Archive for the Ironman Category

11.Twenty.20Eleven – Ironman Arizona

Posted in Ironman, Races, Triathlon on December 13, 2011 by spradley
Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays!!

Race Week
The week leading up to Ironman Arizona was supposed to be nice-n-relaxing.  I was well into my taper and took the entire week off from work.  However, with thoughts of my 1st IM (and all of the unknowns associated with that) and a two (2) day, 14 hour road-trip with a 5 month old (and all of the unknowns associated with that), I was a bit nervous.  Actually, that is probably understating my mental state quite a bit.  I am most often a very easy going person…I try not to get too high in good times nor too low in down times.  However, I was feeling the stress of facing the unknown and the uncontrollable.  How would I feel on the 3rd loop of the bike?  What will the last 16 miles on the run feel like?  What if it rains?

I tried to stay as relaxed as possible.  Molly, June and I packed up on Tuesday and started our journey to AZ.  We were hoping to leave by 10am to make Albuquerque around 5 or 6pm.  Of course, packing for a Jeep full of triathlon AND baby gear is somewhat of a major event in itself and we did not hit the road until 1pm.  We have not even started and we were already 3 hours behind schedule.  Oh well.  Thankfully, June road-tripped like a champ (i.e. slept 90% of the trip) and we were able to make decent time and arrived in Albuquerque, NM around 7pm.  We unloaded the essentials, got some dinner and then crashed.  The next day (Wednesday) we were able to get an earlier start and made our way to Tempe, AZ.  June, again, was a great road-tripper and we made good time.  As we neared Tempe, we actually found ourselves on the IM AZ bike course heading into town.  That got me excited.  Of course, in my excitement, I did not realize that that GPS app on my phone quit working and we missed our turn to the rental house.  Luckily, I was somewhat aware of where we were from previous visits and was able to not get us too completely lost while the phone rebooted and VZ Navigator was reloaded.  Shortly after 5pm, we arrived at the rental house.  We did a quick walk-thru, unloaded the Jeep and then I went for a short shake out run (i.e. nice-n-easy with a few pick-ups).  My run did not feel great…but I chalked it up to 14 hours in the car.

IM AZ Road Trip Cargo

Infant + Wanna-be IM triathlete + Road Trip = Full Jeep. Can you spot the 5 month old?

The next a.m. (Thursday), I woke up and was going to go for a nice-n-easy bike ride.  As I was airing up my tires, I noticed that I had two (2) spots on the sidewall of my front tire that was worn bald.  These were brand new tires and they had two (2) bald spots!  In trying to figure out what happened, I realized that the strap that I used to hold the wheels in place must have rubbed the tires bare during our trip…this was most likely due to the crazy wind we drove through.  Two (2) days before bike check-in and I have an inoperable bike.  I got on-line and found a local bike shop.  They were able to get my bike in today, install some new tires and have it back to me either this afternoon or tomorrow.  I asked if they carried my tire (Michelin Pro 3 Race) and they did not…but one of their sister stores did.  The person with whom I spoke had to make a trip to the other store today, so he said he would pick up some new tires for me.  I was stoked and thanked them profusely when I dropped off my bike.  I tried to relax as much as I could the rest of the day.  Molly, June and I went down to the race site and I did packet pick-up.  On our way home, I got a call from the bike shop and my bike was ready.  Sweet!  Thank you Landis Cyclery!!  On Thursday evening, my mom and her husband arrived from St Louis.  We relaxed with a nice salmon dinner.

