I said I’d be done after racing my first 70.3 in St. George, UT, and that was just a lie. I am hooked.
After factoring the logistics, training, and expenses, I knew 70.3 (or any long distance race) would need to be a special, once a year event for me. With that in mind, I wanted to choose someplace within driving distance, somewhere I could make a vacation out of, and a race I could feel prepared for without giving up ski season. Coeur d’Alene, Idaho was the winner!
I followed Matt Fitzgerald's “Super Simple Ironman 70.3 Triathlon Training Plan”, the same plan as I did for my first 70.3 in 2018. Going into training I felt pretty fit coming off of a solid ski season. I made sure to get in more ski touring days this year, and focused on high cadence Zwift sessions during the winter. Despite putting in lots of days of activity throughout the winter, I quickly started feeling some of the worst pain I’ve ever had while running a month into training. This pain turned out to be a combination of extremely weak glutes (thanks to my lack of a strength training regimen), with a touch of bursitis. After a few trips to the chiro, sports masseuse and orthopedic doctor, I found myself on a glute strengthening Physical Therapy program. Four weeks of band work and stretching, paired with a lot less running, my pain was almost completely gone!
Throughout the recovery period, I was able to focus on putting in stronger days on the bike, and more time in the pool. In the pool I incorporated flippers into my workouts this year, which allowed me to focus on keeping good form once I began to get fatigued.
Full-disclosure, I think I’ve got some room for improvement with nutrition, especially when it comes to recovery. But I follow a plant-based, whole foods mixed with some junk food, diet. Below are some of the additional items I include, specific to training!
Pre-workout: Banana or HoneyStinger Waffle (Organic Vanilla and Gingersnap are my favorites!)
During: If I can, I make homemade power balls or have a mini bagel with PB&J. Otherwise, I’m a big fan of Trader Joe’s Scandinavian Swimmers, Clif Shots, Clif Bloks, and HoneyStinger waffles. For electrolyte replacement, I found that Skratch Labs works well for me, without upsetting my stomach.
Post-workout: Sometimes I’ll make a protein shake using Designer Protein. Most often, I’ll rehydrate with coconut water, and eat my meals as normally as possible.
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho! Where to stay / What to do
Coeur d’Alene is a big tourist town, especially the week of the Fourth of July. To escape the crowds and pay a bit less, we stayed at an Airbnb on Hayden Lake. Our cottage was a 5-minute bike ride away from the public beach, and a quick 20-minute drive from downtown CDA. In addition to beach time, we enjoyed checking out Tubb Hill’s Nature Trails in town.
Swim – Out and back, one loop, no complaints. Lake Coeur d’Alene is BEAUTIFUL. We lucked out with smooth waters, sunny skies, and 70-degree water temps. My only learning is to seed myself further up, I’d rather have people pass me than spend the entire swim weaving around people.
Bike – False flat. The first out and back was perfect for getting the legs warmed up after swimming before you begin the bigger climbs out of town. The ride is notoriously windy, and didn’t disappoint this year. While you’re grinding up the hills, make sure to take some time to look around you and enjoy the beauty of Idaho!
Run – The run was my least favorite, but also the best reason to race in Coeur d’Alene. The course is made up of two loops, which inevitably feels a bit demoralizing going into it. However, you’re always surrounded by other racers, and more importantly, the locals know how to cheer!
Spectators - I had a pretty awesome cheer squad who made the trip with me. My brother and Dad enjoyed riding bikes around the course, making sure to capture plenty of photos (I’d highly recommend renting an E-bike from Trek CDA!). The CDA residents also SHOW UP for this race. There were very few sections of the run course where there weren’t spectators and volunteers outside cheering, dancing, and spraying you down with water!
Overall: 11/10 recommend making a trip to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho for Ironman 70.3