Monday, May 27, 2013

Race Report: 2013 BolderBoulder

This weekend, 30 years ago, my younger brother and I spent a weekend with our grand parents at their home in the St. Vrain Canyon about 45 minutes from Boulder. On a cold and rainy Monday morning, they drove me to the start of the BolderBoulder--my first ever.

It wasn't until this afternoon that I realized I've hit that anniversary. Otherwise, it was Memorial Day so, of course, I was in Boulder.

Like any race that starts out of town, my day began very early, about 5:30 in this case. That was okay. I made good time all the way until Boulder. And then I hit town.

There's no doubt that thousands of cars converging on a town at the same time create traffic. However, near as I can tell, the handling of traffic near the intersection of 28th Street and Colorado Avenue might has well have been handled by a four-year-old. Despite me and thousands of my fellow runners coming in on 28th, some genius decided to short cycle the light. This lead to it taking about 15 minutes to drive the last mile to the starting line. It nearly cost me starting with my own group.

Fortunately, that didn't happen, but I did make it to my group with about 45 second to spare. Not the way I would have planned it.

But start I did and soon I was running north on 30th Street and feeling pretty good Before I knew it the course was moving back south on 28th and the Flat Irons were in clear view.

It was a warm day...really warm actually. I had the benefit of starting earlier but as we approached mile 4, this annual tradition looked fairly inviting:

I abstained because I was carrying my cell phone but also because I was not sure I could get up again if I stopped.

It was harder than last year, but it also went by quickly. I struggled through the last mile up Folsom Street, including the big hill leading to the stadium and was soon enough met with this view:

It was nice to be finished.

Race Review:

Next year:

There's not a lot but a couple of points I think the race organizers should consider:

1) Get the city to make it easier to get into town. I left 90 minutes before my start time which would have been more than enough had I not hit the traffic snafu right after getting into town. A cop at the intersection actively metering the traffic flow would have saved a lot of time and congestion.

2) Timing based on a tag on your shoe is better than none at all:

but with the ability to put the chip on the bib, this is probably something that needs to be done away with.

The Good:

Course support: Despite being very late, the security guards that maintain each section let me through. It would have accomplished nothing to make me wait for the next group. Common sense prevailed and they let me through.

Post Race: Every year, I get a new lunch bag with lots of good stuff in it. Here's the bags waiting for the finishers:

Finish: It's always cool to run in a stadium, but more so when it's the stadium of your alma matter. Granted, the CU Football team has not been very impressive lately, but it's still a great way to cap your race.

My 11 year old niece ran her first BolderBoulder today. I have not had a chance to talk to her yet, but I'm guessing she liked the finish too!

Even when the race feels a little tougher, it's still the best place to be on Memorial Day.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the week ahead!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Another Summer on The Water

Many of my favorite memories from last summer are not about a particular race but about the time I spent at Grant Ranch on the west side of Denver. This is the location where Mile High Multisport hosts open water swimming at different times and days throughout the week.

Last year I often followed my mile or so swims with runs ranging from 6 - 10 miles and I always felt a profound sense of accomplishment afterward.

However, this is Colorado and so after Labor Day, the open water season ends for most of us and it's back to the pool. The Parker Rec Center has been my only swim venue for the last 8 months or so but that all ended last weekend when MHM's open water program started. For me, that didn't matter since I was swimming and running at the Summer Open Sprint. But on Saturday morning, I had the benefit of my first open, open-water swim. No starting gun. No washing machine start. No group grope. Just me, the lake and the buoy off in the distance.

Unlike the venue for last week's event, Union Reservoir, the lake at Grant Ranch (which is designated Bowles Reservoir #1--I have no idea where #2 is) was a few degrees colder and I did notice as I full submerged. The usual shock of cold water hit me but also passed very quickly. Soon enough I was gliding through the water.

The parking lot was full and there were a number of people standing on the shore either having just completed or about to start their swim. Despite that, I encountered only four people--all of whom I passed.

As you can see, the lake is not as big as its neighbor to the north, but still large enough to swim over a mile well within its confines.

There was no time today for a run afterward and besides, the BolderBoulder is tomorrow. My sore legs could use the rest. But I'm happy at the prospect of getting to do some afternoon swims this year as well. MHM is opening those up for the first time this year. Even better, they are opening them up next week so I'll get a chance to swim in the open on more time before being out of town for a while.

