Friday, June 28, 2013

Ironman Coeur d'Alene 2013 Race Report: Pre-Race

So here I am, on the other side of Ironman Coeur d'Alene.  It was amazing.  I want to do it again - soon.  It truly was one of those days where I did (pretty much) everything right and raced to my training and my potential.  Putting this day into words is going to be tough.

So here's the pre-race report

I decided to wear my very best, most obnoxious tri-dork wear.  Hot pink compression socks and my clashing pink Brooks PureFlow2s, along with short shorts that highlighted my cycling tan lines.  I was a looker.  Somehow Will didn't mind being seen with me.

We flew from Denver to Boise and then from Boise to Spokane.  We were sitting in the airport in Boise, looking at the hill for the 70.3 that scared the bejezzus out of me 4 years ago and laughed.  "I eat hills like that for breakfast".  Its true.

We got to Spokane at noon, had my friend (and her kids - my "nephews") pick us up and take us to the rental car place downtown (saved us $200), and then we headed to CDA for check in.  I wanted to get this done ASAP so I could chill out for a bit.  It was raining and cold.  The expo - a grassy park - was now a mud pid.  And there were hardly any vendors about.  It made for a lame expo.  I got my packet along with the prized Ironman backpack.  It is pretty cool.
freezing here.  and trying out some pig-tail braids.

I spent too much money on gear.  Seriously.  Its ridiculous.  I got a cycling jersey, a visor, a long-sleeve tech shirt with my name in teensy tiny font on the back, and a mug with a guy doing butterfly for the swim.  I thought about getting a tri jersey as well, but the sizing is crazy and I needed an XL.  I figure they'll go on clearance and I can pick one up then. 

I also got some stuff for my friend Ryan, who wasn't getting to the expo until the next day.  The weather was crap and I was freezing (still in my shorts/socks outfit), so we decided to head back to Spokane for the night.

Friday I was supposed to do a 20 min swim, 45 min bike, and 10 min run.  Being that I was in Spokane, I decided to skip the swim and just bike/run.  I hit the Centennial Trail, thinking, hey, its along the river so it should be flat.  No, it was the opposite of flat.  In fact, I think that there isn't a spot of flat land in Spokane.  It was misty and cool and BEAUTIFUL.  There's just something about riding through the forest that makes me happy.

I hurt my foot wearing those dumb Normatek compression boots in early May at St George, and recently the pain had gone away.  Well, wearing my compression socks the day prior aggrivated my foot and I was a bit worried.  And I felt a bit sluggish on the bike.  But my run was fast and solid with a very low sub-140 bpm heart rate. 

I got done with that around 1 PM.  I still had to shower and eat lunch, and then we had to drive the run and bike course, check in to our hotel in Hayden (about 15 min north of the race), and then be at a friend's cabin on Lake Hayden at 5 PM for dinner.  Sounded like I had a lot of time, but I was pretty rushed.

We drove the run course.  There's a 6% grade that's a 1/2 mile long at mile 5 and 18 - not super nice.  But otherwise the run is along the lake and it's pretty.  The bike course uses part of the run course and then heads to along the west side of the lake for the big hills.  We drove the bike course and the hills were longish but not overly steep and very doable.  The second loop would be tricky but I have definitely ridden worse.

Hotel was nothing exciting, although we had a fireplace (WTF?) and a jacuzzi tub.  Then we booked it to the cabin for dinner.  And from the cabin, we went to the athlete meeting.  We got there around 6:40 and got a good chunk of the athlete dinner talk, which went over until nearly 7:20.  I'm glad we had dinner on our own, as it looked like they served pasta on paper plates.  Of interest was the swim start protocols, which were totally new and untested.  The were having us group up on the beach by our own self-professed swim time.  That's a little problematic on its own.  But the time groups were HUGE.  Sub 1-hr, 1:00-1:15. 1:15-1:30, etc.  15 minutes is a HUGE gap.  Ugh.

There were 4 of us racing from my club and strangely enough, I was the IM veteran.  We posed for a photo and noted how light it was at nearly 9 PM (which was our projected finish time).  Then it was back to the hotel and off to bed.

me, Mark, Ryan, and Adrian.  This was taken at 8:30 PM - look how light it is!
Oh, big day.  This is the day I hate the most.

My coach told me that Friday night and Saturday morning were the critical meals, so I made sure I got a good breakfast of ham, eggs, and potatoes.  Actually 2x the potatoes.  mmmm, carbs.  Then we headed over to Walmart for bright duct-tape and ribbon so I could decorate my gear bags.  It was actally the most pleasant Walmart experience we've ever had - probably because it was 8:30 AM and everyone else was still asleep.

Then it was to the hotel to pack my run and bike bags and to get my bike ready.  Everything had to be dropped off today.  I hate this part.  I took a photo of the contents of my bag, so when the inevitable "I didn't pack X" freak out happened, I had a photo to reference. 

I had rented a GPS tracker thingy and based on IMTX, it was a bit awkward on my race belt (its a bit heavy).  I wanted to pin it on my tri jersey so I was playing around with options.  The best option was on my lower back with 4 pins.  I thought about pinning them on my jersey in T1 or having a volunteer do it for me, but that seemed really stupid from a time standpoint.  I decided to pre-pin the GPS on my jersey and then toss my jersey in my bike bag.  That meant I'd have only a sports bra on under my wetsuit and people would see my gut.  I decided that it was worth it to save a few minutes in T1.  I also decided to not put any jackets in my gear bags and I'd check the weather on race day and make last minute adjustments.  I also had my cool wings and some socks-turned-arm-warmers in my bike bag.  And the usual other things that go in your bike and run bags. (I did forget to pack my sunglasses in my bike bag and my visor/hat in my run bag... because I was wearing them. dummy).

