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Coeur d'Alene Olympic Triathlon 2010 Recap: Part 1 – Geek Turned Athlete

Coeur d’Alene Olympic Triathlon 2010 Recap: Part 1


After tearing my house apart for 2 days prior to this race, I could not find my wetsuit anywhere. I could have sworn that I mailed it to myself after my last triathlon in Germany, but considering I also moved back to the states the day after my last triathlon I could have been mistaken. Two days after my triathlon this weekend, we were emailed by our friends that my wetsuit, indeed, was still in Germany.

I was freaking out about this Friday, and a guy waiting in line with us for packet pickup overheard my complaints about having no wetsuit. He called one of his buddies, and I had a wetsuit 20 minutes before the race started the next morning!! Thank you, Brad and Fitness Fanatics for that!

Anyway, our Saturday morning started at 4:45am since it was a 45 minute drive to Coeur d’Alane from Spokane. The sun was just coming up. It was really peaceful outside, and I was a ball of nerves. If you have been reading my blog for a while, this is a normal thing.


When we got there, I set up my transition area and tried some breathing exercises. Thank you, honey, for only getting shots of me bent over in transition. :/

And another butt shot.


The Swim: supposed to be 1500 meters (~1700)

Once I managed to squeeze into my wetsuit, I headed down to the water. Everyone 39 and under wore the green caps with everyone older than that wearing a silver cap. The silver caps left 10 min after the green caps. I seeded myself near the back, but it seems like everyone else had that idea, and there was a wall on the beach sort of holding everyone in. My wetsuit felt really restricting in the shoulders, but I tried to ignore that, and breathe!

I hate open water swims. I hate open water swims. I hate open water swims!

Of course, this is the wrong thing to be thinking before a race especially with an open water swim, but this is an honest space here.

The race started, and people started inching their way forward into the water from the nice safe sandy beach. All of the sudden I was immersed in the water with flailing legs and arms everywhere. I took a swift kick to the chest. Some guy swam right over me. I was almost to the first buoy at 500 meters, and I started freaking out. I felt so claustrophobic in my constricting wetsuit that I couldn’t breath. I side stroked for about a minute to catch my breath.

What is wrong with me? I can swim 2500-3000 meters in a pool in an hour and actually have fun. I’m not having fun right now. Calm down. Yes, you are having fun. Why am I lying to myself? Just get through this. The bike and the run is the fun part. Just get this part over with so you can get out of this suffocating wetsuit.

As I rounded the first buoy, the pack thinned out. I just focused on getting to the next buoy. The gray caps had already started at this point.


After the second buoy, I decided to save some time sighting and follow another swimmer. This was my first time doing this, and of course I had to pick one who had no idea where he was going. BAD IDEA. It was like the blind leading the blind. I took the liberty of drawing out my route for you.

Screen shot 2010-08-10 at 9.30.04 PM.png

As you can see, I took the longer route after the second buoy. I would not be surprised if I swam an extra 200 meters with how far I went out. I was pretty far from the pack. ;( I got out of the water happy to be alive and happy as hell to be out of that water, finally! My time was less than to be desired: 33:35. I’m embarrassed to even type that.


I took my time during transition getting my tighter than normal wetsuit off, and getting ready for the bike- gloves, sunscreen, helmet, rearranging clothing, plucking my eyebrows. Just kidding, but with a transition time of 4:28, I might as well have been! Yes, I know that is bad, but at least it is better than my last transition time!


The Bike: 24 miles

Yes, there I am with that goofy smile again. What was I thinking? My borrowed bike did not have a water bottle holder so I had to throw one on my back. I look like a real cyclist with that thing, don’t I? (insert sarcasm) Hey, but it was a bike, and beggars can’t be choosers, and my bike still is with the rest of our furniture making its way from Germany.

The bike was not a great leg for me either. Although I was really happy to have the bike to borrow, it was not the best bike to race with. I was frustrated on the straightaways as I had the chain all the way over to the right and felt like there was no resistance for me to pedal with plus an annoying clinking noise that plagued me for the entire ride. And this bike was supposedly tuned up a couple days earlier!

About 5 miles in, my chain flew off. When I proceeded to get off my bike to fix it, I promptly puked on the side of my bike. I believe it was from all the lake water I swallowed during the swim. Some passerby’s asked if I was okay. I wiped my mouth, and said I was fine as I fixed the chain and hopped back on my bike.

I did manage to regain back some of by dignity passing a few people when the hills started, but soon lost it on the downhills when my bike chain decided to STOP TURNING. Oh yeah, it was fun.

Because my garmin decided to lock up on me as well during the bike, I had no idea how long this ego beating was going to take place, and I was ecstatic, to say the least, when it was over with! I usually enjoy the bike portion of triathlons the best, but being without my gear, throwing up, and being passed by people who did not look they should have been passing me did not make me happy! My time was 1 hour and 28 minutes. NOT A HAPPY CAMPER with this time AT.ALL !

Since I had lots of time to think on the bike:

I started getting really down on myself. It is funny, the range of emotions a person goes through in a race is crazy. I started getting upset about the fact that I get so worked up for all my races. I put entirely TOO much pressure on myself for every race that I do, that it just gets to be painful. I love training for races, but DO NOT love doing them. I told myself that was going to change.

