Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Boise IM 70.3

It was a beautiful weekend in Boise this past weekend. I had originally planned on going to cheer on a couple of friends who were doing their first half ironman but after my dnf at IMTX three weeks ago, I decided to register and use my training to prove to myself that I could finish a race.

The best part of the weekend was being with over three dozen of my teammates from Salt Lake Tri Club and Balanced Art Multisport. We met for a practice swim and ride at the reservoir after lunch.
The water was about 62 degrees and it felt good to get into it to calm the pre-race nerves. After swimming we got on our bikes to make sure everything was in working order and checked them in to T1. This was a two transition race with T1 being at the lake and T2 in town by the finish line.  Later that evening we had plans to meet up for dinner.  Trying to get a reservation for 40 people can prove to be difficult but Coach Wes managed to pull it off. And it was a popular place, we got there only to find that Apolo Anton Ohno was there with Craig Alexander and Paula Newby Fraser. Apolo is competing in Ironman Kona on the Chocolate Milk Team and this was to be his first triathlon. We were all pretty star struck but waited until after dinner to start asking to take pictures. They were very gracious about it and posed with quite a few of us.

Some of our group
The race has a noon start time on Saturday which is unlike most races in the world. This would explain some of us being at the ice cream shop at 10 pm on race eve. Usually we would be well asleep by then in prep for a very early morning alarm.

The noon race start, while great in that no alarm is needed in the morning, presents a dilemma in what to do for food on race day. I know exactly what I need to eat for breakfast but then we had to wait for more than 4 hours to start. Since we had to catch the bus up to the lake early, I made a peanut butter & banana sandwich to take with me. This has always been a comfort food for me and it was easy to make and take.

After meeting up with some teammates and catching the bus, we arrived at the lake with plenty of time to set up and get organized. Unfortunately there were not a lot of shady spots to rest but we made do. About an hour before the start, the pb & banana tasted really, really good!

I have said that the reason I was going to be at this race originally was to cheer on my two good friends, Carmen & Marianne, for their first half ironman. I think for this reason, I was surprisingly calm with no pre-race jitters. I also had it in my head that this was going to be a just get it done race. After my whirlwind trip to NYC the weekend before, I came down with a cold and cough. Couple that with only being three weeks from IMTX, it wasn't shaping up to be a very speedy event for me!

We were getting close to starting so I found a bathroom and then my two friends to go to the start. We had decided the night before that we would hold hands like little girls going into the water and we did it. It meant a lot for me to be there at the beginning with them. Our wave was first off after the pros and it came quickly. The wind had picked up a little so the water was a little choppy and my goggles fogged up a little so siting was challenging but after correcting for taking the first turn wide, I came back to the end at 59 minutes. All my times were slower than my Monterrey half ironman but again this was to be expected.

T1 was uneventful and I was off on the bike. I never looked at the race profile prior to Saturday so really had no idea what to expect. It's probably a good thing, I may have backed out! I will say that my race wheels made a difference and I can't wait to ride them on a "normal" course for comparison. It's a good downhill ride back towards town, but then you start encountering some hills (note - my version of hills is different than more seasoned cyclists!). The winds really started blowing. I stopped at the first aid station to refill my water bottle and then once more at the last aid station. My goal was to consume all of my planned calories on the bike which is where I think I partially went wrong in Texas. I accomplished this. At one point on the ride going downhill, there was a pretty good headwind so that it was necessary to pedal. downhill. weird! There was a  (for me) surprise no-pass zone in the last 10 miles. I hadn't planned on it. I made it through but one poor guy behind me said he was just going to have to pass me as he couldn't possibly go any slower than I was. Poor guy!

Anyway, finally came off the bike at 3:47. Way longer than I had hoped for but fully fueled and ready for the run. My plan is always to run/walk with a 5:1 ratio. I started off great for the first mile and a half and then nausea set in. It was all I could do to walk and not puke. I'm not sure at what point I realized that I would be walking the rest of the half marathon but it was clear it was happening. I tried taking in some gu, Gatorade, salt tabs and a banana but nothing was sitting very well with me. The run is a very beautiful two loop course along the river. Very shady and scenic. I met and talked to quite a few racers and the volunteers and spectators were the best! A few team members came past and walked with me a few minutes. Everyone was very encouraging and more than one said they were having the same problem. As I came around to start the second loop, there were my SLTC teammates! Coach Wes walked with me awhile and gave me a pep talk. 6 more miles to go! Every time I crossed over a timing mat, I laughed at what Coach Lizz must be thinking while tracking me. During the last couple of miles, I tried some potato chips. One chip at a time. They tasted really good and probably helped me make it to the finish. It wasn't my slowest half marathon but pretty dang close.

Done and done. I was determined to not dnf another race and in that aspect I was successful. I will live to do another one sometime. Although, I'm pretty sure I was ready to take a picture of my bike laying on the grass and post it for sale and never race again!

We waited for Marianne to finish and what an epic finish it was. She came down the finish chute with almost no time to spare and into our emotional, outstretched arms!
I could not be more proud of these two ladies. We've spent a lot of time together this year, training, laughing and talking, and it was great to see get a half ironman under their belt!

This has been a hard post to write for me. Not sure why. I've left a lot out from the weekend but the main point I want to make is having friends and teammates around you during a race is one of the best things ever! So much laughter and fun!

Time to recover until next time.