IRONMAN COEUR D’ALENE RACE RECAP – THE RUN

(Part 1 – The Swim)
(Part 2 – The Bike)

Full of gusto, I made my way out of T2 to run 26.2 miles. If you’re noticing a theme, it’s not an accident or an exaggeration. I was happy the entire day and every time I transitioned into the next sport, I got even happier (yes, it’s possible).

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I was on to my favorite and strongest of the three sports, but truth be told, I haven’t run a full marathon since the 2011 Boston Marathon. I had multiple 20 mile runs in this training cycle, but 26.2 miles after 2.4 miles of swimming and 112 miles of cycling – now that was going to be a different story.

I immediately popped some salt/electrolyte pills and started my first Gu. My Gu intake isn’t like most people’s, I slowly work at it over 20 minutes or so rather than taking it in all at once. Thus, I’m usually always holding something sticky in race photos.

I ran, waved to my family, fed off of the crowd’s energy and simply put one foot in front of the other. I was running a marathon!

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The IMCDA run course essentially repeats part of the cycling course, consisting of two out and backs. Wait, what’s that? It repeats part of the cycling course? Then that can only mean one thing…HILLS! It wasn’t long until we met those hills and I changed my game: short strides, pump the arms, relax the face, and don’t try charging up it as it would only waste valuable energy.

The first loop felt like long hill, a bit of flat, another long hill, a bit of flat, all repeated over and over until the turnaround at the top. It felt completely manageable as I just ran as to how I felt comfortable, stuck with my fueling plan of one Gu every 45 minutes and only stopped at a bathroom once. I made my way back downtown and once again saw Chicken Face cheering me on – he’s the best!

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As I turned back around to start the second loop, that’s where it started to set in. Mentally, I knew how much climbing I had ahead of me, my body was starting to really feel the fatigue and it was time to pull both my mental and physical game together. With no choice but to buckle down and get ‘er done, I ran…or whatever you call a brisk cadence of left-right-left-right.

I stopped at the run special needs bag to get more salt pills and soon started another round of hills. When I met the first real climb, I knew that this second loop was going to be a different game.  I pushed for as long as I could, but I knew I didn’t want to unnecessarily waste energy, so I walked a bit of the hill.  I would take every sponge, run through every hose and smile at everyone who would give me a “woot!” I heard people say, “Nice pace!” and “Looking strong!” and whether or not they knew what they were talking about, every single positive comment fueled my mental game as you work through the final grueling climbs and miles.

As your body begins to break down, it becomes a mental game to make it to the end. I would make goals to “walk until that tree” then run. As we reached more hills, I began walking every aid station and using it as my rest, then made a deal with myself that I would run once I was out of it.

My frequency to the port-a-potties also increased later in the run, during which, I would shove my Gu into my bra while taking care of business. However, after said stops, I realized that I was getting a bit light-headed and dizzy. Why was this happening? I’m fueling…or so I thought. It took me a while to finally remember that I had shoved my Gu in bra, which also meant, I hadn’t fueled within the last 45 minutes. Crap. When you’re in this stage of the game, every calorie counts and I had missed a whole chunk of fueling due to my bathroom break.

As soon as I got to the next aid station, I looked for a Gu (not a Roctane…just a regular Gu). I opened it and shoved it down. But for some reason, ever since that mishap, I couldn’t get my fueling back on track and my dizziness increased. All I could think about was the fact that I didn’t want to pass out, get an IV, or any sort of treatment or help that would DQ me from the race. So in an attempt to forgo my dramatized outcome, I tried everything and anything at the aid stations to see what would work.

Flat soda — I haven’t had soda in 13 years, but I tried it here to see if it would be the “jet fuel” everyone raved about. Meh, I didn’t feel a difference.

Chocolate chip cookies — I don’t eat dairy but I had it here. At first, the cookies were a nice change in flavor, but soon I had to chuck it because it tasted like dirt.

