You are currently browsing the monthly archive for August 2014.
Missed the beginning?
I got to the mount line and hopped on my bike. The ride out of the Res was lined with spectators, and we zoomed along the slight downhill and out onto the open roads.
The first several miles of the bike are a long false flat that really kick your butt if you’re still trying to find your bike legs. And there are a couple small, yet unpleasant hills right as you exit the Res as well. But at this point, I had ridden this course so many times, it was a non-issue. That’s one of the perks of living here. I feel like I know this course inside and out at this point.
We worked our way up 36 and north out of Boulder. The ride up 36 is beautiful, and a bit challenging. However, these short climbs don’t feel too bad on fresh legs, and I powered my way through them feeling quite strong.
Then I got to the out-and-back spur on St. Vrain. As I turned right off of 36, I was looking forward to the lovely long downhill that awaited me. I flew down it, knowing full well that I was going to have to do a u-turn and power my way back up it in only a few moments.
Going up was MISERABLE. YUCK.
Everyone was huffing and puffing and working as hard as they thought they could spare. When I finally saw the turn to go back into 36 and continue north, I was ecstatic. MORE DOWNHILL! Hooray! We had earned it!
Most of the first half of the bike course is uneventful. The roads are smooth. The hills are manageable. And the day was still young (read: not too hot). We rode our way north up into Loveland (just south of Fort Collins) without much to report.
A friend of mine lives in that area, and had told me to keep a lookout for her around mile 40.
Sure enough, at mile 42, there she was!
It took both of us a minute to notice each other, but we gave each other a shout, and she flipped her sign over to reveal a nice big “FSU” (PG version: Mess Stuff Up). That gave me a good laugh as I continued along the next uphill. My awesome friend also caught me again a few miles later. Superstar spectator! I’m so glad she was out there!
Around Loveland, the bike starts to get ugly. Good thing we only have 60+ more miles to go! (Please note the sarcasm.)
The whole second half of the bike course is either long, gentle uphills, or never-ending false flats.
Also, at this point in the day, it’s starting to get hot. It was actually a pretty glorious day, compared to the weather we had had for the last several weeks (in the 90s, and brutally hot – over 105 out on the roads). But there were a ton of people out on the bike course just dropping like flies. It could be anything from the altitude, to the intensity of the sun (much more intense when you’re at elevation), the dryness, the heat – who knows? But it was getting ugly out there.
I continued on – knowing full well what was in front of me. I hated this part of the course in training, and I hated it now. But for some reason, it felt SO MUCH WORSE today. I think that was partly because I had gassed my legs on the swim with all the backstroking. I have to kick a lot to keep them from sinking when I backstroke. I barely kick at all when I swim normally. I think it was also partly because on race day, you inevitably end up going JUST a tad harder than normal due to excitement and all the other people around you. It just happens.
Whatever it was, I was feeling it today.
I rode my way south along Colorado, and then eventually on Highway 119. Around the little rectangle of 6th and 7th, and then west on highway 52. This is my least favorite part of the whole course. Highway 52 just keeps going, and going. And it’s one hill after another. And by now, I’m SO TIRED.
As I was plugging my way up the second to last hill on 52, the girl about 30 feet in front of me looked like she was about to topple over. I saw her pull over and get off her bike, doubled over in pain.
Myself, and another girl who was right there both stopped to check on her. Apparently she had hit a bump early in the bike, and lost all her nutrition. She had been trying to make do with the aid stations, but was not doing well. She was cramping up bad, and looked like she was in a lot of pain. We started rifling through our pockets and bento bags and giving her everything we could spare to eat and drink – nuun tablets, potato chips, coconut water, gummy bunnies…
After a few minutes, a sheriff arrived and called in someone from medical. There were people dropping left and right, so after we assured him that we could keep an eye on her until medical arrived, he went off to check on the next person.
While we waited for medical to arrive, we chatted a bit. Turns out, this girl was a local, and was in my tri club! So hey, I made a new friend. Races are funny like that.
After a while, a race official showed up and told us we could take off. They would keep an eye on our friend until medical arrived. We all exchanged some parting words of encouragement, and went our separate ways. All in all, it had been about 13 minutes. But that’s race karma. I would hope that someone would do that for me if I were in the situation. And really, at the end of the day, 13 minutes on my time doesn’t matter.
