Ironman Boulder-Part One

On the road to Boulder in the middle of Wyoming with my training partner-in-crime

On the road to Boulder in the middle of Wyoming with my training partner-in-crime

Beautiful Boulder.

For years I have wanted to visit this triathlon mecca tucked away in the Flatiron Mountains at the base of the mighty Rockies.  Imagine my surprise when Ironman triathlon decided to chose this little gem of a city to host a full Ironman triathlon.  I had told my husband years ago….”If there is ever an IM in Boulder, WE’RE THERE!”  (I have a few cities that I think this about)  So when WTC announced a new IM race in Boulder, it took me all of three-seconds to decide my race venue.  The day it opened, I woke up with the excitement of a kid on Christmas morning and the second I could register, I was on to secure my spot.

A night at the fabulous Avery Brewing Tap House (click pic for info)

A night at the fabulous Avery Brewing Tap House

After months of training for my third Ironman, we took the trip to Boulder.  Deciding to go early (2 weeks) because I had never raced at altitude before and was unsure how it would effect me.  We got there and training continued into my taper; the altitude never having any effect, thankfully.  We immediately loved the area.  My hubs LOVED the area.  Lot’s of sun, lot’s of great food options (what a foodie city) LOT’s of fit, health conscious people who were so friendly and eager to talk to out-of-towners, great outdoor activities and bikes EVERYWHERE!!  All things we adore!  We enjoyed every day of the 2 weeks leading up to race day.

WHAT THE KALE!!! During this whole trip I craved Kale!!  This made my night.  Roasted Kale and Brussels Sprouts with Sweet Soy at Foolish Craigs.  OH yes please!!

WHAT THE KALE!!!
During this whole trip I craved Kale!! This made my night. Roasted Kale and Brussels Sprouts with Sweet Soy at Foolish Craigs. OH yes please!! We tried this place because it had been on the TV show Diners, Drive-In and Dives (click pic for info)

When Ironman village opened we enjoyed hanging out there, being at the Athlete Welcome Party, listening to the Ironband (these guys ROCK!)and the great Mike Reilly pumping us up for race day!

The Saturday before race day is bike and gear bag check in.  I made sure my bike was all clean and ready to rock (Thanks to my bike handler hubs) packed my run and bike gear bags (your T1-T2 bags)

T1 Bike gear bag: Helmet, Rudy sunglasses, cycling gloves, cycling shoes (I do not wear socks)

Saturday getting ready to pack my bags

Saturday getting ready to pack my bags

T2 Run bag: EFS Liquid Shot flask; filled, visor, Garmin, socks (Nike dry fit) and my kicks (Hoka One One Bondi 3) Running in socks is all new to me, but with these shoes I feel like I need them.  Hoka I beg you for a seamless, sock-less friendly shoe.

After a quick little workout that morning; 10 min swim, 10 min bike, 10 min run, we headed down to Boulder Reservoir for the bike/bag drop.  It was a swirling beehive of activity as athletes and family members walked their bikes down for their security photos (I told them that my bike looooooves having her photo taken) and to rack them up for their overnight stay at the reservoir.  It was so fun for me having friends from CdA there at checkin that came down to volunteer.  To see a familiar face when nerves are starting to brim up inside is such a huge comfort.  I left the hubs and walked in with my bike giving JB a quick, nervous, hug that immediately brought the sting of tears that just wanted to fall from my eyes.  I went into bike transition and found my number on the rack and hung my bike.  I walked back to the start of transition and walked back to my bike ensuring I knew exactly where she was (this will be a funny story later). Then with a sigh and a little lip-quiver of knowing the next time I saw her I’d be past a 2.4 mile swim and ready to head out on a 112 miles, I walked out.  I saw JB again and grabbed a quick, reassuring hug, thanked her for being there to volunteer and went to meet the hubster to drop my gear bag.  I dropped that bag and came around to check out the swim buoys that were already placed.  The reservoir is beautiful. 186214154 1600 Looking at a one-loop swim course always seems to appear SO huge! (I mean it is…almost 2 1/2 miles)  Some of those buoys were almost out of eyeshot.  I giggled at thinking how nervous I was for my first IM swim and how far I’ve come.  I have learned to love that swim so much (it was actually the first workout I did post IM this week)  I also noticed that the transitions seemed long from water exit, to wetsuit peelers, through bag pick up, into the changing tents, but that ended up not being the case and didn’t effect my transition times at all.

