As I finalize race plans for 2015 I took a moment to think back to my first ever triathlon, Boise Ironman 70.3 in 2012 and how far I’ve come since then. This race remains my most eventful to date.
Five of us had travelled to Boise to race with coach Bjorn. I had joked with my friend Morgan prior to leaving that I was looking forward to getting a suntan, how wrong I would be.
Things started to go sideways the day before the race. Three of us were out for a short interval ride when I heard a noise coming from my front wheel. Instead of stopping to investigate (the smart choice) I decided to lean over my bike and adjust my front brake while still riding. Noise located, success! However, I looked up just in time to see the shoulder had cut in and I had drifted over. With no time to react I went straight into a concrete barrier, sailing over my handlebars and landed on my side. Ouch.
But, I didn’t land on my head, I didn’t break any bones; I got lucky! With the help of some lovely bystanders I was up, on my bike and we were off with my friend Stephanie spraying water into a large cut on my side.
However, back at the hotel it was clear I needed some medical attention. I appeared tearfully at coach Bjorn’s door and off to primary care we went. Several hours, 8 stitches & a lollipop later, I was patched up with a strong suggestion from the doctor not to race the next day.
Then onto the race expo where SpiderTech was offering free taping for athletes. I was met with a slight look of horror but they went to work patching me up. Finally back to the hotel to rest, things couldn’t get any worse right? Wrong!
I awoke pretty sore on race morning, flopped out of bed and was met with the news that a freak storm had moved in. Freezing temps, howling winds and snow on the course. This forced the race organizers to shorten the bike leg due to safety concerns.
We arrived at transition to see hoards of people already leaving. I later heard over 20% DNS (people who did not start)
My friend Amy hit upon the idea of foregoing a warm-up in favor of getting into our wetsuits in the car with the heated seats on, genius!
Wetsuits on we made a dash for the swim start - just in time. We hopped into the frigid water and the gun went off. Then, panic…
Strong winds were blowing choppy water from the left but with whiplash I had I couldn’t turn to the right, so I couldn’t breathe. I struggled the first 100m to a kayak and clung on, gaining a bemused look from the kayaker. Sensibilities said I really should have pulled out at this point (or earlier) but I felt I’d reached a point of no return. I calmed down, setting off again with an un-graceful mix of varying strokes, somehow making it around the 1.9km swim course and into transition.
Several of the Pros made the decision to stay warm and leave their wetsuits on for the bike!
I wrestled my soggy arms into a dry jersey and spent a few minutes fighting with some gloves, before finally giving up.
I hate racing in the cold but this was the one exception, everything went numb, which turned out to be a real bonus. I cruised the shortened, windy, downhill bike course and into T2, so just a ½ marathon left.
The numbness lasted for the first 10km on the run. I’m hazy on how painful things became beyond that but Stephanie ran with me doing a great job of encouragement and keeping my mind occupied. The sunshine even made an appearance.
I finished, it wasn’t pretty, far from it, but I was happy.
I took several things with me from that first race. Nothing can be that tough again, right? I actually did have fun and I’m really lucky to be able to do this.
I’m also a SpiderTech convert, it really works, you can race held together with tape!