Ironman Couer d'Alene...what a race.
When I first started with triathlons 4 or so years ago, I never thought I would be doing iron distance races, nor did I think the pre-race jitters would ever be that bad. Not the case. IM CDA was my second full distance triathlon, with Silverman '08 being my first (I know, maybe not the smartest race to pick #1, but it was great, painful, but great), but something about M-DOT series races that really intrigued me. Through the LA Tri Club, I've made some solid friends and racemates over the past few years, and that's what got me into CDA 364 days BEFORE the actual race. Alright, so that's the foundation, now the story.
Race morning was going great, trying to stay relaxed and listening to some tunes, second and third guessing what to put in the special needs bags, do I need to use the porto-john etc. Finally got it all figured out, put on the wetsuit and marched off to the beach start. As the other race reports said, the water temp was great, 63 degrees or so, but choppy. As I was waiting in the pack trying to make it to the beach, I attempted to zip up my wetsuit, all to have the damn zipper break! On the verge of freaking out, I stepped out of the pack and tried to fix the problem. I was stumbling around like an idiot trying to get the zipper fixed, when in came a 'team' of 3 volunteers (family members of other participants) to help me out. 10 minutes later, a leatherman, and several rounds of attempts by the good samaritians, they got me zipped up and ready to go-all with about 5 minutes to go. What a beginning.
The swim-wow! 2200 plus red and white swim capped monsters all heading in the same direction. Seemed more like LA traffic on water than a triathlon swim start. I started in the middle of the pack and off to the side, as I'm not the strongest swimmer, but lesson learned again, should of been further out. Freak out #2 of the morning and both within about 15 minutesif each other, I found myself back stroking and trying to calm down-seriously. Fought my first battle of the day and finally turned over and started swimming. The turns were brutal, coming back in was great, and thankfully the swim ended in 1:15. Not stellar, but better than my first 2.4 swim.
The bike, time for food and drink and saddle soreness. My trip up north was my first time in the area, and I tried to take in as much as I could during the bike and run. Great scenery, a nice breeze, and great volunteers lined the entire (almost) length of the bike and run courses. Nothing to out of the ordinary on the bike, minus my aerobars almost falling off, and almost littering a water bottle, it was smooth sailing. Another lesson learned (notice a trend here...) about bike transport-double check, nix that, triple check the allen heads on everything that was once packed into a box. My trusty multi-tool came in handy at about mile 60, and performing bike maintenance at a cool 20 mph or so was a new one. Felt like I was in the Giro for a minute...not quite, sure could of used one of those support crews for that one though! The water bottle drop, that was the first u-turn, and a couple of haripin turns on downhills caused for a few more. A full size Elmo was kicking in the front yard with his kids, the Little Ceaser's pizza mascot was out in full affect, and a group of motorcycle riders offered me a cold one and a hamburger at their bbq! I seriously though about it...na, powerbars and gatorade sounded so much better at the time (ha!). 5:59:59 was my offiical time, as my goal was to break 6, had with plenty of time to spare.
Now, the run. One of the last things I did before the race start, was place a long sleeve shirt in the T2 bag, due to possible inclement weather. That was one of my better decisions of the day. It started raining on lap 2, but at that time, it really didn't matter all that much. The end was near, sort of, in the grand scheme of things. As the other race reports mentioned, the energy on the run course was phenominal, smiles, high fives, 80's music, etc., all kept things pointing in the right direction. The support at the aid stations was great, especially the warm chicken broth (amazing how good that stuff tastes after nothing but gatorade and cola), along with the temps dropping. Running down that main street on lap 2 brings chills thinking about just how cool it is to finish an Ironman. Run time of 4:12 and change. 11 hours and 46 minutes later, Brian Turner-YOU ARE AN IRONMAN! Yep, pretty cool. Now, where's the Domino's pizza and those stylish foil blankets...
CDA-see you next year!