GC and June

GC and June hanging at the lake (with the ducks) at the rental house in AZ

On Friday a.m., I met one of my MHM athletes for a bike recon mission.  Thanks (again) to Landis Cyclery, I was able to do the bike recon on my bike!!  John and I met and did an easy ride out to the Beeline Highway.  We rode out a little bit and then back into town.  The ride was nice to get a feel for the course.  On Friday afternoon, Molly’s parents arrived as well as my dad and his wife.  With all of the grandparents set to for babysitting, Molly and I were able to head back into Tempe and attend the Ironman Welcome Dinner.  I was told from veteran IM athletes that you should attend the welcome dinner at least once…and I would agree with that.  It was neat to mingle with other athletes and get pumped up by some of the speakers.  After dinner, we went back to the house, chatted with the grandparents a bit and then I went to bed…hoping for a decent night’s sleep (the sleep you get 2 nights before a race is actually more important than the night before).  Given that I was used to the frequent wake-ups that happen when you have an infant in the house, my sleep patterns of late are far from typical, but I was able to sleep a decent amount.

IM AZ Practice Swim

Max and June getting ready for the IM AZ practice swim in Tempe Town Lake

That brings this tale to Saturday…one (1) day before the race.  I was hoping to spend it with my feet up.  Instead I spent it doing the practice swim, packing (and re-packing) all of my bags, checking into a hotel close to the race site (this is where I would spend Sat night…to hopefully let me get a bit more sleep…but also not force the others to get up at way-to-early-n-dark on Sunday morning), doing bike check-in and running by the grocery store to pick up food for my prerace breakfast.  I was able to put my feet up for about 30 minutes and do a little reading-n-relaxing.  That was critical!  After my short nap, one of my sisters and her family arrived – they were staying with some relatives and wanted to say a quick “Hello.”  After our meeting, the rest of our crew went to a local pizzeria and had some delish whole wheat crust pizza!!  After dinner, Molly dropped me off at the hotel and wished me luck.

June With Grandparents

June With Grandparents

Saturday night I probably slept a total of 1 or 2 hours.  I was up late shaving my legs, checking (and double-checking) all of my race day gear…making sure my Garmin was charged, etc.  Finally, I was able to get in bed and relax with a book.  I would read for a bit, turn off the light and try to sleep for a bit…get anxious…turn back on the light and read for a bit…repeating this cycle 4 or 5 times until I went ahead and got up around 3:30 am (my alarm was for 3:45 as I was meeting “the John’s” at 4:45 to walk over to the transition area).  Upon getting up, I had some breakfast (granola cereal and orange juice), prepped my nutrition, got dressed and then headed down to the lobby to meet the guys.

Pre Race
The atmosphere at the Transition Area (TA) was somewhat subdued.  It was dark and I think everyone knew that it was going to be a long day, so they were conserving their energy.  I dropped off my special needs bags, filled my water bottles and pumped up my (new) bike tires.  Then it was wait-n-relax time.  I hit the porta-potty a few times and scoped the TA layout for both the T1 and T2 “flow.”  At about 6:15, I started to put on my wetsuit.  As the sun was starting to rise and the crowds were starting to gather, the energy was picking up.  I scouted the crowds looking for my family, but was unsuccessful.  HINDSIGHT 20/20 TIP:  If you want to see your family & friends pre-race, have an exact time & location.  The pros were let in the water and shortly thereafter, the age groupers started to get in.  As I got in the water, the cold temps did not bother me much.  I had done the practice swim the day before and knew that in a few minutes my body would acclimate and be ready to go.  I positioned myself on the far side of the swim lane/course (near the middle of the lake…both out & back) about 4 or 5 rows off the front.  I was surveying those around me and moved around a bit to give myself a little bit of space and get away from those that looked like they had a bit of the deer in the headlights look.

Swim
The cannon started and the mass swim start was absolutely crazy.  Due to my swim speed (or lack thereof), I was swimming along with a large group of people the entire time.  Although I was on one side of the swimming lane, there were people around me the entire time.  There were people in kayakers that kept yelling at us to “go right”, but there was no room to go right….only lots of flailing arms and legs.  I had some calf cramping very early on…which I need to investigate further.  Not sure if it was the cold water OR improper nutrition/breakfast pre-race or what, but it had my worried.  From time-to-time, I would go into a “pull” mode swimming and try to stretch my ankles with some ankle flexes (I did not want to stop completely less I get swam over by those on my feet).  I never felt super-tired nor did I feel my swim stroke deteriorated much due to fatigue – indications that all of those sets of 500s paid off and my race pacing was not too fast.  Upon exiting the water, I was concerned about cramping, but thankfully I did not feel any more.

