Sunday, June 28, 2015

2015 Ironman Coeur d’Alene–Robin

June 28th, 2015– Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
2.4m Swim – 112m Bike – 26.2m Run

11:56:58 (1:04:08–3:17–6:07:47–2:52–4:38:34)



It’s 3:45am and I’m waking up already. Due to the heat wave today, the race is starting at 5:30 am, an hour earlier. I have my coffee and oatmeal pre-made. I sit down for a quiet moment to read my Bible. Today is ultimately about racing for Christ and being His ambassador out there. There are just so many unknowns and at least I have the assurance that He will be my steady comfort and help out there. When I got to Coeur d’Alene I felt a lot of stress and doubt. It didn’t help that many were speculating that the race would be shortened to a half Ironman. As the week went on, the Lord used encouragement from Troy and others like Pro Derek Garcia to give me a peace. I feel excited to see how far my training and the Lord will get me.

Troy drops me off at 4:30am near the start. I drop off my special needs bags for the bike and run. This is extra aid that will be made available halfway through each leg. Next, I add aid to my bike and gear bags. I do some running before I turn in my shoes.

WP_20150628_004I connect with Troy and the girls for some prayer and hugs. Anna is pretty emotional and starts to cry because she knows she won’t be able to be with Mommy for a while. Ariel takes it well until she sees Anna crying and well, wants to cry, too. I give Troy a big hug and kiss. Getting to the starting line has been made possible by the Lord and by Troy’s many months of sacrifice and encouragement. Not every woman likes being coached by their husband…but I do! He is tough on me and pushes me but it’s all in love. He knows my weaknesses, he knows my doubts, he knows what I am capable of and he knows how to direct my focus to be on Christ first. I am so very grateful for him and appreciate his commitment to help me see all of this through. He tells me to wave when I come and go in the swim…sure thing but will he be able to see it?


The Swim
The cannon goes off and little by little the different self-seeded sections of swimmers enter the water. My race begins when I cross the timing mat. I’m really excited to see what months and months of early mornings at the pool swimming 3500 to 4500 yards at a time will yield…I hope at least a 1:05. Thanks to our friend Patty Stokes at, I have a new wetsuit…having ripped my previous one on a training swim. I chat with another guy, Bruce. His goal is 1:05 to 1:10 so he’ll follow me…well, I hope I can pull of my goal!

1089_040473As I race into the water, I wave to Troy and the girls and they actually see me! Now the real work begins. On the way out I feel great. I have pretty good personal space despite a few whacks in the head. I steadily move past other swimmers, too. Pretty soon I’m making the turn back to the beach.

It’s not long before I start to feel hungry and tired. Oh boy, is this just a temporary feeling or a sign of a problem? All I can do is keep going and hope it changes. I’m getting close to the shore now and will get the boost of seeing my family. Soon I’m back on the beach and waving again. [31:19 9th] They see me as I jump back in…yeah!

This time out I’m still moving ahead of other swimmers but fewer…because more of the swimmers around me are pacing right with me. My energy is back and I’m again feeling strong. Thank You Lord! I’ve noticed one other pink cap in front of me so I follow her. Just like the first loop, I have mostly a clear path but there are moments where it bunches up and I get bumped around. Yet, I feel a peace and no fear in those moments thankfully.

I make final turn and now it’s back to shore! I’ve lost sight of the gal but I have a few familiar guys to follow. I am not trying to redline it to the finish but just continue the good rhythm all the way back. Hey, there is the pink cap a little ahead! Yeah! I push a bit to close the gap. The beach is getting closer and so is the pink cap!

It’s not long before I hit the sand. [1:04:08 9th]! That is a personal best! I run up the beach and can see Troy looking for me in the water. I yell “Troy!”. The girls see me and tell him I’m done. He waves back.

I run to the wetsuit strippers and they peel off my suit. I grab my T1 bag and head into transition. I’m putting on a bike jersey instead of wearing a tri top throughout. I actually ordered a tri top and it was so small that it fit Anna perfectly…well, it’s hers now! I hope that the bike top will breath better and keep my back and shoulders protected. I stuck my bike shoes in the sleeves hoping that it would help me get it on faster but unfortunately I just dumped my bag and it all came out in a wild pile. Oops! I fight with the jersey for a few seconds but manage to get it on.

