IM 70.3 Boise Race Report

boise IM finish

With my race bag packed two days ahead of schedule, I was more than ready to take on IM 70.3 Boise.

5:30 am rolled around the Thursday before, and I said goodbye to the family and drove away.  This would be my first, and hopefully my last, LONG solo driving adventure.  I made six pit-stops along the way before arriving in Boise some 10 hours later.  My child-hood friend, Rae, had invited me to stay with her and her husband, Casey, for the long weekend.  Both being triathletes, and having done Boise in the past, Rae and Casey were a wealth of knowledge and inspiration.

Boise day-of-race, I was told, was a crap-shoot.  The weather often toyed between down-pour rain and freezing temperatures (2012) and soon-to-be, sweltering hot this year.  I was also told the bike course was always windy.  ALWAYS.  So, I’d better hold back on pushing too hard on the bike and save some energy for the run.

Rae chauffeured me around, which I loved because I didn’t have to figure out where to go, when to be there, etc.  We headed for packet pick-up Thursday night.  It was a seamless process and very well-organized with tons of volunteers.  It could have been that I also beat the rush of the crowd that were due to show up on Friday to check-in since race day was Saturday.  In any case, it was super cinchy and I was in and out in no time!  I was also able to add my local TRI team to the IM 70.3 Boise list, The Bellingham TRI Club, at the last-minute.

The expo was pretty non-existent, compared to other events I’ve been to, but what I really cared about was the IM 70.3 Boise gear!  I scored:: new Tri shorts, pint glass, water bottle, t-shirt, M-dot ornament, and cookie cutter.  Cheesy I know, but I like that stuff!

My highlight on Thursday, besides being in Boise for the first time, was meeting Alexander Ford and his family, and other FurtherFasterForever Tri Peeps who I have been following on Instagram.  We met down at a local brewery, called 10 Barrel.

f3 peeps

On Friday, I did a quick shake out bike and run and Rae joined me.  It was already so hot out!

ride/run shake out

We took my bike to check in at T1 at Lucky Peak Reservoir, where the swim was going to be.  Looking out at the water, the first thing I noticed was all the waves and choppiness from the wind.  Oh my.  A bit of panic set in.  I gulped.  Rae asked me if I wanted to get in.  Uh …. no thanks.  I think I’ll wait until tomorrow and wing it.  (and, PRAY that the wind dies down between now and race time).

Not so calm ...
Not so calm …

trek speed concept wsd

Friday night dinner was home-cooked spaghetti with french bread. YUMO! (thanks Rae!)  I prepared my race bags and made my hydration bottles.  On my down tube, I made a mixture of 3 scoops CarboPro with GUbrew electrolytes.  I froze this bottle and intended to sip from it every ten minutes on the bike until it was finished.  My aerobar bottle was water with GUbrew and I packed two more GUbrew electrolyte tabs for replacing the water at the aid stations on the bike course.  With one bottle in the freezer and the other in the refrigerator, I bid everyone goodnight.

Race morning, I slept in a bit.  After all, IM 70.3 Boise is a 12:00 start.  I don’t know any other 70.3 races that have a start time this late, and I’m not a fan.  With the heat of the day ahead, I would have much preferred a morning start time.

pre race breakfast

I had my pre-race breakfast, 1/2 plain bagel with a banana and a cup of coffee.  I can’t eat much before a race and I knew I had been carbo loading and eating and hydrating with electrolytes really well the past few days, so that didn’t worry me.  We left Rae’s house around 9:15 and headed to T2 to drop my run bag.  This race is a clean transition race, meaning EVERYTHING has to be in either the run or bike bag.  No footprint for a transition zone whatsoever at either T1 or T2.  Just your bag.  In fact, the T1 bag had to be hanging from the bikes.  Nothing on the ground.

me and alexander

I met up with Alexander and Rae gave him a ride to Lucky Peak swim start too.  We parked and hiked about 20 minutes to get to the start.  I had to set up my bike bottles and get my tires pumped.  No transition zone to set up, so I just hung my bike bag from my handlebars.

