Ironman Boulder 2015 Race Goals

I believe in setting goals for myself on race day that way I know what I am working towards. I do have the long term goal of making it to Kona someday, so I have to set time goals for myself. I also like sharing my times because I feel like it makes me a little bit more accountable for achieving them. Every little bit of motivation helps on race day! So here they are:

Goal Swim Bike Run Transitions Total
A 1:05 6-6:30 Sub 4 <10 min 11:30-11:59
B 1:10 6:30-7 4-4:20 10-15 min 12:00- 12:30
C 1:15 7+ 4:20 + 15 min plus 12:31+

Of course the overarching goal is to finish and have fun. If this isn’t fun, there is no reason to keep doing it!

I am fairly confident that I should hit my swim goal. I think the rolling swim start should help a lot and will offset the altitude affects.

The bike is always a guessing game. If there is wind on the course that could greatly affect my time. There is a fair amount of climbing (5000+ feet) so that could make it longer as well. But, I think the course is amazing and it actually rides really fast so I have high hopes that I can finish under 6:30. That would be amazing!

The run is my biggest concern. I had a really good marathon in Arizona, 4:02. I was absolutely shocked how well it went. This course is a bit more challenging because we essentially run up a false flat 5 mile long hill. You can really feel it the last mile. I am hoping that the crowd and atmosphere will help me push through the pain and have a solid run like Arizona.

The biggest concern by far is the weather. We have all become amateur weather reporters now! As of now, it is calling for a high of 90 for the day. That is OK and it should be manageable. But of course, weather can play a huge roll in how the day plays out.

Look next for a post on how to track me race day! Thanks for reading!

Week 17 of 18 Ironman Boulder Training – Tapering and Travel

This week was a bit of a mess due to traveling and life. I ended up missing my long ride (only 2 hours) on Sunday because we were driving out to Boulder. I was very lucky to set things up so I can work remotely for the week before the race which will allow me to sit around and acclimatize. But the trade off was it kind of ruined my last weekend of training. Well, the hay is in the barn so I am no going to worry too much! Below are the numbers:

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As I have said before, I am super lucky to be a Brand Ambassador for Coeur Sports. They even made a batch of Boulder T-shirts for me to pass out during race week. I got to stop into their offices and see the operation! Did I mention how lucky I am?

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Here are a few pictures from the drive out.

Packing for the race meant making sure I had choices for the Underpants Run!

Packing for the race meant making sure I had choices for the Underpants Run!

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Big smiles whenever we are together!

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Our GPS routed us over the Loveland Pass. It was spectacular!

A little shake out run in Golden once we arrived.

A little shake out run in Golden once we arrived.

Expect a post on race goals and race day tracking details

Week 16 or 18 Ironman Boulder Training – I did how many hours?

This week was a blur. Things were a little off due to the end of my vacation in Big Bear with the family. When I got done with the week I was shocked to see that I had done 15 hours of training. You know you are training for an Ironman when 15 hours doesn’t feel like a big week anymore!

Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 9.52.27 AMThe swim number is a little off because it includes kayaking with the kids and my bike mileage is low for the time represented because I was on the trainer for 90 minutes but I didn’t have a speed sensor to capture my distance.

Th trip to Big Bear was tough. I got back feeling very tired and that was evidenced by my run on Friday. It was suppose to be a set of interval in zone 4. Problem was I was immediately in zone 4 coming out of my warm up and couldn’t get my HR down between intervals. I felt really awful. I decided to walk home and my HR still wouldn’t come down. 140-150 BPM walking. It was hot and I think I was dehydrated.

FullSizeRender-1I did all I could to recover from the run and hoped it was just an anomaly. I ran Saturday and it didn’t go great, but not as bad as Friday. Consult with coach led to a prescription of feet up and a beer to relax a little. Mission accomplished!

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Sunday’s long ride and run was done very cautiously. I was glad that it was hot and humid. There was a very good chance it would be that way on race day so I welcomed the opportunity to train in that weather.

IMG_0079I also got a flat on the bike (stupid goat heads) so I got a chance to test out the flat fix for the tubeless tires I am riding. It seemed to work really well but after riding for 30 minutes the wheel kept going flat. We stopped off at home to fill the tire up with real air but after one more loop I still wasn’t holding tire pressure. Turns out there were still some goat head thorns stuck in the tire. I finished up the ride on my trainer.

