Boulder 70.3 Race Report:
Thank you all for your emails and good luck wishes! I thought about them all during my race! :)
Now let me warn you, this may be a little long!
My family and I drove up to Boulder Saturday mid-morning to do the whole packet pick-up and expo thing. I was actually looking forward to the expo because I thought an Ironman branded 70.3 would have some good vendors. We got to the expo, I got my packet, and started walking through the vendors. What a disappointment! I walked away from the expo with nothing but my race packet. :( Not that I "needed" anything, but it's always fun to find something you can't live without.
The race swag: A very cool wicking shirt, an awesome blue/black bag, water bottle, wheaties, eye drops, a not-so-cool poster, and a book full of awesome coupons!
Anyways, we decided to just stay the night in Boulder so we didn't have to make multiple trips to/from Denver. We went to dinner at Pasta Jay's (yum!), then headed back to our hotel. Because our hotel was pretty close to the race site, I just decided to ride my bike to the race in the morning. That way my husband and boys didn't have to wake up super early to drive me there.
I got up at 4:30, ate my bagel with PB and honey, loaded up all of my stuff, and headed to the race. It actually worked out great! It only took me about 25 minutes to get to the race and I passed tons and tons of cars that were waiting to get in and park! Woohoo!
I got to transition, racked my bike according to bib number, and set up all of my stuff. Then, I proceeded to wait for 15 minutes to use the port-a-potty! Are you kidding me? It was so ridiculous! I finally made it to the front, did my thing, and literally had to run back to my transition spot to get my swim stuff because I only had 5 minutes until transition closed! The sucky thing was that transition closed at 6:20, but my swim wave didn't start until 7:10. I put my wetsuit on, grabbed a gu and my swim stuff, and headed out to the water.
I felt really good as I was waiting for my wave to start. I wasn't too nervous, and was just ready to do it! As you know, I was worried about the heat, but I had come to terms with the fact that it was going to be hot and I was just going to have to do the best I could. As I was waiting I got to see Andy Potts complete his 1.2M swim in 23 minutes! He came up the swim shoot and everyone just broke out in cheers and applause. It was just awesome! He ended up winning and finished in 3:46:50! That is just amazing!
Those who have been following me for awhile know that my swim is my weakest discipline. You also know that I tend to get really panicky and freak out in the water. They called our wave into the water and a sense of calmness came over me. The water temp. was perfect, the atmosphere was so exciting, and I was just ready to go! It was a weird sensation because usually I'm a nervous wreck before the swim start! I really think the Aquaman races helped prepare me for this. The horn sounded and we were off! I have to say that this was the best race swim that I have ever done! I didn't panic once and I never reverted to the breast stroke except to go around the turn buoys. I felt awesome and smooth in the water and it was such a great feeling! I had no idea how fast I was going, but I was just happy to be having a panic free swim. I saw the finish arch and swam as hard as I could. I got out, ran up the long sandy hill, and headed into transition.
Swim Stats: 1.2M Time: 42:20 (including running from water to transition)
* I know that isn't a fast time, but honestly, I am happy with how I did. Yes, I would have liked to have swam faster, but the fact that I was comfortable in the water and didn't panic is good enough for me! Now that I feel I have the "panic" issue in control, my next goal will be to work on gaining speed!
This was pretty uneventful. I had a little bit of trouble getting my wetsuit off my right foot so that wasted some time. Also, my rack was towards the far corner of transition, so I had a ways to run.
Time: 2:48 (I didn't feel this slow, but it is what it is!)
I hopped on my bike and headed out. There were a lot of riders leaving transition at the same time and it was pretty crowded. The bike consisted of two loops and I had ridden the course last month so I knew what to expect. I felt great on the bike and got into a nice rhythm pretty quickly. I got passed by a lot of lean looking guys with aero helmets, tri bikes, and carbon wheels. The majority of the men started behind me in the swim, so I was expecting that to happen. But, I'm happy to say that I only got passed by maybe a handful of women! Woohoo! The first lap went great. I felt fast and smooth and passed a lot of people. At the start of the 2nd loop I was excited because I knew I was half way done. I started to get a little tense in my neck and shoulders which kind of sucked, but I think it was because I was grabbing my aero bars so tight. I need to learn to have a more relaxed grip when I race. I switched up my position from time to time to give my neck a break and it seemed to help a little. Finally, I was ready to head back towards transition. I saw my husband and boys on the sidelines ringing their cowbells and cheering me on! It was great to see them and was just what I needed! :)
My husband took this picture while I passed by and headed into transition. It's a little blurry, but I thought I'd post it anyways! I was so ready to be done with the bike at this point.
Bike Stats: 56M
Time: 2:42:38 Avg. Pace: 20.66mph
Woohoo! I was so happy with this time and pace! :)
I took a little bit of time in T2 to put on more sunblock (this ended up being futile in the end) and use the bathroom, but it was needed!
Time: 3:12 (Horrible time, but whatever!)
