Reflections on Ironman Boulder

It’s almost New Years eve and I haven’t posted a single blog update this entire training or triathlon season.  In reflection it seems somewhat like the TRI season that wasn’t.  Now, that may seem a little odd given that I completed both the Boise 70.3 in June and Ironman Boulder  in August.  But in comparison to the 8 multi-sport events I raced in 2013, this year was all about one race…my inaugural IRONMAN.

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There truly was a single laser focus to the 2014 season, which certainly had both positive and negative elements.  Here’s a view on both perspectives:

Positives

Yes, I’ll start here with the Positives as I am an unwavering “glass is half full” sorta gal:

  • Introduction to the uber, triple secret (not really triple, but may double secret) Endurance GIRL Facebook group, fantastic group of over 500 women located in the greater Denver metro area who are focused on longer course endurance racing.
  • Trained with some awesome folks who I hope will be life-time friends
  • Was guided to my Ironman with the expert talents of super @CoachCary
  • Enjoyed beautiful mountain road riding including a self-support Elephant Rock (my 1st Century ride) and Copper Triangle; multiple rides up the infamous High Grade off of Deer Creek Canyon, Evergreen Lollipop, Squaw Pass and The Triple Bypass.

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The Triple Bypass is a 120 mile cycling festival over 3 mountain passes from Evergreen, CO to Avon, CO…there is actually a Double Triple which does both the east to west and west to east route on back-to-back days.  Can’t wrap my head around that one!

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  • Super support from my #1 crew THE GUYS Keith and Ryan
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  • Fun trip to Boise with @CoachCary for the Boise 70.3
  • Awesome in person and remote support from my friends and family at Ironman Boulder.

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  • Special etched in memory points for kissing the big guy Mr Keith in the finisher chute of Ironman Boulder
  • Having my brother Dave who was volunteering as a Finish Line Catcher put my medal around my neck
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Finisher photo with my brother…notice how I don’t look tired. That’s not a good thing that means I should have pushed HARDER!

  • The Finisher Chute…is truly a magical moment.  It’s kinda like a great golf shot after a less than stellar round of golf.  That Finisher Chute experience will keep you coming back for more!
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Entering the finisher chute Ironman Boulder

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Finish Ironman Boulder

Negatives

Here are some of the Negatives, not super bad, the world is ending kind of negatives but still stuff I’d consider a bit of a downer:

  • I only completed 2 endurance races…this felt honestly a bit anticlimactic
  • Training for a Ironman can take over your life!  Sure, you can cut the training short but if you do you’ll have hell to pay on race day.  When I say takes over your life I mean, it is SUPER disruptive… to the point that:
    • Your husband might say “I feel like a single parent”, or your son might say “Mom, I miss you!”,
    • Your friends invite you out to non-triathlon events on the weekend and you can’t because you’ve gotta train, other friends invite you to a party and you have to leave early because you need sleep because you’ve gotta train
    • You use up your weekends to get in the long rides and long runs
    • You give up sleep and waking up in the 4:00 hour becomes the norm
    • You lose perspective…a 90 minute run is considered a short run day
  • You become use to, in need of and maybe even a little addicted to the endorphins that fuel you 6 out of 7 days…to the point that on rest day, which you so look forward to, you’re “out of sorts” and grumpy.
  • During the actual Ironman race you lose about 20 IQ points from the start of the swim to the finish line…thankfully you get most of those points back (I think?)
  • The swim portion of an Ironman has less to do with pure swimming abilities and more to do with your tolerance for being bumped, pushed, kicked…it’s not swimming silly it’s water polo!
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The calm before the swim start of Ironman Boulder

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The swim…Ironman Boulder

  • During the run portion of the race you actually think about bodily functions, politely referred to as GI distress, in a way that isn’t typical…yuck!

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  • Post Ironman blues are not in your head…well, they actually are your head but they are real for many athletes after major endurance races including me.
  • Since your body, metabolism and caloric intake has been supporting a level of training effort that burns boatloads of kcals, post race recovery might find your pants getting a little tight, YIKES!  Put down the burger, wine etc….they are NOT your friends!

Million dollar question(s) that everyone seems to ask me.

Did you get a tattoo?  Nope, no ink on my person but I did “tattoo” my car IMG_20141015_092020_585

Will I do another Ironman?  Immediately after the race I thought NO WAY.  But, time seems to smooth out the rough edges and the highlights of the day become more pronounced than the downsides.  The answer is yes, I think I will do another Ironman but not for a few years.  I need to be sure I don’t miss out on important things that are not triathlon related.  So, I’ll focus on 70.3 and other “bucket list” events over the next few years.  Then I’ll gear up with the explicit goal of making it to the BIG SHOW…KONA!

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Move’n on UP!

I’d begun to contemplate moving up to a full, meaning a FULL Ironman since late 2012…by the way, just saying the word makes me just a little bit queasy.

Since early this year there were rumors swirling around about Boulder being the future venue for a 140.6 race.

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Those rumors were then validated and before I knew it I was receiving a special “VIP” opportunity to register for the inaugural race of Ironman Boulder.  Was this because I was really a V.I.P?!  Ha, ha don’t I wish!  The answer is that all athletes that were competing in the entire Boulder Tri Series (Boulder Sprint, Boulder Peak and Boulder 70.3) were offered an early registration opportunity for IM Boulder.  I had toyed with registering for Tahoe for 2014 but then felt that I was being given “an offer I couldn’t refuse” with Boulder.  Plus, logistically and financially competing in what would be my 1st and likely ONLY Ironman in Boulder just made much better sense:

  • I could ride and run the course as part of my training
  • My extended family could attend the race
  • I wouldn’t need to travel to the race venue which would save a ton of money
  • Good friends could be there along the route cheering me on

So, I kinda felt that I HAD to register for Boulder.  Plus, I just knew I’d be MAD at myself either way.  MAD if I didn’t register and try to become an Ironman and MAD at what I would put myself through from a training perspective.  For those of you that haven’t seen this video, I believe this will pretty much sum up what my life will be like during the peak portion of my training:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B03dFMG8nR4

So…on registration morning July 14, 2013 I did “IT“, I logged on to Active.com, I hit enter and then when I received the confirmation email…REAL panic set it!

I was heading to Ironman Boulder which was planned for August 3rd 2014!  WOW!

I just keep telling myself, relax, breathe, …  keep calm