About that....I'm still planning on posting a race report on the BolderBoulder, but then expect some posts from Europe. Sweden and Spain to be specific. But more on that later!

I'll leave you with a couple of random Grant Ranch/Bowles Reservoir shots. Thanks for reading and enjoy the rest of your long weekend!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Race Report : 2013 Summer Open Sprint Triathlon...uh...Aquathlon

It is at times like this when one asks "Why does God hate the Summer Open  Sprint so much?" Well, that's a bit over the top, but understandable all the same.

Last night I took a look at my e-mail and saw right away an "emergency" notification from the race organizers. I expected to see swim cancel along the lines of the e coli event from two years ago. In fact, it was the bike that was canceled. The bike? That's weird. I read on.

" At 10:00am this morning Highway Technologies closed all their national operations, with no fore notice to their regional offices.  Highway Technologies is responsible for all the road closures, traffic barricades, cones, etc. "

I honestly had no idea that event planners were so reliant on companies like this one. However, it does make sense. There are several sections that have to be closed off from each other, particularly on this course where riders actually go right by each other in opposite directions.

You can read more details including how it nearly caused serious problems for the Colfax Marathon in this Denver Post article.

I was a little bummed. I just had my bike in the shop last weekend for a pre-race tune up. Alas, it stayed home this morning. Not everyone did that, but more on that later.

But bike or no, there was still a race and I was going to kick-off my season one way or another.

Like every other race morning, this one started early and I was on my way to Longmont. Unlike last year, I had good weather going for me. I made good time and was actually able to park in the lot next to transition. This would result in having to wait a little longer to leave, but it was nice to be near the car for purposes of dropping of my swag, etc.

Placid, clear and warm water awaited.

Pre-race announcements said it was 70*. That's pretty amazing considering it snowed in Colorado just a couple of weeks ago. However, I was not complaining. Even 70* feels pretty cold when you're used to warmer pool water.

Transition was wide open. Bikes aren't big, but bikes and racks to together take up a lot of space and you don't appreciate that until you've seen a TA without them:

If you take a look the left center of the picture above, you'll see a bike. Yep. It was not the only one on site though it appeared to be the only one in transition. I suppose some folks completely missed the cancellation story (though you kind of had to try to do that) but even if it did end up on the back of your car, why bring it into transition.

I've seen this phenomenon at other Aquathlon events. Someone brings their $4000+ TT bike to the event and locks it up to a railing. That's right, they risk theft or damage so that a bunch of strangers can admire their wheels. Much as I wish it weren't true, this sport has an inordinate number of douche bags.

Prior to the start, I managed to get a short warm-up swim. Nothing to fantastic, just a chance to see what 70* felt like. Know what, it's colder than you might think. It's not bad, but I did huff and puff just a little bit as it flowed down the back of my suit. Fortunately, I was warm and then I got to experience the fast feeling of swimming in a wetsuit. As I swam away from shore, I noticed how clear the water was. Like Aurora reservoir clear. No doubt that will change over the course of the summer, but it is kind of nice.The start was late but not excessively so.

Due to the bike cancellation of the bike, the organizers at Without Limits added a long-course option that would consist of a 1 mile swim and a 10K. I was not interested. For starters, the second lap involved a long run along the beach ala Stroke and Stride or Aquaman style. Additionally, I did not feel up to a 10K today. I don't have my first Oly for over a month. One thing at a time, I say!

At most races, I have to wait to start. Not today. Short course men were all going out at the same time. There were a lot of us. I mean an awful lot. Taking a page from my brother's strategy book I sought to stay to the outside and angle toward the far buoy rather than swim right along the line. A little experimenting with Google Sketch-Up confirms that even if you move 25 feet to the outside the total distance you swim is still less than foot. Unfortunately, a lot of other folks had the same idea and I ended up in the usual washing machine-group grope that is an open water swim start.

It was okay, though. I managed to clear through the worst of it fairly soon and then only found a little bunching around the buoys. Despite having not done anything in open water in something over eight months, I was sighting fairly well. A little hypoxia hit me at about 125 meters but I just focused on my rhythm and my breathing and soon it passed. Overall, the swim went pretty well.

I hit the carpeted exit and was soon jogging out back to transition. The run to my spot ended up being around 0.10 mile and in bare feet I felt okay about doing it at just over 10:00 pace. I struggle a little getting out of the suit, but not very much. T1 ended up being 2:39 which was faster than a year ago.

