Tag Archives: swim

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?

Wednesday web links – Ironman news and fun bikes

I haven’t posted any interesting links in a long time! Two are Ironman related- can you tell what’s on my mind lately?!

The Physiology of an Ironman – Read about what really goes on inside a person’s body when they’re racing an Ironman, from start to finish. My favourite sentence is from the run explanation, “Just when you think there’s no way you could possibly run a marathon, another burst of adrenaline runs through your body when you hear the crowd.”

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I’ve only done two Ironmans, but I can definitely relate to that sentence!

Pure Fix Cycles – These bikes look super fun. Did I mention they’re glow in the dark? There are four options in the glow series, so you can choose how much glow you want!  If you’re not in the market for a new bike, you can also buy glow in the dark wheel sets.

Ironman Coeur d’Alene forgoing mass swim start? – I first read about possible changes to the swim start a couple weeks ago and then found this article dating back to February.

I can’t find any conclusive information on whether Ironman Coeur d’Alene will have a mass swim start or waves. I guess we’ll have to wait until the Athlete Guide comes out in a few weeks.

Also, I’m not sure how I would feel about a wave start. I was incredibly nervous for both an in-water start (Arizona) and a beach start (Canada), but I think mass starts are part of the excitement and craziness of triathlon.

That being said, safety is obviously a priority for Ironman and for racers. I was hit in the face and kicked really hard during the AZ swim, and I’m sure that’s getting off easy! I’ll be interested to see the decision, and the logistics if it is a wave start.

Mass start at IMAZ 2010.

Mass start at IMAZ 2010.

Have you read anything interesting lately?

What do you think of a wave start versus mass start?

Cross training crazy

I’ve been trying a new thing— staying positive while injured! Last year I was sad more days than not. It wasn’t fun for anyone! (In my defense, I couldn’t do much of anything except for swim using only my arms!)

This time around I’ve been trying to switch it up and burn calories, sweat, and get that endorphin rush I love so much. (All without aggrevating my knee.)

Shovelling snow – approximately 300 calories

After one spectacularly heavy snowfall, I shoveled for 45 minutes. I was out of breath and had to stop twice for a quick break. My chest muscles were also sore for the next couple days.

Cross-country skiing – approximately 375 calories

We went to new to us groomed trails the other evening. The trails were incredible and we had a ton of fun! I can’t wait to get out there again.

Lap swimming – approximately 425 calories

We started up our gym memberships again. The last time I swam was Ironman Canada. I swam 3km on Sunday morning and then 2km before work on Monday. My arms were feeling it Monday morning!

Cycling on the trainer

This always gets a sweat going for me! I’ve been trying to test my knee and ride a bit harder lately. {Knock on wood} it’s been going ok.

Strength training and LOTS of physio exercises

I’ve been  regularly strength training for the past few months, about three times a week on average. I’m really enjoying it and would love to maintain the routine. I’ve also been diligently working on all my physio exercises.

Walking the dog

We always walk Harold, but I’m counting it as cross-training! It’s a nice way to get that fresh air I’ve been missing out on.

Practicing yoga

I’m still new to yoga, but I really enjoy it every time I practice. Some days I attend an hour-long class, but most days I do what I can out of one of our Sage Rountree books.

Visit this website for a calorie calculator for almost any exercise you can think of, including playing an instrument and house work!

What kind of cross-training have you been doing lately?

Do you have a go-to workout? Mine is for sure cycling.

IM Canada 2012 – the swim

3.8km swim/2.4 miles: 1:14:41
T1: 8:17

After waking up super early (3:37) and trying to eat, we met my parents to walk down to the race site. Although we had taken most of our gear down the day before (bike and T1 and T2 bags) we still had our morning clothes bag with our swim gear, fuel and water bottles for the day, and under the bike bags. Thankfully my parents carried mine for me!

Once we arrived at the race site, my nerves kicked into full gear! We got body marked and then headed into the athlete zone to set up our bikes and check on our transition bags.

We had a couple hours, but we used probably an hour setting up my bike and then Kelly’s, checking on our gear bags, and checking on our bikes one last time. Again, it was so great to have Kelly with me!

Although I was wearing two sweaters and thick sweats I was pretty chilly, so I put my wetsuit on and then a sweater back on top. I sat around for a while, listening to the voice of Ironman Canada, Steve King, talk. There was pump-up music playing and athletes milling around. The energy was incredible!!

Pretty soon the pros were starting 15 minutes ahead and we were allowed on to the beach. Kelly and I went there right away and saw my parents had snagged an awesome spot right where we’d exit the lake through to the transitions.

Waiting for the start!

The views from the lake are gorgeous—dessert like mountains and beautiful blue water. Kelly went in the water and I stayed on the beach but was freezing. The temperature at the start was 13C/55F. I went into the water waist deep and warmed right up!

Just over 2,591 people started the race, with 998 Iron virgins! There were also a ton of spotters in the lake on kayaks, boats, and surfboards. The entire fencing was lined with spectators cheering.

I don’t remember much else about the start other than music playing, people cheering, and then the flags being raised for the start. I love having Kelly beside me at the start of a race. It really helps calm my nerves! Kelly and I started beside each other but were quickly separated by the masses.

The water was perfectly clear at the start and you could see the bottom, including a couple fish. I remember looking at my watch at 500m and thinking how much further I had to go! Then, in the next breath, I looked over and saw Kelly breathing right beside me!! We swam together for nearly 500m. He made me laugh so hard that I had to tell myself to stop or I’d choke. When we approached the first turn, he yelled Chaos Corner, oh yeah. We watched a funny video of the 2011 swim beforehand and the guy taping keeps saying that. Around 1:22 and 2:07 it’s really funny!