IMG_0080.JPGMy brain is all over the place as I get ready for the race. I know I have done the meat of my training. I am just letting it soak in now while trying to stay sharp. I am most nervous about the run on race day. That has just felt a bit off. I need to trust my body and my training. I am a very trusting person so I think I can do that!

Week 15 of 18 Ironman Boulder Training – Taper Tantrums

Well, technically I am not tapering yet but as this training cycle is winding down I am having a little fit in my head. Below are the numbers for the week.

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 9.22.28 AMThis week was interrupted by a family vacation to Big Bear California. I thought it would be great to double down and use the vacation for some training at altitude and family time. Once I got out there I felt really bad about leaving the kids to train for long hours in addition to the fact that the altitude was getting to me. Honestly, it was more a problem in my head than anything else and I just needed a short mental break from the training.

I did manage to get in a long run around the lake on Sunday which was good. Don’t tell my coach, but I may have stopped my watch and saved my run just so that I would get a green activity on Training Peaks and then started it again for the run walk home since I was out much longer than I should have been. Crap, she may be reading this… My run would have been a little bit shorter if I hadn’t tried to take a short cut. I wasn’t walking on water I promise! I can’t run that fast (yet).

I thought I was being so smart...

I thought I was being so smart…

Not a bad place to run!

Not a bad place to run!

Other than that The rest of the weekend was hanging with the kids. The highlight was a trail ride on horseback as well as finding silly stuff at the stores in town.

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I almost bought this!

We even brought the dogs with us. Cali saw the picture and thought it was a good idea!

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This is the final push and I am barely holding on. My saving grace right now is that I only have to hold it together for 2 more weeks of work and then I get my reward of racing!

Week 14 of 18 Ironman Boulder Training – Hulk Mode

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For those of you that use Training Peaks to log your training with your coach you may know what I mean by Hulk Mode. When you fully complete a workout it turns green in your Training Peaks. The goal every week is to make all the workouts turn green = Hulk Mode. This week I finally did it! See the totals below.Screen Shot 2015-07-05 at 8.34.53 PM

I think the success of this week results from two things. One, the holiday which gave me an extra day off; and two, the amazing support of my amazing husband Stuart! I also made it a point to try my best to get my workouts done ASAP during the day so that I wasn’t working out late at night. This is really the best approach because my kids really like me to put them to bed!

Overall I am feeling pretty strong and healthy. The biggest day of the week was Sunday. 30 minute swim, 6 hour bike (which I rode loops with some very special friends), capped off by a 45 in run with Stuart. Before he went running with me he set up and awesome aid station for us on our front porch!

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Best picture of the week came at the end of my run…

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There is still some training left to do but otherwise I am just dialing it all in by figuring out the details for gear, food, and racing strategy. I do have my hopes on another sub 12 hour finish and possibly in the day light! 4 weeks to go!

Week 12 and 13 of 18 Ironman Boulder Training – Quieting the noise

Sorry to squish two weeks into one again. I went to Boulder to train on course so my shcedule was a little crazy. You can read all  about my trip here, and you can read about my Boulder Ironman ride review here and my run review here. It was an extremely helpful trip. I feel much more confident about the bike ride. Someone described it as an honest course because you you get paid back for all the effort you put in. That is an excellent way to describe the course. The run course is going to be a bit more challenging that I expected due to a long slog uphill for 5 miles that you have to run twice. But I am glad I know this know! Here are the numbers for the last two weeks.

Week 12

Week 12

Week 12 was a little off due to the trip to Boulder.

Week 13

Week 13

As you can see I actually did some strength work! YAY ME!!!

There are less than 5 weeks until race day. I am really excited to wrap this race up and take a small break from the schedules. I am working to dial in a few things. I have picked up a few new pieces of kit for the race. I got a sleeveless wet suit from Roka a couple weeks ago since I think the temp of the swim will be warmed than I am used to. I used it when I did my 2 mile swim in Boulder and I was pretty warm by the end of it, so I have also picked up a Viper Swim Skin from Roka just in case. For my bike, I finally got a power meter from Stages. They were having a close out sale on their Dura-Ace cranks so I used this opportunity to get slightly shorter cranks (165 mm instead of 170 mm) like my bike fitter suggested. I also got two new pairs of running shoes form Saucony. I got the Breakthrus (lighter weight but decent support) and the new Ride 8s. I really like them both so far!

