Monday, June 30, 2014

Ironman 70.3 Syracuse Race Report - Michael Espejo

What is not to like about this race, minus the terrifying run course? This race was my first 70.3 back in 2011. I finished in under 6 hours (5:49) and was just happy to have finished that grueling race. This year was a little different. This race has been on my schedule for months and was my A race.

Pre race 

If I remembered correctly from 2011 there was a boatload of traffic heading into Jamesville beach for transition set up. I wasn’t going to let that affect me so I got up early; I’m talking 3:50am early! I haven’t seen 3:50 since my college days and even then I wasn’t getting up, I was heading to bed. My breakfast is usually oatmeal and PB but since every gas station I went to in Syracuse didn’t have instant oatmeal I snagged some chocolate pop tarts. Pop tarts with peanut butter did the trick with a side of Biotta beet juice. Getting to the start was uneventful and there was no traffic. I was in before 5am and just sat in the car mentally preparing for the day ahead. Eventually, I gathered my gear and headed into transition. I took care of my tire pressure, taped GUs to the bike, clipped my shoes to my bike and left. It’s pretty simple. I’m not reinventing the wheel here. I was able to see the pros go out and finish before my 7:50am wave went out.

Swim - 32:02

The swim started fast. I was near the front and my plan was to hold onto someone’s feet for as long as I could until being dropped. We were moving pretty quick until the second turn and then I slowed down on my way back to the beach. I was able to look at my Garmin before the 1st buoy and was at a 1:22min/100yard pace.

The run from the beach was rather long and slightly uphill. Pretty uneventful transition. Everything went well and according to plan, but just a bit slow.

Bike - 2:43:12

The bike course was absolutely stunning. The views were so amazing - different fields, mountains, farms and bodies of water. It was a challenging first half. Miles 2-12 are all uphill. However, after passing the hills, the course is rather fast. There are plenty of flat stretches to really get in aero and hammer as well as down hills and rollers to gain speed and momentum. I don't think this was my fastest bike for a half ironman, but given the terrain I was very happy with it. I nailed my nutrition which helped me later for the run. There was one small hiccup at the end of the bike, though. There was a no pass zone and it SUCKED! I, along with a few others, got stuck behind this woman that was going absurdly slow for the final mile – like she was out for a leisurely ride. Half way through the zone, one of the guys in the pack just surged passed her and we all followed suit. Thankfully none of us got a penalty for it.

Bike Nutrition: 6 GUs, 1 package of Chomps, 5-6 bottles of water, 3 salt tabs. 

Garmin - Syracuse 70.3 Bike

T2 - 1:25

looking good is half the battle
I did a flying dismount and flew into T2. I racked my bike, put on my shoes and hat, and off I went. It was the first time I put on socks in a half ironman and had a faster transition then my previous race without socks. WIN!

Run - 1:41:28

This is where the day gets very difficult. The elevation profile doesn’t do it justice. I came out of T2 pretty quick but slowed down to a comfortable pace. I didn’t have my watch, I was using my fiancĂ©’s Garmin (Thank you Tara!) because my 910 was dead. Note to self: remember to bring the charger! My splits are the same at the turnarounds on the run course because I didn’t bother to check the autolap on her watch. Running up the first monstrous hill wasn’t too bad and I still felt fresh while running up. While the downhill destroyed my quads, I was ready for it with the amount of hill training I did to prepare for this course. Overall the run wasn’t that bad. Yes the uphill to the first and third turnaround sucked but I knew what to expect. Was the run hard? Absolutely, but this is what I trained for... to run this course fully and not stop.

Run Nutrition: 1 GU, 3 cups of flat coke, 1-2 waters every aid station.