I pushed my way up the last hill on 52. At this point, I was at mile 99 of the bike and nearly done. I kept telling myself, “Okay, just fly down this downhill, make the left, power up The Bitches, then it’s all over except for that little hill on 57th… Nearly done!”
I flew down the downhill at the end of 52, and made the left onto 79th.
The first Bitch loomed in front of me.
I made her my bitch.
Then the second.
Then the third.
I was done with the worst of it! I turned right onto Lookout and felt like I was flying down the downhill. The left onto 75th, right onto Jay, and then left onto 57th all flew by in a blur.
The small hill on 57th wasn’t great – it’s so small, but at that point, my legs are SO TIRED. But I got up it, yelled to a spectator “yay! All the hills are done!” and continued on.
After the short little bridge to get back onto Jay, I felt like I was home free. I turned onto 26th/Valmont, and the last two miles flew by. I was blowing through town, yelling “I love you!” to every volunteer and cop I could see.
When I finally got to the turn into Arapahoe, I told the volunteer at the corner “and I love you the most!”
I flew down Arapahoe, towards the high school, SO ready to be off my bike.
And my awesome friend caught me again just as I was about to turn into the high school.
I think I might be fist pumping in this picture… Hard to tell…
I turned into the high school, rolled up to the dismount line, told the volunteers how much I loved them, and hopped off my bike.
Bike time: 7:42:07
Not great, but if you subtract the 13 minutes helping my new friend, that puts me just under 7:30, which was what I was aiming for. So I’m happy with that.
I jogged/walked my bike through the chute and into the transition area. This was a rather long 1/4 mile run in bike shoes, which a lot of people complained about after the race. Quite honestly, I was just so happy to be done with my bike that I didn’t give a crap. Although, a note for anyone racing next year – do NOT do this run barefoot. A lot of people did, and ended up burning their feet (badly) on the black track. At LEAST wear socks.
I handed my bike off to a volunteer, and ran down the row to get my run gear bag.
In the changing tent, yet another wonderful volunteer took care of me and all my gear. I changed shorts and shoes, put on my hat and my race belt, grabbed my handheld water, and was on my way. All I had left now was the run.
Transition time: 9:21
To be continued…
Missed part 1? Read it here!
It’s 6:30 am. I’ve been awake since 3 am, and am antsy to get in the water and get going. The sun is finally up, and 2,400 triathletes are crammed into the starting area. Everyone is chatting, and in their faces you can see a mixture of excitement and nervousness. Ironman Boulder is about to begin.
At 6:35 am, and age grouper cannon went off. I was seeded at the back of the 1:15-1:30 corral, so it took a while to shuffle my way to the water’s edge. Along the way, I chatted with some of the women around me. Many of which were doing their first Ironman that day. At 6:46 am, we crossed the timing mat and stepped into the water, which was a very comfortable 74 degrees.
I took a couple steps until I was about waist deep, and then started swimming.
Right away, I could tell I had seeded myself much better than I had at Lake Placid. There was basically no contact. I was in heaven. I did have to stop once or twice when someone cut me off, but those were pretty minor things.
Getting to the first buoy was uneventful, which is wonderful in a swim. But somewhere around the first buoy, I noticed that my breathing was getting out of control, which was starting to make me panicky. My solution to this is always to simply flip over and backstroke for a few seconds until I can get my heart rate back down and get the breathing under control. Sometimes this happens with race day adrenaline. It’s not that big of a deal, and is usually pretty easy to fix.
So I flipped over and started backstroking.
After a minute, I tried to flip back over and swim normally again, but I still couldn’t breathe properly.
Backstroke, backstroke, backstroke.
While I was still backstroking, I started to wonder if I was going to be able to even complete the swim, let alone the rest of the day. This was not looking good. For a brief moment, I considered flagging down a kayak just to have something to hang on to and catch my breath for a second, but I didn’t want to go there.
Keep on backstroking…
Every time I flipped over to swim normally, I would find myself out of breath after just a couple strokes. I ended up backstroking for about six buoys – which is a LONG TIME. After the sixth buoy, I was FINALLY able to get into a rhythm and start swimming normally. Thank goodness.
At this point, I was way behind where I had wanted to be, but hey, at least I could breathe. Now it was just time to put my head down, plug away, and sing “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall,” like I do for all open water swims.
