Christine Anderson


Timex Camp at the IMG Performance Center

Posted in Fun, Training Camp by

Timex camp had a change of location this year. We headed South for some warm weather in Sarasota, FL to the IMG performance center. I never knew such a place existed, a “boarding school” for gifted young athletes. IMG is enormous complete with countless fields and state of the art equipment preparing young athletes for Division I schools and professional careers in tennis, golf, football, lacrosse, track, soccer and basketball.

kissing bruce

 I headed out a couple days early to meet up with Jackie in Fort Myers for some warm weather training and bonding. Jackie’s grandma was generous enough to host us for two nights in Fort Myers. We headed from the airport straight to yoga, which was nice to get a good stretch after the long flight from Colorado.

Wednesday morning our plan was to assemble our bikes, head for a swim followed by a long ride. Jackie has her new Trek Speed Concept but hasn’t mastered it’s assembly yet so this took longer than expected. We arrived at the pool only to find it was closed for the next hour for water aerobics aka dancing ladies; Fail! We were back to grandma’s and on our bikes quickly. Unfortunately we forgot to eat breakfast through all the changed plans. We managed to find a decent route and got in a solid 4 hour hungry ride including lots of gossip time.

jackie ride

We headed back to the pool for our swim, which had now been heated by the sun all day, nice and toasty! Jackie and I were somewhat of a spectacle doing a set Curt wrote for me. We were asked several times if we were famous and some lap swimmers told us we were their inspiration. How sweet! We finished our day with dinner and wine with grandma.

Day two we got started at sunrise for our long ride, taking a similar route to the previous day. Jackie was pretty fatigued coming straight from Cliff English’s camp in Tucson so she hung on my wheel while I busted out some 45 minute intervals. We ran on a lovely wooded path around grandma’s gated neighborhood for our tempo run where Jackie dropped me like a bad habit each time. Some day I hope to hang with her on my feet. After showering and a quick bite we loaded up the car in order to make it to the ING performance center by 4pm. Somehow we managed to fit 2 bikes, my bike box and all our gear into grandma’s car.

car pack

Upon arrival we were greeted by many team members, some of which we only get to see at camp each year which makes this weekend so special. We got a tour of the ING facility, then enjoyed a cocktail hour meet and greet. We shared stories, laughs and received some fun swag.

Jackie and I shared our condo with Sam Mazar and rookie teammate Kathryn Taylor. The accommodations this year were unique; we were bunked in dorm-like rooms with twin beds. Jackie’s had a plastic cover, once she took it off we were informed it may have been a bed bug shield, Yikes! Either way she left it off for the weekend.

bed bug guard

Arriving the week of daylight savings combined with the two hour time difference created Friday’s wake up call to feel quite early. We were awoken by our bus beeping outside the window; no need for alarms :) We enjoyed a refreshing swim in an outdoor fifty meter pool. I got to swim with the boys, our lane was lead by Bama collegiate swimmer Bruce Gennari. It’s always fun to get some training time together.

swim 4

After breakfast we attended some clinics sharing our experience and opinions on Timex and competitor’s products as well as social media, clinic and ambassador training. We fit in a Florida Tourist themed 5K fun run.

FL tourist group shotFL tourist 5KFL tourist run

The day was finished off by receiving more swag which included all our new Castelli clothing. This is by far the best clothing sponsor we’ve had in the 6 years i’ve been on the team. Jackie and I headed out for a quick ride, we had to test out our new kits! Unfortunately we didn’t have adequate time for this ride so it made us a little late for the bus to the awards dinner. The whole team ended up waiting on us to run across campus, sorry guys but we had to get some saddle time in the sun. Now you know what we were up to :)

beach bikingbiking

The awards dinner was held at a local country club and included inspirational speeches by team members Bo Parrish and Dave Orlowski. The highlight of the evening was Dave Erickson presenting pro athlete of the year award to Matt Russell by mimicking his American Flag run shorts.

flag shorts

Saturday morning we had a similar bus beep wakeup call outside our window. With a pact of punctuality Jackie and I were some of the first on the bus. We enjoyed another refreshing morning swim.


After breakfast we headed back over to the track for some ambassador meetings to complete our day. We learned the latest about Trek, Shimano, Skins, and Blue Seventy. We are blessed with such amazing sponsors who ensure we’re taken care of. We did get some time for a run in the sunshine during a break and finished our day earlier than planned.