Garmin - Syracuse 70.3 Run (without elevation)
Garmin - Syracuse 70.3 Run (with elevation)

Overall - 5:01:03

My original goal was to grab a slot for 70.3 Worlds in Mont Tremblant, but I knew that wasn’t going to happen. I could tell in my training that my paces weren’t fast enough and I was okay with that. I still have time to grow in this sport and develop my strengths and weaknesses. My second goal was to go sub 5 on this course; again I failed. Was I upset about it? Only for a little while. Looking back on my first 70.3 on the same course, I set a 48min PR. I was thrilled about that. This course presents a lot of challenges and will test your mental and physical abilities. It was a great day. The weather was perfect, water temps were great and everything was in my favor for a PR. If you do have the chance to do Syracuse I highly recommend it. I will do this race again no matter how punishing that run was. I just need to train harder.

Post Race

Dinosaur BBQ, a few cold beers and ice cream!

Related posts:

Triple Threat Profile: Mike Espejo - Massachusetts

March Madness - Ironman Challenge 2014

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Nixon's Nuggets - "Chain Suck"

In case you missed his 2-part series on spring bike maintenanceStewart Nixon (repping CO on our national team) is a recurring columnist on the Triple Threat blog. As I alluded to in his interview, he's forgotten more about triathlon than most of us will ever know!

Chain suck sucks!

Raise your hand if you have ever dropped a chain during a shift. Keep your hand up if it has happened during a downshift. This is "chain suck." It’s no fun and has the potential to do some serious damage to your frame, especially if it’s carbon. What happens is when shifting from the big chainring to the small chainring, the chain falls off toward the frame. Annoying if you can catch it and quickly upshift back to the big ring. If you aren’t able to catch it quickly, the chain can become lodged between the small ring, bottom bracket interface with the downtube and seattube, and in severe cases, fall between the small ring and the drive side chainstay. The damage which can be inflicted can be pretty catastrophic if you don’t stop pedaling immediately. It can range from having to stop to untangle the mess, thus getting your hands full of chain grease (wear black shorts!) to snapping the rear derailleur hanger (not “buy a new bike” threatening if you have a replaceable hanger), to compromising the integrity of your frame in severe cases.

In a perfect world, the front derailleur limit screws will prevent this, and by and large they do when set properly. However, we don’t live in a perfect world, and there are circumstances which will cause the chain to pop off on a downshift on even the most perfectly tuned front derailleur, like riding a bumpy patch of road as you shift. The first thing you should check if this starts happening is the condition of the teeth on your chainrings. Worn teeth exacerbate chain suck. The other solution is to install an anti chain suck device, or chain catcher.

These were first pioneered by the mountain biking crowd, as you can imagine with the types of terrain and amount of shifting.

early anti-chain suck device
installed on bike

They attached under the bike near the bottom bracket and can still be used on older frames. As frame designs evolved over the years, so did the chain catcher. They are fairly inexpensive, easy to install and provide a bit of insurance/assurance against dropping a chain and damaging your investment. If you have a braze-on front derailleur, you need one that attaches to the front derailleur via the mount bolt. These often come with a longer bolt to compensate for the added width of the device.

If you have a clamp-on front derailleur, you would need one that clamps onto the seattube.

If you want to ditch your clamp-on front derailleur in favor of a braze-on style, an adaptor type chain catcher is available. It clamps onto your seattube but allows you to run a braze-on front derailleur.

Thanks, Stewart! I raised my hand for your initial question, and kept it raised for your second... didn't know anything could be done about it till now!

Nixon's Nuggets of Knowledge - Archives:

Nixon's Nuggets - Spring Bike Maintenance 101

Nixon's Nuggets - Spring Bike Maintenance: Advanced Course

Monday, June 23, 2014

Triple Threat Profile: Amy Fletcher - Indiana

After twice conquering Ironman Louisville, Amy Fletcher is currently training for her next challenge, the inaugural Ironman Chattanooga in September. Amy raced her first triathlon in 2006, and has developed arguably the most unique heat acclimation strategy for hot/humid races I've ever heard (hint: involves chasing children on hot blacktop).

What's your background and how did you get into triathlon?