Max Swim Exit

2.4 miles down...138.2 to go!

T1
When you swim right in the middle of the masses, you get to T1 with the masses.  I had decided to change into my cycling bibs & jersey…although it slowed me down a bit, I felt it increased my chance of finishing feeling “comfortable” (and w/o major saddle sores).  I did not, however, expect my T1 to take nearly 10 minutes…but there were no empty chairs and changing into cycling gear while wet & standing was a bit tough.  I changed my clothes and hit the porta-potty to unload some of the Tempe Town Lake that I must have been drinking during the swim.  I grabbed my bike and ran all the way across the transition area (my bike was parked just about as far from the Bike exit as possible…lucky Males 30 – 34!).

Exiting T1 on the Litespeed!

Exiting T1 on the Litespeed!

Bike
My primary goal for this race was to finish, so I think I “rode” the 112 miles more so than “raced” it.  My legs were tired, but I definitely had something left in the tank.  The 1st lap, the winds were rather calm.  The 2nd lap, they picked up a bit on the return to Tempe (slight downhill).  On the 3rd (final) lap, I could definitely feel it blowing me up the hill outbound and was rather concerned about how it would feel during the return…it was tough, but I tried to stay as tucked in my aero position as I could and take in my last few calories before the run.  It is an interesting situation to be really tired about 90 – 100 miles into the bike and know that you still have a marathon staring you in the face.  😉  Thankfully, no mechanicals.

IM AZ Bike

T2
Thankfully, T2 was a little less crowded than T1.  I did another full change into running gear as I wanted to be “cool” in running shorts & singlet.  Another molasses-slow transition, but again I was doing comfort over speed for this event.

Max Early On Run

Early miles on the IM marathon

Run
The run was basically a 3 part story.  The first part (first 6 – 7 miles) felt great.  I was expecting this as my Long Bricks included a 45min run of ~6 miles.  However, right after this period, my stomach went south quickly and I basically did porta-potty hopping for 7 – 8 miles.  At this point, I thought I could, if absolutely necessary, walk to the finish, but I was a bit concerned about dehydration from my pit stops and my inability to take in anything.  Additionally, I had absolutely no desire to be out there an add’l few hours.  When my stomach got sour I stopped with the Powerbar Perform sports drink (I drank Infinit on the bike, but was taking in the nutrition from the aid stations on the run as I did not want to run with a Fuelbelt).  At the risk of TMI, my last porta-potty stop around Mile 14/15 was no longer like a shower coming out of my butt…just gas.  Clearly I was in an “odd” mental state as this got me excited.  I got out of the restroom and was able to start running again!  It was nothing super-quick…mid 8s, then sub 8s.  I had a large “support crew” with me (Molly & June, my 2 sets of parents, Molly’s parents, one of my sister’s, her husband and 2 of my nephews) and they set-up camp on the run course where there is bi-directional traffic….you run by ~ Mile 3.5 and Mile 8.5 of each loop.  This really helped me break down the marathon as I knew that I would see them every 3 – 5 miles.  When I saw them on the 1st loop, I was all smiles & high 5s.  On the 2nd loop, I gave them a “heads up” that it would be a bit slow as I was having “issues”.  Upon starting the 3rd loop, I told Molly that my stomach was feeling better and in 9 miles, June’s dad was going to be an IM.  That got them (and me) excited.  With a mile to go I saw my MHM athlete (John Herring) up the path finishing up his 1st loop.  I ran up on him, told him he looked good and wished him well for the rest of the run.  He asked if I was finishing up my last lap and I said yes.  He told me to enjoy it as I’d earned it.  I ran on up the path and was passing people with conviction as I did not want any “tag-alongers” for the finishing shoot.  Just as I turned off the main loop to the finishing stretch there were 2 or 3 runners just up the path.  I decided not to kick them down as I did not want to lose my lunch at the finish nor did I want to interfere with their race finish experience.  I was going to break 11 hours, and I was OK with that.  The IM race finish was really cool…although I had known for a few miles that I was going to finish, it was still surreal to experience it…especially after being there exactly one (1) year earlier and seeing others do the very same thing and wonder if I had what it took to be an Ironman.  10hr 50min 19sec after the cannon sounded race a.m., I confirmed that I did and got to hear “Larry Spradley, you are an Ironman!”

