Saturday, August 9, 2014

Ironman Boulder - the swim

I had my alarm set for 3 am or so.  I was up as soon as my alarm went off, then showered and took my time getting ready.  Neil, my parents and I were all out the door before 4 am to head towards Boulder High School.  We had scoped out a parking lot near the race finish at Walnut Street and 11th.  It would only be a couple of blocks to walk from the finish line so it seemed perfect.  I dropped off my special needs bags as we made our way towards the shuttles that would take us from the high school to the Boulder Reservoir.

The shuttles were super well organized.  We were loaded on a bus and on our way in no time.


As soon as the bus started rolling it was time for me to chow down on breakfast.  I had soaked oats overnight in milk along with some dried fruit, cinnamon and coconut.  Even though I wasn’t that hungry I shovelled that oatmeal in my face as I knew I needed to get those calories in me!  Once we got to the reservoir I made a beeline for my friend Molly who was body marking.  After that I started puttering around T1…putting bottles on my bike, checking my swim to bike bag, getting in the porta-potty line time and time again.  I had plenty of time before the race…maybe a bit too much time as I wasn’t quite sure what to do with myself!  I did manage to scarf down a banana and a gel in the meantime!

Around 6 or so my friends and I started to congregate and get our wetsuits on.


With a few minutes left to go Kelly and I got in the water to test out our goggles in the designated warm up area.  We had about 5 minutes to paddle around and then it was time to line up for the swim start.  Ironman Boulder was a rolling start swim where we were supposed to self seed.  I tried to go near the back of the 1:15 to 1:30 group.  I gave Kelly and Shannon hugs and wished them a great day.  As we slowly walked towards the water I could feel myself tearing up behind my goggles.  I had thought for so long about this day and it was here.  It was time to push those emotions down and use them for fuel on the swim!


We walked down a boat ramp and into the water.  I started swimming nearly right away.  Because of the rolling start it was not super crowded to begin with.  There was the usual jostling as everyone sorted themselves out.  I really liked the start of the swim.

I hadn’t paid enough attention at the athlete meeting so I wasn’t sure how long each of the legs on the swim were supposed to be.  I knew the buoys were supposed to be every 100 m though and when I started to pay attention that seemed to line up with what I was reading on my Garmin.  I felt great on the swim.  It felt like it was going by really quickly and I was doing a good job of sticking close to the buoys.  There was one point just after the first turn where I got pushed off course a touch by a woman who had lost her goggles.  Oh that would have sucked!  I corrected fairly quickly though.

I did some math when I hit 2000 m on my watch and thought I may be on pace to swim a PR.  However as I swam on I realized we were still really far away from the swim exit.  There wasn’t much I could do about that though so I still kept swimming.  At the end of the day I measured the course at 4.18 km (way off of the 3.8 km official distance).    From reports I’ve been reading a lot of folks measure the swim course long.  While I didn’t swim a PR that day…it was just a few seconds shy of IMC 2010…if the course was really long I had a banner swim that day.  Plenty to be happy about!

Swim - 1:34:27

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  1. Awesome work! I love your recaps!!!

  2. I truly loved the swim course. It felt odd because we swam a different area then other races at this venue but it meant we never had an issue with the sun, I was very impressed that the race overall ran so smooth because after signing up I had checked out the 70.3(which used to be in August) and it was the most chaotic, disorganized event I ever witnessed. I hope you got a chance to experience some of Colorado before returning home.

  3. I can't imagine swimming that much further than I had to - well done you for keeping your spirits up. And a great time for that distance, or even the normal IM distance! Interesting that the altitude wasn't affecting you yet - I considered IM Boulder but as I live at sealevel I was worried about how the altitude would affect me.. I can't wait to read the rest of your report!

  4. Great report. You sound so positive. Good job on the swim!