I grew up swimming and water skiing but actually did zero sports in school. Instead, I was in marching band and then marched 5 years in drum corps (Star of Indiana and the Garfield Cadets - DCI 1987 World Champs!). I frequently used the weight room at Ball State University and one day, on a whim, jumped on a treadmill... short version is that led to starting to run. Then, since I still swam every day, I did a sprint tri in 2006. Think I was next to last in my AG and about 8th from last overall!

How would you sum up your 2013 season, and what was the highlight/lowlight?

In 2013, I was again blessed to have wonderful support from my husband to train for and complete IMLOU (Ironman Louisville). I honestly do not think you can adequately train for an IM if your spouse is not totally behind you. I can't really think of a "low light"... we are all very fortunate we have found this life style!

In your application you talked about your love of accomplishing goals. What past accomplishment are you most proud of, and what are your goals for this year?

The biggest goal was, by far, crossing the finish line of IMLOU 2012 before they turned the lights off and went home! All major goals are the sum of a billion smaller goals. My goal this year is to start IMChoo (Chattanooga) healthy and happy and finish healthy and happy (if I can take some time off the duration, of COURSE, that is always a bonus)!

For people unaware of Ironman Louisville, can you give a brief summary of the course/race? Would you recommend it?

IMLOU is "the best finish line there is other than Kona". The finish area is a downtown bar / shops area and it is absolutely electric. The swim gets a bad reputation for being “nasty," but I grew up swimming in lakes in Indiana and the river is not any worse. People are melodramatic. It is a pier, time trial start (every 3 seconds or so). I have had no problems with congestion on the swim.

You need to get to the swim start early if you want the full 17 hours to finish, but I think everyone is in the water within 25 minutes or so. You swim about 0.8 miles upstream, then the rest is downstream. Current (if any) is manageable. Volunteers are the best ANYWHERE! The bike course is deceiving because we do not have mountains, but it is TOUGH. The hills do not stop. There is one out and back at mile 18 that is very dangerous if you are not totally alert and if Ricky Racer comes by with his panties in a wad. There is always a bloody crash at the bottom of the huge descent because Ricky crossed the yellow line and caused a crash. After the out and back, you start the 30 mile loop. Crowd support is great and the landscape is gorgeous and there are million dollar horses watching you ride past. Deceiving how difficult this course is. The run is in a lot of ways more difficult because it is just so so boring....flat as the table I am typing on, but extremely boring (and dark on the second loop). Then the FINISH line is like Heaven....lights, music, people....awesome!

Have you felt prepared for the heat and humidity that IM Louisville is known for? Did it impact your nutrition plan?

I have been so totally prepared for the heat for a few reasons… it has been wonderful. 1) I am cold until the temp is 80 degrees F. 2) I teach marching band all day on the blacktop and chase kids around the field correcting their mistakes. 3) My nutritionist made my plan and I practiced it frequently (drink a lot and take salt). In 2012, we (Indiana) broke heat records that had stood for 35 years. On the bike course and the run course, there literally were bodies strewn about on the side of the road everywhere. These were 25 year old guys in the peak of their fitness who were zapped, passed out and loaded into ambulances. The heat (and humidity) is very, very real. I trained in the hottest parts of the day, I (as I said) work outside all day, and I stuck to my drinking plan. I did not finish FAST, but I was faster than everyone who ended up in the ER. If you are going to do IMLOU and you do NOT have a plan, you will very likely have a very tough day.

the beautiful rolling hills of the Kentucky countrysi-- wait a minute, is that Kenny G?!?

Similarly, how is the IM 70.3 Muncie course/venue? How far are you from the course, and do you train on it often?

