The Three C’s of Ironman Coeur d’Alene Training Camp: Cold, Crotch, and Chafing

This past weekend Jas and I trekked to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho to train on the Ironman Coeur d’Alene course with some teammates before the big race next month. Jason will be racing but my big dance isn’t until Canada at the end of August, but I thought I’d be an overachiever and go to the training camp anyway, figuring it would help me for my race. The weekend didn’t go quite as planned and I ended up getting slammed with the three c’s: a cold, crotch issues, and a new batch of chest chafing.

Sicky-Ki-Yay, Motherf*cker

A crappy cold has been working its way through my team the past couple weeks, so it was only a matter of time before the germs made their way to me. At least three of the teammates who I had swum with and met for dinner last week ended up getting sick, and Coach Teresa was battling the yuck all week, too. So naturally, as Jas and I were driving across Washington on Thursday heading to glorious Idaho, I started to feel rundown and kind of blergh. By the time we checked into the hotel and met Mark and Teresa for dinner, my head was aching and I was battling Lumpy Throat Syndrome.

The next morning, I sucked it up, chowed down on off-brand daytime cold medicine, and did the group swim at a nearby pool (swimming in the lake was a no-go considering temps were hovering at a nope-inducing 46 degrees), then suited up for a long bike ride.

Me with a gigantic-looking underwater body and my camp buddies after our swim workout

The first part of the Ironman bike course is kind of nice, with some slight, steady climbs along the lake before turning around and heading back into town. After about an hour, however, the course dumps you onto the highway where you get to bike out 20 miles before returning to town and doing the entire loop all over again. You spend 80 of the 112 miles on the highway, which is pretty sucky because it’s a boring, long, lonely, and mentally challenging stretch. I wasn’t exactly thrilled about riding alongside a rumble strip while semis careened past me as I dodged roadkill and random bits of debris, but if I had signed up for CdA I could probably suck it up on race day, although training on the highway was somewhat grueling.

After I completed loop 1, I was starting to feel kind of crummy. The day was sunny and warm, but I was feeling too warm and started wondering if I was battling a low-grade fever–I’m used to sweating and sniffling during bike workouts, but this flop sweat, snot factory, and throbbing headache felt more cold-induced. I ran into Teresa, who went into Mom Mode when I told her I wasn’t feeling well and made me ride back to the hotel and rest. I felt kind of chumpy for only busting out 80 miles instead of riding the entire 112 and for skipping the brick run, but after I showered and spent the next two hours sneezing and blowing my nose, I figured I made the right decision.

My evening was spent curled up in a chair in self-mandated quarantine watching re-runs of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and wheezing while my teammates went out to dinner. The next morning I skipped the second group ride but thought I’d give the team run a try, figuring that if I had to choose one of the workouts to do, I’d opt for the run instead of the bike because I could bail more easily if I still felt crummy.

The group before we started running. This workout brought to you by a low-grade fever!

I still felt a bit feverish leading up to the run but felt surprisingly good during the workout and actually managed to get through about 11 miles relatively easily. Maybe I just needed to sweat out all the crud and purge the system with a good ol’ run. In any case, I felt better from that point on…

Chafe You, Chafe Me

…minus the newest batch of goddamn sternum chafing thanks to the worst heart rate monitor strap known to man. I figured I wouldn’t have any problems but I’m a complete moron because this Garmin strap always seems to love eviscerating my chest every other time I wear it. My post-race shower went something like this:

Me: “I’m going to take a shower. Disregard any bloodcurdling screams you hear from the bathroom for the next ten minutes.”

Jason: “Okay. I’m going to call my parents so try to keep your shrieks at a reasonable level.”

Me: “Alright.”

*summary of the next ten minutes*





You’d think I would have built up a hefty callus by now considering all the times this fucking strap has kicked my ass, but no, I just develop new skin that promptly gets rubbed off and ruins my showers. I hate this sport.

