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Race Result

Racer: Corey McDaniel
Race: Ironman Coeur d'Alene
Date: Sunday, June 27, 2004
Location: Coeur d'Alene, ID
Race Type: Triathlon - Ironman
Age Group: Male 30 - 34
Time: 13:49:08
Overall Place: 1142 / 1789
Age Group Place: 199 / 266
Comment: New IM PR

Race Report:

Yep, its another long one...

After losing my Ironman “virginity” at the Great Floridian Triathlon (GFT) last year, this was my second shot at the Ironman distance, and unlike my “first time”, this time I felt like I knew what I was doing, I was able to enjoy myself more, I was more relaxed, and unlike my “other” first time, this time I was over 2 hours and 15 minutes faster ;)

I think that anyone who’s completed a multisport event knows what I am talking about when I speak of the triathlon addiction. For me, the longer the distance, the more addictive the rush, which means that I may be due for an intervention by the time I take advantage of my lottery spot in Kona in October!


Just as I did during my first IM, I set ambitious goals so that my “coach” (Marsha) would know when to expect me if everything was going as well as possible. I surprised myself by exceeding all of my goals (perhaps I need to learn to set higher goals?).

2.4 mi. Swim = 1:24:54 (Goal = 1:30, GFT = 1:40:22)
112 mi. Bike = 6:43:13 (Goal = 7:00, GFT = 7:56:26)
26 mi. Run = 5:23:49 (Goal = 5:30, GFT = 5:54:52)

Total = 13 hours 49 minutes 8 seconds (~9:50 p.m. MST)
(CDA Goal = finish under 15 hours, GFT = 16:05:36)

A totally unexpected bonus, given CDA’s late sunset this time of year, was that I was able to finish before it got dark – no glo-sticks – how cool!

Weight (lbs):
Week Before = 201 (GFT = 208) – pre-carb loading
Race Morning = 206 (GFT = 216) – yes, 10 lbs. makes a HUGE difference
After Race = 205 (GFT = 214) - stayed well hydrated/fed again

Race Nutrition:
Breakfast (4 a.m.) = an egg/ham hot pocket, fruit (pineapple, apple sauce, mango, 1/2 banana), 1/2 cup oatmeal for breakfast.
Pre-Swim (6:50 a.m.) = apple breakfast bar, 2 salt tabs, 1/2 banana
Bike = ~2 salt tabs per hour, drank a full water and half Gatorade at nearly every bike station (every 20 miles), ate sparingly – 1 Luna bar, some granola bites, 2 GUs.
Run = walked each aid station, 1~2 waters each stop, some Gatorade and cola, chicken broth every 2~3 stations, no GUs, a few peanut M&Ms and some macadamian nuts (my “Kona pills” for inspiration)
Post-Race = 1 piece of pizza, 2 Energice (tasty popsicles), sleep!


I signed up for IM-CDA last July, even before I’d completed my first IM, knowing that all IM-North America (Kona Qualifier) races typically fill up within days (if not hours) after the pervious years race ends.

Never in my wildest dreams did I expect this to become a “training race” for Kona, but when I received that fateful e-mail on April 15th in my “junk mail” folder telling me I’d won the lottery, well, that has changed a lot of things. I never entered the lottery with any expectation of winning, I just figured I might as well try since I’d be in good enough shape in 2004. I had no idea what the real odds were when I applied (they are about 30 to 1), and the more people I speak with the more meaningful it becomes. Having only completed my first Olympic triathlon in over 10 years in 2003, it affects me deeply to meet folks that have been applying for the lottery for several years, or folks that have been training for years to qualify with hopes of someday finding their way to the Big Island.

Sad to say, but I think stories like Dan Frost missing his spot at Eagleman by 7 seconds are not all that unique. Every year around 50,000 athletes compete in Ironman events, and less than 1,800 qualify for Kona, leaving at least that many with stories of what kept them from earning their spot. Thankfully Dan’s quest for Kona has a happy ending, but the thought of all of the folks who will never be lucky enough to get there is a constant motivator for me to keep training to do my best when I have my shot. That is why, although I am reasonably confident that I could finish Kona at my current level of fitness, I plan to push myself and train like never before – not to meet a time goal, and not merely to finish – but to finish knowing that I’ve done the best I can do – the same way I finished IM-CDA.


Beginning in December, after a month of “recovery” after GFT ’03, I kept my fitness level up mostly by jogging 5 miles home from work a few nights per week, even when it was cold, to fight off the inevitable weight gain that I experience each winter. Previous years I’ve been know to gain as much as 20 lbs from summer low weight to the beginning of the next summer. This year I gained only about 5 lbs, so when I started training in earnest for CDA in March, in my mind I was ahead of the game (the previous year I started training for the Kona Marathon at >225 lbs).