Muncie 70.3 is the perfect training race for IMLOU as far as heat and humidity. It is almost never wetsuit legal. The bike course is a totally closed state highway that is flat. The run course is rollers...lots of walking going on during the run course. I train on the course frequently except the bike course, I do NOT ride on the highway... we have a Cardinal Greenway that is 52 miles of paved bike path that runs parallel to the state highway. We can ride 104 miles and never be on a road! Also, we have a tri series at the same venue (May, June, Aug, Sept, Oct duathlon). Our local Tri club is called Muncie Area Fun Squad and is for anyone who wants to swim, bike, run, roller blade, walk, yoga, anything as long as you have a good positive attitude. We also have central Indiana's only 50 meter outside pool. We stage Splash and Dash races from there on Thursdays for fun.

What led you to choose the inaugural IM Chattanooga for your next Ironman?

I chose IMChoo because it is gorgeous in Chattanooga and because I GOT IN! It is the next closest IM.... 8 hour drive (Wisconsin is about the same but can be COLD). My plan is to train the bike a few times on the IMLOU course as the IMLOU bike course is more difficult than the IMChoo bike course....I have ridden IMChoo three times now.

Rank the 3 disciplines from your personal strength to weakness. What is some gear you use for each?

Swimming - my first love. I learned however that spending training time on the swim is not my best use of time. Without swimming a whole lot, I can finish (2.4) in 75 minutes or so.

Running - Did the Flying Pig 26.2 in May to get in some hill running.
(Wear Saucony Ride and Injinji socks)

Biking - Started biking after my first Sprint. My bike is named Blue and we work, but since training for IM, we have gotten SLOWER rather than faster. Blue is a Cervelo P2 with Reynolds carbon wheels.

Can you tell us a bit about your day job, and what hobbies do you have outside of work and triathlon?

My husband and I are band directors (different schools). Four years ago, we shuffled our schools and students and I was asked to start teaching computer applications, so now, I teach 4th, 5th, 6th grade computer applications then after school teach my husband's marching band. I also write drill / shows for other bands and we both judge most Saturday's in the Fall. On a free Saturday, I either train or I work races for area race companies. 

As a side note, Amy can neither confirm nor deny that she led this infamous band scene (0:31)

I myself am an Indiana native (moved away when I was 16), but I'm not really sure about this... what's triathlon like in the Hoosier state?

We have pockets of very active and very competitive triathletes. Kona AG winner Sue Aquila lives in Bloomington (home of Indiana University), and the Fishers/Carmel area is fierce with competition. Our little Mecca here in Muncie is an awesome group of people!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Self Examined Swimmer: Part III

Triple Threat team member Dave Fisher (Connecticut) completes the Self Examined Swimmer trilogy... great read!



Quick recap. If you’re here, you've hopefully read Part I and Part II of the series, leaving you with both a revelation (that you’re a swimmer, and not a hack) and a plateau (you’re good! But you don’t think you’re excellent). So we sit on the plateau.

The view is nice here. Heck, I could sit here happily. From here, I swim well, certainly well enough that I would never dare say my swim hurts my chances at performing well in a race. There are many excellent triathletes that win regularly who sit on this plateau with us. Again, nice view. I’ll share a story while we bask in the view.

If you've never had the pleasure of a deep water start to a race, I’d recommend seeking one out. They’re unique, in that when the gun goes off, there’s some decent spacing between the athletes already, and the washing machine effect is somewhat mitigated, allowing everyone to slip into a more natural rhythm and have a better swim. At one particular deep water start I was in, we all fanned out across the ‘line’ (it’s all kind of imaginary in the water, and nobody can stop you if you cross the line early anyway, it’s on your honor), and awaited the horn. Jokes were made about the cold water and mysterious warm pockets, whether or not we lubed properly, etc. All was well in the triathlon universe. The horn sounds and off we go. Normally I’ll sight every 10 or so strokes, and dutifully did so at about that time. I came up to peek and saw several swimmers about 50 yards ahead. I’m not exaggerating to make the story better, this was shocking – we started swimming about 20 seconds earlier and they were FAR ahead of me. A glance to my left and right on the next sight assured me I wasn't towing an anchor – I was in the front of the middle, but these dudes were porpoises disguised in neoprene and swim caps. How the heck were they doing that?