Max IM AZ Finish

Larry Spradley - YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!!

Thank Yous

I owe a lot of people a lot of Thanks…

Molly – Thank you for all of the support and encouragement during my Ironman build-up & race.  I know that doing IM training with a newborn in the household can be tough on everyone…but your help (and many late nights & early mornings) made it possible.  I know I still owe you quite a bit for all that you did…and I am hopeful I can return the favor in the not too distant future.  Love you!!

Molly and June

My Support Crew

June – Although you probably will not be reading this blog entry for quite some time (if ever), you were absolutely my inspiration during many of my long bikes & runs.  Your dad is an Ironman!  You may not remember what happened on Nov 20, 2011 (or that you were there), but I will never forget.  Love you!!

June Smiling

June enjoying the sites at IM AZ

Family & Friends – Thank you for all of the prayers, well wishes & positive vibes…in person, phone & email!  Your interest and enthusiasm in this journey has meant a lot!  Love you all!

STL Folks

IM Max Support Crew

Pete Alfino (and the entire Mile High Multisport family) – Your “nudge” to get me to register for the Ironman event helped to kick-off this journey and your advice helped to keep me going in the right direction.  I learned a lot during my IM journey about myself and the sport of triathlon and I think it will help me be a better father, husband and endurance coach!  😉

To my sponsors – wait…an opportunity!!  If you are looking for a slightly faster than middle of the pack grouper (with lots of potential ;-)) who blogs once in a blue moon about an event that occurred more than three (3) weeks ago…you have found your guy!!  This is especially true if you have connections to the Blue Triad SL LE.

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1.Eighteen.20Eleven – IM Training Update.

Posted in Ironman, Races, Triathlon on January 18, 2011 by spradley
Max Spradley - 2011.01.18

Max Spradley - 2011.01.18

So now most readers of this blog are aware of two (2) major events coming this year:  my wife (Molly) is pregnant and due in early July and I am hoping to race my first Ironman triathlon in Tempe, Arizona in November.  We are both very excited about these two (2) events.  We are also both aware that our “typical” day will be changed drastically come July (and, likely that we will not have a “typical” day for quite some time thereafter).  Both raising a baby and training for an IM are time intensive tasks, and I am hopeful to manage my time in a way that allows me to be a good dad-n-husband (priority #1) and still perform well at IM AZ (priority #2).  Can this be done?  I hope so & think so…but as this will be our first child, I suspect Molly and I will encounter many new experiences & challenges along the way.

To that end, my plan for training & racing this year is to divide up the calendar into two (2) parts:  pre-baby and post-baby.  This was already in the works somewhat as I knew that I would need a mid-season break to allow me to “recharge” before diving into the “real” IM training leading up to November.  So…I hope to get in some quality training leading up to late June/early July and race the Loveland Lake To Lake and Boulder Peak triathlons.  Ideally, I will get in some very good shape between now and then, race well, and be able to take some time off from training to welcome “+1” to the Spradley household.  After a bit of “transition” time, I hope to be able to get in another quality training block leading up to IM AZ.

So…how is my training go thus far?  Quite well – thanks for asking!  😉  In the last six (6) weeks of training, I did three (3) weeks of “Prep” work (relatively easy training getting my body back into the swing of things) and another three (3) weeks of Base work (gradually building volume focusing on endurance and speed skills).  I have been feeling my fitness level progress and was even able to not go too crazy with Holiday indulgences.