It happened to be Adrianna from Timex’s birthday so we celebrated with some wine by the pool.

pool drinking

Jennifer was kind enough to not only make a reservation for us at a local bar which included Bags set up for us to play while drinking. She also chauffeured us all to a from the bar (cabs had a 2 hour wait due to St. Patrick’s day weekend). Ryan and I ended up in the back heading from the pool

dogs in the back 2dogs in the back

Following the tradition of Timex camp we celebrated our last night and Adrianna’s birthday with too many cocktails and shots which made for a fun but late night.


Sunday we finished off camp with our head shots and team photos, looking fabulous as always after a night of drinking.

luisgroup shotbesties lounging Team Tristan timex buds


Ironman Florida 5 for 5

Posted in Racing by

Heading into Ironman Florida I had low expectations. I’m not going for 2014 KPR so my goal was to prove I could run fast off a decent bike, which I haven’t done to my ability this season yet. I also thought it may be cool to say I raced 5 IM’s in one season (by far a 1st for me). So we headed down to Panama City Beach for one last go at the IM distance before our wedding on November 16th.  It turned out great, Owen got in the amateur race just two weeks prior. I also had many friends and teammates racing; more familiar faces on course always make for an enjoyable race.

We were set up with another awesome homestay; Bruce and Gary who live along the bike course. They generously opened their home to us for the long weekend. The windy weather on Thursday and Friday had everyone’s nerves on edge; seven foot waves were reported on Friday morning! Luckily the wind calmed and rain cleared to perfect conditions for race day on Saturday.

Our Beach start was captured by teammate Dave Erickson. I entered the water cleanly diving under each wave trying to swim faster than the others dolphin diving.  But soon enough, my face was in the sand, I was forced to stand to dolphin dive again.

I had now lost the leaders, I was in the chase pack which had formed a wall of women in front of me. I struggled to get through, so swam far left (inside of the sight buoys) to complete my pass. I did so successfully, caught the back of the lead pack and found myself swimming side by side with close friend Jackie Arendt. I decided to take a breather before my next surge, I smiled and waved at her with each breath towards one another. She did not wave back so I continued on.  At the first turn buoy I surged again and to my surprise dropped this chase pack catching Haley Chura. I was pushing to hold her feet, but she was swimming in a prefect straight line through the cross waves so I held on tight.  As we approached the break coming into the beach I got separated again, the waves were crashing over my head, I felt like a tumble weed in the wind coming in. As I ran over the beach timing mat to begin my second loop the announcer confirmed it was Haley coming through, they were talking about her swim in Kona. Beach running is a weakness of mine and as we entered the break water  Ashley Clifford went by diving through the waves much quicker than I. Haley was now gone and Ashley had built a gap. I was back in the chase pack; I thought about surging again but decided against it for fear of burning too many matches too early. I settled in and was able to swim easy through the 2nd loop. There were 4 of us together, we swam in a horizontal line, each of us tried to take the lead but would then go way off course in the cross waves. As we exited I was not happy with my positioning but we had only just begun.

swim exit

My transition was consistent with those around me but we were forced to run across the beach, then across the large transition area twice barefoot. This doesn’t feel great on my bad foot so I was happy to finally hop on my bike. I eased into the ride, going easy the first hour is part of my race plan. Because of my position out of the swim I was riding (legally) in a pack of 3 other girls. (Dede, April, and Ashley) I just sat in with them while my hour passed.


At mile 23 to my surprise Tim Hola came whizzing by already. I took the opportunity to go with him in an attempt to separate myself from this pack. And let’s get serious, who better to take a ride from than Super Man! As we took a sharp corner he lost two PowerBars out of his back pocket. How is superman going to maintain his strength now??? After about ten minutes of riding his tail (legally) I decided to let him go, I couldn’t maintain these watts for the whole bike so I needed to back off.

bike good

In another twenty minutes my previous pack caught me again. Yvonne flew by with Dede on her tail they seemed to also be pushing too hard for me so I let them go (regretfully).  Slowly Simon and I were able to distance ourselves from this chase pack and we rode the majority of the bike together. She took the lead for thirty miles and then I took the lead for the remaining thirty. We rode quite well together, I was just happy we could put some time between us and the others.

bike dave

Former Timex Team Manager, Keith Meyer was spotting the women’s race, he informed us that we were making up time on the leaders. To my surprise around mile 105 we caught back up to Super Man. There were only a total of five amateur men that caught us. This was odd to me since they only started five minutes behind us, closer than in Whistler, and at that race I was in the middle of the men’s amateur race. It was a pleasant surprise.