Continue reading here!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Kyle Buckingham - World's Fastest Amateur to 1st Year Pro

While working in England as an electrician, South Africa's Kyle Buckingham decided to follow a roommate's encouragement to train for an Ironman. With no endurance background to speak of (Kyle's main sport growing up was surfing) he completed his first ever triathlon, Ironman South Africa, in 10:29. That was 2009. Shortly thereafter he was qualifying for Kona, training from 6-10pm with a heater blowing on him to prepare for the Hawaii heat! 

Kyle continued to improve, and at the 2013 Ironman World Championships he was the world's fastest age grouper, placing 16th overall in a Kona AG record time of 8:37. Following that stellar result he decided to turn pro, and was kind enough to check in with us on how that process has gone.

First of all, can you please explain… how does a surfing beach bum with no endurance background get to where you are today??

After I did my first triathlon/Ironman which I really enjoyed (I didn't do that well but I wasn’t too bad) I realized I wanted to see if I could do better in my next races and from there I was hooked to push my body to do better for each race. I’d say it’s in my blood with also in the beginning a lot of late nights of hard training.

What was your motivation to go pro when you did? After all, there’s glory in being the fastest amateur in the world, right?

There was no real rush to turn pro, what I was advised from a few people was there was no point turning pro if you don't make the times a pro does as an amateur. I needed to win my age group in Kona and only then I would turn pro as I feel I could keep up with the pros.

You’ve said “When I moved back to South Africa in 2012 I started thinking about turning pro, but since I was new to the scene and no one knew about me yet, I wanted to get some exposure first. I wanted to get my name out there before turning pro.” Do you feel this strategy has helped you with the “business” side of triathlon in your first year as a pro? How have your sponsors helped with your progression?

Absolutely, as a new guy in town that nobody really knew anything about, coming from London, getting my name and face out in South Africa in magazines, social media, and online was something I really needed to do. I think it has definitely helped me in my first year as a pro as everyone now knows my background and history and feels a connection with me.

My sponsors have given me the tools and amazing opportunity to pursue my career.

In your race report from Kona last year, you wrote “the morning of the race I wasn’t even nervous; I was so confident that this was going to be one to remember.” In general, do you feel more nerves/pressure now that you’re racing for a pay check? Did nerves play a role in your first race as a professional?

I do feel that there is more pressure being a pro, but the key is to focus on your own race and try your hardest to relax. Otherwise you spend all your energy on stress and nerves and the race has not even started. I wasn't so nervous in my first pro race, as I had no expectations going in. I wanted to see what it was all about.

How did it feel to follow that first race up with 2nd place at your hometown Ironman South Africa? Did that result surprise you, coming so soon in your pro career?

Yes, it was a surprise as I was gunning for top 5 overall. It was an amazing feeling when I knew I was in 2nd place with my hometown backing me all the way on the run. I just knew I had to keep my position and fight all the way to the finish line. It was a very tough day but worth it!

You just kicked off a series of US races, and are currently based out of Boulder, correct? Do you still prefer to train solo, even with so many pros nearby?

We have just reached Boulder, following Raleigh 70.3 and Eagleman 70.3. I will largely be training solo in Boulder but will definitely join training rides and swim squads. I think training in Boulder will be similar to somewhere like Stellenbosch (South Africa) with its awesome mountains and climate, but I'm interested to see how the altitude will work for me.

You’ve commented that the most important element to your training is, “training my mind to be stronger than my body.” Can you elaborate?

With the training I do, it’s physically challenging on my body and 1 training session can last 7 hours, so I need a strong mind to zone out or block out the tiredness and pain of my body telling me to stop.

Among the following choices, how would you divvy up the credit (100%) for a race gone extremely well?

