Tag Archives: Ironman

Ironman Copenhagen 2017 Race Report

7 Sep

In hindsight, I’m not sure that 2.5 days/ 3 nights is enough time to get my body adjusted to the time difference. Maybe 1 or 2 more days before would have been good maybe not. I’m not one for just sitting around especially in a city that I have never been to.

Dan tried to get me to relax and off my feet. But running around trying to figure out the bike situation was a big hassle. I had a nervous stomach before that got resolved but I’m not sure that it went entirely went away before the race. I didn’t have much of an appetite and definitely didn’t eat as much as I would have regularly done before an Ironman. I was way more anxious than normal before the race. Maybe it was the bike or the different country or the time zone. Who really knows!

Long story long about the bike:

I thought it would only be $800 to ship my bike. (There was zero way we were taking it on the plane with multiple flights and dragging it around Europe). After a little more research it ended up being $2K to ship it. Well shit! Now what!?

We had 3 plans:
Plan A: rent tri bike
Plan B: rent road bike
Plan C: buy a bike (and then figure out what we would do with the bike later)

2 days before we leave, Dan gets word that the road bike is having some sort of mechanical issues that aren’t going to be able to be fixed by race day! Agh. So plan B was out! He gave us our money back and said he had a friend that owned a bike shop. He may be able to help us out. Dan said we have a tri bike that might work we will keep you posted!

Friday morning: wake up with nervous/anxious stomach ache. Picked up the tri bike. It was too big. Cue: panic!!!!!

So Dan texts Mikkel (the road bike guy) to see if his friend can help us. We get to Capillini and Jan sets me up on a brand new Weiler road bike.

Let me tell you about the bike. It is beautiful. He said we could rent it but if I got any scratches on it we would have to buy it! (The pressure is on! Thinking about how the bikes are racked in T1 and then again in T2). It was a bike that I could ride! So I was happy. I rode the road bike and Dan rode the tri bike back to our place. I did a quick 30 minute shake out ride to make sure everything worked and that I could figure all the gears out! It rode real nice BUT the saddle was not comfortable….AT ALL! It was a stock saddle after all. There was zero I could do about it but hope my ass could handle it on race day!

The day before was pretty annoying. I needed to swim in the morning but we couldn’t take our bikes/bags until the afternoon. So we took the metro to Amager Strand to do re-con for race morning. I did a quick swim. The buoys were out but there was only 1 set. I thought that was a little weird. It was cold but not awful. I had only been in OW once since Victoria. (Hope the swim goes well) ūüėČ there were a ton of weeds. I didn’t think it was a huge deal but I thought there would probably be people who didn’t like that.


We went on with our day. Then back in the afternoon for bike check in. More annoying stuff. We had to have our helmet on and fastened before we could go into transition. We couldn’t take it off until we had racked our bikes. Just more walking around instead of resting!


I definitely didn’t do a very good job of resting. We went out and did stuff. On foot, on our bikes. Oh well.

Race day!!!! I slept ok. I got all of my breakfast down. It was off to the strand we went. They had given us 2 tri tattoos bib #. I didn’t know where we had to put them. I ended up forgetting them and when we got to the beach I asked the ‚Äúinfo‚ÄĚ desk about body marking.

Me: I forgot my bib number tats
Info man: do you know your bib number?                                           Me: Yes
Info man: do you have your chip on?
Me: Yes
Info man: ok you are good to go!

This was my first triathlon ever not being body marked. It was nice!


It was chilly. I got into my wetsuit and dropped my bags. That was another funny thing. You had to ask for special needs bags. I guess it’s not that big of a thing here. We just put them in the back of a mini van. It was pretty funny. I saw Dan for one last kiss and I was off for a quick warm up.

Swim: 1:05:36 // 1:41/100m (5 minute PR) bam!
This was my first non-mass start and I was pumped. It was a self seed. At check in you just asked for the color cap you wanted for the wave you were going to swim in. I was in the second wave 1:06-1:11. Then within the wave they broke us down again. I seeded myself in the 1:08-1:10. I was getting closer and closer. Then we got into 6 lanes. Every 6 seconds 6 more people would go. IT WAS AWESOME! No pushing and shoving. I loved almost every minute of the swim.  I got into a rhythm fast and stayed steady!

