A blog for (semi) athletic middle-aged men (and women) holding on to (the last vestiges of) their youth
by training for and competing in running, cycling, swimming and triathlon events!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My Ironman 70.3 Boise, Part 3 (The Run)

I managed a quick burst of energy to smile
and pose for the official photographer
Exiting the bike-to-run transition my left foot was throbbing, my left knee was aching and my legs felt like they could seize up at any moment. Other than that I felt great. Oh wait, there was the stabbing pain between my shoulder blades (I believe resulting from my head out of the water "polo style" swim three hours earlier). How can I forget that?

As I headed through downtown Boise (aka BoDo) on the 13.1-mile run course, I came across the Team BEEF cheering section: Traci O'Donnell (and her husband Jim), Katlin Davis (and her parents Phil and Yvette), Janice Streng and Jesse the intern from the Idaho Beef Council, Idaho beef producer and blogger Kim Brackett, and Wyatt Prescott from the Idaho Cattlemen's Association were there, I think (I know there were all at the race but honestly can't tell you for sure if they were all together at this point). Seeing them provided a great boost of adrenaline. Time to dig deep. Finish strong.

An unknown Team BEEF member approaches
the finish line
By the time I reached the Greenbelt path I knew I could do this. The flat, shaded bike path along the raging Boise river (near flood level) was just what the doctor ordered. The two-loop, out-and-back course meant I'd see lots of other Idaho Team BEEF athletes at various stages in the run. Some would be completing their second loop headed towards the finish line. Others, like me would be on their first loop with miles to go.

Everytime I saw another Team BEEF member I shouted "Give me some BEEF!" and high-fived them. The camaraderie was tangible. We supported and encouraged each other to keep moving. Eventually the high fives turned to low fives and then a wave or slight hand motion or head nod in their direction as I felt the sharp pain between my shoulders blades every time I deviated from the steady, even running motion. Even taking a Dixie cup of Gatorade from a volunteer and tilting my head back to drink it became a problem.

Dane is looking strong as he strides toward
the finish line
Around mile three on the first loop of my run I saw Team BEEF elite athlete Dane Rauschenberg approaching from the other direction, completing his second loop. Dane's wave began five minutes before mine and by this time he had opened up about an hour-and-a-half gap (he finished in 4:52). Amazing, especially considering this was Dane's first Ironman 70.3 distance event.

There are serious athletes like Dane and then there are weekend warriors like me. And then there are professional athletes like Ben Hoffman from Colorado, the overall winner, who finished about two and one-half hours ahead of me!

The highlight of the run, by far, was the Boy Scouts at Aid Station BEEF. Every time a Team BEEF athlete approached they began chanting "BEEF!" and didn't stop until you were trailing out of sight. After the first time through I began looking forward to seeing them on the return, then again on the second loop and one last time towards the end. Like a Hot Wheels track motor they sucked us in one side as we ran low on momentum and shot us out the other with a fresh burst of speed.

OK, so maybe speed is a bit of an exaggeration but they kept me going. As I left them for the last time I knew the end was near. I can't remember how far that last stretch was, maybe 1.5 miles, but every stride was painful and I was running very low on fuel. Exiting the Greenbelt for the last time onto the streets of BoDo I saw the finish line in the distance. I didn"t have any kick left. As I crossed the finish line my right hamstring cramped and a "catcher" steadied and walked me towards the official photo platform, draping an emergency blanket around my shoulders. I worried I might hurl at any moment as wave after wave of nauseau came and went.

Exhausted, relieved that it was over, I waited in line for my official photo

I managed a quick burst of energy to smile and pose for the camera but I had nothing left. I left it all on the course, which is the way I try to finish every race. If you feel fine within five minutes you left too much in reserve. It took me over an hour to feel like a human being again. But later that night I had enough energy to go out and celebrate with Leslie, Dane, and the Idaho Beef Council and Cattlemen's Association team that had been grilling and serving beef sliders to all of the finishers for over six hours in the BEEF Recovery Zone.

I finished in 6:30:48, the slowest of my three
Ironman 70.3 events. But I finished.
My third Ironman 70.3 distance triathlon is in the books. So what's next? I think I'll sign up for the Denver Triathlon in July. So should I go for the shorter sprint distance (800 meter swim/23.5K bike/5K run) or the longer Olympic distance (1500 meter swim/40K bike/10K run)?

Hmmm. Given that the bacteria sampling results for E. coli in Sloan's Lake are approaching advisory level, I'm thinking shorter may be better :)

Ride on...


1 comment:

  1. Please, please, please go for the shorter one! Advice from your mom!


Please share your comment or question here!