Ironman Coeur d’Alene 2013 – the bike and run

After a good swim and quick transition I was ready for the second discipline, which is also my weakest.


I heard in advance the bike course is comparable to Ironman Canada (Penticton). This means lots of hills!


You do two out and backs for two loops, so you ride through town four times. I tried to get into a groove and hold back at the beginning. The sun was shining, the temperature was perfect, and we were riding along the beautiful lake. What more could I ask for?!

Kelly passed me on the first out and back. I was so happy to see him and wished him speed as he passed.

My stomach started to really hurt so I didn’t eat anything for two hours after the Clif Bar in transition. After a long swim I hoped the lack of fuel wouldn’t come back and bite me later.

On the large out and back loop, there were hills and plenty of them. It was a beautiful ride and I just tried to remember how lucky I am to be able to do this.


I’m not going to sugar coat it: I really struggled throughout the entire ride, especially on the large loops. The best way to describe it was soul-crushing. It was long and I struggled.


The highlights were most definitely seeing Kelly a few times and seeing my parents and aunt and uncle each time I rode through town. Crowd support, and especially seeing people you know, makes all the difference!


I also met Page on the bike course! I was so happy to hear she had a solid swim before she motored on ahead of me!

I stopped once because I thought I heard air hissing from my tires. Turns out somebody’s garbage got stuck between my brake and tire. (Phew- I really didn’t want a flat!) I stopped a second time to fill up two of my water bottles and a third time to hit a porta-potty.

I ended up eating another two Clif Bars, some Honey Stinger chews, and a few goldfish crackers. I also drank two bottles with pink lemonade Nuun and two more bottles of water.

The last few miles before town were awesome. I was just so happy to be nearing the end and to know all I had left was the run! And of course the crowds lining the streets and seeing my family again really helped!

112 mile/180km bike: 6:55:13
Age group placement: 37
Gender: 235
Overall: 1,297

At the dismount line, a volunteer takes your bike from you so all you have to do is grab your second transition bag and go to the change tent.

Again, I had a most wonderful volunteer. She lives in Seattle now but grew up near my hometown. She also participated in Ironman Canada last year! She dumped out all my stuff and asked what I needed, putting away my bike shoes, helmet, gloves, and everything else. I changed my shorts, threw on my visor, number, and runners and hit the road!


T2: 4:28 (I don’t know how the volunteer and I chatted so much in such a short time!)

The run

Oh how I love to run. My love for the run was really cemented after the tough ride.

Realizing I left fuel in my pockets that hit me every step! I took it out and left it at an aid station.

Realizing I left fuel in my pockets that hit me every step! I took it out and left it at an aid station.

The run in Coeur d’Alene is also two loops and there are some big hills in there.


I felt pretty good considering I’d already swum 4km and biked 180km. I always fear starting fast and then having to walk later. During an Ironman, I just go with it. If I feel good, I’ll run strong until I don’t feel good anymore! And then I’ll try to push through it.

I saw Kelly on my way out and he was about 10km ahead, but it was hard to do any math at that point!

We wrote an inspirational message on his back!

We wrote an inspirational message on his back!

The aid stations were bumping with music and awesome volunteers! Through neighbourhoods there was music, sprinklers, and people partying. It was such a fun atmosphere!

Since the mini loop on the bike rode along the lake, I knew where the run course turned around. I was experiencing some stomach pains so stopped at a porta-potty on the way out.

I stuck to my tested and true Ironman run plan of walking through each and every aid station to take in proper fuel. I drank something at every one- either water, Ironman Perform, or Coke (so good). I also ate three GU gels throughout, sucking back a little at each aid station.

Heading back into town at the end of the first lap, I started to get a really bad cramp on the right side of my chest. It hurt to breath. There were so many crowds lining the streets and cheering! I was going to stop and talk to my family but knew that if I stopped, it would be hard to get going again. So, I yelled that to them and headed back out for the last half of the run.


I saw Kelly again and couldn’t for the life of me figure out how far ahead he was or what his finishing time would be! I was so proud to see him running strong knowing that he would be an Ironman again in a short time!


I stopped at the bathroom again and it was a lot tougher to get moving  after this pit stop!

On the way back out of the second loop I saw Page again. She was absolutely rocking her first Ironman!

I kept trucking along. I was hurting but knew I’d hurt regardless what speed I ran. The hills on the second lap were a lot tougher than the first time around. But I thought it was a bit better since there were tons of people on the course at this point.