I thank the volunteers and then I’m out the door! [3:17 9th]

The Bike
WP_20150628_010Exiting T1 I'm so excited to tell Troy my swim split. As I head out for the first 15 miles, I see him and the girls. "1:04! 1:04!". He smiles and they all cheer. This is a 2 loop course: Out along the run course and then South on Highway 95 twice.

Now it's out along the run course and a bit beyond. This where I can get a glance of who is ahead. I will also look for our rental house owner's place. Debbie said it's right on the course!

The plan is to try to maintain 18.5mph and stay at a steady pace. Derek Garcia encouraged me to not go anaerobic at all on the bike because it will hurt my run. So that means no surges, no sprints even if it means I get stuck behind a slower rider for a time.

I hit my first hill. Not too bad but this is also on the run course and I know it will be tough then. Up and over. I pass the run turnaround and now have a good picture of what I need to do later. I need to get pumped up now to run later.

I see teammate Laurie Abrams already coming back, "go Laurie!” I pass a blue house and it's the last one on the course. I don't see Debbie but it's got to be her place. At the end of the road we make a u-turn. This is where my special needs will be waiting for me on my 2nd loop.

I notice that there is nice shade right here on this part of the course because of the position of the sun. Later today, that will change dramatically I’m sure!

Heading back to town now. I see tons of riders heading out. I am so glad that I had a fast swim and was able to get ahead of all those folks! As I ride through town, my average is just over 19mph and I feel great! [44:34 10th] No family here but they are out there somewhere.

WP_20150628_013Now it’s out to Highway 95 for the longest stretch of the ride. I head up the ramp and just when I’m about to turn left, there is Troy and the girls cheering. Yeah, that was a good boost!  Over the bridge that crosses Spokane River (feeds Lake Coeur d’Alene). This is a no pass zone and super narrow lanes for bikes in both directions. I just try to look ahead to where I want to go…as Troy would tell me when we would mtn. bike.

Highway 95 is a scenic road that goes past Lake Coeur d’Alene and out to the country side. We are completely exposed to the elements. Within the first 5 miles, I hit the big hill. Coming from Auburn it’s not any worse than Indian Hill Road. I know that although it’s not hard now, later it will be when I’m tired and hitting it again. Going up brings my average down below 18.5. I don’t panic because I should be able to get that back. Troy’s research of last year’s splits show that most likely there's going to be a nice tailwind coming back to town so I hope for that, too.

I can feel it warming up but its fine at the moment. I still make an effort to wet my top whenever I 1089_031522can grab water. The volunteers are really good at handing off water (check out cool video on this). I eat my Carrot Cake Larabar and try to enjoy it though difficult when going race pace.

The pros are heading back now. Andy Potts has a really big lead over any other rider. I look for Derek and another friend, Matt Sheeks. There is Derek! He’s definitely near top 5. I hope that he has a good day here in his hometown of CDA!

Mile 30. I’ve got my average back up. It helps that I’ve pushed the downhills well and capitalized on the free speed. I’m nearing the turnaround now. I’ve been able to avoid surging and it really helps not having a lot of riders around me. I’m getting passed by quite a few guys and a few gals. I just let them go and a handful of them and I go back and forth.*

Mile 35. [1:55:24 10th] I make the turnaround. I wonder where Troy and the girls are. I know that they were planning to drive out to see me along the course. My mommy brain starts to think the worst and that maybe they got hurt. These moments are where I need to press into Christ and not worry!

I’ve seen 3 teammates on the way back but I haven’t seen Laurie. I must have just missed her somehow.

Mile 45. I’m coming up on an aid station. I grab water again. Then I see Troy and the girls! Yeah! It’s so great to see their smiling faces…what a boost! How could I doubt you Lord in keeping them safe?!

1089_036607I’m doing well drinking up my first 2 bottles of Hammer Perpetuem and eating some Clif Bloks. I know that I’m doing way better on my fueling than at Ironman Tahoe. At that race I froze my aid and it never thawed resulting it not getting enough calories. I froze my special needs bottles again this time but the hot conditions today will melt them nicely. It's already 85 degrees.

Mile 55. [2:59:48 10th] Back to town! The crowds are most concentrated here and give me a big boost! My average is up to 18.7. I hope I can keep it up this next time around.

