Thursday, November 3, 2011

Tri-Cities Marathon

Race Date: 3/30/2011
Rene & James
 Last October (2010) I wanted to do the Tri-cities marathon, but since my plantar fasciitis flared up I didn’t want to risk causing more injury since my “A” race was Ironman in June 2011.   This year I had a lot of endurance training built up after doing Ironman so I wanted to utilize it on a few late season races. I did the Sandpoint Half Marathon in September and if everything went well I planned to do the Tri-cities Marathon.  Everything went great so I continued building my run.  I ran 105 miles in September and ~125 miles in October before the race.  We decided to stay at the Hampton Inn while in Richland which the girls really liked since it had a pool, Jacuzzi and a breakfast buffet.  Our room was on the outside facing the Columbia River…beautiful!
My goal for the race was BostonMarathon Qualification (BQ) for my age/gender which is a sub 3:15 overall time or 7:26 pace.  I wanted to run this marathon last year because the cutoff for BQ at that time was 3:20 or 7:38 pace.  They lowered the time by five minutes.  My longest training run for this race was 18 miles.   I felt I was ready but wasn’t sure if I could hold a sub 7:26 pace for 26.2 miles.  I was confident hitting 20, but after 20 (the wall!) it was no man’s land.  This is my second Marathon not including Ironman.  My first was Portland in 2008.  My personal record (PR) was 3:30. 
Running solo
The Cable Bridge
                James, who was three weeks coming off of racing Ironman World Championships in Hawaii, decided to race this marathon also.  I met up with him at the start of the race and Rosi and the girls met up with Cindy to cheer us on.  As the race started, my strategy was to hold sub 7:15 pace as long as possible. I was going sub 7:10 for most of the beginning of the race.  There were about two hundred racers and they spread out pretty quickly. As the course got up next to the Columbia River it was BEAUTIFUL!   This was the most scenic race I have ever done.   It was very serene as I was almost running by myself.  There was one guy in front of me and one behind me.   I was surprised when the guy in front of me stopped to take a picture of the Blue Bridge.   I understand though, it was a site to see.  You could see the silhouettes of the other runners crossing the bridge.  The young darker complexion guy caught me and passed me at around mile 6.   I saw Rosi, the girls, and Cindy at about mile 6.5, it was great to see them.  I gave the girls a high five and I was feeling great!   I passed the picture taker guy going over the bridge, never saw him again.  The other guy I paced into Columbia Park (5 miles) out and back.  I thought I would see Rosi and the team at mile 11 but I didn’t.   I saw Amy and her crew (relay team) as they drove by and cheered for me.   At mile 13, the pacer fellow started slowing down hitting 7:30’s I knew I couldn’t slow down so I passed him at this point.  I passed a lot of the “early starters” moving up towards the Cable Bridge.   I still felt really good going over the bridge, I felt so good I was thinking I could go sub 3:05 or sub 3:10.  I was flyin!    At mile 17, I was glad to see the family one more time before the finish.   Mile 18, 19…still feeling good!  I saw two other racers in front of me.   I was about twenty five feet behind one of the runners and the engine was running smoothly….then it happened…I hit mile 21 and my left quad tightened up.  It was painful to run.  I stopped to try and stretch it out but it didn’t help.  THIS is where the race really starts….how much pain can you endure?  I knew this was “the wall” and I had to fight through it.  I continued to run slower with shorter strides.  Each step was painful.  The guy in front of me wearing the five-finger shoes started walking!  Really?!  I passed him.   I knew I had to push through.    I was going slower than I wanted, hitting 8:30s.  All that time I banked earlier I was being lost.  At mile 24 is the I-182 Bridge, someone was gaining on me.   I looked back as he got closer and realized he was a relay runner; he passed me going over the bridge.  Next up was the 50 foot downhill, the quad did not like this hill, I struggled down but kept going.   Rosi and the girls were at the finish line waiting for me.  For most of the race I was fifteen minutes behind James and he finished at 2:55.  It was 3:09 and I was nowhere in sight; 3:10 rolled around and I still wasn’t there.  Rosi and the girls didn’t think I was going to hit my sub 3:15 target.  Then they saw me come around the corner at 3:11!   I heard Rosi yell, “You have four minutes left!  Goooo!”  I could hear the girls and James also cheering for me.  I picked up my pace and ignored the pain the best I could.  I put up my arms and crossed the finish line at 3:12:53.  I did it!! Boston Qualification!! I was so happy to have hit that goal.  It made the trip and everything worthwhile.