The run was underway and there is no question that I'm slower than I was a year ago. But I was moving at a decent sub 9:00 pace and feeling okay. Around 0.6 mile my right leg (the hurt one) started giving me a lot of trouble. I was proceeding with a fairly pronounced limp. I shortened my stride and slowed up for a beat. That worked because the pain faded and soon I was moving again at my normal pace.

As expected, I slowed some on the big hill that takes you to the first mile. Even so, the first mile was 8:47. Now I got to enjoy a downhill to the turn around. That helped because my second mile was 8:26. The pain returned again at the bottom of the big hill but, again, my technique of shortening and slowing helped. I'm pretty sure this is IT Band syndrome. The sharpness of the pain and the fact that it passes so quickly are pretty consistent with past bouts. It means I'll have to do some exercises over the next few weeks to strengthen my glutes and ease the strain on the band.

From a cardio stand point, I felt pretty good for the whole race. My biggest concern was I hit the last stretch  was that I'd feel that same pain and have an ugly finish. But I didn't. I had a nice sprint into the end. There were a couple of people ahead of me that I probably could have caught and passed. But that's kind of douchey. Apparently the woman who went past me in the final 15 yards didn't think so. Did I mention that tis sport has an inordinate number of douche bags?

In any case, here's the run:

I felt fine as I completed the race. Actually, I felt too good. I don't really think I left anything on the course (and my aching IT Band made sure that I took it easy on that front), but I really missed something not getting to ride.  It's not the fault of anyone at the race but it still sucks.

The Review

Next Time:

It seems like a race that can make it to it's sixth year has some competent people behind it. That's certainly the case with the Without Limits crew. There's no significant criticism I can offer. They've just about perfectly dialed this one in. From a purely nit-picky stand point, I would suggest that anything that can be done to reduce the amount of beach running on a two lap-swim is a good idea, but I didn't do the two lap, so that criticism has to be taken with a pretty big grain of salt.

The Colorado Marathon did a really cool thing this year in hiring a photography company that was selling electronic copies of pictures for $0.99 each. At a smaller event like this one, I can see how that cost might go up, but I'd probably pay up to $5 for a decent picture. As for the $15 or so most companies charge, no thanks. The race organizers might want to consider a new company for that or seeking a crowd sourcing option like the one DC Rainmaker notes here. At the end of the day, however, the photography company is a non-factor in whether or not to run a race.

The Good:

Cost: I registered a little later this year, but an early registrant can do this thing for something like $80 including the $4 charge to do race-day pick-up. The big boys (WTC, et al) are charging some pretty serious scratch just for their shorter races. I'm encouraged to see a scrappy company like Without Limits being so competitive.

Venue: I called this out in my report last year as well, but this is a really good spot for a race. That's true for racers and spectators who can watch the swim from the berm above the beach and see runners at multiple locations. The bike course is away from the main staging and transition areas, but that's true of most races.

Logistics: These were really good. Facebook, Twitter and of course, their own website, had full details about the unfortunate bike situation. That was in addition to the e-mail. When I arrived, they had figured out their route for the long course and proceeded without missing a beat. My packet was ready to go, my timing chip was waiting for me and indicating my course preference was as easy as me telling a volunteer and him making a note of it. The official results were accurate for me.

I don't have a long laundry list of all that is right with this race, but it just is. The title is Summer Open and I can't think of a better way to kick off the tri-season other than going out of state. One of these years, though, I'm going to swim, bike and run at this event and do it all under warm sunny skies!

Thanks for reading and enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Race Report: 2013 Colorado Marathon

Setting low expectations is, in general, not a particularly good idea. I’m a firm believer that stretch goals push one to closer to reaching their full potential and that as much as possible, a goal should be near the edge of what one thinks one can accomplish.

My plans for this year’s Colorado Marathon, however, were a notable exception to this philosophy. Had I not injured myself back in January, and had that injury not lingered for several weeks to follow, I might be writing a much different report today.

But those things did happen and I had to adjust my expectations accordingly. In 2006 as I prepared for the Rock-N-Roll San Diego Marathon, I had racked up about 430 running miles of training. This year, going back to October, I had only hit 297 miles and there was a large gap the covered around four and half weeks with absolutely no running at all.

With that as my backdrop, I was actually considering dropping out of the race or perhaps changing my distance to the half marathon. This somewhat pessimistic post more or less conceded that I would not be doing 26.2. But, as I have documented extensively since, I had an epiphany of sorts when I determined that I could still walk a great deal of the race and finish with a reasonable time.

