Sunday, July 11, 2010

Boulder Peak 2010 Race Report

The Boulder Peak has been around for 19 years. It's a classic race in Boulder with a short, yet challenging climb during the first 7.5 miles of the race. The run course is pretty flat with a few short hills, but it is exposed and it's more often than not really hot.  I did the race last year for the first time. Here's my account of the weekend and the 2nd time at the Boulder Peak.

Saturday: Slept in until about 7:20 and had gone to be around 10:30 the night before, so it was one of the longer nights sleeps that I've had recently! Then once I was up, all I could really think is hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. I got a little behind the curve earlier in the week due to some traveling, so anticipating a high of around 90 at the Res on Sunday, I made sure I always had my water bottle with me to drink from, sometimes water, sometimes HEED.  It was a busy morning, as I had to take the dog to the kennel, which is about 30 minutes away. She loves it there (Preppy Pet Suites) so it's worth the drive. Then I had to pack, and tried to get a little cleaning done as well. But about 1pm I was all packed up and ready to head to Boulder. Rocked out to some Melissa Etheridge on the way up. Great tunes!

Packet pick-up was efficient (no line) and the pre-race athlete meeting was as well. I was getting hungry so after the meeting I headed out to look for a place to eat. Was thinking Panda Express for the rice and protein, but passed the Whole Foods and figured that'd be a slightly better option (though more expensive). I found a packaged teriyaki salmon and rice dish and a couple veggie spring rolls. Zapped it in their microwave and had a perfect pre-race meal. I killed some time at Starbucks (yay! for free Wi-Fi) before heading to my "homestay" aka Jordan's couch. She was baking scones...

 I took my bike for a quick spin around her neighborhood to check out the gears, as I tweaked them earlier. All was good so then it was time for the pre-race sticker placement (helmet, bike) and unpacking/packing. The alarm was going to go off pretty early (4:00am) so the sooner I could get to bed, the better! But not without trying one of Jordan's amazing scones! Bed time as morning would come too soon.

Sunday-Race day: Sure enough, 4:00am the alarm went off! Pretty good sleep on that couch, only waking up a few times to use the bathroom (guess I was hydrated!) and of course I woke up at 3:45 as well. Got my stuff around and headed to the Res. 5:00am the transition opened and I was there. Timing chip pick-up and body marking were efficient as well. The race director has volunteers with sharpies scattered all throughout the transition area so that there really are no lines. I didn't feel too hurried, met with a few of my athletes and then went for a quick warm-up run and dynamic warm-ups. Grabbed my stuff and went over to the PPTC tent so I wouldn't have to go back into transition to get my clothes to change into after the race. One perk (besides shade) of having a tent at the race!

Wetsuit went on and I headed down to the water. I said hello to Dave Scott on the way to the beach. I know Dave through the Team In Training Coaching program - he oversees the triathlon coaching program and trains the coaches.
Got in a quick warm-up to make sure the goggles weren't leaking then I joined my wave on the beach. I probably could have warmed-up a little more, but the swim will be what it will be. The national anthem was sung while sky divers carried the American flag. The sky was blue and the water was very comfortable. at 6:50, my wave, F35-39 went off...

1.5k Swim: 37:15 (87/105 Age Group)
Though not the best swim, it's actually a decent time for me. The first half of the swim is looking into the sun so finding the buoys isn't easy. I just try to stay with people (or keep them in sight as they swim past me) and not veer too far off. I positioned myself better (lesson learned from the sprint tri) at the start. It was a clock-wise swim and since I tend to pull left, I need to sight often to keep my path moderately straight. For the first third of the swim I was near a pack of other women, which probably helped me since I'm sure I was getting a small benefit of a draft. When they got too far ahead, I just swam my race. The water seemed a bit choppy at times and it didn't take too long until the next wave was upon me. Once I was on the finishing stretch, I was more comfortable and tried to keep my steady pace. I exited the water and ran up the beach. I can tell I'm in better shape, as the run isn't as "painful" as it has been in previous years. When you go from horizontal to vertical, and then try to run, your heart has to pump a lot harder to get that oxygen distributed! The clock said 57 and change when I hit T1, and my start time was +20minutes, so I was really happy I went sub-40 (last year was 41:40ish on a slightly long course).

T1: 1:59 whoa! just squeeked under that 2min mark! Slow here, it just took a little longer than usual to get chip was under the wetsuit this time so it didn't snag. I was just a little sluggish, I suppose.

