Race Report: Coeur d' Alene Olympic Triathlon

Leading up to this race I really focused on getting a few runs under my belt. I know two weeks is hardly enough time to become good at ANYTHING (it might be different for you) but I just wanted to have a couple consistent weeks of running before the Coeur d' Alene Tri. I have a feeling it benefitted me more mentally then it did physically but I didn't care, I was going to run.

It started off with me entering a local 5K the Tuesday after Race the River with the plan of running hard and seeing when I would fail. I am happy to report that I didn't die though with a heart rate of 198 over the last .1 miles...I am pretty sure I was on the verge. I did set a new open 5K PR of 19:14 for the distance (my Bloomsday 5K split was about 1 minute faster) so I knew my legs had a little bit of speed in them...but the trick would be to have it off the bike.
After my new PR!!!
I would have been faster if I was wearing a shirt like the kid in the background...

So over then next week and a half it was all about the run. My bike sat in the house...exactly like it was after my last race and didn't move until I loaded it up for the race on Saturday morning. I did get a few rides in on my road bike but that was it.

As I went to bed Friday night and set the alarm for the UNGODLY zero hour of 3:45AM, I was excited to see how it would go. So FREAKIN' excited in fact that I couldn't even fall asleep...like a kid on Christmas eve. All in all, I think I slept about 30 minutes...nothing like trying to amp yourself up when all you can think about is lying down. It got to the point where I actually contemplated rolling up my transition towel and just taking a quick nap next to my bike...but I figured I would wake up with a wetsuit dripping on me as the first swimmers were coming out of the water.

I also decided to do this race without a watch and just go by feel. No heart rate to keep low or time to try and beat, I was out there to race with my legs and just see what happened.

The Swim:
The great thing about doing a race each year is that you can see how much you have improved from the previous year.
Photo by Rory Buck
As the gun went off, I went out hard. The plan was to position myself up near the front, find some feet and settle into a solid pace. As we started in, I felt some open water immediately but knew with some serious swimmers in the bunch and it would take long for the wave of people to come flying by...and that took all of about 15 seconds. As I reach the bouy I found a familiar friend right next to me.
Unorganized Chaos!!!
Photo by Rory Buck
For the next 15 minutes or so, Nate Duncan and I swam stroke for stroke. I was able to draft of the EAC for a bit on the backside of the course and try to pull my fair share too. As we made the final turn back towards the finish I tried to open it up a bit, only to find Nate right there. Two years ago, I had a similar experience, he happen to be the guy who got the little extra kicking, see Coach Kevin and Rory...even triathletes can kick while swimming...but this year as we are wisely veterans, we were able to keep it clean and with a last little push and some swim traffic ahead of us, I was able to finish strong and swim what I believe is a new PR for that 'distance'.
Heading into T1
Photo by Rory Buck
2010- 24:38
2090- 19:27
2008- 26:05
2007- 30:41

Transition 1:
When you are not as 'fast' as everyone else around you, a quick way to make up time is in transitions. I have always made it a point to use this as my advantage and pick up those valuable seconds. After a quick challenge from Roger Thompson to have the fastest transitions (nothing like a little extra competition) I was ready to go.
My Transition Area...Key to successful transitions!
Photo by ME ;)
At Race the River I was passed by 3 or 4 people on the run up to the bikes. NOT THIS WEEK!!! I came out of the water flying. As soon as I reached the park I picked up the pace and flew through transition like I was being chased by the cops.

Sprinting towards my bike.
Photo by Kathy Worden
Even without the best location (near the exit since they had to run less with their bikes), I was able to have the fastest T1 at 53 seconds which was 5 seconds faster then my buddy Derek Garcia and 3 seconds faster than last year.

The Bike:
You only have a good bike if you have a good run. Since my focus for this race was the run, I knew I needed to be a bit conservative on the bike. It wasn't that I didn't ride hard I just didn't push myself like I normally would. It felt more important to leave a little more in the tank and give myself a chance on the run.
Photo by Rory Buck
The great thing about this bike course is that it keeps you honest. You can't go to hard at any one point or you will suffer bad later on. I really think this bike course suits me well though. There is a great mix of flats, rollers and a 'small' 3 mile hill thrown right in the middle.
Leaving the shoes on my bike!
Photo by Kathy Worden
I know I could have easily pushed myself harder and had a much faster bike split but that wasn't the goal for this race and even if I could have have gained 1 minute on the bike, with my current run it could have added 3-4 minutes on the run. As it turned out, I was 3 seconds slower than last year but think I probably rode easier. It is a good sign my bike fitness is there.

2010- 1:06:09
2009- 1:06:06
2008- 1:09:31
2007- 1:12:32 (shorter course)

Transition 2:
Once again I was trying to put down a solid T2. I had a couple issues trying to roll my bike along but was still able to lay down a solid 30 second time which was good for 2nd. I was beat by 3 seconds but was 8 seconds faster than last year.
Photo by Dave Erickson

The Run:
I can't say I was dreading the run but I was very nervous and didn't know how I would feel or how to attack it. I had a few people out in front of me to chase down...which never happens and I knew I had some dang fast runners behind me who were going to be flying.
Smiling on the run...must have been a good race!
Photo by Rory Buck
Since I had no watch or heartrate monitor, this was going to be on complete feel. I left transition with a 23 yr old and made it a goal to keep him in sight. I NEVER pass anyone on the run and usually get passed by 2 or 3 people before the finish. This time was going to be different.
Photo by Rory Buck
As we headed out, I really focused on keeping my pace up and it helped to have the 23 yr old to pace off of. At one point I actually passed him and he was pacing off of me...I know CRAZY!!! I pretty much caulked it up to him not knowing who I was :)
Just around the park!
Photo by Kathy Worden
Since Nate and fellow Tri-Fusion teammate Trevor Blackwell didn't catch me on the bike I knew they were back there somewhere. I was leaving transition when Nate was coming in and figured I had about 40-60 second lead. It didn't take Nate long to catch me and by mile 1.5 he was pulling away. Now it was up to me to stay focused and race my race.
And DONE!!!
Photo by Rory Buck
Overall, I am very pleased with my run. It definitely wasn't my fastest run split for a 10K or even at this race but with the struggles I had at Race the River, it was great to be able to run consistent and finish the race. I probably could have run just a bit faster but it is easy to say that now...not so much when you are struggling for each last bit of oxygen coming to the finishline.

2010: 42:40
2009: 41:29
2008: 42:18
2007: 49:41
I have the EXACT same photo from last year...
Photo by Rory Buck
Thanks again to my roommates Rory and Carla for coming out to cheer and take some awesome pictures. Also thank you to everyone for the text messages and cheering me along. It was not my best race but a race that I can build on and now work to improve.

Until next time...


Spokane Al said...

Congratulations on a great, great race!

Matt said...

great race Steve! Raced smart, getting wise ;) I wish I could run like that with not running much, impressive Senor.

Rene said...

Great job Steve!

Tiffany said...

Way to go, Keven! I'm so happy that you had a solid run and felt good about it! And what was that I saw in that pic of you on the bike? A smile?! Oh no you di'int! ;) Congrats on another smokin' fast race!

jessithompson said...

Great pics (thanks Glory) and am very happy that you pulled everything together for a SOLID race. Well done, Keven!