We swam under 3 bridges and they had the meters marked on each of the bridges. It was kind of nice to know where you were at. I swam well. I drafted some (not as much as I would have liked) but enough. I sighted pretty good. I had a really great swim and it was super fun.


T1: 6:01
A quick run up the ramp. There were no wetsuit strippers. Grabbed my bag. Here is a big difference in the North American races. There was a small change tent and you only went in to if you were doing a full change. For everyone else, there were benches outside to use. No volunteers to help you. I was fine on my own. I took a bit more time then usual. Liz said to be patient and get my heart rate down. A quick wave to Dan and a long run with my bike.

Bike: 6:25:47 // 17.4mph
I told my friend on a training ride a few months ago, I wish I could just go for a ride and not worry about the work out or the watts. So that is exactly what I was going to do. I was on a rented bike. I wanted to enjoy the scenery. Liz told me to be patient! I was going to be patient and enjoy the ride.

The ride takes you through town then, along the coastline, and then through the rolling hills north of Copenhagen. The only considerable “climb” is Geels Bakke (not sure if that is the road or the area). It wasn’t bad. It reminded me of the climbs on the IMWI course that are lined with people. ¬†All you can do is smile. So fun! ¬†The first loop was great. We did get some sprinkles of rain here and there. But the sun would come out and dry us off.

I was not comfortable on my saddle from almost the beginning of the ride. I was pretty sad. It was not going to be pretty by the end of the 112 miles. I stopped at special needs and I had forgotten I had put chamois butter in the bag for a mid ride stop. Perfect! I got to the next aid station and reapplied! It only gave me relief for about 30 minutes. THEN it started pouring. All I could do was laugh and just keep riding.

Their were lots of spectators on the course and families in their yard cheering for us. It was a really fun course. I think I could have ridden it all day long had I been on my bike. (Lesson learned)

I was nearing the end of the ride. I was all of a sudden starving with nothing left to eat. There was nothing I could do. (Maybe not eating enough in the days leading up to this was finally catching up to me) ūüė¶


T2: 5:24 (by far my slowest T2 time)
I saw Dan as I cruised into transition. It was a long run to the bags and then to the benches. Again I took my time in there. I downed a whole gel and hoped for the best. It was go time!! Again Liz said to be patient and get my heart rate down. Ha!!

Run: 5:11:51 // 11:53/mile
I was really excited for the run. I was smiling and positive. I tried to go out reallllly slow. My heart rate was so high. It wouldn’t go down. I thought shit I was definitely in trouble. I didn’t even feel like I was moving. I took at least a minute at the first couple of aid stations to see what I could do. The salt tabs weren’t working. The walking wasn’t working. I did start the coke much earlier then I usual do.


Finally after about 40 minutes I was into zone 3 kind of where I wanted to be but I was I already in a hole x2 (HR + Hunger). I saw Dan and that put an extra big smile on my face. I was still feeling good. I talked to a Danish guy at the end of my first loop. That was fun. He was super nice and we chatted until the next aid station.

The second loop was pretty good too. I’m not sure where it really started to fall apart. Maybe Mid 3rd loop. I had some stomach distress and unlike in Victoria where I just ran through it, I actual stopped. I knew I would feel better and I did. I think in retrospect that is what hurt maybe my cadence or my momentum going forward.

Maybe I was too hungry or my heart rate was too high on the bike. (that was my only gauge since I obviously didn’t have a power meter). Something was off. Maybe it was the jet lag or the time zone or the rain! ¬†I definitely don’t want to make excuses. I think I went into a funk and couldn’t dig myself out!

By mile 19, I couldn’t take down any more gels, I just couldn’t do it. I was eating crackers instead. I took another bathroom break…what was happening. Agh! Then it was raining. I saw Dan a few more times. He tried to get me going but nothing was really working. I was walk running just trying to salvage the rest of my race. I definitely gave up mentally a bit too.

I was pumped to finally get my 4th loop bracelet. Only half a loop to go. It was mind over matter….you have to get moving. Then it was pouring. Finally at the 25 mile mark, just go and get this done with. There was a lot of self talking. ¬†Trying to pump myself up!


And just like that after passing the finish line 4 TIMES, I finally got to go down the chute. As fast as my day started, the day ended. Ironman #6 in the books and my second fastest one to date.


