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Boulder 70.3 Race Review, Report and Fun stuff

[Disclaimer:  I’m in AG 40-44 …. If you didn’t National Lampoon’s Vacation funny … )

Let’s just start off my saying that I pride myself on my most practiced and excellent snot rockets.  It’s taken me years and one nostril is better than the other, but most of the time they are good and I don’t end up with snot on my face, shirt or glasses.  So during  some portion of the Boulder 70.3, I went to blow a snot rocket and I hear this “grunt” to my left.  There is this dude there … kind of hanging out in the draft zone.   I giggle a little and say,”hey you, shoot man.  Totally didn’t mean to snot on you.”  Which I don’t.   If I’m riding with my training partner and she’s behind me I’ll just snot in my hand and wipe on my shorts.  (yeah yeah, glamous.) So I said, “Dude, you totally wouldn’t have gotten snotted on had you said ‘On your left.’ and I proceeded to giggle for about a minute.  I don’t think he was assumed.  I was.  Hahahaha.

For this race report, let’s go back to the beginning.  There was light …. AH!  Just joking.  There was a hot mess chic rolling through one life crisis after another.  Divorce.  Heart issue.  Heart surgery.  x2.  blah blah blah.

[Disclaimer #dos:  this blog will represent all my voices and both personalities as I am a Gemini]

So this race starts with heart meds all over the place, serious weight gain, this and that … cardio doc dude saying to do “more normal stuff” and me being super stubborn and living life on my own terms.  So I came up with my #hearthealthyplan with some rules and stuff.  So I show up, not really sure how much of the race I would do.  But I DID SHOW UP.

TRIP TRAVEL:   (no dead grandmas on the roof story)

So Karla and I drive.  With a 2 bike rack.  Easy peasy.  Except this former mentioned person, having had a vehical/bike accident in Feb …. got a new Cervelo.  So … car packed up (truck) and the dog living in the backseat …. who would have thought that the new Cervelo wouldn’t share the bike rack with other bikes.  Not real surprising.  And said bike wouldn’t fit in the truck either (with both wheels off).  Seriously.  So the car unpacked.  My bike goes in the truck, with everything fit in around it.  One bike on the rack.  Boom.  Done.  Presto.  On our way.

Pretty awesome trip, was gonna work on training plans which Karla drove until she said “Hey, I’m hungry, I need food now.” Then a minute later pulled over and threw up.  Which continued for 3/4 of the trip.  I felt really and for her and considering on the plate was a HIM …. not good.

We get to Boulder.  We’ve rented a lovely house which is dog friendly.  The owner is awesome, living upstairs.  Life is good.  We get settled. Prepare for Athlete Check in,  bike check in and all that fun stuff.

Boulder 70.3 is a very friendly race.  Tho getting to the Boulder Reservoir can be fun race morning everything else is super awesome.  There is a lot of community support and what not.  Last comment for now …. the website says “fast bike” course and what not.  While I would still say this is a good beginner race, it’s NOT easy.  The bike course can be tough in some places. The altitude can be a big factor.  And it’s usually hot.  The run course can be …. a sole sucker.  All that being said, it’s a real good race.  The volunteers are the best, the RD is awesome, the bike and run stations are perfect and well manned.   And the “back of the pack” support is solid.

Thoughts for a FB post:

I wish I could describe for you the feeling of toeing up to the line of Ironman or 70.3. Simultaneously facing your best and worst parts of yourself. Being BRAVE. Not perfect and kicking ass anyway.

Fear doesn’t stop us. Suckage doesn’t stop us. Pain and disappointment doesn’t stop us.

I feel ALIVE. That’s what we are addicted to.

