Wednesday, June 25, 2014

IRONMAN Boise 70.3 - Race Recap 1 of 2

Why hello there! It's been awhile hasn't it? Well, after my race in Boise a few weeks ago I decided to take a mental and physical break from all things triathlon related, including blogging. And it was very much appreciated, tell you. Now that we're back on that horse again, I figured it was about time I gave you a recap of my race - the one and only - it's a long one folks, so buckle down and enjoy....

Thursday, June 5 

Time to head out! After P dropped the pups off at their kennel, or as we call it "summer camp", we packed up and made our way on down the road.

Minus Ben and an ice chest - not too bad for three people!

Someone wasn't too thrilled about the 6 hour drive. He slept most of it anyway.

After 6.5 hours and one stop for gas and lunch, we made it to Boise. It was kinda fun seeing all the cars with race bikes in tow making their way along the same stretch of road. I often shared knowing glances and big nervous smiles with the folks we passed . "You racing this weekend? Me too! Holy crap I'm scared!" - I love being a part of this tri community.

After arriving to the house that we rented for the weekend, my brother and I (I told you he was racing too, right?) had planned on driving up to the reservoir to meet a local tri club for some OWS, test out the water temp and get a lay of the land. Unfortunately we had planned our drive based on west coast arrival times, completely forgetting that Boise, ID is on MT. So our assumed 5pm arrival was actually 6pm. Although the club was only meeting for a short while, we dropped our families off at the house to get settled and work on dinner and decided to drive out to the water anyway. 


Ugh - so yeah, although renting a house outside of downtown did prove to be very relaxing, the amount of driving we had to do while prepping for race day is not recommended. As the reservoir is 20 minutes away from downtown and the race finish, it made for A LOT of driving. Anyway, we made it to the water and actually had plenty of time to take a quick dip! The course start was already blocked off by Ironman personnel, but thankfully there was a nice little spot just around the corner that is used by the locals.

Not a bad venue, eh?

All that I've been reading about in past race reports was how freezing the water is here. I guess being a fish and having grown up on the beaches of SoCal, I really didn't notice. Heck, I could have swam that thing sans wetsuit and have been just fine. Whew!! One less thing to stress about. Bro and I did a few laps between bouys to get a feel of the chop (water was a bit cranky this day). I was content with the conditions and overall very pleased that we had a chance to test things out ahead of time. Another 40 minute drive back to the house and in for the night!

Friday, June 5

Picked Mom and Aunt P up from the airport this day - yay! They both flew in from Colorado to watch us race. So blessed to have a family that easily offers up their support. After welcome hugs and kisses, we made our way downtown to the race village where we met the rest of our family for registration and the mandatory athlete briefing. Ho-ly cow there were some seriously cut folks out there! Definitely a lot of nervous energy as we made our way through the multiple lines picking up packets, bracelets, race gear etc.

Locked and loaded!

Afterwards we treated ourselves to lunch at a local grill. P and I always make sure to stay away from chain restaurants when in a new town. We want a local experience - and this place had it all.

The whole crazy crew! Couldn't ask for a better group of supporters.

With lunch over we headed back to the house so that everyone could drop their bags off and relax a little before the next day's craziness began. Everyone but my brother and I, that is - we still had to head back out again in order to drop our bikes off at T1. (why we didn't just bring them into town with us earlier that day I don't know - poor time management!) So another 40 min haul up to the reservoir it was.  Kind of nervous leaving Ben out in the open overnight but they had the place pretty well guarded so we had nothing to worry about. Good thing we chose to do this on Friday though - the last minute madhouse we witnessed on race day by those who waited to do so did not look like fun. Parking is super limited at the reservoir in general and even less available during race day so you can only imagine how long of a hike those poor souls had to make that morning. As luck would have it though, my brother and I got to rack our blue beauties right across the the aisle from each other!!

Ben and I - ready to make some magic!
Bikes dropped we decided to drive a little bit of the course just to see how it compared to the elevation map that I had been obsessing over. Except for a few long hills the course looked pretty tame - I was convinced that time and pace would be close to what I've been maintaining in training. That was before I remembered to factor in the wind...oh you crazy, high plains desert-like wind..........

Needless to say, this day was full of running much so that I was pretty exhausted by the time I was finally able to crawl into bed. **TIP - do not wear flip-flops during the days leading up to your long distance event. With over 10 hours of walking around to do this day, I fully regretted not wearing a good pair of running shoes. Lesson learned!**

Back at the house with a full stomach of delicious spaghetti dinner in my belly later, it was time to pack my transition bags. Because of the multiple course locations, this was a "clean" race, meaning all gear for each transition must be able to fit into the bags they provided during check in. Not the typical set up with everything laid out before hand. Nothing left on the ground before or after transition. I think I actually prefer doing it this way. Made for a heck of a lot more room to change gear in and you didn't have to worry about another racer's junk splayed all over your area.

624 is all packed up and ready to go!

10pm and  it was lights out for this gal!

Saturday, June 6 **Race Day**

I slept fairly decently the night before, and with a noon start there was no getting up at 4am for once. I set my alarm for 7am but naturally woke up before then. As part of my race day nutrition plan I knew I needed to get in a regular breakfast but the stomach just would not cooperate. Normally I don't have issues eating on race morning but I did have a bit of trouble this day. Still managed to get down at least half a peanut butter bagel (my go-go), half a banana and a nice large cup of coffee. I brought a PowerBar with me and planned to take that down about an hour before start time. Thankfully my stomach had settled by then and I was able to eat the whole thing.

