Friday, June 19, 2015

Ironman Boise 70.3 Race Report - Joleen White

Sometimes it's really interesting to get a "second opinion" on the same race. Here Joleen White (Alaska) gives her perspective on her stellar race at Ironman Boise 70.3.

Arrival to Boise & Team meet up:

Aside from the drunk removed from my red eye flight leaving Anchorage, and the drama of trying to rent a car with an expired drivers license, my travels to Boise were uneventful. I packed my bike in my hard case double bike box for its first trip out of state. After a 6-hour wait on my temporary drivers license extension, I was all set to go.

I previewed the swim with my friend’s wife from AZ on Thursday. My initial reaction was that the lake looked perfect- nothing as confusing as the swim in Calgary! A nice triangle- I can do that! I went to Julia Davis Park and picked up my race packet along with a little Ironman shopping, and then headed home for my first plate of pasta in months, which was clearly an adjustment.

Friday morning Howard (my AZ cycling friend and ID host) suggested I hit part of the bike course that was close to his house. Once I got out there I realized things might be a little scary on Saturday. Just over the bridge, at about mile 51 of the course, heading for the dam, there were orange arrows directing me down to a single width footpath and then to a bike path covered in patches of asphalt. After 25 yards, there was another 90-degree right angle that took me to an abrupt pitch and then back to the main road heading to the junior high for T2. I decided the best strategy for Saturday would be to get away from any racers and take it easy.

After a little phone tag with Collin it was time to finally meet my Triple Threat Triathlon teammates! We decided the best place to meet up was at T2. I pulled in the parking lot donning my new TTT Under Armour shirt and spotted the crew immediately. Hugs and handshakes around the circle, and a positive air of pre-race energy hummed in the air. Dropped my run gear off and prayed I had not forgotten anything- luckily Collin was watching me put gear in my bag and ran through the list with me.

Now it was time to head to T1 and drop off our bikes. We met up at Lucky Peak reservoir where Stewart did a quick look over everyone’s bikes. I debated on the shoes attached to the bike strategy- decided to go for it although I had not practiced this yet this season.
We headed to the team house and had a great visit, pre race strategy discussion, while Stewart put together an amazing meal!! Nick arrived around 11p.m. so I didn’t get to meet him until Saturday morning.

Race day:

Saturday morning I decided to get up around 6 a.m. for breakfast- I typically skip this or have a small amount but the 10 a.m. race start had me thinking I should change my ways. Then it was off to the shuttle bus at Julia Davis Park. The bus ride was pretty quick- we waited longer then we rode it. Continued a nice visit with Collin and Jackie on the way.

Once we arrived at the reservoir, we ran into Howard who reviewed the bike course with us. He gave us the run down on the shift in the “breeze” and what to prepare for once we got out on the bike. Then we were off to T1 to put the final touches on our bikes. I waited in the bathroom line for about 30 minutes, then got my wetsuit on and prayed I would not have any troubles with the zipper as I had earlier in the week.

I was in wave 9, which left at 10:40 a.m. We waded out to the buoys, and I was pleased the water temperature was perfect. Good thing I didn’t buy those booties they had suggested! The gun went off and I spent the first 25 yards combat swimming with some lady who apparently wanted a piggyback ride… After some not so subtle kicking on my part I shook her off and was on my way. I did not see another yellow cap for the rest of the swim. The swim was so smooth; on the last turn that infamous breeze kicked in and so began the washing machine swim. I got out of the water 1st in my age group, looked down at my watch and was immediately disappointed with my 35-minute time.

it was fun seeing TTT teammates throughout the day; Jeff Kirkland (OR) was silky smooth in T1
T1 was a .23 mi uphill run, thank goodness we were greeted by wet suit strippers at the top of the hill. Those guys are awesome! Got that thing off and ran for my bike- oops I didn’t realize we would be running on the back side of the transition area. No problems, found my bike immediately. Got out of T1 quick- although it seemed like a lifetime. No troubles with my shoes attached to the pedals- I was gone without a hitch.

The bike had everything, a screaming downhill from the dam followed by a 1-mile climb. A couple of unpleasant turn arounds, potholes, a single width zig zagged foot path, 90 degree turns, and did I mention the chip seal? Oh- there was a lot of that… Oh and a breeze- hahaha! Needless to say, I did not PR on the bike but I feel good about it- the obstacles definitely contributed to a loss of momentum on more than one occasion. I did see Jackie and Jeff out on the bike course and that definitely boosted my spirits- a familiar face!! I got passed by a few ladies in my age group over the 56-mile bike and moved into 4th place. I started to worry about the run, knowing that is where I lose the most ground.

Now time for T2- that one was a little faster and I was hesitant to leave because I felt like I must have forgotten something. I got out of the junior high parking lot, into the final leg of the race, and spent the first 3 miles in full sun. My first mile was under 8 minutes; I was a little worried I was setting myself up so I backed off a bit. I heard Collin yell at me at mile 3, another boost in spirits! Once I got to mile 6 I realized things were going to be tough. My stomach got a bit irritated, but I kept a positive outlook and ran each mile at a time versus getting overwhelmed. My time dropped, but I focused on staying hydrated and not giving up like I did last year in Calgary. A little “Uptown Funk” singing kept me moving along. At mile 6 I was passed again and moved into 5th place, and at mile 8 I got passed one more time and just hoped I could hang on to 6th place. Although I was not able to get my run splits any faster, I was able to put more into my final mile and bring my finish time to a 1’56. Definitely not a run PR for me, and honestly not the 1’50 I was hoping for- but again I didn’t give up and stayed positive the entire run which doesn’t ever happen for me…

I sprinted the final half mile and do not really remember the finish chute. The volunteers there were amazing; one of them covered me in a wet washcloth and walked with me to see if I was ok. And that was it- a final time of 5’25…

The final wrap up:

At the end of the day, a lot of positives came from this race for me. I overcame a close call with shoulder surgery earlier in the year, with the swim measured at an actual 1.38 miles swam in 35 minutes; my pace actually came out to 1’25/100yds, which is not bad. Oh, and I was the first swimmer for my age group!

I did not race on race wheels but my bike was super comfortable. I kept both wheels on the ground, and didn’t flat. My nutrition was not solid but I stayed hydrated. Unfortunately I threw up on the bike-but was never hungry the entire race. I had the 4th fastest bike time in my AG.

I know running more this year made me a stronger runner. Doing intervals and tempo runs religiously gave me faith in my strength, but I think there is still one more piece of the puzzle I have not filled in yet…Yet somehow I still managed to squeeze out the 9th fastest run time for my AG.

I finished 6th out of 52 in my age group, 20th overall for women, and 165th out of 1120 total athletes.

At the end of the day I had the opportunity to claim a spot to the World Championships in Austria, but after some thinking of logistics and the August 30th race date- I decided to pass and try again another year when it is not so far away… I am still thrilled that they called my name for a spot :)

I give Boise 70.3 a 100%- I loved this race and hope that they get the contract so I can do it all over again!!!

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