All of this lead me to hope for a time of around 5:03 which would be only a tad slower than my 2006 time.

The rest of this story begins at 3:00 am on Sunday morning. Yes, you did read that correctly: I said 3:00 am. I had to be up that early because busses taking racers from downtown Fort Collins to the starting line in the Poudre Canyon started leaving at 4:00. Given the time I needed to dress, eat something and then drive from my parents’ home in Greeley, 3:00 was about the latest I could get up. Ending the day with a DNF because I could not finish the race is one thing; having a DNS because I MISSED THE BUS was completely unacceptable.

Despite the early hour, I felt reasonably well-rested. I had forced myself out of bed at 6:00am on Saturday just to make sure that getting to sleep that evening would be easier and it worked. I was asleep by 9:00 that night. Six hours is not a lot, but it was enough.

Upon arriving at the downtown city parking garage, I encountered more charter busses than I’ve ever seen in one spot. They were scattered about all over, on adjacent blocks, in front the main municipal building, you name the spot, and there was a bus. When I say charter, I do mean charter, not a fleet of school busses. These were the real deal, luxury coaches with soft seats and plenty of leg room. I ended up riding with a guy named Brian who was clearly in class well above mine. He discussed ambitions to Boston-Qualify and was planning to use this race as a recon in case he decides to commit to that goal. That makes sense because according to their own website, the Colorado Marathon has about 20% of its finishers reach the BQ standard.
Of course, I had no such ambitions, but I enjoyed our ride up the canyon and we had a good chat trading marathon war stories. Runners, I find, are generally a congenial group of people. If this had been cyclists…weeellll….

Getting to the bus departure early gave me peace of mind. But it also meant that I was dropped off at the Stevens Gulch picnic area at 5:00, a full ninety minutes before the start. And it was dark and cold. This shot is shortly after I arrived. That’s a crescent moon near the center. It was really that dark up there.

Another benefit of arriving early (I was on the third bus to arrive) was no line for the porta-potties. That turned out to be a huge benefit because as more and more busses arrived, the line got longer and longer. Typical of any race, there were people still there when the gun went off.

Of course, the sun did rise and with about 20 minutes to go until the start, I handed in my gear bag with the clothing and other items I did not plan to have with me on the run.

Given how cold it was and my desire to have a handy place for my phone and nutrition, I opted to keep my running jacket on. Besides, it was still cold (low 40* range I would guess) and I wanted to keep my upper body warm. A single UPS truck was assigned to the task. I would not have thought that would be enough (there were 1700 people registered for the full) but it was. A gear check is really essential in any long race, especially when the temperatures are low and you need to keep warm clothing with you as long as possible. Tasking a shipping company like UPS or FedEx with this task just makes sense.

I hate waiting around before a race as much as anyone, but even in the chilly air, this hour and a half seemed to go by fairly quickly. There was minimal fanfare at the start and before long, we were underway. This is what it looks like when 1700 people start a race in the Poudre Canyon:

I positioned myself between the 5:00 and 5:15 pace groups. I figured that was about where I belonged.

There was the usual slow moving pack as people got up to the line before they began running, but I did not mind. There were 26.2 miles ahead of me and a few seconds really were not going to matter.

This race used bib-based timing tags and I have to say it was a nice change from having to attach a chip to my shoe and worry about it falling off. I predict that more and more running races will continue to adopt this technology. Tri’s are another story. You really can’t swim with a bib on!

I was a little slower than I planned during my first couple of miles, but I attributed that mostly to being a in a pack. As it thinned out, I started running a little under 10:00 pace. The first aid station is at this iconic tunnel. We were about 2.5 miles in now:

These shots are a bit on the blurry side, but I was not yet at a walk break and I wanted to stay as true to my race plan as possible.

I grabbed a cup and kept on moving en route to my first walking stop after four miles. When I reached it, I thought about going on to five, but I decided I needed to stick with my plan. There were over 22 miles to go and my long runs from training informed me that I was going to be very sore and tired before this was all over.

So walk I did and I seemed to be about the only one. People passed me frequently but I gave it no thought. I was still moving.

When I reached the five mile mark, I was moving again and the next four miles were much like the first four. I felt a bit tired at this point, but basically pretty good. Going down hill but on a gentle grade is really nice. Your legs feel better and the cardio never really spikes. I stayed in my Z2 range during this entire time and even recovered into Z1 on the walk breaks.

