Friday, August 8, 2014

IM Boulder Race Recap 2014 ~ Let's Do This!!

Leading up to IM Boulder, it was so much different than the days before IM Cozumel just a short 8 months ago.  Have I learned and grown so much that it seemed like a very distant past rather than earlier in the year?  IM Boulder was so much more serene and nerve racking all in the same sense.  There is definitely something to be said about getting away and not doing a race in your back yard.  First and foremost, when you are away, you are away and your sole focus is on the ironman and getting yourself prepared for it.  Racing at home, I worked up to the last minute and was running around trying to get things done for the race, work and my family.  The great part was that I could also roll out of my own bed and not worry about eating foreign food and if I did forget something, I knew exactly where I could find a replacement.   I didn't have to ship my bike and be without it for 2 weeks.  Not to mention the cost.  Racing at home is almost like racing for free (almost) no planes, bike shipping, hotels, food and who wouldn't get a charge out of running around the streets of Boulder with many of their friends and family there to cheer you on.  I had to run in Boulder and take advantage of such an opportunity.

What an incredible hoot doing IM Boulder was.  Pretty much everything surrounding the event for me was a great experience.  Well maybe except for the rain soaked soggy grass during registration.  I didn't like that.  Seriously though....even the logo is pretty friggin cool.  So why wouldn't the race be a blast as well.

Race report, I have to write a race report.  How is this going to compare to my IM Cozumel report?  I really liked that one.  It had it all....Comedy, drama, good photos, stories of triumph and storms in a foreign land.  It took me three separate reports to write the whole damn thing it was soo long.  How can this even come close with this one???

Now I've had the time of my life
No I never felt like this before
Yes I swear it's the truth
and I owe it all to you....

Now I am not sure I had the time of my life but no one puts baby in the corner either.  This is a tale of happiness and love and thankfulness and gratitude.  You know the stuff you never see on TV or read about it the papers because it doesn't sell.  The days leading up to the race, I was slammed with work.  Thank goodness it was taper week because I would have missed half of my workouts anyway.  But the ones that I did, I had a blast doing and was sooo relaxed, happy and ready.

I was asked countless times....."Are you ready?" "Are you nervous?" "Are you scared?" It was to the point that I would wonder if I should question myself.  But I didn't...I was ready for what I had and I knew I would race on the day with what I brought and had prepared for.  Was I gonna set any world speed records?  Nope.  But I was gonna do well and see what mother nature and nutrition would throw my way.  Was I nervous or scared??  Nope.  I was ready.  Just another day in the Boulder hood.  Plain and simple.  My mantra......Let's Do This!

My pre-race meal was a nice relaxing meal with my family.  I skipped the Friday night craziness of downtown welcome reception and just enjoyed and appreciated my family members coming out to visit and supporting me.
Rigatoni with Asparagus, Artichoke Hearts & Sun Dried Tomatoes....oh and a glass of Sangiovese
Checking in on Bella before the swim 
Team Marty 30 min before the cannon
The Swim ~ I've never done a rolling swim start based off the time that you expect to come in so that was a little new to me.  I called Coach EK the night before to inquire where I should start.  I was thinking 1:25 maybe 1:30 to play it safe.  His response....... the back of 1:15.  Huh?  Hmmmm OK, Why not?? I thought....... let's do this.  I was immediately concerned about The Demon Nok coming and getting me as I was going to get thrashed around and swam over and kicked and punched and be completely in the spin cycle of the washing machine Boulder Reservoir.  My solice was that he said the back of it.  Ok I can hang in the back and no one will swim over me, I can do this.  Race morning, no 1:15...just 1:00 to 1:10 or 1:10 to 1:20....ummmmmmm Let's Do This! The back of 1:10 it is.  Team Marty gets to the reservoir and I was able to visit with Bella for a few minutes and put my hydration and nutrition for the ride on her.  I whisper sweet words to her and give her a kiss for a wonderful day.  I was then able to hang with my family for a few minutes which was real nice. 