Pretzels – I thought the salt would help, but when I ate them I thought I was eating chalk.

Grapes – Maybe these little gems would do the trick? Nope, tasted like warm mush.

Orange slices – YES! Sweet, sweet, orange slices! I don’t think these provided the caloric intake I needed, but I just bit into them like a five-year-old, never actually eating any of the “meat,” and just drinking the juices. Glorious orange slices.

I made my way on my “try anything and everything at the aid station to see what works” rampage, I continued to make multiple bathroom stops, walk the aid station, and make mental goals to make it to the end. I remember seeing my friend Darren on the way back into town and he shouted, “You’re almost done!” and I just cursed some random mumblings.

As I got closer to the finish, the realization that I was about to complete an Ironman began to overtake me. It’s as if every ounce of mental and physical fatigue escapes from your body and you’re suddenly running on fresh legs.

Two miles out, I became focused and just pumped my arms and got lost in my head – you’re almost there.

One mile out, I realized that this was it. I was going to do this. It’s really happening.

A half mile out, volunteers started shouting, “Your almost there! It’s all down hill right around the corner!” I got choked up and couldn’t quite run and breathe at the same time.

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As I turned the corned and entered the final stretch, I could see the blue finish line waiting for me. The crowds were roaring, but I couldn’t hear anything. I saw my dad and my sister screaming, “GO PAGE!” My face bounced back and forth between tears and smiles. My leg turnover increased as pure adrenaline and emotion overwhelmed me.

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I saw my husband right near the finish.

I couldn’t believe it.

I pumped my fists in the air.

Page Williams. YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!

0411_52042FINAL RUN RESULTS: 4:04:23

FINAL IMCDA RESULTS: 12:14:21
19th AG / 109th F / 664 OA

IMCDA_RunSplits

It was pure happiness unlike anything that I’ve ever felt as I achieved a lifetime dream. I put my head in my hands and cried.

A volunteer congratulated me and escorted me to get my medal, finisher’s gear and photo. He then handed me off to another medical volunteer to see how I was feeling. I told him I felt fine, just tired. Still able to walk, I grabbed the highly coveted pizza and walked out of the gates, sat on the grass and waited for my family. When they arrived, I couldn’t be happier to see them. It was a combination of Ironman joy and being with my family (who were there every step of the way), that emphasized that this was one of the best days ever.

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It was a long journey to that finish line, and perhaps my honeymoon high is shading the tough parts right now, but I can confidently say that the Ironman changed my life. I’ll share more about why in a later post along with my post-race thoughts, but I can tell you this, if there’s something you want to do, do it. Don’t be afraid to take those risks, challenge yourself and make sacrifices for your goals.

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On Sunday, I fell in love with a sport that tested every ounce of who I was and because of it, I see my future in a whole new light.

Thank you to my amazing husband, my parents, my sisters, my nephew, my entire family, my coach, my friends, and all of you for your support. This truly has been a journey that I will never forget.

Happy Running!

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74 Responses to IRONMAN COEUR D’ALENE RACE RECAP – THE RUN

  1. Angie says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for awhile now but have never commented. Congratulations! What an amazing accomplishment. I’ve loved reading your recaps. I can’t imagine completing an Ironman.

  2. Alyssa says:

    Page. I am in awe. CONGRATS.

  3. Jocelyn says:

    Thank You! You’re recap is amazing and SO inspirational. I’ve been reading IM recaps all week and I can’t stop crying! You guys are AMAZING. I can’t wait to train for one of my own! IM LP 2014 (or 2015) here I come!

  4. kimi says:

    PAGE! You are so amazing, I’m so proud of you. You are definitely living adventurously. You worked so hard and earned every happy second. I must say the family photos are my favorite. The one of you and your dad melts my heart. I’m so glad you have such a fantastic support system. 10 stars to chicken face for being a great husband!

  5. Cate says:

    You are so freaking amazing!!!