Training highlights:

  • Going for a swim on a random Friday evening (Molly was out with the girls) and coming back with a 3000 SCY PR!  This was motivating and proof that the previous week’s swim lesson played dividends (Thanks Pete at Mile High Multisport!).  It also re-emphasized how important relaxation is during the swim.  I was not worried about splits…just enjoying a nice, easy swim.
  • Attending Spin Class with Molly.  It is not often that Molly and I get to work out together, and it has been nice to go to spin class with her on Monday and Wednesday nights.  This fits well in my schedule as I am working on various speed skills (spin ups, etc.), and allows each of us to go our own pace and still get to spend time together.
  • Swim – 1000yd TT Improvement.  As you will see in my “stats” below, I was able to improve my 1000yd TT time by approx 20 seconds in three (3) weeks (that is ~1 second a day…think what I can do by November!  ;-))
  • Run – LT Improvement.  I did another Lactate Threshold Heart Rate (LTHR) test and my LT pace improved to 6:19ppm (vs 6:35ppm back in mid-August).
  • It was also really enjoyable to get outside for a lot of my runs during December.  Some mornings the temps were a bit chilly, but all-in-all the weather made for some invigorating runs.  Of course, 2011 has brought with it some “real” winter weather…so, I have had to spend a bit more time on the treadmill.

Current Stats:

  • Weight: 170.5
  • Body Fat: 12.0 %

Swim

  • 1000 yd TT (2010.12.22): 15:41.4
  • T-Pace: 1:34

 Bike

  • 20min TT (2010.12.25)
  • LT HR: 148 bpm
  • FTPw: 267 W

 Run

  • 30min TT (2010.12.21)
  • LT HR: 160
  • LT Pace: 6:19ppm

12.One.20Ten – Another Journey Begins…

Posted in Ironman, Races, Triathlon on December 1, 2010 by spradley

Two weeks ago, I travelled to Tempe, AZ to watch the 2010 Ironman Arizona race. My main reason for wanting to view this race was to get a better feel for an Ironman event. I was also able to cheer on the Mile High Multisport athletes who were racing on Nov 21st. Upon arriving at my hotel, I quickly changed clothes and went for a run on the IM AZ run course. Many view the IM AZ course as a bit dull for racers. I believe this is primarily due to the fact that you do 3 loops of ~ 37 miles on the bike (112 mi total) and 3 loops of ~ 8.7 miles on the run (26.2 mi total). I like this course set-up as you can “learn” the course as you race, monitor your splits from one lap to the next, and see spectators throughout. In theory, a spectator could stand in one spot near Tempe Town Lake and see you 2x on the swim (assuming they could pick you out of 3000 people in wetsuits), walk 200m to the Bike Course and see you 6x on the bike (you go out-n-back on the Rio Salado Parkway in Tempe), walk 200m back to Tempe Town Lake and see you 6 more times on the run as racers go out-n-back on the south side of the lake. That is not a lot of walking for a lot of spectating…and from a racer perspective, that is quite appealing to me. I draw energy from friends-n-family cheering.

So…I ran most of the run course and checked out the transition area as racers were setting up the bikes for the next day’s event. You could feel the nervous energy in the air. Some racers were hoping to use IM AZ to qualify for the Ironman World Championships in Kona (each IM race has a certain number of Kona slots available…these are divided amongst the age groups…the bigger the age group, the more Kona slots are allocated. My age group (Men 30 – 34) is typically a rather large one, so it generally has about 6 slots available…so the Top 6 finishers in the Men 30-34 division would earn a qualifying spot to Kona). Some racers were looking to set a Personal Record (PR) or Course Record (CR). Many racers were competing in their first Ironman. All were looking at going 140.6 miles.

