Triathlon: DON’T DOUBT THAT YOU BELONG

WRITTEN BY: WILL MURRAY

Shared with permission from D3 Multisport

You look around and see all these superior athletes surrounding you. At the pool, you notice ripped swimmers as they saunter across the deck, slip into the water and motor back and forth at speeds such that you can’t imagine how they are doing that. On the bike, you are tooling along at a crisp pace, and some other cyclist eases by, seemingly without effort, gives you a little nod, and turns into a steadily decreasing shape until becoming a tiny dot disappearing over the horizon. During your run, same thing: you get passed by a couple of young women who are having an in-depth conversation about their physics exam or some term paper coming up.

But the conversation you are having with yourself is not about what they are talking about. You are asking yourself one question that, at that moment, seems like the most important thing of all: “Do I even belong here?” The conversation with yourself continues: “Everybody around here is fast, and they look so fit and they have really nice kits and fancy bikes and the latest swim equipment. I’m just a normal person. I don’t fit in. I don’t belong here.”

And maybe you are right, but it doesn’t matter and here’s why. You are not here for them. You are here for you. Here are three steps for transforming this doubt that you belong, into something useful and powerful and even motivating.

Step 1. Revisit and write down (yes on paper with a pencil or your favorite pen) your reasons for doing your sport. Your reasons and drives for training and racing may be about maintaining your fitness and health, or your body shape. It may be to relieve the tensions of normal life. It may be to knock off a life goal, check off a bucket list item or just see whether you can actually do this. Or it may be to win your age group, to grab a personal record or qualify for some championship race. Whatever the reasons, as many as they are, as big or tiny as they might seem, write them down (all of them) and take a look at them. This isn’t about all those other people, those swimmers and cyclists and runners. This is for you, and they don’t really figure into all this.

Step 2. Pay attention to the actual actions of those around you. When you pay close attention to all these seal-sleek swimmers and speedy cyclists and fluid runners, how do they treat you? You might be tempted to evaluate what you think they think of you, rather than what they are actually doing. When you look for it, you may notice that they are actually behaving toward you in a very supportive way. Notice the little looks of approval, the “nice-work” statements, the little acknowledgements that you are out there training and racing. That you are one of them, that they acknowledge you.

Step 3. Acknowledge other athletes. You could wait around hoping someone will give you a thumbs-up, or a knowing nod or a “good job.” Or… you could initiate those things. See another athlete on a run or a ride or at the pool? Give a little nod of approval. Encounter another triathlete at the gym (yes, you can tell who they are)? Tell them, “Nice work.” Be genuine, be brief. But instigate the continuing culture or letting everyone know that everyone belongs.

There will be strange responses, no doubt. Some athletes are shy. Some are absorbed in their training session and don’t even see you. No problem. You belong, and so do all the other athletes. Help create the culture of belonging. Because you do. We all do.

Mental Skills Expert Will Murray often hears triathletes saying that the sport is at least 50% mental and 50% physical, but I’ve come to notice that they spend very little (if any) time doing mental training. Fortunately, it’s easy and fast to train-up your mind to help you achieve your triathlon goals. I’ve been lucky enough to bring these mental conditioning techniques to first-time athletes and Olympians, kids and seniors, triathletes who want to finish the race and those who are gunning to win.

Tri Coach Tuesday: D3 Coach and Athlete Mike Ricci’s BPT Recap

by Mike Ricci, Head Coach and Founder, D3 Multisport

 

 

The BIG EVENT of the summer was here for the Ricci Family. It was one of THE most important events on the Ricci calendar. 1:20 pm on Sunday we were going to see “Cars 3” There was no taper for this and I had to race the Boulder Peak beforehand. And that meant getting the car packed up at the Res, unpacked at home, showered and to the theater in time. I know you’ll be glad to know we made it with time to spare. Now, onto the 2nd important event of July 9th.