My Aunt pointed out that the body marker I had must have been dyslexic.  The number 4290 was written on both arms when my bib number was 2490.  Pretty funny considering there are only 3000 such registered racers and I was marked in the 4000's.  So out comes another sharpie and a big X is put through the 4 and the 2 and the correct number is written on my arm.  Wonderful........kisses and hugs around and I go line up for the swim. The cannon goes and off so did I.  Felt pretty relaxed, not tired or stressed at all.  Follow through with the arms, don't shorten your stroke, keep your feet together, breathe, site, repeat over and over again.  I strayed from time to time realizing I was off course and then had to right myself.  I kept following the orange shirts and pfd's of the volunteers rather than the orange bouys.  I have to wonder how much extra swimming I did.
Too much Orange for this sighting challenged swimmer.

Unfortunately, I didn't set my watch correctly (surprise, surprise) so I am unable to see the GPS version of my swim and laugh at my zig zag line of swimming.  I realized my watch blunder at the transition from swim to bike. I was able to correct and catch up my garmin and get my data for the remainder of the race but I had no clue how my swim was or the running time for the race.  Breathe stroke stroke, breathe stroke stroke, breathe stroke stroke, breathe stroke stroke repeat repeat repeat about 2,000 or so times and I just settled myself into a nice rhythm.  Every once in a while doing a check on my legs and kicking...Dolphin kick, 2 stroke kick just keep those legs awake and active for the bike.  I felt good and strong and this 2.4 mile swim was over before I knew it.  Out of the water, start to undo my wet suit 5 volunteers jumped on mye to lay down and they stripped me in 2 seconds flat.  That was fun! And off I went to the TA for the bike.
Solid Swim (for me)
The Bike ~ Reviewing with Coach EK prior to the race, I knew exactly what my power and wattage should be for the bike section and I was determined to make sure I stayed to it.  I also felt like I had a solid game plan for nutrition and hydration and keeping cool.  I didn't want to repeat Cozumel where I basically allowed my body to run out of electrolytes and crashed HARD.  I really enjoyed the swim but the bike section might have been my favorite of the three disciplines.  Being from the area I've had the ability to ride the course. I knew all the bad that could happen out there.  The wind, the heat, the sun, the hills.  I've had a few rough patches during my training and dreaded a few areas of the course.  To my great pleasure I rode through those historic rough spots with not even a blink or cause for concern.  I tracked my power wattage and followed the game plan laid out for me.  I rested as much as I could on the downhills allowing gravity to take me and resting my legs for the second half of the course.  I saw SLOW written on the roads in some areas and was like...."What the hell??" Let's let it ripp!!! Let's Do This!!  I was fortunate to meet some people out on the bike and have nice conversations.  Although FB Friends, it was great to finally meet Kristina, it a awesome to see Nancy volunteering out on the course, the spectators were awesome and seemed to get fired up when I called for them for "More Cowbell!!"  You could literally feel the energy from me to them and then they gave it right back to me tenfold.  I looked forward to those opportunities out there.  I saw Gene out there a few times.  He is quoted as wondering if I was delirious out in the sun because I was soo happy.  I recall getting off of my seat at one point in the race, shaking my ass and actually singing and dancing to a little Pharrell Williams

Because I'm happy
Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof
Because I'm happy
Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth
Because I'm happy
Clap along if you know what happiness is to you
Because I'm happy
Clap along if you feel like that's what you wanna do

Team Marty was out there cheering.  A special thanks to Nick and PF for taking care of my family and getting them around out there on the course to see me.  I came to the special needs aid station midway through the bike and was like...Nah, don't need it don't want to get off my bike to stop.  I recall getting to the aid station in Cozumel and thanking the lord above for it as I was nutritionally spent at that time but not on this day.  Today, I feel great!  I had a solid nutritional game plan for the ride.  One that I spent a good deal of time learning from Cozumel and tweaking to make it better.  I followed a solid hydration theory or thought from Coach EK and my all liquid diet and electrolyte replenishment plan worked as hoped.  I love it when a plan comes together.  

