Tag Archives: Swim Start

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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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!

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

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

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

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

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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

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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.

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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?