race day recap part 1: preparation

You may or may not know that Ironman Coeur d’Alene 2013 – the BIG DAY – was this past weekend – Sunday, June 23, 2013.

As you might expect, the two weeks leading up to Ironman were taper weeks… though the first week of taper wasn’t as light as I thought (still had a 10 mile run and a 4 hour bike ride). The second week of taper was spent getting ready for company and frankly, my final taper week basically involved cleaning the house, a few short workouts and sleeping as much as possible. We’ve been quite busy with getting race ready, and we also had race fans come into town both surprise ones and planned ones, so I haven’t had time to write about race week as much as I thought I might. So I’ll break my race recap into a few different parts, starting with all of the preparation leading up to race day.

Ironman involves so much more than showing up on race day. True – most races do. But Ironman takes it to a whole new level. With an event 140.6 miles long and no external support allowed, the weeks leading up to Sunday were spent making lists and comparing our lists to other people’s lists to make sure that we remembered everything we could need for the day from chamois cream to race morning breakfast to race day nutrition and hydration to spare cartridges and making sure the right pair of running shorts made it into the run gear bag. Ironman races can take really little things and turn them into REALLY BIG PROBLEMS. A tiny little seam that chafes just a smidge in a sprint tri or a half marathon can leave you hobbling your last miles and the days following.

Despite the weeks of researching and checking and re-checking and adding to my list what seemed like constantly, I kept adding to it – post it notes to remember to make sure sunscreen is on the list, or handwritten notes on my printed copy I had on the fridge reminding myself to make sure I grab extra contacts just in case things went awry in the lake. And as you know, I was a little concerned about the weather leading into the race, so trying to plan for contingencies such as cold water, cold weather, wind and rain made planning even more important.

The week leading up to race day, we put out paper grocery sacks labeled to match the bags we would receive when we checked in and started packing early so avoid any last minute scrambles and identify what we needed to go out and buy before the other 2200 athletes arrived in town and bought out all of the local stores.

packing in advance...

Here’s the list I created for myself:

All bags:

  • sunscreen (I bought little travel bottles of it and put it in every bag we had. It did come in handy in my bike special needs bag on race day but they had sunscreen at both of the transitions and even some volunteers dedicated to putting it on for you if you wanted it! )
  • chapstick
  • washcloth
  • water bottle
  • athletic tape
  • eyedrops

Wearing on race morning:

  • Sweats
  • sports bra
  • tri top and bottoms

Green – Morning clothes

  • race cap
  • neoprene cap
  • goggles + spare goggles
  • timing chip
  • body glide
  • ear plugs (I didn’t use these…)
  • old water bottle/disposable water to take onto the beach and drink with gel
  • nutrition (30-60 minutes out) – I didn’t end up using this…
  • gel (10 minutes out)
  • wetsuit
  • mp3 player (pre-race, leave with family) – I didn’t end up doing this either…too chaotic.
  • Garmin/watch

Blue – Bike Gear

  • towel
  • spare contacts
  • helmet with race # sticker
  • race belt with race number
  • sunglasses (inside of a protective case)
  • arm sleeves (rolled down)
  • jacket/shirt/jersey
  • leg warmers
  • bike socks (rolled down, stuffed inside shoes)
  • bike shoes
  • toe caps for bike shoes (already on the shoes)
  • baggie of endurolyte capsules for first 65 miles
  • 2 spare bike tube (I normally carry 1 and a cell phone to phone a friend. But for race day I duct taped a 2nd onto my frame just in case I had a really unlucky bike leg)
  • gloves
  • chamois cream / travel lube to carry with

Orange- Bike special needs

  • perpetuem powder for 3 hour bottle
  • water bottle (they didn’t have any water at the special needs station – this was to mix with the perpetuem)
  • chamois cream /lube – travel tube to carry with
  • extra tube
  • 2 CO2 cartridges

Red – Run Gear

  • washcloth
  • water bottle to wash the bike grime off my face
  • eye drops (I DID actually pack them and use them here)
  • running socks
  • running shoes
  • vaseline
  • body glide
  • endurolytes capsules for the first 13.1 miles
  • hat/visor
  • new shirt? (I didn’t change my shirt)
  • running capris
  • underwear
  • positive note
  • extra race bib

Black- Run special needs

  • long sleeves / long sleeved shirt
  • vaseline
  • salt and vinegar chips
  • bandaids / tape

Bike – 1st 65 miles

  • Perpetuem – 3 ½ hour bottle, premixed and put on bike race morning
  • 3 stinger waffles
  • Wendy’s jr. cheeseburger (no onions)
  • 3 Gus
  • Almonds

Bike – 2nd 49 miles

  • Baggie with 3 hours of Perpetuem powder
  • 2 Gus
  • Wendy’s cheeseburger
  • 2 stinger waffles

I had a few others things on various lists – coke, candy bars, oreos, etc.  It’s hard to predict what might sound good on race day. But it’s also easy to go overboard and have WAYYYYYY too much stuff and you don’t want to carry any more than you have to… I could have gone without carrying Gus but I didn’t want to be forced to eat any flavors I didn’t want to so I carried what I liked. I also could have skipped the almonds, but I carried more calories than I needed in case I couldn’t stomach something during the race I could replace it without skipping a beat.

It’s quite the list, but maybe someone here will find it helpful. If not, maybe I’ll use it again later. Maybe…

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