Thanks for making this possible!
Also a special thanks to:
- Todd Plymale-Mallory. For your friendship, hospitality, your expertise in Chinese Medicine, massage, Normatec, and acupuncture!
- Meridian Bicycle. For their upkeep and bike repairs.
- Dave Scott and his sister Jane Scott, at the Boulder Aquatic Masters.
- Rick McQuet and Boise Aquatic Masters.
- Inclusions for giving office space and more!
- The board members of Stroke Survivors CAN!, Inc.
- Stroke Survivors Group at the Boulder Community Hospital, where I was able to share my story.
- For Krystal Kawabata for volunteering her time for editing!
This was my first Ironman distance (full or half) on the mainland. Hawaii was magical. It got me into Ironman training and racing on the islands – but that chapter is gone for now. I was interested in how I would do on the mainland.
I went out to Boulder three weeks prior to acclimate to the altitude. Boise, where I moved, is about 2,200 ft above sea level, and Boulder is around 5,200 ft. Moving in January 2018 from Hawaii (sea level) to Boise was a challenge, but as I was to discover, Boulder was significantly more challenging. It was a bear as I was sucking air!
I first noticed it on a swim. I was continually out of air. Running was next, my breathing became so much more labored. And biking, even more strenuous at a sport I already deficient in. As a result, my training in yards and mileage shrunk to keep up. But by the end the first week, I had noticed significant improvement on the breathing (despite contracting a sinus infection), so I was hopeful.
On the morning of participating (not racing!) at Ironman 70.3 Boulder, I woke up at 3:30 AM to start my day. I began with a one mile run to wake up my body, ate a half bagel, peanut butter, and banana, checked my gear for the umpteenth time, and began packing my car. I wasn’t nervous or excited, just stressed that I had forgotten something.
I arrived to the venue an hour before my start time, unpacked (my bike was taken a day earlier), laid out my gear of shoes (biking and running), helmet, nutrition, and what not. I got on my wetsuit (water temperature was about 70 degrees), and went for a short warm up swim.
The swim was a 1.2 mile swim at the Boulder Reservoir. It was murky and occasionally had “seaweed” that would get caught on my arms and face. Yuck! I started right after the pros. As a result, there was nobody to draft after, and I got “lost” several times. The 1.2 mile swim ended up being 1.3 or 1.4 miles! My Garmin had me going at 1:45/per 100 yards pace. Still, a respectful time for going 1.2 miles. 39:29.
Transition 1: 7:38. Thank you for wetsuit strippers! I saved a bunch of time.
This was my least favored of the disciplines. I struggled on the bike. The course was 56 miles long, with two short, moderately intense hills in the first half. I started out by drinking at Hotshot to prevent cramping. True to form, I had moderate difficulty with those hills, and really didn’t get my legs loosed up until the second half. I was glad I brought liquid nutrition and water, but I really wished I had brought something solid to eat. By the end, I was paced out at being 16 mph, a really good time for me, but clearly, I had to get faster. 3:29:36.
Transition 2: 10:44. Clearly, I needed a break!
The run course had me going around the Boulder Reservoir twice. It was hot and windy, though they were conditions that I’m used to training in.
I had another bottle of Hotshot, and carried one in my shorts, to be used on lap two. On lap one, at one of the aid stations, I drank water and ate a pasty liquid called ‘GU,’ a mistake causing a pasty mouth until I could get to next aid station. Note to self, if you’re using ‘GU,’ you should try to have some water on hand to wash it down afterwards!
On lap two, I decided to pick up the pace, despite the rather windy conditions. A half mile from the end, I had cramps that caused me to stop and stretch before running again. I knew I had a personal best 70.3 at the line, so I started running again soon after. Next time, I’ll remember to bring liquid nutrition and electrolytes on the run. 2:28:04.
In summary, it was a good day for me. Even at altitude, I did my best time of 6:55:40, and I was pleased with my effort!
On lap one, I was smiling!
Coming down the finish line, I was everything but smiling!
At the finish line, the smile magically reappeared!
As for as participation in another “race”, I’m not sure about this calendar year. I’ve participated in the Boston Marathon (April 2018), and now this. It may be possible. I have my eye on Ironman 70.3 Arizona but nothing is definite. However, I will keep training because I believe in the power of exercise and setting a good example of what stroke survivors can do!
Stroke Survivors CAN!
Now, I’ll turn my attention to a nonprofit I started, Stroke Survivors CAN!, Inc., which seeks to connect stroke survivors to non contact sporting opportunities, and by my story. Right after my stroke, I was just existing, just going through the motions, but now I have a new purpose and passion towards stroke survivors. None of this would be possible without many gracious and generous gifts from businesses and individuals, and I seek to return the favor!
As Stroke Survivors CAN grows, I’ll make contributions towards stroke survivors who desire to connect with non contact sporting ventures, from equipment, coaching, and the like.
And I’ll speaking to groups on what participating in triathlons has taught me – courage, determination, the importance of community, exercise, and much more. And you don’t need to participate in triathlons!
No donation is too small (or large). Whether is it $5 or something much more substantial, know that you are helping change stroke survivors to get on with their life filled with purpose and passion. To donate, go the Fundly.com!
Together, Stroke Survivors CAN!