99 bottles of beer on the wall. 99 bottles of beer…
Take one down
Pass it around
98 bottles of beer on the wall…
Oddly enough, this works really well for keeping my strokes smooth. It’s the perfect beat.
56 bottles of beer on the wall…
Make the first turn. Are we done yet? Sheesh, this swim feels long.
30 bottles of beer on the wall…
Hey! Is that my friend Molly just to my left there? I should try to catch her!
2 bottles of beer on the wall…
Dammit, she’s not getting any closer!
99 bottles of beer on the wall…
Good lord, where is that second turn buoy???
25 bottles of beer on the wall…
There it is!!!
1 bottle of beer on the wall…
Seriously, why the hell am I not catching her? This is annoying.
99 bottles of beer on the wall…
Well, hey, at least I can see the swim finish now.
64 bottles of beer on the wall…
I feel pretty good! Nice!
45 bottles of beer on the wall…
This is great! My goggles didn’t leak at all…
44 bottles of beer on the wall…
:: Goggles start leaking a little ::
3 bottles of beer on the wall…
99 bottles of beer on the wall…
72 bottles of beer on the wall…
29 bottles of beer on the wall…
Hells yes! There’s the bottom! Let’s blow this joint!
Swim time: 1:48:08
Not at all what I was hoping, but everyone’s watches measured it as 2.6 miles, not 2.4, plus the breathing issues. I’ll take it.
I pulled off my cap and goggles and ran to the wetsuit strippers. They had my wetsuit off in a few seconds, and then it was off to grab my gear bag and into the changing tent.
My amazing changing tent volunteer had all my stuff out of the bag in a matter of seconds. I had already worn my tri top and shorts under the wetsuit, so all I needed to do was put on my shoes, helmet, and sunglasses. Then it was time to load up the jersey pockets with food and some extra CO2 cartridges, and I was off to grab my bike.
No bike grabbers here like there were at Lake Placid. We had to run and get our own. Not a big deal, since you had to run past it to get to the mount line anyway.
Grab the bike, and run out of the transition area, up the small hill (not fun in bike shoes), and to the mount line.
T1 time: 7:14
To be continued…
This weekend was Ironman Boulder! Before getting into race details, I have to say, I think they did a spectacular job organizing and implementing this race. It was an inaugural event, which can be a bit messy sometimes, but this seemed to run like a well-oiled machine. Dave (the race director) and crew did a fabulous job. Can’t wait until next year.
On to the race…
See the weekday pre-race events here.
Gear bag packing list here.
Saturday morning, I loaded up the car and headed over to the Res to drop off my bike and bike gear. There was a decent line of cars at the gate, but it didn’t take too long to get through. I rolled my bike down to T1 and found my spot on the rack.
After letting some air out of the tires, making sure Roo was in an easy gear, and giving everything one last check, I headed over to the gear bag drop.
It was a gorgeous day at the Res. The swim buoys were all set up and ready to go. It always looks so far!
After getting my bike stuff situated at the Res, I got back in the car and headed downtown to drop off my run gear at the high school. Parking actually wasn’t a problem, which was a pleasant surprise. I actually didn’t have a problem with parking at all the entire weekend – I was shocked!
After getting all the gear situated, it was time to head home and relax for the rest of the day. Before heading to bed, I put on my race numbers (I got tritats for once – love those!), and in doing so, discovered that I suck at temporary tattoos. I set four different alarms for the morning, and headed to bed early(ish).
Race morning arrived at 3am. Uugh.
I popped out of bed (no lingering on race day!), sunscreened and bodyglided, got dressed, made some breakfast, and was out the door with my cooler full of bike and run nutrition, bike pump, and special needs bags by 3:45 am.
I picked up a fellow tri clubber who lives around the corner from me, and we were downtown and parked by 4am. Not bad!
People were already swarming around the high school. We dropped off our special needs bags, put our run nutrition in our T2 bags, and then got on the shuttle (there was a long line, but it moved super fast), and were on our way to the Res. I think it was only about 4:30 or 4:45 am at this point. We were efficient.
It was still dark when we got to the Res. There were a couple food trucks parked both here and back at the high school – brilliant idea on their part. If I had been spectating, I would have been all over that.
I made my way through the crowd and into T1, popped on my headphones (I had to leave my friends at the gate to the transition area, so it was music time now), and wandered over to my bike. Tires were pumped up, nutrition and garmin went on the bike, and everything got one last check.
