ESCANABA - Just the thought of doing an ironman triathlon can be intimidating.
Dr. Dawson Fredrick of Powers, however, overcame that in fine fashion at Coeur d'Alene, Idaho on June 24, covering the 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and 26.2-mile run course in 12 hours, 25 minutes.
This marked the first ironman event for Fredrick, who finished well under the 17-hour time limit.
Photo courtesy of Dawson Fredrick
Dawson Fredrick of Powers participated in a triathlon in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho last month. The photo was taken by finisherpic.com
"I was real happy with it," said Fedrick, an Escanaba chiropractor. "It was nice to be ahead of schedule in case something went wrong. My thinking was if I hit my goal time in the swim and bike, I would have plenty of time for the run. I'm not a real fast runner, but I'm consistent. The bike is probably my strongest event, yet I've been real good with the swim, too."
Starting the swim among more than 2,800 competitors, however, is a major challenge.
"The swim is the intimidating part of it," he said. "You're in a pretty small area and the water is pretty deep. You're pretty scared. It's total combat out there. If you're not going to do the swim in less than an hour, it may be wise to start toward the back. That way you don't get quite so beat up.
"A 44-year-old got kicked in the face and drowned (at Coeur d'Alene). It's very unpredictable. You can get hurt in any of those events."
Fredrick says the bike ride was also challenging.
"It was a tough bike," he added. "The toughest part was going 22 miles up a mountain, and we had to do it twice. I was hoping to do it under six hours and I had a 6:11. But I met my goal in the swim (75 minutes) and the run went better than I expected.
"I pretty much ran 10-minute miles. I had such a great day at Coeur d'Alene. I took about 1,100 meters to get into a regular swim, but I had a good bike ride. I didn't have any flat tires and had a great run."
The air temperature was approximately 55 degrees, with the water temperature at 56 at the start of the race. The air temperature, however, rose into the mid-80s by the time Fredrick reached the finish.
"The water was pretty chilly," he said. "But there's so many people in the water hitting you and you're hitting other people. You really don't really notice how cold the water is.
"We actually got pretty lucky the day of the race. It was up in the 90s the previous two days and the day after it was raining and 55 degrees."
Fredrick said he was pleased with the overall event.
"I didn't know what to expect, but it turned out to be a beautiful event," he added. "The volunteers were wonderful. They took good care of us. They'll do everything for you."
His wife Tonna also made the trip to northern Idaho, where she plans to make her ironman debut next year.
"We're going to work a lot on combat swimming and use the rest of the water to do some open water swimming," she said. "I will also spend a lot of time training this winter, but it will be well worth it. I have the best coach (Dawson) right here."
Tonna completed the U.P. Northwoods Triathlon in Iron Mountain Sunday, doing the Olympic-distance event at Lake Antoine County Park. She covered the 1500-meter swim, 40-kilometer bike and 10-K run course in 3:20.
"I struggled in the swim," said Tonna. "Right now, I just have a mental block with the swim, which is something I need to work on. My bike was good, but my run was nothing special. It was hot up there. The temperature reached well into the 80s.
"We just got home on Wednesday, so this probably wasn't the best time for me to be doing a triathlon. It wasn't my best day, but that's okay."
Yet, Sunday's performance was an improvement from a year ago.
"I pulled a stomach muscle in Iron Mountain last year," she added. "Overall, this one went better. It was a nice event. They (race officials and volunteers) do a pretty good job."