  6. Marlene says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE
    I have goosebumps and tears reading this and the previous recaps. Thank you so much for taking us on this journey, whether you knew it or not. :)

    Congrats again, so flipping excited for you!

  7. em says:

    Best. recap. ever.

    Your look of pride and “oh yeah” satisfaction in that race medal photo! Ahh! Perfect.

    Congrats again on a great race and for your awesome inspiration to others!

  8. outside time says:

    Congrats, Page! I’m in awe of your crazy-fast time and have loved living vicariously through you during your training. I’m so happy for you!

  9. Amy Mullett says:

    Congratulations!!! I teared up reading your recaps especially the run. You are an inspiration to me. I can’t imagine doing all that in that amount of time!!! I’m a runner and have only ran half marathons but I have a goal of doing a full someday. Maybe when my kids are older I will tackle an IRONMAN! Thanks for your blogs. I’m so happy your dream finally came true! You are a Champion Paige :)

  10. Tamara says:

    I read religiously (but don’t comment much, oops) but I feel compelled to let you know how amazing you are! (As if you didn’t already feel that way!) You can feel the excitement and joy from the tone of these posts and it makes me feel like I’m capable of doing anything. Congratulations Mrs. IronMan – you’re officially the baddest of the bad!

  11. Kait says:

    You are amazing- that is an awesome recap. So inspiring, congrats!!!

  12. Kim says:

    Page, you are sooooo amazing! I’m so so proud of you :) You are such an inspiration . You smile was SO infectious! And, can I say that you really don’t look like you raced for 12+ hours in those post race pictures?! DAMN! I need a SOAS kit ASAP – too cute and looks so comfortable!

  13. Sarah S. says:

    Love that picture of you with a big smile on your face as you’re coming down the final stretch. Congrats again on finishing your Ironman and thanks for the detailed recaps!

  14. It’s just amazing how happy you were at every moment during this race. I’m glad you were able to overcome your dizziness. Your try everything fueling strategy sounds like it worked out perfectly, and I cant imagine that at that moment everything would taste terrible. Congratulations again, Page!

  15. You are amazing Page!!!! I have decided that if my first sprint tri goes good in a couple of weeks I am going to sign up for Lake Stevens next year. My ultimate goal is to do finish IMCDA in the next 3-5 years. Thank you for being so inspiring. Loved reading about the journey you took on Sunday.

  16. Kristina says:

    Congratulations – this is a great read! Thank you for sharing and WELL DONE, many times over!

  17. Amazing! I was dying to hear how the run went! You did a great job of toughing it out even when things got rough! Can’t wait to hear your post-race thoughts!

  18. Amanda says:

    Congratulations, you are amazing!

  19. Kimra says:

    Congrats! Those pictures of you with your family are what finally made me lose it. What a journey.

  20. PAGE! I am tearing up! You are such an inspiration. A MASSIVE CONGRATS to you!!!

    I can’t wait to hear more about how the Ironman changed your life. And I believe you when you say you were smiling the entire time. These are the best race photos ever!

  21. how does anyone look so happy after such a feet?? Nice job! Congratulations.
    Loved reading the recap. And seeing you smile all the way.

  22. Irina says:

    Page, you are a force to be reckoned with. I followed your journey and I have been inspired with every one if your steps, bike rides and swims. Your infectious smile put one on my face too and reading this report made me want to finish an Ironman really bad. Mine isn’t until next year but I hope you will continue to share with us your stories, either good or bad. I am really happy for you to have fulfilled your lifelong dream, especially in the beautiful town of Coeur D’Alene. Best of luck in whatever comes next!!

  23. Michaela says:

    So inspiring! Congratulations! I have been following your journey and can’t wait to do my first Ironman. I’ve loved reading about your triathlon adventures. I hope this is only the first of many more IMs to come for you!

  24. Megan says:

    I have loved every one of your recaps and I am so incredibly happy for you! I have never wanted to do an Ironman (maybe a half someday) but reading about your high just makes me want to give it a shot. (But first, olympic tri’s.)

