I admit to feeling a little bit sad that Ironman Boulder has come and gone. This was the most I have enjoyed the training cycle for any Ironman. If I could sign up to do another Ironman right now I would!
After working so hard to reach my fourth Ironman finish line I wanted to wrap up with a few final thoughts from training and the race.
This year Zoot became the official apparel provider for Ironman, and their designs for the Ironman Boulder gear were bold and beautiful. I always appreciate it when the women’s kit isn’t just a pink version of the one for men.
The one thing I didn’t like was that all of the finisher gear was available for purchase before the race (this was apparently the case at Ironman Canada too). For a race as big as an Ironman I’m a tad superstitious about purchasing finisher gear in advance. I also like the tradition of waking up early the day after the race to snag a coveted finisher jacket. When I popped by the Ironman store the day after the race there were only two women’s jackets left.
Making Gains in the Water
I had the swim of my life at Ironman Boulder, without a doubt! Meaningful gains in swimming are hard to make, so to set a 15 minute personal best on the swim was a huge accomplishment. How did I get there?
- Swimming three times a week instead of two. The extra volume definitely helped.
- Jumping into the fast lane. Sometimes you have to push outside your comfort zone and swim with people just a bit faster.
- More pull/paddle work in the pool. My coach gave me a lot of Brett Sutton style swim strength workouts with pull and paddle work that definitely paid off.
All of the above combined with the confidence on race day that I could sustain my effort and form over the entire swim paid off big time.
Trying to Get Comfortable on the Bike
I switched up a few things on my bike this year to help make riding 180 km more comfortable. The support in my saddle was shot, so way back in January I scheduled a saddle fitting through TCR Sport Lab in Calgary. I was able to test out two saddles for several weeks and I finally settled on the Cobb Fifty Five. I also updated my bike fit with Luke Way from Balance Point Racing in Kelowna.
I felt great during training but I did struggle with low back pain on the bike at Boulder, likely from being in aero for longer than I was used to. In hindsight I wish I had spent more time riding in aero on my training rides. With the hills around Calgary and Banff I tend to ride sitting up most of the time.
On Setting a Big, Scary Goal and Not Achieving It
When I signed up for Boulder last year I wanted this to be the race where I would be running down the finish line before night started to fall. I broke my goal down into pieces that when put together would help me get there. It was a bold and loft goal that would require me to shave at least two hours off of my best Ironman time.
Ironman Boulder 2016 was not my day to achieve that dream, but I am in no way disappointed by that. I gave my very best on race day.
Sometimes when setting a specific and huge goal you hold that goal so tightly in your heart that if you don’t achieve it, you miss all of the amazing things you *did* do on that day. It is easy to be disappointed by your failure and to see past small wins. I held my goal loosely in my hands like a baby bird.
As the sun started to set on race day I didn’t give up. The darkness closing in fuelled me to hurry up and get to the finish line. Yes, I absolutely wish I had a better run that day but on the whole I had a pretty darn fantastic Ironman. A 57 minute personal best is huge accomplishment!
I am not giving up on my dream of a daylight finish at an Ironman race though!
How do you deal with a race where you didn’t achieve your ultimate goal?