Sunday, June 14, 2009
So of course, the big deal about this race, the Boise 70.3 Triathlon, was the unique 2:00pm race start. As a matter of fact, I think the race announcer must have mentioned this fact about eleventy billion times during the pre-swim announcing. The World Triathlon Corporation must figure this will up-sell race registrations to all those non-morning people triathletes.
Unsure about how to handle such a late start, I spent the day clicking through TV channels, checking my e-mail, drinking water, checking facebook, watching Hulu, dressing up as a woman in skin-tight white nylons, and generally just whittling time away. I had alot of time to cook up my pre-race specialty - yams. It goes like this: put them in the oven for about an hour at 375, then eat them when they cool off. Eat your heart out, Martha Stewart.
And at one point, I actually took my bike downtown and gently rode the run course, just to shake out the legs and do one last check-over on my Specialized Transition. Where else in the world can you go check out the entire run course on race day before the race starts? But FINALLY, 12:30pm rolled around and I headed out to Lucky Peak Reservoir in the boon-docks of Boise. Here's a video shot just before I took off.
Since my age-group wave would be the last to depart (at 2:55pm), I got to sit and watch all the other participants begin their swims. During this time, the weather became less and less friendly, the black thunderclouds began to roll in, the water became choppy and cold, and they actually began "yanking" hypothermic and exhausted racers from the increasingly difficult lake swim. What began as a nice sunny day turned pretty crappy, pretty quick.
When I got in, I immediately felt that the water temperature DEFINITELY dropped from my practice swim prior day, likely from the wind churning up all the cold water. Race organizers said water temp was 64, but I suspect it was 58-59. No wonder they were pulling people from the water!
But personally, I was pretty happy with my swim, even though I COMPLETELY swam off course in the first 500 meters. I thought I was being a smart and sneaky racer by cutting to the inside of the yellow buoys in a direct line to the first turn buoy, but I actually mis-sighted my line and swam a good 200 meters too far to the inside. I believe I was looking a red kayak rather than the red buoy.
However, with a focus on high stroke turnover and a lower head than usual, I really felt like I made up tim and fought the chop pretty efficiently, despite swimming like a drunk driver for those first few minutes.
I ended up exiting the water with the second "pack" of 18-29 year old division age-groupers, about 2 minutes behind the lead pack. My goal was to beat 30 minutes in the water, and I had a 29:18 on my watch as I was sprinting up the transition mat, so that was good. And a nice steady downhill out of transition let my heart rate settle down and gave me a chance to dine comfortably on my blueberry-pomegranate GU Chomps.
Most of the bike was...wet and windy. Very wet and windy. This was the most inclement weather in which I've ever raced in six years (perhaps aside from a snowy sprint triathlon in Lewiston, ID last year). There was sleeting rain, lightning, thunder claps and heavy crosswinds. I really had to push to make my goal time of riding the course in 2 and a half hours. On the bike, I went through two bottles of water, plus whatever rain ended up in my aero bottle, along with 4 Roctane's and 4 GU's.
So I A) rolled into town almost exactly 3 hours and 2 minutes after the official race start (fist pump: once again, I was almost right on the money with my goal time) and B) was successful in not exceeding a heart rate of 171 during all but the steepest hills (after "blowing up on the run" in my last two halves, I decided to hold back on the bike and not exceed lactate threshold). In sunny conditions, this bike course would not have been incredibly difficult. I haven't compared the bike times to last year's, but I imagine they were slower overall.
I was passed by two division age-groupers on the bike, and from what I could tell upon exiting the swim, there were three division age-groupers in front of me. So that would put me in sixth place starting the run. In addition to wanting to finish the race in 4 and a half hours and finish the race in the top twenty-five age-groupers, I also wanted to podium as a top three in my age-group. I knew at this point that the last goal was going to be tough.
However, my objective was also to stay aerobic for the majority of the run, until about 5K remained, at which I knew my training would allow me to push a bit to the finish line. From experience in my other two half-Ironmen this year, I knew that if I went anaerobic too soon in the half-marathon, my race would be over. The last thing I wanted to do was ruin a great race by having to stop and throw-up, walk, or drop out.
So by focusing on high cadence, forward lean, controlled breathing, and ignoring the single age-grouper that passed me, that's what I did. Rather than destroy my race by trying to run down rabbits, I just had to hope they would fade before me. And at 10 miles, I grit my teeth and dug in, passed one of the guys that passed me on the bike and managed to negative split the second loop of the run by 1 minute, pulling off a 1:28 half-marathon and my first "respectable" run of the year, at a 6:50 pace.
My goal for this race was four and a half hours, and with a 4:31 at the finish line, I was pretty satisfied. I don't have the official results pulled up, but I believe I was 21st, so I also broke the top 25. I would have been a bit happer if I would have to been able to pass another three guys on the run and podiumed, but I would have needed at least 5 minutes, and I'm not sure where I would have found that much time, as I really gave a solid, 100% effort as it was.
This is my first Half-Ironman this year where I felt like I had a really great time, enjoyed the race, and gave everything that I could give. So maybe there really is something to this afternoon start...
After a post-race massage, a cuddle in one of those silver space-age blankets, and a few Recoverease pills, I felt good enough for lettuce wraps at PF Chang's and...of course...my post-race treat whenever I can find it...GELATO.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
On vacation in Seaside, Oregon...will be following up soon with Boise 70.3 course preview and pre-race report...but in the meantime, here are some videos that involve a cute little green tandem bicycle...
My wife's biggest concern seemed to be that I might fart in her face. I don't know where she thinks of these things...