I came into transition feeling fresher than usual. My back gave me no issues which was a fear of mine on such a flat course. Spotters informed me I was in fifth place heading out on the run. It takes me 2-3 miles to settle into getting vertical after swim/biking horizontal for so long. During these first few miles I was passed by a couple big names. Even once I turned on MY faster run speed I was still getting passed. This was discouraging, I hadn’t bridged as large of a gap as I’d have liked on the bike. I knew this would happen here but just not this early.

run 2

I tried to push the negative thoughts out of my mind and run my own race. I took in my calories and stuck to my steady pace. I still felt better than the last 3 of 4 Ironman’s I’ve raced this year. (not as good as Cabo on the run) The negative thoughts snuck back into my head at the turn around. Miles 15-19 were pretty dark which is normal, I wasn’t feeling great, my pace had slowed, I still had to get another bottle down and then run all the way back to the finish line. Of course I made it through. I even caught a few of the pro women who previously passed me.


At mile twenty I tried to turn it on again. I ran a few miles feeling great, now all my calories were down; I just had to run it in. Good friend and training partner, Whitney was chasing me down and I was determined to stay in front of her. Looking at those last six miles I wasn’t running particularly fast, but I didn’t slow as much as I could have or as others did. I dug deep and left it all on the course. I heard from spectators/fellow racers later that I looked quite determined towards the end, all business. I wanted no regret following my last race of the season. There’s nothing better than knowing you gave it your all, which I can honestly say I did and am proud of.


Ironman Florida was a Personal Record for me but it’s very difficult to compare courses with one another. Panama City is a fast course and we had ideal conditions.  I’ll take the PR and fastest time in my household :) but I don’t know that my performance here was better than some of my other races this year.  I felt better with a longer recovery heading in but still felt those other four Ironman’s in my legs. I have learned so much about myself, my abilities, and how to race this distance in 2013 I can’t wait to take that knowledge and experience to use on fresh legs in 2014. Happy Off Season!!!

owen spectating


Ironman Whistler

Posted in Racing by

I originally planned to race Ironman Whistler as my 4th Ironman in an attempt to qualify for Kona 2013. Unfortunately the prior weekend held IM Sweden and IM Mont Tremblant.  Performances from these two races pushed me out of the running for Kona this year. The big surprise to me was IM Sweden; there were two standout performances by pro women who were on the bubble of qualifying. I went through many emotions during the week after determining Kona was unattainable. I even debated doing IM Louisville in lieu of IM Whistler. I decided to stick to my plan of racing in Whistler with my fiancé Owen. After all this was our first opportunity to race together of the year. Besides, my bike was already on it’s way to the venue via TriBike Transport.

Once we arrived in Whistler my motivation was back and I was excited to race. We lucked out with an awesome homestay. The Deeks welcomed us into their parent’s 5 bedroom ski house just off the bike course. I had many friends racing from both Chicago and Boulder which always makes for a fun day seeing familiar faces on course.

Race morning was upon us and my pre-race prep went off without a hitch. As I headed into the water I had more confidence than any other pro-race. Especially in the swim, I was expecting to complete the swim course on my own with no help. It was a pleasant surprise that a few girls went out with me for the first 800 meters. There were 4 of us swimming side by side in a line, none of us wanting to take the lead and pull the others.  I was careful not to pull ahead too far. I wanted to reserve my energy for the long day ahead. As we hit the first turn buoy Christina Jackson made a break. I had no idea who she was at the time but I saw she was wearing a sleeveless wetsuit in cold water, which was my sign this girl could swim. I quickly grabbed her feet and we dropped the rest of the group except for Keiko she latched onto my left side. We rounded the first loop and I was working pretty hard just to stay on Christina’s feet. She dictated our pace, I was just along for the ride. Unfortunately Keiko continued to swim directly to my left, rather than grabbing my feet, therefore our faces were nearly touching with each left breath. She never fought me for Christina’s feet so I really wondered why she choose to swim beside me rather than in my draft zone.  As we rounded the second loop and headed into shore we caught the middle pack of pro men. I swam up beside Matt Russell (I could tell because I saw his shiny head in the water).

