Monday, August 27, 2012

Boulder 70.3 Triathlon Race Report

(I just realized I started this blog and never finished..the story of my life when it comes to blogging these days)..

Boulder was a "C" race. Our big one is Ironman Arizona so when some friends decided to do Boulder 70.3 sometime in the late winter, early Spring, I thought why not? It'll be good training for the full. We started training with a coach, Mark Mico in April. He was my first coach when I did my first IM in Florida 2004. He was the first person who encouraged me that I could do this thing.... Ironman..The training back then was brutal, or so I thought. I was still working full time as a counselor. It was extremely challenging back then to fit everything in! I retired with H in 2006. His mom became ill almost immediately. Although she lived another pretty good 4 years, we were the closest family in proximity so we felt some responsibility as she great sicker in 2010. Long story short, before this year, we hadn't done many triathlons since 2009, the year we did Ironman Western Australia.. (I am sure I have talked about all this in my blog but I get a bye here because of age and I am too lazy right now to look it up)..

Sine the start of 2012 we have done 5 Triathlons and 1 Santa Fe Century Ride (75 miles of it)..The 5th one on the list was the Boulder 70.3 Race, completed on Sunday, August 5th. Some folks have asked me how much we train for these things. We are retired so what else do we have to do? It is like our part-time really fun job! Honestly on our hardest weeks, we train 12-18 hours a week. On our recovery weeks, maybe 2/3 of that and easier paces. This year, we bought new Specialized Venge road bikes which for me, has taken my training to a new higher level. You can buy speed on the bike!

We drove up to Boulder on Thursday before the race to see Becca, Dan and 2 grandchildren, which I found to be a great distraction from the typical pre-race jitters. Friday, H and I went to the Boulder Reservoir to check out the lake, swim a bit and a short ride/run to get our legs moving. The lake water was perfect-not too warm, not too cold. The outside temps however, were soaring! It was in the 90s on Friday and 80s Saturday. The 80 degree temp was OK for me, we are use to training in heat, or so I thought. Many of our training weeks leading up to this race, we ran/biked in the middle of the day in ABQ, hoping to prepare ourselves for the notorious heat fest on the Boulder 70.3 run. I assumed we were prepared for anything temperature wise..hmmmm, more about this later..Our bikes had been stuffed into a Subaru Forrester, compliments of the Honda Dealer..We bought a new Honda CRV 10 days before, which promptly started leaking differential fluid after 70 miles of driving-say what?!?. The repair, which was a "human error in assembly" took days, WAY longer than they said it would..So by the time the trip came, we had no car. We had already had fixed up our older car to sell to a buyer who already committed to buying the Forerunner today. I was grumbling much of the time packing our bikes into a car that basically would not fit them unless we squished them in, putting pressure on the frame, cassettes, etc..We spent the good part of Wed in the Honda dealer trying to obtain a better, bigger car to take to Boulder while our NEW CAR was being repaired. No deal! I was so frustrated with the Honda Dealer, I was tapering for a race and was grumpy to begin with. The people at the car dealership showed us why car dealers have such a bad rep. We caught them in several lies and the owner of the dealership was "on vacation" so their hands were tied. So we were stuck with this Subaru, which had a broken windshield and was not user friendly in my mind at all! (we did finally get our new car when we got home yesterday. I am still going to write complaint letters galore when we finally find out our new car is not a lemon). 

Anyhoo, here we are with the bikes which were probably OK, but I was convinced there was something amiss because of the way the bikes had to ride in the crappy, smaller than CRV car..Oh well, I tell myself there are starving people in the world and you are worried about a stupid bike? This seemed to snap me out of this..We went back to Becca's, picked up Becca and the kids-headed back to the lake to pick up our packets. The schwag is awesome: a very cewl bag:
I always feel compelled to have a good race when I get stuff with the name of the race on it like this! There was the Ironman Village there, which is another name for soaking athletes for money as they purchase anything with the name "Ironman" on it (I admit, I have been guilty of this-many times!). I saw a woman who had the same T-shirt as me: "Ironman 2012 in Training". She said Nice shirt! To which I replied thanks! Are you doing Ironman Arizona too?" She said no, she was just doing Boulder 70.3 triathlon. Wow, I said to myself-doesn't she know she is breaking some rule that says you can't wear an Ironman T-shirt unless you did or or doing the "full ironman"? It's official: I am an Ironman snob! I digress..


