I've spent the last few years delighting in all the hilarious catastrophes that come with triathlon, as there seems to be at least one blooper in every race. Some bizarre unexpected obstacle, or more often than not, strange and silly predicaments I manage to bring upon myself.
I must admit that I am somewhat at a loss for what to say about IRONMAN Boulder.
Everything -- and I mean everything -- went right.
A few times leading into IM Texas, I was struck with a sudden panic of "Oh my god what have I done?!" as I remembered I was about to do another Ironman. But leading into IM Boulder, all I felt was excitement, and a perverse thrill as I watched the forecast hurl us towards 90+ degree temps. "Bring it on!" I thought, "The hotter the better!"
I did a lot of preparation for this race, from my nerdy spreadsheet of 10 hours worth of nutrition to my specific goals about pacing, power, and even attitude. I split the race into five parts: the swim, the first lap of the bike, the second lap of the bike, miles 1-18 of the run, and miles 19-26 of the run. I was hoping for success in each of these, but would treat each as its own individual chapter.
I hadn't expected to do the majority of the swim alone, but once the fifteen of us fell into 4 or 5 distinct pace groups, I was lost in the middle, with no one. As the one hour group disappeared into the distance, I had to find a new goal to stay motivated. It didn't take long. "Don't get caught by the age group men!" I swam hard, imagining those fast guys behind closing in on me. I swam myself right into a swim PR at one hour and three minutes, and just as I headed into the T1 change tent I could hear the announcer, "And, here comes our first age group male, finishing up the swim ..."
Chapter 1, success.
My goals on the bike were also focused less around catching, and more about not getting caught. I knew at least four women were close behind, so my first objective was to make it to mile 15 without getting passed. As a bonus, I promised myself a cookie for every mile past 15 that I could hold off my competition. Thirty three cookies later, I was still well above my pace targets, and feeling great. The course took us around all the farmland routes north of Boulder that I ride regularly, so I was right at home. The absolute consistency of my training with Coach Tim and QT2 Systems had me feeling confident and prepared, so this ride felt routine. By the end of the first lap I had advanced two positions in the field.