 

 

I first raced Boulder Peak in 1996 and then raced it every year until 2001. Looking back historically I’ve raced it 7 times, including this weekend. I’ve always loved the challenge of Olde Stage, the steep competition and the fact that it’s a strength course. The swim is usually choppy, the run up the beach takes some strength (in the old days we used to run up the big hill on the North side of the Res – a good 90” run from swim exit to transition), you have Olde Stage on the bike and most of the run is on gravel with some small rollers. There’s nowhere to hide on this course – you are either fit or you’re not. Unfortunately for me, going into this race, I’m was somewhere in between.

 

In 1999, the race was an Ironman Qualifier and I was pumped to have a KQ in my backyard. The competition was tough that year! I swam around 23 minutes, biked 1:09 and ran under 39 minutes, yet I was still 14th in my AG, even though I went 2:14. That was my fastest time as it was the only time I picked the Peak as my A race. For historical perspective, this year, a 2:14 gets you second in the 30-34. In 1999, the 1st slot in my AG went to a guy who went 2:01 or in that range.

 

Although this wasn’t an A race for me, I was pretty happy to be racing the Peak again, the first time since 2009 (2:24 and 11th AG). The fact that Barry Siff was back and Olde Stage was part of the bike course played a big part in my decision. Besides my 14th AG in 1999, I’ve had a few 11th and 12th places along the way, but I’ve never cracked the top 10 in my AG. The competition is always tough and it’s not a course that suits my style of racing, but I enjoy the challenge anyway. I’ve always been a bit of a 2nd half racer, usually peaking late in the season for an out of town race.

 

 

Up until a few weeks ago, I had no intention of racing the Peak in 2017, but I wanted to challenge myself and I knew I would train hard knowing this is a race that is serious and like I said above, there’s nowhere to hide out there.

Since I haven’t really trained since 2011, my ‘ability to suffer’ is really my limiter. So, I set out to do that these last few weeks with some shorter races and putting hard workouts back to back. I’ve seen a nice progression and I had a few small goals for the Peak.

1) Was to break 2:30 for the entire race.

2) Be top 10 in the AG

3) Run a strong race in the 7:20 range off the bike

While self-coaching, I’m usually able to look at things clearly and I have plenty of good coaches and resources to ask if I get stuck on a problem.

The one part I usually get wrong is doing too much, too close to a race. Take Friday as an example:

Swim: 4×200 descend and I hit my best swim times in 4 years. Probably a mistake.

Run: 8×400 at 5k pace. Felt easy and gave me some confidence that things are trending correctly.

Bike: Olde Stage, Jamestown, and then back side of Lee Hill – ended up riding almost 3 hours, but the legs felt good, so why not?

On Saturday night as I was going up the stairs in my house, I realized my legs were pretty empty – but that’s ok! I kept telling myself that this season isn’t about the Boulder Peak, and it’s not.

So, the only real challenge that I find to being self coached is knowing when to say ‘enough’. I could fill Training Peaks with 6 hour training days every day and as much as I’d like to bounce back day after day, it’s not going to happen. Not with 2 small kids and a business to manage. So, I do what I know works, and constantly work on the weaknesses as I see them. For me, the joy is in doing workouts I enjoy – hard short swim workouts – 100s, 200s etc: hard bike workouts with high power and burning legs, and running decent speed sessions where I see progress each week. Otherwise, I lose focus, do the same workouts over and over and end up bored and sitting on my toukas vs training.

The Race:

I got there early, warmed up and the legs felt tired, but that was to be expected. Everything was smooth and to be honest without as much pomp and circumstance, the race lacked some excitement and the ‘edge’ was missing. I was ready to roll though and fully cafienated.

I started at the front of the swim and knowing that I needed everything I had for the run, I swam one speed the entire way and that was ‘easy to moderate’. I had clean water the entire way, the buoys were visible to me, and I stood up at about 24:10. That was more than I was hoping for and I was off to a great start. I was 6th out of the swim.