We got up at 4:30-yikes! My most un-favorite part of racing.. After eating my half bagel with cream cheese, a cup of coffee and a Red bull, we were off to the start! After piddling around transition for 90 min. I was done setting up transition. I realized I had WAY too much stuff!

Wow-I need to work on this before Redman half IM! I felt a bit nervous and usual..rushed-for no particular reason at all...this is how I roll. However, as I stood at the swim start, I felt calm. One thing about this race is, they did not have music BLARING at the felt peaceful and calm. I wrote the race director afterwards and said, thank you for not having loud music BLARING at the start! After the National Anthem, that always makes me cry, the horn sounded in one of the first waves and I was off!

The Swim:

The sun was just rising and in my face sighting but I didn't care. I started the swim strong, I felt like a rock star..For the first time probably ever, I started near the front, as my coach suggested. I was smooth and felt fast. There were no anxiety symptoms which usually are with me the first 10 mins of the swim. I thought I must be going fast and what felt like no time-the 1.2 mile swim was over..I put my swim shoes on and ran up the dirt. I passed under the showers and to my left I saw a baby pool filled with water, where folks were running through to clean there feet. This seemed like a good idea at the time, or so I thought. I stepped to the left to run through the pool and bam!! I fell into the baby pool..I prayed no one saw me but noooo, there was a whole crowd of people lined up to see my spectacular fall!! Crap!!Someone helped me up as I heard Debi??. I looked up and saw someone I know from ABQ..of course..I fell and there was an ABQ witness! Oh well, I carried on and asked someone what time it was. He said 7:45 I think, it made no sense to me at the time..I had gone with the race without a watch on the swim, although the Garmin was with me on the bike and run. This was before I bit the dust!

Swim time: 39 minutes..I really thought I had done a 30 minute swim..then one of my friends there told me he thought the swim was 100-200 meters long, according to swim times..this made me feel better! :) Was first out the water in my Age Group..

T-1: I always try and get through transitions fast because, well that is one place I can make up time! Well, apparently I took a nap at this transition. My transition time was 5:10 min..very slow for me..Oh well, I again cursed the fact I had so much crap in my transition area..Lesson learned! I looked happy though!

Bike: I jumped on the bike and felt my legs immediately..Not just transition sore, but sore all over! With my new Mrs. Venge bike, I could not understand this...Oh well, I thought. this soreness will pass soon..But no, it never passed. I rode up the first incline for about 5 miles with screaming legs! I knew I would be tight up the first hill but this was ridiculous..At the turn and down the hill into Boulder Dam it was downhill. I pushed as hard as I possibly could because damn..I was slow up that 8 mile hill! Back into transition only to head back out for loop 2 of 56 mile bike. Again, my legs hurt-my quads, my hamstrings, everything..I was getting pissed by now-I had trained so hard on the bike and now I was feeling like I had never ridden my bike ever! I always try and smile for the camera however:

Never let 'em see you sweat! The second loop was as hard as the first but again, I pushed hard on the downhill. I tried to eat and drink my prescribed 250 calories an hour. However, I knew this is impossible for me these days. I chomped on gels, bars and Infinite to try and prepare for the run, where there was not in a chance in hell be able to keep up this eating plan. I finally crossed into T-2 and I was never more grateful to start the run! I dreamed about getting off the bike the last 40 miles of the bike leg. This never was a new feeling for me. 

Bike time: 3:14. This is one of my better times, but not a PR. I was happy just to finish the bike! I was still in 2nd place off the bike in my Age Group.

T-2: Here is where I stepped it up as far as my transitions. I ran through like lightening to get my stuff on for the run. Out of there in 1:52. That's more like it!