Swim exit with Matt 

Exiting the water I was excited to see our swim split, I expected it to be around a 52 because I was swimming hard to stay in Christina’s draft compared to swimming on Heather Wurtele’s feet in Coeur d’Alene where I felt I was going way too easy. To my surprise the swim time was about the same at both races 55.1 in Whistler. Of course you can never compare courses but it may have been that first 800 meters where I held off on taking the lead.

Entering transition I called out my number but had to run back for my gear bag. I quickly slipped out of my wetsuit and grabbed my bike. I passed Christina in transition and was now the lead woman, therefore I enjoyed a lot of cheers as I hopped on my bike.

swim exit

Ironman Canada kept the Timex bike Prime; a tradition from the Penticton race.  The prime was located at mile 18 during the first big climb up Callaghan. I was instructed by Coach Curt NOT to go for the prime. I had to stay within my target watts, which is imperative during the first 20 minutes and first hour. This was difficult with all the media alongside me, I had my eyes glued on my SRM just trying to stay under my max watts.

bike 2

As I approached the 10% grade saw no one behind me but I couldn’t get this close and not get the prime. I stood up and went for it. I won the $1K prime but it was an uneventful win, I was greeted by ~ 15 cameramen all snapping pictures. I quickly laid off my pedals and eased back into my IM pace. Soon enough Keiko came around to complete her pass around me. I decided to let her go, it was a long day ahead and I was determined to follow my race plan. I’ve learned the hard way this year (Coeur d’Alene) not to push too hard too early on the bike. I believed Keiko would pay for this later. Staying within my target watts I kept Keiko in my vision just wondering what her race plan was.

bike 4

As I made the 1st turn around I got to see the rest of the field, Uli was already making up significant time on me. At about mile 40 she completed her pass which I expected by the way she’s been biking this season. The entire Whistler course was stunning we continued up through the mountains until we hit mile 50 out towards Pemberton. We only got a decreased 7 minute head start on the amateurs due to road closure rules; therefore I dealt with many amateur men passing me. I even had one amateur woman catch me which caught my eye. This was until I realized how she did it, sucking wheel. I choose to ignore it and concentrate on my own race. Next I saw the first penalty tent and it was filled with many of the amateurs including the woman I saw blatantly drafting.

bike website

Making the turn towards Pemberton Lisa Ribes and Gillian Moody caught me. We played cat and mouse for a bit.  As we approached special needs I called out my number and unfortunately they were not prepared and were unable to hand off my bag. I contemplated riding past, but realized it was worth a short stop to get my additional 3 bottles. I hopped off my bike and grabbed my bag; frustrated at the situation. Meanwhile Lisa and Gillian were now far ahead. Throughout this whole stop I had some media with me capturing the event all on video.

bike 3

Riding in Pemberton was the only flat section of the course (my specialty) so I really needed to take advantage. I first caught back and passed Lisa and Gillian, then Keiko who had completely bonked and was now soft pedaling. I could overhear the media driving beside me that I was making up significant time on Uli. At the turn around I calculated roughly 2 minutes back now.

Next I was surprised with a pat on my bum by teammate Roger Thompson. We chatted and laughed about some of the drafting going on around us. I got caught in a small pack of 3 men who just grabbed my wheel when I tried to pass them, I attempted the pass 3 times at which point I decided to sit 10 meters behind them pushing lower watts than my target average but I was unwilling to battle with them for the remainder of the bike.


Heading back into the mountains is where I really got stuck in the men’s amateur race. The final 15 miles were literally all climbing, in preparation for the looming marathon I held back and stuck to my target watts. I was really hoping for a solid run in this Ironman. Unfortunately this meant I was letting many, many men pass me. I stuck to the rules of leaving 10 meters between our wheels but the problem was; men behind me were dropping into my draft zone. Overall this meant I had to soft pedal each time a man passed and dropped in. I tried to explain the rule to a few of them; that they needed to pass all of us and couldn’t drop in. But there was no use, this should have been a penalty each time, but the officials were doing their best, they can’t get them all. I did have an official driving beside me for a while, during which he was attempting to protect me. Telling the men if they can’t complete the entire pass they needed to drop back. He was also handing out red cards, lots of them. In fact when I passed the second penalty tent it was packed to the brim.

