2012 Ironman Coeur d’Alene

View from our hotel – thanks for finding it Chris!

There were 50 qualifying spots for the Ironman World Championships up for grabs this past weekend at Ironman Coeur d’Alene and I was on the hunt for one of them…here’s how the day unfolded.

Swim Start

The swim was bloody cold. I couldn’t feel my feet for the entire bike as a result. If I could go back and change one thing it would be to wear my neoprene cap for the swim (and toe covers for the ride). The start was rough with over 2000 swimmers trying to make their way to the first buoy, but I found it more civilized than I was prepared for.  There was a lot of contact with other swimmers, but no punches or calf grabs and I was only hit in the face twice (one from a whip kick and one from an errant elbow). My first loop felt pretty strong which is reflected in the result (33:xx – a really great time for me), the second loop I slowed down substantially (39:xx).  This is in part due to fatigue and in part due to the sudden wind which brought in larger waves during the second loop.

My 1:12 swim was well within the 1:15 target that I had set, but above my ideal time of 1:10. It was a few minutes faster than my time at last year’s Ironman Canada.  It’s crazy to realize that 8 months of hard work in the pool boiled down to 3 minutes of time savings:).

This is how well the bike went!

I had a quick transition with no errors and got out on the bike without incident. I decided to wear my vest which proved to be a smart idea with colder than expected conditions for the first third of the ride.

My plan for the ride was simple:

  1. Don’t eat or drink anything for 15 minutes
  2. Eat a Roctane GU every 15 minutes thereafter
  3. Drink 500ml of water every 30 minutes
  4. Take 2 electrolyte pills every 45 minutes
  5. Ride at a heart rate between 145-155

So what happened? I executed flawlessly on #1 through #4 and started off perfectly with #5 until my heart rate monitor died at 30km. For the rest of the ride I rode by feel and was VERY happy with the results.  I feel like I nailed the bike and left no time out there. I rode a 5:19 which was 16 minutes faster than IMC last year. I originally thought that the Coeur d’Alene bike course was substantially faster than Canada, but most of my friends agreed that this wasn’t the case with the strong winds on race day. Either way, I’m very happy with my improvements, especially with my execution of my nutrition and race plan.

Coming into transition I felt fully prepared to have a strong run. I couldn’t believe how fresh I felt and knew I was in the exact position I wanted to be in. Realistically, up until this point, I think I left nothing out there and felt prepared to have a great run.

My plan for the run was:

  1. Eat a Roctane GU every 20 minutes with water from my fuel belt
  2. Drink water at every aid station
  3. Take 2 electrolyte pills every 30 minutes
  4. Run at a heart rate of 150-160

Again, I executed the plan perfectly except that I was running by feel instead of heart rate. This is where the wheels started to come off. Even though I’d taken in all of my race day nutrition my right hamstring was on the verge of cramping up. I altered my stride to keep my heel down which was preventing a full lock up, but I found I couldn’t maintain the pace I needed to run. It’s a huge learning experience to have everything else ready to go (lots of energy, a topped up fuel tank, an attitude ready to push on) but having something so specific go wrong.

I learned that I need substantially more electrolyte. Thankfully Stephen has set me up for a sweat test with Precision Hydration to get some solid data on my electrolyte needs.

I ran a 3:27 marathon to finish the race in 10:04, 56th overall and 7th in my age group. My goal coming into the race was to qualify for the Ironman World Championships. To qualify, I would have had to finish in 3rd place which was 15 minutes faster (9:50). I feel really good about my result and know I’ve made some huge improvements in 8 months knocking over 40 minutes off my time and feeling a lot stronger and confident during the race. My goal still stands and I’m committed to getting to Kona…it’s just going to take at least one more Ironman to do it!

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of the amazing people who helped me get to the start line:

  • Special thanks to TrainingPeaks for supplying the awesome race kit and for their awesome training software. If you’re struggling with setting out a training plan or tracking your progress on the way to a big goal I’d highly recommend you check out their product.
  • Coach Bjoern for supplying the plan and the regular feedback. I trained way harder for this Ironman than IMC last year (without a coach), but never felt burnt out which I attribute to Bjoern’s program which evolved and was unique to me. Thank you for understanding what I needed to hear and telling me what I needed to know.
  • Training Partners. Richele, Stephanie, Rich, Shane, Lane #4 and the whole Lifesport team. Good training partners are hard to find. Great training partners are worth their weight in gold. I am incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by such gifted, generous and hard working athletes. The journey wouldn’t be the same without you.
  • Allison. I’m frankly not sure how you deal with not just my goals, but with me in general. You’re amazing and make training for Ironman not only possible, but enjoyable. Thank you for being my biggest fan and supporting me in my crazy dreams.

I put together a quick video of our trip, I hope you enjoy it (click the photo to view).

This entry was posted in Biking, Goals, Ironman, Racing, Ridiculously fun, Running, Swimming and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to 2012 Ironman Coeur d’Alene

  1. don says:

    It is the journey that is important, not how many Ironmans it takes to get to Kona. Some of us take a little longer, personally I did not qualify until my 10th Ironman. But then, perhaps I am a slow learner. ;-)

  2. Jez F says:

    Congratulations Jeff on an incredibly inspiring performance and quality read. Amazing stuff! Loved the video as well. :)

    • RWP says:

      Thanks Jez! Any races for you this summer?

      • Jez F says:

        Well I completed my 2nd marathon in Ottawa a month ago and my next is a Half in september, so I can afford to enjoy the summer months a bit. When you get passed 40 you have to rest a bit!!!

        I was thinking, have you written a blog post outlining your weekly schedule when training for an Iron Man or Marathon? I know you deliver amazing results and I’d love to pry into the work you put in to accomplish them.

        Well done again.

      • RWP says:

        Good advice Jez, I’ll put a post together on a “week in the life”. Congrats on your 2nd marathon! I’d love to read all about it, I think you’d be amazed if you wrote up your experience into a race report how much you could inspire those around you…you could post it here if you’d like.

  3. Josh says:

    Thanks for sharing! Very inspirational and motivational for someone new to triathlons like myself!

  4. Richele says:

    Congratulations! I am so proud of you!! I know you aren’t fully satisfied…but an incredible race nonetheless. You executed on plan, dealt calmly with the things you cannot control and kept a smile on. Awesome!!

  5. What exactly truly moved u to write “2012 Ironman Coeur dAlene | Run With Power”?
    I actuallyreally adored the post! Thanks for your time ,Mirta

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