Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Aflac Iron Girl Sprint Race Report

Aflac Iron Girl Sprint, Boulder CO
1/4 mile swim, 17.2 mile bike, 5k

If you had asked me a few weeks before the race if I was excited about doing it, I would have told  you no. In truth, I had considered not even racing. When I signed up for this race many months ago, the idea was that a  small group of friends and I were going to do the race together. We had traveled to Las Vegas to do the Iron Girl there in 2009 and this would be a reunion of sorts. Unfortunately, life happens and people were dropping like flies. While I knew a few others who were going to race, they had some other friends who were also participating. I really just felt like the reason for racing was gone. Also, I had already completed the Boulder Tri Series and was tired of traveling up to Boulder and back. I wasn't going to miss anything new by not participating.  So what changed my mind you ask? It was the fact that Julie was also doing the race and this would be a time that we could finally spend some time to hang out and chat. She also is in the same age group as me so that made it even better. Then Aimee signed up and that was the icing on the cake!  How fun it was to get to know these ladies and how exciting it was to watch Aimee receive her first place gift!  I was so happy for her, you would have thought it was me who had won. Having  my friends Sarah and Tanya there was also a big plus. It had been a long time since we were on any race course together.

I went to packet pick-up the day before the race and ran into Julie. We hung out for awhile and listoned to the race report.  It was VERY windy but boy did we get some loot!

Did I say it was windy?

I arrived at the race site early as I wanted to try and get a decent spot in Transition. Their was an option to rack my bike the day before but I wasn't comfortable with that. Julie showed up a bit later and found a spot next to me.  After some visiting with some friends, I headed to the swim start.
The swim was short!  1/4 mile.  Since it was so short and their were a lot of newbies racing, I decided to push the swim, something I don't usually do. I felt pretty good and decided to go with it. I exited the water in 7+ minutes but the run to transition put me in the 9 minute area.

Very uneventful. I really need to step it up a bit there. What was nice is that while running to transition we were given hand towels. It was very nice.

I had ridden this course during another race and was hoping to beat that time. Heading out of the reservior I passed numerous people, one of whom yelled "say your passing on your left!"  I wasn't anywhere near her and I later learned that I wasn't the only one whom she tried to scold. Waste of oxygen if you ask me.
There is a long gradual climb for the first six miles  and another women in my age group and I were going back and forth passing each other. I finally decided to just settle in, let her take the lead and set the pace. My plan was to reserve some energy and then leave her in my dust during the down hill. Mission accomplished :)
The rest of the ride was nice. There were not a lot of racers on the road which was a nice change from the other Boulder races I have done. I later learned that my bike split was a tad slower then the time I wanted to beat. I was surprised and a bit disapointed but what are you going to do?  Bike ave: 19.8 mph.

Again uneventful. I really need to move a bit faster here. I can do it. Maybe I am getting lazy.

Anyone who reads my blog can pretty much write this part. The run starts with a hill, a hill that I planned to walk, that was until I saw the photographer close to the top. CRAP!  I pulled myself up the hill and then took a few steps to regroup.  Unlike the first time I did this course, I ran almost all of it. I did stop at the aid stations for fluids and I now wonder if I should have had my fuel belt. It was an out and back course and as I knew would happen, Aimee came up behind me, was kind enough to encourage me on and  then whizzed by. Man she can run!  On the way back I saw Julie, and my friends Sarah and Tanya. How nice it was to have someone to say hi to!   Run time: slow :)

Aimee was waiting for me at the finish line and Julie joined us shortly there after.

The final results:
 I placed 12th out of 69 in my age group, (4th on the bike) and 137 out of 616 over all ( 32nd out of 616 on the bike). As I always say when scanning the results "if only I could run!".  I lose it there every time.

It was a fun day out there. Truly for me the best part was seeing my friends both old and new. I have raced alone all summer and it was nice to share this with others.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Monday, August 9, 2010

Boulder 70.3 Race Report

I was under trained going into this race due to medical issues and I really wasn't sure how this day would play out. My goal was to finish before the cut off time without some type of heat illness. Heat related problems  have plagued me on the run.

I have a hard time sleeping on a non race day so I woke up at 3:50am which was before my alarm went off. I stayed in Boulder the night before the race and was at the reservior by 4:45. So were many other people. My early arrival paid off as I was able to secure an end spot on the racks in transition.


I met up with STMass, Zionvier and trimama530 from BT for a pre-race  group pic.

I met up with STMass, Zionvier and trimama530 from BT for a pre-race  group pic.

The Swim:
My stomach started to bother me before the swim start. Never has this happened before a race and I was thinking to myself..."not now, not today!" I stuck to the back of the wave as usual to avoid being clobbered by the others. I was able to draft a bit more in this race as it was pretty crowded for the first 1300 yards. The bouys were nicely lined up and my navigation was pretty good. It wasn't until the final stretch where two men from the waves behind me made contact as they plowed through the field. I think they need to work on their sighting as there was plenty of room and no need to get even close to others at that point of the swim.