Race ready and Dropping of the goodies!

Race ready and Dropping of the goodies!

IronBand rocking us with some sweet tunes at the Athlete Welcome

IronBand rocking us with some sweet tunes at the Athlete Welcome

Next was run bag drop.  That was at Boulder High School.  This was something new to me, having split transition areas.  But again, during the race, was of no effect.  I dropped my bag on the track, looked to see which tent I’d be entering (left or right) and left for the day.  Lunch, rest and packing Special Needs bags was all that was left on my schedule for the day.

I was set!!

Hiking in Chautauqua Park…Gorgeous Day!

Hiking in Chautauqua Park…Gorgeous Day!

 

Running in our Undies-Ironman Boulder Underpants Run.  Love this tradition!

Running in our Undies-Ironman Boulder Underpants Run. Love this tradition!

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Loved the "bike" lights

Loved the “bike” lights

Mountain Goats

Mountain Goats at Chautauqua Park

Dear, Husband-Ironman Boulder

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I am one week out from my third Ironman. I’ve been in Boulder for a week to finish training and have some time to acclimate, as I wasn’t sure how the elevation would effect me. So far so good. After our first training day I text the hubster and said “what elevation?”  I feel so fortunate to have the ability to be here this early and fortunate enough to have my training partner-in-crime, my daughter and hubby alongside me. It’s been a long few months of training starting way back on January 6 of this year and I feel like I need to give a shoutout and some credit where credit is due.

I thought about adding up my total days of training and listing an attribute for each day but in all honesty I don’t even think that would be the icing on the cake…..G and P

Dear Husband,

Three Ironman triathlons and you are still by far my biggest fan.  I have loved the way from day one…during training my first triathlon that you just dove in to learn about this sport that I quickly fell in love with.  You have been by my side for every hard training day, sunburn, muscle cramp, sore IT band, restless night, cry-fest (there have been a few) melt down, and blister. You have cooked countless dinners when either I wasn’t home because of training, or was just simply too tired when I got home.  You have held my hands daily praying with me and for me.  You have maintained my bike as if it were brand new; cleaning, lubing the chain and airing my tires. You have made my nutrition bottles, loaded up coolers of ice for my recovery drinks.  You have done laundry when needed, picked up prescriptions, and played the roll of dad AND mom when needed. You have played race/training support for me on miserable hot training days bringing me ice, water and towels. You’ve rubbed my feet and sore muscles nightly for MONTHS. Your support is limitless and for not only one, but multiple Ironmans! Not to mention the countless other races that happen during the year.

RAINY TRAINING RUN!

RAINY TRAINING RUN!

You never even bat an eye at my crazy schemes, adventures and antics and when I talk about future races, you light up and encourage me onward.  You have traveled countless hours, through innumerable states, getting me from place to place to a myriad of races. Your love, joy and dedication is present to me every day.

Dear Husband,

Count the stars and that doesn’t come close to the adoration, love and respect I have for you.  I hold you in highest esteem for your willingness to encourage me in my passions.

Dear Husband,

How would I EVER do any of this without you?

I just thank you. I thank you for the man that you are, the father that you are and the husband you are to this crazy-mighty chick.

I hope you know how much I appreciate you. How truly grateful I am and how privileged I feel to have such support from you.