I grabbed a water bottle, chatted, had an orange wedge, took some pictures and limped.  My legs were really tight. My legs were definitely worse off than finishing an Ironman.  When I tried to get in the car to go home my left leg wouldn’t bend.  Once at the hotel (less than a half mile away) I put my legs in the Columbia River (ice bath).  It felt good to numb them.  Shortly after that I want in the Jacuzzi and I was able to bend my legs and walk a little more comfortably.
Finish Time: 3:12:53.8
Avg Pace:  7:21.7

A BIG THANKS to my wife and girls for the support and coming out to cheer me on!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Spokane Marathon Relay

Race Date: 10/10/2011
The Lightning Crew: Casey, Adrianne, Lanaia, Rene
The Spokane Marathon gives you the option to do a full marathon, half marathon, 10K or marathon relay.  I did the Spokane Marathon Relay two years ago and had a great time. I like it because it allows you to run and also cheer on your team.  The marathon/half mary course is hilly and includes Doomsday.  If you want to PR this isn’t the race you want to do it at.  ;-)    We participated as a mixed relay, which must include two men and two women.  The weather was cool and overcast so it was a good day to run.
I did the first leg two years ago and this year I did third leg.   This year the teams seemed faster than I remember.  I saw a few guys from the Spokane Distance project on one team; I think it was a mixed team but am not sure.   Lanaia did the first leg, Casey did second, I did the third and Adrianne was our anchor.
I went out too fast at the beginning of my leg.   My plan was to average sub 6:40s.    I looked down at my GPS watch and I was at a sub 6:00 pace!  I slowed it down knowing I wouldn’t be able to hold that pace.  I caught and passed two or three other teams.  The high school cheer squads that worked the aid stations did a GREAT job!  They definitely got me pumped.  For some reason I thought my leg of the run was longer than it was and when I came to the transition zone I had a lots of energy left so I picked up my speed for the last hundred yards or so.  I ended up running 6.43 miles in 42:17 which averages to 6:35 minutes per mile. Our team took third place and finished in 2:54:xx.  WaooooOOO!!  Fun times!

This racing season has been a great one for me.  I finished Ironman CDA, I PR’ed on my 5K time and my half Marathon time.  A year ago I was hoping to do the Tri-cities Marathon.  I ended up having some foot issues and backed out because I didn’t want it to affect my Ironman training.  I have done one open marathon in the past and would like to challenge that time.  I am in the middle of my last build of the year and am hoping I can SURGE one more time.  May I get to the starting line un-injured, may the weather be clear and cool and may the stars align for me one more time this year….may I finally slay this dragon called the Tri-cities marathon.  

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sandpoint Scenic Half Marathon

Race date: 9/18/11
Meghan and Rene
I had a bunch of fitness built up this year due to training for Ironman so I wanted to run a half marathon to PR.  My half marathon PR from last year was 1:33:04.2 which I got at the Snake River Half.  I jumped a ride with triathlon club teammate Meghan and on the way to Sandpoint it was sprinkling so I was concerned my body would get wet and cause chaffing or blisters to my feet.   Before the race I asked her what her pace would be and she said, “about 7:00”.  I wanted to go sub 1:30 so I had to hit 6:50s.  Shortly before the race the rain stopped.  Awesome!
I saw some fast racers including professional triathlete Brian Hadley (he placed 4th overall at Ironman CDA) and Gretchen Rose Wolf who beat me at the Hayden Triathlon.  Gretchen and others that beat me at Hayden started in a different wave so I didn’t know they beat me til later.  I will have to remember that next year in wave starts!  In any case the race started and at one mile a voice from behind me says, “that was one fast mile Rene”, we had run it in 6:50 or less.  It was Meghan.  Where did she come from?  I thought she was going to hang back (at 7:00 pace), guess not!  I saw Gretchen pull off to the side to tie her shoe at mile 2 or 3, I was thinking, “cool I might be able to beat her now”!  ;-)     I thought Meghan was going to fall back but continued to hang.  At this point I knew she was going to hang with me as she was looking strong.  As we crossed the bridge there was some headwinds so I was drafting behind these two girls who didn’t look like runners I didn’t think they could hold this pace for much longer (they later finish the race in front of me...never judge a book by its cover!).    Unfortunately around mile 5 Gretchen catches and passes me.  Meghan and I were doing the best we can to hold the 6:50s up hills.  I went over 7:00 pace a few times up the steep hills, but figured I could make it up on the way back.  At mile 6 I take my gel and we hit the turn-around.     It seemed Meghan was hitting the uphills hard and I was hitting the down hills hard.  We could see all the other racers after the turn around.   It was great to see some familiar faces like Kathy and Tanya.  At about mile 12.50 I pick up my pace as I wanted to have nothing left when I crossed the finish line.  I gave it everything I had that last .6 miles!  My final time was 1:29:17 with an average pace of 6:48.9 per mile.  I got 2nd in my age group and 11th overall!  WahooOOO!

Nearing the finish
Done!...I left everything on the course!