I finally reached the top of the final climb followed by a short decent into transition 2, greeted by screaming fans. I was second off the bike but had lost significant time up the final 15 miles to Uli. I was now 7 minutes back. I called out my number and was informed again I needed to run back and grab my own bag (should have learned by now). I quickly changed and was heading out on the run course. After a quick wave and smile to the crowds I was down to business. I felt I had set myself up perfectly for this marathon (nutrition and pacing) and was excited to see what my body could do. The first few miles ticked off quickly and I was getting into a rhythm (usually takes me about 3 miles to start feeling good). At this point I felt like I was running well ~ low 7 min/miles but my GPS watch was telling me differently. I was running high 7-8:00 min/miles. This is bad, if I’m already running 8’s what would I run during the 2nd half? I continued on. The course included countless turns and all different kinds of terrain. We ran through the woods on crushed limestone but, this included grape sized rockss. This was hard on my previously injured left foot. I hobbled through the rocky section at a slower pace and to no surprise Lisa came through completing her pass, and then Gillian. We finally made it back onto paved trail and I picked it back up. I enjoyed the section along Alta Lake it was flat, straight and in the sunshine. At the turn around I got to view the field and the front three women were putting time into me.

run 4

As I made my way back I saw Christine Fletcher was not far behind, I was confident that I could hold her off, she seemed to be holding a similar pace. We were now running parallel to the bike course, I heard a Chicago friend call out my name from her bike. Just as I looked up to wave I saw a bear running across the street. He must have heard all the commotion and wanted to check out what all these crazy people were doing in his forest. It was a baby bear. I pointed him out to the guy who had been running on my heels the entire course as well as others around me. We all had a little chuckle and then it was back to business.


As I began lap 2 Owen and Wylie caught and passed me on the rocky section. Next Christine Fletcher passed me as well. We stayed together for a while going back and forth but after some time she began to pull away.  It was the weirdest feeling; I didn’t hurt badly at all I just couldn’t go any faster. I’m told this is a sign of being tired and not fully recovered. Could have something to do with all the Ironman’s I’ve raced this year. At this point I wasn’t in a place where I could catch anyone and nobody was close behind me so I just jogged in the last few miles. I now regret this decision. I should have pushed harder and seen what my body could have given but isn’t that the name of the game in triathlon. There’s always time you can find within the race and strive to go faster/harder/smarter in the next one. Well that’s what I’m going to do. My season includes one more Ironman, Florida. I’m changing up my strength routine and heading into a run focus during this next training block.

run 2

Overall I enjoyed Ironman Whistler, it is a beautiful venue (we desperately want to plan a ski trip there this winter). It was so fun to see Owen execute an awesome race taking 4th in his age group, qualifying for Kona. I ended up 5th which is still great for me plus winning the prime. But I’m still looking for that race where I can piece the Swim, Bike AND Run together.

kiss awards owen

pro podium

Pro Podium

swim prime


Brian and I taking the Swim/Bike Prime


Huge thank you to the Deeks for hosting us in Whistler and of course my sponsors for your relentless support; Timex, Quintana Roo, Shimano, Blue Seventy, PowerBar, Rudy Project, Headsweats, K-Swiss, and Champion System. I am so lucky to have you all in my corner as I continue to strive for success.  And thanks as always to coach Curt Chesney for sharing his infinite wisdom of IM training/racing. I owe Curt all credit for my bike improvement this year.

Congrats to John Wiberg, Wylie Belasik, and Jen Mason some of my training partners who qualified for Kona in Whistler. Congratulations to friend and training buddy Uli Bromme for taking her first IM win and teammate/friend Matt Russell for fighting through the end taking 2nd place in the pro men.