 

Bike Check In:  Very uneventful.  This race is organized well.  And again, all the volunteers are great.  One of the reasons why I keep coming back to this race.  I really want to do the full here but heart meds and altitude DO NOT go together.  More on that later. #nmf

Funny side story and a new experience.  Sooooo, when you have a heart ablation you get put on blood thinners and I chose to be on one that’s older and more researched.  Tho it comes with checking your INR (a measure of how fast

your blood clots and you stop bleeding), managing your greens consumption and blah blah blah.  Soooo, I decided to get back on my garlic pill kick a while back with that blog on how good garlic was.  Soooooo, when I had my INR

 

tested before we left for out of town, it was 6. Ha.  Which is a BIG DEAL.  At 6 your kind of at risk for just spontaneously developing a bleed.  Sooooooo, you imagine eating a lot kale and multiply that by some number BK would do to thicken the blood.  😉 Sooooo, I had to have it retested in Boulder as it would be incredibly unsafe to race (bike) and have an accident.  Meaning if you hit your head you would be at a real big risk of your brain bleeding and turning into a green veggie. So one of the rules was … whats the INR and there CAN NOT be any bike accidents.  So what happens.  We go out for a warm up bike…. and they forget or don’t turn off the reservoir gates thingies.  And Karla helps with great enthusiasm …. “OH WATCH OUT WATCH” as the gate almost comes down on my head.  HA.

Travel to Boulder Reservoir race morning:  GET THERE EARLY.  LEAVE EARLY.   So, you really need to play on leaving 30 minutes before transition opens if you are staying close to the race.  I’ve done with race 4 or 5 times, this time was odd as the race was delayed 45 minutes due to traffic.  Not sure what went on, but this was an oddity.  I think something to do with a traffic light misbehaving.

[Disclaimer #tri :Only one F bomb dropped.  Once.]

Pre Race:  So, had PLENTY of time to get things ready, meet all the peeps, get copious amounts of pictures and then still PLENTY of time to have a minor meltdown.  This race I had a lot on the line.  I was using it as a deciding factor if I was quitting endurance racing.  Can I train safely with my heart issues.  Can I race safely.  blah blah blah.  Because despite what most think about ironman triathletes being a crazy bunch that doesn’t do “normal stuff” …. I am a very dedicated yogi and try to do all things in balance.  #namaste or #nmf.

Plus I have this #hearthealthyplan that have all these rules and blah blah blah.  My educated response to the cardio doc saying “go do more normal stuff”. 😉  (Listen to that podcast for more)

So I had my minor (#minornotsominor meltdown, my identity as a HIM/IM racing was on the line).

So I listened to “My Name is Human”.  Over and over.  For like …. 60 minutes.

“No one is better an anyone else here”

“Need some time to think it over”

“Must be joking if thinking either if free here”

“Get up off your knees girl”

“Stand face to face with your God”

“and find out what you are”

“HELLO!  My name is human”

“and I came down from the stars”

“I’m ready for love and I’m ready for war”

“but I’m ready for more”

“I don’t know if anyone’s been fucking this ready before”

“Need some time to think it over”

“So figure it out, I’ll figure it out”

“I figured it out”

“The bigger the river, the bigger the drop”

“I’m face to face with myself”

“And I know who I am”

“Hello, my name is human”

“I stole the power from the sun”

“I’m just than just a name”

“I came down from the stars”

Seriously folks, if that doesn’t get you fired up to face your demons and get  your ROCK IT OUT hat on …. stop ready this post.

DUDE,  those stupid heart meds turned me into a Phillsbury dough girl and my wetsuit was TIGHT.  Coach told me to wear his speed suit.  But I still have this thin tether to it …. so I got into it.  And darn it if it wasn’t tight.  And I was a little ramped up.

STOP THE FAT TALK!  Thoughts from the run.  We are sooooo attached to aesthetics.  It drives us crazy.  YES.  Being thinner than thicker is better.  Health wise that is a fact.  But seriously, lets give ourselves a bit of grace.  If it’s a bit out of your control, more grace. And give EVERYONE else grace.  ALL THE TIME.  Because you have ZERO idea whats on their plate.   Judgement is toxic.  Self judgement.  Judging others.  GRACE.  (And that doesn’t mean to have a healthy drive to lose weight.  Just stop the fat talk and do your best to drop the extra in a healthy and graceful way. #namaste)