I had another unpleasant experience in a Facebook group again. In hindsight I am probably misinterpreting the comment but regardless I am finding the the Facebook group for Ironman Boulder to be providing more noise than I need right now. These groups can offer a great support system but I am at a point in my training and experience that I have my own opinions on how to tackle Ironman. I have people in my life who I trust to help me achieve my goals and sometimes these groups just aren’t value add. The incident that prompted me to leave the group was a post by a fellow member. I had thought it would be helpful to give a review of the ride course and run course for those people who can’t train on the course. After I had posed both reviews in the group another person posted a request for anyone who wasn’t a “bad ass” to give their review. It is very possible that it wasn’t a dig at me (maybe it was a compliment), but I didn’t interpret it that way. I felt like I was being slammed. That was it. I left the group. I am probably over-reacting but I had been toying with leaving the group before. Next Ironman I sign up for (looks like Wisconsin in 2016), I will not be joining the Facebook group.

I have a big week ahead of me as I get into the final build weeks of my training. I was very tired from to my trip to Boulder but I am excited to get this race done!

Ironman Boulder Run Course Review

I recently gave my thoughts on the Ironman Boulder Ride Course and here are my thought on the run (click here for GPS data from SportTracks).

A little bit about my running experience. I live a sea level and I would consider running my second best discipline in triathlon (swimming being number 1, so you can figure out where biking falls). It is rather hilly where I run so I rarely run on a flat course. For reference, I ran a 4:02 in Arizona last year; it was the run of my life! Not so sure I will do that again this year.

Some course basics:

  • You start at Boulder High School and run east (away from the mountains) on the creek path.
  • The course splits off to the right and then back and off to the left to make a “Y”.
  • There is quite a bit of shade throughout but a few exposed sections (the tops of the “Y”)
  • There are many undulations as you run under many road overpasses.
  • It is a two loop course.
  • There is some dirt path next to the paved path you you might be able to vary the surface you run on. This will depend on how crowded the path gets I am guessing.

Run map with comments

run elevation with commentsI ran the course on my last training day in Boulder. It was day 4 at altitude after 3 previous days of training (the day before was a big one). My plan called for 2:45 of running so I was hoping to get in 17-18 miles of the course. I wanted to do one true lap and then just run some more for the time. The run started well but by mile 9 I started to fall apart. It could have been the heat, the altitude, or just the fatigue of the week. I was very humbled by the run. At least I got the bad run out of the way. Also, as you can see, I wen off course on my way to the leg by Foothills Blvd. The path is right next to the bridge that crosses over the road; I didn’t run far enough to find it.

The important thing to note (in my opinion) is that once you turn back from the second out and back (when you run out to 55th) it is a long, and slightly deceiving, run up hill for 5 miles. I had run part of this the day before and I could really feel it running from 9th past the park at the top. Do not underestimate how this long slow climb will feel. Especially the second time you do it. But what goes up, must come down! It should make for a nice fast finish when you turn round for the final 3 miles.

The path is a little bit narrow in some places so it might get congested as the day goes on. A little request, this is not meant to sound snobby, please try not to run 2 across. This will make it really hard for the people on their second loop that are passing those on their first. I found this to be a problem when I did Ironman Arizona (although I am not sure I will be having as good a run at this race).

Also, because the run crosses under a lot of roads which are mostly all numbered you can use the numbers to help gear where you are on the course. 9th is the last street you cross under on your way to the top by the park and 55th is the low point and the furthest point out.

See you all in 5 weeks!

Ironman Boulder Bike Course Review

Let me first say I did NOT ride every part of the course. I did ride the most significant sections (in my opinion). Also realize I come from riding at seal level in a fairly hilly section of Southern California. My recent Ironman experience was Ironman Arizona in 2014, you can read about it here, and I also completed Ironman St. George in 2012. Also, I was riding a  53-39 up front and an 11-28 in the back. Biking is not my strength; I am a much better swimmer and decent runner. (link to my Garmin data here, link to the course map here)

Overall impression of the ride = AWESOME!