Nervous but happy racers!

So, everyone out of the house we made our way downtown. Found the perfect parking spot, **TIP - get there early**, dropped off our T2 run bags and hopped on the first bus that would take us up to the reservoir. Very thankful to Boise for providing these buses free of charge, not only the athletes, but our families and spectators as well. A quick 20 minute ride and we were there - Ironman Boise 70.3!!

Holy.crap. The place was housed!!

With a noon start you are bound to get to the venue quite a bit early and given the time of day, will be sitting in the sun for a few hours. We had no idea what to expect and definitely learned a few lessons. **Tips #1. Bring an umbrella! Nice for your support crew but even better for you, the racer. Sitting out in the hot sun for 2 hours before your start can be a bit energy draining. Try to shade yourself as much as possible. #2. Bring chairs for your support crew! As the bike course takes the road leading back down from the reservoir, your support crew will be stuck up there until the last biker is down from the hill. This can mean they are waiting around for another 2 hours after the start, just itching to get back on those buses and back down to T2. #3. Bring an extra pair of sunglasses - once transition closes you still have about 45 minutes before start time. Sun in your eyes for that amount of time is also an energy suck. #4. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! 2 hours in the sun without taking in water and electrolytes can be very detrimental to your race. Starting out dehydrated is no bueno. Thankfully the volunteers had plenty of water available for everyone but no additional electrolytes, so bring your own. Do it folks - your cramp free swim will thank you.**


My age group was set for Wave 7 and my brother's Wave 8. This gave us a great chance to view the Pros take off on the swim. Even little Apollo Ono......yes, he was there! Apollo is this year's Chocolate Milk sponsored athlete. And just like Hines Ward he is also training for Kona with Boise being his 70.3 prep race. Though I personally never got a close up, P and The Kid were apparently eye level to him coming out of the water - guess the poor guy was a bit disoriented and looked whipped. He had a great swim time though and overall a very fast race. Congrats to Apollo!

Anyway, back to my start - after a quick good luck to my bro and a round of hugs, I said good-bye to the fam and lined up on the boat ramp. I was ready. Given the amount of time I had already spent in the sun, the thought of that "cold" water sounded ah-mazing. 1 minute after the wave before us took off we were allowed to enter the water and swim over to the start. This was my first in water start and something that I prefer. As usual I decided to stay in the middle of the pack (though I should be starting up closer to the front) and tried my best to make some space. Ladies 35-39 were fired up! Lots of nervous looks but you could feel the energy bouncing around.

And GO!!!!!
I'm somewhere in this mess!

Almost immediately I had trouble with my goggles - the effers kept leaking!! The darn things have NEVER given me an issue!  Unfortunately the leak was big enough to where I couldn't possibly ignore the water, so I spent a good 300 meters swimming/stopping/fixing goggles/swimming - best guess I lost about 2 minutes messing with the dumb things. Errr...oh well, no panic, just correct the issue and get moving. Once I finally got them settled I was off once again. Honestly the swim, other than the goggle incident, was pretty uneventful. Given this was my first 70.3 I wasn't sure about pacing so I took it easy (a bit too easy) and focused mainly on keeping my hear rate down. I found a group of pink caps (my wave) that were keeping a good pace so I just stayed with them. The water was fairly choppy but the bouy set up was awesome allowing for super easy sighting. About half way in I started to pass up the swimmers from earlier waves - although this is a great motivator, usually these folks are a little weaker in this portion of the race so it can get a bit hectic trying to wade through the flailing arms and legs.

It stayed like that through the last half of the swim but by the time the boat ramp came into view I was honestly sad to have it over! I could have easily done another loop without issue......such is the life of a swimmer. Now it was time to fret about that darn bike....and the wind! Out of the water I made my way up the boat ramp - usually I run all the way through to transition but knew that anything but an uphill walk would irritate my calf and decided to take it easy.  P and the fam were right there cheering me along the whole way....
It's soooo bright out here!!

Total Swim Time -  00:36:51
Age Group - 13
Gender - 67
Overall - 278

**Like I said, wasn't pushing myself and could have gone sooo much faster**

T- 1

Can I get a shout out for the WETSUIT STRIPPAS!!!! That was awesome. Lay down, stick your feet in the air and swoosh - that sucker is off! It's normally pretty easy to take my suit off but I just had to experience this. :)

In addition to the stripping, T1 had another "interesting" moment. I knew that I was going to take a few extra minutes in order to put my compression socks on properly (which is not an easy task to do with wet skin, mind you) but had no idea how much I was going to need to pee! Holy cow I must have swallowed the whole dang lake. In the heat of the moment I dried myself off, stuck the towel in between my legs and just went....and went.....and went. Sorry, TMI, I know but it was crazy! Never once did it occur to me that perhaps a quick trip to the port-a-potty might be in order. Nope - "What's the fastest, most efficient way to do this?" I thought....hey, it kept me from having to worry about how to go on the bike, so there's no shame in my game! :)

Total T1 Time - 00:07:12

Part 2 of 2 - The Bike, Run and Finish be continued........

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