SWIM:  I was ready to rock out this swim.  I’ve been working my arse off in the pool.  Of all things that were out of my control, getting to the pool wasn’t.  I was getting fast so I wanted to see …. sub 2 at some point.  Well, not today.  What you need to know about heart meds is that mostly the docs are big fat liars when they say the side affects are null.  Well, if you’re sitting on the couch.  Beta blockers, especially if not selective to beta 1, can affect the lungs it a big fat way.  Just had an athlete experience this one.  Other ways of affecting the heart rate, like sodium channel blockers, if you’ve listened to the electrolytes podcast and can put 2 and 2 together, affect the ENTIRE body, not just the heart.  AND they cap the heart rate.  So …. if you are a little ramped up, and your wet suit is a big tight AND you are at altitude, your demand for oxygen (but not able to get the demand) can really jack with the body and the mind.  Like the cart and the horse in a tornado.  I’ve dealt with this kind of things for years, and for me I get a touch (or a lot more) of pulmonary edema.  Feels and sounds like an asthma attack.  Listen to that podcasts for more good info.  So having caught on to this pretty quick …. I thought to myself OH DUCK ME!  This isn’t good for the heart.  This can end the day right now. So …. I had to really slow it down.  I totally started laughing when I found myself needing to swim like my first triathlon.  Kind of fitting.  Karma has a wicked funny sense of humor.  So I’m doing this awful swimming, find myself the LAST person in my swim group.  AND soon most the last in the LAST WAVE.  More giggling.  As I do know that I can make the time swimming like this.  OMG!  I wanted to quit.  Because who likes finishing last.  No one really waits for the last swimmers.  And you feel …. weak.  Loser-ish.

SIDE THOUGHT from the run:  Why in the heck are we so attached to time as an indicator of performance.  YES.  We all want on the podium and blah blah blah.  Our society is so …. unfriendly to the middle and back of the packers.  We (no not everyone) judge based on time.  That you are a”good athlete” if you are fast.  You are a “good coach” if you are fast. So it makes those that aren’t perfect, the ducking majority of us, not want to try, judge ourselves harshly and blah blah blah.  So … toeing up to this race was hard for me from an athlete and coach point of view because I very well could have finished right under the wire.  This time I had 25 minutes to spare.  That’s a crappy tire change or a bike issue or a major cramp …. So I’ll get bossy for a second and say …. STOP JUDGING THOSE THAT ARE OVER WEIGHT, MIDDLE OR BACK OF THE PACK …. AND YOURSELF. [end of stern coaching voice]

So, back to the swimming. I didn’t quit because of two people.  Some chick with a AWA swim cap and my wonderfully brave friend Becky.  The swimming chick while continuing to swim said “you’re alright” on one breathe and “come on” on the next.  <3 <3 <3.  And my brave friend Becky that I coach that I have … sort of strongly encouraged her to work on her intense fear of swimming and sign up for a HIM.  😉 Just thinking of her and her bravery and trust in me gave me a crap ton of trust in myself and just generally the extra juju needed to get my mind right.  So I got my mind settled down.  The heart rate and stuff followed suit, got warmed up by half way to the first turn buoy. I did ESP/spy Wagner waiting on me and then joining me in the swim.  She (training partner) has swam with me enough she usually has a 6th sixth sense about when stuff goes sideways for me. So that helped too.  After that I picked up the pace and finished on my own terms.  Thank goodness!

TI:  Transition was transition.  Nothing remarkable besides the amount of time I took.  😉

BIKE:  I’ve done this race a couple times so I knew what to expect.  The website says a FAST course.   It gives off the impression that it’s easy and good for beginners.  While this race as a whole can be good for beginners, it’s not easy.  And the bike can turn out to be not all that fast.  Especially if you react negatively to the 5000 ft in elevation.  There are a lot of places in the bike where it sort of sucks your soul for you.  But you are always rewarded with super fast places too so it all evens itself out.  The important name of the gain with this bike course is to maintain your rpms, know how to use your gearing to get yourself up hills and utilize the rolling hills and to NOT get behind in water, fuel or electrolytes.  (cause the run always sucks).

