Lake Couer D’Alene is one of the most scenic and beautiful lakes in the Northwest. At 7 AM June 21, on the shores of the city beach the lake turned white with mankind’s impression of spawning salmon. Let’s face it with 500+ dollars on the line I would hope you did your homework. I felt ready for the swim but it was one of the more difficult swims I have done. I like to call the swim in an Ironman as the Warm-up, but the lake didn’t seem to like it because the more we swam forward the more it felt like the lake was trying to through us back out. I felt ready for the swim but it was one of the more difficult swims I have done. It was a very rough swim out there and very difficult to find a line and hold it. One thing is for certain, after swimming in that I don’t think they will cancel the swim in St. George next year no matter how hard it gets.
In my past Ironman’s cramping has been a big concern. So one thing I tried this time that I like to call the winning combo is the combination of Salt Stick salt tabs with Sports Legs–another supplement I have found to be very beneficial. I had no cramping the entire day so I guess it worked.
Finally I was able to get off my bike and start focusing on the people who passed me. There are many ways of tracking your progress on the bike and on the run and a lot of people are obsessed with pace and speed but for me it is all about the heart rate. It is the one number I look at and in reality the only one that matters. As I left transition I found a comfortable pace and checked my HR as long as I am below 160 bpm I can sustain the pace. I took a look at my competitors at the first turn around and realized I would have to be patient and not get down on myself if I was going to catch them. Little by little they started to come back and I kept my pace consistent. By mile 15 I had almost caught everyone who passed me on the bike. The run was a 2 loop run so by the second loop it started to get more difficult to spot who is in front because we start mixing with other athletes on their first loop. I started to feel myself fade as I reached the final turnaround and started to think to myself why I thought this would be fun. I kept moving in and out of mental focus as I made my way to the finish. My wife Chrystel was on the course at various points always snapping me back into the world of reality and the task at hand. Finally I had reached the juncture in the run course where you start to envision how good it will feel to be done.
Making the turn down Sherman Ave you have one long stretch down hill until you cross the finish line. It is there that you get to hear the most famous words in Ironman escape the lips of Mike Reilly, “You are an Ironman!” I had a great day and was happy to have Chrystel there at the finish line. Completing an Ironman usually takes a team of people to help you get ready. Without the help and encouragement of my wife, I am certain it would not have been possible for me to have the day I did.
My thanks go out to the volunteers who volunteered that day and to the support of my friends and family. My goal going into CDA was to qualify for Kona and that I did. I also learned a little bit more about myself and what it takes to improve in Kona. Congratulations to everyone who made it to the finish line that day and in the words of John Collins, brag for the rest of your life.