From now on, I’m just doing races “for fun.” If I feel like pushing myself, I will push myself. If I don’t, then I won’t. This all, of course, would start on the the next leg of the race- the run.


Transition went by quickly (2:28)- this is quick for me, okay? I headed out for the run. Things were about to change including a run PR….

Stay tuned for Part 2!!!

{ 22 comments… add one }

  • Tasha - The Clean Eating Mama August 12, 2010, 10:47 am

    Woa… what a way to start the race. Sounds like part II will be great, though! =)

  • Heather (Where's the Beach) August 12, 2010, 10:57 am

    I love reading your recaps. First off, I appreciate the humor, and secondly my husband does sprint tris so I have heard so much from him. I swear he was shaving and fixing his hair during the first transition of his first tri. It was hysterical to watch (being honest). He was trying to put on a shirt (still wet of course) and then socks and everyone was just passing him by. He now goes shirtless and sockless πŸ˜‰

  • Erica August 12, 2010, 11:25 am

    I would love to do a tri some day….I know how challenging they can be from reading this recap and others…but you just must feel amazing when you’re finally done. So sweet of the husband to be your photographer. You look gorgeous despite the puke πŸ˜‰

    • Nicole August 12, 2010, 11:27 am

      haha. Thank you!!

  • Sana August 12, 2010, 11:57 am

    Oh my goodness! I get nervous reading your race recaps!!! I would have thrown the bike aside and just started running!!!

    • Nicole August 12, 2010, 11:58 am

      I sooooooo wanted to do that!!! lol

  • Alex August 12, 2010, 12:04 pm

    Good job pushing through despite all your difficulties! I competed in a Tri this past Sunday using my old ( from childhood) bike, and had similar frustrations as only one gear worked and it was the one for going across grass! I was pedalling like a mad women, yet going really slowly and getting passed by people twice my age and weight! It’s hard when you’re in the moment but keeping everything in perspective is key!

  • Kacy August 12, 2010, 12:14 pm

    Gosh girl, sorry about all the hindrances. Nothing wrong with puking at all though :)

    Can’t wait to read part II!

  • Marci August 12, 2010, 12:17 pm

    I like reading recaps when not everything is ok and the writer can laugh about it. It’s not always a perfect race, but it makes for good entertainment. I am doing my first swim + run this weekend (very short distance) and reading recaps makes me excited.

  • Kimberly August 12, 2010, 2:20 pm

    The way this started out, I thought it would be close to perfect! It was so nice of brad to get a wetsuit to you, but I hadn’t realized that you’d be borrowing a bike and would be following the one blind triathlete at the race! πŸ˜‰ Can’t wait to hear part 2 & yeah, everyone pukes sometimes.

    • Nicole August 12, 2010, 3:05 pm

      That should be your one line: “Yeah, everybody pukes sometimes.” haha.

  • Tyler hurst August 12, 2010, 2:42 pm

    Okay, I’m hooked.

  • Pure2raw twins August 12, 2010, 3:02 pm

    Great recap of your race. I am so inspired by you…I could never do this. Whenever I do races they are always for fun, otherwise I would not do them.

  • Faith August 12, 2010, 3:02 pm

    Oh wow, you are a total trooper! I can’t wait to hear about the last leg of the race!

  • nrmrvrk August 12, 2010, 3:18 pm

    > About 5 miles in, my chain flew off. When I proceeded to get off my bike to fix it, I promptly puked on the side of my bike.

    Honestly the bike deserved to be puked on. All bets are off with a borrowed bike. It Sounds like the race was a comedy of errors overall. Good for you sticking it out.

  • Lizzy August 12, 2010, 3:54 pm

    Hey girlie!!
    I love the part 1! wooohooo you are rockin’! I really want to do a tri, but most of the ones around me are in the Ocean…i love swimming in the ocean, but not a mile out and a mile back…eeek! :)
    I can’t wait to read part 2, I hope you’ve been having a great week!

  • Joyce August 12, 2010, 4:47 pm

    OH boy, you are making me scared to death but yet excited to do my first tri ( well the first since college..long long ago). The open water swim scares me.. but I’ll do it. Can’t wait to read the rest of your tri! thanks for being so honest… it helps to know others have doubts too, even though YOU are one incredible athlete!!!!!

  • Kristie August 12, 2010, 5:07 pm

    sounds like a really rough start. I am glad to hear that the run will be better. Way to stick with it.

  • Nichole August 12, 2010, 7:27 pm

    Awww, don’t leave me hanging.

    I am so impressed, I know you probably care greatly about the ups and downs, but I am proud of all your feats. It takes true guts to get through and not give-up. I’ll be checking back in!

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog) August 12, 2010, 8:18 pm

    ugh I have totally followed people heading off in the wrong direction during swim legs before!!!!

  • Marisa August 13, 2010, 12:07 am

    I love the fact that you are so honest and post everything – your thoughts, the puking, swimming out of the path (totally something I would do – If I swam..haha) and your times! That’s one of the reasons why I love reading your blog – you’re honesty lets me know that everyone has their own issues with these things…I’ve read some blogs where I thought the person was like this perfect super hero and never went back to read them again. I admire you for doing all these races without your own stuff and with just having moved there! you go girl! YOU ROCK!!!

  • TorontoGirloutWest August 13, 2010, 10:10 pm

    I’m so proud of you and that incredible run! You managed to turn the day completely around!!!

    You’re awesome!!! :)


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