Upon reaching the 10 mile mark it was time to run again and this was going to be my first real test. I had done a long run a couple of weeks earlier and struggled from the 10 mile mark onward. This was, in large part, due to the fact that I was running up hill. My home in Parker sits at over 6000 feet, higher than most of the town so I almost always end up running up hill to go home. Now I was going down and it was actually going well. While my plan called for a pace of about 10:30 through these miles, I ran under 10 on each of them.

The scenery, as it always is in the Poudre, was great. No industrial parks, Section 8 housing projects or blighted land on this course. Nope. Most of it looked like this:

Peaceful and serene. There were a few cars going up and down the canyon and a few cases where one lane of traffic had to yield to the other, but it actually was going smoothly and no one honked in anger, made obscene gestures or otherwise behaved like a jackass. The State Patrol was also running a couple of motorcycles up and down the highway and signaling runners to stay to the left of the cones that were placed at about halfway through the uphill lane.

The biggest problem I had through this stretch was the banked curvature. For any readers not familiar with canyon roads, they are built with a bank on steep curves. It’s not as dramatic as what you might find on a NASCAR track, but the same principal applies. It’s not the kind of thing you notice when driving, but you definitely feel yourself running at weird angles. Fortunately, as the curve begins to straighten out, the bank eases back to flat as well.

Shortly after the picture above, I reached the mouth of the canyon. It was now a couple of miles beyond the half way point. The final stages of the race were in sight and I was happy about this:

As you can see, I’m still wearing my jacket. It was still cool and now a breeze was blowing. Given that I was also walking some, it made sense to keep it on and stay warm.

The last section of the course that follows Colorado Highway 14 is a straight and mostly flat section that eventually intersects with US 287. I say mostly because there is a gradual hill on the last mile or so of 14. Along here, I did manage to see my dad who was volunteering for the race as one of the communication coordinators (he’s a Ham Radio operator). That was necessary because most of the canyon does not have cell phone service.

The climb out of Highway 14 continued as I headed south on 287 before finally flattening out. It had been 3 miles since my last walk break, but I decided to take one here. The climbs as well as the overall distance were taking their toll. What’s more, the next 1.2 miles or saw would see the biggest hill on the course. Known as Bagel hill for a guy who used to hand them out to runner, this one is about a 2.5% grade for half a mile. It’s also at mile 19 near the traditional “wall” for marathoners. I saw no need to burn myself out running up this one so I walked it until I had clearly reached the crest and then enjoyed an easy run down the back side, headed toward the town of Laporte.

Now I did two more miles before the next walk break. Running was getting harder and harder. I tried not to look at the distance on my Garmin, but it sure did seem to take a long time to reach the mile markers. Right around the start of mile 22, you are off the road for the duration of the race and on the Poudre River Trail which is an extensive bike path.

A short while after joining the path, you are on the same stretch of path used by the Horsetooth Half Marathon. The last time I was on this stretch, I was suffering the results of the first 9 miles of that race. While I was certainly in even more pain now, my outlook was better. It was clear that I was within striking distance of my PR. The faster than expected times in the early miles plus my first two walk breaks being about 90 seconds ahead on each, put me in far better shape than I expected.

This bridge (the picture is only part of it) is another scenic icon of the race. However, it bounces so if your rhythm is not in sink with the bounce, you could end up coming down kind of hard. I walked it and was happier for it.

I ran mile 23 but that would be my last full mile of running. I reached mile 24 and walked for a half, then ran the second half. Then I ran from 25 to 25.5. Now I was within striking distance and I liked the time I was seeing on my watch. I knew I would hit the sub 5:00 mark and I didn’t much care how far below that I went. I also had about 0.35 miles of drift between my watch and the course markers. Around 25.8, I started running again. The path runs directly to Linden Street. Make a left and you end up at the New Belgium Brewery, makers of Fat Tire along with several other fine beers. Turn right and you’re headed toward Old Town Fort Collins which is their downtown, pedestrian mall area.

This last stretch was further than I thought it was going to be but off in the distance I could see the blue finish arch. This is the point in the race where the sore muscles and exhausted cardio-vascular system are overwhelmed by the momentum and the desire to finish. Along orange crowd-control fences were throngs of spectators (even at this late stage of the race) all cheering. I stepped over a timing sensor and moments later the MC was announcing my name and home town and encouraging everyone to cheer me on—which they did enthusiastically. Everyone deserves such an ovation after completing such a task. My time across the line was 4:55:48. That was a PR by more than 5 minutes!