Dave Sheanin with PJ Snyder, AiT

I eased into the bike and felt strong going out Jay and onto 36. The climb was solid and I matched my best time from my repeats these past few weeks and all was going according to plan. The canyon was as fast as always, Nelson was awesome, and the rollers on 63rd, well they chewed me up a bit! If I had listened to one wise soul, Dave, I would have saved some of my energy going up Olde Stage. But I’m too stubborn for that. I rode steady along 63rd hoping to minimize any damage, and whenever I tried to lift the effort, I could feel my legs say ‘no thanks’. As much as I would like to say this is a fitness issues, it’s not. It was more of a recovery issue. Had I done my Friday workout on Wednesday or Thursday I think I would have felt different. But the circumstances are what they are and I had to get ready mentally for the bike. I had a few guys in my AG blow by me on the bike, but only a couple and I wasn’t about to chase anyone down. I ended up biking my slowest time and off the bike in 7th in my AG. I only lost 1 place, when it felt like I lost 5. For those keeping track at home, watts were in the HIM range – 83% of FTP. Not stellar by any means. Still doing ok mentally and ready to move up on the run.

I took my time in T2 and put on socks. I race with orthotics now and if I race without socks, I get nasty blisters so better to be safe than sorry! I took it out way too fast, after telling myself not to all week. I was hurting 800m in and I knew I was in for a tough run. I only had one gear and just ran easy to moderate – I wasn’t cramping or having nutrition issues, but I was just cooked. Moving forward was easy, but moving faster wasn’t happening. It was a slow, easy run, but just in the middle of a race. Sometimes, that happens! I saw Jim Hallberg coming in strong, 2nd in the Elite wave, as well as Julian Wheating who is part of our D3 Elite Team. Very happy to report one of my athletes, Greg Lindquist, rocked the race as well coming in 4th Elite. Just as a side note, Jim, Dore Berens, and Casey Fleming all hit the podium too – and they are part of our Elite Team. Good to see the focused training paying off! D3 Coach Dave did race with Athletes in Tandem, Coach Simon hit the podium, and Coach Alison was 3rd as well. Of course, I’m biased, but I think we have the best group of coaches in the business – they can walk the walk and talk the talk. And I don’t mean by just being quick on race day but their athletes all improve, race to race, season to season.

 

Back to the run: I had quite a few people come around me on the run, and that’s something I’m not used to, but when there’s nothing you can do about it – you just keep plodding along. I came into the finish zone and ran in with my 9 year old Hope who was kind enough to slow down for me and we finished together and jumped into the slip and slide. That was awesome. My run time was close to 50 minutes and if you told me I’d run that slow pre-race, I would have laughed, but on second thought, maybe I wouldn’t have! You reap what you sow and since I’m in that in between place with my fitness, I can accept it. It’s up to me and no one else to change it.

 

I ended up at 2:34 and change, my slowest BPT, and of course I missed the top 10 by 30 seconds. I remember being passed along the dam before you hit the Marina and I had one of those moments where I said “Dude we are in 19th and 20th place, so who cares” Well, I guess I care because I’ll be back as a 50 year old next season, and I’ll be on a mission to get even further into the top 10.

The Boulder Peak is back baby and I am for the time being as well!

Tri Coach Tuesday: Boulder Peak Course Preview

With the one week countdown to Without Limits Productions  BoulderPeakTriathlon and Coach Dave Sheanin took a ride up the infamous Old Stage where the mailboxes mark a key point on the course … he gathered his thoughts and strategies for the race next Sunday.

If you are racing … watch this video!

