Ryan’s 2017 Boulder 70.3

What? Boulder Half Ironman
When? August 5, 2017
How far? 70.3 (ish)


| A | Top 5 Age Group |
| B | Top 50 Amateur |
| C | Sub 4:20 |


My training leading up to Boulder was a mostly consistent execution of a 16 week plan I’ve devised myself. At the beginning (about 15 and 14 weeks out) I had to travel to Anchorage to take care of some family business so I didn’t get much training done – which was OK since this was basically right after Oceanside 70.3 so the extra recovery time wasn’t all bad. The training plan is something of a DIY with big chunks of Friel’s “Your Best Triathlon” and Pfitzinger’s “Faster Road Racing” – my swim plan was basically unchanged from the book. My bike training was modified – generally, I would bike to and from work 5 days a week (about 16 miles for an hour total, per day) at a mostly easy pace. Tuesdays I would do hill repeat work (in aero!), and Saturday or Sunday I would do a long ride with 4-5 15-20 minute intervals at race effort with 5 minutes recovery. A pretty simple plan. My run plan was only slightly modified version of a half marathon training plan for higher mileage runners. The crux of this plan is you run have two longish runs per week (generally, I would run 13+ miles twice a week), in addition to doing speed work the day preceding one of the long runs. Here’s how that breaks down for the final twelve weeks of training:

7,779 yards in 2:17 per week
149 miles rode in 8:52 per week
54 miles ran in 6:56 per week

Looks like I went pretty far on an average week! My biggest regret is that I skipped a lot of swims and my volume was about half of what I would like it to be. I need to be more diligent and stop making excuses to not swim.


I stayed at an AirBNB about two miles from transition with a few Trail Dogs. This relieved a lot of the stress that race morning commuting usually brings. However, of course, there was deadlocked traffic heading to the reservoir. We saw folks in the distance (probably 3-4 miles away) get out of their cars and start running toward the race start. We’re all in this together, just be patient. We get to the race start considerably later than anticipated, but I know the race director is a reasonable person and will push the start back. We got in ahead of a lot of people so there’s no way they’re going to start the race on time. I setup transition and find Jeff, who is the club’s race bitch for the day (he did great and I’m incredibly appreciative!), dumped my clothes/etc with him. Trying to find my mom who has come up from Albuquerque is not fruitful – until about five minutes before my start. She wishes me luck and off I go. I am so grateful she could come.


Swim – felt comfortable, reasonably on track swimming straight. I’m wishing for a 32:xx swim but hopefully for a 34:xx considering how flaky I’ve been in the pool. I catch a lot of feet and stay on target pretty well so I am fairly confident I’m on track. The last quarter of the swim is a graveyard of the earlier waves. Folks are hardly making forward progress and I think back to my first race and hope they’re feeling better than I did. I feel guilty colliding with them but they seem to come out of nowhere. Headed up the dock I click lap on my watch. 35:xx. Shit. Bad. At least I’m not wiped, I have plenty of juice for the bike. I transition fast despite stumbling on my wetsuit in transition at my bike. Swim official time 35:51. T1 official time 2:02.


Bike – I mount up smoothly. Lot’s of traffic ahead of me but the lanes are wide. This is good. I can hold below race power target and go faster thanks to slipstreaming ahead. I’m passing someone every five seconds, it feels like. Pounding gatorade and gels, feeling full, but tolerable. Good. I’m planned aggressive fluid/gel intake to make sure I don’t implode on the run. I’ve planned the ride – I know what my total time needs to be at 15, 30, and 45 miles to have a top 10 bike split. at 15 and 30, i’m a minute ahead of those targets. Must be a tailwind. Around 35-40 my lower back starts to really hurt. I need a bike fit. I’ve always just kind of DIY tweaked it. I know I’m super aero but I can’t maintain it. 45 mile mark, i’m two minutes behind. Yup, favorable winds early. Back hurts. Run is soon. Just suck it up. Man this headwind sucks. Wait, I’m out of gear at 95 cadence. It’s not a headwind, i’m doing 30+ mph. Okay. Just get out there. last mile or so of the bike stuck behind two guys. That’s okay, go slow into transition, better than wiped. Huh, 54 miles. Oh well, a little short isn’t bad. T2 is fast, smooth, steady. Bike official time 2:10:57. T2 official time 1:22.


Run – Okay, time to light some people up. I had the 10th fastest AG run split at Oceanside and my running has improved since then. I start out maybe 100 yards behind the only guy that passed me on the bike. Slowly reeling him in and someone is reeling me in. They have a fan club getting good gopro footage/etc. They’re cheering him on. Fuck you Alex. Alex passes me, I hang onto his shoulder. We catch the guy that passed me on the bike. He starts to fall back, I get on Alex’s shoulder. We pass a male pro (on his second loop of course). This pace is hard. Alex doesn’t seem to be hurting at all. Fuck you Alex. We get to the second aide station and Alex slows down. I blast past him and the adrenaline makes the same pace feel easy. Fuck you Alex! Start feeling real strong. About mile 3.5 my left quad shuts down and cramps hard. The kind of cramp that made me say “I guess I’m walking 9 miles today.” Crap. Slow down for a minute, it opens up. Pain is gone. What? Build pace back up, cautiously. Okay. Back in business. The course is much busier on the second loop. I’m passing packs of people just like at Oceanside. I have to surge ahead of packs at aide stations to make sure I get fluids. Around mile eight or nine an older guy hears me coming, he yells in a snarky tone “Somebody can’t bike!”, I laugh to myself and let him have his moment. I’ll be done soon. Mile 10. 5k to go. Let er rip. Just kidding, pace has got hard, more effort just means maintenance. Picturing my mom at the finish line lightens the load. Okay. Mile twelve. Everything is about to cramp. Shoulders. Arms. Core. Steady. 500 yards to go. I see Terry Casey (local pro, my girlfriend’s coach). “COME ON TERRY, DON’T LET ME CATCH YOU” … adrenaline, time to blaze it. 5:30 pace through the chute. Run official time 1:25:46.


Finish time: 4:15:58. 3rd in my age group. 7th age grouper. (Alex beat me, guy crushed me on the swim and bike).


Meet up with mom – everyone – grateful for everyone that came to spectate and real proud of all of my friends that had great races. I need to learn to swim. I had the 18th (i think) fastest AG bike split, 4th fastest AG run split. My bike is making steady progress and I’m happy with where that’s at. With a bike fit and more steady training I will continue improving. I’ve started working with a swim coach recently so that will help immeasurably. Until now I basically learned to swim on youtube.


What’s next?

My next “A Race” is going to be California International Marathon, December 3rd! I hope to have a significant PR – my run fitness has exploded this year and I feel like I can continue to improve. My current PR is 2:57:32.


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