You have gone so far beyond Iron-mate for me.  I have learned that racing this distance takes more than just yourself. It’s takes a household.  It takes all hands on deck. It takes communication, determination and encouragement. It takes someone on occasion to kick you in the pants to get you out the door on days when you just do not want to.

Cruisin' around Hoi An, Vietnam

Cruisin’ around Hoi An, Vietnam

Dear Husband,

You bless me daily and I treasure you.

Dr Husband,

I cannot wait to fall into your arms after crossing the finish line on Sunday.

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The (not so) Glamorous Life of a Woman and Ironman

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I am laughing at what I am about to write.  I am pre-lauging, because the words haven’t even hit my screen and I knooooow some of this will sound bad.  I laugh now as I sit, outside in my cool, shaded yard.  Listening to birds and the waterfall trickling in our front yard, eating a Schwann’s popsicle.  My workout day done.  When only days ago, hours ago, I was in misery during a workout.  Hot, sweat stinging my eyes.  Things going all wrong.  Ya know….those kind of days.  That kind of day when your mouth opens and says….”WHY am I doing this?” <again> That moment when if given a split second chance, you’d reconsider this whole thing.  That kind of day.

Aren’t we supposed to be Enjoying the Journey?

Here’s the deal; for ever bad day, there are two, three or five good.  For every day that I have overheated, sweat pouring off of me, and salt staining everything I own; I consider the cold, frozen, snowy months.  There are bad days and good, ups and downs….funny and not-so-funny.  Here are a few not-so-glamourous things about being a women (or man) and training/racing your heart out.

Just to name a few:

Let’s start with the swim.  Honestly, can my hair get ANY more like straw in the winter?  Not only are we in the cold weather, but getting into an overly-chlorinated pool..well if there was any shred of health in my hair, give it a few days once in that pool, let alone the MONTHS we in the Pac Northwest have to spend.  No amount of Moroccan Oil will help this out.  On top of it, my hair is naturally curly, which translates; naturally dry and unruly 99% of the time.  Add chlorine…well, you’re looking at a recipe for disaster.  We waiiiiit for the day that we can get in to open water, which lends its own set of problems.  In comes the wetsuit.  If I were maybe say a banana or a sausage link, I might feel comfortable adding a close-to-your-skin layer onto myself.  Wrestling a body into a wetsuit is an art. A tight, rubber skin being layered on… all while trying to be as careful as possible not to yank, pull too hard, rip a hole, dig a nail into or tear a seam.  But making sure it’s pulled up correct, high enough, pulled up over the butt (this helps if you have a friend) and zipped up the back, without it being too tight in the arms and neck.  And lets not even talk about the zipper…..  It’s nonsensical! Getting the wetsuit on is a workout unto itself, and usually leads to increased heart rate,  heavy breathing, sweating and slight exhaustion.  After all of this, you walk into our icy waters to start your swim, where you then get to pee on yourself and into your suit to warm up.  Glamourous! After the swim, if you’re lucky, you may end up with as I did today, a sweet looking raspberry “hickey” on your neck that is SURE to cause some sort of scandal when seen by people around town!  Which leads to my next glamour word; Chafing!

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I’m telling you what, if you have clothing of any sort on; you’re gonna chafe somewhere.  It is inevitable!  I don’t care how much Body Glide you use, you WILL miss a spot!  Always.  Over 140 miles in a race, something, somewhere is gonna go bad.  I have had chafing on parts of my body that quite frankly I didn’t think possible.  And unless I just figure out a way to dip my body entirely into a tub of Body Glide, it’s just gonna be that way.  Probably the worst part…..the post workout/race shower…that in all aspect should feel like the best thing you’ve ever experienced, until water hits that raw skin…..screams of agony and jumping out of the water a best-feeling-ever-shower does not make.  Along with chafing you have it’s counterpart the blister.  Blisters also have a way of cropping up when and where least expected.  I have blisters that have just become permanent residents on my feet.  They don’t even hurt anymore.  They come and go, and it doesn’t matter the socks I wear OR shoes, they appear.  Always in the same place…on the deformed pinky of my right foot.  Add the blister, deformed pinky and the possibility of black or missing toenails (this has thankfully only happened one time to me on said deformed pinky) and you have a pedicure nightmare!  Runners feet….not always the prettiest girl at the ball!  Speaking of pedicures…forget it.  Or…find an exceptional person to do them.  My girl…knows to not even go NEAR my calluses with a pumice stone.  Taking those fabulous, well worn- in, necessary calluses, off would result in more of the above; chafing and blisters.

