Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I'm doing it again......

Something crazy must have come over me. Maybe it's peer pressure (sshhhh, I'm not saying a word), or maybe it's just all about the experience I had. Maybe it's the amazing community of Coeur d'Alene, or the best fans EVER that we had out there on race day. Whatever it is... I'm in, again.... 2008 Ford Ironman CDA....

Here's part 1 of 2 or 3 of my Ironman Race Report. Sit down... prepare yourself.... then go sign up to join "us" for next year...

Ironman CDA…

When I finally decided that I was ready to take the leap of faith and register for an Ironman, I though what better place to do it than somewhere I was familiar with. Ironman AZ never really intrigued me for some reason. Maybe it was the heat, or the winter training, or maybe it was Tempe Town Lake…..

Ironman Coeur d’Alene seemed to be the perfect fit for me. It had the best of all worlds. I grew up in Spokane, Washington and spent just about every summer that I can remember at CDA Lake. First, when I was a kid my mom & her friends would pack us up in the car and head to the beach for the day. Then, as I grew older and it was no longer “cool” to be with mom, my girlfriends and I would drive ourselves there and spend the day a the lake. Basking in the sun and taking swims in the lake to cool down.

Now, when I look back at those times, I think I must have been crazy. That water is SOO cold! Anyway, that is not really my point, yet anyway…..

There are two things that I really miss about living in the Pacific Northwest. Clean, clear lakes and Green trees. CDA has both of them, and to me… it felt like home. I was hoping that the feeling of home would help me get through one of the hardest days of my life.

So, hold on….. here is my RACE REPORT, broken down into a few posts so you don’t have to spend half of your day reading!

Pre – Race

The days leading up to the race were beautiful. High 70’s sunny and mild wind. Our training group was fortunate enough to have a rental house as close as you could possibly get to the Ironman Village. Ok, really… I’m going to take some credit here – as I booked this house over a year ago once we had our group confirmed and registrations complete. I was familiar with the area, and found the house right away. We even checked it out when we were on a trip back to Spokane last July. It really was perfect.

Everything seemed so simple. We were able to walk across the street and do all of the many tasks pre-race. Registration, shopping, picking up our bikes, shopping… oh and did I say SHOPPING??

The lake was about a 2 min walk from the house. So, we were able to do a couple of practice swims. I can’t say enough how important those were. The water was pretty choppy on the days leading up to the race, so we were able to get some practice. The first day was really tough. There was a strong current and it was really tough to get anywhere.

I am usually very nervous about swimming in open water, but just like I had hoped and imagined, the water felt like home, and I had no fears, no issues. I was comfortable.

We also got to meet and swim with Ironbenny and Nytro. Ever since I found their blogs I wanted to meet them. Nytro is a breath of fresh air with her no-holding back blog posts and hysterical sense of humor. I look forward to reading each of her entries. Reading Benny’s blog was just as fun and inspiring. It’s funny how far all of this technology and Internet hoopla has come. I never imagined that I would end up meeting such really great people online.

We spent some time driving the new bike course as well. Although the hills in Hayden were pretty intimidating, I wasn’t at all nervous for them. I’m not sure if it’s because our training rides had gone so well – or if the fact that S & I had done the Lake Stevens 70.3 last year, and those hills were way harder…Either way, I really just wasn’t that concerned.

For the most part, I really remained calm about the whole race. I knew my neurotic pre-race nerves would come in to play eventually, but for now I was doing just fine.

Ok, EXCEPT for the packing. There is just so much to think about when trying to pack up all of your race bags. Thinking of everything you could possibly want and need. What would I want to wear. Would I be to hot, to cold… What if “this” happens, or “that” happens? Well, lets just say this was the toughest part for me. Check out this picture – it do justice to the chaos that S & I had going on in our bedroom.

We had a couple of nice dinners, probably too much wine, family visits, dinner with Grandpa…. It was actually a pretty busy few days leading up to the race. By Saturday I was actually pretty tired. Probably not the best way to rest up for an Ironman…..

Sunday morning finally came. I wasn’t able to sleep much the night before. I was entirely too restless. As should be expected, I’m sure.

Half of the group went over at about 5am to get body marked and drop of their bags. S & I were waiting for Momo to arrive. We walked over to drop off our bags, then came back to the house and did our own body marking. The wind was whipping around like it was a Midwest storm and it was COLD.

We decided to just put our wetsuits on at the house and walk over. It meant we wouldn’t have to worry about our cloths or dropping off yet ANOTHER bag. Well, except for S. After his experience in Wisconsin, he decided he wanted cloths for after the race.

We were all bundled up in a group waiting for S to get back from dropping off his bag. The countdown to the race start was getting a little too close for comfort, and one by one everyone started to take off. I was FREAKING OUT. For the first time all week I was scared out of my mind. I can’t really even explain what about, but I was losing it. I couldn't’t wait for S anymore. I HAD to get down to the water before I lost my mind.

So, I headed down the stairs, across the timing mat and hit my planned race start area. Left of the cones, and up in front. I got in the water to make sure that my goggles were not going to leak (oh, and of course to get my pre-race nervous pee out of the way!), then headed back on to the beach. I was looking all around for someone, anyone. Even though I was surrounded by 2300 other athletes, I felt alone.

Finally, I spotted Momo. She came over to me and we stood there freezing together. A few minutes later I saw Shane. He came over, gave us a hug, then headed back to the right side of the pack.

A few moments later we heard an announcement about how rough the swim conditions were and they were giving all of us the option to do a duathlon. Momo actually looked at me and asked if I wanted to do that. I’m about 99.9% sure she was joking, but for all intense purpose, she sounded convincing with her questions. My only response. HECK NO. NOT AGAIN (Rage swim being cancelled). After all the hours in the pool. The wetsuit drama… WE were ready, and WE ARE swimming!!!


aztriathlonguy said...

I can't fault anyone in the group for signing up again. CdA is such an awesome venue! I would sign up if I wasn't already signed up for IMAZ.

Congrats again on becoming an Ironman. You did awesome. Especially for not running a marathon in 4 yrs.

Flatman said...

awesome start to the report...can't wait for more!

Spokane Al said...

Time to update the countdown calendar!

Di aka "Mrs Bigun" said...

WOOOHOOOO!! Cannot wait!! Glad to know we'll get to meet at CdA! Bigun is all charged up!! He's bursting at the seams with excitement.

momo said...

c'mon, installment two, i'm getting antsy to see how it turns out...

i'm so psyched we're doing this again together. i hope i didn't put too much pressure on you. :-)

Andra Sue said...

Way to go signing up for Cd'A again!!! You brave, brave woman! I actually briefly thought about it, but I really need to see how this half goes for me first. Maybe 2009! :-)