Saturday, June 30, 2012

Coeur d'Alene, Idaho Ironman as told by the Ironwife

Hi readers and friends!  We are HOME from the Ironman and all travelers and Ironman participants and spectators are recovering nicely.  Our trip began Thursday, June 21 and we flew home Thursday, June 28.  It was a GREAT trip.  Idaho is beautiful and the temps were cool and refreshing for this 34 week pregnant mama!  Jason and I agreed that was the hardest thing to leave (that, the Pita Pit and Java, the best coffee house in the world).

My amazing Ironman did GREAT!  He finished in 11:22 (see full stats at the end) and was happy with his finishing time.  Since I did not participate myself, I can only give you the spectator's report.  As you may remember from the Gulf Coast Triathlon back in May, I promised Jason's own written report but we never made that happen.  He was not only training for an Ironman, but working full time and working on his Ph.D...along with getting ready to be a dad.  He's a busy guy, so I can't promise a report from him personally (although I will still try for it). 

I do have some pictures that tell the story, however, and I will share them here.

For those of you who may not know, an Ironman consists of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 miles on the bike, and 26.2 miles of running, in that order.  It is a true test of endurance, strength, perseverance, and a whole host of other things, hence the name "Ironman."  Training for this event is intense and requires consistency, commitment and...I guess a will of iron with the 2-3 hours a day spent preparing.  Because Jason approaches everything he does with these attributes, my vision of what it takes to get ready for an Ironman is probably influenced by his training, but from what I've seen, this is NOT an event to approach lightly.  And Jason doesn't merely want to gut out a finish, he wants to finish well.  He wants to be physically prepared to face the challenge and he never waivers from that goal during his training.  While I have no desire to ever do an Ironman myself, I can honestly say it is amazing to be a part of Jason's journey every time he does this.

And when the day of the event arrives, we are both excited, nervous, and while Jason begins to question his training, I know him to be ready for this amazing physical challenge.

We flew into Spokane, WA on Thursday, June 21 and drove the 35 minutes to Coeur d'Alene, ID where the Ironman was to take place.  It is SO beautiful there!  I loved all the trees and mountains, and often had the urge to run up one of them singing, "The hills are alive with the sound of muuuusiiiiic."  We arrived at the Ironman village that afternoon and Jason picked up his bike from Tribike Transport and dropped it off at the service tent for a tuneup. He then checked in, received his wrist band and packet, and then we headed to the cute little house we were renting for the week.

We got some dinner at a local dive called Moon Time, stopped by a little grocery store on the way home and then, being the weary travelers that we were, settled in for the night.  It was, after all, two hours later in our hometown.  After a hot shower, I was in bed by 8:00 pm Idaho time, and it wasn't even dark.

The next morning Jason went for a run before we headed out for breakfast at a place called Java.  Because we were so close to everything, we never got in our car, but walked everywhere.  This was one reason I did not run in the mornings because I knew there would be a LOT of walking during the day and I did not want to get tired out too soon.  Mom clocked it one day on her watch and our walking totaled 7 miles.

After breakfast, Jason went for his first test swim in Lake Coeur d'Alene, which was 55 degrees.

He survived!
After his swim, we picked up his bike from the service tent and he gave it a test ride before my parents arrived and we took them to Moon Time to enjoy another delicious dinner.  Because they like driving out west, they drove from Tennessee to Idaho, planning to visit Glacier National Park after the Ironman.

The next day (Saturday), Jason went for one last test swim, one last bike ride, and then turned his bike in to the transition area.  It had to be checked in by 3:00pm on Saturday.  The Ironman is not like our usual running events where you show up the day before, pick up your packet that night and run the next morning.  Jason had to be checked in by Friday and his bike turned in by Saturday afternoon before the event on Sunday.

Mom tested the water during Jason's second swim. She is smiling for the camera, but this is not the face she made when she first stepped in.  
Mom snapped a picture of me and Eloise waiting on our fella.
The huge, busy and packed transition area!
Finally race day arrived.  Jason got up at 5:00, and Mom and I walked with him to the transition area to pump up his tires and do one last gear bag check.  He got his body marked (race number and age), and then began the wait for the swim start at 7:00 am.

One last hug before I saw him off to swim!
The morning was cold, cloudy and windy as we waited for Jason to begin his swim.  As I shivered in my light jacket, I wondered how in the world all those swimmers could bear to get in water that was even colder than the outside temp.  The water was 55 degrees and the temp was 59.  It is always an emotional moment for me when I kiss Jason goodbye as he starts his Ironman, but this morning I was a bit more nervous than usual.

This was where swimmers exited the water after the first mile and then re-entered it for the second. 
And they're off!  Pink caps for the women, green caps for the men.
Jason describes this as what it  might feel like to be in a washing machine.
Swimmers getting ready to exit the water after their first mile.
I looked and looked to see if I could recognize Jason as he exited the water after his first lap, but the swimmers came in huge groups and everyone looked the same with their green caps and black wetsuits.  Eventually Mom and I made our way to the bike exit so that we could see Jason as he began his bike ride.  I could not WAIT for this moment because it would mean he made it through the swim just fine.  The morning was, of course, still chilly and I worried he might be a total popsicle by the time he started his ride.