    CONGRATS!

  25. Nicole says:

    CONGRATULATIONS AGAIN!

    I choked up during your finish line description – that was such an incredible moment and I’m glad you enjoyed it so much! It is definitely one of the best feelings in the world.

    So glad that our crazy journeys to Ironman brought us together :)

    xoxo

  26. Katie says:

    Congratulations, Page! Ho w amazing! So happy for you! I’d love to hear more about what you’d do differently during your training – and the question I’m sure everyone is dying to hear an answer to – are you going to keep doing triathlons? Are you going to do a few more 70.3 distance races to keep the training more manageable – or do you already have your eye on registering for another Ironman? Can’t wait to keep following your adventures in triathlon!

  27. Alisa says:

    Yay ironPage!

    I am looking forward to the in person recap. Great job out there. I have heard so many times that people on the run go with whatever toward the end. Sounds like orange slices were your go-to! I’ve had them during running events before and they always taste delicious.

    I too am a Gu trickler…I don’t like to do the whole thing at once. My hands are a mess at the end. Part of the reason I have mostly switched to gummy chew things, easier to portion out without total and utter sticky-messness.

  28. Katy says:

    CONGRATS Page!!!! I am so psyched for you – what an accomplishment!!!!!! :) Come back to Boston soon!

  29. Emily says:

    CONGRATULATIONS!! Your blog is my favorite and this post made me cry with awe and happiness for you.

  30. Steena says:

    Great, great recap! You make me think the day is full of happy! :) You did amazing. WOW. wow.
    This is my favorite part: ” if there’s something you want to do, do it. Don’t be afraid to take those risks, challenge yourself and make sacrifices for your goals.” <– because I'm so afraid of what I'm training for, thank you for saying this! It lifted a bit of weight off of my shoulders.
    Congratulations!!

  31. Cathryn says:

    I cried reading this! Congratulations – seriously in awe of what you achieved on Sunday. I was stalking your results (and that of Dimity Davis of Another Mother Runner all day – at the end, my iPhone ran out of juice and I abandoned husband and child in the park to go home and watch you both finish on the live cam! Just incredible! Congratulations.

  32. Nina says:

    Once again, congrats Page! It was great being able to follow your Ironman Journey from the beginning. I have been thinking about my first Ironman for a long time, even though I haven’t even done a sprint yet. It sounds crazy, but when finaly do sign up in 2 -? years, I think you and your journey will be on my mind in this moment. Thanks for sharing it with us!

  33. Amy says:

    Page, I’ve also read your blog for a while now, and I only run marathons, but you have honestly inspired me – one day, I will run an ironman!

  34. Kelly says:

    Hi Page! I’ve been following your training for a while, and just wanted to say congratulations! You’ve worked really hard and have been so positive throughout the injury and training. Love it – so inspirational! Hope you’re recovering well and enjoying the huge accomplishment :)

  35. I can’t believe that you ran a 4:04 marathon after 2.4 miles of swimming and 112 of biking. You are a beast!

  36. Jill says:

    Congratulations! I am in total awe of your marathon performance after the swim and bike,. WAY TO GO!
    I just started reading your blog about a month ago and look forward to reading more.

  37. Jen says:

    Congrats again! Great recap — I loved reading about your positive attitude and the support from your family. Hope the afterglow keeps burning bright – you deserve it!

  38. OMG congrats page! I saw all the photos chicken face posted on instagram over the weekend and seriously would get like choked up seeing the pure joy on your face, and knowing all the hard work and effort you put into this.

    YOU ARE A ROCKSTAR! :)

    can’t wait to hear what awesome thing you’re going to do next!

  39. Page, you are an amazing inspiring woman, and I am so thankful that you shared your journey with us! I love the photo of you and your husband here.. he is bursting with pride!