We headed out to the race expo around 10:30 AM.  I wanted to get all this crap done early on so I could spend the afternoon chilling in my hotel room.  I dropped my bike first.  I actually had a pretty sweet bike rack spot - towards the bike out and 4 bikes in from the main aisle.  I'll take it. 

Merlin is ready for action!
Then I dropped of my run and bike bags, again I had pretty good locations.  There was a sign with 600-XXX and I was 608, so that put me pretty close to the signs.  It was looking like rain but I didn't have any add'l plastic bags.  I thought about pulling my running shoes to keep them dry, but ultimately, I decided to leave them in my bag and take my chances.  I then headed over to get an idea of where the heck swim in, bike out, bike in, etc was.  It was confusing and the volunteer had to explain it to me 3 times WITH the map in front of me.
how I figured this out on race day, I have no idea...
Then we attended a little seminar on "secrets of the couse" which of course contained little new info.  But it was an opportunity to sit down and see my friends.  After the seminar was done, they went to lunch and I went in to swim 15 minutes.  I didn't have anything official for the day but I thought it was important to at least touch the water before the race.  The water was cold but not anything colder than St G or what I swim in at home.  I did some out and backs and then I did a few mock beach run outs and run ins so I could remember what to do.  No one else was doing this.  So I felt smug and prepared.
rocking my coach's two piece wetsuit.  I don't look like a whale!

I love, love, love this photo.  Good job, Will!
For lunch, we drove out of the congested downtown area and found a place called Jonsey's.  It looked like other tri-dorks were eating there and I was hoping for something fresh and not full of bread.  They served breakfast all day, so I got a pesto pork chop, 2 eggs, and roasted potatoes.  Perfect.  Will got a bacon cheeseburger and I glared at him. I also wanted pie, but I needed to stay away from gluten so I resisted. Their waffles looked amazing, so I vowed to return there after the race.

Then we headed back to the hotel.  I was planning on watching Netflix but we both were super tired so we took a nap.  I wasn't planning on napping because I wanted to go to bed early, but I figured if I was that tired then I shouldn't fight it.

We met friends for dinner and went to a not-super-appropriate place for me.  It was all sandwiches and pizza and salads.  Ugh.  So I got a salad but picked around most of the lettuce.  We also went for fro-yo, which made me happy because then I got some carbs that didn't involve bread.  Yay! 

Bedtime was somewhere around 9 PM and we had a 4 AM wake-up call.  Yikes.

Up and at 'em, and I actually slept really well.  I got up and immediately checked the weather.  The forecast was wonky, changing from nice to rainy to windy in the days leading up to the race.  I was so worried about rain that I made an emergency trip to REI before we left for Spokane for 2 light weight rain jackets.  The weather was looking good so I decided to not bring a jacket. I did have my favorite long-sleeve shirt and my cycling sleeves in my run special needs bag, in case it got cold.  I changed, had Will apply sunscreen (I used Planet Sun this time around), and I ate a breakfast of 1 Honey Stinger protein bar and ~200 cals of EFS.  We hit the road at 4:45 and didn't have too much trouble finding parking.  I think we had to walk maybe 5 blocks.
Super Moon (which sadly I couldn't see because it was cloudy)
I had heard the day prior to drop the Special Needs bags off first thing, as they were a ~10 min walk away from the bikes.  I happily handed my bags over to Elvis, which was amusing.  We walked along the lakefront and the fog was really spooky but pretty.  You could barely see the buoys and we all thought swimming was going to be interesting.
I went straight to Merlin and filled up my water bottles and nutrition.  I had 40 oz of 50% diluted EFS in my Speedfill, 2 Honey Stinger chews in my bento box, another 4 packages of chews in an empty water bottle on the back, and 6 "hours" of concentrated EFS in a bottle on the back.  I aired up my tires and made a TON of friends, as the line for compressed air was ridiculously long.

After that, I went to my run bag to put my two hats in there (a visor and a hat, depending on what the weather was doing).  Then I went to my bike bag and put my sunglasses in there.  Then I spent forever in a port-o-pottie line.  Which was actually ok because I ended up standing next to a facebook friend (and friend of a real life friend).  I was putting on my wetsuit and realized that I didn't have an inhaler on my person and transition was closing.  Dummy.  So I booked it through the crowds back to my bike, where my inhaler was located in my bento box. 

Action shot of me taking off to get my inhaler.  Also: I went with pigtails for my hair.
I took 3 puffs, figured it was ~30 min before my swim start, and that would be good enough.  I also decided to drink my ~100 cals of Liquid Shot + 1/2 scoop of Pre-Race.  I then ran back to the swim area, told Will goodbye and stood for the national anthem (we both got teary).  Then it was time to go see what the swim start business was about.  I went to the beach, saw the people with signs, and decided to do a bit of a warm-up in the water.  Really, it consisted of maybe a minute of swimming, but it was nice to get in the water, have the shock of cold hit me, and be done.  I then lined up in my "1:00-1:15" group by myself, trying to make friends.  I ended up finding one of my friends (Dimity), mainly because she's so dang tall, and waited to go.  Just me and 2500 of my closest friends.

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