Jason is in the white sleeves, red top with an E for Eloise on his helmet.
And finally came that wonderful moment when I saw Jason begin his bike ride!  I cheered as loud as I could and Mom snapped away with the camera.  It is REALLY hard to look for your cyclist, cheer and snap at the same time and Mom did a GREAT job taking pictures!  Jason smiled and waved at us, so I knew he was in good shape and I was so excited and relieved!  Mom and I walked down a little ways to see him loop back through before meeting up with Dad and getting a much needed cup of coffee and a bit of breakfast before we continued our sport of spectating.

Jason's fan club.
Around mile 57
Only about 44 more miles to go!
We saw Jason two more times before heading back to our little house for a brief rest.  After about an hour, Mom and I headed to the run start to look for Jason again.

And there he was!  Such a wonderful sight to see!

We cheered!  I got a big kiss!  Mom snapped away and then he was off again.  We'd see him in about 13 more miles.
Dad and I waiting in a shady spot to see Jason.

Here he comes!

Jason took a moment to rest and talk with me before running on.  He told me he was tired but otherwise he seemed to be doing just fine.  He said the bike course was insanely hilly, which I discovered for myself when we drove it the next day.

Running back through at mile 14.
We saw him once more at mile 14 before heading to the finish line to await his finish.  Mom got a hamburger and I enjoyed some kettle corn while we waited.  As we walked around, I got a lot of comments and smiles about my shirt.  One guy said, "Nice shirt!" and took my picture.  Somewhere out there, I'm famous.

The finish line!  Jason is the spec in red.
I imagine this is a beautiful site for Ironman finishers!
Jason racing to the finish line.  He is an Ironman x 3!
 It was so good to finally see Jason coming!  He looked good and strong as we cheered.  Once he was passed us, I immediately made my way to the finishing shoot to get pictures of him with the volunteers and to receive him once they handed him off.

Walking in with two great volunteers.
Putting on his finisher's shirt for his picture.
Getting ready to be handed off to ME!
Checking in with my Ironman as Mom takes our picture.
The Ironman x 3 with his Ironwife and Ironbaby
I've got my Ironman safe and sound and all is right with the world!
Jason finished in 11:22 (11 hours, 22 minutes).  Below is a breakdown of his splits in each event. Division Rank is his age group.

Swim: 1:19:51 - Division Rank: 135 (out of 264 finishers), Overall Rank: 1035 (out of 2314 total finishers)
Bike: 6:06:41 - Division Rank: 118, Overall Rank: 718 (notice how his rank changes with each event)
Run: 3:41:38 - Division Rank: 63, Overall Rank: 340
Transition 1 (swim to bike) took 10:42 and Transition 2 (bike to run) took 3:58.

Other interesting stats I read in the Ironman race booklet:

The average age of an Ironman is 37 years old.
95% of Ironman finishers have post-secondary degrees.
Around 75% are male, 25% female. In the Coeur d'Alene it was 73% and 27%.
In Coeur d'Alene the oldest finisher was John Laramie who is 76 and finished in 15:44.  There were two other 70+ year-old men who finished as well.

We enjoyed a few more days in Idaho before flying home.  It was so nice and cool and the last two days I did get out and run along a beautiful riverside path. I figured I'd better enjoy running in the cooler temps before coming home to temperatures reaching the triple digits!

Now that we are home, I'm tackling a list I made on the plane to get ready for Eloise. I am 34 weeks, 3 days pregnant and it is my hope that after 36 weeks she will not linger too long!  Nothing is done, however.  Her room is still an explosion of baby gifts, her bookshelf is not painted, her furniture is not here, and I made a mistake ordering her pack and play/bassinet so now I have to wait 3-5 days before I can re-order it.  Good grief!  It will all come together, though, so I am not overly worried...yet. 


  1. That's amazing! And you look so cute with your pregnant belly and shirt!!

  2. This post is so cool! What an awesome thing to experience. I love the E for Eloise on his helmet. Whenever I race, thoughts of all that my family sacrificed for my training makes me want to work harder. And I it's so cool to know people are out there on the course cheering for you. Your shirt turned out perfect! Way to go, Mr. Jane!

  3. Great read, as usual! Congrats to Jason on a great race! Love the stats. As soon as the Rudys are well, we will help you in any way we can!

  4. Wow!! Jason did awesome!! I have heard the bike is super hilly on Ironman, our.neighbour and a couple friends have done the CDA Ironman. Glad you had a great time in my neck of the woods :) Baby Eloise will be here before you know it, so excited for you!!

  5. yay for jason! so glad your parents were there to keep you company and to cheer on jason, too. looks like such a beautiful, COOOOOL place to visit! and i love that he got to stop and kiss you and walk with you. :)