Monday, July 13, 2009

Boulder Peak Race Report

The race site:

Saturday, July 11th
I did a TNT bike ride in the morning at the Air Force Academy. Just did a little over 30 mintues - down stadium drive and back up. Legs felt good. On the way home stopped by Starbucks for an iced soy latte and pumpkin bread. yum. Got home, started to pack. around 11am went for a 15 minute run. Legs feeling good! Finished packing up the car and headed to meet Sarah. Remembered to stop by walgreens to get some rubber bands. Got Sarah, met Shannon and went to chick-fil-a for lunch. I love their grilled chicken sandwhich. Drive to Boulder....get to the Rez just in time for the race meeting. They are all pretty much the same! We got our race packets in a green re-usable bag (they are all the rage these days) and a really awesome race shirt. Ben got there about the same time we did so we agreed to meet somewhere for dinner. Walked around the expo for a few minutes. Very Boulder-esque expo - lots of "eco-friendly" booths. Then headed to the hotel back in Louisville, which is just a few miles up the highway. Got settled in and we all went to Mimi's for dinner. Back to the hotel, get all the race stuff around (numbers on race belt/helmet, etc. ) Harry Potter and the Prince of Azkaban was on TV. 9pm it was lights out! Something must have been in the air all day - my sinuses were hurting (pretty rare) and my nose was a little clogged. A hot shower helped, and I hoped it would go away overnight.

Sunday, July 12th - RACE DAY!
4am the cell phone alarms go off. Actually slept pretty well for a race night. only woke up a couple times but the sleep in between was solid. Felt about as good as you can at 4am! Head was a lot better. Ate my typical pre-race breakfast of oatmeal with peanut butter and a banana. There was a microwave in the room so it made the oatmeal very convenient. Sarah and I got our stuff around and headed to the car.

It's 5am in Boulder and all traffic is headed toward the Rez. It seems like they host races almost every weekend in the summer so it's really smooth to get in and park. We get our stuff and head to transition. No lines for body marking (good!) and no lines to pick up the timing chip (yay!). The 5430 Races have the best transition set-up. They have the racks well marked by wave and there are 4 bikes to a rack, two on each side. Bikes are racked by the rear tire so no having to hang from seat posts or handle bars. They also set the racks up far enough apart everyone has plenty of room. Not like the races with the single bar racks and you have to squeeze in as many bikes as you possibly can...

Today I am attempting to start the race with my shoes already clipped to my bike to save time. That's why I needed the rubber bands. I got the pedals set up so they won't bounce on the ground as I run out of transition. Then you hop on the bike and start pedaling with your feet on top of the shoes (the rubber bands break). As you gain speed, you slip your feet into the shoes and away you go!

I'm set up early enough that I do a short warm-up run to get the blood flowing before I put on my wet suit. No issues here.

My wave (#2) starts at 6:40 so at about 6:10 I head over to put on my wetsuit and get in a warm-up. I really wanted to use the real bathroom (not the port-os) but they weren't open yet. bummer - will wait for the lake. I squeeze into my wetsuit and about 6:20 I get in the water. The sun is rising over the lake, making the buoys hard to see, but that's expected of course! I swim out to the dock a couple times - all is good. The wetsuit seems to have loosened up somewhat around my shoulders, which is a good thing.

Right before the start of wave #1, the national anthem is played and the flag is up in the sky - being carried by three skydivers. Way cool!

6:30, the race starts - they sent the older men and women (50+) and relays off first.

SWIM (1500+ meters):
6:40 - my wave #2 - the lime green caps - all women ages 30-34. Off we go! I wanted to be more competitive in the swim today so I positioned myself a little off to the side but closer to the front. And it was competitive! Lots of us jockying for position, but I found myself on the losing end since I just couldn't keep up. After a few hundred yards I was able to get my space. It seemed like forever to the first buoy! and then the next, and next. Finally I get to the first turn. Then the wave behind me starts to show up - the purple caps. Then I get to the next turn and I start to see the second wave after me - the pink caps. As I am making the final turn for the last few hundred yards to the beach, I see an orange cap - the men have started and the lead guys are FAST! I make the last turn for the last few hundred yards to the beach. I am glad to get out of the water - I felt like I was swimming strong, but it also felt like it was taking forever! And it was! When I got out of the water, my watch said 40 minutes! yikes! I did the 1.2 mile swim in Kansas in just under 45! Didn't think I've slowed that much in a month. Very, very frustrating! But I accept it and get on with the bike (my favorite leg!)

Swim Results: 41:43 (age group rank- 99/121) *sigh*

I easily find my bike, strip off my wetsuit, sunglasses on, helmet on and I grab my bike. Shoes are already on the bike, which was difference from my previous routine so I paused to make sure I really was good to go. And off I ran with my bike to the bike start.

T1 Results: 1:26 (age group rank- 19/121) sweet!