 

 

Get Psyched for the Peak @ CMS

“Get pysched for the Peak” at Colorado Multisport

2480 Canyon Boulevard # M-2 Boulder, Colorado 80302
Date: Wednesday July 5th
Time: 6:00pm with an informal happy hour – beer being sponsored by Ska Brewing

Speaker Line-up:

5430 Founder and Without Limits partner Barry Siff  will kick things off with a lively panel discussion including:

 

 

 

Coach to the Pros & Team Sirius Siri Lindley – author of “Surfacing: From the depths of self doubt to living big and living fearlessly,” Founder of Believe Ranch and Rescue

 

 

 

 

 

 

D3’s  Mental Training Coach Will Murray –  USA Triathlon-certified coach specializing in mental conditioning, and will lead participants in three fast, effective techniques for reducing pre-race jitters, addressing negative self-talk and arriving at the start line in peak mental condition.

 

 

 

 

Skirt Sports  – owner and former pro Nicole DeBoom – past overall champion and back racing for the first time as an age grouper this season!

 

Local Pro Cam Dye past Champion

 

and more!

 

RSVP HERE as space is limited – the event will be capped at 75 people

More info on The Peak and the 5430 Triathlon Series here

Tri Coach Tuesday: Racing with Quick Turn Around

Racing long and short distances over a short time frame

by Simon Butterworth, D3 Multisport

 

Some History

Back in the day, the greats of our sport, Allen, Scott, Molina and many others could be found at races of all distances at any time of the year.  It worked, Dave and Mark still hold some of the fastest times in Kona when they were racing without all the sports nutrition, training guidance, and very expensive aero stuff.  Amongst the professionals, those days are gone but not completely.  At the very pointy end of the spear in Olympic racing, you will not find anyone racing long but there are some professionals, usually those who are not quite at the top of the heap in short stuff, are racing very fast and making money working all distances.

If you dig into the USAT Rankings a bit it becomes quickly apparent that the ability to do well at all distances is more in reach within the amateur ranks.  However, I believe that if you have three amateurs of equal potential short and long, who specialize in one or the other the specialists will win.

Most athletes are not, however, thinking of winning in the sense of being first in their AG.  Their goals are a bit more modest and winning is defined at having fun, a great race and perhaps setting a new PR.  If those are your goals then racing long and short is very much an option.

Indeed “winning” in short and long races can be done over a short period of time, two or three races in a month.  The key is setting the right goals, priorities, and expectations followed by a plan that matches the above, and sticking to it.

Goals & Priority

Conventional advice has it that peaking for more than three A races in a season is difficult.  Professionals can perhaps do more but don’t do so often.  Amateurs, who have another life to consider, should not go beyond three.  And, if you are trying to squeeze three races in with a month only two of those should be A races.

The reason is that racing at your best requires a good taper.  What defines a good taper varies with the individual and some can get away with less than others.  Everyone, as they age, needs more time to recover from hard training and/or racing.  Finding what works for you is a process of experimentation.  It is a very bad idea to conclude that because you had a great race result with a minimal taper you don’t need to taper more.  So getting in the right taper for two A races in a month is just doable more not so.

Racing three events in a month also messes big time with your training.  So if there is another major A race later in the summer make sure you have thought through the idea very carefully.

Even if there is not, you must answer the question honestly, why do I want to do three races close together.  Get input to that thought process from friends and family. Make sure the answer is a good one before signing up.  Situations I have had in the past have been the chase for a Kona slot, a good reason I think.  Twice, back in the day when you could get to Kona in a Half IM, I did Eagleman (failed), the Boulder Sprint, then Buffalo Springs Half (success), all in three weekends.  Buffalo Springs was not really planned before Eagleman but was certainly a fallback plan, and I structured the five weeks (two-week taper for Eagleman plus the 3 weeks covering the racing) of training accordingly,  I have also done an IronMan and then Olympic the following weekend.  There are dangers in all of the above and that is where expectations become very important.

 

Expectations

Expectations and goals are closely related.  As noted before if you want to really race your absolute best you should focus on short or long course racing.  But that’s not fun for some, yet for others, it is just great.  Indeed I believe that someone who races to their potential in short course racing is every bit the amazing triathlete who does an IM.  If you doubt that premise watch one of the videos from the Olympic Triathlon.  That is extremely hard, an all out effort for about 2 hrs.