The green is the elevation of the Sandpoint Scenic Half Marathon, the red is my heart rate beats per minute (bpm).  My heart rate was pretty steady on the inclines and declines (surprisingly) and it spiked when I kicked it at mile 12.5.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Great Northwest Fall Tour

Ride Date: 9/4/11
The Great Northwest Fall Tour offers 15, 30, 50 or 85 mile routes.  We decided on the 50 mile route.  The weather was pretty cool in the morning so it was difficult to decide on what to wear.  I decided to wear shorts and arm warmers because once I get going I warm up pretty fast.  Everyone started off really fast since it was cool and there was lots of energy in the air.  I tried to stay around 20mph or less as I knew eventually this speed would catch up to us....and later it did!  :-)   This is the first time I rode this tour and it was much hillier than I expected!  There was one 3 mile section which was 675 feet (2554-1879) of descent and you get MOVIN!  There were also lots of sustained climbs.  It was a challenging ride.  The rest stop food was AWESOME!!  Everything was home baked!  Cookies, muffins, pot pies to name a few and there was lunch at the end.   Certainly a well put on tour!  I even put my name in for the bike raffle, but didn't win it. :-(  The money goes to a great cause though.  For more info see their web site.  It was a great ride.  It was fun chatting and riding with with friends.
Ben, Pheadra, Matt, Meghan, Rodger, Julie, Rosi, Rene

 Great Northwest Fall Tour 50 Mile Route Elevation

We were glad to be finished with all that climbing! :-)

Tri-Fusion Hot Summer Night 5K Series

Race Date: 8/24/11

This series entails three separate races on Wednesdays in August.  The first race I volunteered and took pictures.  Raelene (daughter) helped me direct people where to go.  Rosi and Reanna ran the race.  It was fun cheering people on right before the big hill.  The second race I ran it with Raelene (age 6) and Reanna, while Rosi ran it also.  I decided I would run the last race solo.  It helped to run the course the second week to get a grasp of the course and prepare myself for the BIG HILL before the finish line.
Raelene helping me direct traffic.  ;-)
I wanted to PR on my 5K since I had so much fitness from Ironman and I weighed less than the last time I ran a 5K.  My PR was 20:02 and I wanted to go sub 20.  I knew I had to hold a 6:25 per mile pace.  I generally use this race calculator to figure out how fast I need to go to hit a specific finish time.  I started out fast and tried to settle on my pace.  I talked with Matt Cantrell before the race and knew he had the same target of going sub 20.  I figured I could pace with him if I could.  Within the first half mile I was running near his side.  He kept a good pace going.  I looked forward and saw James and Worden way up ahead.  I knew I had to bank some time in the downhill to make up for the time I would lose on the big uphill.  Our pace picked up then we hit the corner right before the big hill.  Matt and I stayed close the whole race then on the hill I passed him.  Would I drop him?  Not!  Right when we got to the top he caught me and started to pass me at mile 3.  I sped up and had a kick at the end, but couldn't catch him.  I passed Worden in the last 25 yards and heard him yell, "NOOOOOOOOOO!".  I cracked  up about this as I know how competitive Eric is.  I ended up reaching my goal time!!  My official time was 19:32.07 with a pace of 6:18.1 per mile.

Details of the BIG HILL before the finish: 97 foot climb in .2 miles
Here is a video of race #2 in which I ran with Raelene. Thanks to Dave at Swim, Bike, Run videos for the footage!

Spokane Dirty Dash

Race Date:  August 20, 2011

I saw posters that the Dirty Dash was coming to Spokane and the race looked way cool!  I 
I wanted to participate in the Dirty Dash, but I hadn’t signed up and with the late fee it would have been $50 which just seemed too expensive.  Jeremy, a friend from my tri club, said one of his team members couldn’t participate and was selling his slot.  This was meant to be!  I jumped on it.  I joined his team called the Holy Hogs.  Apparently the race directors expected about 1000 participants and supposedly 4000 people registered!   It was a 6 mile course.  It is a pretty laid back 10K.  We were suppose to start at 10am and due to the parking situation we didn't start til about 10:30.  There were all kinds of obstacles: hay bales to jump over, mud tubes to go through, balancing beam, a slide and tires.  There were two rest stops with beer.  The mud portions were the BEST.  I have never been dirtier!!  I got right in there.  Going through one of the tubes the mud felt like quick sand.  I just floated through the mud.  FUN!  Jeremy was crazy enough to submerge his whole head in the mud.  I didn't have goggles and was concerned if I got mud in my eyes or ears so I didn't.  We rubbed mud on each other and threw it at each other, trying not to get it in each others eyes.

We liked the music to this advertisement video so much we Reanna decided to use it for her solo dance routine this year.  :-)  Great vid!

Monday, September 19, 2011

17 things that triathlon has taught me about life

I nabbed this from Triathlete Mag.... 

