The Purple Tiger’s Ironman Coeur d’Alene Race Report

by Rach McBride, a.k.a. The Purple Tiger 

Ironman New Zealand in March of 2020 was my ticket to Kona and since then, I have been not-so-patiently awaiting an opportunity to get back to long races. With my heart set on big personal goals at Challenge Roth and Ironman Hawaii this year, it was a tricky decision to balance another race with Canadian quarantine rules. However, as my winter training block was going well, and I felt stronger than ever, I thought: you never waste an uninjured build as an opportunity to race! Ironman Coeur d’Alene fell at the perfect time to rip off the COVID-bandaid and get back to iron-distance racing. 

While restrictions are now beginning to open up to make travelling easier in Canada, crossing the border in either direction was still slightly anxiety-inducing and required multiple COVID tests to boot. It’s as though life without masks, swabs, and hordes of other travelers may be a distant memory. 

All of this to say, I did manage to make it safely to CdA and check in with my wonderful homestay who made the trip so easy for me. The logistics of pre-race can often feel like a feat unto themselves and so making it to the start line calm, relaxed, and prepared is something I never take for granted. 

Here’s how my day unfolded...  

Swim 55:17, 4th out of the water: I felt confident heading into this swim as I’d been able to access a good chunk of pool time for my Tower 26 workouts, vs the debacle of 2020. The super swimmers sprinted off, and I was immediately in a pack of 3 where we switched off positions a bit on the first loop. After speeding ahead on the short beach run heading into loop two, we dropped to two with Carrie Lester tap-tap-tapping on my feet the whole way to the swim exit.

Bike 5:09.24, 5th off the bike: When the week before the race you think “hey I think my saddle might be too low”, fix it for F’s sake!! I have only myself to blame for the leg pain I had for 2 hours. Finally found an Allen key at an aid station and was flying after that and a million times more comfortable. Racing is painful enough - not super smart to unnecessarily make it harder! 

Run 3:32, 6th OA: It’s possible to have my run legs off the bike as I powered off and was at one point running in 3rd place! I was on pace (even spent 5k a little too fast) for my fastest marathon yet. But at halfway, I already started to falter. Spent a total of 14 minutes walking with my eyes half closed, feeling like I could just lie down under a tree and immediately fall asleep. After being passed again and only 6km from the finish, I rallied to hold onto 6th. This heat wave indeed led to carnage: 27% of the competitors did not finish on the record-hot day!

Ironman has taught me that the struggle, the shuffle, and the pain is pretty standard. I feel so clear on my areas of opportunity as I continue to push getting the very best out of myself - both on and off the racecourse. Step 1: staying way awake in the back half of the run, aka dealing with hypoglycemia! Speaking with my sport doc post-race, the sleepy symptoms and tingling lips I experienced are likely due to extremely low blood sugar. Considering I did quite well on the calorie front, I must not be absorbing them. In fact, my fluid intake was lacking in retrospect. Once I get out of quarantine, I’ll have some solid weeks of training to test out some improved strategies.

Until then, I’ll be downing my electrolytes as I get ready for my next build to Challenge Roth!

Steph races to the finish line!

More Stories You Might Like

Read blog post titled
Nuun Frozen Watermelon Mocktail Drink Recipe
Looking for a refreshing and hydrating mocktail to beat the summer heat? Look no further! Our...
Read blog post titled
6 Ways to Hit Those Hydration Goals
We all know that hydration is an essential part of our overall well-being. From body temperature...

Your Cart (0 items)

Your cart is empty.




Shipping calculated at checkout.



Add $45.00 to unlock FREE SHIPPING!
Nuun Sport
Nuun Energy
Watermelon Burst
Nuun Daily
Wild Strawberry
Select a nonprofit

Saved for later