During my three months of focused training I put in much more average weekly mileage that I did during the 6 months total of training for GFT, although I certainly averaged much less than the “average” Ironman. For 3+ months my totals (vs. 6+ months for GFT) were:

Swim = 10 miles (GFT = 14) – I’m embarrassed to say
Bike = 750 miles GFT = 682) – mostly 100 mile weekend rides
*6 century rides (GFT = 3)
Run = 325 miles (GFT = 191) – average ~25 mi/wk

Perhaps I’m not setting a good example, but if your goal is to get in shape and finish, then I am proof that you don’t necessarily have to accumulate humongous numbers. In addition to staying injury free, my number one suggestion is to focus on as many long rides (bricked with a 5+ mile run) as possible. Riding helps my run without beating on my body, helps me lose weight, helps me get harder in the saddle, and I’ve been pleased to see my bike splits become my fastest, rather than slowest relative splits in all my triathlons – something I never thought possible. I intend to add more swimming for Kona since I’ll be wetsuit-less in my first ocean swim, but I’ll again keep my running miles down proportional to my riding miles.

EQUIPMENT (for the overly curious)

DeSoto Wetsuit – highly recommended
Body Glide everywhere
Speedo "future universe" goggles – no fog issues at all
CVS ear plugs
CVS 30 spf spray sun block
Trek 5200 – USPS design (go Lance go!)
Speedplay pedals
Oakley Postal Sunglasses (yes, Lance again)
Continental tires (tubulars – only 1 flat ever!)
Pearl Izumi bike shorts, Nike gloves
New Balance running shorts, Under Armour Socks
Descente Bike Shirt
New Balance 1122 shoes (NB always best for wide 4E feet)
Tune-up from Revolution Cycles Clarendon (the best!)


Flew to CDA Thursday a.m., arrived Spokane before noon, in CDA by 1:30 p.m. Stayed at the Silver Lake Motel <5 miles from the race – paid a ridiculous $179/nt for a “jacuzzi suite”, but it was the ONLY place I could find that didn’t require a 4 night stay (6 months out literally everything was sold out, including Spokane). Registered, visited my first IM-NA expo – it was like triathlon wonderland! Dave Scott was at the podium giving race advice and explaining why he got rid of his cheesy 80s mustache. All the pros were hanging out and all the big vendors were there. Luckily I hadn’t had any sugar yet, otherwise Marsha would have not been able to keep me under control. Attended the past dinner, met some nice people, one of them (Matt from San Diego) will now apparently be crashing on our couch in Kona after the race. Met up with Dan Frost after the dinner and made plans to drive the bike the next day, Scott Baldwin called later and said he’d join us. Also caught up with my buddy Gary, who shared with us that he did not expect to be heading back to Kona for a 5th time because of the toes he lost to frostbite on top of Mt. Everest last year, which would impact his run. Retired by 9 p.m. after an epsom salt bath in the “jacuzzi.”

Woke up early Friday a.m. and assembled bike. Attending my first pre-race swim practice, mostly for the fun of it. Gatorade was there to pass out free stuff and watch my gear. The atmosphere left me speechless, it was so cool checking everything out that I almost forgot that I too could put on my suit and go for a swim. The water was warmer than I expected, and very clear. The adrenaline had me floating above the water. After the swim we went back to the expo/village before meeting Dan and Scott for the bike drive. Dan, being the naval flight navigator that he is, had the course staked out to a tee. It was helpful to get the lowdown from a couple of pros like Scott and Dan who were actually hoping to get to Kona the hard way. After the drive, Marsha and I took in the town of CDA and decided we’d both come back anytime, IM or not. We hit the grocery store, loaded up the special needs bags, and hit the sack before 9 p.m.


Woke up at 4:30, had a good night sleep. Ate, drank, then headed off to park near the hospital – per Dan’s suggestion. Body marked, dropped off goody bags, made 4 porto potty pit stops, felt ready to go. Helicopter flying overhead, huge/thick crowd, everyone lined up on the beach – 1800 person mass start – BANG!


The cannon goes off, and we look like a bunch of penguins following each other into the water. Then the boxing match begins. Wetsuits turned into body armor as everyone gets kicked and punched in the ribs and face, pushed under the water, yet is was controlled mayhem. Since everyone was getting slugged, nobody was going so hard as to hurt anyone else – so for the first quarter mile we all politely swam on top of each other until finally I was able to grab some feet and get going. I felt good, focused on the feet in front of me, and in no time I was back on the beach going through the timing mats for my second loop. I could tell I was going much faster than GFT even though I never saw my split coming out of the water (1st split = 39:25, 2nd = 45:30).


Jogged up of the beach to grab my bag, into the changing tent, I had more of a sense of urgency than GFT, but I took my time to put on my gloves, socks, and lots of sunscreen. My transition time of 4:06 was over 10 minutes faster than GFT. My bike was racked at the exit next to the pros, which was appreciated. After the race Marsha expressed her displeasure that since I am now going faster during the race and during transitions I am no longer stopping to kiss her and each stage as I did during GFT – I promised to make it up to her afterwards :)


As I headed out I was only half surprised to see that I was starting the bike at ~1:30, the time I had hoped to be finishing the swim, everything was feeling fine. Certainly didn’t damper my spirits at the top of the first hill where ~20 high school cheerleaders were handing out water bottles while kicking and cheering (not to mention the two IM cheerleaders as the base of the biggest climb).

