Tag Archives: Ironman Coeur d’Alene

Spare time

Although participating in an Ironman and crossing that finish line is such an indescribable feeling, the week after is pretty great too!


(You better believe I’ll be posting Ironman Coeur d’Alene photos at every opportunity!)

I came home from work and wasn’t in a mad rush to get out the door again.

I ate junk without thinking about it.

I took Harold on leisurely walks.


I visited with my niece, sister, and brother-in-law.

I took out both my cruiser and my mountain bike not once, but twice.

I went to the Farmer’s Market on a Saturday morning and perused many booths. (Not normally possible when Ironman training.)

I lazed around for an entire long weekend and took two naps.


That being said, I can’t wait to get back at it and get ready for Ironman Canada!

I took last week ridiculously easy, riding my road bike once, and running and swimming naked (sans watch) once each.

This week I hope to pick it up a little. My legs are feeling pretty good and my bike ride was really strong (if only it could be on race days)!

I’m trying to be smart about it and take more time than rush back into it and struggle for the next eight weeks.

Plus, I think I could use one more week to enjoy this spare time!

What are your favourite recovery activities?

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? 

Ironman Coeur d’Alene 2013 – pre race and the swim

The days leading up to IMCdA were a ton of fun! The energy and atmosphere was incredible. The expo and race site were buzzing. And the people of Coeur d’Alene and other athletes were so welcoming and friendly.


Due to cold and rain, we didn’t workout on Wednesday or Thursday. On Friday, the rain and clouds broke so we went for a run and icy dip in the beautiful lake.


We had purchased  thermal skull caps before we left and bought booties at the expo.


Even with those items on, I was numb in seconds! Once you swam for a bit the water wasn’t so bad.

The athlete dinner on Friday was inspiring. I love hearing the stories of incredible obstacles people have overcome and seeing the variety of participants.


On Saturday the weather improved more and the energy around Ironman was vibrant. Kelly and I went for a bike ride to get our legs moving and ensure the bikes were in prime working order.

I’m so lucky to have an awesome bike mechanic at home and on our travels!

After our ride, we went to the hotel to get our transition bags and rode back down to drop off our bikes and bags. Whenever we do this, it fully hits me that we are doing an Ironman!!! Ahh!


We had an early supper on Saturday and then called it a night hoping for sleep.


Kelly woke us up before our alarms at 2:45am so we ate breakfast in the room.


We met my parents then headed to transition to get body marked, check on our bikes and add fuel, and wait for the swim!




Although I get ridiculously nervous, I love the anxious energy buzzing on race morning. It comes from the athletes and the thousands of spectators.


I’m always freezing so put on my wetsuit quite early with my clothes on top. I couldn’t believe how quickly two hours went by. Before I knew it, we were moving towards the lake to get in a practice swim.

Ironman implemented the Swim Smart initiative at this race that allows access to the lake for a warm up swim and features a rolling start.

I loved being able to get into the lake early, especially after my panicky experience at the Oliver half iron a few weekends before. After a little warm up, Kelly and I seeded ourselves together and took it all in.

The Swim

  • 2.4 mile swim time: 1:15:58
  • T1 time: 6:51


I was impressed with how smoothly the rolling start worked. Before I knew it our timing chips beeped and we were crossing the start line.


I didn’t really allow myself to think and just started swimming. After reading Jenn’s race report, I remembered to pretend I was swimming at the pool in practice (albeit with 2,400 other people)! In practice I breathe every three swim strokes but in races I almost always breathe every two. This time, I mostly breathed every three, which kept my breath more controlled.

I also was shocked that I wasn’t cold! In Arizona I remember shaking halfway through and starting the bike numb. The thermal cap and booties really helped.

I swim wide to avoid as much contact as possible at the turn buoys. I’m glad I did swim wide, as I still got grabbed a little. The worst of the contact was nearing the beach at the end of the first lap. People were pulling me and it was plain old uncomfortable. Thankfully we got out, ran on the sand for a few steps, and did it all over again!

The second loop was pretty uneventful but I do remember smiling to myself thinking how happy I was to be doing another Ironman! I was disappointed I didn’t see Kelly since we’ve seen each other in the middle of the swim in both races we’ve done. I hoped he was swimming strong and staying crampless!

Before I knew it I was nearing the beach again. I ran out of the water so happy to be finished one of three disciplines.

2.4 mile swim time: 1:15:58
Age group placement: 28
Gender: 176
Overall: 934

My wetsuit was stripped by two wonderful ladies. Then I grabbed my T1 bag and ran into the female change tent.

I wear a bathing suit under my wetsuit so I can start off kind of dry. Another fabulous volunteer helped me put on my sports bra (so hard when you’re wet!) and arm warmers. I put on the rest of my cycling gear and she stuffed everything into my transition bag while I started eating a Clif bar.

They had gummy bears and pretzels to take on the way out, so I took one gummy bear! I stopped for sunscreen application from another volunteer then grabbed my bike and headed out on the highway for the longest ride of my life!

