IM Coeur d’Alene 70.3 race report:
The heat from the sun was intense on my skin. Sweat was dripping from every inch of my body. As I rounded the corner, the next aid station was just ahead. I sauntered up to the generous volunteers and grabbed three paper cups of ice cold water and dumped them over my head, neck and back. The rush of icy water was invigorating. I took a swig of Gatorade and I was off i went. I ran away from the aid station feeling strong, but anything could happen over the next 12 miles.-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Sometimes after months of practice and diligent training things just go right. On Sunday June 25th the stars aligned and I had what I could consider a perfect race. Amy and I drove over to Coeur d’Alene (CDA) Saturday morning. We left Missoula early and were at the race expo by 10am. We checked in, browsed the expo and then it was time for lunch. I like to eat a bigger meal around lunch time before race day to have time to fully digest everything. And then just have a few snacks throughout the evening. We found a cute local restaurant and enjoyed the buzz of the town surrounding race weekend. The town of CDA is so amazing and there is so much positive energy with the influx of athletes.
After lunch we headed back to our AirBnB to get organized and get to bed. It’s an early night because we are up so early the next morning, I think I was asleep by 8pm (working night shift I’m well adapted to sleeping whenever I get the chance).
3:05am my alarm goes off race morning. This gives me a solid 10 minutes to snooze before I HAVE to be up. Priority Number ONE….COFFEE, Number two, Breakfast. My newest breakfast tradition before races or big training days is skillet potatoes (2potatoes), 4 eggs and half an avocado. Yumm. I used to have a hard time eating race morning, but I learned to make something I enjoy and then it is easier to eat.
By 4:30 we were leaving the house and driving to the race start. It was only a 10 minute drive from where we were staying but I’m a nervous nelly about parking so I want to give us plenty of time. This is usually when I start to get the nervous stomach, but I was cool, calm and collected that morning. I had my headphones on while setting up my transition and was able to get myself in the most positive and relaxed headspace before the chaos of the race start began.
6:20 the gun goes off and the age group triathletes start the rolling wave swim start. This is my favorite kind of swim start, as I find it easier to quickly find my groove. By the first buoy I was feeling strong and smooth, I was sighting well and passing people left and right. When I darted out of the water and finally looked at my watch, I was right on my time goal for a strong but relaxed swim, 37:00.
T1 – Gosh I love when the races have wetsuit strippers. This is such a treat. I ran right to my bike, slipped my shoes on, scarfed down a Cliff food pouch, threw my helmet on and off I went.
Bike- This bike course is great. Enough climbing to be challenging but also be cruise on the downhill’s. My goals for this bike were to just keep a steady power output that I knew I could sustain and run well after. I didn’t let myself get concerned with people passing me on the flats because I know my strength is in the climbing so I would end up catching them. I started off easier than planned to catch my breath and settle into the rhythm of the bike. I have had a lot of saddle time this year and it has helped hone in my position and comfort on the bike. I enjoyed the ride, and was able to maintain and stick with to my race plan. I ate when I was supposed to eat, I drank plenty of fluids and I kept my wattage right where I wanted. But I had a watch malfunction mid-bike. I had to reset my watch and start the clock over, so I had no idea my total race time, I just kept track of power and cadence. I suppose that’s all that matters. I cruised back in to town after what felt like a long bike but I was still feeling strong. I had a quick transition and off onto the run I went
Run- I tend to fire out of T2 a little hot on my feet, and end up crashing and burning. I mentally prepared for this and tried to rein it in from the start. By the time I was on the run the sun and heat were intense. I could tell it was going to be a hot one, and I would need to take care of myself. I came into the first aid station at the 1 mile mark at 7:15…..oh boy.. too fast…I walked the aid station, grabbed some nutrition, doused myself in cold water and off I went, 12 more miles. This run course is fun. It is 2 loops and you get to see all the other athletes multiple times. For the first 1/3 of the race I concentrated on taking in calories as I planned, and keeping a comfortable pace. I also planned to walk all the aid stations to refuel and cool down. I took in one cliff block every mile, and drank Gatorade or Coke at every aid station. I would dump water on myself as often as possible and even run through sprinklers or hoses. I ran strong and was able to keep picking up the pace. The final 5K I kicked it into high gear and passed a few more people to finish in 5:17:35.
The race was over. I executed my plan perfectly and I finished with a 23 minute PR. I also had my best half marathon time to date including solo half marathons. My watch had been reset so I didn’t know my overall time right away. It didn’t matter. I felt strong, I followed my plan and the race was everything I hoped it would be.
|The feeling you get as you cross the finsh line feeling amazing|
|Having fun on the run course!|
When I signed up for this race back in January, I mentioned to Amy that I wanted to try and qualify for Worlds at this race, and I planned to RACE it rather than just use it as a training day. The last few months have just been tough on me working night shift, training for a Full Ironman and life just getting in the way. I pushed the goal to the back of my mind knowing it was a long shot and that everything would have to be absolutely perfect in order for that to even be a possibility.
But when my name was called at the roll down ceremony and I claimed my piece of paper, the high pitch girlish scream that came out of my mouth was just pure joy. All the hard work, all the sacrifices, all the missed outings with friends and time away from Josh was worth it. I had achieved a goal I had been working towards for years. I feel so lucky to be able to do this. And now I keep to keep doing it and set new goals.