Tag Archives: run

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? 

Relax…a lot

I’ve been fighting something for a long while now. So that coupled with trying to take it easy on the workout front made for a relaxing weekend!

I slept…a lot. I watched movies…a lot of them.  Six to be exact.

I spent a lot of time with these two.

I ate a lot of chocolate. (I had to buy Halloween candy early. One year I didn’t and wasn’t left with the tastiest options!)

I did some yoga (trying to do it weekly).

I foam rolled a lot. It was painful, but productive.

And…I RAN! It wasn’t a lot of running, but the one short run was glorious! It was freezing. It was physically tough. But mentally, it was incredible.

Oh yeah, and it snowed…a lot (for October). I took this picture mid-afternoon and it’s been snowing ever since!

On the topic of wacky weather, I’m thinking of everyone on the east coast and off the coast of British Columbia. Stay safe.

Did you do a lot of anything this weekend?

Something’s missing

I haven’t written about running lately because I haven’t been running much at all lately.

I ran once after the Denver RnR half, took some time off, ran twice in Victoria (running by the ocean is irresistible to me!), and tried one more run at home before caving in and seeing my physiotherapist.

That’s a total of four runs in five weeks. I thought it was an old issue creeping up again, so I did all my physio moves for a few weeks to no avail.

I went to the physio on Friday and he thinks he knows what the issue is (fingers crossed). I’m working on it and have to try running again before my next appointment. I’m hoping it goes well!

I’ve been biking on the trainer but even that has bugged my knee a little this week.

We went to a wedding on Saturday and my knee was throbbing and swollen after some dancing. So I took one day totally off and then biked easy the next day.

On one hand I know I’m really lucky that this is downtime for me and I should be taking time off.

On the other hand, I simply love to run and miss it! I miss running in fall with crisp temperatures and leaves crunching. I miss running with my husband. I miss chasing my dog. I miss running to clear my head after a busy day at work.

Read Lindsay’s fabulous Thou Shalt’s post over at Cotter Crunch. (While you’re there, check out her Healthy Bites!)

At the bottom of her post there are 10 Commandments for  the Runner, and they came at the perfect time for me.

5. Honor thy muscles and thy “aches and pains” and do not push through an injury. Runners are not invincible.

I’m hoping I get this figured out. And then I hope I can hold back and stay smart training, slowly building a base to work off of for IMCdA.

Anyone else suffering running withdrawals? What’s your favourite cross-training activity?

I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I’m looking forward to snow so I can cross-country ski and snowshoe to cross-train!

IM Canada 2012 – the run

42.2km/26.2 mile run: 3:49:49

Going into the race and getting off the bike I had no idea how I would run. I knew I ran a 3:59:10 at Ironman Arizona, but I had no idea if I’d be anywhere close to that here.

The run for Ironman Canada is an out-and-back that goes along Skaha lake, which is a different lake than the one we swam in. The first four miles run through Penticton, but once you leave town it is pretty quiet other than runners. At 15km, you begin to climb a hill that leads into the turn around. It’s a gradual grade but enough to be a challenge. After the turnaround, there is 11km of gradual uphill to the 38km mark of the race. At that point, there are tons of spectators, you run an out and back, and then hit the finish line!

I started running and felt pretty great, considering. After a quick out and back, at about 5km, I stopped to chat with my parents and aunt and uncle. We quickly said hi, they told me how Kelly was feeling, and then I was off.

The spectators in Penticton were awesome! I was passing quite a few people and a bit worried I was taking it out to fast. On the other hand, I know running is my strength and decided to go with how I felt instead of reigning it in.

I have to thank a gentleman for mocking me loudly instead of encouraging me. When I ran by, he laughed out loud and said, “pace yourself, honey”. You better believe I thought about him later on when I was starting to hurt! There was no way I was going to slow down in case he later saw me struggling.

Although the run course was pretty quiet and mostly along the beautiful Skaha Lake, we ran by many homes on the lake. The people who lived in the area were out in full force with hoses and energy! I asked every single person who had a hose to spray me. It was H-O-T!

The aid stations and volunteers were also incredible. There were constantly aid stations and they were manned so well. I walked through every single one and switched drinking cola, water, and Gatorade Perform at every station. I think I took three salt pills throughout the marathon, too. I ate my Sport Beans, gel, and then grabbed bananas from some stations.

I started to get stomach pains in the first half so stopped at two porta-potties. I think I’m one of the only germaphobes in the world who hovers over the toilet in a squat when their legs are that tired! At the second stop, I took the time to toilet paper the seat before sitting.

Shortly after I saw Kelly! It was pretty funny. When he saw me he exclaimed, “Oh no, I’m going to get chicked by my wife”! All the people around us laughed. We stopped, hugged, had a quick chat and then kept running—me towards the turnaround and him towards the finish.

