I was so excited!! Finally, since December last year I was getting the chance to do an Ironman. Yah!! I love the distance, I love the challenge and Coeur D’Alene is such an amazing place. Mum and dad had traveled from Perthfor the race then a few days following in Boise. It was going to be great!
Guy and I drove from Boise and took our time doing it over 2 days. A few hours early Tuesday evening got us as far as McCall where we stayed in coach Jeff’s holiday/training camp house. An early rise, run along the lake at 5000 feet then freezing cold swim in the lake was perfect prep for what was to come in Coeur D’Alene.
Our drive the next day was around 6 hours with a stop at the Moscow Co-Op for a delicious lunch. We arrived just in time to settle into our apartment on the Lake Front and grab dinner with John before a good nights sleep!
The next day it was more time spent acclimatising to the freezing cold lake temperature. Booties, skull cap, I had it all. They were definitely helping and after a good warm up I was able to deal with it.
Then it was finally time for the short trip to Spokane to pick up mum and dad. I love it they can make it to so many races and it means so much having them there. Plus they love it in Coeur D’Alene.
The last few days leading into the race were low key, and I was getting more and more excited as the days went on. I also had the opportunity to catch up with some of my great sponsors such as blueseventy, Computrainer and GU.
It is common knowledge that I normally have trouble sleeping before a race and this one was to be no different. Actually for both Guy and I for some reason it was way worse! He even had trouble and most of the time I am getting frustrated because I can hear him sound asleep. We were both tossing and turning. Not able to get comfortable, I was getting the sweats and watching every minute of the clock tick by. It was a nightmare. In the end I got up before my alarm went off, splashed some water on my face and told myself to forget it, positive thoughts, it is time to go!!
I was ready, my normal breakfast no worries and a pretty relaxed pre race ritual even left enough time for a short jog, hugs and kisses with mum and dad and a decent warm up before the swim start. This was a must because it was so cold!
6.25am and we were off and I was feeling great! The start was steady, I knew I was next to Heather. Meredith had sprinted off to join the mens pack so I jumped on Heathers feet and that is where I stayed for the entire 3.8km swim. I really enjoyed the swim. Sure, it was a little chilly and it took me most of the bike ride to get feeling back in my feet, but my hands were fine and so was the body.
Photo thanks to Dave Erickson
I forgot about “wetsuit strippers” in the USA, so my transition was pretty good, I dropped down on the ground, they stripped it off for me and I was on my way. I had arm warmers and gloves in my T1 bag but in the end didn’t use them because I felt fine. Except for the feet! This caused me a few issues in the first few km’s as I was having a lot of trouble getting my numb and frozen feet into my bike shoes. The left one was in…but I had to ride with the right one on top of the shoe for a little while before I could eventually push it in!
Photo’s thanks to Dave Erickson
First up was the out and back section along the lake where I was able to gauge where everyone was, rough time differences and settle into the ride. I was feeling good. Exactly where I wanted to be.
Crossing the bridge and the no pass zone, it was time to hit the climbs. It was going to be a tough out section but the way back into town would be great with a tail wind. An hour into the ride I began to feel a stitch like pain on the right hand side of my chest. No worries, it will go away, but it didn’t…it actually lasted the entire ride and began to affect what I was able to eat and drink. I was watching the gap to the girls in front get bigger and bigger as the time to some behind me began to decrease. But I was not concerned. Ironman is a long day. I will come good and I love to run!! I can’t wait to get onto that marathon!
Heading into T2 I was still in 3rd, a quick toilet stop and I was off. Nutrition check, pacing, check, pain in chest and feeling sick, still there but no worries. Breathe, enjoy this gorgeous run, amazing scenery and take it one km at a time. But unfortunately after only 10km it felt like the wheels were falling off. I felt so bad. Maybe if I just walked the next couple of aid stations, took in some good nutrition and deep breathes all would be good.
Nope, nothing was working and it was getting worse. The lump in my throat, the ability to put one foot in front of the other. Not part of the plan at all. I made it back into town after one lap picked up my special needs and soldiered on.
I saw mum and dad and at that point had just found out about Heather being DQ’d so although I had been passed by Hayley was still running in third. Just keep going! With there support and the amazing crowd I continued on. There was valuable points up for grabs for Kona and prize money for the top 8!! Keep going!
At 16 miles I made a mad dash for the grass, what was in my stomach was now out, I laid down and there I stayed. I didn’t move! There was honestly something wrong and I could not deal with it. Was I weak today?? I don’t know. I gave Meredith a cheer as she flew to the finish line, then Guy came by. He had a great day…yes…he blew…but he went for it! All a big learning curve for someone so new to Ironman.
But for me…no excuses!!
Thank you so much to all my amazing sponsors and supporters! Plans are already in place to take my racing to the next level and hopefully avoid something like that happening again.
A week off now to refresh the mind and the body, then I will let you know the exciting plans ahead!!