True to form lately this triathlon race report is coming to you MUCH later than anticipated. But I promise – it’ll be worth it 😉 I’m a bit of an anal perfectionist when it comes to the quality of my posts. We will leave it at that HA!
Many words can describe my thoughts and feelings around my second half Ironman – IM 70.3 Boulder (first was Miami Oct 25, 2015):
Disappointed. Let down. HOT. Shocked. Frustrated. Annoyed. HOT. Pathetic. Embarrassed. Ashamed. Did I mention HOT.
I trained pretty hard and really thought I would see that hard work prove itself ten-fold. Some times things just don’t go as hoped though.
Wow – who AM I and can I please switch this attitude ASAP?!
The much larger feelings that surround my thoughts are:
Proud. Empathetic. Relieved. Determined. Grateful. Motivated. Accomplished. Belief. Giving.
Ok I’m baaaack!!
Yes – I am SO freaking proud of myself and SO many others for tackling what turned out to be a pretty tough event.
Let’s get to the goods!
I am both proud and disappointed with my training. It is tough to 100% stick to the plan when obstacles get in the way – injuries, sickness, weather, weddings, etc. Such is life! We are human and things happen. I never want to be too hard on myself or miss once in a lifetime events (like one of my best friends weddings – nothing stops me from being there). So with everything going on in my life I’d say I handled training the best way I could.
…was HOT? Kinda the theme of the weekend but much more to it!
Not gonna lie I get kinda excited going to expo’s/packet pickup!! The anticipation and build-up. The nervous energy. Surrounding yourself with SO many like-minded nutball athletes and organizations – yes plllease!
After we picked up our packets and swag we headed to transition to rack our bikes. Starts to feel real – no turning back!
Then it was time for buying a few Ironman swag items (a must duh), gathering samples, and listening to the athlete meeting – always helpful prep and reminders.
My fav part of the Expo was finally meeting the gal who organized everything for Team ZERO in-person – Julie! She is such a sweetheart and whip-smart to boot! Got my team hat and a few other goodies
Then we got real hot n sweaty. Time to head home, rest, and lay out all the tri goods.
Ok ok on to the big day!
THE SWIM: 1.2 Miles
The first thing I noticed when lining up at the start was that EVERYONE has a Roka wetsuit! Welp – except me and like 7 others ha. I LOVE Roka and hope to purchase one soon. I have their goggles and swimskin (wore it in Miami as wetsuits were illegal due to the warm water temp) and I simply love their brand! They are always quick to like and comment on my photos and the social nerd in me just giggles with excitement!
Since I am 31 (and female if ya didn’t notice) I lined up with the other 30-34 year old ladies sporting our purple swim caps. Our start was 8:09am (pro men started at 7:15am) so this made us wave 16 of 19. Not too happy about the late start as that means more HOT SUN on the run but what can ya do?
Starting line is intense. The nerves, the excitement, the anticipation. True to strong women-form of course we were hollering and pumping each other up. “Let’s go ladies!” “We got this!” as we hobble into the water for the open-water start.
But let me tell you. When that gun goes off…SCREW YOU fellow lady friend! That shiz gets CUTTHROAT! Hitting, kicking, drowning – all totally normal ladylike behavior ha. But that is triathlon. And we are athletes ready to perform and showcase our hard work and training.
Wish I could say I stayed strong yet calm and confident – but I freaked the F OUT!! I had not actually been in open water since Ironman 70.3 Miami, which was 5.5 MONTHS prior eeek! I totally blame myself for this. I should have womaned up and jumped in that freezing cold water simply to prepare myself. The tough part of triathlon early in the season. I am proud of myself for finally taking swimming lessons and attending pool sessions with the Rocky Mountain Tri Club. My form has improved tremendously (I guess I had no where to go but up ha) and instead of only breathing on the right I can now breathe on both sides. WINNER!