Heading south from the northernmost part of the course the sun and heat really started to get up there.  There was a slight breeze coming from the east and heading west.  I knew heading west back into town was mostly all upslope, I wanted to make sure I was able to take advantage of that slight breeze at my back and head west as soon as possible.  Many times when the heat kicks up around here the wind shifts from westerly to an easterly.  I heard a lot of people say how tough the bike course was.  I say they are lucky we had an easy breeze in the right direction and although it was hot, it was not nearly as hot as it was a week or two ago.  Ahhhh those Summer Winds.......

........Good Ole Blue Eyes sang about them.  And for some odd reason his songs were the ones in my head on the course.  I must have sung "Fly me to The Moon" and "Summer Winds" fifteen times each during my 6+ hour bike ride.  Who knows why?  But the Hoboken Crooner was with me most of this section and I dug it!  Of course there was and is always my goofy poses when I pass a photographer out on the course and this race that was no exception.

Muscle Up Gun Show is a popular pose
You Da Man is always a hit

I took care of some course Demos out there are well as 52 westbound had not been my friend prior to this race.  Always having some difficulty in the past.  Not today.  Seeing Dana and the 303 Triathlon Gang out there during that span was a great lift. And then there is this little section I have always called the 3 Sisters.  The last time I rode the sisters, was not a good outing.  In fact it was the worst experience I had with the ladies.  I was very curious at the start of the day how Bella and I would fair today.
Taken on top of the 3 Sisters aka Bitches
Let's say, Bella and I didn't even flinch with the gals today.  I got to the final hump of the sisters and the photographer shouted at me....."Dude, you are way too happy and have more energy than anyone I have seen hit these bitches today"  I smile gave him a thumbs up and off I went.  This was the first time on the course that I realized how much fun I was truly having and what a magical event this IM Boulder was.  Now lest you think it was all candy canes, gum drops and unicorns for me out there and I was always in la la land I wasn't.  I recall getting annoyed at one point and it stuck with me throughout the duration of the race.  There was this young lady that I went flying by on the down hill section of St. Vrain and I happened to notice she had a "Fueled By Beef" jersey on.  What a crock and a lie that statement is.  But that is a story for another time and another soap box.

Not actual athlete from Boulder IM just same jeresy

About 3 minutes later on the incline she peddles past me cuts in front of me and slows down to almost a halt.  So I pass her and peddle on and so it begins.  Throughout the bike section of the race I'd catch her peddling like mad to get in front of me and then once she past me she would "coast" and stop peddling and I thought.....What an asshole!  Bad enough she is wearing that stupid Beef shirt but she is also displaying bad etiquette on the bike.  It figures the two would go together.  For those who are not aware, I was in a race in San Antonio two years ago and there were hundreds of athletes wearing these Fueled by Beef shirts. I of course was wearing my "No Meat Athlete ~ Fueled by Plants" Shirt and I was Booed on the course.  What kind of people Boo someone running in a marathon???  Needless to say I am not a fan of the athletes I have come across wearing the Beef Councils propaganda to sell their product, ruin our earth and poison our children.  Once we hit the back half of the bike course, I left that young lady in the dust....for the time being. 

The other not so experience for me on the bike was the final incline by the airport.  As I was peddling uphill all the sudden both inner thighs tightened up.  A shooting pain of sorts shot from my inner thighs up my groin and into my stomach or perhaps psoas.  I got real nervous.  How could both bi lateral muscles get pulled simultaneously?  I spent the final decent into town trying to stretch and work it out for the run.  Well that and yelling at the fans along the road for "More Cowbell".  The streets were going wild and I was fist pumping my way down the avenues.  Truly an incredible feeling.

