Tag Archives: bike

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? 

The procrastinator’s holiday gift guide

I’m a procrastinator. I usually finish shopping on Christmas Eve and desperately try to finish wrapping gifts then, too.

This year, thanks to an awesome hubby who shopped for everyone we buy gifts for, I’m done! I finished up Kelly’s shopping on the weekend and now just have to wait for a few online purchases to be delivered.

For any other procrastinators out there, here are a few gift ideas from budget friendly to extravagant.

For the vegan





  • Adopt a farm animal from Farm Sanctuary. For Kelly’s birthday, I adopted a goat for him. He absolutely loved the gift of Miss. Hattie! The coolest part is you can visit one of their three shelters and even visit your adopted animal.


For the outdoorsman/woman


  • Dehydrated food for their long trek, or make them granola or energy bars
  • Maps of your favourite trails or trips
  • Sunscreen and mosquito repellant


  • A headlamp and case
  • Trekking poles
  • Gorillapod tripod

100_1332 High-end

  • A SPOT Satellite GPS messenger. Kelly got one of these before going on a back-country avalanche training course. Phones didn’t work and the internet was down the entire week he was gone. Thankfully, he sent me a SPOT message everyday so I knew he was safe. It also would have allowed him to contact emergency services if required.
  • Winter sports gear, like snowshoes, cross-country skis, downhill skis, or a snowboard.

Photo taken from http://www.findmespot.ca

For the runner, cyclist, or triathlete


  • Offer to go running, biking, or swimming with them.
  • Watch their kids so they can train without feeling guilty.
  • Cook a couple freezer meals they can quickly heat up during peak training.
  • Volunteer at a local race, or one they are participating in.
  • If you know how, offer free bike maintenance. If you don’t know how, find a free maintenance class offered at a bike shop and take it with them.

Mid-range – Gear of any kind! Look at their active clothes to find their fave brand and size.

Mid-range Runner

Mid-range Cyclist

Mid-range Triathlete


  • A GPS watch. I got the Garmin 910xt last year and it’s incredible.
  • A bicycle trainer
  • Registration to a race (bonus points if it’s a destination race).
  • A treadmill
  • An annual gym membership

For the traveller


  • Offer to watch their house, water their plants, mow their lawn, or shovel their snow while they’re away. (No complaining about how much it snowed!)
  • Drive them to and from the airport.


  • Get them a cute luggage tag made from a map of their favourite travels.
  • Buy a durable phone case, iPad cover, or laptop case.
  • Donate to a charity at their favourite destination.


  • Research the best activities at their destination and buy a tour package or admission to an event.
  • Sponsor a child in their name from their favourite country.

We were in Florida for my birthday a few years ago and went on the Beluga Interaction!

Have you finished your holiday shopping? What’s on your wish list?

IM Canada 2012 – the bike

180km/112 mile bike: 6:49:12
T2: 4:59

The Ironman Canada bike ride has been touted as gorgeous with challenging terrain and one of the most spectacular bikes on the Ironman circuit.

I think I have to agree with the first point- it was stunning and the hills and rollers were breathtaking!

I was so happy to be finished one discipline and starting the second.

I realized I messed up my Garmin so spent a while with my head down trying to figure it out! I also wore my jacket, knowing I’m always super cold. I ended up taking it off quite quickly, but was still glad I had it in my back pockets in case the elevations were stormy.

I saw my aunt and uncle soon after I left transition and was so grateful they were there cheering us on!

We started riding through Penticton and I got passed by what felt like hundreds of people. I read a lot of IMCA race reports from previous years and they all said to go slow at the beginning when it’s flat and your adrenaline is pumping. Also, although my biking really improved this year, biking is still my weakest leg. And I had a long distance and lots of climbing to tackle.

The whole time I was hoping Kelly would pass me soon so I’d know he safely made it out of the lake. I got my wish soon enough when I heard him calling me! He slowed down and we talked for a couple minutes before he flew away!

The first 60km were pretty uneventful. I was passed a lot, I tried to fuel up, and you couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.

The first major hill is Richter’s Pass, climbing 1,270 feet in elevation over seven miles with grades ranging from 5-9%. There were tons of spectators on the climb, and they were so encouraging! I had a smile on my face the whole time. I also passed quite a few people on the uphill, which was a good confidence booster. I was really happy I decided to use my road bike for this course to better ride the hills. (Most people I passed flew by me as soon as we declined, as I am too scared to go faster than 50km/hour!)