Oh my god! Did you notice the title of my post: "Feelin' hot, hot, hot?" Well, let's just say that the sun was merciless on that run course. I headed out of transition and my legs felt like lead. My hamstrings were so tight and I was a little worried. But, I know that it usually takes me a mile or so to get my "running legs" so I wasn't panicked. However, the lovely race people decided to put 3 big hills within the first 3 miles of the run. The first hill was painful, but I ran up it fine. The second hill was tough and I thought about walking, but didn't. The third hill just sucked all of the energy out of me. There was an aid station on that hill, so I decided to walk and get a wet sponge to pour all over me. It was heaven! I started up again and my legs still felt really tired and heavy. I kept looking at my Garmin and I was keeping a good pace, but I just felt off. It was so hot and I could feel the sun burning my skin. I decided that I was going to grab a sponge and cup of water to pour on me at every aid station and that is exactly what I did. I had my Nathan handheld bottle with me full of Nuun, but it only lasted 5 miles before it was completely out. From then on, I stopped at every aid station for either Gatorade or water. Normally, I don't have to drink something every mile, but I honestly felt like I needed to during that run. Oh, and the wet sponge were life savers. They were awesome!
The run consisted of two loops, so around mile 6.5 we had to run right next to the finish shoot to start our 2nd loop. This really sucked! I was running with some racers and while some of them headed to the finish, I knew I still had 6.5 miles to go. It was really hard mentally to keep going. My hamstrings were still so tight and my left knee started hurting a little bit and I was really bummed because I knew I wasn't going to have a "great" run. I did the whole negative self talk thing and had a little pity party for about a mile and then decided to change my mindset. I decided to forget about my goal, stop looking at my Garmin, and just do my best to make it to the finish. When I came upon the hills, I walked up them as fast as I could and I didn't even think twice about it. I hardly ever walk in races, but I knew it was the best thing for me to do and I was o-kay with it. It actually ended up being a pretty good strategy though because while I got passed by some people running up the hill, I would always pass them back once the course was flat again. I do have to say though that I have never been in a race where so many people were walking during the run. It was crazy! I honestly do not think that anyone was immune to that heat. It just really sucks the energy out of you.
At mile 8 I decided to try a cup of Coke. I don't know why I decided to do this, because I do not drink Coke or any soda for that matter. But, something about it just sounded so good. I grabbed a cup, drank it down, and it tasted so good! And, the best part about it was that I think I had the best mile after drinking that. I got an almost instant energy boost and was able to start picking up the pace a little. My clif shot bloks were a gooey, melted mess, so I started to grab bananas at the aid stations to eat. They were awesome and so much better than gu or shot bloks.
Finally, I had 2 miles to go. I was so happy! I could see the tents by the finish line in the distance and they looked so far away. I told myself to just keep running for a little while longer and then I would be done. I picked up the pace as much as I could. The last .1 mile was awesome because it was lined with spectators. It gave me another energy boost to hear everyone cheering, ringing cowbells, and saying my name (our names were on our bib), that I picked it up again, even though it hurt, and sprinted into the finish shoot! I crossed the finish line, heard my name being announced, said a loud, "Woohoo!" and almost fell over. The timing chip people steadied me while they took off my chip, handed me a water and medal, and led me to a grassy patch to sit down in. I was so happy to be done!
Check out the salt stains on my hat. Umm..yeah, I was sweating like a pig! When I finished, I felt my face. You know what it's like when you stick your hands in a bag of potato chips and they come out all salty? That is exactly how my face felt. I had salt all over, it was just crazy!
Run Stats: 13.1M Time: 2:05:15 (avg. pace: 9:33/M)
* I knew my run time was not going to be great, but considering how I was feeling, I was o-kay with it. This was actually the slowest I have ever run a half marathon, but it was also the first time running 13.1 miles in hell. O-kay, so I know I wasn't in hell, but it sure felt like it! :)
Overall Time: 5:36:13
Although the HIM I did last year was a completely different course, and the weather was in the 50s the entire time, my goal for this race was to beat my first HIM time, which was 5:42. I honestly did not think I was going to beat that time and had pretty much given up on that goal during the 2nd loop of the run. But, when I got home and realized I got a PR I was completely surprised!
I am happy with my time, but I feel like I can't even really call it a PR because it WAS so different from my first half ironman. Ya know?
So, what I really took away from this race is not a PR, but:
* A new confidence in the swim. You can not imagine (or maybe you can) how great it felt not to panic and just be able to swim smoothly in the water. That is a feeling I will take with me to every race that I do from now on.
* Knowing what it's like to go fast on the bike. I was so happy with my bike time and average pace!
* Knowing that it's o-kay to walk when I need to in a race and not feel bad about it or think that it makes me less of a runner.
* Knowing that I could not have done any of it without the support of my husband. He is amazing and I am so lucky to have him in my life. Did I mention that when I finally met up with my husband after I finished he handed me an icy cold bottle of chocolate milk and a bag of ice to put over my shoulders. It was just what I needed!
* And, the last thing I will take away from this race is the importance of using sunscreen. Although I applied and did my best to reapply, the sun won this fight:
I loved my Zoot tri top, but the mesh panel on the back led to some crazy burned spots.
Thank you again for all of your well wishes! I hope you all had a good weekend! I'm a little behind on reading your blogs but I'll get to them soon! :)