Mile 65. I bike past the blue house again and see Debbie! Cool, that is her house! Special needs is next. I hear them call out my number. By the time I make the U-turn, some volunteers are waiting with my bottles in hand. It takes me a moment to sort out which bottles are what and then I struggle to get them in their cages. I finally head out and thank the volunteers. My 3rd bottle of Perpetuem is nice and cold! It’s kind of slushy…perfect melt rate!

1089_053456I bike past Debbie’s one more time and she’s cheering loud. I wave and smile.

Mile 70. [3:44:53 11th] Now it’s back out on Highway 95 one more time! Up the ramp I go again and across the narrow section on the bridge.

The half dozen riders I was going back and forth with on the first loop appear to be behind me now. I head up the big hill one more time. At the top a guy goes by and tells me “Go FCA! Through Christ!”. I finish the verse “I can do all things!”. He says “Amen!”. It’s cool how through faith in Christ, I have so many brothers and sisters. I love how we really are one church together!

Mile 80. Not feeling as strong now. It’s always about this time I start to struggle mentally. Now the work really begins on the bike and it’s more mental than physical. It’s also really getting warm (90 deg) and more water is for dousing my body than for drinking…though I know it’s important to drink water, too. I’m trying to drink my aid consistently, too.

Mile 90*. [4:57:24 11th] I reach the turn-a-round for the last time and it’s a relief! I’m averaging around 18.4-18.5.

Heading back, I notice there is an upward grade to the road that I didn’t notice before. As I get more tired, these slight changes are enough to feel like I’m going up a good sized hill. And it seems to go on for a long time! My average is going down and mentally it’s hard to keep a hopeful outlook! I see 2 of my teammates coming back out but still no Laurie. I hope she’s far ahead!

I see Tana coming and cheer for her. She's moving along quickly and is sure to be closing the gap between us! I'm able to get some much needed water from some volunteers who have crossed the road from their station going in the opposite direction. I pour some on me...nice! A few miles down is our next main aid station and I get some more water. I also grab a banana remembering Troy said I can get one as a treat.

1089_017513Mile 100! Only 12 to go! I can do this! My average is down around 18.1. I’m still hopeful that I can bring it back up! There is a guy walking with his bike and I offer some help. He kindly says his wheel is done. “So sorry!” I know he’ll just have to wait for the bike techs.

I make it back to the big hill and now I can fly down and get my mph up! As I scream down, I see a lot of carnage. There are riders walking up. There are also about 5 riders off the road on a grassy and shady spot along the mountain just laying down. I’ve never seen so many hurting in such a concentrated area!

Only a few more miles left now! I’m right around 18.3mph. Not going to get the exact goal, but this is great! I get to the final no pass zone that takes me across that bridge. There is another rider ahead of me ignoring the sign and going around slower riders. That kind of stuff really bugs me!

I get stuck on the bridge behind other riders behind a really, really slow rider! That guy once again passes! I am so shocked because it’s so narrow and other riders can be coming the other direction! Nothing I can do but be patient behind this group of riders. We are going so slow, it’s almost scary because I feel like I can almost just fall over. I start trying to encourage the slow rider by saying “you can do it! Just push a little harder over the bridge.” Another rider joins in and we do our best to kindly encourage the guy to move. Finally the no pass zone ends and I take off! The slow rider seems to be riding a hybrid bike which is crazy for 112 miles!

I finally pull into T2 and dismount. [6:07:47 12th] Thank You Lord! That was tough! So glad to be done!

I hand off my bike to a volunteer and hobble to my T2 bag. Into the women's changing tent I go. I change into a running top and shorts. It's mostly for comfort but also to continue to shield my back and shoulders. The great volunteers wrap a wet towel around my neck and fill up a big sock with ice. The sock is to put on my neck for cooling idea our Ultraman friend and massage therapist, Jeff Landauer, gave me.  It's 98 deg. [2:52 9th]


The Run
WP_20150628_026I head out on the run and feel good! As I run up the street in downtown towards the neighborhoods, I see Troy and the girls. We exchange high fives and smiles.

Mile 1 is 8:37. Whoa! Too fast but it's hard to slow down. I feel comfortable but still force myself to slow down.