Expectations/Goals are easier to set if the long event is the last one.  The hardest scenario is an IM first.  I do not believe you can realistically have a short distance A race within at least 4 weeks, perhaps longer of an IM.

I learned that lesson early in my IM career from the combination of an IM and 5K (5weeks later), sprinting hard to the finish up a slight hill almost put myself on the disabled list for months.

Last year at Nationals I was smarter, a week after IM Boulder.  I got passed at mile four of the run.  I am not sure if I could have picked up the pace and will never know.  I stuck to my plan, swim and bike hard, play it safe on the run.

You could have an Olympic A race three weeks out from an IM or a sprint one week out.  There is a catch to the above, the potential for an injury.  If you have been training hard for 6-10 months for the IM and that is a lot of your time, family pain, and effort.  Ruining all that by sprinting to the finish in a sprint and pulling a muscle (that will not recover in 2 weeks) does not make a lot of sense to me.

 

Planning

The easiest scenario to plan for is a sequence of A-C-A or C-C-A races over three weeks (note as I said above I don’t think this could include an IM as one of the first two races.  Follow the taper you have worked out from previous racing for the weeks leading into the first A race.  You can’t gain any fitness by training hard after the first race so the next two training weeks should be short (relative) workouts with a small amount of intensity two days out, no explosive efforts (think injury).  The middle C race is your higher intensity and/or longer training day.

If you think, “I must do some training between these races,” my own experience and many other anecdotal stories say otherwise.  Coming home from Eagleman in 2009 I caught a bug on the plane.  It was slow developing and I followed my own advice above up to the Boulder Sprint the next weekend.  When I finished that it did not seem like I had been smart, the bug hit hard.  I did no training until two days before Buffalo Springs and then it was more just to see how things felt.  Race day the bug was gone and got the Kona slot with 13 seconds to spare.   There are many other stories of athletes having a great race after two weeks of fighting off a bug or injury with no training.

If the first race is an A race and an IM the last two better be two C races.  The plan would be similar, the first week after the IM the pool is your friend, the bike second and the run last.  I would not run more than twice near the end of the week just before the next race.  The second race would be your big training day of the three weeks; more recovery would be in order with one perhaps a short SBR mid week before the last race.

 

Summary

Setting the right expectations is the most important thing when planning races close together.  They go together with setting reasonable goals.  If you get those two right, planning the training around the races is reasonably easy.

A way of approaching this is to think of the advice given to IM athlete mentally preparing for a race, “look at it as a long hard training day” which you have already done more than once.  Then put on your recovery hat to fill in the time between the races.

One final thought.  Be prepared to bail on one or two of the races.  More important things in the other life can pop up at the wrong (for racing) time.  But then this is no different than any other time when great plans go out the window, stuff happens, there will be other races.

 

 

Simon Butterworth is a coach for D3 Multisport and notes, “In the big picture I see attitude more than age making the difference in many aspects of this sport. There are times in triathlon that to see improvements you need to slow down and spend some time working on your technique – which requires a great deal of discipline. So does having a coach and following the plan written for you. The best coach in the world can only be of help if you’re ready and willing to do the work.”  Simon has qualified and competed in the Ironman World Championships 12 times and is a USAT, USA Cycling and Training Peaks Certified Coach.

Becky Piper: Xterra Nats qualifier, savagely attacked, comatose & paralyzed, and back to Xterra again – at local Lory race

By Sasha Underwood

Several years ago Becky Piper was attacked while living in Guam by would be armed robbers, severely beaten with a gun and left to die. Local naval doctors immediately evacuated her to San Diego for treatment. She is now partially paralyzed. Yesterday she completed Xterra Lory. What happened in between is remarkable and brought tears to my eyes watching her finish knowing all that she went through to even compete.  You can read about her account HERE.