My Highlights and Low Lights

With a finishing time that was a PR, I was delighted. Scarcely more than a month earlier, I had resigned myself to not doing this one, only to not only finish, but beat the time I ran seven years earlier. I also stayed true to my plan except when exceeding it. Better still, the injury that prohibited so much of my training was hardly noticed. I felt a little pain early on but most of what I feel today is the normal sore muscles and ligaments that follow running so far for so long. The only low light was the fact that had I been able to train the way I intended, I think I could have cracked 4:30. I’m not dwelling on that, however.

The Race Review:

Next Time
Start Area Wait. I hate to offer a criticism when I don’t have a clear solution, but the start is a little problematic. I love that you get to run down the Poudre and the Stevens Gulch area is more than able to accommodate everyone. However, it if had been wet or windy, a mere annoyance could have resulted in people suffering hypothermia before the race even started. Perhaps the organizers already have a contingency for this. Perhaps not. Either way, they should.

Porta-Potties. You really can never have enough. Though the start area had something on the order of 25-30 units, that number probably should be increased by 10 or so. Making people wait in the line for 30 minutes or more is never a good experience. I was spared, but only because I arrived so early.

Course Maps. Like other events, the organizers should make use of one of the various online mapping tools out there. The fairly crude and basic map that is on the website gets the general idea across, but there are so many other, more detailed options available.

The Good.
There’s a lot more right with this race than wrong. Like other events that have been going on for several years, the collective knowledge that follows makes the experience good for everyone.

Course. Fantastic. Beautiful scenery from start to finish. Every mile was marked with a big banner and there were no confusing turns or twists. Anyone who is doing their first marathon should think about this one because the course is so forgiving.

Support. This was really well done. Porting bags from the start to the finish was easily accomplished with a bib tear-tag and a zip tie. UPS knows how to move things from one place to another and I had no problem getting my bag after the finish. Aid stations were adequately stocked with water and Gu Brew (as well as Gu gel at a few) and volunteers were standing with multiple cups to hand off. I ran through all of the stations with no problem.

Volunteers. They are the backbone of any event and these were world-class. My dad (a multi-year volunteer himself) noted that the people who do this event are always excited to come back. Whenever you run a race, thank a volunteer. They’re awesome and we’d all be resigned to training runs without races were it not for them.

Results.  Timberline Timing handles this race and they just seem to keep getting better. The decision to use bib-based timing is a good one. In addition, the finish area had a tent with laptops available for folks to look up their times. They even put visors over the screens since some of them were facing the sun. A couple hours after finishing, I got an e-mail with my complete results. This is all really fantastic. Why more races can’t execute on this critical function is a mystery to me.

Finishers Medal. Since this is the Colorado marathon, it seems only fitting that the strap is a series of state flags. The medal itself is a big sucker, far more than some of tiny little spoon-sized hardware I’ve seen from other races.

Post Race. The Old Town area is a really good place for all of this. Soon after leaving the immediate finish line area, I arrived at a tent set up by Whole Foods where volunteers were serving steel-cut oatmeal garnished with almond milk, brown sugar and berries. It really hit the spot and was far more palatable than some post-race fare like burritos which are probably too much for a sensitive stomach. After enjoying my oatmeal, I headed into a beer garden area for another reward:

Back at my parents’ house, my dad asked if I would do this one again. At the time, moving much of any direction was causing me a lot of pain. It’s hard to think about next year when this year was so hard. However, if I can train without hurting myself, I’d like to go back and get that 4:30 time. To be sure, that is a stretch goal as well. In time, I’ll know if this is something I’m going to do again.

For now, the focus goes entirely back to triathlons. In less than two weeks, I kick off that season with the Summer Open Sprint. I've been neglecting the bike and the swim a little more than I would have preferred but hopefully they’ll come back in good form.

Three weeks from today is the BolderBoulder which ought to feel like a casual stroll with my dog after yesterday’s events. That said, I’ll be running harder and there will be no walk break after four miles. I doubt I’ll beat last year’s time, but then again, I didn't even think I would start the marathon.

Thanks for reading such a long report (hey it was a marathon after all) and have a great week ahead!