awards uli matt


Boulder 70.3

Posted in Racing by
I went into the Boulder 70.3 well recovered and trained. After my poor performance at IM CDA I decided to cancel my original plan to race Racine 70.3 in exchange for some extra recovery time followed by a short bike training block. The past few weeks leading up to the race i’ve felt great in the water and on the bike, finally feeling like myself again for the first time following my 3 Ironman’s this year.
It was quite a treat preparing for the Boulder 70.3, a hometown race. This allowed me to prep my bike at home on Saturday before the race. While cleaning my race wheel cassette i noticed that my back tubular tire was worn down and now delaminating. I inquired with some reliable friends on whether i should glue a new tire or take my chances on the worn out one. The consensus was to glue a new tire. Owen and Curt glued the tire for me Saturday night.
 pre race
Race morning prep went off without a hitch and soon enough i was toeing the start line. Rather than focusing on other girls i chose to start far left to avoid the swim start chaos, Leanda and Amanda did the same.
The start gun shot and we ran into the shallow water (last year was an in water start) I immediately began swimming while others were still dolphin diving next to me. I probably could have done a few more, but overall it didn’t affect my start. Amanda took off, Leanda on her tail with Amy and I trailing. We quickly dropped the rest of the pack and i pushed to hold their feet. Swimming this hard in the altitude is harder for me, i couldn’t get settled into a rhythm breathing every three, I was too out of breath. i continued on but i was losing Amy’s feet. Soon i was a body length behind struggling to catch up. By the time we reached the first turn buoy i had lost them, they were slowly pulling away and I was left swimming alone.
I later found out that Amanda and Leanda swam a high 24, this is the same split as Gavin Rhoades. No wonder i couldn’t keep up with them! I think with some more determination i could have held onto Amy and drafted off her. Next time :)
I exited the water pretty tired, i ran slower than usual to transition attempting to lower my heart rate and catch my breath. I struggled getting my wetsuit off my left ankle, it was bunched up around my chip strap. After what felt like minutes i finally released my foot and headed out on the bike. I’ve been practicing my flying mount for weeks feeling confident that i had perfected it. Problem is now i was soaking wet with no shorts on. I went for the mount jumping high and landing right on my saddle but to my surprise my butt slipped right off and i stubbed my left toes onto my shoe and then the ground, breaking my 2nd and 3rd toes. In doing so i knocked my shoe off the pedal which i had to go back for. While stopped I heard and saw all the photos being taken of me, one man even started making fun of me. I looked up and told him off as i finally began my ride.
IMG_0788  0432_04995
Heading out on 36 Melissa caught and made the pass never to be seen again. Malaika also passed me but i kept her in my vision. I got some calories down and eased into a pace. My legs were feeling great so I began to push harder. By the time we hit Woodland road i passed Malaika back. We went back and forth a few more times before i bridged a gap between us. As i sank lower in my shoulders to a more aggressive aero position i felt my suit starting to ride up. It wasn’t uncomfortable but i was giving a show to anyone riding up behind me (sorry Malaika).
As we headed into Longmont i found myself on roads i’ve never been before, this portion of the course had one turn after the next.  I took each corner very slowly because of the fresh tire glue on my back tire. I’m sure i lost some time on these turns but everyone had to go through them. The cops and volunteers were excellent at alerting us of each turn. I never questioned which way to go or had an issue with cars.
My legs were beginning to tire heading back into town on 75th. The Niwot out and back was the 1st and only opportunity to view my competition. I saw that i was coming up on Amy but i had Uli, Trish and Whitney a few minutes back. This gave me a burst of energy, i was determined to catch Amy on Diagonal road. I was making up time but simply not enough. I finally caught and passed her on 51st on our way back to the Rez. Coming into transition i had a truck pull in front of me but once he noticed me he quickly moved and got out of my way. I hopped off my bike and executed a great transition 2.
Now the crowd was loud and encouraging. At first i was worried my legs weren’t there, but after the 1st mile they came around. I settled into my pace and quickly began getting my nutrition down. At the 1st out and back around mile 4 i was able to check out the competition, Uli and Jeanie were on my heels. I tried to pick up my pace but unfortunately i couldn’t find the speed to go with them. They completed the pass and i kept them in my vision for 4 miles or so but then they ultimately pulled away. I kept to my pace; my lungs, stomach and legs were all feeling strong.
The 2nd loop was pretty uneventful, i probably could have pushed harder because i finished feeling like i could do another lap at the same pace.
Overall i am very pleased with cracking into the podium at the Boulder 70.3 a 750 KPR race in a talented field.
womens podium
I’m super excited about my fitness level going into Ironman Whistler and look forward to racing another IM in less than 3 weeks.
It’s always fun racing at home alongside great friends with tons of support.
 IMG_0793 finish line with Coach Curt
0432_35919 finish line with friend and training partner Whitney


Ironman Coeur d’Alene

Posted in Racing by

I went into Ironman Coeur d’Alene (CDA) with uncertainty. This was my 3rd Ironman in 4 months. Prior to 2013, I’d never done more than 1 IM per season so I had no idea how my body would react. Having finished Ironman Texas just 5 weeks before CDA I was unable to get much training in between. I spent 2-3 weeks recovering from Texas and 2 weeks tapering in preparation for CDA. Unfortunately during this 5 week time we had a house guest who caught bronchitis while in Boulder. After he left the bronchitis lingered with Owen and I for 2 weeks; eliminating any opportunity for training between the races. (More rest between races was not necessarily a bad thing)

I arrived in CDA late Thursday evening greeted by my homestay, Bonnie at the Spokane airport. Bonnie generously opened her home to me for the weekend. She made me feel right at home including a huge welcome sign and baking me cookies J Friday and Saturday were rainy and cold, all my pre-race workouts were done in winter gear.

