Well, I decided to combine the good with the bad on this report. Oliver Half Iron was a last minute decision, and decided to pack it in as a training day. It went better than expected, winning by over 17 minutes and pulling the 5th fastest bike split. I planned on hitting the bike hard and cruising the run as I didn’t want to destroy myself for IMCDA. I also wanted to get some more race-like swim experience, as I have been having some panic attack issues since Challenge Penticton last year. We all know that getting comfortable in the water and being able to hammer it off the start just comes with practiceJ. No panic attack, fast bike, and a comfy run….. a perfect confidence booster for what I was about to encounter this past weekend.
So, now comes the interesting race. I have never been to Coeur D’Alene before, and if you haven’t been, I highly recommend it! It is an absolutely beautiful area and the community and volunteer involvement is unbelievable! IMCDA would be my first Pro “Ironman” race, so I was really looking forward to this. I felt great, training has been going great, and my health has been in checkJ We stayed with the most amazing couple who welcomed us into their home like old friends. It made the whole experience that much more comfortable, and took much of the stress away!
For anyone who doesn’t know, CDA is usually a cooler race, and the lake is usually quite chilly for June. This year broke heat records. Water temp was 22.2 degrees (non-wetsuit for us), and the temp on the run course was measured at 50 degrees. HOT doesn’t even describe the temp out there. They pushed race start to 5:30am to try to get people out on the course earlier in the day.
The swim went pretty much as expected….no panic attack (YES!), and wasn’t as fast as I wanted it to be (how predictable….) I was 16th out of the water, hot on 4 others heels. My first lap bike split was right on track for a 5:05 bike split, which was what I was aiming for…..until I got an absolutely ridiculous “drafting” penalty. I was livid mad, and found myself biting my tongue before I said something that would get me DQ’d. There isn’t even any point in reasoning (arguing) with them….Next stop- Penalty tent! I pulled up with another pro female that got the same penalty in the same situation. It was hard not to feel like they were out to get us! So now, all that hard work I had done to pass all those women, was gone. Out of the penalty tent, I was pretty mad, but tried to keep my power under control. I was feeling great until about 150km into the bike, and it felt like someone suddenly pulled the energy plug. This was also at the point where the temp was well over 30 degrees. At least it was pretty much mostly downhill back to transition. Heading out on the run, I discovered I was in 6th! Cool! I had managed to pick off 10 women despite the penalty! I knew that by this point, Heather was well out of reach, so my focus was on trying to close the gap on the 2 women that were only 5 min up on me. That focus lasted about 3 min, as I got the most insane stomach cramp. I hadn’t drank anymore on the bike than I usually do, yet my stomach was so bloated. It finally let loose…puke#1. Great… my breakfast came up with that one…which meant that my body hadn’t been digesting or absorbing anything since 3:30 this morning. Now, my fuel gauge was well below empty, and the temp was almost 50 degrees. I tried to get whatever I could into me at each aid station, but it ended up being a vicious cycle of drink-drink-puke. My heart rate was in the basement, and I found myself run-walking because I was so dizzy I was having a hard time moving in a straight line. This was disastrous! I thought really hard about quitting, and REALLY wanted to, but my stubbornness got the best of me, and I decided that I wasn’t going to have a DNF beside my name. I toughed it out as women after women passed me. I knew I wasn’t going to place, so I decided I was just going to try to finish. I did, with the worst marathon time I could imagine. I still finished though, and despite the disappointment to myself, I was glad I did.
There is always something to be learned with every experience. Now it is time to put what I learned to work, and hammer it out at Whistler IMC!