Now the details. First, the bike course was not that difficult and the altitude and hills should not be concerned for those wanting to do this race. The water quality is an issue though it is tested each Monday. It rained like a Banshee Tuesday, Wednesday & part of Thursday. Enough time for some e- coli to fester in the water or something nasty. It could have been oil/gas in the water from all the boats the previous days leading into the race--high numbers in the water for sure vs. normal. There were hundreds dropping race day due to vomiting and diarrhea, dehydration. The Med Tent docs said something unusual was going on because the same symptoms were showing up--90+% who came into the Med Tent had the same things going on. I've never cramped in an Ironman before, this was a first and brought me to a halt multiple times on the run.
For those looking to come to the Ironman Boulder race, logistics are illogical. I live 3 miles from the Rez, yet had to drive south to Boulder High, get on a bus, only to get driven all the way back to north Boulder past my house, and into the Rez. There were other cars sneaking into the Rez yet they told us the roads would be closed. Weird. Two different transition areas was not cool either, but whatever, I didn't have to pay for a plane ticket, hotel, bike transportation, food or car rental. It is what it was. Race morning wasn't anything spectacular, it was nice to start in the "AWA or All World Athlete" wave. This keeps the pretenders out of the way who usually sprint to the front then screech to a halt after the half way buoys causing a barrier to navigate through, or those who bunch up during the bike and never let you pass without locking onto your wheel endangering you to potential penalties by pack rotating anytime you pass them, which happens way too often since Ironman typically oversells their races to a point of danger or degrading fairness on course.
After the swim which felt long while I was out there, having only swum 4K + about 2x all summer long, I took my time in T1. Stopped at the bathroom as usual in an Ironman and took a long time getting my bike stuff on. In shorter triathlons, there are few who transition faster than I do, including pros--my times are right there with the pros. The longer the race such as Ironman, the longer I take on purpose. It's a long ride and run & it is best to make my bathroom stops in transition than while on the move, plus, it clears my system so I can bike/run discomfort free from GI issues.
The bike was different for me this time as I raced with my HRM. Typically going off of RPE after spending YEARS using and analyzing with a power meter, my bike sessions. I had sold my Power Meter a few years prior after the company went belly-up and haven't bought a new one as new technology and dropping prices continue. I know myself well enough that I know what to do now & where I stand fitness wise & what the issues are I need to work on--it's what I do as a professional coach. But training with the HRM then racing with it just for the bike portion was a two-day prior decision to ensure I didn't get too excited & kill off my run. Racing 135-137 most of the ride, I hit some issues at mile 85 when dehydration from vomiting set it. HR shot up to low to mid-140's, not too bad but I knew there would be further issues down the line as no calories, liquid or salt/electrolytes would stick. The final bike time was 5:03...my second best time ever while being one of the easiest effort levels of any Ironman I've done.
T2...was VERY long. Not only did I take ANOTHER 2 minute porta-potty stop, resting, almost napping...I put all my stuff on in transition carefully and slowly. Cisco Quintaro, a local triathlete, was a volunteer in the tent and rushed to my aid getting anything I needed. The tent was very empty and I knew I was near the front of the race. So far minus the tossing of cookies all day--it was a pretty easy effort day & I was ready to cook it on the run.
The run...I had a ball the first 6 miles, flying and starting to mow down people while in a "jog/cruise" mode. Then shortly after I saw Sonja Wieck (who took one of the awesome Twitter Pics--thanks Sonja!)...I started walking. That was the last pic anyone took of me relaxed, because the dehydration set in. Then I had to take my shoe/sock off because something in it was bugging me. Sitting in the grass on the side of the course, watching a few guys I just passed go by...it was setting up to be a very, very long day. In the below picture, easy sailing--nobody behind me and near the front of the race.
The rest of the day was just crazy hard trying to make it to the line. Cramping--something new. Overheating (not unusual but not fun either!) Doubts as to if this was going to be a day I wouldn't finish (unlikely but always a possibility). It went from thoughts of possibly winning the AG (I hadn't lost a multisport race all year in my AG)...to can I finish? Upon seeing former World Champ & former ex-pro European pro cyclist/pro triathlete Curt Chesney was again racing (now in my AG), that it was always going to be a race for 2nd. That was turning to 3rd, 4th...how far down the list could I slide? At the end of the day, it was a 4th place salvaged 45-49 finish. Enough for my 13th Ironman Hawaii qualification. Top 5 in the AG got a slot.
Some of the highlights of the day were certainly seeing my friend Andy Ames and his wife Rachel, who just had surgery, on the run course cheering me on. Rachel took a few photos below. Andy tried to take a few by running up ahead (while I was walking)...as if I was going to keep pace with a speed walk...? Also, seeing one of my athletes Grant out on the course and near the finish and Peyman (Sasha) Razifard. All in all it was an "okay" race.
I would possibly do it again someday but the concrete 6 foot narrow bike path needs to be moved to a wide road run, it was ridiculous on lap 2 having to dodge so many people, creek path tubers, dogs...and even a pro triathlete who was following his American wife on his bike during the run (knucklehead thing to do!) I witnessed TWO pro female triathletes during the run receiving outside assistance--thus, breaking the rules. The bike overall was very clean and was about the cleanest bike leg of any Ironman I had seen, so BRAVO to the participants up front for keeping it clean. One thing that impressed me most was the depth of people cheering on the BCP near the high school--four to five deep at times, as well as the finish line near Pearl Street. Amazing crowd. If not for the concrete path being so narrow, two transition areas, and silly long T2 run into the track at the high school, I really wouldn't have complaints (aside from the bad water!)
Next up for me is Ironman Hawaii in about a month. Thanks to all my friends and family who supported me this season, coming out to races to watch, take photos, etc. Certainly, winning a US National Champion title goes down as a big landmark for me, as well as winning everything I've entered multisport-wise in my 45-49 (I just turned 45 in May)...all season, until Ironman Boulder's bacteria/stomach issues that is. Ironman Hawaii is just the frosting on the cake and family trip so not a lot else to say besides it has been a good race season despite injuries keeping me from biking well.
I'm still trying to figure out why I'm racing so well despite biking so much worse...just quirky stuff y'know?
2015 will center around ÖTILLÖ in Sweden. It is starting to look like I'll be heading to the Mother Land (I'm Swedish/Polish/German). My friend & I have apparently secured a team start for the World Swim/Run championships so no Ironman next year. There will be other smaller races involved along the way but nothing concrete yet, just fun races. 2016 I'll be back at Ironman, hoping to hold my own against the incoming younger guns into the age group. Thanks for stopping by my blog & also thanks to my sponsors Rudy Project, Infinit Nutrition, Boulder Running Company/Team Adidas and Blue Seventy! They've all been a big help with not only GeminiMultisport.com but to my own racing.