T1 :
My transition area was the farthest away from the "swim in" area. For the the first time ever, I really struggled to get my wetsuit off. It got stuck on my wrist and then my foot. I tried sitting down to get it off and after making some headway stood up to finally yank it off. I wasn't trying to break any records but this was very slow for me.

I am happy with my bike time and my second lap was 2.25 minutes faster then my first. I was fortunate to have cloud cover for the first lap which really helped with the heat issues. I made sure to drink a lot and even was successful with the two water bottle hand offs that I attempted. That was the first time I tried that. The only problem I had on the bike was some cramping of my hamstring and numbness in my toes. I had to take my foot out of the cleat a few times and tried to make changes in my position to help.
I left the 12-27 on my bike as I figured the pay off for the easier gear was worth giving up a more powerful gear. I am not sure that that was the best choice. I kept spinning out so quickly that I know I lost some good time just waiting to be able to pedal. (this happened numerous times). I have to say that this was one of the least painful (muscle related) bike portion of any tri I have done. Should I have pushed harder? Should I have changed my cassette? Maybe, but I had decided it was better to be safe then sorry for this race.

I decided to use lace locks for my shoes even though I usually use Yanks as I was worried about the Yanks bothering me if my feet started swelling on the run. The lace locks were great!
I took a few seconds to put some sun screen on as well as make a stop at the port-a-potty.

For me the heat was definitely a factor on the run. Since I was so undertrained for this (especially the run) my goal was to just go out there, do the best I could do and hopefully finish without suffering some heat related illess that has been plaguing me on much shorter distances. My plan was to walk the hills, run as much as I could beyond that and do whatever I had to do to try and keep myself cool and hydrated (I have never drank so much Gatorade in my entire life as I did the days leading up to a race). I stopped at every aid station to pour water on me, fill my hat and shirt with ice and grab spunges. This worked for the most part on the first lap. When I was running, I was doing an ok pace for me.

          A short walk to talk to my friend Sarah who along with a few others came out to cheer me on

The second lap things got worse. As much as I tried to run, I just wasn't getting very far. I spent even more time at the aid stations trying to cool off and even tried a few pretzels and some coke a couple of times as the thought of eating another Gu or Gu Chomp was not at all appealing. There was no shade at all and from the few race reports and comments I have read, that was a factor for people. While I put some sun screen on before the run, I have a pretty good sunburn (certainly all the water I poured on myself washed away any sun blocking properties). I used Salt Stick capsules which I  think helped. I really wanted to run more the second lap and I really think that is was the conditions more then my fitness that was a limiter. My legs could do it but I just was to depleated. The medic at the finish line asked me if I was ok as I apparently had blue lips. I told him I thought I was and indeed felt better after awhile. My shoes were completly soaked and everytime I bent down to tighten them up, I would get really dizzy when I stood back up. That was a huge indicator for me that things were getting worse. With two miles of the run, I made it a goal to finish in under 7:00 hours.
  I never remember to smile and I always look like I am on my death bed.

The time shown is total time from the start of the first wave.

Race Stats:


lap 1=  1:27:31
lap 2= 1:25:01
Total bike= 2:54:37


Total run=3:10:38 ( who says the bike is the longest leg of triathlon? :) )

Total time : 6:53:08

I am glad I did this race and am equally as glad that it is over. I don't have any other WTC race to compare this to but the race Tee-shirts were really really small and the finishers medals while nice had the wrong printing on them The medal says 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile swim. Huh?
Shouldn't they have been able to get that right?

As a side note, 1700 people signed up for this race and there were a little over 1200 starters. That seems like an awful lot. There were quite a few pros that never even started.

 I want to take a moment to thank all of you who have provided me with tips, words of encouragement and understanding throughout my journey to get to this race. It has truly meant so much! Thank you!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Ready or NOT, I will be at the start line.

See that ticker to the right of this post?  Is says four days to Boulder 70.3. How can that be???  I mean didn't it just say 3 months ago last week?  I am not ready for this race but I am going to give it a shot.
All the set backs this summer have really hurt my training and I am no where near where I had hoped I would be at this time. Nothing I can do about that now except try to embrace the experience and do my best to just finish.  Truth be told, I don't doubt that I can finish in time (even if it is close to the time limit) it is more about the weather conditions and my body's ability to take the stress (I have been having some Achilles issues) that I am worried about. Even if I have to walk the whole half marathon, I am confident I can finish this race as long as I keep the heat from doing me in.  I have purchased ALOT of Gatorade and even some Pediolite. I have my salt tablets and have changed the cage on my bike so that the water bottles on the course will fit. I have taste tested the orange flavor Gatorade that will be on the bike course and I was pleasantly surprised. the lemon flavor on the run.... that is a different story.
Unlike the other races in the Boulder Tri Series, my  tri buds are going to be there to cheer me on and provide me with that much more motivation to finish, especially when I have to pass the finish line to do another 10k on the run course (ugh!).  I am not going to deny that I am extremely nervous about this race. I am however doing my best to not let the nerves get the best of me. It is just a longer day doing what I already do.. right? (gulp).  I am going to take it slow and just keep going with the hope that the finish line and I will cross paths before the end of the day.