This is also where I saw my parents! I can’t stress enough how great it is to have spectators during an Ironman. It is such a boost!

The views throughout the climb and up top were a great distraction from the challenging nature of the course. There were countless vineyards and large fruit farms with their rows of trees. Luckily, it was really hot out as there have been pretty bad storms at the top of Richter’s in the past.

I didn’t mind the heat, although I was worried about how I was doing with my nurtition. I didn’t have a plan and tried to take in liquid and other fuel often, but it wasn’t easy with the constant climing.

The middle portion of the race is seven somewhat challenging hills in succession, known as the seven sisters or seven b**ches. I didn’t mind them, but I was definitely starting to tire at this point and wonder how I’d finish the bike and then run a marathon.

I broke the bike into three 60km sections to help me out mentally. I think it worked pretty well. I knew special needs was around 120km and then Yellow Lake, the final climb, was at 140km.

Before the special needs you do almost an L of two out and backs. I ended up seeing Kelly here after his second out and back just before I hit my first. (This was after he ate and drank at special needs for about 15 minutes!) We yelled a quick hi to eachother before he zoomed away again!

As you approach special needs, there’s one more tight turn. A girl in front of me bailed, but thankfully was going slow. Turns out she fell again and took another rider with her when she was grabbing her special needs bag near where I was.

In my opinion, take your time at aid stations and turns. It’s so much safer to lose a bit of time than to be careless (especially if your biking around where I am=not fast)!

I stopped completely to take my bag and grab a water from an aid station. I had rice krispie squares in my special needs that I was craving so I ate a couple while standing there! I carried all my own fuel (salted pretzels, Honey Stinger Chews, PowerBar Harvest Bar) and only took one water from them, as I had all my own liquids (Nuun), too. However, the volunteers at all the aid stations were awesome at cheering!

A little while after the special needs I stopped to use the bathroom before getting back on, ready to finish the last leg of the bike!

We had one more climb to conquer: Yellow Lake. Apparently it’s about 20km and you climb over 1,000 feet of elevation.  It’s not nearly as steep as Richter’s; however, at the late stage of the bike it was supposed to be tough.

It was the hardest part of the day for me. My lady parts were sore, I was tired, and I was ready to get off the bike. I persevered and kept pushing when I really just wanted to take it easy.

A guy and I went back and forth a few times and we both lamented how we thought we were at the top a couple times before realizing we still had climbing to finish!

After Yellow Lake, it’s a lot of downhill into Penticton. I braked a lot but still really enjoyed the rest for my legs! Once we got into Penticton, I was all smiles again knowing that once I got off the bike I only had my favourite part to go.

There’s a part near the end of the bike where you see the runners heading out. It was crazy hot at this point and the runners looked like they were pretty exhausted. Yikes- I wondered what the run had in store for me.

I kept my eyes out for Kelly and ended up seeing him again!! He called out for me to come and catch him and I thought there is no way in heck.

The crowds were incredible the closer you got to transition. The energy really helped to finish strong! Into transition I saw my parents and aunt and uncle and couldn’t wait to get out onto the run.

They had so many volunteers, so one grabbed my bike to rack for me. I must have had the biggest grin on my face when I let go of my bike!!

I hobbled to get my special needs bag and went back into the female tent. I changed my shorts, emptied the pockets of my shirt, changed socks and shoes, put on a visor, and put some fuel into my shirt (salt pills, a gel, and Sport Beans).

Again, I went and got sunscreen put on me. The volunteer seemed taken aback at how burnt part of my back was. But I couldn’t feel a thing and left transition SO happy to be running.

Next up…the 42.2km/26.2mile run in the blazing sun!

Previous posts:

Mistakes made & lessons learned

I learned two valuable lessons this week in training:

  1. If you tell someone which route you’re taking, stick to that route.
  2. Always bring an extra layer on the bike.

I went out for a ride last Monday. As I was heading out, my husband was coming home from work on his commuter bike. He told me he’d be a bit getting his road bike prepped  but that he’d catch up to me so we could ride home together. I told him the route I was taking.