Then the wait for my swim wave.  I was in WAVE 5, which was set for 12:15.  I was relatively calm considering the water was a choppy mess.  This would be my rockiest swim EVER.  And, if you have been following my blog or know me, you know how thrilled I was with this. :/  Nonetheless, it was GO TIME.  Time to conquer this swim.  Goal #1 was a 45 minute swim.  Given that the water was so choppy and everyone was rocking, I told myself I would be happy to finish under an hour.

Deep Water Start
Deep Water Start

The horn blew, and just like that … I was off.  The swim felt remarkably solid for being thrown around like a lonely towel in a washing machine.  I didn’t dare stop for the one time I did, I ended up with a load of water right in my face.  Forge on.  I swam to the outside left, way away from everyone or anyone coming up behind me.  And they came in droves.  I didn’t care if I swam an extra 1/4 mile, just so no one swam over me or kicked me.  I was swimming for what seemed like forever, but all the while, I was very comfortable.  YAY for some progress!  I came out of the swim feeling like a million bucks and prepared to rock the bike course.  Wet suit strippers at the top of the hill skinned this rabbit and I was off to find my bike bag.

swim
I’m on the far left

Slow transitions seem to be my specialty and I need to find another gear to speed up my transition zones.  I dried my feet, put body glide on them, socks, then bike shoes.  Glasses, then helmet and oh yeah …. wetsuit and goggles/cap in the bag cinched up.  Away I went.

The air was warm and dry and I quickly warmed up after the chilly 60 degree swim.  My feet, which are typically frozen for quite some time, liked the ‘warmness’ of the air.  A quick descent right out of T1 and I was on my way.  EASY I told myself.  Hold back.

HOLY WIND …. okay, then …. this makes it easy to hold back.  Sideways, pushing, almost loosing control of my bike a couple of times type side wind.  Headwind on descents made it hard for the so-called easy recoveries.  So, I kicked it down to easy gears and just remembered my quick cadence.  I took a Peanut Butter Gu at 30 minutes in and again at 1:30 and a Roctane GU at 2:30.  I used CarboPro with electrolytes every 10 minutes.  I used salt tablets 3 times on the bike and I consumed water with electrolytes from my aerobar bottle.  I’ve got this.  The miles clicked by and I was passing people in my age group left and right.  How can this be?  I was riding super easy, not pushing it at all.  OH YEAH … I was so looking forward to killing it on the run!

bike
photo credit to: finisherpix.com

The miles seemed effortless on the bike and before I knew it, I was finished!  This time really sped by for me.  The course itself was really nondescript and not the prettiest of courses I’ve ridden, but I didn’t mind it.  A couple of hills, but nothing to write home about either.  The only real killer was the wind and one technical trail – single track – with no passing.  It was downhill at first and I wasn’t prepared to quickly go uphill and I was in my biggest ring.  OUCH!  I had to suffer the mash-fest to get up the hill because I didn’t want to drop my chain or get chain suck from shifting.

bike front
photo credit to: finisherpix.com

Hwy 21 was most remarkable on the bike and a guy standing on the corner made me laugh.  He was holding a big yellow sign that read, “GO RANDOM STRANGER!”  His friend was holding a sign that read, ‘THIS IS A MOTIVATIONAL SIGN.”  For whatever reason, this made me LOL.

Coming into T2 – I knew I was prepared to run.  This was my speciality and I had been practicing bricks for the past 22 weeks.  This run was mine for the taking.  Settle in, steady pace … break it into thirds and race the last third.  I’ve got this.

I quickly racked my bike, changed my shoes, grabbed my hat and race belt and I was off.  One quick stop at the porto-potty.  I tried to pee on the bike, but I just couldn’t do it.  Literally, I couldn’t make myself go.  I tried.  And tried.  And tried.  Seriously.  Couldn’t make it happen.  So, into the porto-potty I go, but I really didn’t have to go … so maybe that was my problem.

The run …

….. oh, this run.

I am a runner.  I’ve got this …

GO

Four minutes in …

UGH, pain tightening in my left quad.  Pain so bad I know I needed to stretch the sucker out.  I moved out of the path and started to lift my left heel to my hand for a good ‘ol quad stretch …

ARRRRGGGHHHHHH!  Charlie horse in my hamstring … opposite side.  F%&* S($# (many expletives I can’t remember here).