I’d been able to ride hard during my last couple training rides and still have a decent brick, so I decided to go all out on the bike – unless something came up to slow me down. Nothing did slow me down, I felt good and fast throughout, especially coming through town at high speed, with huge crowds, while passing others – I was definitely having my “Tour de France” moment. As usual, on the flats and downhill I passed folks, on the up hills they passed me, but overall I passed more than passed me. Reaching town without being lapped by the leaders on the first lap felt great. I passed with by guy in a TriSpeed shirt, and got passed by another (but caught him on the run). My heart rate monitor never started taking data, after trying to get it started twice, I decided I could do better without it.


Unlike GFT, where I was just happy to finish the bike, this time I was excited to get on the run course. Volunteers racked my bike, I changed into my running shorts, and I was out of T2 in 8:19 (10 minutes faster than GFT). I surprised Marsha yet again by being ahead of schedule, this time I took a few seconds to let her know how great I was feeling, and to plant one on her :)


Feeling great to be so ahead of schedule, I grabbed some water, took a chocolate GU, and headed out to see how everyone else was doing. The run was two loops each with two out and backs, so there were 4 opportunities to see the folks ahead of you. I was hoping to catch a glimpse of any of my three friends as they finished their last loop in time to qualify for Kona.

Just a few miles into the run I came across Dan running his second loop the other way after the first turnaround – I was caught a little off guard, said hi, and then realized that if I was seeing him this soon – no matter how fast I was going – this was not a good sign for his hopes to qualify for Kona. He caught up to me after his turnaround and told me of his unfortunate back stiffness after the bike. We ran together for less than a mile before Frosty’s injured pace broke off from my accelerated pace and he left me behind.

All along the run the crowds and volunteers were tremendous, shouting out the names printed on the bottom of our numbers. At one point Scott said he saw me and called out my name but I didn’t respond, I guess figured it was just another spectator – sorry Scott! I also ran into Gary on several occasions, each time he looked worse for the wear from his missing toes. He was way ahead of me from the swim and bike, but he had to walk most of the run, like many others. I was able to keep a steady 12 min/mile pace, including a stop and walk through every aid station. 19 of my splits were within 30 seconds of 12 min/miles, so I stayed consistent, at times it seemed like I was the only person NOT walking. It would have been easy to walk, and still have a much improved finishing time, but I kept finding new goals to keep me going. At the half way point I figured in my head that I could break 14 hours if I continued with 12 min/mile – and then I figured there could still be daylight by the time I finished, that was an inspiration.

Turns out I was able to run my fastest splits on the last few miles, when I got to mile 21 I decided to run my last 5 harder, and kept all my splits below 11:30, my final split was 10:24. As I rounded the corner the crowd was lined up well before the bleachers on the road, they formed a gauntlet that I couldn’t see through – I began high fiving everyone on the street until I reached the bleachers. Then I began high fiving the front row of the bleachers, which were full to the top – finally I leapt across the finish line with a fist pump, where they’d held out the finisher tape for me to run through. I had more energy across the finish line than for most of the run. Marsha greeted me and was surprised that I was not all that exhausted. We grabbed some pizza and water, then I put in a call to Scott and left him a message, we were hoping to meet up after the race.

See “fistpump” pict here:



Although I thought I was perfectly fine, I did have about a 5 minute phone conversation with Dan after the race thinking all along that it was Scott returning my call. When I finally spoke with Scott the next day he insisted we hadn’t spoke the night before, I figured HE was delirious. Unfortunately Scott, Dan and Gary all had issues that kept them from qualifying on this day – further striking home the significance of my Kona opportunity this year. Just think, for every 80 people that qualify for Kona at an IM-NA event, there must be hundreds that had a chance for it and they didn’t have that perfect race.


I particularly appreciated the part of Dan’s race report where he said that he races to inspire. I thought about this during CDA – why DO I do this thing? Beyond the obvious desire to improve my own fitness and to continually improve, is there a higher purpose? I recall being inspired by Gary Johnson when he continued to train every day and compete in Kona three times – all while serving as the Governor of New Mexico! It certainly makes it impossible for the rest of us to bitch about time constraints when he was able to find the time.

Although triathlon, in my opinion, has an image of being primarily a sport for white, well educated, skinny/ripped bodied, and affluent individuals in colorful skin tight clothes - I know that I don’t fit at least one of those criteria. As a chunkier triathlete, who has fewer chunks than when he began, I’d like to think that through my race reports I can “inspire” at least a few of the other chunky monkeys out there to use triathlon to lose weight and get in shape. I’m still getting there, but by the time I complete Kona I will have come along way from just finishing the Columbia triathlon in under 4 hours. I think we might all try to think of ways that we can open the sport up to others that might not fit the triathlete stereotype – the sport, and everyone in it, could benefit from the wider (no pun intended) exposure.

So there you have it, that’s what goes through my mind during 5+ hours of running in the heat of CDA, Idaho :)

See y'all soon – Corey