My race season has been pretty successful. I've been lucky enough to set a PR in every distance I've attempted this year, mostly because of the IRONMAN training I'm sure, but it's not been without a lot of pre-race drama. That seems to be my theme this year. Build up to the race week, have some drama, have a good race day. Guess it's a good distraction!
Boise was not going to come and go without something. I knew it, just didn't know what it would be. So as I had mentioned before I was having a hard time getting up and going in my prep for this race. The week before the race I started to gain some momentum, and then it happened. I got sick! I mean really sick!! Not to over dramatize it, but I almost died! Now Michelle will be the first to tell you that I'm a huge baby when I get sick. "Fetch me this, bring me that. Yes, I do need a back rub!" I know, it's pretty pathetic. Anyway, this thing just totally crushed me. I was in bed for a day and a half and couldn't move. I was running a fever of 103, sweating like crazy, but also had goose bumps and my teeth were chattering. The only other symptom was a really sore throat. As I started to feel a little bit better I called my mom and described the hell I was going through. She mentioned the dreaded word I hadn't heard in probably 20 years. Strep! Nah, couldn't be. Only kids get strep, right? I finally decided to go to the Dr. just to rule it out. Sure enough, that's exactly what it was, and I hated it. Thankfully, Michelle and the kids did not get it! After a couple of days on the antibiotics I was back to normal.
Back to normal until I found out I had a business trip to Reno the following Wednesday and Thursday, just before we were to leave for Boise on Friday AM. Not to worry, I'll get home at 8:00 on Thursday night, get a good nights sleep and we'd be on our way! Ha! If only things were that easy. The business meeting went off without a hitch, got to the airport with plenty of time to spare before my 5:00 flight home. After boarding the plane and chilling for about 30 min, the Captain finally tells us there is a mechanical issue and we all need to deplane. Not to worry, it'll be a small fix and we'll be on our way! Ha again! After waiting another 45 minutes I start to panic a bit. Not too many flights leaving Reno heading to SLC after about 6:00, ugh! After much begging I was able to secure one of the last seats on the last flight into SLC for the day. By the time I got home it was after 10:00 and I was totally exhausted. Safe and sound, but my race was not going to be pretty.
We had the good fortune of carpooling with Rory (Swim Bike Run - The Life of a Triathlete) and Courtney up to Boise. These kids (they're still in their twenties so I call them kids) are hilarious, and made the drive go by way fast. We got to the hotel (it was straight out of the 70's, but clean and very close to check-in and the finish line) and head to the race checkin. While wandering around I heard someone mention the water temp was going to 53 degrees. Whoa, that's not what I was expecting. Thankfully, it was only a half-IM and not a full. Got the bikes checked in and had the traditional Cafe Rio prerace meal, and it was time to relax. The race didn't start until noon the next morning, so we were really relaxed that night.
We woke up the next morning and headed over to the race site. Michelle and Courtney drove us up to the swim, so it was nice not to have to ride the bus. The race didn't start until noon, and with 53 degree water temps it was a good thing. Can't imagine swimming in that cold water and then jumping straight on a bike at 7 AM. The only disadvantage to the late start was it was HOT setting up transition. I was sweating like I'd been sitting in the sauna, and then had to put on a wetsuit. Yikes.
|Setting up tranisition|
|Rory and I chatting with some hot babes before the swim start.|
I actually felt pretty good about the swim for once. I know I'm not fast and probably never will be, but I'm showing some improvements so I'm happy. I started in the 3rd age group wave, so it wasn't too congested. At one point I swam right into a group of what seemed like 10 ladies that were forming a wall. What in the world? How do you manage to have social hour in the middle of a swim? I felt bad, but didn't want to try to go around them, so I waited for just the right moment and went right over the top. I don't think anybody got too beat up, but it's never fun to do that. Especially when it's a group of older women...sorry grandma. Had it been men I wouldn't have thought twice about it, and may have even added a couple of punches and kicks for good measure! LOL! Of course I'm kidding. Or am I? Total time was around 34 minutes. My goal was to swim close to 30 minutes, so I missed that; however, I did cut two minutes off of my time from last year. Slowly but surely I'm getting better.
