Coeur d’Alene Bound

I’ve decided to do an Ironman. Ironman Coeur d’Alene on 6/22/08 in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. I signed up for the race in a vague haze of post pregnancy confusion – just a couple days after Kevin was born. Maybe I signed up because I was feeling, well…fat? Maybe I signed up because I didn’t want my life to solely revolve around our new baby. Maybe I signed up because of the enormity of the goal. Maybe I just want to be called a “supermom” by somebody. It might be a little bit of all that. But mostly, I’ve always wanted to do an Ironman. (Some of you may know that I first signed up to do Ironman Canada in August 2008. I changed my mind. I’m a girl. It’s allowed. It’s also a long, long story as to the reasons why, so I won’t bore you.)

If you are unfamiliar….an Ironman consists of: 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run. In that order. And yes, all in one day. Someone asked me once if you could eat and sleep between events. It made me laugh, but it isn’t a bad idea. The fastest pros in the world can do an Ironman in 8 to 9 hours. Some of Dave’s friends can do an Ironman in under 10 hours. Dave’s fastest Ironman (and first of 5) was in Lake Placid in 2001 in 10 hours, 26 minutes, 48 seconds. (He’s pretty proud of that.) An athlete is allowed to be on the course for 17 hours. If you take longer than 2.5 hours to swim, they stick you in a boat and bring you back to the start. If you take longer than 10.5 hours to swim and bike or if you don’t make it to the finish line by midnight, you earn a DNF (did not finish). My primary goal is to cross the finish line without needing medical attention. My secondary goal is to finish in less than 14 hours.

The North America Ironman races have become very popular. In general, you have to sign up 365 days before the race (which is completely absurd, really – what will you be doing 365 from now??). They give no refunds if you decide to back out because, say, you get pregnant, break a leg, or change your mind. There are typically three ways to sign up: 1) you have to be physically present the day of the race to sign up for next year’s race, 2) you can qualify for the race by finishing in the top few places of your age group in designated races, or 3) you buy your way in. If you donate a bunch of money to the Adirondack Community Fund, they let you in the race. So, that’s what I did. I got a guaranteed spot and a tax deduction. The funds go to local charities targeting youth and sports in cities where these Ironman events are held.

Coaching is big business these days. You can spend upwards of $300/month to get personal coaching advice and plans. Multiply that by 6-10 months of training time, and it is a big investment. I’ve “hired’ my husband as my personal coach. He knows me better than anyone – knows my weaknesses, my strengths, and how much time I have to train. He can decipher my grumpiness and scale back the training volume appropriately. We developed an excel spreadsheet with my training plans through race-day in June. I also got a nifty Garmin GPS watch for Christmas that tells me everything – how fast I run/ride, my heartrate, elevation changes, cadence on the bike, calories burned, etc. It makes pretty graphs on my computer for me to sit and analyze, noting progress in areas and weaknesses in others.

A typical training week consists of 2 or 3 times in the pool, 2 times on the “Computrainer” bike in our basement , 1 long road ride outside, and 3 times running outside or on the treadmill. Thankfully, Kevin is an outstanding napper in the morning, so I can get my Computrainer sessions done in the morning weekdays. (As an aside, I catch up on all the great movies while riding on the Computrainer. I Tivo anything and everything – it makes the workouts go by faster.) We bought a super hip, sleek Ironman BOB (Baby on Board) jogging stroller and Kevin seems to enjoy that. I joined a gym with day care so I can run on the treadmill there, go to Pilates classes, and swim. Laura is my riding training partner – she is a strong rider, very consistent, and super smart on the road. She also doesn’t like to stop and socialize during training rides, which is what I need. We’ll be spending plenty of Saturdays together!

I’ll update this blog with occasional stories on my training progress, races, and epic workouts. With all the rain, this weekend consisted of a lot of indoor stuff. Yesterday, I rode 56 miles on the Computrainer in the basement (took 3 ½ hours – ugh!), followed by a rainy, chilly 15 minute run. Today I ran 7 miles on the treadmill at the gym. I’m praying for sunnier weather soon…..

Happy Training! Here’s my race plan for the season:

Wildflower Training weekend – Mar 15
Tierra Bella Century – Apr 19
The Great Race – Apr 20
Wildflower Long Course Triathlon – May 3
Memorial Day Ride from San Jose to Santa Barbara – May 22-25
Sequoia Century – Jun 1
San Jose
International Triathlon – Jun 8
Ironman Coeur d’Alene – Jun 22

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  1. tasterspoon says:

    3.5 hours on the trainer sounds like the 5th circle of hell. I’m very impressed. How did it smell down there when you were done?

    I’m also curious to hear how it is having your husband be your trainer. I asked Ace to coach me once, but reacted ‘poorly’ to suggestions that perhaps I should put down the chocolate covered pretzels and work out, so that was the end of that.

  2. tasterspoon says:

    Seriously. 3.5 hours on the trainer?? That’s like, two whole movies.

  3. tasterspoon says:

    Perhaps you could ride 56 miles in the rain with the help of this:

  4. Melissa says:

    WOW!!! I am so impressed, Heather. You *are* Supermom! I cannot even fathom having the energy to do what you’re doing.

    I’ve enjoyed seeing your Kevin updates and photos.

    Drop me a line sometime if you get a chance — I have news. 🙂

  5. Sid says:

    Good Luck with your training. You are something else! Just reading the posting made me tired! 🙂 Do keep us posted on all the races leading up to Coeur d’Alene.

  6. Sarah says:

    Oh MY! You are still so crazy. I can’t even imagine. You’ve given me no more excuses after this second one is born to get back into shape. Babies are no excuse 🙂

  7. tasterspoon says:

    What is that photo over there on the right. Is that your backyard??