The Run: This is where my competition gets me every time! Although I have been upping my running miles over the last 3 years, it seems to always bite me in the ass when the run comes! I ran the first 10k in 1:20 and the 2nd 10k in 1:28 for a total of 2:48 for the half marathon part of the race. The second half of the run, it felt like someone turned the oven on and it became somewhat of a death march! I loved it though. I stayed positive and for once did not beat myself up because of my slow run..this is progress for me. I smiled at others alot, and tried to chat but those with me on the death march didn't seem to find the humor in it all! One man walked with me and said Are you taking electrolytes? I must have looked salt depleted-how did he know I had forgotten my salt tabs? I felt like he was an angel when he handed me an Endurolyte-thank you Mister Angel!! This perked me up a bit for a couple miles. There was a death march around me with young fit looking men walking so I did not feel so bad! I finally on the last 5k of the run, found a woman to talk to. She was wearing a Lululemon top and we bonded over this..Kindred spirits, us Lulu women! She was a good 30 years younger than me but we chatted about races, race wear, family, anything to get us off the thoughts that this was a suffer fest after all in the heat! Finally I said, go on-you can run this..thanks for the distraction! And off she went into the sunset, well the heat anyway. By now it was REALLY HOT- I was a bit surprised by this although I shouldn't have been. I knew the run was HOT at this race, my sense of entitlement told me Oh no, it wont be hot for ME this year! No such luck. I was never so happy to get to the end of the run. I had walked much of the last 10k. But hey, it is a "C" race, right? I really did not think I had finished in the medals, I knew that run had ruined that chance for me..I was sweating so much by the end, I must have lost 10 lbs in fluids...I tried to eat and drink, and drink-using their Gator-Ade, coke and water was hard to force fluids by this point, but I knew I had to if I did not want to crumple under the heat..I am looking a bit more serious as I take off on the 2nd lap of the run!

Final Run time: 2:48..not my best, not my was actually only 2 minutes slower than my PR in a half Ironman run, which surprises and delights me! Not bad for a "C" race..I was happy!

The clock is the Pro time. My actual finish time was 6:50, my 3rd fastest time out of 8 half Ironmans I have done. I am one happy camper with this thought! As I fell into the finish chute, a volunteer put her arm around me and asked if I was OK. Hmmm, I guess I am not OK right now! I felt a bit dizzy and disoriented because I did not know if H was still on the race course, didn't know where my teammates were. The volunteer angel said the temperature had gone up 12 degrees in the past hour. It was 97 degrees! Holy balls Batman! No wonder I was feeling like a wrung out dish rag! I still felt happy through the haze. I knew I had done my best in the regrets here! She asked what I needed, who I was and where I was from, trying to assess my mental status and I passed I guess. I squeaked out Take me to the lake please! The sweet volunteer steered me to the lake's edge and I jumped in. Cold water never felt so good!! I barely got my shoes off first...I still was confused as to where all my peeps were..I hobbled over to the finish line and started trying to call people. I finally got ahold of a teammate and he said H was walk/jogging the run and would be coming in soon. I intermittently watched the finish line and the posted results. I figured I had come in middle of the pack, my usual in a big race like this. That was fine, I was still really positive about my effort. Finally, when the results still had not been posted in my AG, I approached the table in front of the award stage. I gave my name and the woman said, You were 4th in your AG..I smiled-this was a little higher than mid pack? Then she said You will receive an award, we go 5 deep for AG awards! Holy cow!! I said Are you sure?, a bit stunned by this revelation...Then it dawned on me-I won a friggin' award in a big 70.3 race- in Boulder-friggin'-Colorado-home of Chrissie Wellington!! I felt surprised, happy and amazed..I still could not find H or anyone so I waited while they started giving out awards..Feeling still  bit befuddled, the woman next to me started crying when she realized she was getting a 2nd place award. She had never won anything or even placed-she was overcome with joy! So she and I went up to get our awards. The 1st and 3rd place women did not show, probably still in the medical tent for all I the woman next to me and I went up to the stage and got our wood piece for an award..

 I was a bit sad H was not there to see me get my new trophy shaped like a tree trunk! As I walked down the stairs afterwards, there was my sweet husband!! He hugged me forever and said he was so proud of me.This was, by far my best race outcome ever! Given the conditions and that this was not an "A" race for me, I was tickled pink!!

And now, we are heavily training for the next chapter of our racing..Next up, Redman Half Distance Triathlon! September 22nd right before our daughter's wedding in Austin..Life...:

It's Getting Better all the Time!