Race morning (Sunday, Nov 21, 2010) was an early one for me as I wanted to get down to the swim area (Tempe Town Lake) and see the start. For many people (myself included), the mass swim start is one of the scariest parts of a triathlon. Most local triathlons use a wave start…so approximately 100 – 200 people start together. As you can imagine, this leads to lots of “contact” (some unintentional…some not, unfortunately) during the early stages of a swim. Nearly all Ironman races do not use a wave start…everyone starts at one time. 3000 athletes start their 140.6 mile journey at once. I had heard some horror stories of IM starts and I wanted to see how it would go in AZ. I watched a lot of nervous-n-focused racers get last minute hugs from their family & friends before jumping in the lake. At 6:50am the pros were off…and then the 3000 racers lined up behind the row of start buoys (and kayaks). It was pretty crazy looking. As the race director was giving last minute instructions, the speakers started blaring Black Sabbath’s ‘I am Ironman’ and the feeling was electric (boogie woogie woogie) !! The cannon went off and there went 3000 people on their Ironman journey.

2010 IM AZ - Just Prior To Start

2010 IM AZ - Just Prior To Start

2010 IM AZ Start

2010 IM AZ Start

I spent most of the day watch-n-cheering for the athletes as they swam, biked and ran. I was with several Mile High Multisport coaches and we took a lunch and dinner break (and the racers continued…). As some of the MHM racers approached the finish line, we went to the stands near the finish and watched as the racers got to hear “Joe Wilson…YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!!” as they crossed the line. Very cool…very emotional. I have some idea of what these athletes did during the months leading up to the race….4 to 7 miles of swimming, 100 – 200 miles of biking and 30 – 50 miles of running…each week! (at least that is what the athletes reported at Kona). The focus & drive required to dedicate yourself to this goal is intense. These people were realizing the fruits of their labor (lots & lots of labor). It was really neat to witness.

The next a.m. I awoke early (again), went for another run on the IM AZ run course and then at 6:45am got in line to register for the 2011 Ironman Arizona event. I had been considering doing an IM for quite some time and now I was about to pay $600 and make it official. I reflected on how several years ago, when I was “just” a marathoner, I could not fathom swimming 2.4mi, biking 112mi and then running a marathon. I stood in line for more than three (3) hours and chatted with several other prospective IM athletes…two (2) guys near me (both in line and in age) were local to the Phoenix area and we chatted about our athletic backgrounds and why we decided to do this race. At 10am, I was registered for the race. In one year I hope to be at the start line (and 140.6 miles later…the finish) of the Ironman Arizona event.

This journey is just beginning. I have lots of training to do between now and November 20, 2011. I am sure some days will go well and others not so much. Some workouts will be easy-breezy and some quite tough. I am both excited & nervous for the challenge. I hope to find out more about myself (physically & mentally) along the way.

Here we go…

Max Spradley - 2010.12.01

Max Spradley - 2010.12.01

Initial Stats.

Weight: 173.5
Body Fat: 12.5 %

Swim
1000 yd TT (2010.12.01): 16:00.4
T-Pace: 1:36

Bike
20min TT (2010.11.27)
LT HR: 147
FTPw: 290*

Run
30min TT (2010.08.17)
LT HR: 163
LT Pace: 6:35ppm

*Estimate as data was lost during CompuTrainer “save”. I was watching it during my TT and believe it was ~290 with a few minutes to go.

8.Eight.20Ten – IM Boulder 70.3

Posted in August, Ironman, Races, Triathlon on August 8, 2010 by spradley

On Sunday I competed in the Ironman Boulder 70.3 (Half Ironman) triathlon. This was my first triathlon since the wedding and I was a bit unsure how it would go, given that for the last month I had been subsisting on wedding cake, wine & cheese (and was carrying a few extra pounds due to this “diet”).

It was an early race day morning as my alarm went off at 4:00am MT. However, given that I was in the last wave AND this was a long course triathlon, it was not as early as I might typically do. I was not as concerned with my bike location as I did not think it would effect my overall results much since I was viewing this race as a “casual” one.

Molly wanted to join me in Boulder (she was going to do some running around the Boulder Res while I was either swimming, biking or running). Of course, I think she decided this before fully realizing how early & long a day this would be…regardless, I was very happy she came to cheer me on.

Unfortunately, our relatively late arrival into Boulder had us stuck in traffic for 15 – 20 minutes as everyone made their way to the Boulder Reservoir. Once there, I set-up my transition area and made it out just a few minutes before it closed.