I am bent over in excruciating pain.  Unable to move.  After a couple of minutes bent at the waist massaging my leg, I try to walk.  And … I’m limping.  It hurts.  Tears start flowing out my eyes.  I look at my watch and know I will have to walk this 13.1 miles or a majority of it and my goal of sub 6 just went out the window.  I cry harder.

Wiping my tears under my glasses, I continue walking as other athletes are running by me.  It’s such a pretty run course, on a paved trail next to water and trees.  I want to run so bad.  What the heck??  I fueled just right, didn’t I?  I hit mile one in 10 minutes.  Geesh.  This is going to take forever.  First aid station, I down some water and get some ice.  I chew on the ice and the rest goes in my shirt and down my shorts to cool me off.  It was the hottest part of the day and now I was grumpy. Cranky grump.  But, I continued to talk to people and walk with others when I could.  I stopped at every aid station and kept drinking, only now I started drinking coca-cola.  OH, this is good.  I jogged a little, but mostly walked.

run

After a couple of miles, I felt a raw type pain on the back of my left ankle.  What the heck?  I look down and it’s rubbed raw.  UGH.  I stop, pull up my sock over it and carry on. At the next aid station, I get a bandaid for both ankles because it’s rubbing raw on both ankles.  I’ve never had this problem before.  EVER.  I stop again at the next aid station because my first bandaids came off.  That’s when I realize …

hey dumbshit …. you forgot to cinch up your laces.  How could I have forgotten that?  Now I’m angry with myself and tell my ankles to just go ahead and bleed.  I deserve it.  Dummy.

Oh — and for pain’s stake … what’s one more bandaid change?  They’ve come off again and I can’t seem to go any slower anyhow, so I take my time changing them out for the third time.  Swell.

hugging rae

I was just finishing the first loop of the run course when I found Rae and Casey.  I hugged Rae tight and told her what happened and I started crying again.  She gave me a pep talk, but in my moment of delirium, I really don’t know what she said, but I kept moving.  Casey told me to stop with the cola and switch to water.  Good call … I listened.  I started to jog slightly more the second loop and finished with a new PW.  Personal Worst.

Nonetheless, I finished.

And, I finished smiling.

run finish
photo credit to: finisherpix.com

I went straight to medical and told them how bad I was cramping.  Hoping they would give me an IV of fluids to make me feel better, they gave me chicken broth.  In my non-sensical rationale, I told them I had been consuming electrolytes all along and had no idea why I was cramping.

Casey and Rae took care of getting my bike and all my gear bags and helped me to the car.  I took one picture with Alexander, who was waiting at the finish.

finish photo

As I was taking this picture, I just felt sick.  Nauseous.  No sooner did they get me home, and I was throwing up the lame chicken broth.  Oh yuckiness.  I hate throwing up.  I can’t remember the last time that even happened.  Never in a race or after a race.  I still had no idea what was happening.

I didn’t seem to come to my senses until after Rae and Casey fed me dinner at 9 pm that night.  I felt much better, even though I really didn’t want to eat and my throat hurt from throwing up.  I drank a ton of water all through the night and woke up just devastated.  What the heck happened?  I ran through everything in my mind again how I had awesome swim and an awesome bike … what the heck?!

My bike …

I went out to my bike in the garage and pulled my water bottle from the down tube.  It was half full (or half empty at this point in the game).  SHIT.  I thought I had consumed almost all of it.  After all, I was drinking from it every 10 minutes.  I ran inside and asked Casey if he had dumped my aerobar bottle.

Yes.  

How much fluid was still in it?

About half.

CRAPOLA!  Then I replayed the aid stations I went through.  Only two had I grabbed a bottle of water.  I poured half over my head and emptied the rest into my aero bottle before pitching it inside the trash zone.  I knew I had to consume AT LEAST 3 full bottles while on the bike, probably 4 with the heat.  I consumed maybe 1 to 1 1/2 bottles max.

SIGH.  THAT WAS IT. CASE SOLVED.

Time to regroup.

Time to recharge.

I have IM CANADA in 12 weeks and I need serious practice at hydration and fueling.  Obviously.

Lesson learned – but it doesn’t make it any easier in the moment.  I am so glad I finished and I never once thought I wouldn’t – it’s just not in me to quit.  I am most thankful for all the support from my friends and family over Facebook, Twitter and IG.  Thank you!  Truly.