CDA had a unique swim start for the amateurs, rather than the typical mass start they were to begin funneling the amateurs into the water at 6:35am, this meant Pro men were off at 6am and women shortly after at 6:05am. So we had an extra early 3:30am wake-up call on race morning. swim star

Soon enough we were nearing the start gun, we entered the chilly waters of Lake Coeur d’Alene. I have been hearing horror stories of the cold waters, luckily the water was tame this year, clocking in at 61 degrees, totally doable.

pre race swim

As our start gun sounded I shot out in front, noticing Ashley on my left and Heather on my right. I went for Heather’s feet knowing her experience in this and many other Ironman races. Unfortunately Bree was between us and began to fight me for Heather’s feet. Bree and I swam side by side for the first 800 meters trailing behind Heather.  I have not raced or swam with Bree in the past and didn’t trust that she would hold Heather’s feet so I stayed by her side. Bree’s left arm jacked me in the face with each and every stroke. I stayed calm and kept to it, we had bridged a gap. Ashley slightly ahead, the three of us and then the rest of the pack a few hundred meters back. As I breathed to the opposite side of Bree I saw all the camera men on boats running along-side of us capturing Bree pummeling me as we pressed on. Well it turns out she won, I couldn’t handle any more beatings to the face so eased up, let her go and grabbed her feet. Heather, Bree and I were in a perfect line making our way around the turn buoys. As usual now that I was in the draft I felt that we were going way too easy. My plan was to sit in to conserve energy until the final turn buoy then I would try to pick it up and drop them towards the end. As we exited the water to begin our 2nd loop I heard cheers from all the amateurs. As I dove back in my right goggle filled with water, I quickly fixed it and had no problem hopping back on Bree’s feet. Again we were at our easy pace. As we made the last turn I went out to make my move, just then a group of amateur men came around on their first loop breaking up our perfect line. This was my chance, I tried to go with them and hang on their feet but alas they were going way too fast so I quickly moved back onto Bree’s feet. A few minutes later another group of men came around us. This time I did go with them and hung on their feet as long as I could. They completely broke us up; as they exited the water for their 2nd loop we exited the water heading for transition. Ashley came out 1st, Bree and I together next and then Heather on our heels.

I ran into transition as Bree stopped for the wetsuit strippers, then saw Ashley messing with her arm warmers, I grabbed my gear and headed towards my bike. Based on cold weather during days leading up to the race I decided to put a jacket on (I tend to run cold). Putting this jacket on my wet body definitely slowed me down running through transition. I exited right behind Heather listening to the screaming fans riding through downtown CDA.

bike 2

My coach and I had a different bike strategy for this Ironman. Rather than easing into my pace and racing my own race he wanted me to go with the faster bikers.  The women’s field in CDA was small but filled with excellent cyclists. If I wanted to have a shot I had to stay with them and see how long I could hold on. Our strategy was to attack on the hills, for me this isn’t much as I’m a horrendous climber. Even with my increased wattage (15 watts higher for the 1st loop than normal) I was still dropping back in the field. This is normal for me so I didn’t let it get my spirits down. The problem was that I was exerting too much energy; I was outside of my IM comfort zone. This is exactly why we were trying this, there’s a chance I could hold on and push this pace the entire 112 miles.


 Heather was riding away from me as expected, Chris the Timex mechanic, was spotting for the women’s race. Each time he passed on the motorcycle he gave me splits off Heather, by the time I reached 12 minutes back I motioned him to cut the splits, they were demotivating me. It turns out the jacket was a bad idea, I only needed it for the first 30 miles and after that I had to put my foot down to take it off at an aid station. Lesson learned, either improve my no-hand riding on a tri bike so I can remove clothing while riding or suffer through the cold for an hour.  As we rode back into town completing our first loop I was behind Caitlin Snow within the legal draft zone. My legs were still feeling fresh but my stomach wasn’t as calm as other races. I increased my calories by 50/bottle due to the colder weather. (easier to digest when under 100 degrees like my last 2 IM’s) I was starting to burp up Carbo-pro, nothing serious but this is a sign of over biking so I started to get nervous. I finished up my 3 bottles as we approached special needs, grabbing 3 more riding slowly and very ungracefully I dropped 1 bottle. I watched it drop and decided to let it go. I would still be up 50 calories within my 5 remaining bottles compared to Cabo and Texas so no need to back track for the bottle.