They changed the bike course to keep in generally closer to the reservoir with the addition of a loop in the beginning.  Which I really liked.  It gave me flash backs to IMWI with the twisting sideways that get you under the highway.  So that was kind of fun.  But here you need to be careful.  When it says “caution” and “slow down”, they really mean  it in Boulder.  Pay heed to that.

So I’m half way through my bike when the snot rocket episode happened.  That made me giggle.  I did my nutrition spot on.  I drank my “bike bottle of water per hour” through my aero bottle every hour with refilling at the bike stations that were awesome as always.  I drank my fuel concentrate out of my bike bottle on the down tube, which I drank more quickly at the end of the ride to end up with a half way empty belly for the run.  And of course use my base salts for extra sodium every five miles.  Heart rate stayed at 135 for most of the bike, so …. very low zone 2.  Perfect.

NOTE:  The cross winds on the DOWNhills with the race wheels (first time using them, I know I know..) was kind of fun and kind of scary.  I certainly didn’t stay in aero for those bits of time as I heard Shelly’s voice in my head about kicking my tail if I had a bike accident.  I was READY to get off the bike when the bike was done.  Tho I was a little irritated that the bike course was 2 miles short.  Whats up with that!?  Bike done!  Done well.  Maintained my planned pace.

PACING:  I coach folks with this underlying thought.  Manage all parts of the triathlon well.  So for Ironman, make all decisions throughout your race that results in those last 13 miles ran well if possible.  Not just … “oh I have plenty of time to walk.  Meaning:  do the hip strength work throughout the entire training cycle that results in strong hips so you can run at the end.  Learn how to pace yourself on the bike and fuel yourself properly so your tank isn’t empty or collapsing in on itself …. so you can run the last bit.  Etc.   And I’ll start this next sent thought with … I adhere to time constraints.  I doesn’t matter that I’m bouncing back from two heart surgeries and blah blah blah.  Everyone one has crap to deal with.   If I didn’t finish this race in 8:30, I didn’t completely accomplish my mission.  I would still be a badass, but I wouldn’t take the medal.  I’d probably cuss and cry and all that.  Tho still knowing that I was completely a badass for even trying.  I had my plan for “just finishing” know that I would try to be faster but I knew what I could safety give in each portion.  Race management.  And sort of almost jacking up the swim, I hit everything spot on.

T2:  It’s hard to be close to the last biker in.  You still have a long way to go.  13.1 miles to be exact.  And I will completely admit it, this was the lowest time in my race.  I could easily say, “I quit” and really … I had a good “excuse”.  So … I said “BK, suck it up for a second.  You’re not even on the run course yet.”  My legs felt D (dough).  O (omg).  N (null or nill take your pick) . E (Error).  I had left 1/2 a big container of water in transition ….

OH OH OH:  Speaking of transition.  Some chick had moved my transition stuff before the race to accomadate her transition place that was incorrectly placed.

YOUR PLACE IS BY YOUR FRONT TIRE

With your bike hanging towards you by the front part of the seat

DO NOT EVER EVER EVER

EVER 

Touch someone’s bike or transition stuff

EVER

#nmf

ever

As I was saying before that tirade … I basically washed my hair with the extra water.  It’s my way of resetting mentally and cooling off.  One of the #hearthealthyrules for this race (all races) was I could NOT get sun burnt or too hot.  Or get dehydrated.  My DeSoto long sleeved cooling shirt to the rescue.  T2 was a bit long as I washed my hair, changed from my bike jersey to the DeSoto shirt, put my camelback on (fully loaded up with stuff) and sort of took some time deciding if this was actually something I was going to do.  Then I thought of my friend Kim, who inspires me to stop whining and get moving, dig deep and go for it.

I had probably ran … 10 times in the last 4 months.  No joke.  The two heart episodes and subsequent meds really got in the way.  One foot had been struggling a bit with some over pronation so I had decided to try out some black super feet.  Yes.  New for the race.  Yeah yeah.  But I had the regular shoe inserts in my camelback.  Off I go.

