Saturday, June 13th, was the Boise Ironman 70.3 (half-Ironman) triathlon and here are the stats for those that want them: 5:23:10 #26 out of 123 in the M45-49 Age Group #274 out of 1,186 finishers Overall Swim = 2,112-yards, 49:55 T1 = 4:54 Bike = 56-miles, 2:50:44, 19.7-mph T2 = 3:57 Run = 13.1-miles, 1:33:42, 7:10/m
I drove over to Boise, ID. on the Thursday before race day with my buddy Mike so we had all day Friday to take care of the race logistics such as the mandatory athlete’s meeting, getting our bikes out to Lucky Peak Reservoir where the race would start and T1 would be located the next day, and packing our race gear bags. The weather was decent with some windy conditions later that day and the forecast was calling for isolated thunderstorms on race day so we thought all was good. Race day did not start at the usual 4:00am for us due to the “unique” and “only one of its kind” 2:00pm race start. So we had time for a leisurely breakfast with some Ironheads Multisport Racing Team teammates before we made our way to the bus shuttle pick-up area for the lift out to Lucky Peak. At this time, ~11:00am MT, the weather was calm, dry, and nice so we were hoping it would hold for the day. Once out at the lake we had a bit over two-hours to fuss over our bikes one last time and sit in some shade with some friends to relax. I made sure to eat and drink during this time so the tank was topped off at the start. At about 1:45pm we were all ushered out to the boat ramp for last minute announcements, the National Anthem, and the race start. And still the weather was good, if not a bit warm even.
At 1:50pm the Pro Men got to enter the water for a quick warm-up before the race start…and about this time the wind started to pick up. Unlike other Ironman events this one “featured” a wave start based upon your age group. The race officially started at 2:00pm MT but my wave didn’t go until 2:35pm MT and by then the wind was blowing full force, there were 1-2 foot swells in the lake, and there were a few whitecaps to be seen. I got my goggles and swim cap situated and took a few strokes to ensure I was all set. The water was freezing and it took my breath away at first, but soon enough the adrenaline was pumping enough that I didn’t feel that anymore. At 2:35pm the horn sounded and off I went. And about five minutes later my goggles started leaking. Badly. I made it to the first kayak I could find amongst the waves and being half-blind so I could try to fix them. I held on with one hand while trying to re-seat my goggle with the other which wasn’t easy. I thought I had it and took off again only to have them fill again. And it would be like this the rest of the swim. I’d swim a bit, tread water to try to fix the goggles, swim a bit, hang on to a kayak, swim a bit all to no avail. Between the waves, the goggles, the sighting bouys getting blown away by the wind at one of the turn corners, and not being able to see past my elbow the swim was the worst swim I’ve ever had. I was ready to go under 40-minutes in the swim but ended up near 50. Not a good start to the day.
Once back on dry land I made my way over to the wetsuit strippers and then made the long run to my bike. With numb hands I got all of my cycling gear out of the bag, all my swimming gear in to the bag, and then dressed for the ride. The bike starts out with a jaunt across the dam before having us drop down a long, steep, and curvy hill to the river below. It would be fun and fast if not for all the other racers trying to go the same direction, all trying to go fast, and all trying not to crash & burn. The first few miles were pretty uneventful as everyone tried to find their pace and their cycling legs. The first long climb of the day came at about mile five and lasted a bit less than two and brought us up and out of the river valley. Looking around I could see walls of dark, black clouds all around us and at mile 14 the rain hit. For the next 42 miles we had torrential rain, some hail, a few bolts of lightning that were beautiful and scary at the same time and tough conditions overall. The bike course would be a fairly easy one if the weather were not a factor, but on this day the weather was a large factor and the bike course was ugly. It is very exposed on long straight stretches in the high desert so the wind was brutal. At one point I was working way harder than I should have been, the wind was in my face, and the rain was dumping when I looked down and saw that I was going a whooping 14.3mph. Ouch. I just looked at the black clouds still around us, then up to the Heavens, before I muttered “really?” and just chuckled. Whenever the rain and wind allowed I pushed the bike hard to try to make up some time but it didn’t matter too much. I wanted to go under 2:45 on the ride and ended up at 2:50 and 19.7mph overall.
Once back into downtown Boise I made my way into T2 where I got changed out of my wet cycling gear and into a bit drier running gear. Getting the socks on was bit trick y due to the numb fingers and toes and seemingly no sense of balance, but soon enough I was done and headed out to the run course. Once on the run course the wind was no longer a factor and the rain didn’t bother me a bit. I was able to quickly get into a nice rhythm and a pace that knew was pushing it a little but felt I could hold. The course was a two-loop course with two out-and-back sections which allowed for seeing many of my Ironheads friends my buddy Mike on the course several times. The run is still my strength and I found myself passing many other runners and clicking off the miles pretty steadily. The one hard part of the run course was the turn-around to start the 2nd loop because it brought me to within 50-feet of the finish line! But no, around the cone I went to run another 6+ miles in the rain. At least Ann and Giovanni were right here for some encouragement that was needed and much appreciated! By the time I saw Mike on the second loop I had cut his lead by exactly one-half, but try as I might I ran out of real estate before reeling him in. Overall, I am very happy with my run as it beats my previous half-Ironman half-marathon time by two full minutes. I wanted to go under 1:35 and did so with a 1:33, but I was thinking I could go under 1:30 and maybe had I not pushed the bike so hard in sections trying to make up time there I might have. But I don’t and won’t dwell on woulda-coulda-shoulda so over-done with-gone!
The Boise Ironman 70.3 was an excellently supported and put on event. However, if they stay with that 2:00pm start time I will never do it again and I’ve heard others say the same thing so it will be interesting to see what the race organizers do next year. But if it were to change to any start time before Noon I’d be all over it once more! But now it is time to start focusing on the 2009 Ironman Canada that I secured a spot for via the Boise event and taking this fun to a whole different level. Thanks for stopping by…