17 things that triathlon has taught me about life - By J.

1. There are good days and there are bad days and sometimes you can't tell the difference until you start.
2. Contrary to popular belief, sleep is not overrated. Not in the slightest.
Race the River 2010
3. Don't forget to breathe.
4. Just because it's raining doesn't mean you should cry.
5. Nobody ever said it was easy.
6. Pain is temporary. Pride lasts a lifetime. Sometimes even two.
7. Create a plan and stick to it. It may not always work, but if you stay focused and relaxed, it'll all end up just fine.
8. You've got to try. No matter what happens, in the end you'll have bigger regrets from not ever trying.
9. Strength and courage blossom from the sands of adversity.
10. Sometimes it's the little things that make the big differences.
11. Getting to the starting line is usually a lot harder than getting to the finish.
12. Listen to your body and listen to your mind. And make sure you know when they're lying to you.
13. You can't change the past and you won't alter the future. Enjoy right now, right now.
14. Smile. It does a body good.
15. Be supportive of others. We're all in this together.
16. It's OK to cry.
17. Don't forget to eat. Especially breakfast -- that's a really important one.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Spokane Triathlon: First Olympic Triathlon & Rookie Mistakes

Just the Numbers
Swim .43 miles:  0:08:16
T1: 1:11
Bike 25 miles: 1:09:26 pace: 21.6 mph
T2: 47 sec
Run 6.2 miles: 44:58 pace: 7:15
Total Time: 2:04:53
4th Age Group

Pre-Race Thoughts
I was undecided if I was going to do this race.  I was thinking of doing Troika (70.3 distance) and didn’t want this race to affect that one.  I was actually still undecided if I was going to do Troika as I thought my body would need more recuperation time from doing IM.  On Saturday (the day before the race), I watched Lily Anderson, a 10 year old who is battling cancer, sing the National Anthem on the web and that gave me all the inspiration and motivation I needed to sign up for this Oly.  Hours after signing up for this Oly I found out one of our local professional athletes and friend, Derek Garcia, was in the middle of doing the Vineman (IM distance race) and he passed out!  He was in third place OVERALL and one minute behind second place on mile 16 of the run when it happened.  His wife posted this on FB:   
“Derek is in the ER now. He passed out on the run. He was disoriented and could hardly speak. The Dr. is going to call me (Shannon) when they know more. Please keep him in your prayers.”   
I was spooked!   Later he checked out of the hospital and he was fine, *gasp*.  I was glad to hear that news!

This was supposed to be an Olympic distance race, but because of a crack in the dam (or something like that) the water was flowing pretty fast so they decided to shorten the swim (.43 miles)  and make it one way instead of out and back.   I raced this course as a relay a few years ago (bike portion) but I have never done a solo Olympic distance triathlon.  I didn’t register for this race till the day before.

The Swim
Once I got in the water I could see the reasoning of shortening the swim.  It would have been pretty much impossible for some people to swim upstream because the water was flowing so fast.  When I was up to my waist I was fine in the water.  Once I got to my chest or chin I started to be pulled by the water.  I put my goggles on and submerged myself.   The race director said “One minute till the start!”, then shortly after he yelled “Go!”   I started swimming, after a few strokes I looked up and was blinded by the sunlight!  I had the regular collisions with other swimmers. The sun was bright and it was reflecting off the lake which was making it very hard to sight.  The first buoy I got past fine,  shortly after I noticed I was swimming all by myself and looked up and noticed  I was off course ( I was off to the left).  I cut right to get back into the flow.  I used other swimmers for direction then before I knew it I could see the dock and last buoy! 

The Bike

Here is where problems start to surface.  I have a double water bottle cage behind my seat and I have one bottle in there.  As I am coming out of T1 I see Adam Little jump on his bike in front of me,  I throw my leg over my bike as to jump on my seat and hit the water bottle which falls to the ground. Opps!  I knew I needed that bottle for this 25 mile ride.  I get off my bike and turn around with bike in hand and pick up the bottle and put it back in the cage.  I turn around, get back on my bike and I am off!  I went aero down all the hills.  I have ridden this in the past but didn’t stay aero down all the hills.  I was flying.  The only way I might have gone faster was if I pedaled more on the down hills and pushed the up hills more.  Beside my two water bottles I had three gels in a flask and one broken up z-bar.  I have never raced this distance so I didn’t have my nutrition down.  For future races I will have one or two more gels, no granola bar and maybe a bigger (full) second water bottle, the one in the cage was ¾ bottle.  Maybe even a third bottle half full.

After putting on my running shoes I pick up my GPS and realized I forgot to turn it on before the race!!  I have waited as long as thirty minutes for it to try find a satellite before turning it off.  I started to run and my left shoe feels VERY uncomfortable.  It felt like there was something in there…maybe an ankle sock?!  I quickly realize I wasn’t going to run 6 miles with this discomfort.  Before getting out of transition I take off my shoe and I find my chapstick in there!!  Arg!  It must have fell in there while being transported from my house to the race.  I throw it aside and run out of T1.