1089_038908Mile 2 is 8:43. It's awesome running in the neighborhoods! All kinds of folks are out with hoses and sprinklers. I run through every one of them. The best is when I get completely hosed down. It's got to be near 100 degrees now but I'm not feeling the full force of it with my ice sock and many "showers". [20:01 9th]

Mile 3 is 8:45. I continue to feel great. Thank You Lord! I see a girl on the side of the road clutching her legs and crying. She has a few people trying to console her. I run by and feel the Lord telling me to go back and pray for her. So I turn around and go back. I think to the surprise of those next to her I pray for Jesus to ease her pain and get her back up and running. As I run on, I feel the Lord's strength kick in even more.I see Andy Potts coming back! I start looking for Derek. He wanted top 3.

Mile 4 is 9:02. Huh, sub 9 min pace seems hard now when it seemed so easy. Now I'm on CDA Lake Dr which is just a bike path. The beginning has very little shade and gone is the showering. The first aid station out here is awesome and I refill my sock with ice.

A little further down the CDA Tri Team has set up a zone to help the athletes. A nice guy asks me if I want my hat wetted. "Yes!". He brings it back and it's ice, feels great! "Thank you!"

The other pros are now coming... like 20 minutes later! I see Derek is in about 9th place and gutting it out.

Mile 5 is 9:12. Not feeling as snappy but still going strong. [45:45 8th] I'm forcing myself to drink my Heed flasks and take a Clif Blok ever so often. I know that making myself take in the aid, I won't loose energy later. There is a funny sign at an aid station that says "IRunMan". Ha! Love it!

I make it to the hill and just climb it steadily. Just up and over!

Mile 6 is 10:18. Well, my legs are starting to hurt a lot and walking sure sounds nice. I cannot walk! I must not walk! [1:01:18 8th] The aid station at the turn around is awesome and I splash myself plenty!

Mile 7 is 9:27. Down I go! It should feel great going downhill but it doesn't.

1089_055576Mile 8 is 9:45. [1:16:53 8th] Ugh! I really, really want to walk! I see a moped out of the corner of my eye slow down and u-turn. I hear "hey Robin, it's Tod Hornby, how are you doing?". Tod is our friend from our early years competing in CDA. We put on the very first CDA Iron Prayer together. I muster a smile and say "Tod, great to see you! I really want to walk but I'm really trying not to.". Immediately he prays for me. I am so grateful for his support and prayer. He heads out and I have a chat with God. "Please help me! Keep me going, please!"

Mile 9 is 9:53. Hanging in there but wish i was finishing up my run now! I make it back to the CDA Tri zone. Again I get my hat wetted. I'm reminded that the neighborhood section is coming. That will be refreshing!

I see Laurie coming at me and she comes over and high fives me. Wow, what a friend to do that when she's clearly hurting, too!

Mile 10 is 9:56. I'm just trying to survive! Not totally falling apart but definitely off the pace! I don't feel like I'm melting even as it gets hotter but my legs are killing me!

Mile 11 is 10:12. [1:45:38 8th] Back in the neighborhoods. It's great to have the sprays but legs are WP_20150628_031screaming for relief. I see Troy, the girls and Tod. I muster a smile Troy tells me there are girls I can catch. "What place am I? Be honest?". He tells me 11th. A part of me just doesn't think it's possible to even qualify...and a part of me losses hope. I smile at him and let him know I'm going to hang in there.

Mile 12 is 10:07. Oh boy, slowing! I keep running, try to enjoy the sprays, smile and thank the volunteers.

Mile 13 is 11:10. I follow the course as it zigzags into the special needs bag location. [2:09:34 8th] I haven't finished one of my Heed flasks and decide in a split-second to grab only 2, instead of 4, new flasks. I hope it wont cost me, although I feel like I'm doing a good job at forcing down nutrition. I also grab 2 Caramel Macchiato Gu gels. These are a treat usually but not feeling that today.

Running through town the energy is high and it gets me moving a little faster.

Mile 14 is 10:38. I see Tod, Troy and the girls. I muster a smile and say hi. Troy comes along side and I start to say "it's not going to happen" just like when I qualified in 2007 here. I stop myself and tell him there is always hope...and smile again. I'm really proud of keeping a good attitude this time...I tend to get grumpy when a race is falling apart. Troy tells me to keep getting the aid down, get wetted down and take the Endurolytes. I tell him check, check and WP_20150628_029check. "Finish your flasks by Mile 20 and start drinking Coke. Also Tana is coming and she can help you." I tell him okay and continue on.