I was ecstatic once I hit the turnaround on the second lap and was 3/4 finished the run. All things considered I was surprised at how quickly the day went by.

Running back towards town was great. The people partying at the houses were loads of fun. The people on a corner yelling encouragement into a microphone was exactly what I needed to hear. And all the aid station volunteers were so gracious.

After a tiny uphill, you turn onto Sherman Ave and cruise slightly downhill to the finish. The streets were absolutely lined with spectators cheering.


My family was lining the finishers’ chute. I, slightly dazed, ran through high-fiving people and crossed that finish line to Mike Reilly saying Abby Kokolski, you ARE an Ironman.


26.2 mile/42.2km run: 3:43:33
Age group placement: 14
Gender: 94
Overall: 613

The volunteers at the finish line are called catchers and my catcher literally had to catch me as I was overcome with emotion. Kelly was right there waiting for me. I can’t express the feeling of crossing the line.

Overall time: 12:06:01
Age group placement: 14
Overall: 613

I got my finisher’s hat, shirt, and medal then got my photo taken. I did not feel right at all but didn’t want to go to medical since nothing was actually wrong with me. We grabbed pizza, water, and chocolate milk and sat in the grass. I couldn’t eat and felt terrible. We found my parents and my dad and Kelly got our bikes and my bags.


Not feeling good!

We went back to the hotel to clean up before heading back downtown to cheer on more finishers. I’ll recap that in a separate post, as it is the most inspirational couple hours.

I think this race was the most difficult of the three I’ve finished (Arizona in 2010 and Canada in 2012). I don’t know if it’s because of the course or because I wasn’t as fit going into it.

I am shocked I ran a 3:43 marathon after all that and am even more shocked that I pulled off a personal best (just by 55 seconds, but a PR is a PR)!

Thank you all for reading and for your encouragement. I am so fortunate to have an amazingly supportive family, friends, and this online community.

Ironman Coeur d’Alene 2013

My stats
: 1:15:58
Bike: 6:55:12
Run: 3:43:32
Overall: 12:06:01

Overall stats
Total participants: 2,274
Men: 1,561
Women: 577
Average time: 13:15:41:49

What race are you most proud of? 

66 responses to “Ironman Coeur d’Alene 2013 – the bike and run

  1. Very impressive and what a strong run at the end! Overall it sounds like a great event and that you had a good time with friends and family. Congrats to both of you and finishing an ironman is definitely an accomplishment all in itself.

  2. You ran a 3:43 marathon at the end of an Ironman? That’s incredible! Thanks for sharing the story of your day with us!

  3. WOW, just, WOW!! Congratulations to you and Kelly!! I can’t believe what you two just did is even humanly possible. I’m in so much awe of people who push beyond the limits of what seems doable, it’s just so inspirational!. you have my eternal admiration and respect! i love these recaps! i cant wait to hear about how it went in town afterwards!

    • Thanks for the sincere comment, Charlotte. Town was AWESOME! I’ll post about it this week!
      I’ve been reading WS100 (Western States 100) updates this weekend and am in complete awe of what those people do!

  4. Wow. You’re amazing! 🙂 I’m sorry you didn’t feel well at the end, but I hope a surge of pride and accomplishment took over those icky feelings. Congrats to you!!!

  5. WOW!!! I am literally blown away right now. I am seriously so impressed right now!! Reading recaps are always my favorite thing to read, and this one was fabulous! GET IT GIRL!!!!

  6. You are truly awesome! Great job!!

  7. Go IronWoman… you KILLED that marathon! I can’t even run that time without the swim and bike!
    I actually ran some of the course Saturday AM and I definitely stopped halfway up one of the hills and turned around!! I figured I wasn’t trying to be an Ironman so I could chicken out!
    I didn’t realize you were doing Ironman Canada… Justin is trying to raise enough money to get a charity spot there… if so, we MUST meet then!
    emma @ a mom runs this town . com

    • I was surprised by the hills since they didn’t seem that big on the bike!
      That would be awesome if you guys come to Canada. Yes- we would for sure need to actually plan a meet up!

  8. This is just amazing. I had obviously heard of what an ironman consisted of but totally forgot until your recap that you had to run a full marathon after all the swimming and biking. Wow. You are totally my hero! Great recap too.

  9. Wow.. I’m blown away by this! It would take me years to train for something like this. Congrats!

  10. So great! Congrats! I am so amazed at what the body is capable of, wow. I’d love to read about how you train for one of these bad boys one day.. I would feel like it would take forever and how do you fit it all in with work and life!? Congrats again! You guys are awesome.

