Thursday, July 1, 2010

IM Coeur d Alene Race Report

Well a DNF was a result that I have always prided myself in NOT having. I remember a friend of mine saying to me a long time ago when I decided to turn pro that he hoped I would not start DNFing my races because I could get into another race soon. I assured him I wouldn't and continued that pattern of racing with all I had until the end, for 14 Ironman, and many other races.

So why did I make that decision on Sunday. It was a tough decision...and new ground for me.

From my awful delayed travel to Idaho, five nights of poor sleep in the nights prior,to every part of the race day...things did not go as planned which left me in a position where I felt my focus had been lost! The idea of me running a slow 10 miles to finish the race in 10th or 11th place did not mean enough to me. Especially seeing I felt I was comprimising my health as a back/neck issue that has been bugging me this season, since my crash last year ,was acting up on the bike and by the time I hit mile 13-15of the run my back was in a deep spasm. I could shuffle along and finish but when you have raced and know what it feels like to feel good it became clear that I did not feel the need to push my body through the pain just for a slow finish. My first Ironman I ever did was a 11 hour flat while totally falling apart on the run. Thus when faced with the thought of a slow painful Ironman finish I decided to save my body. Staying healthy is so important for the longevity of this sport.

I sat in transition with fellow athlete Desiree who herself had made the decision to pull out due to feeling sick/dizzy. We both felt awful about our decisions. It was a tough decision for me and I even got some ART done before I handed my chip in. Half an hour had chipped away and I decided to call it a day.

Here is my race day recap!

3.30 Wake Up
Breakfast Gluten Free bagel with peanut butter and a bottle of Ultragen
4.45 Rolled down to transition.
Sipped on a bottle of EFS while getting wheels pumped, and Kestrel bike set up.
6.20 Pro Start
Water was quite choppy heading out and I swam with a small group , Lauren Harrison (7th Place) and Haley Cooper(4th Place) and a few guy pro's.
6.53 We came across the second loop mat and I thought oh sh###t we are going to get beat up by the mass start of age groupers waiting on the beach.
6.55 Slam dunk....the pack came swimming right over us. The mass start is getting very dangerous and you all need to give each other some respect and space. it is not OK to hit ,kick,dunk people in the face just because it's a race. At the turn around I heard a women yelling in panic..this is not what IM should be about!
7.25 Swim exit

7.28 Bike Exit. While on my bike the plan was to drink 5 bottles of EFS with 3 scoops and 1 bottle of EFS for a total of 1900 cals. Rookie Mistake, my stomach did not handle the concentrate well after drinking a huge amount of the lake and I opted for 2 bottles of water to dilute the drinks. Result was too little calories on the bike....

9.45(estimate) Came around the half way point and was feeling OK but my stomach was bothering me and my legs were not feeling strong. I was not riding like I usually was an effort to keep my watts I wanted to hold. Although I had rode the course two days before by car I was surprised that the course was as hilly as it was and I think the hills followed by a headwind did not help. There were some slow climbs that on the second loop alot of age groupers were walking up. My back and neck was really tightening up which resulted in me riding up and out of my aerobars alot.

1am start run. Running around 7 min pace and feeling ok. Ran with a bottle of EFS liquid shot. Stomach really wasn't doing to good so I stopped at the porto potty around mile 3. Felt a little better so kept going but with the pace starting to slow.
I got to see the intensity of my competitiors up ahead. Linsey Corbin, Desiree,Kelly were all having great races and looking very strong. It motivated me and I tried to push. Andy Potts ran by me on his way to a win....that motivated me too...and I pushed hard staying right behind him for a mile. I saw him suffering and stop and it made me realise that we all suffer even on a good day. So I pushed...but my back was tightening up and my form was not good. Stomach bothered me again and I made porto potty stop number two. This was probably dehydrating me and not helping with my back issue. As I approached the crowds into the second loop I did not feel motivated any longer. I had stepped out of the competition and was very distracted. I bent over and tried to stretch my back and I my back went into a tight cramp. I saw Hillary Biscay up ahead and I thought let me just catch up to her and run with her and finish this thing. I only had 11 miles to go. But my back wanted no part of that decision so I stepped into transition and got some ART with the thought that I could still go out again.
Once inside T2 I made the decision to call it a day!
I was 9hours into it.

Even though the decision hurt and the disappointment was huge I feel it was a good one. For me it is no longer just about finishing an Ironman but about doing the best I can and placing well.

After handing my chip in I was extremely tired and fell asleep in transition. My body was exhausted mentally and physically. While I lay there in my disappointment, I watched the age groupers who were just coming in off the bike and heading out to run. I can't imagine what it's like to be out there for 15,16,17 hours. I applaud all of you who became Ironman that day, or who battled through mentally or physically and finished the race. Ironman is never to be taken lightly and always to be respected!

Congrads again to my friends Linsey Corbin who raced her heart out and was so deserving of this win! Kelly Williamson who got 3rd place and her first kona spot. Also too Lauren Harrison ,PS Triathlete and friend who finished 7th with a new PR. Also team mate Michael Lovato for his 3rd place finish.

Coeur 'd Alene is a beautiful town and the volunteers out on the course were amazing. The race was so well run and I would recommend it to everyone. Even the lake was tolerable at 60 degree's. I really enjoyed my time spent in Post Falls with good friends and I thank John Fell and his wonderful family for all their support,understanding and hospitality. Keep up the great training/racing John!