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It had been two years since I last did a triathlon, and over 2 months since I last did a halfway decent swim workout in the pool.  Was I ready for Ironman Boulder, no, not in the full triathlon sense.  I turned it into as much of a Duathlon as a tri can be turned into.  But that’s the story of a triathlete “I could have trained harder”.  So in knowing that basically every triathlete (even the winner) probably says that, I’m not going to.  I’m just going to say I could have raced smarter.

3 hours tops, is how much sleep I got the night before Ironman.  A night plagued with bad storms and incredibly humid air kept me up on Jesse Erhardt’s couch.  I heard two storm fronts move over us at night and last for what had to be at least 3 hours.  Then the rain started to really pour and I was wondering if it would ever stop.  I remember looking at the clock at 2:30 and it still coming down and wondering if it was going to ruin race day.  When Jesse woke me up at 4:45 it had stopped.  Jesse was about to report for volunteering, so he had to be there before I did.  The transition open from 5-6:20.  I left at 5:15, the race venue being 6 miles away (doesn’t get much closer than that!) and got there at around 5:45, it seemed like all 1750 participants were leaving the same time I was.

Finally I got there, and got to the transition area around 6.  With a quick unload of gear, set up, and trip to the bathroom, I was out of there JUST before it closed at 6:20.  I was in the 4th waive at 6:45.  As I was getting my wetsuit on (not to self: don’t put on trislide first, will make wetsuit process MUCH more difficult) which took basically up until the third wave, they played the national anthem, had some parachuters come down with an American flag, and white doves topped off the big time race feel.  Great music before the race (stronger, Kayne West right before I went out) got me pumped up for the swim.

The wetsuit definitely helped, and hurt me.  I’m sure it helped more than hurt, but it was definitely tough to breathe for me in such a tight suit.  Don’t get me wrong, it was the right size, just tough to get used to it.  And after a leak in my goggles a quarter of a way into the swim, I was ready to be out of the water!  39 minutes and I was back on dry land where I felt comfortable again…

…4 minutes later, and still forgetting my sunglasses for the bike ride, I was out for the ride!  The ride was a two loop course on rolling hills (mtns to North Dakota!) around the Boulder Reservoir.  I stayed pretty consistent on the bike, I averaged 21.5 mph and felt a lot more in my element.  I was passed by very few people, and it seemed like everyone I saw (which was a ton) had a TT bike or aero wheels.  It really just shows what kind of people this tri attracted, and what kind of people live in Boulder.

After I was done completely drying my eyes out on the bike, I was eagerly ready to torture my legs on the run, which was supposed to be “saving the best for the last”…

…it started out like the best!  I averaged 6:30-6:45 for my first 4 miles.  Then my achilles started chafing on the back of my shoe, I was sockless.  Shortly after my hamstring really started cramping up and hurting.  So from miles 5 on to the end I was stopping about every miles and stretching out my hamstrings to make sure they stayed loose.

The run was really on a nice course.  It was 90% nicely packed dirt, around the reservoir and other streams nearby.  It was a two loop run as well.  There were tons of mountain bikers riding next to use cheering us on, along with just plain fans that lined a good bit of the run, which was impressive because it was sort of desolate in some areas.

I dug deep the last mile and finished it out in sub 7 for my last mile.  The last 400 meters there was fans going crazy, cowbells, and all the event sponsors in the expo area just before we ran down the gated finish line.

5:17:53 and I was back to being stationary, better yet horizontal again, very horizontal!  Jesse was my water boy at the finish line and I didn’t even realize he handed me the water until 5 seconds after he gave it to me, haha, I was pretty finished!

After taking my gear to my car I was about to jump in the water to cool off.  I made it halfway and turned around to head to the bathrooms to throw up, haha.  Whether it was the altitude or my first half IM tri, or both, it had got to me.  But all was well after a few minutes of getting some uneeded stuff back up, and I felt normal again.

While I was getting a much needed post race massage, I was thinking about the whole experience, and how lucky I was to be able to participate in something like this.  The inagural 70.3 for Boulder, Colorado.  Wow, it sure was a blast…see you next year Ironman Boulder!  🙂

Posted by ryanlevander on August 18, 2010

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