T1 time: 6:51

Up next…the bike and run.

What are your pre-race rituals?

Ironman Coeur d’Alene complete!

On Sunday, June 23 I became an Ironman for the third time in Coeur d’Alene. It was an amazing day full of ups and downs on a challenging course.


I surprisingly squeaked out a 55 second personal best finishing in 12:06:01. Kelly got a major personal best finishing in 11:34:39!

We had blast in the beautiful town of Coeur d’Alene. I’ll be posting a full recap but wanted to say THANK YOU for all your support. The online community is simply incredible.

Ironman journey – Coeur d’Alene

The Ironman journey culminates with the crossing of the finish line and hearing “You are an Ironman” along with the cheers of spectators.


The race can take up to 17 hours to complete. Believe it or not, that’s the easier part. The hardest part is getting there.

The actual Ironman journey is in the training: the long bike rides through the country, the early morning swims, and the joy of long runs.


Along with the swim/bike/run training comes the strength training, injury prevention work, proper nutrition and, when you can manage, enough sleep!

Yummy fuel

Yummy fuel

It’s the early bed times, the missed parties, and the days you go through like a zombie. It’s the snowy/windy/icy/rainy training days.

So why do people do it? Each person has their reason, whether it’s for the challenge, to test your limits, to inspire others, or to gain confidence in knowing what you can achieve with hard work. Some people do it after battling illness, losing massive amounts of weight, or going through a life change.

I’m not sure why I do it. I’ve always loved running. I love to cycle. And I love endurance sports. I can’t imagine a more fun way to spend time with my husband. And I like to challenge my myself.

CdA journey
My Ironman Coeur d’Alene journey has been an interesting one with lots of ups and a couple downs!

I arrived home from five weeks in Asia on March 14 with a few extra pounds on my body and a lack of fitness!


One of our more strenuous days!

In the 13 weeks since we’ve been home, I’ve worked hard to increase my endurance and keep healthy.

I learned to love my bike trainer, riding hours on there and setting a new personal record of 5 hours, 38 minutes. Outside rides haven’t been as plentiful. However I did get in one glorious and hilly ride in Jasper and a solo 100 miler to test my mental game.


My running mileage stayed quite low due to knee issues and then foot/ankle problems. I went from running three days a week to zero days to two days per week.


But, I ran 13 miles twice and felt strong running in the Oliver half Iron tri. I also pool ran twice and was surprised to find I enjoyed it and could work up quite a sweat. My favourite training run was definitely our family trail run in Jasper!


I practiced yoga once a week and strength trained twice nearly every week. I also foam roll like crazy and keep up my physio exercises. Massage is one of my favourite luxuries, and I’ve been going about once a month. Glorious.


I’ve only been swimming once a week. I decided to only go once instead of forcing myself a second time and despising it! My practice swims have been faster than other years, which I credit to extra strength training. My Oliver time didn’t reflect that, but I feel much stronger.

We competed in one practice race a few weekends ago, which further ignited my love for the sport.

The journey is coming to an end after a challenging few months. We leave for Coeur d’Alene on Wednesday. I can’t wait for the energy of the town, the spirit of the athletes, and the power of the spectators.

I’m excited to hopefully meet blogging friends (Page, Beth, and Emma).

And I can’t wait to race another Ironman with my husband and have family there to support us.


Ironman Arizona 2010

My goal is to have FUN, regardless of my times or pain and discomfort I’m feeling!

Why do you compete in running, triathlon, or anything else?

Four week itch

Numbers have been assigned,  my longest workouts are finished, and we’re less than four weeks out from IMCdA.  I had a minor panic at the thought of it.


Thankfully, my husband broke it down for me.

  • I did a 4km swim the other weekend, so I know I’ve got it (barring no serious issues or hypothermia).
  • Although I won’t get in a 180km ride before this race, I biked 160km by myself this training cycle and I’ve ridden 180 a handful of times before.
  • My furthest run will be 13 miles, but before IM Canada last year my longest run was only 15 miles.
  • If my knee(s) bum out, the worst that happens is I have to walk and have a lot of fun cheering for other people!
  • Most importantly, we do it for FUN!

I think nerves are something I will always have to deal with, regardless how prepared I am and how often I’ve participated in a distance. I ran track years ago and would get extremely nervous every single time, whether it was a small or big race and no matter how well I had trained.

I remember sitting on the grass about 20 minutes before Ironman Canada started last year wondering why I signed up for it. But during the event, I loved it!


Like always, my nerves are already kicking in along with doubts. I’ll just keep training, look at our race photos from previous events (to remind me how much I love it), and try to break down what makes me most fearful.

If it’s something I can’t control like water temperature, winds on the bike, rain, and other people on the swim and bike, I shouldn’t waste my energy worrying. (All part of my anxiety!)

Hopefully that will help me stay calm and get me to the start line with a smile!

Do you get nervous before a race? What keeps you calm?