Last Sunday I competed at my 4th Ironman race, my second time doing Ironman Coeur d'Alene. This was my focus race of the first part of the year. I had an excellent time at the race and will give you an idea to the decision to register, lead up to the race, and the race experience. I'm hoping that it's not a novel and that I can focus on the funny stuff that always happens when I enter and prepare for races. I will also note the section that require Jens Voigt accents while reading.
Before I get to the report, I want to personally thank Trev Williams, Marilyn Taylor, Steve Waters and especially Michael Godfrey for all your support and friendship through this journey. I really enjoyed bouncing training ideas off you guys and getting together for pool swims, winter runs and UCC races. It was also very important for me to have you all there as support at the time of the death of my father in law. His loss was a huge setback and you all were the spark to keep me training.
I had full intention of racing Ironman Canada this summer. I went down and volunteered at the registration tent to make sure that I could get in easy. At the last minute, I had a change of heart and decided that Coeur d'Alene was a better race that suited my job and family activities with working at SAIT. I quickly got one of the few spots left for Coeur d'Alene and the training officially began in November.
In September, my daughter entered a new dance studio. The new studio was a much bigger studio with a well run final recital scheduled at the end of June. Foreshadowing here of huge potential conflict. Remember that I registered for the race first!
In November I treated myself to TrainingPeaks. I bought the 1 year program and started ramping the training into the focused ATC program it developed. Within a few months, I had lost 15 pounds on the program. I was absolutely shocked to see my weight drop that fast!
With the big time conflict with the dance recital, many compromises had to made for activities and it was decided that my wife and I would leave the kids in Cranbrook, drive tent trailer to Coeur d'Alene, get everything setup for me here. My wife would return to Calgary with kids and take them to baseball tournament and dance recital on saturday the 23rd. At 8:00pm, they left Calgary and came back to CDA for the race start! What troopers, definitely not ideal family travelling.
On the 21st I signed in for the race and went through the Ironman village with a buddy from Cranbrook that was also doing the race. It was fun to do the sign on with someone else and chat with the volunteers. At the end of the registration tent, here was a wicked Rudy Project booth and I bought some awesome new Rudy's to match my ST kit. Red Gozen's and they are OMG awesome. I was so excited to have new gear for the race! Foreshadowing there.
Everything was going well leading up to the race and was well rested here at campground by myself without my kids around, constantly fighting. On race morning, Debby had sent several messages regarding the drive to CDA and I felt good. At 3:00 am we were pleasantly awoken by a huge freakin thunderstorm and hail. It was really freaky and I was wondering if the 24 and sun would be ran all day. Debby and I connected just after I got body marked and it was great to see that my family made it, driving through the night. At that point I realized that I had forgotten my brand new maximum awesomeness sunglasses on the table of my tent trailer and would have to ride and run without sunglasses. I'm not as bad as Lochie before races but sometimes, I'm pretty absent minded and not having my wife at the campground before the race was starting to show!
I dropped off my special needs bags and headed to transition to see the bike that had been poured on for several hours during the night. At that time I realized that I had forgotten my extra water bottles in the tent trailer and only had my aero bottle. I like to ride with one bottle on the frame so that I can get water, add electrolytes and slam it into the aero bottle. I'm now uttering f-bombs through transition at my lack of focus.
The swim start was very good for me and the water was very tolerable. It was very rough heading out and my first lap was 34:30. I was amazed at how relaxed I felt in the water and was ahead of my planned pace. The second lap became a fight for dear life. "Jens Voigt Accent here" I was suffering like I never suffered before! A storm blew in and the smooth water turned into 2 foot waves and I was taking on water. Every breath was like my last and my pace dramatically slowed. The lifeboats were moving in close as they must have felt an open water rescue was required. My left arm was entering the water every stroke smooth but it felt like my right side was just totally punished with fighting the waves. I came out of the water really tired and was disappointed when my time was announced.
As I got on the bike, the rain was turning to a mist and it was not warm. The first section of the course was spent trying to warm up and expel lake water on masse! The new bike course went south on Highway 95 which is pretty hilly. I was able to get into a good rhythm and pass many riders who were ridding aero in the drops with big gears up the 5% climbs. Not sure if they read any magazines on cycling and I seriously question those tactics.
This course had some choke points that were no passing zones. I had never seen that before and was held up a few times. I got stuck behind one guy who had just finished ridding a descent while pissing all over his bike, then decided to swerve in front of me into the no pass zone. I was great being slowed down then sprayed by his urine.
My body held up pretty well through the ride and I was not able to keep my split times consistent but was very happy with a ride time of 5:40. I ate like a king on the ride and had lots to drink. My nutrition felt good and I could feel that the climbs took some effort and I was tired, but should be able to have a good run.
The run started with stomach issues in transition. Not great starting out that way and I was a bit concerned heading out main street. I was hoping to run to each aid station, walk through and eat, then run again. It started out that way with a very consistent pace and my stomach just got worse. The first 12 miles were okay with more running then walking, just not running faster then previous years. I was hoping that the weight loss would show here, the stomach was in total control though. I felt good when I was running but had to take many breaks. It felt like I really lost the motivation to run. I wasn't in pain, my feet were fine, I was just unable to commit.
At mile 20, I partnered with a guy and we kept a good pace for the remainder. He was also suffering with an upset stomach and he was very happy with my pace. We worked and supported each other till the 25.3 mile mark together. At that point, we got passed by a 60 year old guy heading to main street. "Insert Jens Voigt" At that point I told my partner, "Bud, we got to hit it here, I'm not finishing behind Father Time!" We attacked! I went to the front and hammered it, head down, suffering with drool splashing down my jersey. I was hitting max VO2 levels and just looked at that 60 year old as I hammered past him at 9:00 minute mile pace. It was serious go time as we headed down main street and I layer the beats to Father Time, he was lost in the dust. I dug deep into my suitcase of courage to beat that 60 year old like I was a Norwegian Viking God.
Heading to the finish I was super happy with my day. My time was 12 minutes faster then previous IMCDA and I had no feet issues with toe nails. Once again my stomach was an issue of the run. Heading into the athlete area post race I felt okay and had the milk and pizza. Heading to transition to get my gear I realized I was in trouble. I rushed to a garbage can and started barfing like crazy. I was taken to the medical tent and continued to barf. After 1.5 hours of barfing, I was taken to the inner circle of medical tentness and put on IV. I was very sick post race and was unable to do much. My post race meal was pretty much nothing and I was severely dehydrated. It has been 5 days since the race and my stomach is still not normal. The medical staff was able to give me some insight into possible sources of the problems and it was good info.
All in all, it was a great race and I am super happy with my results.
Thanks again to all of you that have sent messages and I look forward to seeing you all in the next few months.
Take care and happy riding
Sat. 9am Calgary Wheelers Ride | Thurs. Night Training (TNT) 6:30pm | Wed. 6:30pm WNS | Tues. 6:00pm Crits