Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Boulder 70.3

After participating in KS 70.3 four times, it was time for a getaway! After checking out the website and pictures (http://ironmanboulder.com/), I selected Boulder 70.3. And as it turns out, two other friends would join in, which made it a lot more fun!

My 2011 KS 70.3 race was pretty hideous...from the choppy, wavy swim to backaches on the bike from a mis-fitted seat to the mess of a run, I wasn't feeling the love and had lost my mojo. Just burned out and was over the longer distance training and races. After KS, I decided to focus just on one thing and put some

effort into biking. After weeks of 100+ temperatures, I did some swimming too but not much running. And those levels of effort ended up playing out according to exactly how much I put into each sport. Shocking right?

The good news is that I was in a more happy place this time, and Boulder is certainly gorgeous. I drove out Friday and arrived shortly before 4pm and went to pick up my packet. The venue was outstanding...really good setup. Parking was convenient, there was ample transition space near the beach. Good stuff. As usual I spent too much money at the Ironman store and got a deep discount on the Boulder 70.3 shirt because they accidentally put last year's participant names on the back...whoops! A mere two hours later, Katrina reported that all the shirts were GONE. But not because they sold out...they took them off the floor. I'm not sure why they would do that, won't they lose money regardless? Maybe they thought that was better than having to explain the mistake to 2,000+ people.

I went to check in at the hotel...Katrina made an awesome choice. We were at the Residence Inn which was 4 miles from the race site! And a mile from Whole Foods. We were SET!

On Saturday Katrina and I drove the bike course (http://ironmanboulder.com/course/bike/). It is kind of hilarious to see the profile of the course, because of the squished miles scale it looks like you are biking up a giant mountain and back down. Which could be conceivable in CO right? In reality, it is about 3 miles on the first part of the loop at a 2% grade. Then another 6 miles of 1% upslope, aka false flat. If you look at my mapmyride fullscreen, you can see the profile image is a lot more gentle/realistic: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/fullscreen/45362870/

After that, we went to the race meeting and they announced that Andy Potts was going to be at the Power Bar tent. So we booked it over there and were the first ones. He just walks up and we got to chat with him. He said he trains 30 hours a week, talked about his family, etc. I made some comment about needing to train more/swimming yadda yadda and he asked if I visualized swimming. I said yes, and he joked "you need to actually swim". So true :) He seems like a very down to earth guy and family-oriented. It is fun that he takes the time to meet people. Andy was the first out of the water but then wasn't feeling well after the bike and unfortunately DNF. I could understand how he felt after my race!!!

Race day comes and I was pretty excited, but nervous. The half ironman is still a significant effort. Katrina and I got rockstar parking on the 2nd row and made our way to transition. Unlike KS 70.3, you don't have to leave your bike there overnight. It wasn't that bad getting everyone in there, if you get there early! We got our spots in order and made our way down to the water. It looked calm!!! We met up with Lindsey and waited for our heats.

Once again, the 35-39 men would be right behind my heat. Oh well. I decided to swim WAY out on the outside. They had configured the course to go clockwise from the left side of the beach to finish on the right side in order to avoid having us swimming directly into the sun for a whole segment of the swim. We were only into it for part of one turn, which was still really tough but way better than the alternative. I may have been way too far to the outside, but the beautiful thing was...no one else was there and I had all that water to myself. It was so relaxing and I felt really smooth in the calm water. Every breath, I could see the mountains in the background. Was still thinking about our troops shot down in Afghanistan. I was happy and sad and mad at the same time.

Not really sure how much time it added, but at the first turn I had to swim way back over to the turn. Ooops. But at the next turn, I could see tons of the 35-39 men coming through and I was happy they weren't swimming over me. Really happy.

All in all "okay" but was way off what I was shooting for (low to mid 40's): 48:15

I head out on the bike feeling okay. The first few miles were slow and relaxed and then around mile 9, I let it rip...it's downhill and virtually flat for the the rest of the 28 mile loop. Then repeat. The scenery was absolutely beautiful. I was feeling the love. By the second lap, I was tired and it was getting a little more windy. Getting back into the park was scary because there was a huge line of cars trying to get in and only a tiny bit of space for the bikes...and some fast guys were wanting to pass. Scary.

Bike personal best!!!! 3:00:49 (~18.6 mph)

Getting off the bike, I had not yet seen any of the run course. I was going to have to just tough that out, because I knew that I wasn't prepared to "rock it". I did not realize that the entire course was going to be gravel/rocks. It was not easy to run on and actually was pretty uncomfortable. Unless you have tough feet, you don't want to wear flimsy shoes on that. The first lap I tried to go conservative and felt okay. If the race would have stopped after a 10k, I would have been golden. I think the lack of being prepared + the altitude, heat, surface, and long distance burnout just got me.

I will be honest...I wanted to care and try hard, but I just didn't and couldn't. I was done mentally AND physically and walked 90% of the second lap. Lindsey came by and was not feeling the run love either, but she hung in there longer than I did! I wanted to run and get it done but didn't. Was I disappointed in myself...oh a little bit. But frankly, I was thinking about the guys that were killed in Afghanistan and their families, & was feeling sad. Nothing else seemed as important.

I crossed the line and at that point felt totally fried...in all likelihood dehydrated despite drinking and drinking and drinking. It was hot. I felt terrible. Katrina was at the finish line and her foot injury had taken a beating on the gravel, so she smartly called off her second lap. It was great to see a friendly face at the finish, because I felt TERRIBLE! The kind of terrible that only throwing up could fix. Sounds fun right? No worries, because now I'm finished with 70.3's for the foreseeable future!!!!

Had a great time in Boulder and hanging out with two of the coolest women I know (that is you Katrina and Lindsey!). I am glad that I did it. Now it is time to adjust to post Ironman and 70.3 life!