Tri-Stars: Ironman Coeur d'Alene 2005
Posted July 5, 2005 12:26 PM
The following race report was written by John Fyfe.
And then the earth cooled...
...and I woke up registered for my first Ironman. Once the initial panic subsided I determined that I needed to:
1) complete the upcoming Victoria Marathon (my first); and
2) find an Ironman coach.
Step 1 was accomplished last October. In November I started Ironman training coached by Carolyn Gebbie. Eight months later, and thanks
to Carolyn's awesome direction and support, there I was standing on the beach in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, wondering "what the hell have I gotten myself into?" Off went the cannon and the beginning of a great adventure...
Honestly, there wasn't as single moment of hesitation or regret for me during the whole race. This was even true of the mass swim start which is like a bad date with a washing machine. I made it through the 3.8km swim more-or-less unscathed and on my goal time to the minute. Onto the grass, wet-suit peeled off by the volunteer strippers, through the swim-to-bike transition tent and onto the 180km bike course; all the while looking back at myself and seeing someone having a complete blast.
The Coeur d'Alene IM features a hilly bike course (much like the terrain around here) with several "novelty sections" including two loops around a greyhound dog track. Beforehand, I had decided to save myself on the bike for the sake of the marathon; an objective made easier by a faulty bike computer that was recording my average speed as higher than actual. Of the estimated 35,000 spectators lining the bike course one that stood out for me was the lone woman on an empty stretch of farm land holding a sign that read "ride'r like her husband is come'n home"! Another high point for me (though perhaps not for those behind me) was when, despite many unsuccessful attempts during training, I managed to pee on the bike. Mental note to self: "life doesn't get much better!"
Off the bike, through the bike-to-run transition tent and onto the relatively flat marathon course. Immediately I was struck by how many people were already walking including many of whom had hammered by me on the bike hills. Sure I could have ridden the bike course a lot faster but it was much more important to me to run, not walk, the marathon. In short, the marathon was 26 repetitions of: run a mile and then walk the back half of an aid station collecting ice water and/or Gatorade and cold sponges (for inside my singlet). The next thing I knew I was running down the finish chute carpet, high-fiving my wife Jill and 13-year-old daughter Nicki and listening to the announcer calling "John Fyfe, you are an Ironman"! No tears just a sense of enormous accomplishment.
To my mind completing my first Ironman was a shared accomplishment with Jill and Nicki. Thanks to Carolyn for her superb coaching, and to her and Debi Wood for supporting me at the race. Thanks also to Carolyn Gebbie's Tri-Stars for helping me through those long Thetis Lake swims, and for your many words of encouragement leading up to the race. You're the most wonderful group of obsessed people I've ever met.