Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Ironman Coeur d'Alene - Final thoughts

So now that it is all over and I have had plenty of time to think about my race, here are my final thoughts on IMCDA.

1 - Staying out of the hype and laying low in the days leading up to, and even on the morning of the race was the ideal way to keep the nerves at bay.  I can truly say that the only time I got nervous was the 5  mins before the race started when I was lining up on the beach.

2 - The IM perform drink that they were using on the course was hideous.  It was some tropical flavour but it reminded my of over ripe peaches.  I think the high sugar content and the general acidity of it screwed up my stomach at the end of the bike leg leading to my stomach cramps on the run.  For the 3-4 days after the race I couldn't eat anything solid because my mouth and throat were ulcerated from the stuff.  In the past using the on course nutrition has worked out fine for me but not this time.  I will have to go back to my trusty carbo pro I think.

3 - The course itself is an honest one.  The swim has traditionally been the most challenging at CDA.  The water is usually cold...around mid 50's and the wind can pick up and cause a decent chop out there. Luckily for me that didn't happen on race day but the conditions we had this year were unusually good.  The bike
course is not as challenging or technical as the old IMCDA course but it has a couple of decent hills and you have to do them twice. Taking it easy on the first loop is the best way to make sure that you have plenty in the tank for the second.  Once you get over the hills the back end of the bike course is a little boring, especially the second time around.  But the blandness of the highway is more than made up for on the run.  I think the run course at CDA is awesome.  Every inch is covered with spectators who make you feel like a rockstar.  If you are thinking of doing an ironman I would say put IMCDA at the top of your list.

4 - I've heard nutrition being called the 4th discipline in Ironman and that proved to be true for me but I think one thing that I underestimated was how much mental toughness you need when things don't quite go to plan. Sitting in the change tent in T2 with those awful stomach cramps I really didn't think I would make it through 26.2 miles to the finish.  During training when I had a particularly tough workout my coach would tell me to file it away and draw on that experience when I hit a tough spot in the race.  I really had to dig deep to make it to the end.

5 - Having my family, friends and my coach there to encourage me when the going got tough was priceless.

6 - If you are pouring water over yourself during the run make sure you have some holes in the bottom of your shoes to let the water run out...otherwise you will be squelching along for 26 miles and it will be blister city in your shoes

In the days after the race I will be honest and tell you I was a little disappointed with parts of my race.  Things didn't turn out the way I was hoping and I didn't race as well as I would have liked.  But that is Ironman for you.  Sometimes just making it to the finish is the achievement.  Certainly for me on this day that was true. It was also a good idea getting out of town and going on vacation immediately after the race.  I spent 3 weeks away in Australia with family and friends who didn't know what ironman was and didn't care. Such a nice change of pace from living and breathing triathlon for months on end.

Now I'm back I am taking my time to figure out what's next.  Is there another Ironman in my future?   Yes. I haven't finished with Ironman racing yet.  I told my coach that I'll quit once I have the perfect race.  If IMCDA is anything to go by that could take a really long time.


  1. I am totally sold on CarboPro for endurance racing for sure! I usually put Nuun in it for some flavour and electrolytes. My first bottle (or two) sometimes I'll mix CarboPro with Vega Pre-Workout Energizer- lots of caffeine and electrolytes to get me going. Give that a try! Vega PWE is an acquired taste (I use the lemon-lime), but I hate the sweetness of Gatorade/IM Perform etc so it works well for me.

    I also lather my feet with vaseline for the marathon (remember, I'm out there a lot longer than you :)), and that way if my shoes get wet, my feet are still protected.

  2. If I ever have an Ironman race like yours I'll call that MY perfect race and quit. ;)

    I know you had your own goals and reasons for racing and all but I have to tell you that the mental toughness and your perseverance during this race is so inspiring and something that should be filed away in the: Things That Make Donna Awesome File.

    Congratulations on getting er done. Aussie, Aussie, Aussie! :)

  3. However you think you performed I was/am in awe of your strength. Way to go out there. Digging deep just went to show how much you have to draw from when the need arises. It was awesome to watch you finish!