from training previously and I want to prevent that as much as possible going into Ironman. I took all of Monday off and have slept in the last couple days, not going to lie I feel like I could sleep for two days straight right now but with work that is something I cannot do.
Racing last weekend helped to bring me back to life after a tough June and for the first time in about a month I can say I am looking forward to the next 6 weeks of hard training.
Thank you to everyone for all the good lucks, well wishes, and congratulations! I know I have said this before but your constant support is a huge motivator for me!
Next up IRONMAN!!! And let me tell you I have some pay back to give to the CdA course!!