  40. I literally teared up reading your recap at work today. Great work girl. You deserve it! Honestly, in my mind, I still think you completed TWO Ironmans :) Can’t wait to hear what’s next for you! Have a great move and good luck with your start at Nike!

  41. Emy says:

    Page, you rock! I’ve been reading your blog for awhile (have never commented), and have been following you religiously for this entire ironman training period and couldn’t wait to read your re-cap(s). Although I haven’t been training for a race of such magnitude, I mainly follow your posts for a ‘What did Page’s week look like?’ benchmark, and if I come even close to one of your weeks in training, I feel pretty awesome. Congrats on the culmination of what must have been an amazing journey and thanks for sharing it with all of us. Oh, and extra kudos for looking so happy and cute in your race photos…your personality and attitude are clearly winning over the pain!

  42. Dan Choi says:

    CONGRATULATIONS on becoming an IRONMAN!!! Thank you for sharing your journey from the very beginning. I was the ‘stalker’ that tracked you down after the race. Haha, I’m really glad I did. I think it’s safe to say that there was a strong sense of camaraderie and mutual respect amongst all the athletes out there that day. It was so encouraging and inspiring to see each individual out there, digging deep and pressing on for their own reasons. Your attitude and heart capture the essence of what an IRONMAN is and I look forward to reading your post race thoughts!

  43. CONGRATS IRONMAN! I love the excitement in all your recaps and how you always stayed focused on the end goal. You rocked your first Ironman and look so strong in all your pictures. I was so excited when I saw you crossed the timing mat for 1.8 miles to go…literally was sitting here refreshing the tracking page waiting for you to cross the line! Congrats again!

  44. Lisa says:

    Congrats Page you are an Ironman. I have been following your journey from Austraila and with the time difference had a sleepless night during your Ironman . Its great to read your race recap and i look forward to hearing how this journey and accomplishment has made a difference to your outlook.

  45. Awesome!! Congrats again!! Way to push through at the end!!! I totally understand your gu intake. I have 1/3 of a gu at every mile. People think that I am crazy. I hate carrying it but it works.

  46. Jill says:

    I’ve been following your blog since 2010, when I set out to run my first marathon and looked to you for inspiration. Well, that inspiration has definitely continued! It was a treat to watch you strive toward this incredible feat, and I’m so thrilled you achieved your dream after injury and years of training. Huge congrats! You definitely earned this and more!

  47. cheryl says:

    Congrats on your IM…that’ s a tough course and you executed a smart race!
    I have completed two IMs and many tris (just completed my 114th) and am interested in knowing how triathlon changed your life?
    Or maybe I have been doing them so long, they are such a part of my life that it’s just something I do along with my career, being a wife, mom, and doing other things I like.
    Hope to do another one some day if my body lets me (I am almost 60 and my daughter is your age).
    Take care!

  48. MILF Runner says:

    Amazing! I am really blown away by your training and performance. And by how well-recovered you were last night. You are incredible.

  49. Christiana says:

    Page! Congrats! Your love for the sport of triathalon clearly shows in every picture and in your writing. You are a great ambassador for this wonderful sport!! What I love is that you tested your limits and ….did you find you have limits page? That’s my favorite thing about triathalon and the ironman distance.! It’s something we thought wasn’t possible now is something you just completed. What a great model for life!!!

    I found your blog after my first 5k race a year and a half ago, since then Ive done so much ( completed my first triathalon!) and learned so much in part from your blog ( e.g. It’s okay to wear a Running shorts more than once) .

    Happy. Swimming, cycling, running, and Iiving page!

  50. Sarah says:

    CONGRATULATIONS, PAGE!!! Amazing!!! :) :) :) :)

  51. You are so incredible and inspiring! Awesome job IronGirl!

  52. Beth says:

    Congrats on a truly awesome race! I’m glad everything came together, finally!, for this experience. I loved reading your recaps, and I’m inspired to get back to it!

  53. JenJ says:

    Reading your full recap gave me the chills! Congratulations on an amazing achievement!!!