I’m thinking Ironman Copenhagen 2019…who wants to go?!
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Kona 2016: Part 1 with Dan

17 Oct

FRIDAY morning (10.13.16) we were set to leave Portland to Kona (via Seattle shuttle). ¬†Long story long: We got to the airport; the first flight to Seattle (8:30, we were on the 9) was delayed; air traffic controllers weren’t letting any planes into Seattle. ¬†That made me nervous. ¬†They were trying to get as many people onto the flight as possible because they didn’t know how many of the shuttles were going to get to go out. ¬†We secured a spot on the 8:30(BARELY). ¬†We were on the plane ready to take off…late as it was. ¬†Then we deboarded…Seattle wasn’t ready for us! ¬†It was going to be 90 minutes. ¬†(Kona flight was at 11:10) ¬†Everyone off the plane, into the line to be rebooked, people were going to miss their connecting flights. ¬†Dan gets on the phone and AK Air says if you leave by 10, you will be ok.(if not call back) ¬†(cue the tears…I knew there was zero chance of us leaving by 10)….Dan stayed positive…I on the other hand was pissed and sad!!

We re-boarded at 9:55 and were off at about 10:15 for the 35 minute flight…we got to Seattle at 11. ¬†There were quite a few of us on that flight that was going to Kona, I knew if we could get to Seattle and had to run it would be fine.

We ran through one terminal, got to the in-airport shuttle to the other terminal, thought we were on the wrong one, literally got to the gate and the doors were shut…and you know when the doors are shut you are in trouble….BUT….she let us on…along with the 15 or so other people from our flight that didn’t run, that weren’t sweaty, about 15 minutes after us. ¬†I knew in my gut we would be ok…but I thought if we don’t run and we miss it, I would be even more sad!!

We made it!!! I was just happy to be here!!! We weren’t sure that our baggage had made it. But it finally made its way out the baggage carousel!!

We had a nice afternoon of relaxing, walking around Kailua-Kona, we hit up Kona Brewing Company for pizza.


Our first Kona sunset!


SATURDAY: Ironman World championship

We got up super early. We didn’t know how hard it would be to get a good spot to watch the swim. ¬†We grabbed some coffee and checked out a few spots before settling on what turned out to be a great one!!


We got a few viewing tips for the guy sitting by us.  We saw all the waves go off.  By the time the AG women went off, the pro men were coming in.  We went up to Kuakini Hwy to see the bikes and we got there right in time to see the first mens pro go by.  You can barely recognize them.  They go by in a blink of the eye.  I knew what some of my faves were wearing so I could cheer for them.


Top left clockwise: Jan Frodeno, Jessie Thomas, Ben Hoffman, Heather Jackson, Miranda Carfrae

We walked down to the hot corner to see a bit more of the racers come down and up Palani. ¬† ¬†I wanted to see Erin before we headed back to the condo. ¬†I cheered for her 3 times before I actually cheered for her. ¬†All the Coeur Sports ladies were in the same kit on the same bike. ¬† ¬†It wasn’t until that 3rd time, I knew it was her. I cheered extra loud for her and then headed for breakfast.

We were staying on Ali’i drive at the 2 mile marker of the run (and 8 mile on the way back). ¬†We had a perfect viewing spot for the run. ¬†We went to the pool to get cool before we would need to be back to see the pros. ¬†We did some serious cowbelling. ¬†It was so fun seeing Jan and Sebastian running neck and neck. ¬†We saw all of our faves. ¬†I cheered extra loud for Jessie, Ben, and Andy!! ¬†Finally the pro women were coming through and it was kind of hard because we had to be paying attention to both directions now!! Heather, Rinny, and Linsey come through. ¬†So fun to see them. (You like how I didn’t use last names like they were all my best friends) ūüėČ

It was so hot.  Like miserable hot. Every single racer looked MISERABLE. Not comfortable. Not happy. MISERABLE.  We went back to the pool to cool down again.

Everyone is so fast.  Of course they are fast, they have to be fast to get themselves there!!  We waited for Erin to come through.  Like a totally bad-ass loving life, she cruised by us at mile 2 and 8 with a huge smile on her face.


So much fun.  What a day of spectating.  Spectating really is hard!! Dan said that I should try to get a legacy slot to Kona.  I thought it would be pretty cool to try to work up to that point but it just looks so hot and miserable!! #neversaynever

**I will get back to this legacy business later*


We got up and went for a run. ¬†I thought well I am going to have to run at some point. ¬†I better get it done. ¬†You can’t tell in this picture but I was dripping in sweat and it was 7:30 in the morning. ¬†I texted the girls and said you better be ready to run in your sports bras cause the heat is no joke!!


