I recently finished the Boise Ironman 70.3. I wanted to write-up a recap for those who may consider doing this race in the future (if they get it again) and just to share my experience. It has been quite a week for me and time prior to the event really takes a toll.
On Wednesday, I attended my grandmothers funeral. We had set to leave that evening for Boise, but word of my grandfathers declining condition changed my plans. I decided to stay at least one more day, and possibly miss the race so that I could be nearby where my heart-felt it wanted to be. Thursday morning my grandfather passed. We spent much of the day with family and left later that evening to go part way to Boise.
We got up early the next morning and headed out. When we arrived in Boise in early afternoon we went directly to athlete check in. It was well-organized and easy to navigate. Upon check-in, however, bags must be dropped at two different locations. I found myself very flustered trying to get everything in the bags last-minute and hoping I wouldn’t miss anything. We dropped my run bag at the school and my bike up at Lucky Peak. Apparently you can drop your bike the next morning, but it is a mad house and not advised. Here is my racked bike with my photo reminders of my mom, husband and two sidekicks who also sacrificed a lot of time playing playdough while I trained. Even though I didn’t get in quite the training that I wanted for the past few months, we made due and worked around it. The day was here and there wasn’t any more time.
Then off for family time and a chance to unwind for the even the next day. We had a little kids Ironman of our own.
I met the shuttle just before 8 to head to Lucky Peak. My family followed shortly behind. Body marking went smoothly and quickly. The event began at 10 AM, but my heat was not until 11 AM. I spent a lot of time just hanging around. Of course last-minute I became stressed and went to check my tire pressure, only to find all was well and I worried for nothing. I had a great support crew and I am so thankful. If you notice my arms, I had a few names written down. I had Jean (my grandma) on one arm -look close, Lane (my grandpa) on the other and Dad on my hand because he felt so bad he wasn’t there. I needed them to keep me going…and they did.
Looking around can be quite intimidating. People here are in incredible shape. I donned my wetsuit anyway. I also had a neoprene cap and booties as well as earplugs to keep warm. At ten minutes to my start time I went to the docks. First problem. Cramps in my feet. I wasn’t even in the water yet. I had drank too much water and not enough electrolytes. Or maybe it was all the tears earlier in the week. I am sure that didn’t add to my hydration. This was a bad start. I was determined though and made my way to the water. I knew I wouldn’t win so my plan here was to stay to the back and outside. I wasn’t looking forward to getting kicked in the face. I followed the plan. It worked out well for me. I moved slow and steady. I continued to get cramps in my feet and legs. I found myself on my back, feet flexed just swimming backstroke with my arms for most of the time. I would try to turn and crawl forward only to be pulled back over by the cramps. In my head I thought there was no way I was going to finish the swim in time. But alas…I kept moving. I wasn’t going to quit. They would have to kick me off. It was a poor showing, but I was happy when I finally was able to swim up the docks with a 56 minute swim time for 1.2 miles. Not what I hoped for, but I made it.
Off on the bike. My least favorite part. I have had issues before and I am just not a strong rider. This is my most challenging part. Right away I could still feel the cramps in my feet and my bike wasn’t shifting in four of my favorite gears. I would try to use the gears and my chain would drop right off to the easiest level. I was not happy. Again…determined to make it I took inventory, realized which gears I couldn’t use and did my best to avoid them for the rest of the ride. I was nervous about the hill coming over the bridge out of Lucky Peak, but it went smooth and I was feeling good. For the first 16 miles I was really happy with my ride. I slowly climbed the big hill on Pleasant Valley Road. For some reason the only time I would pass anyone on the bike was going up a hill. I thanked my training here. As I reached the top a woman coming the other direction said, “Incredible”. I didn’t know if she said, “I’m” or “You’re” but I thought, “that sure is nice.” Then I reached the top of the hill and looked over and realized she was most certainly talking to herself and I almost peed my pants. The other side was worse, much worse. She was incredible and I wanted to be incredible too. I just kept spinning and decided I would worry later about the hill.
I had been told it was an ugly course and that I would really struggle. This is where Grandpa Lane came in for me. I looked at things from his perspective and realized it really was a beautiful place. I saw hills of hay and sprinklers. The barbed wire fence had rolled up barbed wire on the old wood fence poles and I felt like I was back in my youth. It took me to another place for a minute and I was able to just keep rolling on. I thought it was pretty, I liked the sound of the sprinklers and I knew my grandpa was looking out. I even lucked out on the wind with only a couple of windy spots.
At Mile 30 it hit me. I was just not that great of a bike rider. I watched as three of my companion riders (those who had been moving with me consistently from the start) decided not to go on. I didn’t blame them. It’s hard stuff riding this slow. I realized then that I wasn’t in better shape, I hadn’t trained harder, but that I had my grandma on my side. I was just more stubborn than the rest and I was just going to keep spinning. So I did. One measly little leg push at a time. I made it up the big hill and told myself I too was incredible. At mile 40 I got to see my support crew. I stopped for some high fives and much-needed encouragement and went on my way. For some reason the last 16 miles I passed people. Quite a few people. Boy Grandma really is stubborn. It feels good. Press on. I met support crew 2 a couple of miles before the finish and used their energy for my final finish. I finished the 56 miles bike ride in a very slow 4:07 (but that is 20 minutes faster than I had planned).
I made my way into transition and knew then and there, no doubt, I would finish this race. Bike over…looking forward. I started out along the trail and came out a little too quick on my first mile. I slowed it down and just kept moving. I was told this run was in the shade…maybe for the competitors but for me..it was sunny most of the way and I was hot. At aid station 4, I started walking through the stations while getting my drinks and ice. At mile 7 I joined up with those who were on their second lap, and then I even got to pass right by the finish around Mile 8. It was just rude. I just kept moving though. I saw my support crew a few times along the way and had to stop for some high fives and hugs.
The last three miles I felt really good and I was anxious to get to the finish. When I finally had the finish line in site, I saw my biggest supporter just outside the fence. Luckily my family was wearing Orange and they were easy to see. He pushed me at the end running along the outside and encouraging me on. I finished the 13.1 mile run in 2:28.
Running across the finish was actually quite emotional, especially after the week I have had. I finished and was really proud of the accomplishment. I was thankful to have my family there and my angels looking out. The good part about being at the back…it’s super quiet all the time. Except the finish line…where when you come in alone, you are guaranteed to hear your name called out as you cross the finish line. That alone is worth it!
Total time: 7:46
I got a nice leg massage by my sister and a chance to sit in the hot tub that evening. The next morning I woke up feeling really good. I wasn’t that sore at all. It made me realize that I may have been more prepared that I thought I was. Maybe my dad was right when he texted that morning and said, “take your head out of it and just let your body do what it was made to do.” So glad I did. Now…to kick this off the bucket list.