Tuesday, August 25, 2015

IM Boulder Race Recap 2015...Version 2.0 ~ The Beginning

I can't believe it has been over 3 weeks already since I made that left turn up 13th street towards the light, the noise, the crowds, the finish line of Ironman Boulder 2015.  I've documented in this blog over the last few months the difficult journey it has been for me to get to this starting line.  This race..... is simply that, just a race.  Just another day out and about in the world, doing the things that I love to do.  I'm not curing cancer.  I didn't loose 300lbs on my way to get to this race.  I didn't have dear ones leave this planet during the journey to that which is IM Boulder.  I am humbled a billion times over by each entrants personal journey to get to the starting line.  To me the race is a celebration.  The celebration of that journey, for each of us no matter how bumpy or smooth our path was to get to the Boulder Reservoir at 5am on August 2nd.  Emotionally to me, in 2014, that celebration personally was much more grand than in '15.  That is not to take away anything from my experiences from this race.  Version 2.0 was a very different race for me.  Version 2.0 was much more about my journey, then that final celebration.  It was a day about my family that came out to support me and my support system, not about clicking my heals crossing the finish line.

Team Marty @ The Boulder Reservoir
At the end of the day, in my eyes and head, the race was a disappointment to myself from a performance standpoint.  Secretly I harbored visions of a higher % placement in my age group than the 3 Ironman races I had completed in the previous 20 months.  Not only a higher percentage but about 10% better compared to my other fellow age group competitors.  Although I know time does not signify how good or bad you do in a triathlon, its all based on what percentage that you finished in your age group, I also harbored a secret desired finish time.   I (perhaps unrealistically) felt my recent injuries would not play a part and get in the way of my desires of race day performance.  I realize that these are very selfish statements to make.  And ones somewhat not customary for me to make aloud.  The truth of the mater is, in the larger picture, those that care about and for me could care less if I came in 1st place or 2500th.  Of course they want me to reach my goals and my dreams but above all else they want me to be happy and healthy.  Version 2.0 was 15 hours of me managing my inability to race to my potential and having full appreciation for those sharing the day with me.  I've been asked "How was the experience?" "How was your race?" and until I just put that last sentence on paper (computer) I have not been able to sum up my day better than I just did.....Version 2.0 was 15 hours of me managing my inability to race to my potential and having full appreciation for those sharing the day with me.  It was definitely a high and a low, a yin and yang, a full day of frustration vs. sheer love & joy.
The High
The Low
A few days prior to Boulder 2014 was very easy for me.  My family came into town and were stationed in my Boulder home. We went to registration together. I did my final rides around town visiting Winston and the Oreo Cows.  I went to work.  It was all very smooth and easy.  Version 2.0 was a completely different story.  Recently moving down to Lakewood saw me trying to adjust to an unfamiliar territory for pre race training rides, a 1.5 hr drive back and forth to Boulder for registration and gear drop, and pre race bike tune up.  In 2015, a lot more coordination of scheduling for myself and others was needed.  If I forgot something it wasn't a 2 second ride back to my house but a haul back down to Denver.  I don't think I was prepared for how different this change would be.  My chief concern was my family.  In 2014, I knew that my family had my house to go to in order to use the bathroom, refresh, grab a bite or just rest and get out of the heat/sun in between cheering me on out on the course.  I had them set up in a hospitality suite where I worked loaded with food, drink and a private restroom while I was out on the run course.  All I had to concentrate on was being happy and racing in my home town.  Version 2.0 saw little of that and it took a lot of coordination and concentration to make sure my out of town loved ones were going to be ok.  This was not better or worse, just different.
1st IM Finisher Shirt-Last Brick Run
1st IM Bike Jersey-Last Brick Ride 
My dear friends, Chris and Erin were more than gracious to open their home to myself & Jess along with my folks the night prior and night after the race to crash.  This took a huge burden off of trying to get up to catch a 4am bus at the Boulder HS after driving up from Denver and then having to drive back at midnight after a full day of racing.  Equally awesome were great friends Nick & Pui Fong  allowing my family to base camp at their place after the swim and during the bike section of the course and coordinating where my family should be and when while I was out there.  Food, drink and wine would be plenty at their place and what a great proximity their house is to the 2 loop bike course.  This was spectacular.  Version 2.0 had me rely and depend on a support group second to none.  So I laid out all my equipment. We packed our bags and headed to Boulder to register and race.
Laying it all there.  One last check

Team Marty checking in
Registration Silly Face tradition

Paying homage to my last IM Tradition~ Fortaleza
Boulder Tradition - Going to Lululemon and finding your name
With all the differences between IM Boulder 1.0 and 2.0 I tried to maintain a sense of prerace routine and normality for myself and my traditions.  Traditions such as making silly faces at the camera while registering and wearing the last IMs Finisher Shirt to Registration and swinging by the finish line to say "I shall return".
Selfie Tradition at finish line.  We'll see you in a few hours.
My pre-race meals have become as standard as I can get them.  Version 2.0 was exactly the same as Version 1.0 same meal, same wine, same restaurant with a slight change in the supporting cast of Team Marty.  A nice relaxing meal, avoiding the downtown craziness and the welcome reception.  A chance to just enjoy my family, my gal and my friends.
Rigatoni with Asparagus, Spinach, Artichoke Hearts & Sun Dried Tomatoes....oh and a glass, ok maybe two of Sangiovese