The Run ~ Like in transition1, I was slow in transition 2.  I was deliberate and methodical.  In hind sight, maybe too deliberate.  In Cozumel, I forgot my gloves in TA1 and had to go back and get them.  I didn't wipe / lube my feet enough in TA 2 to prevent both feet full of blisters.  This is something I will need to work on because almost 30 minutes combined in the  TAs are way too slow.  I got out on the run course and started off pretty well.  Well, for the first few feet.  My groin was very tight and I tried to just stretch it out.  That began my 6+ hours of walking, shuffling, jogging.  My spirits were high and it was fantastic again to see so many people out on the course both as spectators and fellow racers.  The out and back course allowed one to see spectators 4 different times.

I must have given out about hundreds of  hugs, a ton of kisses, a billion thumbs up and countless number of hi fives along the route.  I saw every fellow EK Endurance Athlete out there which was great as we have spent a lot of time together training pushing and supporting each other.  Well except for Kenny.....he was too fast and I think finished the race while I was just getting out of the water.  I shared time with and chatted with every fellow 303Triathlete out on this course.  I ran through Theresa's bubbles on my way to a hug. Was a Marty Sandwich with Sammi and Kevin twice!!  Seemed to see Kylee and Nate at every corner smiling, cheering and picture taking.  Had the entire Millennium Harvest House outside forming a human low five line.  My homeboy Chris kept everyone informed with videos and pictures through the day.  My IronBuddy Hal was posting pictures and listing splits from Brazil.  How could it be possible that there was a BTCer at every aid station and around every corner.  It seemed like every two minutes I was high fiving or hugging someone from the best Tri Club out there!  Nick, PF, Dad, Aunt Maria, Cousin Paulette & Jessica were with me from 3am till 1am...cheering laughing, hugging, kissing and drinking with me all the way.  And the list goes on.  How many times can I say this was truly an incredible race?

At the end of the day the run was about managing to get through it all.  I've gone this far no way I am not gonna finish now. I wasn't happy about my tempo or lack there of and I managed a 14:46 per mile pace.  Some miles were 10 minutes some were almost 19 minutes.  It was tough  The pain would not subside in my legs.  I ate, I drank, I took in salt.  I high stepped, I stretched, I did striders, I did just about everything I could think of to manage the run to get back on pace with where I wanted and felt I should be at.  My feet started getting hot and that means blisters.  I experienced that pain enough in Cozumel.  I stopped at the special needs area around mile 10 or so.  I proceeded to wipe dry my feet, put on a few blister band aides, loaded up on glide and changed my socks.  I took a few Aleve to attempt to manage the muscle soreness I was feeling and to be preventative with swelling in my X Factor, my knees.  While in my slow pace and stopping in the special needs area I saw the lovely Fueled by Beef Gal out on the run.  Again, I felt her run up behind me, pass me and then stop to walk.  My walking/shuffling pace was a bit faster then hers so within a few minutes I shuffled by her.  Not more than 5 minutes later she ran by me and stopped to walk about 10 feet in front of me.  So this continued for about another 7 miles back and forth she'd run in front of me and then slow to almost a halt on her walk.  I continued my slow but steady pace.  I think I passed her for the final time around mile 15.  Not to see her again till well after my finish while sitting in the stands she did cross the line in under 17hrs.
My least favorite picture of the day.  Me.... power walking
I recall during the race when I made the decision to start walking.  I heard Coach EK in my head...."hold off on walking as long as you can, because once you do you cant come back and it is very difficult to start running again."  I was not happy with that decision to walk but I was unsure what else to do.  I made a promise to myself though, I would try everything to get my muscles  feeling better and to run, jog, shuffle, power walk the best I could.  When I would walk, I would see someone walking in front of me and I would say to myself, I will walk faster than that person and I will catch up to them and pass them.  This continued for miles.  It was not a stroll in the park kind of walk for me.  I was amazed by the numbers of walkers that were out on the course.  I spoke to many of them.  They were all spent. Altitude, dehydration, cramping, tough course, went out to hard on the bike....the list went on.  Cozumel did not see half near the number of people walking this marathon.  I also saw at least 5 people out along side of the path.  I mean OUT.  Ambulance take them away out.  It felt like a group of hundreds of Zombies just trying to make their way.
Although my spirits were up, I realized that many were not.  I also knew that although I was in my second lap of the marathon there were many beginning their first.  I then became a cheerleader.  I would put my arms around others and walk with them.  I would extend a hand to get people off their butts from sitting and to start walking again.  As I passed people going in the other direction, I would call out words of encouragement and letting them know the finish would soon be near.  All in all it was a decent 26.2 miles. One thing that made me chuckle is I would ask for pigs in the blanket or scallops wrapped in bacon or hummus and pita chips when passing an aide station.  Needless to say that wasn't part of their smorgasburg. Ultimately, I wound up walking on the uphills, jogging or power walking on the flats and jogged on the downhills.  I didn't have to lift my legs so much on the declines and flats and that is when I hurt.  I just allowed gravity to take over and on my final 5 miles I allowed cola into my body for that final caffeine buzz.  Not sure why, it just seemed like a fun thing to do.  My final lap, although I did it all day, I made sure to thank every volunteer I came across on the run.  If I saw an orange shirt, I thanked them for being out there and volunteering.  A few funny times when it was just a dude in an orange shirt and had nothing to do with the race.  I thanked them anyway.  Before I knew it, I had to take a right at the fork.  The one that takes you off the creek path and up 13th street towards Pearl.  It was eerily dark and I paced myself to try and have the finish shoot relatively to myself and not cross the line in a crowd.  There were a few people out there in awe of the racers and cheering us on for the last few blocks of uphill running to the end.  