The Run
My GPS was on the whole run but never found a satellite.  I didn’t know what pace I was running. I wanted to go sub 7 miles, but looking at the results I ended up going 7:15’s.  A quarter mile into the run Hailey passes me and someone from my age group was right behind her.  The trail run consisted of four loops and each time you enter the loop you get a rubber band.  While I was getting a rubber band on one of the loops the band fell to the ground.  I had to stop and pick it up and continue running.  It was great to see Ryan on the course, he cheered and told me where to go after the four loops. 

In Closing
It was great to see so many friends and familiar faces at the race! I thought I would only see three or for Tri-Fusion folks and I saw about 14 some racing some not.  Saw lots of racing regulars out there like Chris and Joy.  Even though I was hoping to get third place or better Derek’s mishap the day before put things in perspective.  I was thankful to be healthy enough to do this race and was glad I had a safe race.  I plan to give my body a break and skip Troika next Sunday.  I may go down there and cheer friends on and take pics!  A big thanks to Jayne, Greg and Mike for the pics!
Rene, Adam, Jenn, Gary, Natalie, Mike

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hayden Triathlon Race Report

Just the numbers
Race Date: 7/16/2011
.5 mile swim: 15:36  pace 1:56/100 yards
12 mile bike: 31:51  pace  22.61 mph
3.1 mile run: 20:47  pace   6:42 min/mile
Finish Time: 1:10:26

Pre-Race Thoughts
I decided to race the Hayden Lake Tri at the last minute.   I considered doing the Tiger Tri, but the drive to Colville and the additional cost for the registration lead me to the Hayden Tri.  This race was STACKED.   I say this for a couple of reasons.  First, Brian Hadley, a local professional triathlete who placed fourth overall at the CDA Ironman, was racing and so was Derek Garcia who is another local athlete/Kona qualifier.   I was actually looking forward to see Hadley and Garcia go at it.  In my age group Ken Collins (team mate) was racing, he did 4 Ironman races last year alone, wow!  Additionally, while I was getting my stuff ready in transition, I noticed A LOT of Ironman tattoos on the back of calves and a lot of IM CDA finisher hats on both men and women.   This was a small town triathlon with big city talent! :-)
Tri-fusion team mates from left: Dave, Jeremy, Natalie, Russ, Amy and Rene

The Swim
I could barely hear the countdown and the horn went off kind of sudden.    This swim was in Hayden Lake,  a half mile clock wise loop.  In my wave were males 25-40 (I believe). I ran and dived in and started swimming away.  I got kicked on the right side of the head then on the left!  What??!!  My left goggle moved and a little water got in.  I kept swimming to see if I would have to stop and drain it or I would be able to continue swimming.  It seemed to be OK so I continued.  After about a hundred yards we dispersed a bit and I was able to swim comfortably.  I tried to draft, but the guy in front of me was swimming too slow.  I moved ahead and multiple times I was bumping into people on the left and right.   As I was getting closer to the beach I noticed I over shot (swimming more yards) and had to angle myself to get back on course.  I got to the beach and as I started running I was falling over to the right and losing my balance.  I quickly gained my composure and started to run toward transition.  I saw Melissa with her video camera and gave her a thumb up as I passed.

The Bike
I knew I lost some time in the swim, but didn’t know how much.   As I was leaving transition I couldn’t get my peddles clipped on!  I tried about 3 times and finally was ready to go.  Once I turned on to Government way I noticed a pretty good head wind going on.  I tried to stay as aero as possible and kept my cadence up. My heart was pounding and I was breathing real heavy.  The head wind lasted to mile six, then on the way back we were flying!    Before the turn around I could see that Ken Collins was way ahead of me and I also saw Dave Erickson.  I was passing people the whole time then there was one fellow who was passing back and forth near the end.  We both reached transition at the same time.  I skidded in, jumped off my bike and did what I needed to.  

