Peter Noyes’ 2014 Coeur d’Alene Race Report
Overall rank of 213 and division rank of 36 (M30-34)
I had a great first Ironman. My overall goal was to have a good run which I did. I really wanted to be around 3:30 so 3:32 is close enough! Also, conditions were pretty tough. The water was exceptionally choppy. Reports say that the swim was 6 minutes slower than average. The winds were also a major factor on the bike. The word around town is that it was 25 knots. I also heard that this race had more DNF’s/DNS’s than normal, perhaps as high as 500. Last year’s number 36 in my age group had a time of 10:36 so by that measure it was 35 minutes slower than normal!
The day before:
For my last race I was less diligent about what I ate the day before the race and I ended up eating way too much fiber which caused some issues. This time around I really focused on the day before diet. For breakfast I went big and had two pancakes, toast, a 3 egg omelet and potatoes. For a snack I had two french rolls because I couldn’t find a bagel. For lunch I had a a greek sandwich and for dinner just a bit of pasta and 3 oz of chicken. I went to bed just a bit hungry which was the plan.
I woke up at 3:30 and had my pre-race breakfast of 3 cups of apple sauce with a scoop of protein powder, a banana, 16oz of sports drink and a cup of coffee. Thankfully things moved right away. I felt no bloat in the morning and ready to race, whereas at Oceanside I felt pretty bad the morning of. We left at around 4:30 to head to the race.
I dropped off my special needs bags and then went to get the bike ready. I had a bit of trouble pumping up my front tire so I took the bike to the mechanic and they figured out my valve extender was leaking. I am glad I got there early!
We saw some friends and watched the pro’s go off as we started to get into our wetsuits. It was a bit of a rush to drop off the morning clothes bag and make it all the way back through transition to the swim start. We probably should not have waited around to watch the Pro’s.
I warmed up in the water and seeded myself in the 1:15 – 1:30 area. It took at least 15 minutes between the warm up and getting into the water and I got pretty cold waiting around. This worked out well because I was actually anxious to get back in the water, usually I dread it!
I entered the water at about 6:50, 10 minutes after the first age groupers. Each person’s race starts when they cross the timing mat, so someone that seeds themselves in the front actually has 17 hours and 20 minutes to finish.
The swim is 2 loops and you have to get out of the water and cross the mat half way through. The current was heading straight into the shore so the first part of the swim headed out straight into it.
I had some trouble heading out, it was congested, and I couldn’t get into a rhythm. I had to stop and rest a few times to calm myself down. At the turn around I felt much better. Heading back toward shore was awesome, it was fast, the crowds had thinned, and I finally found my rhythm. I started to count my strokes which really helped. The second loop was actually pretty nice. I realized I was not going to have any trouble finishing the swim and I was happy with my time on the first loop so I was able to finally enjoy the fact that I was doing an Ironman! My swim time was 1:23:52 which right around my goal. If the swim was in fact 6 minutes slow then I beat my goal!
After the swim I got my wetsuit stripped, found my bag and skipped the changing tent. I put on the cycling shoes, helmet and arm warmers and I was off. My T1 time was 6:41, I could probably shave a couple minutes there in the future. I am glad I put the arm warmers on though because I got cold on the bike later.
Heading through town I rode super easy. It was tough to get my watts even up to the planned easy pace with the turns and congestion. I kept it easy for the first 30′ before I got to work. My plan was to aim for 0.72 IF which for me is 173 watts. Just as I was getting into my groove it was back through town again so the real work began once we were on the 95, which is also when I realized it was really windy!
I am glad I had taken speed off of my Garmin because I am sure it would have gotten to me. It acually took me a while to realize how off my time was because I was really trying to focus and stick to my watts. I spiked the power just a bit on the climbs, I had a couple of intervals where my power was up to 180+. On the descents I probably gave up some time because I was so squirlly in the wind. I am a light guy and I had a disc wheel in back, so I was blown all over the road. I went only as fast as I felt safe. I still hit 42.6 mph at one point though! After the first loop I knew I was going to be out on the course longer than anticipated so I held back a bit on purpose because my plan was a bit aggressive and I didn’t want to harm my run. I am glad I did because I ended up with a TSS score of 291.2.