As Casey told me — Boise is DEAD to you.  LOL!  I love this.  I may have to resurrect it next year.

boise medal

Las Vegas Rock ‘n Roll Race Report

I flew into Vegas on Friday, December 1st, and promptly checked in to my hotel — The MGM Grand.  I couldn’t wait to get over to the Expo – located at the Sands Convention Center, inside the Venetian, so I unpacked and organized my clothes as quickly and neatly as humanly type A possible, and then made my way to catch a taxi.

I forgot how expensive taxi’s are in Vegas.  Ridiculous!!  At any rate, I made my way over to the Expo and found it to be well organized.  A huge open space to pick up race numbers according to your corral (I was in corral 2), then onto picking up my tech T — by Brooks!  Finally, the swag bag, full of mostly brochures, but I like them empty so I can fill it with goodies from the expo.

check in

Race Bib:

Race Bib

First stop, Brooks Cavalcade of Curiosities!

IMG_1579

Have I mentioned how much I love Brooks? I won a t-shirt and tried my hand a new pair of shoes (I didn’t win the shoes).

I made my way through the expo, had a few healthy protein nibbles and was back at the hotel and ready for bed by 8:30 pm.  Exciting for Las Vegas right?! But hey – I had a race to run!!

The next morning, I met my friend from Virginia and we made our way to the Expo so she could get her race packet. I chilled all day in this attire (not very Vegasy, I know):

run happy cupcake

(I love this Brooks Run Happy Cupcake Tech T — so soft and comfortable.  I also wore my CEP compression socks all day!)

RACE DAY:

So the race didn’t start until 4:30 pm.  I knew I didn’t want to eat much of anything, so my last meal was around 10 am and consisted of eggs, ham, and an english muffin.  Nothing more until after the race.

Brooks race kitRace ready!!

yellow shoesResting my legs before the start.

So … the start::

I almost missed my corral.  I was in the longest porto-potty line EVER! By the time I got out, they had just started Corral 1.  I sprinted nearly 1/2 mile, dodging and weaving and about 100 “excuse me’s” through the masses of other runners and spectators.  By the time I made it to the start, Corral 2 had already taken off and the runners were at least 300 feet down the road …. ACK!!  So, I started … SOLO …. as Corral 3 was still being held back at the start line.  hee hee … 🙂 Why not?

I quickly found my pace and held stead fast.

WHOA — wait …. what’s this?

WIND?!!!

Sideways, hard, pushing.  UGH.  This is not going to be fun.  Stay focused I told myself.  Get in behind others and keep moving forward.  So, that’s what I did. I felt good during the entire race and enjoyed seeing the STRIP AT NIGHT! At about mile 8, I had 1/2 a gel, and I only took in a few sips of water.  At mile nine, I was coming into the back side of Freemont and saw a spinning stiletto heel.  ….. LOVE!

Turning back towards the Bellagio, total headwind, HARD, for the final 3 + miles.  Everyone I tried to get behind was slowing way down, so I just pushed harder to catch someone else to run behind.  I found a skinny dude and followed him for about 2 miles, until he stopped to walk.  WHAT?! We are almost done!!  I kept at it, pushing, knowing that I would PR.  And, a PR, I did!!

IMG_1790

Now for the nitty-gritty:

Yes – I did PR … but, I almost started crying when I finished.  I looked down at my GARMIN, which showed I had an average pace of 7:45 and 13.23 miles in 1:42:44.  How is my time not closer to a 1:40:00 ???  I was shooting for a 1:40:00.  A 7:51 average pace should have given me a 1:40:00.  What the heck?

garmin results

I asked other runners what their Garmin’s read.  Everyone I talked to said their Garmin’s showed 13.2 something.  That’s it — the course was long!

Wait — it could haven’t been another 2 minutes.  Still dumbfounded — I just couldn’t get past why I didn’t come closer to a 1:40:00, especially after running a solid 7:45 average pace.  DANG!

I tried to brush it off as best as I could and feel great about my performance and my PR, but still …..

I met up with my old high school buddy, Eric, and his wife, Sharon, for a night of fun.  Here is our after race photo:

after race photo

It wasn’t until the next day that I found my training mistake ….

