Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Race Report: Ironman Boulder 70.3 by Jeremy Geer




Before I get too far into this, I have to share how amazing my wife, Mandy, is.  After delivering our second baby boy last week, and when we talked about this race, she didn't even hesitate to say "do it!".  She handled all the night time duties that come with a newborn the night before the race so I could sleep, plus she took on our high-energy 3.5 year old all day on Sunday while I was racing (or in a post-race zombie state).  Amazing!

Pre-race, I talked with JD and Dana at Foxtrot about using a set of race wheels and after a quick check of the weather, they recommended Zipp 404 in the front and Zipp 808 in the rear.  A quick adjustment of the aero bars, a touch of chain lube, and my ride was ready!  JD also hooked me up with some Go Fast Energy Gum after a number of teammates had reported positive results when using it.
blue triad EX
I candidly wasn't very confident going into the race.  Although I've been training very consistently, my training has been for shorter distance races and my Ironman training happened to start around the same time as my son's birthday.  I was tired!  The race planning tool through my coaching program at tridot.com laid out a plan that I was determined to stick to as close as possible until my body gave in.  It outlined a 47 minute swim, a 2:59 ride, and a 1:45 half-marathon.
My pre-race nutrition was consistent with previous races: I loaded with four days of Hammer Race Day Boost.  Race morning, I ate two packets of oatmeal as soon as I woke up, plus a multi-vitamin, an omega-3, a garlic pill, a Hammer Super-Antioxidant, a Hammer AO Booster, and a Hammer PSA Cap.  45 minutes prior to race start, I loaded up on 3 x Hammer Anti-Fatigue Caps (one more then usual), 3 x Hammer Endurolytes (one more then usual), and 2 x Hammer Mito Caps (the usual).  I also nursed about 8 ounces of water throughout the morning and 15 minutes before the race, I chugged a 5-Hour Energy.

For the swim, they used a wave start again, and the organizers and athletes seem to be getting this new method down better with each race.  I jumped into the front of my wave hoping to avoid having to swim around people that were fading halfway through the race, and maybe catch some stragglers from the faster wave ahead of me and draft off them.  It worked pretty well and I finished my swim in 38:37, a 3:35 second PR for the 1.25 mile distance!

In transition, I swallowed 2 x Anti-Fatigue Caps, 2 x Endurolytes, and 1 x Mito Cap.  I stuffed two more capsule viles in my jersey pockets, plus two Hammer Bars.  In the bento box on the bike, I had already placed a flask of two scoops of Hammer Sustained Energy, plus a piece of the Go Fast Energy Gum JD had given me.  For the first time in a race, I used a pair of Sugoi Piston tri shorts I had tried in training that have two built in rear pockets that are each perfect for holding a flask, so I stuffed a flask of Hammer Tropical gel in one, and a second "just in case" flask of Sustained Energy in the other.

Greg quietly laughed at me from his house as I threw my leg over the bike and tried to strap my pre-clipped-in-shoes on!  I somehow missed Steve who was a marshal at the reservoir exit, likely because I had my head down making sure the shoes were strapped correctly.  As a rookie member of our cycling team, I'm a little embarrassed to give the details of my bike leg.  The first 30 minutes was a prescribed dial-back to 136 watts.  I can't even estimate how many people flew by me during this time.  As I turned up Jay Road, I ate my first Hammer Bar, which would be my nutrition of 220 calories for the first hour on the bike.  The end of my 30 minute quarantine on power ended on Hwy 36 at about Neva Rd, and I felt relieved to get up to my "target on all flats" of 147 watts (quit snickering!).  At the one hour mark on the bike, I took a vile of 2 more Anti-Fatigue Caps, 2 x Endurolytes, and 1 x Mito Cap.  I also switched to the Sustained Energy flask, and did a pretty good job of dividing it up into three doses, each 20 minutes apart for another 213 calories.  At one of the aid stations, I snagged a bottle of water and topped off my aero bottle.  I would estimate I only took in 30 ounces of water during the ride, about half of what I intended.  At two hours, I ate the second Hammer Bar for another 200 calories, plus another vile of capsules.  I also popped in the Go Fast Energy Gum that JD gave me, half expecting to be launched out of my seat after hearing previous accounts of the effects of this caffeinated gum.  Thankfully, while it gave me a boost, I never felt like I was going to crawl out of my skin!  About 30 minutes later, I tossed the gum into the fields as I approached the reservoir and stood up on the pedals to stretch my legs out a bit in preparation for the run.  Although my legs had been aching for the last 10-15 miles, I was about to wrap up the longest bike ride I had done since my last 70.3 in September of 2012!  They were completely different courses and different conditions, but I had bested that 2012 bike leg by just over six minutes, with a time of 2:45:54.  In retrospect, I'm pretty happy with that, because Kirk had loaned me his Blue Triad SP for the 2012 race (which inspired the purchase of my Blue TT bike), so this was the first time I could try to compare to any of my previous bike efforts.
Jer TRN2
And who was there to greet me as I jumped off the bike, but Kirk, the man who loaned me his bikes and sparked this addiction to triathlon last April!  It was great to see a friendly face after the long ride and he managed to snap a couple picture of me as I wrapped up my transition.  A quick bio break, another vile of capsules, a shot of Sustained Energy, and I was on the run.
Jer Run
Once again, Coach Todd had preached to me to stick to my race plan, particularly at the beginning of the run.  Pride was swallowed as I dialed the pace back to a target of 8:12 for the first three miles.  Due to my lack of training for this distance, I also decided to adopt a strategic run-walk method, something I had only tried once in training... reluctantly.  Basically, I was going to slow to a fast walk at each aid station in order to get some fluids and let my HR drop.  As my target pace picked up to 8:02 in miles 4-10, I still felt pretty good and was mentally buying into the run-walk method.  I also started picking off a lot of runners that had gone by me in the first three miles.  As I finished my first of two laps around the reservoir, Kirk was there again and gave me a boost of energy as I ran out on my second lap.  I divided up my servings of Sustained Energy into 20 minute increments pretty successfully, and took my last vile of capsules 60 minutes into the run.  It wasn't until miles 8 & 9 that I was struggling to hold pace.  I took a shot of Hammer Tropical Gel and was back on pace by mile 10.  5K to go, and time to pick up the pace again!  I finished strong - my last mile was my fastest - with Kirk giving me a push in the last quarter mile.  I'm pretty certain that I caught every one of the runners that passed me at the beginning of the run, so I'm proud to say that I did not get passed at all on the run.  I finished about 1 minute behind my target run time, but a full 20 minutes faster then my 2012 70.3 run split.

Overall, I finished in 5:17:23, a time I'm very pleased with.  This is my second 70.3 event, and was a PR by over 28 minutes.  Of course, I look at my overall and age group rank and eat a slice of humble pie... 70 people were faster then me in my age group?  I may be improving, but I can still get even better!  My next opportunity is a month away at the Harvest Moon 70.3 in Aurora.

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