Ironman Boulder 2016 - Kona Bound!!

Thank you for checking out the Specialized Physical Therapy Blog and reading my story about my latest Ironman adventure. I’ve been competing in triathlons since 2008 and have been a part of the Specialized Physical Therapy Team for 3 years! Wow, how time flies! Needless to say, Specialized has been a huge part of my success as a triathlete! Under their expert care, they have assisted me with injury prevention, injury rehabilitation (sigh!), posture, mechanics, and my endurance fitness. In case you don’t know, there are three legs in a triathlon: swim, bike, and run. An Ironman consists of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run. One of the unique opportunities I’ve had with SPT, is with the use of their antigravity treadmill (AlterG) for the majority of my run training. Not only for Ironman Boulder, but previous races as well. The AlterG has allowed me to continue to run while healing from a multitude of leg injuries. My most recent occurred in April.  At that point, I could only run at 20% of my body weight, but with the help of trained physical therapists Jodi Reerink and Jeff Zimmerman, and the AlterG, I was able to increase that to 92% of my body weight by the August 7th Ironman in Boulder. It’s been truly great to work with the whole team at SPT, and I couldn’t have made it across the finish line without their assistance and support!

On that note, let me tell you how my day went!

Swim (56:21)

I hustled to the start and weaved my way around loads of people. I wanted to start up towards the front, under the 1 hour time. Ever since the 12.5 mile swim around Key West I’ve felt more confident about my swim. During that time, I learned a lot about my mechanics and what helps me in open water. I had to claw through a lot of men at that start. Sorry if I swam over you and knocked you in the head. It was fun. I was totally calm and relaxed! I paced off a few people but was alone for most of the swim. I came out of the swim in 56:21, which was a minute faster than my time in 2014. 

Bike (5:11)

My goal for the bike was to finish between 5:00-5:15. Goal accomplished. I didn’t feel as great on the bike as I normally do on race days. Not sure if it was the altitude or just a bit of an off day. I’ve put in a lot of miles so I knew I would get it done in a respectable time. I love the S-Works Shiv. Such a smooth bike and The Bike Way had it dialed in perfectly! It was great weather for a long day on the bike. I kept ticking a long and ignored my watch beeping a few times telling me to drink and if I drank it wasn’t the 8 sips I should have ingested. I’d pay for that! Also, I usually take in 3 cliff cars on 100 mile rides. It was so dry; I struggled to get in 2.5. Another issue I’ll have to work on going forward. I felt safety was an issue on the bike course. My condolences and prayers to the family that lost their daughter on course. I can’t imagine. I will say there was not enough room for passing on that section. When I came around onto my second lap I saw a man go down. This man was passing another racer. The racer came over, which caused the man passing to swerve over and hit a cone. He went flying and I could see the wheels somersaulting. By the time I got up to the guy he was already on his bike getting back to it. Glad he was ok! I hope they make changes to this section. Be safe out there.

Run (4:20)

My weakest link of all, but my favorite. How does that work? I think because it’s something I always have to work for! It’s a challenge! I fractured my fibula in April. Not just a stress fracture, sigh. I was running on a treadmill at Lifetime, got distracted by an approach from the back, and clipped the side of the treadmill which put my foot into forceful supination. It resulted in a load pop! I thought, “Oh, it’s just a muscle, it hurts a little bit, but I’ll go finish my time on the stairmill.” HA! Right, that hurt! Stop and rest! For a while, I and others just thought it was a muscle tear. Maybe soleus or peroneus muscles? Got an x-ray. Sure enough plain as day a fracture in my proximal 1/3 fibula. Based on my bone health it didn’t surprise me. It’s not quite healed and only running 7 times outside in 3 months doesn’t help much going into an IM. I did most of my training on the AlterG. I started at 30% body weight and worked up to 92% body weight within the last couple weeks before the race. Thank you to the wonderful people at Specialized Physical Therapy. I wouldn’t have made it without you all! And….. you’re lucky I’ll be back for more leading up to Ironman Worlds! It’s slowly healing. I’m sure 26.2 miles on it slowed the process down…just a little. ;) I finished, did what I could. The mind is a powerful thing!

After the race, I wasn’t feeling well and went to the med tent. They said I was fine, wouldn’t give me an IV. I went back to the car with Renee while Mitch grabbed my bike and gear. Got to the hotel and tried to drink and eat. Mitch grabbed soup, Gatorade, coconut water and nothing would stay down. I started to feel more and more nausea, pounding headache, and I had the chills. Time to go to the ER. We were there for 5 hours. They took blood samples and give me 3 liters of fluid. My CK was significantly elevated and they said I had heat stroke and rhabdomyolysis. I was starting to feel better and the nurse said they were going to discharge me. Awesome! Wait, she came back in saying the doctor wanted more blood values just to make sure. I opted out. I was exhausted and since I was able to eat a cheeseburger and fries I figured I could leave and go to sleep. All is ok, but even three days post race I’m still swollen and having to push the fluids.

I finished in a time of 10:37 3rd AG. I debated on the Kona slot. I’m not 100% and will I be 100% in 2 months? I have no idea, but everyone I asked said, “Go, you never know what life will throw at you and if you don’t go you’ll be kicking yourself.” I’m Kona bound! My mom, Mitch, and I will be leaving for Kona on Oct 3 and enjoying the big island for a week. I’m looking forward to going and giving all I can!

Thanks for reading!

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