We headed (on foot) to Kahaluu Beach.  We snorkeled and saw a ton of fish.  There was 6 honu(turtles) there.  It was so awesome.  I love turtles.  I could watch them all day!

That afternoon we walked back to Kona Brewery Company for their brewery tour.  It was super fun.  They started in Portland and made their way to the big island.  We met a gal who got a slot as a legacy racer.  It was fun chatting to her about the race and how many IMs she has done(15).  (Of course I started to think that legacy would be a good idea. #whatiswrongwithme)



We picked up the rental car and headed north.  Our first stop was Hapuna Beach. Lots of sun and waves.  We soaked up a ton of sun this day.  We went up further north to Hawi to get some ice cream. We read about Kohala Coffee Mill.  They have Tropical Dreams ice cream, which is a local brand.  It was nice to have a break from the sun and perfect treat for such a hot day.

That night, definitely the highlight of the trip, was a night snorkel trip with the manta rays.



We went with the Kona Honu Divers.  We had so much fun with Captain Frank and his crew.  They were super fun, knowledgeable, and helpful.  We got to snorkel before it got dark and then back to the boat for a manta talk.  We learned about the mantas and the story behind them.

We got back in the water with our wetsuits on. ¬†It took a little bit of time to see our first one but when we did we were all really excited!! I was nervous we weren’t going to see any. I was like well at least we got to see 1. ¬†Then we saw Big Bertha. ¬†She is the largest one down there with a 17 foot wingspan. ¬†(There is 250 documented mantas around the island) She came up under us and it was insane. ¬†So awesome!!!!! ¬†We got to see 4 total but they put on quite a show for us. ¬†We were in the water for an hour. ¬†What an hour it was!!!


Another early morning.  We were set to go down south to the black sand beach and volcano.



We hit up Punalu‚Äôu Beach. ¬†We walked around a bit. ¬†Not a lot of snorkelers and not a lot of sun. ¬†This beach has more cold water due to the offshore freshwater. ¬†We decided we didn’t want to snorkel. So we didn’t take anything with us to the opposite side of the beach. ¬†Once we got over there. ¬†We saw a family snorkeling and I said I bet there is a turtle(s) here. ¬†Sure enough one popped his head out of the water right then. ¬†I was so excited and in the 10 minutes it took us to walk over there, the sun had come out.

Back to the car to get snorkel gear, towels, and sunscreen. ¬†We swam(it wasn’t too cold), hung out with the turtles, and soaked up some more sun!


We finally made our way to the Hawai’i Volcano National Park. ¬†We had planned to be there after dark to see the lava but there was no way we were going to make it 5 more hours until dark. ¬†We opted to go over to the Visitor Center, Jaggar Museum to see the Kilauea Caldera, and hiked the Kilaueu Iki Trail/ Thurston Lava Tube.



It was a super fun trip with Dan.  #livinthedream We both packed up Tuesday night.


I was sad to take Dan to the airport at 9am but excited to go back to the airport at 11am to pick up the girls for a different adventure.  Ragnar Hawaii here we come!

Have you been to the Big Island?  Any favorite spots?






You Really Want To Do An Ironman?

12 Sep

I have been wanting to write a: How to decide what Ironman to do? I finally sat down to write it!!

As most of you know I have done 4 Ironman races. They were all M-Dot sanctioned races. I had little to do with any of my selections. Let me explain:

I was talked into decided on Ironman Canada 2009 about 3 months before the race. I remember vividly the day Sheryl talked me into it. We were running 15 miles on Wildwood trail. It was a gorgeous morning. She said why don’t you do Ironman Canada with us in August. I thought Please. No way. I barely knew what an Ironman is. Well the bug was already in my head and I knew if I did not sign up I would regret it. I spent the next 3 months training for 140.6 miles. Knowing what I know now I can not believe I got into the race without A) going to Penticton to volunteer/sign up B) signing up a year in advance.

Another friend Shannon had already gotten a group of us to sign up for Coeur d’Alene 2010. I was just following the pack. I went to IMCdA to volunteer and sign up in 2009 for 2010. This was my first big experience with an Ironman. I couldn’t believe that I was going to do this in 2 months. I had signed up for 2 Ironman races and I had never even done one! What the What?!!