The lights get brighter and the crowd gets bigger and louder.  I hit the carpet and it was time to take flight.........I flew down the finish chute trying to catch a glimpse of friends but the bright lights and noise makes it difficult to focus on anything but heading towards the arch just before the finish I raised my arms in the air and give thanks to a truly wonderful day.  I know they are not all going to be as and pleasant and enjoyable a today was.  I wonder quickly what am I going to do when I cross the line.  The way my legs were feeling I wasn't sure if I'd muster the height or strength to heel kicked my way across the finish line.  What do I have to lose.....nothing.

"Marty from are an Ironman" ~ Mike Reilly  Sweet music to ones ears.

And there you have it. Certainly not a perfect race.  Certainly not as fast as I had a hidden desire to do.  But 14:45:31 minutes of a pretty damn good time.  A volunteer quickly came over to snatch me up and put a medal on me and walk with me.  When I turned to my right and saw Team Marty with the biggest smiles on their faces.  Truly a memorable sight for me.  I did not expect to see them at the finish and thought I'd see them back at the hotel afterwards.  More friends and high fives and hugs and all was good in my world.  What a fantastic way to finish this race.

2 Time Ironman.....Me!
Let's Do this!!

Here are two video links to my finish and then immediately afterwards......
 Running down the finish line chute

Just after the finish line hooking up with Team Marty

Moments later I am met by Coach EK and Lindsay.  Another great sight and moment to see them there.  After a few minutes of spectating and picking up my gear it is off to The Millennium Hotel where Jessica and I meet up with some of my EK Endurance Family....Susan, Audra, Kenny, Elizabeth, Hugh, Coach Erik & Lindsay and we all celebrate and raise a toast to a fantastic journey together.

Here's to IM Boulder and all the wonderful experiences we had along the way!
It's our life, let's live it to the fullest and have a blast while doing so!!
Let's do this!!!

So..........what's next??


  1. Marty ~ Great read. Once again you left me feeling like I was there with you the whole time. What is next??? Another IM? Ultra? what??? You are a crazy man!!!!

  2. Marty, you did such an amazing job! I am so impressed with how much fun you have at such an incredible event and how relaxed you seemed in the days leading up to it! It was so awesome to see and feel the amount of energy at the you definitely deserved! I was so excited and proud to be there to cheer you on!

    1. Thank you!!! It was a great day and I appreciate you being there!

  3. Great great blog! Glad I was there to share the experience with you!

  4. Way to go, Marty! We are all really proud of you!


Comments are like hugs...they are great to give and to recieve. Please feel free to reach out and give a hug (comment).