Mile 15 is 11:08. Back to CDA Lake Drive. I remind myself just one more time out and back! [2:33:28 8th] I want to walk!!! After the first aid station along here, I walk. It feels good but I know that if I rely on Christ, I don't have to walk. I run again and go through the CDA Tri club area. This time someone offers to pour a huge glass of ice water down my back. "Yes, please!". Ah, so nice!

Mile 16 is 11:25. Troy and the girls drive by and park at the next aid station. I give them a smile and high fives. Troy knows I am hurting and he continues to encourage me to press on! He lets me know Tana is near.

Mile 17 is 12:23. Wow, now I'm really falling apart! Pain!! No ice, water, or aid is helping this pain end!

Mile 18 is 12:10. Almost time for Coke, drink those flasks! [3:07:38 8th] I decide to walk through the aid stations as a treat for running in between. Lord, please don't let me go beyond that.

Mile 19 is 12:05. Uphill I go again, trudging along slowly but still running! I force down my last Gu and my final flask. [3:27:22 8th] 

Mile 20 is 12:24. I make it to the aid station but run to the turnaround first and then walk at the aid station the other direction. I grab a Coke. It's nice but doesn't make things magically better. The legs still hurt bad!

I start my run again and a little down the road, there's Tana! Her smile and stride make her seem fresh...though I know it's got to be hard for her, too.

I run downhill for the last time and it is good to know that I'm getting close to being done!

Mile 21 is 12:40. [3:47:36 9th] I see Troy and tell him that I'm walking through aid stations now as a treat for running in between. He tells me to try to go sub 11 min pace to try to catch some girls in front of me. He tells me that 5 girls have finished and 6 of us are fighting for the other spots. It does get me thinking beyond my pain..just a little.

Mile 22 is 12:04. I walk through another aid station. I also stop to wet my hat in the CDA Tri club ice pool. Now it's time to keep more walking!!

WP_20150628_042Mile 23 is 11:19. Troy and the girls are just before the last aid station on CDA Lakeside Dr. I smile and Troy says its good to see that. I tell him "it's all I got left!". The girls run with me for a brief moment. They are so loving, so joyful and encouraging..especially after such a long day! "I cannot wait until I can hug you girls at the finish!".

I continue on to the aid station and Pastor J.O. from Iron Prayer steps out to give me aid. "Remember me?". "J.O., good to see you!"

Troy and the girls drive by. He tells me to just get the girl in 2007 at this very same spot he told me to chase down a girl I pink. That was to qualify then and now it's to try push a little farther ahead.

Mile 24 is 11:03. [4:19:24 9th] Back in the neighborhoods! I get all the splashes I can! I also try to keep passing girls even though most seem to be in other age groups.

Mile 25 is 10:14. The end is so near! Yes, thank You Jesus for being near and making this final push possible! I can hear the voice of Ironman, Mike Reilly, now!

Mile 26 is 9:57. Awesome comeback Lord! I turn on Sherman Ave. Whoa, I can really feel all 104 degrees here! I have the whole road to myself and the finish seems so far...but I know its so near!


I hit the finish chute and just miss Troy putting his hand out for a high five, shucks! I high five many other hands to make up for it...and I smile. I say thank you Lord as I hear "You are an Ironman!". It's done!! [4:38:34 9th, 11:46:38 overall] 


Time Age Group Place Swim Bike Run
DEREK GARCIA 8:58:55 PRO 9th 54:52 4:47:07 3:12:07
TANA JACKSON 11:45:20 F45-49 3rd 1:17:56 6:01:35 4:16:44
ROBIN SOARES 11:56:38 F40-44 9th 1:04:08 6:07:47 4:38:34
LAURIE ABRAMS 13:54:50 F50-54 12th 1:01:48 6:45:40 5:56:02
SCOTT BURKHARDT 15:53:33 M50-54 81st 1:17:15 6:11:11 8:13:19
ROSIE KRACHER 16:12:03 F45-49 42nd 1:29:50 7:51:47 6:28:46
MATT SHEEKS DNF PRO DNF 1:16:09 5:04:23 --
ROBERT PALMER DNF M50-54 -- 1:15:07 8:59:25 --

Saturday, June 27, 2015

2015 Iron Kids Mile Run–Anna & Ariel

June 28th, 2015 – Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
1.1 Mile

  • Anna 8:17
  • Ariel 10:45