Matt Hanson | Professional Triathlete
5x Ironman Champion/ 4x 70.3 Champion

IM Coeur d’Alene Race Report


Pic from my first Ironman at CDA in 2011

Ironman Coeur d’Alene is a special place for me. I did my first Ironman there in 2011 and qualified for Kona the first time. You could say it is where this passion/obsession began. When I did CdA the first time, I knew very little about the course. It was a really late decision to do this race rather than Buffalo Springs (i.e. last week!) but I think it was a good choice. I was able to add to my fondness for the race making my first top 5 overall finish.

Race Morning

I woke up at 3:00 and drank my usual pre-race breakfast, 3 servings of Infinit Mud with almond milk. I went back to bed for an hour then woke up and started to get ready for the day. The early morning didn’t faze me at all. Iowa is 2 hours ahead of CdA, so I intentionally tried to stay on Iowa time. I really was feeling good race morning. My wife and I walked down to transition from our hotel which was about ¾ of a mile away and I got everything quickly set up. The 6:00 a.m. start did sneak up on me a bit, but I was able to be in the water warming up by 5:45.

Swim – 1:00:31  

I was really feeling good about my swim fitness entering the race. I had a great last month of swim workouts and have been feeling great in the pool. My confidence was shattered about 30 seconds into the race. I caught a heel right in my right eye which popped my goggles off of my face just enough to start letting water in on that side. I kept swimming for a minute or so trying to hold on to a pack that was forming. I freaked out a little when I noticed that the water in the goggle was turning red. I stopped quickly and dumped it out and looked up and everyone was gone. I got right back to swimming, but started to lose the mental battle that you HAVE to win to have a good swim. Yes, my eye swelled up and was bleeding into my goggles the entire swim but that doesn’t affect how hard I kick or pull. The head and the heart take care of that. The choppy water beat me up again and I did have a little trouble sighting which just fueled my frustration. I finally got my head back in the game on the last turn back into shore and it was amazing how I was suddenly able to sight better and get into a smooth rhythm swimming. I had PRd every swim I’ve had since I started working with Tim and Magnolia Masters, so it was a bit frustrating to take a step back for a race. However, I certainly learned a lot from the swim here and ultimately it will make me a better triathlete in future races.

T1 – 1:53

I ran into transition with Matt Reed and a few seconds behind Pat Wheeler. I got my TYR wetsuit off with no troubles and started putting on my glasses and helmet as I ran out of the tent. I expected to be really cold on the bike (I even stashed some arm warmers in my bento box) but I really wasn’t bad at all. The Cat 5 suit kept me warm in the 61 degree waters. I was able to mount the bike quickly and get rolling on the second leg.

10505533_587868624665781_7570256060703544335_nBike – 4:53:54

I usually am really good with pacing myself well on both the bike and the run. This was not one of those races. I came out of the water with Matt Russell. I raced him in Texas as well and knew he was a beast on the bike and could still put down a pretty solid run split after. I knew I would have to keep him at least somewhat close if I was going to have a chance to run him down. I rode the first 90 minutes pretty hard. Matt had opened a pretty good gap on me already after the first out and back, but I wanted to power through the first set of big hills into the wind hoping to be able to find a few guys to ride with for the second lap. No such luck. It looked like the top 10 were all pretty well spread out for most of the ride. I rode alone for most of the ride unless you count the Agers that joined us on the second loop. The combination of the hills and wind beat me up pretty good on the second lap. I also pushed the hills pretty hard on the first and my hip flexors got tight and started to bug my back pretty bad. I struggled to stay aero for a lot of the second loop. After looking at my power file, there was a definite down trend throughout the race. Thinking back, I don’t know if I would change anything about the ride. I did lose a few minutes to some really strong riders, but if I would have had the swim I needed I would have been right in the mix coming off the bike.

T2 – :57

I really didn’t feel great when I jumped off the bike. I had plenty of snap in my legs but my back was pretty darn tight. I was still able to have a fast transition. I threw on my Zoots grabbed my watch and belt and was out the tent door. The volunteers at the bag station and in the tent were absolutely awesome which really helped make for two good transitions.

10430046_587954487990528_1471101798951787000_nRun – 2:42:07

I really thought that this race was going to be a great day for me. I felt great about my training and preparation leading into the race. At the start of the run, I knew I was going to have to put together a good run just to make the podium. All of the guys who were in front of me were pretty solid runners. I got the report that I was over 20 minutes down from Potts at the start of the run so catching him was probably not in the picture. I really didn’t know where anyone else was. I started off running as comfortably as I could. My low back was really tight but my legs felt good. I really had 2 options: stop and try to stretch out my back or just push through it and see what happened. Although the first option did cross my mind for a few seconds, I was able to win the mental game on the run that I lost on the swim. It helped that I was able to see one guy in front of me after I got around the first corner. I decided to pick up the pace above my goal pace (Sorry coach!) for the first few miles. I hit the 5 mile mark at 29:00, which was probably a little too fast. Still I was feeling good. After seeing where everyone was at the first out and back at 6.5 miles, I knew it was going to take a heck of a run to crack the top 3 so I decided to try to hold pace a little longer. I finally caught up to Matt around mile 16 which moved me into 5th. Shortly after, I could see that Maik was struggling a bit. I was on pace for a 2:39 after 16 miles and thought I could possibly catch him if I could keep the gas pedal on. I started up the final big hill and mile 18 and my legs just said no! I dropped about 40 seconds on the way up the hill and just couldn’t get my stride to open up on the return trip to town. I hovered around 6:30 pace for the last 6 miles. I knew my pace was fading but was still hoping to be able to hold on for a PR on the run. I ended up just missing that by just over 20 seconds! Still, I was able to grab my second course run record in 2 attempts this year at the Ironman distance.

10443517_587986927987284_9061669862406760915_nOverall – 8:39:22
Overall, I am happy but not satisfied with the day. Again, I am taking a ton of things from this race which is really what my first year as a pro is all about. I am happy to take the next step forward and find my first top 5 finish. I didn’t accomplish everything I set out to do for this race, but it was still a very positive race overall. I felt great about the race plan that coaches David and Tim made for me. I executed some parts well and others not so great.




2014-06-30 18.10.12I owe a HUGE, HUGE thank you to my wife for letting me do this race. We celebrated our 5th anniversary on Friday and I’m sure she would have liked to do something other than hibernate in the hotel on Friday and Saturday and watch a race on Saturday. God truly blessed me with such a supporting partner and friend. I also need to thank Maverick Multisport and all of our team sponsors for allowing me to race with such great equipment. It is definitely a huge part of race day execution. Another big thank you to Coach David and Coach Tim for their flexibility with the late schedule change and for helping me in every aspect of the sport!


  1. Lee Glaesemann

    July 1, 2014 at 4:44 am

    Setting two running course records–IMTX and CDA–is mind blowing. And to beat the likes of Crowie should make you pause a moment to consider your incredible accomplishments. I look forward to watching your performance in Kona.

  2. Timothy Monk

    July 1, 2014 at 7:32 am

    Matt, what an awesome race. I have no doubt you will run yourself to a win in Kona in the very near future! Please let your competitors know you also drove 22 hours to get there and you still out ran them!

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