May 24, 2017

Coeur d’Alene Ironman 2009

2,153 eager triathletes gathered on the shores of Lake Coeur d’Alene (CDA) to participate in the 7th running of the Ford Ironman CDA ’09 edition. The road to my 5th Ironman was another very enjoyable ride, and one that I will certainly remember for the rest of my life; just like the other four. It will also put an end to my “once per year” Ironman races I have done since 2005.

Much of this Ironman was about me (as usual), but in many ways it was very much about a rising endurance athletic star, Scott Callender. I work with Scott (affectionately known as “Scooter”), and I think it was my bright idea for him to get involved in triathlon in the first place.
My training leading up to the race was terrific, and I have numerous training partners that I have enjoyed spending time with in the pool, riding our bikes throughout Southern California, and numerous runs, with the best of those being in Aliso & Wood Canyons.
The posse of Quinton, Art, and Scott converged on Coeur d’Alene, and we all trained using different methods and coaches. In the end, we all put it “out there” during the race, and I am proud of my commitment, effort, and race performance. I am also proud of Quint, Art, and Scott. All three of these men motivate me in many ways, and I am blessed to call them friends.

A constant at each of my Ironman events has been my sweetheart wife, Kim Marie. She has not been feeling so great the last few months, so for her to volunteer her entire day at Ironman and help out, was unbelievable. She is my rock when I race, and Lar- Dog needs his rock.

My training was spot on throughout the year, and I had some really terrific racing events leading up to this Ironman event. My racing since January included three half marathons, an Olympic distance triathlon, a century (100 mile) bike event in the ridiculous hills of Santa Monica, and 2 half Ironman events. Suffice to say, on race day I was ready to rumble.

The weather leading up to the event was all over the board. One day it was predicted to be in the 80’s, and then it was supposed to be windy, rainy, and cool. I have raced in super cold (Wisconsin in ’06), and VERY hot (Hawaii in ’07). The other obvious fact is that everyone who races, gets to enjoy whatever weather race day brings, so I just say “bring it.”

Kim & I arrived in Idaho on Wednesday, which gave me plenty of time to get my bearings and to swim, bike, and run some parts of the Ironman course. It started off with a Thursday swim in the beautiful and majestic waters of Lake Coeur d’Alene. As I pulled up my wetsuit, I was joined by Ironmates Quinton, Art, and Anna. Once we began the swim, I could not help but take immediate note of the gallons of water I was seemingly swallowing, and the waves pushing me around. I couldn’t believe a lake swim could have such conditions, and hoped it was just a windy day that was causing this. (More on the delightful swim later.)

Later on Thursday, the same group did a bike ride, which was basically a tour of the Ironman run segment. I was happy to see the run course, and thought that it would provide for a pretty quick marathon as the terrain was relatively flat, with only one biggish hill.

I ran on Friday for about 20 minutes, and Saturday was basically a day off my feet, with no training.

Isn’t this interesting and fun to know all the great details about me and my training? OK…time to just tell you about the race and the day in general.
I must say that I was very stoked to have numerous friends and acquaintances participating in the race, along with a lot of spectators that I know. The double loop swim, bike, run, allows competitors and spectators to see each other frequently throughout the day, and that is a real kick in the pants.

The Swim

Here’s the deal. This was the hardest, most difficult swim I have done…ever…period. I was warned about this, but I must not have believed it. I struggled mightily on the outbound swim leg. The wind was pushing the water and the waves were smashing into me. All the while I had big trouble breathing, and was sucking in that nice lake water. I don’t think I swam a very straight line either, and that compounded the problem. Basically, I wanted to quit and go home. Fetal position seemed like a nice option, but damn it, I am a freakin’ Ironman, and I will not give up that easily!

The first turn buoy was a total mess of people that were completely stopped and treading water; what a joke. I finally found relief on the trip back to shore, as the wind was at my back. That’s the good news. The bad news is that I had to do another freakin’ loop of the swim and enjoy the pounding once again! I exited the swim winning the battle, but concerned that I may have lost the war. My swim was a very poor time for me: 1h18’. I was 51st on the swim in my age group: how pathetic!

The Bike

I jumped on the Lar-Dog Lucero and busted the move for my 112-mile adventure. I rode VERY smartly and held myself back in the first 50 to 60 miles. Trust me, I was working hard, but I was holding back just a “bit” for the first 3 hours. At around the halfway mark of the bike, who should I pull up next to other than my training partner…SCOOTER! He was all smiles and encouraging as usual.

I started putting more effort into the ride as it progressed, and I ended up with a great bike time of 5h37’. My average speed was just under 20MPH. This is a hilly course in many sections, and I was 100%+ jazzed at my execution of a very solid Ironman bike split. I moved up a bunch in my age group off the bike, and was in 13th place when I entered the 2nd transition area.

The Run

I am a strong cyclist, but an even stronger runner. I zoomed through T2, and began to see how may old bastards (males 50 to 54, look out!), that I could “run down.” Kim was there and she cheered me on numerous times, and every time I saw her throughout the day, I was extra motivated. I have no “bigger fan” than my sweetie Kimmie.
For pacing, I run with a Garmin (GPS)…and guess what, it was frozen up and inoperable; thus I was without a stopwatch. Have no fear though…Kim to the rescue. She grabbed my backup watch, and handed it to me at mile three. What a God send!

I quickly got my running legs beneath me, and felt decent as I started to click off the miles. At mile seven, I had my first serious hamstring cramp. I ended up stopping numerous times throughout the run to stretch them out, as they cramped badly and stopped me dead in my tracks. I also was taking in a lot of fluids, and made three porta potty stops. None of this crap helps your time, but there is really no choice than to deal with it as quick as you can and move on.

I had an unbelievable battle with another age group competitor on the run. He and I traded places several times, and at the end, he was just too much for me and got me by about a minute! I tip my hat to him, as I gave it my all, and he was better. I ran a personal best Ironman marathon of 3h41’, and was 6’ shy of qualifying for the Boston Marathon. It has been a goal of mine to qualify for Boston in an Ironman.

The Finish

My run moved me into 9th place in my age group, and 7’ from garnering a slot to Kona (you know, the Hawaii Ironman). I am disappointed I didn’t “punch my ticket” back to the big dance, but it is truly bittersweet. I now will have a whole lot different type of summer (not having to train for Hawaii), and can look to get my “endurance fix” doing some other “cool” events or things.

One of my takeaways from this year is a deeper sense of appreciation for simply having a lifestyle, and the ability, and body to be able to participate in these kinds of things. I am blessed beyond measure, and I will continue to be grateful for all that God has given me. I am proud of Scooter who became an Ironman, and I am thankful for my training pals who I have gotten to know on a more personal level in the past months.

Finally

If you have read this far, congratulations. Now this is the important part…
Go out and do YOUR Ironman. Life is short. Your Ironman is whatever you want in life…something that takes hard work and determination. Something that you need to learn, something that stretches you beyond your little comfortable zone that I suspect you are hanging out in.

There is sweetness and a life-long satisfaction in attempting to do something that is hard, different, and new…and something that not every civilian will or can do.

When I trained this year, my theme was to “Do today what others won’t, so that I can do tomorrow, what others can’t.” It’s time for you to find your IRONMAN!

Larry Davidson

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