Prior to the attack, Becky was an ultra-marathon runner. A friend of hers had mentioned the Xterra in Guam and essentially challenged her by saying because he was a guy he would be faster than her and would beat her time – which ignited a small fire in her. She trained and completed the 2013 Xterra Guam, finishing 2nd in her age group and qualified for the Xterra National Championships.  Oh, and her friend, did not even start because he didn’t train.

Shortly after that she was attacked.  When she finally emerged from her coma weeks later and barely started talking, she asked the doctors if she could resume racing. They explained that her paralysis may be permanent – to which she replied, “Ok, well that’s why there’s a Para Athlete division!” After spending some time with her I can only imagine her saying that in a matter-of-fact, upbeat, genuine way with that huge Becky smile of hers!

She is now paralyzed on her right side and uses a brace to walk. Within the past three years, she has become a USAT Coach with Team MPI, and she completed two sprint triathlons last year. Check out her accomplishments on her Facebook page!

When we met last year, I asked if she would be doing Xterra’s again. She explained that she would like to but wasn’t sure of which one would be suitable for her. I immediately thought of Xterra Lory – it’s such a great course for beginners and experts alike. A flowy bike course with a great climb of a run.

She signed up for Xterra Lory at the beginning of this year. I mentioned how I love that race but I can’t run anymore since my hip surgery in November, to which she replied, “then walk! I’m doing it!” Of course I signed up after that. Originally I was going to race the swim and bike portion and have my mom do the run.

Becky was nervous about the bike portion. She pre-rode the course a couple times and a few days before the race I asked her if she would feel more confident if I rode behind her on the bike course. She loved that idea so I planned to stay with her the entire race.

The Swim:

We put on our wetsuits to go do a quick practice swim. It was the first open water swim of the year for both of us – nothing like waiting until race day! Anna, Becky’s transition handler, and Sam, Becky’s husband, helped Becky into her wetsuit. The best part was watching them lift Becky up by either side and try to shake her into her wetsuit! I REALLY wish I had taken a picture of that!

The entrance to the lake was slick and muddy and several athletes slipped while entering. It was a good time to discuss a strategy for Anna to help Becky out of the water when she finished. The water was chilly and both Becky and I had a little cold water shock panic when we put our face in the water.  We were in wave seven so we had plenty of time to practice. By the second wave we were comfortable and I tried to stay slightly to her right and in front of her so she could follow me.

We finished faster than her projected time in under 30minutes!

The Bike:

Sam modified Becky’s bike so all of the shifters and brakes are on the left side. In addition, her bike is a full suspension, more of a down-hill, slack geometry and has a 27.5 wheel on the front with a 26 wheel on the back. Becky can’t stand up to get over obstacles or downhill sections so the wheels and geometry of the bike help put her in a better position to ride that type of terrain.

I had so much fun riding with her! Becky had named many sections of the bike course from pre-riding it. The first section she named ‘Bridges Galore’ (but later renamed it to ‘Why Will Becky’s Foot Not Stay On the Pedal’). Next came ‘Where Becky Endo’d’. Then ‘Holy Crap! Look At All the Uphill!’ And last but not least, ‘The Part I Only Saw Once Because the Other Time I got a Flat Tire.’

This girl would fall over, get back up, and do it again. Over, and over, and over again. I was so impressed with her tenacity and perseverance – all the while with a ginormous smile on her face. At one point she fell over, threw her arm up and with a grin from ear to ear said, “ta-dah!” I’m so glad I was there to help out when I could and put her foot back into her unruly pedal. By the end of the bike we pretty much had that down to a science.

Her family and friends were waiting for her at the bike finish cheering with excitement. Anna and Sam helped her transition, changing her biking brace to her running brace made with carbon fiber which is more comfortable and allows better mobility for hiking.

The Run:

I originally was going to do the run with Becky but I forgot my running shoes. Fortunately my mom, who was already planning to run, ran with her instead.  Becky described her run as an attempt to get over rocks. She fell a few times, ended up with a mysterious scrape down her entire length of her arm, and has a bruised and skinned knee… but she did it. She explained that my mom gasped the first time she fell but by the 5th time she was unphased. That’s just what happens. You fall, and then you just get back up.