The Run
My legs felt good and I felt great coming out of the gate!  I looked at my Garmin and I was going faster than I wanted to.  I slowed myself down and was cruising.  There weren’t many people in front of me except Dave.  I saw him turn around a few times to see who was behind him and how fast they were coming.  I think I caught him somewhere around mile one.    After I passed him I didn’t see ANY other racers in front of me the rest of the race.  Once I turned the corner on Honeysuckle Ave I sprinted as fast as I could to the finish line. Surprisingly I thew my arms up at the finish, maybe because I still had that Ironman finish engrained in my head?
The crowd was great and were cheering along the last stretch and finish line.   Lots of energy near the finish.   I picked up a water and went over to cheer my team mates on.  Natalie and Amy were still on the course.  Natalie came around the corner with about four or five people within striking distance, I yelled “Catch him Natalie!! Goooooo!!” as the rest of the folks cheered.  She picked up her pace and passed them all. Amy came around the corner a little later with a big smile on her face (I was standing with her sister and husband Jeff).  I grabbed her water bottle so she could finish the race without carrying it.  She picked up her pace and finished strong.  It was Amy’s first triathlon and I was happy to see she had a great experience.
The Finish

Third place in age group

Dave Erickson interviewed a few of us triathletes after the race, I was babbling about being kicked in the swim.  :-)  I am also in the race footage they took. The footage shows me approaching T1 after the swim, coming off the bike and my run finish.  Thanks Dave and Melissa from for the footage!

Friday, July 1, 2011

2011 Coeur d'Alene Ironman Race Report - My First Ironman


Race Day Video

Just the Numbers
Some people just want to see "the numbers", here they are: 
Race Date: 6/26/2011 

Swim 2.4 mi = 1:15:23
T1= 5:46
Bike 112 mi = 5:44:13
T3= 3:46
Run 26.2 mi = 3:56:56
Finish Time: 11:06:04

See "Stats" below for a full breakdown of the numbers.

Pre-Pre Race
My wife Rosi and the kids made this race so much fun with all the "extras" they did!  These two pictures are a great representation of some of those things:
RADICAL Sign!  :-)
My parents, Rosi and the girls decorated both of our cars! Cool!
Team Guerrero: Jonah, Ryan, Melanie, Dad, Paul, Reanna, Raelene,
Barbara, Karen, Rosi and Krista!  THANK YOU for all the support,
cheers and pictures!  You all are the BEST!!
The evening before the race I had dinner at Tomato Street with James and his crew.  Everything I ate was bland: angel hair pasta (no sauce) and bread with nothing on it.  They had all had the good stuff and I was envious.  I stayed at a hotel in CDA and I only slept about 3 hours that evening.  I was mentally planning how my race day would go.  I ended up waking up around 4 am.  I ate a bagel w/cream cheese and a banana.  I was super excited that my Dad and Step-mom whom I haven't seen in a few years were able to come watch the race.  My wife, Rosi, assembled an "elite" cheering team and I was to meet them between 6:00am - 6:15am for a picture before the race.  It was 6:15am and they weren't there yet, the transition closes at 6:30 so I was getting concerned, I still had to put my "morning clothes bag" in there.  Within seconds of that thought, they all showed up and I was relieved.  Everyone wished me luck as my wife gave me a big hug.  She was very nervous for me.  We forgot to take the group picture,so they took one later without me.  :-)

Since Ironman is sponsored by Perform, in training I used all their products so I could "live off the course".  I was told things would go wrong on Ironman day, but I didn't think it would  happen so soon in my race.  My plan was to take a gel 10-20 minutes before the swim starts. The night before, I stayed in a hotel and realized I didn't pull out a Perform gel, I was so focused on getting the transition, special needs and morning clothes bags together it slipped my mind.  I remembered I had a GU Roctane in my bag and found it.  It said, "Best if used by 11/2010" (that was 7 months ago), it didn't have the word expired so I figured I would be fine.  :-)

The Swim

I put on my goggles first then my swim cap as I always do (just in case during a race if my goggles get hit they won't come off and fall to the bottom of the lake).  I was heading to the start of the swim and all the athletes need to go through the same opening so they step over the timing mat which allows race coordinators to know who is out there in the water.  With the crowd there and the 2500+ athletes trying to go through this one opening, made me nervous as it was taking a long time.  It was 6:40am and the race starts at 7:00am.  I got in fine.  I ate my Roctane gel, chased it with some water and I was ready to go. I got in the water and got my face wet and got into position.  I heard one fellow say, "I'm moving over there where there are more pink swim caps (women), they will be less aggressive". hehehe. I looked back to the family waved to them and gave them the thumbs up!

The Coeur d'Alene Lake swim is done counter-clockwise on two loops of 1.2 miles and the water temperature was 54.7 F.  I was happy it was counter-clockwise because this would allow me to see the buoys since I breath to the left when I swim. I heard the cannon go off and we were off!! My strategy in the swim was to "stay horizontal"and draft as much as possible.  As I was swimming I looked left and the sun was in my face the first section of the loop.  All I could see was the water splashing around and arms and legs flying everywhere! Pure chaos!  When I got to the first turn buoy I went wide to avoid the congestion, it seems everyone had the same idea.  I went vertical due the congestion as we pushed each-other through that section then I went back horizontal as quickly as I could, we made it!  I looked up to site the next turn buoy, the sun was in my eyes so I couldn't see it.  I tried to draft and follow the majority of the swimmers since I didn't see the buoy.  We finally made it to the second turn buoy, we pushed each-other around it and as I started to swim I accidentally smacked the guy next to me on the side of the head, he looked at me and I kept swimming.  During the swim I got hit on the back of my head pretty good and a couple of shots to the body, but with the adrenaline pumping through my body it didn't phase me.  I was approaching the beach and tried to stand up, but my foot didn't land on land and I sunk in the lake and drank the most water I did throughout the swim (next time remember to swim til my hand touches land).  I coughed it up and ran across the mats to start my second loop.