I survived those 2. A friend, Christine, wanted to do a “flat” Ironman. She was going to sign up for Arizona 2012. I thought flat is boring but I signed up anyway. That is where I had a huge PR!

My fourth and what I thought would be my LAST Ironman was Ironman Canada but really Whistler. (I still don’t know why they did not just name it Ironman Whistler.) If you don’t know Ironman Canada was in Penticton for 30 years. They changed it to Whistler in 2013. We were actually set to do Lake Placid until we learned that Tri-Bike Transport did not serve Portland to IMLP. We schemed, talked, and eventually voted and decided to do Whistler instead. I still wanted to do LP but the group voted and we were set! (We were happy to be in Whistler and not Lake Placid after we heard about the weather as we were getting ready to swim early that morning of July 27th!)

I tell you this because picking an Ironman is a big decision. There are so many things to think about!

You have to decide if you want to do an “M-Dot” sanctioned event or if you want to pick just a 140.6 mile “iron-distance” race. You may or may not know what I mean by this. Let me explain:
A M-Dot race: a race put on my WTC(World Triathlon Corporation) In my opinion they have the monopoly on 140.6 distance races. When you hear the word “Ironman” this is where it comes from. If you are hoping to qualify for Kona then you have to do one of their races.
Iron-distance race: the same 140.6 miles you do in an “Ironman.” But put on by someone different than WTC. (Challenge, HITS, Beach To Battleship, Vineman, etc)

In my opinion anyone who has raced 140.6 miles is an Ironman. Some people think differently!

You have to decide where you want to race. Somewhere you can drive to? Somewhere close enough that you can train on the course? Do you want to fly with your bike? Do you know about Tri-bike Transport? (I think there is other transport companies but I don’t know about them) Can you pack your bike up in a bike box and travel with it?

Those are huge decisions. 3 of 4 of mine were driving distance. 2 of 4 I trained on the course 4-6 weeks before the race. I used Tri-bike Transport for IMAZ. It worked perfectly. Very easy! Not one complaint!

Other things to consider.
The swim. Not just mass starts anymore. After Ironman(WTC) put out a SwimStart Initiative there are some rolling and wave starts now. If the swim is not your cup of tea then maybe you would want to find a race that is not a mass start. But if you are die-hard and want a die-hard Ironman then maybe a mass start is what you have prepped yourself to do since you started dreaming of 140.6 miles.

The bike. There are courses that are flat, rolling, and lots of climbing. Pick one that you think you will like the best. Ask yourself: Are you a strong cyclist? or a weak one? Do you like climbing? Do you like cruising flat?

Personally the bike is my strongest event. I like climbing. I like hills. 3 of 4 of my races where climb fests. Everyone talks about how AZ is flat. They are wrong. You definitely have a incline on your way out on the Bee-Line Hwy. You are not climbing by all means but it is not flat! I did like AZ. I had a fast bike split. Depends on what you are looking for in a ride. (You also have to think about where you live and where you will train.) If you have no hills to train on then it is probably better to do a flat course.

The run. There are hilly runs and flat runs just like the bike. What kind of terrain do you like to race on?

For me: Running is my weakness but I usually can excel on hillier courses then flat ones! (Case and point: I ran a faster Big Sur marathon then I did RNRAZ ’14)

It is also tougher to decide because you don’t know how your legs will feel after 112 miles on the bike.

Those are just some things to think about when signing up for your first Ironman or I guess your 10th Ironman Or Iron-distance!!

IF I decided to do another one here is my criteria:
NO mass start.
No M-dot.
A rolling course (bike/run)

Training and racing an Ironman(or 140.6 miles) is no joke. I think some people sign up for a race thinking it would be “cool” to do. They don’t think about all the hours, blood, sweat, and tears that go into getting ready for an Ironman. There is no such thing an “easy” 140.6 miles. There is nothing easy about the race. You just have to decide most importantly what kind of terrain you want to train and race on. Really ask yourself if this is something that you are willing to prepare yourself for! It is an amazing accomplishment and some what addicting!

What are your thoughts on Ironman vs. Iron-distance races? Any other tips on what to look for when deciding on a race? How did you decide what 140.6 miles to do?