Back to my utter freak out. I panicked. My breathing was erratic, I was swallowing water, I was flailing my arms to stay afloat amongst the animals swimming over me (jokes). For a second I thought I would have to give up when I hadn’t even started! But let’s be clear – I never give up. I composed myself, got my breathing in check, and refocused on the technique I had diligently put the hours in to learn.
One thing that threw me off for a second was realizing my Garmin never started about halfway through the swim!! I KNOW I started that thing grr. Seriously time to upgrade to a much better Garmin. Buuut again – what can ya do? A watch doesn’t make you swim slower. Get the farch over it and keep movin.
Another annoyance during the swim was my lady friend to my left. I could NOT shake her and she was doing the BUTTERFLY stroke the whole time! Flailing frog legs kept kicking me! I tried swimming more to the right on the inside and those dang daddy long legs were like a magnet to me. I almost wanted to hit a pause button, hog tie her legs, and hit play again! MUAHAHA.
When I finally got away from butterlegs I felt confident, strong, and relaxed during the rest of the swim. I actually told myself I didn’t want to get out of the water because I was havin some fun! Until about 200 yards to go when a shooting painful calf cramp zapped my right calf. Sooo I swam with one leg fluttering for the remainder. Ya do what ya gotta do!
And ya know what was the best part? NO jelly fish stings this time around!! Holler.
– Time: 44:22 (Miami 41:22)
– Key Takeaways: Working on technique and breathing in the pool definitely helps but swimming in open water is a must! Steady breaths and remaining calm are imperative as it can get overwhelming really quick. The triathlete community is one of the most supportive I’ve witnessed. Except during the swim! All fend for themselves! Jelly fish stings make me swim faster – eek!
Getting out of the water I was a bit disoriented. Where am I? What’s going on? Do I look as foolish as I feel right now? Where my friends at?! Jeepers I gotta get all this stuff off and get on the bike! MOVE LEGS!
Can other triathletes relate to these thoughts??
Gathered my composure and was off to the beautiful bike course!
– Time: 4:21 (Miami 3:32)
– Key Takeaways: Practice transition more. Sunscreen application added a bit of time – but HAD to happen.
THE BIKE: 56 Miles
I was the most nervous for the bike portion of the race as it is definitely my weakness. But I was so happy I put in the time on the seat as the vast improvement from Miami was apparent.
The drafting rule for this race was SIX bike lengths between. Miami was five and I thought that was a lot. But it’s crazy how much you spread out and I never had much of a problem. Didn’t seem like a ton of officials out there closely monitoring either – but perhaps I was distracted a bit to notice!
It’s also funny how you trade going back and forth with a few people. Helps keep you motivated that’s for sure!
The absolute worst part of this course is between mile 30-35 (the dreaded Nelson Road). It doesn’t look like much to the human eye but that incline is REAL! And feels never ending. So happy I had the chance to ride it a few times during training so I could
physically mentally prepare myself. After that – the fun realllllly begins!
My fav part of this course is the last 15 miles. It is FAST and I looove to ZOOOOM! I’ve noticed I can kill it on the downhills but not so much on the uphills. Very grateful to end the course with my strong suit and fav! And no major cramping this time ah! In Miami my legs went crazy the last six miles, which highly impacted the rest of my race.
– Time: 3:06:34 avg 18.01 mi/hr (Miami 3:20:57 avg 16.72 mi/hr)
– Key Takeaways: Training pays off. Riding the course helps prepare you both physically and mentally. Boulder is gorgeous. I freaking love downhills. I am not as bad a biker as I always thought.
I felt so grateful that my legs did not buckle this time at T2. During Miami I pretty much collapsed off the bike and had to be assisted to my transition area.
My spot was pretty far from the bike in/out so I had a bit of a hard time meandering through all the clutter getting back to my spot. It also took me longer than hoped to switch out my cycle and running shoes. I started to get a lil frustrated but then calmed myself down and headed out to run!
– Time: 5:06 (Miami 5:41)
– Key Takeaways: Must practice this transition as it should be super quick.