Another reason why I hate this sport…

When Shit Goes South Down South

My 80 mile ride felt more uncomfortable than usual, not just from the cold, but because for some reason I couldn’t seat myself comfortably and kept shifting and fidgeting. I think I ended up putting way too much weight forward because my hands kept partially falling asleep and my crotch was a numb mess. My pubic bone was really sore and I later discovered a, uh, lumpy bit that I’m 100% sure wasn’t there before the ride. Lumpy bit hurt. A lot. I brought it up to Teresa via text message because I know she’s always eager to hear what’s going on with my crotch:

Me: “I think I’m having issues. There’s some sort of, uh, hurty ropey part on one side. A muscle? Ligament? I don’t know vagina anatomy.”

Teresa: “Is it skin peeling or a lump?”

Me: “It’s like a lump but a long one. Really hurts to the touch.”

Jason’s advice: “Send a pic to Strayer!” Strayer is one of my male teammates who’s an ER doc. We joked about snapping a pic of me spread-eagled with the subject line “Whaddya think?” and firing it off to him. His wife would be thrilled. (Actually, his wife is an OBGYN so I should probably bomb her with vag pics in this hypothetical scenario.)

Teresa recommended I hit up Vicki, another teammate who’s a nurse. I pinged her on Facebook:

Me: “So, uh, this is kind of awkward but you’re both a nurse and an avid cyclist so I figured I’d float this by you rather than send super awkward pics to John Strayer. I had a more uncomfortable than usual ride yesterday and my ladybits are sore today. Like really sore. Specifically, the left side has a long, ropey-type lump that the right side doesn’t have, and it hurts to the touch. I dunno if it’s a lump or a ligament or a muscle protrusion or what, but it’s weird. Any thoughts on what the eff that is and how I can fix it/make it go away?”

I didn’t get a response from her so naturally I panicked and figured that her tipping point was getting unsolicited messages from teammates asking her to diagnose their crotch issues. Teresa went into Overdrive and started harassing Vicki via text message to help a Becca out:

Teresa: “Just told her to check her messages when she has a moment. She’s on her way home from dinner and will look in 5 to 10 min.”

Me: “Operation Save Rebecca’s Vagina is in full swing!” (This is a terribly embarrassing operation.)

Vicki responded on Facebook and said she thought it was probably a cyst. She recommended no biking until it goes away and to take warm baths to “either help it drain or get absorbed back in” (me to Jason: “Gross, I don’t want to absorb this!!”).

It was a good thing I skipped the Saturday ride and opted to just run, because this crotch issue was no bueno. On Sunday I did a 30 min swim, awkwardly moving the pull buoy down so it wouldn’t bump into the Evil Foreign Mass of Hurtitude, and a 30 minute run. The lump continued to be a pain in the ass (well, not “ass,” but…yeah, you get the idea) and I’m currently dealing with trying to find a doctor who can check it out before I hop back on the bike.

So aside from my three c’s, the training camp was still a lot of fun. I was able to get to know some of my teammates better; in fact, I got to know one a bit too well:

Me, to one of my teammates as we’re headed to dinner: “So, are you sufficiently pooped from this weekend?”

His face lights up.

Him: “No! I was just talking to Terrance about that! I don’t know what the deal is but I haven’t had a good poop since I got here and–”

Me, throwing my hands up and waving them frantically: “NO. NO. NO. STOP. That is not what I asked you! I did not ask you that!”

Everyone in the car starts laughing hysterically.

Me: “I said are you sufficiently pooped. As in tired. Are you tired from the weekend’s workouts.”

Him, sheepish: “Ohhhhhhhh…yeah.”

We laugh even harder.

Him: “Yeah, I thought it was weird that you asked me about my pooping but I figured, ‘Oh well, she asked so what the hell!'”

Naturally, at dinner, we encouraged him to order a lot of high fiber dishes. No word on whether he finally got his epic pooptime in–I’ll keep you posted. (On that and on my crotch issues. I run a classy blog.)

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