Lets talk bike.  And throw out words like; saddle.  112 miles on a saddle not quite wide enough for Barbie to sit on.  Or maybe you’re like me and ride a split-nose saddle, which brings its own set of gifts to the party.  This thing has saved my butt though.  Literally.  HOWever…that being said, riding that type of saddle takes some getting used to.  Even though theres nothing pushing into your….nether region, you have the chafing issue to get used to on your upper legs….and sit bones that need to man-up and do their job of…ummmm sitting correctly for HOURS.  Yes, you will have bruising.  Doesn’t everyone get a bruised butt?  HA!  Glamour, right there!!   There are great conversations to be had on a long training rides with your girlfriends.  Things like… the bruising.  Down There.  Things like…which is the best butt cream.  And I’m not talking for your babies.  I am talking  Ruby’s Lube, Chamois Butt Butt’r, Hoo Ha Ride Glide……for all of that fun stuff going on downstairs for HOURS on the bike that is supposed to keep you chafe free and possibly relieve some of the goings-on atop that saddle.  I’ve learned a few things in my time of doing Triathlon;  there is no perfect saddle, not kit that will help, no butt butter that will suffice.  It’s gonna hurt at some point…and thats that!  On top of that; being hit with bugs in the face at 20mph-plus HURTS, bee stings on the bike HURT, and your butt….it’s just gonna hurt!

Let’s move onto the last piece of this fine Ironman puzzle; the run.  This is where chafing can be the worst.  Anything and everything can rub.  I have had chafing from a heart rate monitor, which is soft around my chest, that when sweated on and ran with my body for 26.2 miles at Ironman Canada, decided it just wanted to cut into my skin.  My rib cage looked like it had been in a knife fight after that day.  The same heart rate monitor that I had worn every. single. day. for training.  If something touches you…..your gonna chafe.  This is where we can get Uber ladylike….the run.  Peeing (or worse) in bushes while your running partners stand watch like sentinels.  And, OH, perfecting snot-rockets ranks right up there on the glamour factor for sure. That is some high-class glamour!!  Snot-rockets are also an art form.  Practice!  Doing it wrong….well you can imagine what can happen.  It can get nasty-gross.

PS: The snot-rocket does work particularly well when riding 20mph….those things can really fly.

PPS: You know your heavy into racing season when you find yourself <almost> blowing a rocket from your car window.

PPPS:  It has taken me years…and I still hate to do any of this in front of my husband.  This is a side of his sweet, soft, clean-smelling, perfumed, showered, wife that I have a hard time allowing him to see.  For better, for worse….I guess, right?

Add all of this to water retention, food obsessions, falling asleep the second your head hits the pillow, or before…like…as your walking in from brushing your teeth, having every calendar date, family outing, vacation or camping trip revolve around your IM schedule, sore muscles, wearing compression like it’s your job, and being gone HOURS on end for long bike/run days, laundry that morphs overnight from one shirt on the floor to a Matterhorn sized pile within hours, that continues to multiply because you never have time to catch up, dinner that’s not always on the table on time,  the intimacy that your bike saddle sees more of than your spouse, sock tan lines, bike short tan lines and tan lines across your back that look as if they were branded on you by alien life forms…and you have the glamorous life….

***I know this sounds like I’m wining, but it’s all in fun!  I honestly love every day that I get to do this.  Good and bad, short and long…..it’s love!

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