After setting up the bike, I found my support crew and we headed down to the water to stake out a spot for them. It was about 5:30 am at this point, and juuuuuuuust starting to get light out. Still too early to put on the wetsuit, but everything else was done – nothing to do now but wait.
While waiting, I hit up a port-a-potty (No line! Score!), and then found my awesome friend Molly, who was doing her first IM that day and was super nervous. At about 6 am, I put on my shortie wetsuit (shorts and short sleeves) since the water was 74 degrees. That’s a smidge too warm for me to wear my full suit, but not so hot that I don’t want to wear anything. The shortie suit is a good intermediate step.
It was time to head over to the corrals.
We (me and Molly) seeded ourselves at the very back of the 1:16-1:30 corral. This was my biggest problem at Lake Placid last year. I hadn’t done a rolling swim start before, and had seeded myself with the 1:20 swimmers (I was expecting to swim 1:24). Mistake. This time, I tried to be as accurate as possible. Better to have to swim around a few people here and there, rather than being beat up the whole way.
The gun sounded, and the pros were off. We were up next.
To be continued…
The Boulder Peak olympic triathlon:
So I just realized that I never wrote a race report for the Boulder Peak tri. Whoops! Overall, it was a really good day. My swim was about two minutes slower than I would have liked, but I can’t complain, considering how little swimming I’ve done this season. The big success of the day was the bike. I realized before the race that I always ride at the same pace – Ironman pace – no matter what the distance is. I always average 15-16 mph. So before The Peak, I told myself that I had to actually ride it like the 26 mile bike that it was. I figured I could hold 17 mph without a problem, and could possibly push myself to 18 mph on a good day.
Well, by the end of the bike, I was averaging 17.8 mph! I felt great, and passed quite a few people on the second half of the course.
I got off the bike and my legs were still feeling good for the run. I didn’t push the pace here like I had originally wanted to, but I held up just fine. No foot pain, and a pretty consistent pace. I ran roughly 10:00/mi all the way through, but added on a few extra (15-30) seconds each mile while I stopped to ice up and drink up at each aid station. It was crazy hot out, so this was totally worth it.
Overall, it was a great day. I was really happy with how it went, and I had a lot of fun. Final time: 3:16:40.
On to Ironman stuff…
It’s time for Ironman Boulder! The big race weekend is here, and the festivities are in full swing.
Thursday, I headed over to the high school to check in.
Aside from the muddiness (we got a ton of rain on Wednesday and the field was a mess), check in was uneventful and very quick.
Later that afternoon, I headed over to the Boulder Running Company for the Underpants Run! I was super excited about this. It turned out to be a blast. Can’t wait for next year! Also… ahem…
Yup. That’s me and Apollo Ohno. :: Swoon ::
Me and some of my amazing friends. (Saucony Runderpants)
We were led in the Underpants Run Oath by Michael Lovato, who was serving as the Underpants Captain. He was hilarious.
After the oath, we headed out for our short, but incredibly entertaining run. We ran less than a mile to the pedestrian mall, where we did some lunges and whatnot, and then ran back to the store. There was also a beer aid station along the way.
After we were done, I put my pants back on, and headed out to the Q&A session at the TrainingPeaks headquarters with Apollo Ohno, Rinny, and Crowie.
My god, he’s gorgeous.
Friday (today) was less eventful, but still a fun day. I headed back over to the high school to register for 2015 and meet up with some friends.
Me and my awesome friend Molly, who is doing her first Ironman this weekend. Go Molly!
Then it was time for lunch, laziness, and prepping gear bags!
All packed and ready to go! (See my packing list here)
Tomorrow (Saturday) is bike and gear bag check, and lots of being lazy. Then it’s early to bed. Race day will be here before I know it!
Overall, I’m feeling good going into this race. As usual, I didn’t train exactly as I had hoped, but I feel like my bike is solid, and the swim and the run are fine. The biggest question mark for me going into this race is my foot on the run. I haven’t run much at all since the Colfax Marathon in May. I’ve been trying to give my foot as much time to heal as possible. My longest run since that race has been 7 miles. My foot hasn’t bothered me for the last month or so, so I’m hoping all will be well come Sunday. But you never know. All I can do is keep moving. So we’ll see what happens there. I do have some time goals, but ultimately, I just want to have fun and enjoy the day. That’s the most important part.