  • The road conditions were nice.
  • Because you change direction often you are not forced to ride into the wind for any long period of time.
  • It is beautiful out there!
  • The undulating course allows you keep your overall speed up.
  • Even with the elevation gain you can still ride aero most of this ride.
  • I barely had to get out of my saddle.

There are fours sections I will talk about.

Map with notesElevation with Notes

1. Entering 36

This is the first 4.3 mile of the course when you leave the reservoir. It is roughly a gain of 330 feet. There is nothing too hard here, it is just a steady climb (and climb may be too strong a word).

2. Nelson Road

This is a slightly harder section than making your way to 36. It is 4.5 miles with about 540 feet of gain. Once again, I don’t think I ever got out of my saddle. Make sure to enjoy the scenery and don’t miss the buffaloes!

After Nelson you get back on 36 and head out to 66. You can really cruise on this section and get some good speed.

You make your way zig-zagging back to the Reservoir to do the whole loop again. I didn’t ride all the way back so my ride does not reflect all of this part. It is generally an easy section.

3. 52

After you repeat the first loop you cross over the Diagonal to do a loop that should be miles 85-100 during the race. The first hill you get is on 52. It is short but steeper than anything else you have ridden so far. it is approximately 1.5 miles with 225 feet of gain.

You ride down to 287 and take a right, then another right.

4. Lookout Rd.

This one might give you some trouble if you rode hard leading up to this. It is a hill that is 2.9 miles long with about 300 feet of gain. Just when you think you are at the top, it will kick up again. It does this three times. I may have gotten out of my saddle for this but it really isn’t that bad. Just know it is coming and take it easy.

Remember the goal is

swim, bike, run

NOT

swim, OVER bike, walk

Overall I am really excited for this ride. I had a lot of concern about the bike course, mainly because it is NOT my strength. After pre-riding it I feel very confident that it will make for a great day!

Ironman Boulder Rece Weekend

I headed out to Colorado for a much needed vacation with Stuart and an opportunity to train on the Ironman Bouder course. I had a lot of anxiety about what the course would be like as well as how my body would be affected by the altitude so The trip gave me an opportunity to check both things out. This post serves as a day-by-day journal of what I did and how I felt.

Thursday night

Left home around 6:30 PM and drove out to Mesquite Nevada (an hour past Vegas). Excpet for all the kids (OMG I am starting to feel old) going to the EDC (Electric Daisy Carinival) it was a pretty uneventful drive. We like that!

Friday

We were on the road by 8:00 AM and ready for the 11 hour drive ahead of us. The scenery was beautiful and as always we made the best out of a long drive. We made it to Golden (amazing friend opened up her house to us) about 8:30 PM, walked downtown for dinner, and then zonked out around 10:30 PM.IMG_0007_2

Saturday

Up at 5:00 AM to head to Boulder Reservoir for a 2 mile open water swim race. I was worried how the altitude would affect me. About 10 minutes into the swim I found I was having trouble clearing all the air out of my lungs when breathing but that subsided and I just kept swimming. I managed to to the 2 miles in 56:17, 1:32 per 100 yards, which is really close to my normal racing pace so I was very happy with that. Turns out I placed 5th in my race! It felt like race day pace to me so I don’t think the altitude really had a major affect on me. YAY!!!

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We went for a short easy bike ride after that to check out the beginning of the bike course. My HR was a little bit higher than usual but nothing crazy.

We messed around the rest of the day but by 8:45 PM I was DONE! Nighty Night!

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Sunday

We rode the Golden Gran Fondo. I only rode the Piccolo (20 mile course) because I was riding the Ironman Boulder course on Monday. There was a 6-7 mile climb to start. I actually felt really good and passed quite a few people on the climb. I was riding my road bike (Specialized Ruby). I love that bike! When all was said and done I actually won the Piccolo! I kept downplaying it since it was just the 20 mile race but Stuart summed it up nicely; you signed up fort he 20, and won the 20!

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Side note: men that get passed by a woman and then call her a showoff since she is only riding the 20 mile course are jerks. You got passed by a chick. Deal with it!