Turns out, there was a train blocking my route. Instead of waiting or heading back the way I came to intercept him, I went a different direction.

Long story short, he was really worried about me when I wasn’t on the route I said I’d be on. He called my mom to see if I had called her due to bike trouble. She got scared and came to look for me, too.

I ended up seeing her on the highway and she called Kelly to tell him I was ok. The {non}funny thing was that when I saw her my heart jumped into my throat because I thought something happened to Kelly! (My parents are listed on his Road ID.)

I totally learned my lesson and will ALWAYS stick to the route I say I’m going. Or, call the person I told to tell them I’m going a different way.

Lesson #2

The forecast was decent for our long Sunday ride. The temperature slowly dropped. The winds picked up. The rain clouds rolled in. It rained; then it poured. And it continued to pour for our last 80 minutes home.

I, thankfully, took arm warmers. Kelly only had on a short-sleeved jersey. He froze the entire ride home. My feet were numb, but other than that I was doing ok. About 6km from home, I got a flat tire. (I couldn’t see a thing in front of me due to the rain.) We stopped and Kelly changed my tube since he’s SO much faster at it. In the five minutes we stood there, we both turned into icicles. Oh, and it started thundering and lightning…not a good thing to be in when on your bike!

We both learned our lesson and will take a jacket or long-sleeved shirt with us for long rides. (Unless it’s amazing weather, which it rarely is here.)

What’s the last lesson you learned? Have you gotten stuck in rotten weather?

It’s Friiiday and I’m less than two months away

Friday is always a great day, but especially when it’s the Friday before a long weekend. I’m in way too good of a mood today to be at work and especially since I have to stay late!

It’s Canada Day on Sunday, so I get Monday off too. Unfortunately Kelly has to work so we can’t escape to the mountains. Instead, we’ll hopefully get in some good workouts  here and enjoy activities around home.

Two months

Tuesday marked two months until Ironman Canada. I celebrated with a lunch run on the trails and a bike after work.

I’m kind of shocked it’s coming up so quickly! But I’ve been really happy with how my training has progressed (knock on wood). <– I’m still doing that!

I’m still not following a training plan and am just going with how my body feels. I remember what I did last time (for IMAZ in 2010) and am trying to keep my weekly runs, bikes, and swims on par. It’s a lot less stressful this way, and I know I’m doing what I am able.

I ran off the bike yesterday for only the third time. I think it will always feel weird, but it’s getting used to that odd feeling that I need to practice.

Here’s to another safe and healthy two months of training to get Kelly and me to the start (and finish!) line on August 26!

Crosswinds, angry dogs and old age

It was another solid workout weekend that really informed me of one thing: I’m getting older!

After a busy week with some missed workouts and low mileage I was ready to go on Saturday morning. The hubby and I hit the highway for our longest ride so far this year.

He zoomed off and I struggled, unsuccessfully, to hit a decent pace. There was a strong crosswind and I simply couldn’t pedal fast or strong enough to pick up speed. Kelly did some out and backs to check up on me. It was so frustrating to see him pedal seamlessly into the wind and become a speck in the distance in no time. He’s going to crush the bike at IronmanCanada!

About a quarter of the way into our ride we came across a very protective farm dog. Unfortunately, he only had eyes for me and came running towards me at an incredible pace. Fortunately, Kelly was riding with me (a few metres behind) and called the dog so it would run towards him instead. Disaster averted!

On our training rides two years ago, we’d often have farm dogs chase us. Some were angry and some were friendly. It’s tough to know what they are when they come running towards you at top speed.

I finished the day with 120km and some good time in the saddle.

Later that day, my knees just ached. It wasn’t necessarily my typical knee pain but more of a dull ache. I’m attributing it to a couple things: a cooler, windy ride; a longer distance than I’ve done in a couple years; and getting older. I realize I’m in no way old, but I do think being a couple years older is affecting my body.

I also don’t know if I just don’t remember what it’s like to train long, or if my body needs more sleep and recovery. After the ride on Saturday I was exhausted and when I woke up on Sunday I was still tired. We headed out for a 15 km run. I was pretty sluggish but happy that my knees were fine.

I’m hoping to get my mileage back up there this week and knock off some quality workouts.

Have you ever been chased by a dog when running or biking? Any tips for what to do if you’re alone?