    • Thank you, Britta!
      I don’t think I should tell people how I train for these, as I have no background or science to what I do!
      It definitely isn’t easy to fit in full-time work, training, and everything else. But, if you love it enough, you make the time!
      Enjoy cruising around on your new bike!

  11. Congrats on an amazing race! 3:43 marathon in an IM. You are AWESOME! And boy do I hear ya on your feelings about the bike. The bike portion is what scares me most about doing an IM some day. It’s my weakest discipline by far. When I did my Half IM a few years ago, I was so excited to get off my bike and run. And that was only 56 miles! Congrats again to both of you for an awesome race!

    • Thank you, Nicole!
      The bike is just so daunting since it is SO long. I can’t wait for the day I read that you’ve signed up for one!

  12. Loved reading this. I read it to my hubby as we are driving home from CdA. He finished in 12:08 and is impressed at your great race! He had a great time and I know wants to race another. You have both inspired me to want to do an Ironman too!

    • A huge congratulations to your husband on an incredible first Ironman! We must have seen each other on the course since we finished minutes apart!
      I would highly recommend you sign up for one 🙂
      How was your drive home?

  13. You are so inspiringly awesome! Others (me!) would dream to run a 3:45 marathon. You pull one out of the bag AFTER swimming 4k and riding 180. You are nothing short of wickedly awesome. And your recap gave me the chills. Again. Big fat congrats.

  14. Runner Girl Eats

    Congrats on the PR! I am so in awe reading your recaps!

  15. Awesome Abby! Congratulations on a great race and thanks for a wonderful recap. I felt like I was there at that finishing chute photo and it brought a tear to my eyes – your family must be so proud of you. You are such an inspiration, you almost have me wanting to try out swimming now!
    I hope you felt better quickly afterwards!

    • Thank you, Sherry! Our parents are proud, but I think they wonder when we’ll stop!
      You should definitely try swimming- it would be great cross-training to give your knee some days off!

  16. Congrats!!!! You rocked that marathon! I’m still so impressed! CdA is a very tough course – I’m sure that was a big part of the way you felt! Congrats on the PR!

    My most proud race is also Ironman CdA 🙂

  17. Oh my goodness, you did AMAZING!!! I can’t believe you ran a marathon in under 4 hours after that much swimming & biking. You’re a rock star!! Glad you were able to watch the other finishers for a bit.

  18. Wow- amazing run time! Congrats!

  19. triathlonobsession

    What a race and 14th in your age is impressive!!! Well done Abby! :). Elizabeth

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  21. You rock! A 3:43 marathon is incredible at the end of an IM. And so is your AG placement. I think you had an amazing race, especially when you factor in the fact that you were undertrained compared to where you wanted to be. Really great finish–congrats!

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  23. AWESOME JOB OUT THERE! I didn’t even know that you weren’t feeling great! Congrats on being a stud and the PR!!

  24. runnerbydefault

    Awesome job!! I love how the volunteers help you out. I am sure that is a big help in transition!

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  26. You are so smoking fast!! Congrats!! Such an awesome day even though you didn’t feel good!! I can not imagine running a 3:43 stand alone marathon let alone after an IM!! I have a lot of mental strength! ROCK STAR!!!!
    So awesome that we have done all 3 of the same IM’s!! CDA was definitely my worst too!!!
    The race I am most proud of is IMAZ!! I had an incredible day and exceeded all of my goals!!

    • I didn’t know you’ve done Canada- that is crazy we’ve done the same three!
      Congrats on your half this weekend! Sometimes they’re easier, and sometimes you have to fight!

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  28. Abby! Well done. CdA was a tough course. It was my 1st, but I can tell you that the bike course wasn’t hilly, it had CLIMBS! Your run time is something to be really proud of. Keep going, and good luck in IM Canada.

  29. I loved reading your bike/run recap! I am so impressed that you ran a 3:43:33 marathon AFTER swimming and biking! You IronMen are amazing! Congratulations!

    I’m probably most proud of my marathon PR at the Steamtown Marathon. Like you, I was overcome with emotions after I crossed the finish line.

    • Thanks, Debbie!
      It’s such a great feeling to know how hard you worked for something!
      I have actually been to Scranton a couple times! I’ve heard great things about their marathon!

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  31. Wow! Way to go! That run time is fantastic and I am so excited for your accomplishments. Hope you are enjoying some time off!

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