Ironman has got to be thrilled with its new event: Boise Ironman 70.3. Boise put on an astounding race and when you realize that it was so successful in its first year; you get very excited for next year and many years to come. The race was thrilling and challenging with a course as scenic as any you will do. The support, the volunteers, and the spectators were out in full force and it made for an outstanding triathlon experience. Finishing downtown, with loud boisterous crowd support was a highlight to the race and my triathlon career. Congratulations to all the competitors and Thank You to the volunteers and spectators for all of your support! I can’t wait for next year.
As wonderful an experience as the event was…the race itself was one of the most difficult I have done. Had it not been for my “home field’ advantage, I may not have finished. My training and fitness have been fantastic. My coach, Harold, has been awesome. This weekend he won the 55 – 59 age group and ran faster than me! He has made training fun, put me in top form and prepared me very well. And believe me; I had my fitness on race day. But five weeks ago at St. Anthony’s triathlon I was having a break-through race when I blinked on my nutrition and the heat and humidity of Florida made me pay with a hospital visit.
I missed some key training and the Wildflower 70.3 but being in such good shape, I bounced back pretty quickly. After a good training block, I got sick for 7 days and dared not train with Boise’s Ironman around the corner. This was excruciating to the psyche of a triathlete with hopes of doing well in an event that requires 100% of your body, mind, and spirit. Finally, Memorial Day (6 days until race day), I was well enough for a light workout. It felt so good to just be outside and to know that I could race. I could enjoy the moment again.
Alas, as hopeful as I was, the last 5 weeks took a toll on me; making it difficult to race at 100%. As hard as I train I was disappointed in how I felt and performed. However, I’m thankful to have this awesome race in Boise and to have so many friends and family out there with me both competing and supporting. Thank you for your words of encouragement and support before during and after the race…it means a lot to me.
A 7am start time with a 20 minute drive up to Lucky Peak Reservoir means getting up at 4am. It’s exciting to hear the alarm clock go off while sleeping in my own bed as it alerts me to the day’s hometown event. It was to be my first time racing as a professional athlete in Boise. The whole morning was surreal and awe inspiring. I was thankful for my good health, for having a loving and supporting wife, for living in such a beautiful place and for being able to share it with so many in the triathlon community. My mind was calm and my spirit was dancing, the Boise Ironman 70.3 was moments away.
It was 55 and windy up at Lucky Peak so I put my wetsuit on to stay warm. Shortly after that I was alone in the reservoir swimming during the twilight of morning sunrise. Was the water cold? I get asked over and over again. I honestly do not think so. Wearing a wetsuit makes anything over 55 degree water balmy in my opinion. I felt warmer in the water than outside.
After a beautiful rendition of the national anthem that was emotional for me, (I was so happy to be racing this caliber of event in Boise with so many great athletes and so many friends and family to share the whole experience with.), the pros swam over to the start line. Just like that we were off and I felt horrible. I wondered what in the world was going on. I felt great warming up. I think the adrenalin spiked and not having done any hard efforts for a couple weeks shocked my body. I backed way, way off. Luckily, I was still near the front and after a minute or so was back to normal. After that I stayed very conservative and maintained a good position with the lead pack of about 6. I was very comfortable and having a lot of fun. As we neared the finish I tried to go as easy as possible while staying near the front, anticipating a long day ahead.
Into T1 it seemed they were trotting slowly along and I ran past everyone apart from Terenzo. I did pass Terenzo as soon as we got on our bikes and was the first Boise Ironman competitor to cross the dam and head out onto Highway 21. I feel like I christened the bike course.
At the bottom of the hill Terenzo passed me and it stayed like this until mile 10. I was feeling good not great but being near the front helps you feel better. Chris Lieto and another rider passed just before turning onto Pleasant Valley Rd. By the time we climbed the Birds of Prey hill I was in 6th position and not much more than a minute behind the leaders, but I did lose some time while grabbing Gatorade at the aid station and pouring all of it into my water bottle.
Around miles 20 – 30 I started having some GI problems (Gastro –intestinal), in that I really needed to go but that just wasn’t an option while riding my bike and racing. With my nutritional needs, I knew I had to keep drinking and eating. This caused me to want to puke which would essentially end my race so I fought off that urge with everything I had. This uncomfortable feeling was to remain with me until mile 3 of the run.
I slowed up my eating and drinking so that things could process and this helped a little. I started feeling tired and uncomfortable on my bike which is unusual for me after just 25 miles in a big race. This forced me to settle into an effort that was slower than I wanted but necessary to finish. It was hard to see guys ride by me and not have much of a response. Most of the guys that rode by me, I knew, that under good circumstances, I should be riding with.
One good sign is that near the end of the bike I started feeling better, a sure sign that my fitness is there; just not optimized at the moment.
After being out in the desert for so long with wide open spaces it was surreal to suddenly ride into downtown and hear the crowd. It was a great way to start the run.
Unfortunately, the GI problems that were bearable during the bike were not on the run. I was in a funk and not sure if I would be able to finish. I trudged along through 3 miles of misery. Then, the heavens parted and the sun shined on my salvation. The Warm Springs golf course had a bathroom just off the run course. As soon as I saw the bathroom I knew what I needed to do. Actually, I didn’t have much of a choice at that point. After a few solitude moments, I emerged from the bathroom a new man. I started enjoying the race again and picked up my pace, knowing I would be able to finish.
I enjoyed running along the river through the trees on a day with perfect racing weather. I marveled at the fun loving volunteers at the aid stations on every mile of the run. I used the words of encouragement to keep me going as fast as my legs would take me.
I think we all start counting the mile, the meter, the inches, the millimeter as we approach the magical 70th mile of our day’s journey. That last .3 of a mile can be so rewarding for so many reasons. As I ran down 8th street and heard the crowd cheer I was overcome with happiness. It felt so good to share this experience with my hometown. It humbled me and satisfied me. It was a moment I’ll never forget.
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