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Race report: Ironman Coeur d’Alene

July 2, 2010

In the days and weeks leading up to the race, I tapered, did shorter but more intense workouts, and continued to eat the same way I had all along…I felt absolutely great in the days leading up to the race.  Coeur d’Alene is an absolutely beautiful town, and the lake was cool, clean and crisp.  A pre race day dip was very therapeutic. My parents showed up the afternoon before the race…it really was fantastic to have them there with me for this momentous occasion.

Meal the night before the race: steak, onions, peppers, salad and some corn chips in an attempt to replete a bit of glycogen in my liver.  They were very difficult to eat and I felt bloated afterward…haven’t eaten starch like that for some time now.

Race day: 4:30 AM wake up, coffee, bacon, eggs.  Drive to the race area, walk around, drop off gear bags for the transitions, wait in line for the port-a-potty to take care of business, put on body glide and wetsuits, head down to the beach.

The swim start is nothing short of amazing.  2300+ people all standing in a big cluster on the beach…the gun goes off….everyone piles into the water.  It is seriously mayhem.  My strategy was to push to the front so as not to get tangled up with everybody, but there were just too many people.  We swam straight out to the far buoy where there was a left turn, and it was again, a mangle.  People grabbing my legs, elbowing, kicking…straight brutal.  The swim is my favorite event, but this was a bit much.  People taking themselves perhaps a little too seriously.  The swim was a rectangular shaped course with one edge meeting the shore, so it was two laps, with a brief run along the beach to enter the water for the second lap.  Volunteers waiting in the transition area are there to help rip off your wetsuit…quite helpful.  I was feeling fantastic after the swim, as it is both my best event and one I trained a lot for.

Choppy water made for an off-kilter equilibrium which in turn meant a slow start on the bike, but in fact the bike turned out to be quite enjoyable for me.  It was two 56 mile laps, along the shores of two different lakes and among backroads and ranches.  Stunningly beautiful.  I began to consume my Gleukos, the occasional PowerBar gel at the aid stations, water fortified with electrolytes and also some Endurolytes (sodium/magnesium/calcium/potassium pills) and, of course, my trusty coconut oil.  First lap of the bike I took it a bit easy, and tried to pick it up on the second lap, which I did as far as energy expenditure is concerned…but because of a nasty wind that kicked up it didn’t end up translating into a speed increase.  Oh well.  I felt really great at the end of the bike course and passed about 100 people in the final 20 miles, which might have been a mistake in hindsight.

I bounded out the transition area onto the run in my Vibram 5Fingers, feeling great, hydrated, with a clear head.  Did the first 13 mile loop, feeling pretty good, although I certainly started out too fast, with sub 9minute mile for the first few.  NOT a good idea.  By mile 18 my mind was still clear, and my lungs were ok..even my legs felt ok….but my feet and ankles and knees began to really hurt.  Bad.  Those last 6+ miles were nothing short of hellish.  Jog/walk for the rest of the race, in serious pain and ending with a 14+min/mile pace.  No record breaking going on here.

The finish was nothing short of spectacular. The last one-third of a mile or so was through the main street of the town, which was lined with its residents, all cheering, screaming, clapping. I actually got quite emotional at that point…it’d been such a long day after all, and completing this event is something I’ve dreamed about for several years. I ran through the bright lights of the finishers chute, my parents there to greet me at the finish line, my proud mom shooting video on her camera (I’ll link to it when I can). 14 hours and change. Wow. I am proud to now call myself an Ironman.

A couple of days later, I’ve made the following observations:
*I may or may not have dipped into slight renal failure/rhabdomyolysis, as on monday when I got home I noted that I had gained about 7 pounds of edema in my legs and feet. Don’t worry, it has all pretty much resolved by now
*I felt bloated and nasty for a day after consuming all of the sugar and post-race pizza (not sorry by the way:), but I’m now successfully back into ketosis and feeling pretty good
*Running the marathon in Vibram Five Fingers caused my feet and ankles some serious pain, but I think they served to salvage the rest of my legs, as here four-five days out my legs are feeling pretty good, and even felt reasonable the day after the race
*Looking forward to the next adventure, and carrying on with self-experimentation:)

Thanks for reading! I know I keep saying this, but I’ve got big plans for more pics soon.

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  1. irun4fun permalink

    Great recap! Have re-lived the day in my mind, many, many times. Thanks for the wonder of it all.

    I love you,

  2. Linda Norman permalink

    Wow! What a marvelous thing you have done.

  3. anni permalink

    WAY TO GO DAN!! that is so impressive! thanks for sharing!!

    you are awesome = )

  4. TrailGrrl permalink

    Whoo Hoo! Way to go. I’m in an over-carbed vacation state right now, but we are grilling a bunch of meat tonight so I might get straightened out.

    Now you are an IronMan!

    TrailGrrl, recovering tri-grrl

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