BIKE (42k):
I mount my bike (a little awkward, but not bad) and start to pedal. I slip my right shoe on my foot. Pedal some more, slip my left foot in the shoe and realize that the rubber band didn't break. hmmm....don't think it is a good idea to ride the race with a rubber band attaching my shoe to the bike. quick thinking here - I unclip my shoe and pull my leg far enough away to snap the band. Now the rubber band is just attached to the shoe. I can deal with that. I soon start passing people. My favorite phrase is "on your left." The plan is to pace myself since the first seven miles are all uphill with 1200 feet of elevation gain. I stay in the small chain ring in front and make sure I'm taking it easy on the legs, since the steep part starts around mile 5.

I make the turn on to Lee Hill Rd and it starts to get steeper. The climbers are separated from the non-climbers. Then a curve to the right and we are on Olde Stage Road. It starts to get steep. I'm pretty much in my smallest two gears (36/25 and 36/27) for this part. There is a woman ahead of me swerving all over the road, crossing over the double yellow into the lane of oncoming traffic. The roads are open so I'm not sure what she was thinking. If a race official was there, she could get penalized/disqualified for that. She crossed over several times in the 5ish minutes I was behind her. I kept chugging - Olde Stage was pretty hard, but not as hard as I remember from three weeks ago so my time in Keystone might have paid off. At one point where there were no houses I looked to my right and I could see all the way down the valley. We had certainly gained some elevation! There were spectators lined up on the side of the road cheering us on, which helps on a tough section like that. After the peak of the steep part, the course levels off but you still have a couple hundred feet to climb. When the descent starts, the race directors have imposed a 35mph speed limit for a short section. A few years ago there was a bad crash. At the bottom of this "speed zone" a cop is there with a radar gun. If you exceed 35mph, you can get disqualified. So we ride the brakes for this section (less than a mile). I was behind someone conserative and I didn't have a good view of my speed, so I just hung back. I think I hit 33mph. After the speed zone you can really fly. The road isn't quite as steep, but you do gain some speed and a chance to recover the legs. Then rest of the course is fast and downhill and then some rollers, then a slight elevation gain back into the Reservoir. I just tried to go as fast as I could without too much pain in my legs. Bike nutrition/hydration: Aerobottle filled w/HEED (~24oz) and took a gel (actually almost 2 from my "gelbot") and water with about 10 minutes left on the bike.

Bike Results: 1:25:13, 18.3mph (age group rank - 27/121)
my garmin file:

Find the rack, put my socks on, slip on my shoes, grab my hat and racebelt and run to the run start.

T2 results: 1:27 (age group rank - 26/118) - some people didn't go on for the run...

RUN (10k):
My plan for the run was to try to go as fast as I could to test myself. If I ran out of steam half way through, so be it. I didn't wear my GPS with pacing info so I could just run by feel. Well, I didn't feel it today. My legs felt heavy - they just didn't have any 'go.' They didn't hurt (well, of course running in a tri "hurts" but not pain that says stop running.) I also felt a little on the edge of my breathing. I know it's not supposed to be comfortable at this distance, but something was holding me back. The run course was an out and back, mainly on a dirt road that goes around the lake. It's relatively flat, but the "out" part has a slight elevation gain. There are a few sections with small hills, but they felt like big ones today. I walked through each aid station to make sure I was hydrating. Temps were supposed to be in the mid-upper 80s so when that sun is out, the course gets pretty warm. There is no shade out there. I took my gel at the turn-around to make sure I had fuel in the tank for the run back. I kept expecting that when I was on the "back" part with the slight elevation loss, it would feel better. It didn't. I was shooting to hit 3hrs for a total time and started the run around 2:10. I would have to really rock to make it. When I was at 2:45 at mile 4, I knew I was going to go over 3hrs by a little bit. My friend Shannon was ahead (she's a really fast swimmer) and I saw her before the turn around. She probably had less than half a mile on me, but feeling like I was, I just couldn't close the gap. I kept chugging along, still hoping for the burst of energy and leg speed. The last quarter mile of the course is significantly downhill so I was able to pick up speed and have good strides for the finish photo. I wish I could have found that stride earlier! Shannon and Sarah were at the finish line cheering. I got my finishers transition towel (soaked in cold water- nice!) and we headed over to the course to wait for Ben and Stacey. After they came in, it was Qdoba burritos at the meal tent and some fruit. And a lot of water. Skipped the beer tent today since I had to drive back to the Springs and didn't want to fall asleep! Then we watched the pros finish their race on a modified run course (3-lap loop) that was more spectator friendly. They seemed to glide along the road. I'm jealous.

Run results: 55:09, 8:54min/mile pace (age group rank - 40/118)

Total time: 3:04:56 (44/118 age group, 195/550 female finishers)
All in all, a good experience and a very well-executed event! Everyone thought the swim was long and I think the times show it. And only 6 women (from the entire field) with slower swim times finished ahead of me....


Terry Odell said...

Good to know you're still alive. Nuts, but alive.

Nicole said...

so they they say. :-)

Racing to Save Lives said...

Awesome job! Appreciate the replay as it is helpful information as we plan for our upcoming event.