RUN:  I was doing some math in my head.  I had 3:30 to do 13.1 miles.  That sounds like more than enough time, but only those that have done this race know how much the run kind of sucks.  It’s hot. On gravel with ZERO shade. It ends up being H (hell) O (omg) T(task).  For me … add in heart meds that cap the heart rate, so the leg muscles only get so much oxygen, I mostly melt in the heat anyways which makes my body want to raise my heart rate but it can’t which means it can’t keep itself as cool as what it wants to and as a FORKING bonus your up in altitude a bit so you are getting less O2 anyway.  #nmf

I tried running for a bit and left like complete crap with a hint of “I love to run, lets go”.  I told myself that it would get better.  Which I felt/knew that that was a big fat lie.  So kind of stuck in a bad attitude for a second until I get to where my coach was.  He’s asking how I feel, which I did feel pretty darn good considering.  He says “ok, Kissinger, now go take it easy.”  Ha.  So I continued trying to run but needing to walk through the huge mass of spectators thinking about the pace I need to maintain to finish and wondering if I can even do it, with most people assuming that I’m on my 2nd lap by now … touch stuff that the “back of the pack” have to deal through.  Experienced some more discouragement with someone I knew and their judgement of my performance.  That kind of sucked.  So when I get out of the populated area, my attitude was in the tank.  Then I thought of my friend Kim again.  And I thought of the next mile.  And Andrea.  And the fact that we don’t give up.  So I decided that I was going to try to run the downhills and see how fast I could walk the rest of the way.  I had planned on 14 min/mile.  That wasn’t going to happen.  So more math in the head and 15 would do the trick.  16 would be cutting it super duper close.

SIDE NOTE:  I have walked 13.1 before.  It sounds like it should be easy but IT IS NOT!

At mile 3, with the Ironman tracker check in, I thought about ALL THE PEOPLE I COACH.  How much I care about them.  How much “stuff” they go through.  Looked at my avg pace, which was under 15 min/mile and decided.

YEP BK

YOU CAN DO THIS

FOR REALS

and

Followed all the #hearthealthyrules

So I developed this pattern of run/walking, but mostly walking as running seems to make it hard for me to recover and actually walk significantly slower.  So …. nutrition, salt, water all spot on.  I got to say that the DeSoto long sleeve UV shirt was MOST EXCELLENT (yes, another first).  At the run stations I would pour water down my arms and back.  I was amazed at how cool it kept me.  Super pumped at the half mark as I knew that I had it in the bag.  Checked in with coach.  Happy.  Go through the crowd, most were encouraging and some ignored you.  Life as a “back of the pack”.  Shame on them.  When you are at races … don’t be a dirty sock bag, stinky bike shoe or unnamed feminine product.

Praise Everyone

Encourage Everyone

Be a bright star that shines the way for them

#namaste

#nmf

I wanted to do negative splits now that I had paced well and knew that I could push a bit more.  HOWEVER, my left hip was starting to killllllll me.  And dudes.  My feet were really starting to hurt.  I was strong walking like a boss, passing a lot of people and moving my arms like nobody’s business.  I had been experimenting for 2 hours how to walk the fastest.  hahahaha. And my wings were getting tired.  😉

I did accomplish negative split.s for the bike and run.  FORKING FANTASTIC!

Finish was awesome!  Two of my fav people at the end!  Got me a BA finisher pic.

This might have been the best race for me personally.  I followed all the #hearthealthyrules, coming out of this race knowing that I can do this distance safety.  The lessons that I’ve learned in the last 6 months have been hard ones.  But good ones.

Namaste

Don’t just yourself.  Don’t limit yourself.  Don’t let other tell you want to do.  

Being slow doesn’t matter. 

Showing up does.

Create your own path.

#backofthepack #showup #bravingkarma #neverquit

 

DUDE!  AND I got all my stuff myself AND score a whole pizza.

AND AND We scored the best Mexican food.  EVER.  LIKE BEST MEXICAN FOOD. EVER.  Out on Arapahoe and 63rd in between some warehouses.  And outside was boxer friendly.

YOU ARE AWESOME!
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