I probably could have ridden the course a bit smarter, I know I made some errors. I had never peed on the bike before and it took me a while to get the hang of it. I ended up using too much time coasting trying to go, and I went a total of 4 times. Also, at one point I thought I had spun out and coasted for a while before I realized I was in the small chain ring! Whoops! Also, my gear bag started to fall off so I had to stop and fix it. In the end I finished with an IF of 0.69, a VI of 1.05 and a time of 6:05. In my rehearsals on a flat course I was able to do 5:27 at the same IF but with a VI of 1.01. For sure there is some room for improvement there. At least I now know I can run after doing 291 TSS which will help with planning for the next time around. My nutrition worked out very well though, I really dialed back the calories after my GI issues at Oceanside and I went liquid only for a total of 230 calories per hour with just the on-course perform. I took salt pills to make up the difference in sodium.
I saw a lot of people making grave mistakes on the bike course. This one guy kept hammering the hills and then coasting on the descents. We kept playing leap frog until I eventually dropped him. Also, no one seemed to be working after the turn around! There was a ton of speed available with the return tail wind and no one was taking advantage of it! On my second loop the crowd had really thinned out and I passed a lot of people who seemed pretty dejected. People would tell me to go get it, as if they themselves had given up.
I was very happy to be off the bike. The conditions were not well suited for the swim or bike, but they were perfect for the run, I think it was in the upper 60s. My T2 was a bit slow (4:00) because I used the urinal in the changing tent and it took me too long to get my socks on. Once I had my shoes on everything else I needed was in a go bag, so I put my race belt, hat and glasses on as I ran.
I stuck to the plan and went about 8:18 min/mile for the first 6 miles and I walked 15 steps at each aid station. However, right past the 6 mile marker is the hill at Tony’s restaurant so I couldn’t settle into race pace quite yet. I went up the hill based on RPE at around a 9-9:30 pace. Coming back I flew down the hills at a 6:30ish pace, which was fun! My goal race pace was 7:48, but I was worried about going too fast after spending the extra time on the bike so I stayed closer to 8:00 min/mile. I think I also had some last minute doubts realizing this was my first marathon and I was headed into unknown territory.
After finishing the first loop it was nice to go back through town again, I was also able to see my wife which gave me a nice mental boost. However, I think the darkest moment I had on the run was at the half way point, realizing that I had to run another 13.1. I was also worried about the line at mile 18 where things get really hard. So I just kept going at that 8:00-8:05 min/mile pace. Mile 18 came and went and I still felt pretty good. I was getting a bit tired of perform so I switched to coke at that point. After mile 18 is the climb just past Tony’s again. Once I made it up the hill I realized that I was pretty much home free and that I was going to finish strong. At this point I picked up the pace. The next 3 miles I did 7:50’s and then the next 3 miles I did 7:40’s. Also, for the last 3 miles I skipped the aid stations. I ended up with an 8:05 average for a time of 3:32. Unfortunately my Garmin data is corrupted so I can’t really analyse my run splits but I am pretty sure I negative split the marathon.
I was pretty emotional at the finish, this whole Ironman® thing was quite the journey. It was awesome running down Sherman with the whole town cheering you on. Mike Reilly was there to announce that I am an Ironman. After they caught me and wrapped me in the mylar blanket I was able to see Rich and he let me use his phone to call my wife. I was able to meet with them for a while before I was escorted to the recovery area. I got a bunch of food and tried to eat some pizza but I wasn’t feeling it at all. I got a massage and it made me feel much better. It was probably just getting a chance to lay down. I wasn’t able to eat something until a few hours later.
Later that night I got into my car and instantly felt a searing pain in my lower back. I realized that my tri-top left a gap of skin between it and the shorts and I got a horrible sun-burn. It is now starting to bubble. I guess if this is my only side effect from doing an Ironman® than I came out ok!