42k Bike: 1:24:52, 18.4mph (37/105 Age Group)
The bike leg is my favorite of the triathlon. The Boulder Peak provides an interesting challenge to pacing. The first 7.5 miles are all uphill, and at about mile 5 it gets steep. At one point the gain is about 600ft in 2/3 of a mile (or so says the race website). Regardless, it's a slogfest. So, as much as I'd like to hammer out of the gate, this one was comfortable and controlled. Except today right out of the gate, I had a slight bike-mounting problem. As I hopped on my bike (shoes clipped to the pedals with rubber bands), my foot slipped off the top of one shoe as the rubber band broke (as it should) and the shoe toppled and caught the ground. That means I had to stop, and then try to start up again and catch the shoe just right to get my foot on top. I did, but now I'm on a slight uphill section exiting the reservoir and everyone is zooming past, so I had to be extra careful slipping my feet into the shoes. I was able to get them on safely and then pass many of those who passed me at the bike start. I was sure hoping that this incident wasn't an omen for the bike ride...
Bike pacing, as I mentioned, it's time to be conservative for the first few miles of this course. And I had also decided that I wanted to have fun today and limit the amount of "pain" I was in. So I cruised the first few miles, and then just worked to get up the hill. The gears were back to not shifting the best, but they settled in eventually. I was glad this wasn't an could have been very annoying!
Near the top of the steepest section there are people dressed in devil's costumes and other costumes to cheer you on. There were many of encouraging phrases in chalk on the road (they could have written a novel - we're moving so slow at this point we'd have time to read it!) Some athletes opt to get off the bike and walk. My climb went well. I passed a bunch of people but did get passed by guys hammering. One racer, Molli #1517 (my age group) cruised up the hill past me. But not too many others in my age group that I can tell passed me on the bike. After the steep part, it's still a climb with a few small descents for about another mile or so.  The first mile is a speed zone of 35mph for safely. Then it's a free-for-all and a lot of the guys were having a blast descending this hill! Once we turn onto left hand canyon, it's not as steep, but still a descent for about 8 miles. Time to eat! I had a piece of a clif bar and had been drinking HEED. I finished my first bottle at about 10 miles into the course. I waited for the course to get a little flatter and refilled half of my aero drink with my second bottle of HEED. Total fluid consumption, approximately 28-30oz of HEED (~250 calories) and a couple oz of water. Had another piece of clif bar (crunchy peanut butter of course!) for half a bar total, about 125 calories.
The last third of the bike course is rolling and when I looked at my time, I decided to push it a little harder to beat last year's time. I caught up to Molli (the one that passed me on the hill) near the Res entrance and also Molly, a PPTC member racing. Though overall my perception is that I didn't work as hard on the bike this year and was about 30s faster.

T2 -1:10 put my bike on the rack but I entered from the wrong side. Several bikes weren't back yet, so I just ducked under the bar, put on my socks and shoes, grabbed my hat and gel and headed out.

Run - 51:20, 8:17 pace (26/104 Age Group)
When I got off the bike,  I just wanted to enjoy my run. Then Molli passed me...but she was going a little faster than I wanted, so I settled into a pace that was comfortable for me but not easy. My plan at this point was to just take the first half comfortable and if the legs were there, kick it a little on the second half. The legs felt decent and when my Garmin beeped to autolap at 1 mile, it told me my first mile was 8:18.  Well if that was a comfortable pace, I was just going to have to stick with it! and my legs held up! I walked every aid station to hydrate and I took my gel (Hammer  raspberry) at the turn around.  I knew I was feeling good when I yelled out encouragement to people I know. Not so good races I usually just point and nod. Saw Jeff and Terri from PPTC, and Dennis, my athletes Ben and Shannon, and Anthony and Michelle from team Trakkers. Might have been a couple others too. Saw Dave Scott around mile 2 and I said hi again. He told me I was looking good. When there was one mile left, I knew I'd break the 3 hour mark! So I kicked it in (my "kick" ) and pushed the last little bit. there is a nice downhill right before the finish line to get an acceleration boost to look even stronger at the finish. Race was over!

Total: 2:56:34, 40/104 age group (Boulder is a tough place to race!) 

OK, so now that you've read (or skimmed) my race report, I have a favor to ask of you. My father-in-law has been recently diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. Because of this, I've turned my ride of the Copper Triangle on August 7th to be a pledge ride for the Davis Phinney Foundation. I am trying to raise $250. That's just ten donations of $25, or 25 $10 donations! Please help me support this organization by making your tax deductible donation today! And I'd be honored if you shared the link with a few of your friends...if you and four friends donated $5 each, I should reach my goal in no time! Thank you for your support. This is the link to donate.

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