After all of the rushing to get set-up, I had approximately an hour to kill while the other waves of athletes started every five (5) minutes. As the day was going to be long (70.3 miles) and hot (90+ degrees), I did not do any type of bike nor run warm-up as I would typically do for a Sprint or Olympic distance triathlon. Instead, I tried to find a shady spot to relax.

Once the Pros reached T1 (they were the 1st wave of athletes to start), I knew it was time to get in my wetsuit and do a little swimming. With Molly’s help, I got into my Blue Seventy wetsuit (NOTE: It has a “reverse” zipper so it is practically impossible to get on & zipped without outside assistance) and made my way into the water. Despite the recent wave of 90 degree days, the water was not too warm…thanks, in large part, to a rain storm on Saturday night.

Finally, it was time for my wave to start. I positioned myself on the inside of the clockwise loop as I typically breathe to my right and like to keep that as open as possible (despite the fact that it increases my chance of body contact as people try to take the shortest line). My focus on the swim this year has not been speed, per se, but constant swimming. Several years ago, I would take longer sighting breaks (and maybe a few breast strokes) every so often. This year, I have focused on quick(er) sighting and maintaining a constant speed via freestyle. Although I am still not the greatest swimmer, my race times have improved. Despite doing only a few swim workouts since the wedding, I was able to hold my form for the 1.2mi swim and came out a few minutes faster than I expected.

The good feeling from the swim was quickly lost as I had trouble finding my bike in transition. I *thought* I was on Row 4…turns out I was on Row 5. (Rookie mistake…make sure you check AND double-check your position in transition). After finding my bike, I stripped my wetsuit, grabbed my sunglasses, clicked on my helmet, strapped on my shoes & grabbed my bike. I was moving…although I opted to not have my shoes in the pedals and do a flying mount. My bike was pretty loaded down with liquids & gels and I did not want to risk spilling everything. As I left the Boulder Res, I glanced at my watch and noticed that I was just hitting the time I thought I would do for the swim. So far, so good.

The bike course for the Ironman Boulder 70.3 is flat-n-fast, and I took full advantage. I struggled a bit the first few miles…and was concerned that I may have overestimated my abilities for my the bike split. However, after these initial struggles, I was able to find a sustainable rhythm and my average speed kept climbing. I tried to concentrate on riding easy enough to be able to take in continual calories via Gatorade, Gu and Sport Beans. This appears to work well as I was able to stay steady throughout and made it back to T2 faster than expected AND feeling strong for the run.

Heading into the race, I knew that I was not in top running condition, so I wanted to start conservatively on the 13.1 run. I got into a rhythm and was able to move up through the various packs of runners. At each aid station I would sip a bit of Gatorade, drink some water and pour a cup of ice down my tri suit. That seemed to do the trick for the first loop as I was running steady 7:30 miles. However, on the 2nd loop, the ice was becoming scarce at the aid stations and my lack of run fitness came to the front. I struggled on the 2nd loop and had to focus on simply continuing to run vs running fast. Thankfully, the race’s finish line came and I even managed to pick up the pace (albeit slightly) to cross it.

I then made a bee-line for the post race food as I was hankering something serious for a soda…don’t ask me why (I rarely (rarely!) drink soda), but that is what my body was craving. Molly and I found a shady spot, ate-n-drank a little and then made our way to the Mile High Multisport tent to cheer on some finishers. After a bit, I had reached my quota for sun-time and we headed back to Denver (but only after getting our salt fix with some Red Robin french fries).

In looking back at the results, I was pleasantly surprised with how I performed (considering my training, or lack thereof, the last month).  Here is a comparison with my 2008 splits:

                    2008                    2009

Swim        41:53                    37:02

T1              1:15                       2:26

Bike          2:24:53                2:22:30

T2             1:26                       1:38

Run          1:42:55                1:45:25

Total       4:52:20               4:48:59 (PR!!)

—max.