bike 3

Heading out on my 2nd loop I was fine through 75ish miles and the field held their order. Once I hit mile 80 fatigue began to set in and BAM I completely blew up. I couldn’t tell if it was from going out too hard or just the accumulation of fatigue from earlier IM’s this season but between miles 80-90 I was in a very dark place. I was looking down at my tires hoping one would blow, but no such luck with tough Challenge tires. I told myself if Chris came by again I could just get a ride back into town with him and call it a day, but by now he was up with the leaders. The weaker bikers started to catch me, which got me down. As we hit the turn-around at mile 90 I snapped out of it. Right here, right now I was going to give it all I had left. There was 1 large climb back into town and an equally long descent. I pushed with all I had left and caught two of the girls that passed me in the 2nd loop.  I wasn’t sure how I planned to get through a marathon at this point but at least I’d left it all out on the bike course.  (In retrospect I lost all the time + ~10 minutes on the 2nd loop as I’d gained on the 1st by pushing too hard)

I entered transition, popped my shoes on and headed out for the run. I felt ok during the first few miles running with an amateur man and Olesya. She seemed to be struggling to hold my pace through mile 7, but at mile 8 she slowly pulled away.

run 2

My pace slowed and I truly wondered how on earth I was going to finish.  On the back half of the 1st loop training partner Garrett Harvey passed me. We exchanged words and he could tell it was not my day. After he completed the pass, I thought to myself, I’ve done almost all my long runs with Garrett, quit being soft and run with him. I picked up the pace and caught up to Garrett at which point my quads screamed at me and I was forced to slow down. My feet ached running on the concrete and my quads were burning just running at my slow 8+min/mile pace. I wore my Timex Run Trainer 2.0, my first time sporting a GPS watch in an IM and wow did it help. I felt like I was running 12 minute miles, but sure enough every mile split I received showed high 7’s to low 8’s. Not great, but not as slow as it felt.


I saw many familiar faces on course cheering me on, I wish I had more to give on the day but alas this was my pace. By mile 15 I was trashed, how was I going to run 11 more miles? Many times I saw a familiar faces in the crowd and thought of quitting knowing I could sit on the curb and throw a pity party for myself. But that’s not my style, I knew I’d regret it if I quit. I was still in 9th place and my coach instructed me not to give up. People crumble towards the end of an Ironman, even those you wouldn’t suspect. I was sure at least one of the girls ahead of me would slow to a walk. No such luck, everyone was racing strong and I could see the pain and determination in each of their faces as we passed. I somehow managed to cross the finish line taking 9th place. Not exactly my goal placement for CDA but I earned 880 more points towards my ultimate goal of Kona 2013. I also pushed past a mental battle within myself that I wasn’t aware I had inside. After crossing the line, one of my best friends, Ashley was there to greet me and I cried on her shoulder finally able to express how much pain I was in. I next got a massage and cried to Garrett as we swapped race day stories.

Later I spoke to close friends who have raced 3x Ironman’s in a row only to find out that it always hurts this much. Even male pro’s informed me they want to cry during the entire run. I always knew Ironman’s were an extremely difficult distance, I didn’t know there was this level of pain to be found when racing 3 in a row.  Maybe I went out too hard on the bike, maybe it was getting sick between the races, and maybe I wasn’t fully recovered from Texas or perhaps a combination of all three. But I tell you what, I’ll find out because I still have 1, hopefully 2 more Ironman’s to race this season.

Huge shout out to teammates Viktor Zyemtsev for placing 2nd, Matt Russell 4th, and long-time friend Thomas Gerlach 7th in the pro division. So impressed with Heather Wurtele’s performance taking the win even with a flat on the bike, proving that tall girls can run! Equally as happy for training partner Uli Bromme racing her heart out to take 3rd.

Garrett for taking the win in his 35-39 AG, Ivan O’Gorman for taking 4th, Todd Byers for taking 5th  in his crazy fast 30-34 AG, Shannon Coates for taking 2nd in her 25-29 AG All qualifying for Kona!!

Thanks to Bonnie for opening her home to me, this is her 6th year hosting professional female triathletes she was my biggest fan on course and may be the biggest fan of Ironman Coeur d’Alene!

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