For whatever reason, my last few runs were at marathon pace, not at 1/2 marathon pace.  So I had 7:51 stuck in my head, not 7:36 …

This, my friends, is what I call my DUMB ASS training moment #537

Overall — this was a fantastic race and I’m glad it was a solid effort and performance.  No injuries – great running – and awesome friends to train with.

This is what I call SUCCESS!

Three Things Thursday

***ACK!  It’s been a week and I missed my blogging.  To my credit, I was in Vegas Friday through Tuesday and follow that with two 10 hour days of work and you have one tired girl!

Here are my Three Things Thursday to get me back on track:

1.  I ran a race on Sunday!!  Not just any race, I ran the Vegas Rock ‘n Roll 1/2 Marathon!!  A race re-cap will be forthcoming (I promise)!  For now, here’s a sneak-a-peek:

results

2.  YES! This was a PR (Personal Record) for me!! WOOT!  My previous best was a 1:44:37 in 2008 at the Holualoa Tucson 1/2 Marathon.

ASIDE from the PR, my biggest achievement was coaching two athletes to their very first 1/2 marathon!! One was from Virginia (who I had never met until Saturday) AND the other was a co-worker of the hubs that had no real plan until I sent him one.  BOTH of these athletes did fantastic during their training and nailed the 1/2 marathon on Sunday despite the EPIC headwinds.  I’m so excited for their next races and am grateful to have been a part of their very first 1/2 marathon experience.  Thank you Rebecca and Jeff!

3.  A special shout out to Brooks Running for selecting me the last 4 years to be a part of the Inspire Daily team.  I wore their race kit proudly Sunday!

Brooks race kit

Three Things Thursday

1. I’ve been addicted to Frosty the Finger Puppet since Black Friday. He’s taken over my Instagram and has his own hashtag: #frostythefingerpuppet

I also thought it would be fun to share the love of Frosty with a couple of IG friends. One of which is @emysue — she just got Frosty today and began snapping up her own fun pics!! I love it!

The next person to get Frosty is a surprise! I will let you know soon!

Here one of my favorite Frosty pics from this week:

I called this one: Glamour Shots

2. I leave for Vegas tomorrow!! ACK!! I’m not even packed yet — well, sort of packed. I have my running clothes ready to go, if that counts. I think it does — I mean, really — the most important thing is my race attire, if you ask me. I narrowed it down to four outfits and posted to my IG friends for their input.

Here are the choices:

My IG friends are mostly split between the top RIGHT and the bottom RIGHT.

Do you spy #frostythefingerpuppet in each photo? 😉

ALSO — Which outfit do you like best?

3. I got a package from the Fed-Ex man tonight! Here’s my loot:

3 pairs of Injinji Socks and an assortment of GU Energy Gels and GuBrews!

Where did I get all this cool loot? Well, my Twitter Friend @milelonglegs was having a giveaway on her blog (which I entered and won!)

Thank you @milelonglegs!

******

ps …. I must to go to bed now … alarm is set for 4:30 am – one more run before I leave for VEGAS! Woot!

pps … What are your Three Things Thursday?

Fabulous Friday 11 Mile Run

On deck:

11 miles.  2 warm-up miles, 8 at marathon goal pace (7:51), 1 mile cool down.

First things first:

Today’s running clothes brought to you by Brooks Running! Well isn’t every day a Brooks Running day? Why yes, it is!

Brooks Running Shoes:  Pure Connects

Next up:

Out the door I go for my run.  After a couple of warm up miles, I hit my stride.  Here are my totals and splits:

::brought to you by Strava

Overall, I’m very happy with my splits (except mile 8, where I was a titch off). The Las Vegas Rock-n-Roll 1/2 Marathon is right around the corner and I’m feeling pumped for a PR!

Post Run Reward?

Have a wonderful weekend friends!! Run Happy!

Three Things Thursday

1. Anyone else wake up this early?

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Or – put random sayings on your alarm to motivate you?

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Just wondering.

2. Thank you Jess for a great early dark thirty run!

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Brr-ski!! It was cold this morning!!

3. Decisions Decisions…..

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The great debate for my upcoming 1/2 marathon — do I choose the bright yellow Pure Connects or my bright pink Pure Cadence. I love them both!!

***What are your 3 things Thursday?***