Coaching: 10%

DNA/natural ability: 40%

Equipment: 5%

Mental toughness: 10%

Race strategy/tactics: 5%

Training: 30%

You seem like a guy who’s not afraid to make predictions. For example, you went into Kona with the goal of being the top amateur, predicted your splits, and pretty much nailed them. On that note, how long do you predict your AG record will stand? What are your goals for the next 1-2 years of your career? 5 years?

I hope that my AG record will never be broken ;-) but let’s hope it stands for the next 5 years.

My goals for 1-2 years is to try and win an Ironman or 70.3 and I would like to hit Kona in the next 2 years and hopefully finish in the top 5. My long term goal is to win Kona in the next 4 years and try to stay at the top of my game as long as possible.

Among the South African people, who are considered the country’s most famous triathletes? How popular is triathlon there?

Well Raynard Tissink (Kyle’s coach) was a legend himself in racing triathlon until he retired 2 years ago after an amazing 22 years in the sport. We have very good athletes coming out of South Africa and the talent is incredible with the likes of Richard Murray, Conrad Stoltz, James Cunnama, Stuart Marais, Dan Hugo and the list goes on!

Follow Kyle in his first year as a pro!

Direct links to Kyle's sponsors:

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Ironman 70.3 Boise Race Report

Night and day

That’s the phrase that kept coming to mind leading up to Saturday’s Ironman 70.3 Boise. For St. George 70.3 last month, I admittedly had a nasty case of the pre-race jitters. For this one I was at the other end of the spectrum… way less stressed and just excited to be racing.

My wife and I pulled into town Friday afternoon, a couple hours before athlete check-in was over. No rush, no worry. The mood was light, including an impromptu contest of who could put their number (essentially a sticker you fold over) on their bike frame the best... loser had to rinse/clean the other’s wetsuit post race. I announced it would be an “easy win,” but then completely choked… mine looked terrible.

This race is unique in that it has a 12:00 start, which I don’t particularly like. It has its pros and cons I guess. We got up around 8 and watched some of the women’s French Open final while gradually starting to get ready. Around 9:30 we were out the door, dropped our run bags at T2, and after a somewhat frustrating wait, caught one of the shuttles to Lucky Peak reservoir.

Getting frustrated by the wait soon turned laughable, because the only issue in transition was having too much time on our hands. With the noon start it was getting hot, with some people choosing to lay underneath a big truck (with only 2-3 feet of clearance) for some shade. We sat down right by the swim start, just off to the side. Craig Alexander was within spitting distance, there for sponsors but not racing. Following what I recently wrote, it’s cool to see stuff like that at events. Also in line with that post, this race pays very little ($3K to the winners down to $500 for 5th). As such, the pro fields weren’t deep at all, but it was fun to see a few big names getting ready right in front of us such as Luke Bell, Maik Twelsiek, and Trevor Wurtele
. It was amazing how incredibly calm they seemed.

Just another day at the office.

Around this time I had one of those reactions where you see someone who looks familiar, but it takes a second to process. Finally it clicked… that’s Apolo Anton Ohno! I vaguely remembered hearing he got a celebrity slot for the Ironman World Championships this year (with the chocolate milk Refuel campaign, as former Pittsburgh Steeler WR Hines Ward did last year). He had on an orange cap, which the 50-54 age group was wearing, and my wife said “I didn’t realize he was that old.” Uh, babe… he’s not. In fact, he was in my age group (30-34), just wearing a different cap so a film crew could follow him along. Alexander stood next to Apolo, pointing out the buoys, design of the swim course, etc. to him as Apolo’s coach, the legendary Paula Newby-Fraser, looked on. I almost felt bad for Apolo in that moment, like man, I hope he knows what he got himself into!

A minute later Apolo was standing right next to me, with the film crew still shooting footage. I asked if he was gonna do his pre-race yawn, like he always did to calm himself down in the Olympics, and he said “yeah, I’ve been yawning all morning!” He said it was his first triathlon, and I said something like, “well this is for fun… no gold medal on the line! Way less pressure than you’re used to.” Right before we entered the water I gave him five and wished him good luck.

