Monday, July 2, 2012

Ironman Coeur d'Alene Race Recap - Pre race and Swim

Saturday was basically a day of rest and relaxation, with some last minute fine tuning of the bikes before we checked them in at the transition area.

Pappy and The Music Man doing some bike tuning
After an early pasta dinner, it was time for bed!  And hopefully, we would be getting some sleep.  I wasn't really expecting much, since our daughter was sharing the bed with us.  But we actually fell asleep pretty quickly.

Asleep by 8:30 pm!  Woo hoo!
We woke up at 3:45 am, ready to get our race day started.  I immediately got out of bed and started the coffee, ate my bagel, banana, and Marathon Bar (my standard pre-race breakfast).  I took a quick shower to help wake myself up, then started sipping my coffee.  After breakfast was done, it was time to make sure we had all of our nutrition (which we pre-packed the night before), and that we had all of the participating athletes!  We set off for the transition area at about 4:40 am.

I don't think we could have planned our morning any better.  We were early enough that we got a prime-time parking spot, right next to the finish line, and there wasn't too many people in transition yet, meaning there was no line for the bathroom.  Score!

It had rained the night before, so we first needed to take the plastic bags off of our bikes, then fill up our tires (which I ended up not doing...ha!), then go place all of our nutrition into our transition bags.  Since there was rain in the forecast, I went ahead and put all of my transition goodies inside a large trash bag, tied it closed, and put that bag inside my transition bag.  This kept all of my stuff nice and dry!  Even though we were all sort of doing our own things, we kept seeing each other and making sure everyone was in good spirits.  By about 6:15 am, we were done with what we needed to do, so we retreated to the transition tent to sit down and relax for a bit, and slowly get our wetsuits on.  Once it came time to exit the transition area (6:45 am), we handed our dry clothes bags off to our respective significant others, and made our way toward the swim start.

The pros had started at 6:25 am, which was pretty funny because when the cannon went off, you could see the panic on some of the age-groupers faces.  Pappy, The Music Man, and myself ended up being next to each other for the start, and it was fun to be able to start the race next to them.  The gun went off at exactly 6:59 am (they gave us a free minute so that the start could be aired on live TV).


We look like a bunch of Lemmings...

The ever popular Ironman swim battle!
Here's a video I found on YouTube of the swim start:

Did you see me in the video?  I'm the one with the green swim cap!

I had heard plenty of horror stories about the Coeur d'Alene swim, with it being freezing cold and people suffering from hypothermia.  When we went and did our practice swims, it was cold, but didn't seem too bad.  I was planning on wearing my full wetsuit, and warm cap, and neoprene booties.

The first lap was pretty rough.  It was super crowded (I chose to swim quite close to the buoys) and seemed pretty hard to get in a rhythm and stay in it.  Regardless of how crowded it was, I didn't suffer any direct blows to the face, so I considered it to be a success.  I finished my first lap in 37:26, which I was super excited with.  I started lap 2, and was feeling pretty good until the first turn buoy.  It was at this point that I started to get pretty cold.  I had already warmed myself up the natural way a couple of times, and figured another time couldn't hurt.  Well, it didn't hurt, but it didn't help either.  And to go along with me being cold, the wind had picked up and the water was now quite choppy.  I ended up finishing the second lap in 42:36, a whole 5 minutes slower than my first lap (which is crazy, because it was way less crowded!).  My total swim time was 1:20:02, which I'm not happy with, but it's actually better than I was expecting!

As I exited the lake, I could tell I was pretty cold.  I had a hard time grabbing the strap on my wetsuit to unzip it.  And in my delirium, I completely missed the wetsuit strippers.  CRAP!  Oh well.  I ran into transition and began getting my wetsuit and booties off.  Because I'm tall, and I didn't do enough research when I bought my wetsuit and booties, the legs on my wetsuit are not long enough to cover the tops of my booties.  The causes a problem because the booties fill up with water, causing a lot of drag and acting like anchors on you feet!  My solution was to wrap duct tape from the tops of my booties until it was underneath my wetsuit.  It seemed to work alright during the swim, but it made transition interesting.  I had packed a pair of scissors in my transition bag, which was fine and dandy, except I was shaking so badly from being cold!  After a minute or so of shaking and trying to cut the duct tape, another athlete finally asked me if I needed some help.  I told him no thanks, even though I should have totally used the help!  Eventually, I got the duct tape and booties off, and began the slow process of getting ready for the bike portion.  I was still shaking pretty badly, and it was causing me to have a hard time getting my socks, arm warmers, shoes, helmet, sunglasses, and gloves on.  When I finally did, I decided it was time to go, but I needed to do two more things.  First, I opened up the hand warmers that The Wife had given to us athletes at our IronClan meeting (thanks again!), and put one in each of my gloves, and one on each of my quads.  Next, I had to pee again (that makes 4 times already...this is starting to seem like a repeat of Ironman Arizona!).

I trotted over to my bike in the transition area, and placed my race belt and bib around my waist.  I was going to be wearing a live GPS tracking device so that the spectating group would be able to see when I (and the other members of our group) would be passing by them.  My hands were still pretty shaky, so it took me a couple tries, but I finally got my act together and got out on the bike.  All together, my T1 time was 14:00.  Now, I'm not genius, but I can tell you that 14:00 is NOT a good transition time.  In my stupidity, I failed to use the warming tents that were right at the swim exit.  I have never used them before, but I should have this time.  Even a minute or two in the tent would have probably shaved off a few minutes in my transition.  Oh well.  My goal was to be out of transition with a total race time of 1:30:00, and I was at 1:34:02, so I had some time to make up!

My daughter and Madison (Old Wise One's daughter)

The IronClan Godfather (keeping his identity a secret), The Wife, Auntie Sarah, and Madison all sporting the Team IronClan uniform!  (You can't see it, but the shirt says, "Team IronClan...Forced Family Fun")

Tomorrow, I'll talk about the bike portion!

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