Saturday, June 14, 2014

Boise 70.3

Teams Big Sexy, TriFusion, and Timex.
I'd forgotten how difficult it is (mostly mentally) to prepare for a noon start time. As if waiting for an early morning start isn't stressful enough, trying to keep myself preoccupied for my 12:39 send off seemed especially tough. Why they boast this feature of the race as a highlight, I don't understand. Yet Bryan and I survived the morning and by 9:15am, we made our way to T2 to drop off our run gear before waiting for the school bus that transported us up to Lucky Peak Reservoir. 

The day felt hot. We ambled out of the bus with our wetsuits draped over our arms, already feeling the sun beating down on us due to no cover anywhere around. Set up proved easy, and Bryan and I took one turn at the porta potty before leaving transition at the requested 11:45 cut off. We brought towels soaked in water to drape over our heads in an attempt to keep cool. The umbrella we though might also help to fend off the sun looked better providing shelter to an elderly woman most likely offering support to an athlete of her own.

Yeah, we did that. Picture by Melissa Erickson
Melissa and Dave Erickson parked behind us, but it wasn't long before Bryan's wave hit the water. Dave's was soon to follow.

My initial reaction to the water temperature isn't exactly appropriate to share in writing. Let's just say Bear Lake's comfortable 70+ degrees made Lucky Peak's supposed 63 seem ice cold. My first attempt at Boise 70.3 in 2012 hardly compared to this, however. Instead of hands so cold I couldn't feel them, I reminded myself this dip was likely to be the coolest, most comfortable I'd feel all day given the temperatures that steadily seemed to climb into the 80s.

I took (what felt like) far too long to settle down into a steady stroke. My chest felt tight, and I even experienced a little panic trying to negotiate my way through flailing arms and churning water when I couldn't seem to get a decent rhythm. By the first turn, I seemed to have settle in, but the water didn't ease up. I kept catching mouthfuls of water, and with each one, I knew it would take some serious belching and burping to relieve the pressure in my stomach to make for a comfortable bike ride.

I exited the water in just over 33 minutes, burping my way to the top of the swim exit and into transition after utilizing a helpful volunteer to strip off my wetsuit. The bike ride that ensued didn't strike me as one to really impress me. I've ridden prettier courses, ones that found more scenic terrain than that of industrial parks and barren desert. Yet I got 'er done, and I felt fresh heading out onto the run course.

While I found nothing to brag about in regards to Boise's bike course, I loved the run along the Greenbelt. Trees provided shade from the sun, while the river offered some kind of a distraction from my body that felt like it was slowly, very slowly, falling apart. At this point, I thought I might be one of the leaders of my age group, but I had a feeling there might be someone close behind me. Though I started out at a clip too fast, I found the strength to reel myself in and run at what felt like a comfortable but decent pace of 7:10-7:15min/mile.

I remember hearing Melissa, but I didn't
see her. Thank you for all your cheers
and support!
I think the most challenging part of that course was the short out-and-back that served as miles 6 to 7 and 11 to 12 (depending on what lap you're running). Going out past the finish line for my second loop, I'd not overtaken anyone in my age group. Therefore, someone else who deserved the win was likely going to take it, or I needed to keep my pace to prevent giving up my lead.

The wheels started to wobble at mile 11. Telling myself just 2 miles stood between me and the finish line seemed to bolster my efforts, and the short ascent from the trail to the road leading me to the finish line seemed to strengthen my motivation to run stronger to the end. My efforts were rewarded when I found the finish and my coach, Derek Garcia, shortly thereafter. I didn't know it at the time, but I'd won my age group by almost 12 minutes and earned myself the opportunity to pay yet another race entry to Worlds Mont Tremblant 70.3. (Oh, how bittersweet it felt).

I also PR'd my 70.3 time by about 2 minutes, and I'm very thankful for a coach who has guided me through training, enlightening me on the importance of quality training, among other things. I feel confident I'm not yet quite ready for Ironman Canada, but I have about 6 more weeks to condition myself to everything hilly. I look forward to nothing less than 6000+ feet of elevation on these upcoming rides designed to challenge me physically and mentally as I prepare for my second Ironman.

Thank you to GU Energy, Ruby's Lube, TriSlide,
and Team BSR for the support. I am grateful!