THE RUN: 13.1 Miles
I was absolutely delighted to NOT start my run like Miami where I literally had to pick up my overly cramped legs one by one to make them walk! This time I started out strong feelin pretty good!! Then the heat set in…
Turned out to be the hottest day of the year in Colorado with temps nearing 100. It did not help that there was not a cloud in the sky and absolutely no shade on the course except for a few five foot passages (which you bet I took advantage of). It also didn’t help that I faint easily and I felt it coming on a few times. I made the decision to keep it a little easier than planned so I could avoid the med tent and cross that finish line.
The main things that kept me going were the people. The Rocky Mountain Tri Group was volunteering at a water station and I would get SO happy seeing many familiar faces. Love that group of triathletes! My fellow racers were also incredible! When people would see anyone struggling they would help out. I heard “need salt?!” so many times it made my heart happy.
One of my main motivations came from being a member of Team ZERO. I met SO many amazing people among the course all because we had a team kit on and knew what that meant. The crowds would also yell extra loud when seeing our jerseys. Really meant a lot to raise money and awareness for a cause instead of just racing. I want to do this more often!!
With less than a mile to go I really tried to pick it up a bit more. It was tough but I knew how close I was. When you get close to that finish line and hear the energy of the crowd your adrenaline sure kicks in out of NO WHERE when you thought you had nothing left to give. Sprinting down the final chute is one of the best feelings in the world. Thoughts of the countless hours, obstacles, and hard decisions you’ve made. What makes it ALL worth it is crossing that epic finish line.
– Time: 2:36:46 (Miami 2:43:11)
– Key Takeaways: I tend to pick really hot races. Proper nutrition is essential, especially in extreme heat. The triathlete community has each other’s backs. Knowing people along the course makes a night and day difference. I like shade. You need to listen to your body and know when to push and when to back off. Racing for a cause makes it all so much more worth it
OVERALL: 70.3 Miles
– Time: 6:37:09 (Miami 6:54:43)
– Key Takeaways: I really thought I would blow my Miami time out of the water and was pretty disappointed in myself right after the race. After thinking about it more and receiving a ton of support from my community I turned that thought process around. I am extremely proud of myself for overcoming obstacles both during training and actual race day. There will always be elements and setbacks that we cannot predict or fix and I think that’s what makes a true athlete survive during those conditions. There was NO way I wasn’t going to cross that finish line. And hey – I still got a PR baby!! At the end of the day I “triathlon” because I find it a healthy way to go on adventures, get a good workout, and be a part of an amazing community. I have FUN with it! The moment it stops being fun – I’m done. Don’t fret! I am NO where near that point though!
To all my supporters throughout this crazy ride:
My Family – Without your constant encouragement I would never be the person I am today. And my family I live with – SO awesome of you to come support me on race day! They even waived an Italian flag proudly and got sweet footage
My Coach – My talented Coeur Sports teammate, coach, and friend Erin of Sweet Sweat Life – without your guideline and advice I would have been lost and injured.
My Tri Tribe – Coeur ladies, RMTC, Women for Tri, BASE, AXIS, and the multiple “strangers” I’ve met through this crazy sport – gah this community inspires me!
My True Friends – It’s been tough moving away from the only state I’ve even known. Huge thank you to those who have supported me and have stayed in contact with me. Please know it means a lot.
And lastly – HUGE thank you to Team ZERO for making this race possible for me. I was shattered when I saw it was sold out and thought there was no hope to participate. Alas – I was given a chance! By committing to raise $2,000 for prostate cancer I was allowed to fulfill this dream – and in the process help out a cause that really needs it. Sign me UP!! Still time to donate to this amazing cause. Means more than you’ll ever know.
Next up: 106 West Dillon Half Ironman Sept 10! “World’s Highest Triathlon” over 10k feet – whew! Tagline is “It won’t be pretty but it will be beautiful”.
Stay tuned for updates and gorgeous photos training throughout the Rockies!!