Getting ready to enter the meat grinder
Swim to bike transition
I caught some feet on this section of the second loop and was able to draft for a while.  I was hoping to stay with this swimmer but then someone crossed over in front of me and I lost him!  I certainly could feel the swimming efficiencies when drafting off another swimmer.   The first turn was a shove fest again, but then the second turn I cut it sharp and only one other swimmer was there so we both turned the corner unobstructed.  After I made that turn I swam for a while then looked up and I was headed toward the CDA resort docks (I was off course!).  I quickly redirected towards the race buoys and in doing so I cut off one or two swimmers.  Next thing I know I was out of the water!  Swim done!  Yah!!  I had a timing watch on my right wrist which I started at the beginning of the swim to give me my overall time of the race, but unfortunately it got bumped and stopped timing at about 17 minutes!  Darn!  I unzipped my wetsuit and took it half off.  I laid on my back in front of the wetsuit strippers and let them do their thing. They pulled the wetsuit once and it stopped at my ankles, then they gave it another pull and it slipped right off.  They reached out their hands to help me up and handed me my wetsuit.  In T1 I went looking for my bag, I practiced coming in and knew where to go, but I was somewhat disoriented.  My cheer team was yelling and pointing where to go so I ran over to that area and found my bag.  I picked up my bag, gave my team the thumbs up and moved on.  Once I got into the changing tent I sat down and dumped the bag on the ground and got set up.  I forgot to put on suntan lotion so once I got out of the tent I accepted the offer of the volunteers to dowse me with suntan lotion.  They are pretty darn efficient at it!  I just stood there with my arms at my side as they lathered me.  I went and picked up my bike, ran with it, mounted and I was on my way!  I later found out from one of the medics that due to the water being 6-10 degrees colder than usual over 100 people did not finish (DNF) out of the water by either getting pulled out of the lake or going to the warming tents after they finished and not continuing.

The Bike
People were cheering everywhere!  It was awesome to see.  I established a comfortable pace on the bike and was cruising.   I knew not to go out too hard at the beginning, but I felt myself letting go and going for it.   I did these century rides multiple times so I knew what I could handle.  There is one section on the bike course where you ride a yielded circle intersection, we had to ride 270 degrees of the circle.  After I got through the loop I heard a bike crash and looked back to see someone on the ground. Yikes!

I had a tune up and a new chain on so I was surprised that when I was shifting the large ring it started to hang.  I thought the chain was going to fall off!  I shifted the back gear so it was in the middle of the cassette then pedaled and it caught.  Whew!  This happened two or three times.  Going forward I just adjusted the back gear to be more in the middle of the cassette before I up-shifted the large gear to be on the safe side.

Out on Rimrock, it was great to have Tri-fusion friends cheering me on.  They had the loudspeaker on and I could hear the music and Roger announcing my name. It got me pumped!  I stayed in aero as much as possible.  I grabbed a Powerbar Perform at the first aid station then got one at every other aid station.  I had about four or five Powerbars in my bento box and I knew I had to eat all of them over the course of the ride whether I was hungry or not.  I also passed the drunk irish catholic cheering station and saw a big sign Rosi and the girls made for me out there!  It was AWESOME!!  It was florescent pink and very big, I could see my name in BIG letters so it was hard to miss.  It was the first time I saw the sign.