We had been roasting in our black wetsuits and swim caps with the noonday sun beating down, but even so the water took my breath away at first. I’ve been in worse, but it was on the cold side for sure. Thankfully I had 3 min to tread water and get my head right. The gun went off, and the water quickly went from cold to quite refreshing. Lucky Peak reservoir is a great venue, and the water was great. The wind picked up, causing a tiny bit of chop, but not much to report. The course felt a tad long, but I pushed myself and quite enjoyed it.

Lucky Peak (top) from above
Swim 38:54
408th / 1236

Onto the bike, it was clear that the wind was going to be a factor. Nothing crazy, but a factor. Unlike IMSG, with an intimidating climb up Snow Canyon and a very hilly run, the Boise bike course is hilly but lacking anything major. The run is flat as a pancake. With that in mind, I had decided to push harder on the bike, maybe an 8 on a scale from 1-10 as opposed to a 7 at SG. For the first half, my mood on the bike was good, even into the headwind. “Everyone’s dealing with it,” I told myself. Part of the course is out and back, and it was fun to see the pros come through, along with the race vehicle indicating the leaders. A few miles further down the road I saw another vehicle (actually two if I remember right). What is this? Why, Apolo Anton Ohno of course, with film crew in pursuit! Are you kidding me? Could he really be kicking my butt this handily? Did they give him a motorized boat and bike?

In the second half of the ride, my temperament fluctuated a bit with the direction of the wind. “Yeah, awesome noon start, isn’t it wonderful?” I muttered to myself more than once, reflecting on how winds had been pretty much negligible in the morning hours. I tried to keep the eye of the tiger though, and noticed this song was running around in my head.

There were a few sections of tailwind, but due to the course design and direction of the wind, the majority of the ride (including the last 15 miles or so) was into it. My legs were pretty cooked, and I was happy to finally see the bike dismount line at T2.

Bike 2:50:20   ~20 mph
302nd / 1236

Speaking of cooked, I nearly blistered the soles of my feet running across the black pavement of T2. I looked like an Irish dancer until my running socks finally extinguished the fire.

I always cross my fingers hoping my “run legs” will show up as I exit T2. Thankfully they had, and I had to remind myself to keep my pace and heart rate down in the first mile. Shortly thereafter, however, it was clear that my stomach was not 100%. No puking or port-a-potties required, just a little unsettled. I had exerted myself more on the bike with my effort and the wind compared to St. George, and hoped it wouldn’t come back to bite me in the butt.

Mile 3 was a turning point, as out of nowhere I let out a ferocious belch, sending small forest animals scurrying for cover. Apologies, wilderness friends, but I needed that, and my spirits were lifted. The Boise run course is amazing… you’d be hard-pressed to find a better one. It’s two loops on trails through beautiful parks, over bridges, and along the campus of Boise State University. The spectators are great, and most of the course is shaded and blocked from the wind. Despite my relief at mile 3, most of the run required mental toughness/gut it out mode. I didn’t feel wonderful. My Garmin ran out of laps (you have to delete the history every so often) at mile 8, which was unfortunate, but I figured I should just forget about data at that point anyway.

At St. George my conservative approach on the bike and first half of the run allowed me to finish strong. The last few miles at Boise were gut check time, with the engine beginning to sputter. I could’ve probably used ~100 more calories of fuel in the tank, but my stomach could never completely decide if it was happy or not. As a result my pace faded slightly in the last couple miles, but I dug deep and finished the best I could.

Run 1:52:52 (8:36 pace)
295th / 1236

Overall 5:26:46
260th / 1236

Oh, and Apolo? Dude was the truth…. 4:59. Strong swim of 32 min (he swam competitively as a kid), stellar 2:30 bike (has absolute tree trunks for legs) and 1:52 run. Impressive. I tip my hat to you sir.

Related Posts:

Ironman Boise 70.3 Race Report - It's Only a Game, Focker!!