After the ride I did a 20 min transition run. Average pace just under 9:00 in/mile and HR just under 160. All good!

Stuart made it is a couple hours later. The 63 mile ride was a killer but he did it! Afterwords we hung out in the beer garden and just enjoyed the day. What a change to not have anywhere to be or anything to do. Stuart jumped on the table of a local Rolfer, Jeff from Westside Rolfing and finally got to experience what Rolfing is about. I have been seeing Jon for Rolfing here in Santa Monica for the past month. It is really quite amazing. If you are in the Golden Colorado area, look up Jeff. If you are out here in LA, please call Jon. This is amazing stuff!

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Monday

This was bike recon day. But before we could ride, we went to a local pool so I could get a swim in. We went to Scott Carpenter Pool in Boulder (I used to lifeguard there in college). After the swim we headed out to the Boulder Reservoir where the bike starts. Stuart had used it Garmin Edge 810 to load up the course as a map so that made following it pretty easy. The course is amazing!!! (click here for the Garmin details) I will do a separate post of my thoughts about the ride and run later. We managed to ride all the important parts and all my anxiety about the ride disappeared!

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After the ride we drove back into town so we could run on the creek path. It was really warm and we had been moving all day so we wanted to find some shade to run in. It wasn’t a pretty 10K but I got it done.

Tuesday

The plan called for a 2:45 run. I wanted to run as much of the run course as I could and hoped to get in 17-18 miles over the time. Ugh, this was hard. I started off ok but by 9 miles I just started falling apart. Lots of walking or stopping to refill water bottles. This was a very humbling run. I managed to get in 16 miles (click here for Garmin details) which included a little mistake off course. I am happy to have a crummy run now and hopefully get it out of the way before race day. Even if the run was hard the course is beautiful!!

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IMG_0424_2 I cooled my feet off in the creek at the end and just like that, my training weekend was over.

Stuart had been packing while I was out running so when I got back he packed the car and we were on the road!

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I have a new rule for road trips. You must stop at every view point!

Just over 5 weeks until race day! Bring it!

Weeks 10 & 11 of 18 Ironman Boulder Training – Best support system EVAH!

So work is really busy and I am training a lot and the kids are out for summer so blogging is taking a back seat to life. Here are the details from the last two weeks.

Week 10

Week 10

Week 10 ended with an Olympic Triathlon that you can read about here. While I didn’t make my goal of placing in the race I did make all my time goals and had a solid race. With a race on Sunday, my total time and mileage for the week was a little low.

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Week 11 was set to be a big one! I was really excited to try and get ALL of my workouts in. Unfortunately, my open water swim was cut short due to bigger-than-I-like waves. I only made it out a little way, got slammed, and decided I was not up for that. I don’t have any ocean races planned this year so I feel fine with making that call. I did however manage to to some TRX!!! YAY!!! but it made my shoulder hurt. BOOO!!!

I had a great weekend of training. Saturday was a long run, 2 hours. I set out early so I could be home with the kids the rest of the day and had great run.

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 10.34.19 PMI was really happy with my overall pace compared with the HR data. I am hoping to run a pace of 9 min miles in Boulder so this is looking and feeling great!

Sunday I had a huge day! 1 hour swim, 6 hour bike, and 45 min run. My wonderful amazing supper duper supportive husband wrapped up my Skratch Lab Sweet Potato Cakes for me with a few inspirational messages.

IMG_6241Not only that but he came out and rode with me and brought me more food and cold water towards the end of my ride. I wanted to stay close because it was just easier so I found a 10 mile fairly hilly loop and rode it 7 times. I am usually not into doing loops but for some reason this really broke the ride up for me in to manageable sections.

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 10.41.25 PMWhen all was done I had ridden 80 miles and done 5.500 ft of gain. It wasn’t fast but it wasn’t supposed to be. I followed it up with a 45 min run which was guided by a good friend who was in town (who also cheered me on during the ride). The run was great! I nailed it and felt awesome!

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This was one of those days when you just really feel lucky to have the people in your life that cheer for you and understand why you are doing what you are doing.

This upcoming week is very exciting; I will be traveling to Boulder to train on the course! just over 6 weeks until race day from the time I am typing this post!