|After the swim...heading to T1|
The Boise bike route is pretty challenging, but I think it's really fair. It's relatively flat; however, does have some good hills that sting the legs. I wanted to push it hard, but not too hard that I was drained for the run like last year. We got lucky this year as there was barely any wind unlike the tornado we biked in last year. I'm not a very competitive person (as you may know by now), so I was really surprised to find myself pushing really hard at the start of the bike. HAHA! In all seriousness, I was hammering way too hard and was out of breath after only a few minutes. Was I just going to hard, or was I out of shape already? I had no idea, but decided to back it down a notch and save some energy. After about 20 miles though, I was feeling awesome and decided to pick it up again. At about that same time I realized I was riding basically alone. (Since I started in the early wave, there were very few people in front of me and I had managed to pass a bunch of them. Of course they were all 60 year old men and women, and yes I did feel good about passing them, so just leave me alone about it, okay?) It wasn't as easy riding at the front of the pack as I thought it would be. I usually try to pick people in front of me to chase down, but there wasn't anybody at this point, and the people who were in front of me were much faster than I. I just settled into a solid pace and hope to maintain it through the finish. I will say, by about mile 50 I was really ready to get off the bike. I never felt that way in IMSG, but in Boise I couldn't get off the bike soon enough. Still not sure why, but before I knew it I was rolling into T2. Total time was right about 2:30. Right on my goal.
The run is a two loop course and is completely flat and shaded for many of the miles. I wanted to run 1:30 or below, but as I trudged through the first few miles I didn't think I had a chance to run that fast. My stomach was not cooperating at all. I never felt like I needed to stop, but it just didn't feel right. I haven't been racing with a watch, so I didn't have any idea what pace I was maintaining, but it didn't feel fast at all. I was still at the front of the pack, so I didn't have anyone around to try to pace myself with. I just decided to settle in to a comfortable pace and try to run the whole thing. On the first loop I had the aid stations virtually to myself. I had my pick of everything and anything from the volunteers, but the only thing I wanted was some Coke! I got Coke at every aid station and then tried to alternate between Perform (like Gatorade) and water at every other aid station. By the time I started the 2nd loop I was feeling much better and my pace picked up considerably. I still didn't think I was going very fast, but it felt good to let the legs loose for a bit. I was shocked when I saw my final run time of 1:30 (right at my goal). I didn't think I'd run anywhere near that fast, so I was really happy.
|Out of T2 and then on the course|
As I crossed the finish line I felt great, but I was STARVING. I gave Michelle a gross/sweaty hug and then headed for the food line. On my way over I saw Spencer Woolston...a total triathlete stud who happened to win the 30-34 age group. We grabbed a quick picture...still cracking up about this one, and then I got some food. I think I ate all of the food by the way, so I'm sure I won't be invited back to the race next year, and apologies to anyone who started after me. If you didn't get a burger or any pizza let me know and I'll hook you up.
|Spencer Woolston (who may have eaten more post-race food than I)|
It was fun racing with a lot of good people (Rory, Bart, Dave, Gary, Lance, and others) and everyone did great out there. Boise is just a cool place to race! Second only to St. George of course! We had a great time hanging out with Rory and Courtney and we're definitely coming back next year. The only stipulation is next year all four of us (Michelle and Courtney included) will be racing ;). As Bart Scott would say..."Can't Wait!"
|Gary and Bart|
Oh yeah, before I forget, the spectators were awesome too. Although I'm not sure about these dudes...I think Michelle was a little more impressed than I.
|If you didn't chuckle as you ran past these spectators you are not human|
|Must be some sour gum|
|Celebrating after the race at PF Changs|
Until next time, Tri Hard!