Race Coverage

Heat, Ice Cream and Redemption...


By Mike Hushagen

Ironman Coeur d'Alene Race Recap: This was my 3rd Ironman and Jessica Ann Shaw's 4th.  It's a beautifully scenic but difficult course with long climbs on the 2 loop bike route.  As race day neared the forecast kept getting hotter and hotter, eventually settling on full sun and 101 degrees! 

 The race start got moved up to 5:00 am for the Pros and 5:30 for the rest of us.  We got a short night of sleep and headed down to the lake in the dark with our trusty race sherpa Mark.

 The Swim (2.4 miles):  The water was a perfect 70 degrees and Jessica and I seeded ourselves together in line for the rolling start.  Before we knew it our buzzer went off and the race was on!  We entered the water side by side but soon lost each other in a sea of people and waves.  I found a person to draft off of and spent the whole first lap on his feet.  I did my own thing on the second lap and felt great the whole time at a nice relaxed pace.  As I exited the water and ran up to my bike I found that Jessica was already gone!  Yes, she kicked my butt on that swim by 5 minutes.  Now my goal was to catch her!

The Bike (112 miles):  I was feeling great so I pushed the pace right from the start and started passing people.  I didn't catch Jessica until around mile 6 and we rode together for about a mile to the first turnaround.  I was in front of her and as I finished the turn I heard "Oh s@&t!" And turned my head just in time to see her crash! ...

I stopped and we got her up and checked over.  She was okay aside from a gouged shin and scraped up shoulder.  But more importantly, her bike was okay!  After a minute or two to calm her down and breathe, we were back at it.  I wished her well and pushed ahead.  I finished the residential section and hit the open highway for a long out-and-back with big climbs and full sun.  This is where the race got tough.  It was hotter than Satan's balls out there and the slow relentless climbs were a struggle breathing in that rippling heat off the blacktop.  I was still feeling mostly okay so I pushed the pace a bit and kept passing people, wondering if I'd pay for it later.  I saw Jessica again after the turnaround and was happy to see that she was only a few miles behind me.  I kept drinking as much water and liquid nutrition as my stomach could handle and hoped for the besjessmike.jpgt.  I started to see bikers pulled off to the side of the road, their day ended.  I finally made it back to town and started lap 2.  The first part though town was uneventful until I got back to the dreaded highway section.  By this time the air felt like a dragon breathing in your face constantly.  I later heard that the air temp just above the blacktop was 148 degrees.  There was no relief other than the aid stations where I'd grab 2 waters - one to drink and one to pour over my head.  My pace had slowed a bit and the legs were starting to feel it.  I pushed on and suffered up the slow grind of the hills.  I was still feeling relatively okay until the turnaround.  The last 25 or so miles were tough!  Despite water and ice my quads were cramping so much that I couldn't straighten them anymore.  The lone bright spot was when I saw that Jessica was still upright and pushing forward!  Finally I made it back to town - sunburned and with a headache.


 The Run (26.2 miles):  Man wasn't meant to run a marathon in 100+ degree heat.  The course is 3 loops - part residential and part along the lake.  The first few miles weren't bad and then the pace slowed mostly due to cramping.  No amount of salt and fluids were helping so I'd run until I cramped, then walk it off.  Rinse and repeat.  The volunteers and residents along the run course were truly amazing though.  If it wasn't for all the sprinklers, misting stations, and large quantities of ice I probably wouldn't have finished.  More and more people were dropping out, throwing up or lying down on the side of the trail.  I didn't see Jessica on loop one so I was concerned that she maybe dropped out on the bike, but thankfully I saw her on loop 2 and my spirits were lifted.  I took ibuprofen from my run special needs bag and soldiered on.  It was still stupidly hot so I'd try to walk the shady spots and run in the sun.  Finally I was counting down the miles on the final lap.  The last 5 or so were a blur and suddenly I was running down the red carpet hearing Mike Reilly say "Mike Hushagen - You are an Ironman!"

Total time: 13:48:47


 I'm happy with my time - it's better than I was expecting and I'm proud that I gave this race my all!  After a brat and some ice cream for recovery we got to cheer Jessica across the finish line!  It was extra sweet for her as she had missed the final cutoff at this very race in her first Ironman attempt.  Redemption!  Thank you everyone for the encouraging words and support.  You all rock!  On to my next crazy adventure!