I was shocked that throughout the whole swim I never got punched or kicked. I expected it at the turns but was ok! The other thing I was surprised with was how many people were around me at all times. For the entire swim, people were constantly touching me, and I had to try and manoeuvre around people. I don’t remember that from AZ.

The last stretch is the longest at 1,800m and it felt great to head down. It was also really easy to sight this leg with two tower hotels right by where we exit.

The water gets pretty shallow for a while, and I knew that but still stood up too early. I was going to swim again but instead took my swim cap and goggles off! I stumbled on slippery rocks for a bit before hitting the beach. I waved to my parents and walked up to the wetsuit strippers after taking my arms out.

  

They quickly stripped me, I found my transition bag, and I headed to the female change tent. A volunteer accompanied me and was so helpful! She dumped my bag and started stuffing my wet stuff in. In my excitement I forgot to put on one sock so had to take my shoe back off and slow down! On my way out another volunteer rubbed sunscreen on me and then I went to grab my bike. I was nice and warm but decided to put on my jacket knowing how easily I get cold!

Again, too excited, I started going to the other bike area. Thankfully a kind volunteer steered me back on course.

At this point, I didn’t know where Kelly was but thankfully he had an awesome swim too! He finished it in 1:18:24 and had ZERO cramps!!

According to my Garmin I swam 4.18km. I’m not sure if I swam nearly 400m more, but I definitely know I swam really wide to avoid chaos at the corners!

Up next…the challenging but stunning bike course.

IM swim and triple brick

This weekend was my last big weekend leading up to Ironman Canada. My body definitely feels it today!

We swam on Saturday morning and I got in the full distance plus a bit extra, totalling 4km. I know it’s a lot easier in a pool with clear water, lane ropes, and lines to guide you along the bottom and obviously no masses of people. I also think it can be harder with the monotonous turns and counting lengths. I swim in a 25m pool, so that’s 160 lengths or 80 laps.

Although I won’t have swam in open water basically since November 2010 (unless you count frolicking in the ocean as open water practice), I feel ok with the swim. It won’t be fast but as long as I stay on top of any panic, I know I can successfully finish it.

On Sunday I wanted to get in a ride and run. I got all my running gear, fuel, and bike gear together on Saturday night so I wouldn’t forget anything.

After a quick breakfast on Sunday I headed out for a totally new-to-me workout of a descending triple brick. I’ve seen a few variations of this on the blogosphere and knew it would be a good fit on a day I wanted to squeeze in both a decent ride and run.

I set out for a 50km bike, 35 min run, 40km bike, 30 min run, 30km bike and 25 min run. It totalled 120km of biking and just over 18km of running.

I started just after 7am in shorts and my bright jacket. By time I was finished the first ride it was warming up nicely. Each time I came home, I switched my shoes and shorts but left my top the same (a sleeveless bike top). I ran in just a sports bra for my last run though.

I was glad it was a hot day to help me bike/run tired and in the heat. IM Canada can reach hot temps (93F or 34C).

I truthfully felt ok throughout. My bike times were slower than I would have liked, but I kept my run times consistent and at a decent pace. I did this whole session by myself, so I also had to deal with a bit of the mental side and make myself keep going instead of turning around early on the bike!

Nutrition-wise I made myself drink more than normal, which was great in the heat. I also ate a combination of real food and sport/energy food. I had a bit of stomach cramping on my last run but other than that felt ok.

I think my dog suffered more than I did. He’d be so excited each time I came home and then so dejected each time I left!

If our neighbours don’t already think we’re crazy, they do now after coming and going from my house that many times for six hours.

Today I went for a light spin to get my legs moving. I hoped to swim and run tomorrow, but I think I have a nerve pinched as I can’t use or raise my left arm at all. I have a massage tomorrow night, so I might just have to take the day totally off.

I’m going to slowly decrease my training and just hope I put in enough time and miles and have the right mindset to get me through August 26.

How was your weekend? Have you been watching the Olympics? What sport has been your favourite so far?

Working for the weekend

This was the first weekend that felt like true Ironman training. I’m tired, my legs felt trashed by the end, and I declined a fun summer evening out with friends. But I enjoyed literally every moment of it!

On Saturday morning we woke up to beautiful blue, sunny skies. The last two weekends had poor weather, so we were more than ready. It was time to get our ride on!

Stopping at a country store for more fluids.

We hit the highway, found some beautiful and quiet country roads, and enjoyed the morning. We avoided the angry dog, even though we cruised by him twice! Kelly did some out and backs but rode with me for the majority of it. I finished the day with 151km, tired legs, and a smile on my face!

I was pretty tired for the rest of the day, so relaxed in one of my favourite ways- reading in the shade with the pup!

One of my friends was having a Summer Soiree Pool Party, and it was a glorious night. I was just too lazy/lame to get ready and go out, knowing I’d be exhausted the whole time I was there. And, I have a serious shorts tan that would look hilarious in a bathing suit!

Instead we had a wonderful evening at home cleaning our bikes, eating a wholesome dinner, and taking the pup out for a bike ride/run on my cruiser.

Sunday morning came pretty quickly and we were off and running. I finished the day with 22km and no knee pain! I was a little worried after a big ride the day before. My exercises, rolling, and massage seem to really be helping!

Last week I really felt like I hit a good spot in my training. I had some great runs, swam my fastest 2km ever, and had a strong bike. I’m looking forward to another week to see where I’m at after a tough weekend.

What was the highlight of your weekend? Do you turn down social events because of training?