On June 25th I raced the Ironman 70.3 Coeur d’Alene (CDA) in Idaho. I registered for this race 8 months ago thinking I would need it to qualify for the IM 70.3 World Championships, but with a lot of luck I managed to get my qualifying spot at the Oceanside 70.3 in April. So CDA was just for fun and pride.
The highlight of this trip was seeing some old friends. The first athlete to pay me for my coaching services was John Montanile back in 2007. John relocated from San Diego to Pennsylvania a few years ago. Earlier this year John and his wife Cheryl retired, purchased a trailer which has become their home, and have been traveling the country. They happened to be in the area so we had a great dinner my first evening in CDA.
And my friend Laura Cole whom I met at Ironman Japan in 1995 was also racing in CDA. Laura and her husband Mark live in Florida so I have had very few opportunities to see her over the years, but we are good friends so we have stayed in touch. I think this was just the 4th time in 22 years that we have raced together – Japan, Nationals in Orange County, Wildflower and now CDA. Laura, Mark and I shared a wonderful lunch the day before our race. One of my primary wishes for CDA was to see Laura qualify for the 70.3 Worlds. I am pleased to say Laura did qualify so we will race for the 5th time in Chattanooga in September.
The weather was warm in CDA. Race day warmed to the high 80’s before my race ended. I don’t believe I ever saw a cloud in the sky during my entire visit. It was gorgeous! Lake Coeur d’Alene was 62 degrees – very comfortable with very little chop. The organizers had us do a rolling start which means you seed yourself and start when you are ready. The professionals started at 6am and the age groupers started at 6:15am. I started with the group targeting a 30-35 minute swim. I did the 1.2 mile swim in 31:43. I knew the heat would be a factor so I kept a steady, easy pace. I was pleasantly surprised to come out of the water with such a fast time. This put me in 4th place.
I had raced the full Ironman in CDA back in 2007 and 2009, but they changed the bike course from those years. The course now is a bit hillier than I remembered. Most of the hills were dedicated climbs for 5-10 minutes each. Despite that, I found the bike course to be pretty fast. My 56 mile bike split of 2:50:41 at CDA was 5 minutes faster than at Oceanside. I had the 14th fastest bike split and that dropped me into 9th place.
The 13.1 mile run was comprised of 2 laps. With the race starting so early I was running before 10am. It was warm, but not super hot, yet. Parts of the run course were in the shade. During lap 1 I was between the 1st and 2nd place female professionals who were on their 2nd lap. This worked in my favor because I was able to pace off them and it was fun to see how their race played out. By the time I got to the 7 mile mark I was really hot, though, so I started putting ice in my hat at the aid stations. I held on and finished strong with a 1:32:37 split, the fastest run of the day. My finish time was 5:00:29. I tried so hard to break 5 hours, but just could not do it. I finished 4th out of 74 men in the 55-59 age group so I got on the podium which goes 5 deep at the Ironman events. I finished 167th out of 1,627 overall finishers.
To see my race photos, click on this link:
Living the life…