Becky’s friends and family ran with her through the last 200 yards leading up to the finisher’s chute. I personally could not hold back the tears of joy, knowing what I know about Becky, knowing how meaningful it is to train and overcome obstacles and push through no matter the odds or what life throws at you… knowing what it feels like to cross the finish line of my first 5k, 10k, Marathon and Ironman… the feeling is the same and I couldn’t help the tears from flowing. Looking around there was not a dry eye among us.

Becky is incredibly motivating, inspiring and her up-beat, nothing-can-get-me-down attitude is infectious. I am honored to have raced with her and call her my friend. I look forward to watching her race the Boulder Half Ironman in August!

 

 

 

 

Tri Club Tuesday: Colorado Clubs take IMBoulder Division Titles

At the IRONMAN Boulder awards ceremony on Monday morning Mike Reilly announced the top 10 pro finishers and the amazing top 5 athletes in every age group.  Sandwiched between all this individual talent and the winners of the coveted Kona slots, Mike announced the Team Winners.

 

Division I

Rocky Mountain Tri Club

 

We’re proud to be part of the Colorado triathlon community, and love to make a strong showing at local events.  With nearly two dozen athletes participating, and more than 75(!) volunteers on course, Rocky Mountain Tri Club was able to win the Division I Tri Club Challenge for the fourth year in a row.  Congratulations to all yesterdays Ironman participants and a heartfelt thank you to the 2000+ volunteers who made the day possible! 

 

Salt Lake Tri Club


Division II

Big Sexy Racing

 

Wattie Inc.


Division III

mind2motion

Alien Endurance


Division IV

 

D3Multisport

From D3 Multisport Head Coach Mike Ricci:

Sunday was the best Ironman Boulder weather we could have asked for and the volunteers were a valued asset to the race experience.  All athletes have their own personal challenges during a race, but we are proud of the Team D3 athletes as they executed their race plans flawlessly!  3 made the podium, 1 qualified for Kona and that is a fantastic Ironman day!”

 

 

 

Boulder Tri Club


Division VI

Cannibal Team Triathlon

Gotta Tri

 

Tri Coach Tuesday: Erin & Alison’s IM Boulder Pre-Cap

303 Ambassadors and USAT Coaches Alison Freeman of D3 Multisport  and Erin Trail of Trail Endurance Coaching are racing IRONMAN Boulder on June 11, 2017. Here are their thoughts on the race and their top 3 tips for race day.

Alison Freeman


WHY I’M RACING:

Cuz it’s the hometown race! Honestly, it’s nuts to do several Ironman races and never do the one in your own backyard. The race had been on my radar since my first Ironman, but the previous August date was tricky for me with three kids at home all summer and expecting me to be a parent (not an unrealistic expectation: I am actually their parent and none are old enough to drive yet). As soon as the switch to June was announced I knew it was my year!

WHAT I’M EXCITED FOR:
I am, without question, most excited for the run course. Not the run itself, because that always hurts, but because I am really hoping to see familiar faces up and down the entire course. Nothing is more energizing than friends and family cheering you on!

TOP 3 RACE TIPS:

  1. Don’t be a hero on the bike. Between the gradual climb on 36, the more obnoxious climb on Nelson, and umpteen little rollers on each loop, there are a lot of opportunities to blow out your legs. Be smart! Keep your effort level consistent – whether your metric is power or heart rate – and keep your legs spinning at 90rpm as best you can.
  2. This is not a great course to run by pace. You’re either running slightly uphill or slightly downhill at all times, and for long stretches, so maintaining a consistent effort level is a more realistic strategy than trying to maintain a consistent pace. If running by pace is your go-to strategy, then adjust your pace targets by course segment to account for the change in grade.
  3. Have a plan. FOR EVERYTHING. Know when you’re going to do packet pick up. Know which Athlete Briefing you’re attending. (Yes, you should attend an Athlete Briefing. I don’t care how many races you’ve done.) Know when you’re going to do gear drop off. Know when you’re going to wake up race morning and what time you’re going to park and what time you’re going to get on a shuttle. Know what time you’re going to get in line for the port-o-potty. Know where you’re going to line up for the swim. Know what nutrition you’re taking in, in what quantity, and at what minute or mile of the bike and the run. Know how you’re going to approach each leg of the race, and each portion of the course. Know what you’re going to say to yourself when it hurts. Know what you’re going to say to yourself so you don’t push past your limits when you’re feeling good. Know what you’re going to eat after you finish, because isn’t that the best part? (I’m eating donut holes. A LOT of donut holes. My husband is required to have them for me at the finish.)

 

Erin Trail


WHY I’M RACING

I took a 3 year hiatus after IM Boulder in 2014 and found myself being drawn back to the distance after spectating/volunteering in 2016. The location, being able to train with my club and friends on the course, and the change to June checked off all of my boxes. I’m also recovering from a major injury (torn rotator cuff) and training and racing for an Ironman while healing my shoulder has provided me with some great motivation to do my PT and heal smartly.

WHAT I’M EXCITED FOR:
I love climbing so I’m actually excited to ride Nelson. I also love to ride FAST, so I’m excited to zoom down St Vrain. I’m excited to swim 2.4 miles without my shoulder hurting. And I’m MOST excited about being on that awesome run course, filled with friends (racers, volunteers, and spectators). My arm is going to be sore from all of the high fives I’ll be giving out! And finally, that finish line – MY HOME STATE FINISH LINE – is something truly special.

TOP 3 RACE TIPS:

  1. HYDRATE HYDRATE HYDRATE (even if you’re a local). Elevation + all of that mile high sunshine takes a toll, so have a solid hydration and nutrition plan to get you through the bike and onto the run.
  2. The bike course has a lot to offer in terms of varied terrain and changes in views (and wind direction). The course makes a series of 90-degree turns, which sounds somewhat annoying but it’s actually really fun to ride. My advice is to enjoy all of these changes and use them to your advantage. Don’t like climbing? You just have to make it up 4 miles of Nelson and then you’re rewarded with a really fun descent down St Vrain minutes afterwards. Don’t like false flats? Hang tight as you ride on Jay Road because a really fun set of rollers awaits you. Annoyed by that pesky headwind? Just know that in a few miles you’ll change direction and that headwind will turn into a crosswind – or even better – a magical tailwind! Use the terrain changes to give both your body and brain a break from the tedium of an Ironman bike course.
  3. The run course, at least for me in 2014, was harder than I expected. The course has small rollers as it goes under roads and has a net uphill to the finish. And it’s the marathon of an Ironman, so yeah, it’s going to be hard. Have a mental strategy in mind for the run, especially when it gets hard. What’s your “why”? Think about a power word or motto and write it on the inside of your arm. (for me, its “I am the storm” and “run the damn hills”). Visualize the finish. Think back on all those hours of hard work and how you want to honor them by running the best run that you can. Think about how amazing that FREE locally brewed beer will taste at the Finish Line Beer Garden (I won’t lie – this is my primary run course motivation, and if anyone would like to save an Avery Ellie’s Brown or Lilikoi for me, I will be your BFF [beer friend forever] for life!) And finally, use the crowd’s energy to get you through the tough spots. The IRONMAN Boulder run course is the BEST, especially as a local athlete, because of all of the friendly faces (racers, volunteers, and spectators) that are all there cheering you as you run towards that finish line.

303 Triathlon sends good luck wishes to all of the athletes who are racing IRONMAN Boulder – both local and from afar. We’ll see you out there on Sunday! Check out our Twitter and Facebook feeds on race day for coverage and updates all day long!