The Swim ~ So for the first time in a billion years the Boulder Reservoir is wetsuit illegal for a IM hosted triathlon.  What does that mean??  The Ironman website states...Wet suits are prohibited with temperatures over 76.1 degrees Fahrenheit (24.5 degrees Celsius). Athletes who choose to wear a wetsuit in water temperatures between above 76.1 degrees Fahrenheit (24.5 degrees Celsius) will not be eligible for awards, including World Championship slots.  So a conversation ensues with Coach E and we decide, I am not going to try and place in any age group championship this time around :-)  I might as well go with a wet suit.  We then decide to go sleeveless since the water is warm and it'll help to keep me cooler and less a chance to overheat.
The calm before the storm.

Up at 3am, I get a good 4~5 hours of sleep and I'm happy with that.  Some oatmeal, start hydrating and a bagel for breakfast.  Grab a banana for the road and Team Marty is off for the HS to catch a bus to the reservoir.  It was a beautiful morning with the promise to be a mild day as compared to Boulder '14.  I set Team Marty near a tent.  Family is secured, now time for some business.  I check in with Bella and load my hydration, nutrition and tool kit onto her.  The night prior I grabbed some red rubber wrist band bracelets to mount my tools on my aerobars.  They promote the Boulder Babes Rugby Club and have "I am a Babe" printed on them.  I carefully put those band on the bike so I can read those words throughout my ride.   Prior to heading to the reservoir I also marked my hands with a WM as a reminder that besides being a babe I am in full Warrior Mode today.  
Warrior Mode
I have a nice conversation with Bella as we are feeling super ready for the day.  I remind her how much I love and appreciate her and what a wonderful day we are going to have together.  She reminds me that the rubber bands that say "I am a Babe" are meant for her.  We share a chuckle together, I kiss her saddle and back to the family I go.   Adding to the list of in person supporters is my cousin Loren and his wife Karen, who flew in from NY the day prior to be a part of Team Marty.  So super psyched to have them make the journey.  I also meet up with Coach Eric to briefly review the day.  It's time.  I put on my wetsuit, down a Hammer Gel and some water, kisses and hugs around and off to the starting corral.

A little Bella Love before the race.

Pre swim connecting with the family

By the time I got to my fellow wetsuit racers, which happened to be the majority of those racing today, I was pretty far in the back.  I couldn't have this.  I was a bit concerned with being right in the front as I didn't want to be swam over and I certainly didn't want to be in the middle of the pack.  So I continued to make my way through the crowd of neoprene until I found a spot where I felt "comfortable".  I went to the far left of the line so that I was at the close/short end of the racers.  My game plan was to be just to the inside of the buoys around the course.  I checked my watch for the umpteenth time, for those of you following the 5280 Triathlon videos you'll get my reference.  Last year I didn't work my watch correctly and didn't have a clue as to my swim splits.  I had to figure it out while riding the course.  Version 2.0 would be different.  I was confidant that after 20 months of watch follies, I was going to get it right.   ummmmm yeah sorta.  BOOM the cannon goes off and so do I.  I was real happy of my placement in the group and have a free left side and a crowd to my right.  A few kicks and body rubbing pursued as we made our way around the large rectangle of orange buoys.
A great day for a swim
They were laid out about 8 long make a turn a few across and about 8 to return to shore.  I'm guessing somewhere about buoy #5 I realized my right side lower back was tight and a bit in pain.  I spent a far bit of that 3am time rolling out my lower back and stretching my hips to try and give my injured hammy a chance for today's race.  I knew that was my first sign of trouble but thought, perhaps it'll work its way out.  I continued my stroke and my breathing and just kept my thoughts on a rhythm, on trying to swim straight and to stay relaxed.  Buoy after buoy I counted each one.  I wish I had remembered exactly how many buoys there were for each length of that rectangle.  This is something I should pay attention to better next race.  I convinced myself there were 8.  Along the way I attempted to draft to conserve energy, I caught up to a good number of those racers not wearing wet suits and passed them by and simply tried to retain good form.  I felt strong and was happy.  Before I knew the shore line got larger and larger and this 2.4 mile swim was over.
Out of the water and towards T1

All in all I am happy with my swim.  Brief facts and stats.....Finished 712 out of 2770 swimmers or about at the top 25%.   83rd in my division out of 370 or top 22%.  Not bad for this boy who learned to swim before his 1st Ironman 20 months ago.  I also had sooo much fun swimming I figured I would swim an approximate an extra 500 yards above the 2.4 miles according to my Garmin watch from my zig zag style.  Need to work on better open water swim sighting.  Up the ramp I went, as I had a date with a few strippers.  I laid down and in 3 seconds flat 2 gals stripped me of my wetsuit.  Gotta love that!  No time for a cigarette, I now had a 112 mile date with Bella I needed to get ready for.

Boulder 1.0 - 1:17  105/391 = 26.8%
Boulder 2.0 - 1:20  83/370 = 22.4%

No comments:

Post a Comment

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