I just kept moving. It was really hot, but thankfully they had cold, wet sponges at all the aid stations. I started sticking them under my shirt straps on each shoulder, or one in the front of my top and one in the back. When I’d get really hot, I’d take them out and wring them over top of my head. It felt amazing!

I was so happy when I hit the turnaround! I was still feeling relaxed and was surprised by my quick pace (relatively speaking) but was starting to tire out. I knew I only had a half marathon to go so kept trucking.

Pretty soon, at 25km, I caught up to Kelly. It was great to chat with him! We walked together for a bit and tried to speedily catch up on each other’s day so far. Soon after we parted ways.

As this point I kept counting down the kilometres. Since aid stations were fairly close together, there were a lot of nice walking breaks. Although the closer I got to the finish, the harder it was so start running again after drinking.

My cramps were coming back and I was thankful for my triple brick training session. On my last run that day it was super hot and I cramped up. Instead of walking, I had pushed through. It gave me the confidence to keep pushing through these stomach cramps.

The run seemed like a death march at this point. It was hot, and some people I was passing looked like every walking step was torture. And the people making their way towards the turnaround looked so pained, too. No matter how long you’re out there or how fast or slow you are, it is a taxing day.

Coming back into Penticton the crowds were amazing. Everyone was cheering you on by name and it was really encouraging.

Once you get close to the finish line, you have to do an out and back. I know a lot of people didn’t like this aspect of the course, but I liked it (although it seemed to take forever)! That way you had crowds about 4km from the finish and then again for the last one.

Approaching the finish line is an amazing feeling—you’ve been working hard for (in my case) just over 12 hours, you trained hard for months, you had ups and downs in training, you struggled throughout parts of the day, and you’re finally accomplishing your goal that you’ve thought about countless times from the day you signed up for the race.

I took it all in. I smiled, I high-fived, and I absorbed all the energy. Again, I didn’t hear them say my name when I crossed the finish line, but this time I got video from Brightroom (the race photographers) so I can watch it! And I loved that at this race they held the finish line tape for each athlete.

Final time: 12:06:56

As soon as I crossed the line, they had two volunteers to walk with me to get my medal, shirt, and hat, and then get finisher photos taken. Then they walked with me to the food area and showed me where things were, ensured I felt alright, and then left.

I went and found my parents and aunt and uncle, but just stayed with my mom as the other three were strategically placed so my mom could call them when she saw us coming in! I hung out with her for a bit and tried to stretch and then she saw Kelly coming!! I ran {hobbled} back around into the finishers area to wait for him at the finish line.

It was an incredible day! We continued the fun into the night, and I’ll do one last recap about that. All I have to say for now is the finish line at midnight is beyond inspiring.

Thanks for reading. I know these are ridiculously long, but I know I’ll enjoy reading them later on.

Previous posts:

Six weeks to race day

With six weeks to go until Ironman Canada and plenty of triathlons and the TdF to watch and read about, I am more than inspired to hit a couple peak weeks of training.

We had an easy eight days when we were on holidays but came back in time for a solid weekend of training. I was a little worried after an easy week, a long-boarding mishap that bruised my knee and elbow and inflamed cartilage in my chest, and a 19-hour drive.

On Friday we ran 20km. I would have liked to go further but the air quality was poor due to forest fires. I’m glad we managed to hit that distance! On Saturday we woke up to a gorgeous day and got on our bikes for a 160km ride. I forgot how much that distance hurts!

Mentally, it scares me to know I have to go 20km further after swimming 3.8km and then get off the bike and run a marathon. I also know that I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again.

(I really need to work on my mental game in these last weeks!)

On Sunday we hit the pool and got in 3km. I still have to progress my swim distance. Hopefully within the next week I can get in the full 3.8km swim with a little extra.

Overall I was happy with training this weekend. I felt my knee at the beginning of the run but chalked it up to my fall. I was exhausted on the bike but I expected it since I haven’t reached that distance in a couple years. It was also a hot day, which was great training since I’m expecting heat for the race. Thankfully I was able to use proper form during the swim without my chest hurting.

Kelly rocked both the run and the bike but has been having serious foot cramping in the pool. The cramps generally don’t start until 2.5km but then are so debilitating he has to stop and stretch. I’ve done some research and don’t think they are due to hydration or nutrition. I read on a few forums that over-exertion of calf muscles and pushing off the wall could be to blame.

Here’s to a couple of healthy, strong, and safe peak weeks!

Has anyone experienced foot or calf cramping when swimming? What did you do to help?

What was your toughest workout of the weekend?

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!