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
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!)
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.
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!
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
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
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
Total participants: 2,274
Average time: 13:15:41:49
What race are you most proud of?