Heading into the Boulder 70.3 I was tired and over-raced. This would be my 7th ½ Ironman distance race of the season (1 a bit longer, 1 including 3 triathlons prior to the race, 1 excluding the run) but overall I was feeling quite fatigued. Because this race was within riding distance from my house I decided to participate anyhow. Hey the worst thing that could happen was I could feel terrible and ride home. I went into race day expecting at best a solid training day.
It was especially fun racing in Boulder this year, after living here for 1.5 years I knew most people racing pro’s and amateurs included as well as all the spectators. Pre-race I prepped with Gavin who was only doing the aqua bike due to shin splints, as well as Mandy, Whitney and Uli all great training partners of mine.
At the swim start I was searching for Leanda hoping to catch a draft but she seemed to be hiding until just before the start so I worried only about myself. Mandy was glued to my side prepared to swim off my wake. As the start doves were released we entered the water preparing for our in water start. This was a large female pro wave. I positioned myself in the front row. As I pushed off the bottom of the Rez I executed a perfect dolphin dive into my initial 200 meter sprint. I found Leanda immediately on the opposite side of the pack, we merged and swam side by side to the first buoy. I realized we were holding too fast of a pace for me and “let her” bridge a gap between us. Moments later Mandy and Maddie came around swimming next to me, I latched on and swam in their wake for most of the course. I knew letting Leanda go was a mistake, my open water swim has improved this season, but not enough. I know I have the ability to swim with the top swimmers, right now it’s just a mental battle at the start. As we rounded the last few buoy’s Mandy started drifting off course so I kept in a straight line towards the finish and we exited the water together in 3rd place.
The week leading up to Boulder 70.3 I’d coaxed a friend into teaching me a flying mount, I figured it was about time I stopped mounting like an amateur. I chickened out a bit and did the double hop as I mounted my bike. I’ll continue to improve with practice, my biggest fear is attempting a flying mount and crashing (like Brooks last year).
Heading out on the bike I was riding closely behind Mandy although she was pushing much harder than me, I knew what my target watts were so I stuck to my race plan letting her ride away. I watched as some of the slower swimming pro men passed me by on the bike I realized my bottles were still frozen. I decided to try something new (Per Uli’s suggestion) and freeze my bottles overnight. Guess I should have taken them out of the freezer a bit earlier. Hmmm, I thought, “this is going to be a long ride with no liquids or calories”. Luckily the heat thawed them within 20 minutes, causing no damage to my race and I had a cold drink for the 1st loop.
This was my first race in the new Champion System 1 piece speedo (I usually wear a 2-piece). I was instructed to order down because they ran large by teammate Lauren Goss. Well apparently an extra small was a little too small, it completely rode up my bum. Throughout the first loop of the bike I kept trying to fix it, but realized it was going where it wanted, I just had to deal with the wardrobe malfunction and press on. During the 2nd loop was where this became a real issue, as I passed the amateurs I received a lot of cat calls from participants and cars. I decided to ignore it and keep pushing. It became apparent during the 2nd loop as Whitney and Uli passed me that my legs just didn’t have their usual oomph in them. By the end of the bike I could barely keep my watts above 190 (target 205-210). This was disappointing but knowing I was tired I just put out what I had.
I came off the bike closely behind Maddie but had a terrible transition, I struggled getting my bike on the rack losing precious seconds. During the 1st mile of the run I passed back Trish (she passed me in transition) and I had Maddie in sight just up the road. My goal was to catch Maddie next but we were holding exactly the same speed. I stuck to my race plan (nutrition and speed) in hopes she would tire towards the end.
The 2 loop run course was packed with friends and training partners from Boulder, so that kept my spirits up while running the last few miles. My coach Curt was all over the course giving me splits and pointers throughout the run. I caught an amateur man on the 2nd lap going about the same pace. He offered to pace me in which really helped, we took turns leading and he offered words of encouragement each time I passed him. Thanks to my pacer Mike I was able to negative split the 2nd loop. (he then headed out for his 2nd loop).
Overall I was disappointed with my performance at Boulder this year. It would have been fun to race up with my friends which I have the ability to do. I was just entering in over-raced and tired due to my heavy race schedule from March-July. I ended up placing 9th which was respectable in this field and actually turned out to be my highest point race of the season earning 390 points due to the large prize purse and points allocated to Boulder.
I’ve learned as a pro when I have an off day it really shows in the results. This is one of the biggest changes from last year. As an amateur with an off day I could usually still take the win, now I end up 9th. Curt and I decided to cancel the Chicago triathlon which I was scheduled to race 2 weeks after Boulder and get a high volume 6 week training block in to get me feeling sharp again. This year I have somehow lost my running speed but my endurance was as strong as ever so we decided to throw in a longer race in the mix. I swapped out Chicago for Leadman 250 a 3.1 mile swim, 138 mile bike and 13.7 mile run triathlon on September 22nd.