As I was making the 180 degree turn-around at Ohio Match/Homestead Loop I fell over and crashed.  NO!  I wasn't going very fast so I didn't get injured. There was a crowd there at that corner 3-5 people thick watching.  As I fell to the ground I heard them in unison gasp "ahhhhhhh!".  I saw bikes coming behind me so I quickly pulled my bike to the side.  As I tried to get back on my bike my hamstring tightened up and I grunted, "Ouch!".  I put my hand over it and rubbed it for a second which felt like minutes, the tightness subsided.  I put my leg over my bike and started to peddle so I could get some momentum going.  I wasn't going anywhere!!  I looked down and realized my chain had fallen off!  Darn!  I felt my heart thumping faster! I jumped off my bike and pulled it to the side again and used my finger to get the chain back on the teeth.  Done!  "I gotta get outta here!"  I jumped on again and start peddling again but it was tough to peddle. I looked down and the front brake was rubbing against the rim on the right side.  This time I stopped, but just straddled the top tube as I reached down and pulled the brake away from the wheel.  I spun the wheel to verify it was fixed.  Great!  I get back on the saddle and peddle away.  I thought to myself, "I can let that bother me the rest of my ride/race or I can just forget it even happened".  What happened?  ;-)   The second time I looped around Ohio Match/Homestead Loop I didn't take any chances.  I stopped my bike, turned it, got back on and peddled away.  At about mile 90 as I was going through an aid station someone yelled, "Bananas?!"  OMG!  In my plan I was suppose to be eating bananas at mile 30 and 60 but I forgot!  I quickly grabbed one of the bananas and made sure I grabbed them at the next stop also.  Around mile 105 a motorcycle pulled up next to me.  It was a course official, I got tagged with a "Red Card" for drafting which meant I had to go into the penalty box for 4 minutes!  Huh?!  The penalty box is on Government Way about 1 mile before the bike finish.  I took full advantage of the time and stretched and rested.  Unfortunately while I was stretching the pole of the canopy that my bike was leaning on moved and my bike fell to the ground!  Ouch! My four minute penalty finally ended and I jumped on my bike and finished the ride.

The Run

Last year during my first half ironman distance race, after getting off the bike my legs felt terrible.  My quads were REALLY tight and it was painful to run.  Each step in that race felt like I was doing leg squats with 125 pounds on my back.  I was really concerned if my legs were going to feel that way in this race.  I figured I would just have to tough it out like I did in that race.  To my surprise after getting off the bike, my legs felt great! Unfortunately my stomach felt a little achy.  I chatted and ran with a friend Tim for about five miles. He was cruising the uphills and I was cruising the down hills.  We cruised by the Tri-Fusion tent and it was bustling out there.  The "Pirate Boat" aid station was pretty cool too!   Shortly after we split up I caught up with Erica, then next thing you know Tim was running with us.  We ran through Lake Shore Drive together.  We split up with Tim in the lead then myself.  Tim was my carrot I was working to catch him, but the last 6-8 miles I was tired of the gels and perform and didn't have much energy I wasn't able to catch him.  After mile 18 I could see the carnage from the heat and long distance was taking its toll on some of the competitors.  People were walking and I saw one guy step off the course and puke in the grass.  I wanted to walk up the hill on Higgins, but I didn't.  At around mile 24 I tried drinking coke and it went down nicely.    I wish I had started on that earlier!  Erica caught me at around mile 25,  she said, "Let's do this Rene".   We ran for a little while, but I wasn't able to hang on as she moved past me.  My eyes were a little hazey from all the wind from the bike and the sweat.  There is a "Y" in the road, you go right if you are on your first loop and you go left if you are going in for the finish.  I was so relieved that I was going to the finish.  At this point all I wanted to do was cross the finish line.  I was very focused and saw tons of people all along Sherman Ave.   I ran past people as I just wanted this race to end.  As I ran through the stands/bleachers the crowds screams were so loud and it seemed like I heard nothing.  I went to the left side and started giving everyone high fives.  Then someone pointed to the bleachers on the other side and behind me.  As I looked back I realized I passed my cheer team!!  Oh no!!  I reached my hand out to them as I instinctively moved towards the finish line.   At the last second as I crossed the line I put up my arms for the finish picture, I almost forgot to!  I was impressed that Haley (who took 3rd place overall) was handing out medals.  She put the medal around my neck and I gave her a hug and thanked her.  I went and took a finisher picture and then hugged my family and friends.   This race occurred 7 days after Fathers Day.  My plan was to give my medal to my Dad after I crossed the finish line.  It would be one of the greatest gifts I could give to him for everything he has done for me.  Multiple times on my long runs I envisioned what I would say and how I would do it.  After hugging Rosi and thanking her, I went to my father and said, "Happy Father's Day this is for you...I love you Dad" as I took off the medal and put it around his neck. I gave him a kiss on the cheek and thanked him for supporting me and being there for me.  After the hug, he took it off and put it back around my neck and said, "I will take it with me in spirit, you can have it physically".  My parents, family, friends, Tri-fusion members and volunteers MADE my race!!!   It was a  GREAT day!  Thanks to EVERYONE who was out on the course cheering me on! Congratulations to all the Racers who can now call themselves IRONMAN!

Friends and family as I am coming down the finishers chute
...and as I passed.  I felt BAD after seeing these pictures!

  • 2800+ Registered, but only ~2,400 actually competed.  The hardest part of the Ironman is getting to the starting line healthy.
  • There were 501 men in my age group (40-44), it was the largest age group of the race.  My place was 57th of 501. Top 11%. - IronmanLive

    My sister congratulating me from AZ

    Post race DQ!!...Chocolate Extreme Blizzard for me!  WahoooOOOOO!!  :-)  6/28/2011