  54. Jessica B. says:

    Congrats!!! Just think after the swim and bike you still ran a 4 hour marathon! that’s awesome! For some reason when I am running I crave orange juice. Especially if it is hot out.

  55. Mari says:

    Congratulations!! You’re an amazing athlete. Bask in the accomplishment for as long as you can — you deserve it.

  56. Shanna says:

    WOW!! You didn’t just finish that race – you raced it! That is an amazing finish time! I’m pretty new to your blog and just devoured your IMCDA race recaps. I’m planning to do IMLP next July, and a friend of mine suggested I check out your blog. I loved reading about your training and your race day experience … it’s so inspiring and encouraging. Congratulations to you! I hope you’re still basking in the accomplishment of a job very well done. Yay!

  57. egb says:

    Congrats! Great race recap. Loved the photos. You look so happy in all of them! Can’t wait to see where it takes you.

  58. Amy says:

    Amazing!!! choked up reading your re-cap :)

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  60. i finally had a quick minute to read through your recaps and am in tears in happiness for you. Pure determination, grit, family/friend support, and willpower. You are a freaking goddess.

    I haven’t done a marathon yet (first i Dec) nor any sort of Tri, but an Ironman is a far off dream that I secretly want to complete. Your recap is pushing me a little closer to it :)

  61. Nelly says:

    Sounds like the race went perfect overall – congrats! Considering that you were injured with an ankle injury and came all the way back to finish an ironman in not much time is phenomenal. Bask in the post race glow.

  62. JeffG says:

    Page,
    You had me at “Page, get your shit together.” Seriously though, 12:14:21 on your first Ironman(or any Ironman) is a HUGE accomplishment. Reading your recap was like re-living the entire day on one of the toughest courses out there. I was having the same nutritional issues, so it’s good to hear what goes on in others heads during the run. Great detail!

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  64. Monika says:

    I finally had a chance to read this. Congratulations!!!! I’m so happy that you were able to finally achieve your dream. And dayyyyum you are the fastest finisher I know!

    Love your family in the neon shirts. Reminded me of that older post where your mom took a picture next to another mom with a hand drawn sub-par shirt. hahaha.

  65. This is so inspirational! I started tearing up a little at work *sucker*. I started following your blog right before you hurt your ankle and it has been so wonderful to see you continue on towards this goal and finally achieve it! Way to go, Ironman!

  66. Emma says:

    Congrats Page!! It has been incredible to follow your journey and to read these race recaps now is just amazing! And made me feel even more tempted to finish an ironman someday :)

  67. Sil says:

    Congratulations Page! I just ran into your blog today, and let me tell you I loved, loved, loved this Ironman recap!!!
    I’ve been cycling and running for a while and just started to think about a 70.3 maybe next year… Anyway your story is very inspiring to me. Love your blog! And happy running to you too!! -Now I’ll keep reading ;)

  68. Allison says:

    Congratulations Page! You are an Iron(wo)man! Just today during my lunch hour I found your blog while I was Google searching women who do Ironman’s. I am about to embark on my own journey and reading your race recap, brought me to tears as you accomplished a life time goal. Congratulations. I look forward to reading your journey through your blog. :)

  69. Shanda Niles says:

    I am so thrilled that I came across your eating plan during IMCDA on Pinterest! I am from CDA and I did IMCDA in 2012. I missed the 4:00pm bike cutoff by 5 minutes. :( It was extremely devastating for me. :( I cried like a baby!! One of my greatest dreams is to complete IMCDA and in 2015 I plan on making it a reality!! I learned a ton during my first attempt and I have realized that my nutrition was not where it needed to be. I believe that was the reason I was not able to finish the race. THANK YOU for putting your plan out there for others ( like me!) to learn from. I so enjoyed reading your blogs about your amazing day in CDA and I can’t wait to learn more from you! :)

  70. So Inspiring!! Thanks for sharing! Warrior – love it!

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