I sum this race up as “well executed.” The Tri the Boat 70.3 Triathlon was held at Stagecoach Reservoir just outside of Steamboat Spring, CO.
Cold swim. That is all I have to say about that. The swim always gets the best of my anxiety and discomfort. The first fast strokes in the water give my body an immediate shock of exhaustion and shortness of breath. It seems as though all my race preparation instantly flushes out of my body, and my body freezes into a rigid 6’3” ice block, succumbing to the turbulent chop of the sea. After the first 3-minutes of the half-Ironman, my mind and body find some solace in the water, and my limbs begin to function as they were moderately trained to do.
Galloping into T1 Transition, I realized how cold the water actually was, trying desperately to manipulate the sleeve of my wetsuit over my wrist watch. With my brain-frozen and seemingly gripless, mittened hands, it feels like minutes pass as my senseless fingers tug meekly at my wetsuit legs. Nevertheless, I mount my bike and look forward to warming-up and refueling during the next 2-1/2 hours.
The rolling hills of the bike course kept things interesting. I tend to prefer the two-loop course format, suspecting that my performance improves when the obstacles ahead are “known.” Also, it gives my super-fangirl-runner girfy a chance to see me multiple times out on the course. I felt fatigued as I began the second lap of the bike course, and slightly questioned my overall fitness and endurance, though, such is the beauty of endurance sport, my competitiveness took over and pushed through those negative thoughts, and I JUST KEPT CHURNING.
I was most excited for the run. In fact, I was so excited for the run, that as I exited T2 transition to the supportive shrills of my girfy, I exclaimed “JT Mother Fucker.” Little did I know, this phrase would become the defining mantra for my running, and the root of the oh-so-close-to worldwide trending hashtag: #JTMoFo. Let me explain, girfy Julia, is a super fan of power couple: Lauren Fleshman and Jesse Thomas. These two athlete entrepreneurs are our joint role models in athletics, business, and in leading a joyful life. Julia has been an adamant student of triathlon this year, and by diligently re-reading Jesse Thomas’ blog posts, she has kept me up to speed on how many PB&J rice cakes he eats, and how he routinely throws down 1:13 half marathon splits during 70.3s. This is an incredible half-marathon time, period. My exclamation was an outburst of my running prowess channeled through JT…. MoFo.
The run was no easy feat, a looping trail run around the reservoir with a few, short out and back spokes along the way. This made it easy to identify the race leaders, and eye up some ‘kills’ for intermediate rewards along the course.
As I neared the final half-mile, I was greeted by the ringing chaos from “More Cowbell Molly”, my November Project – Denver co-leader. I later learned that she rung that bell so hard, that her middle finger was bruised, scraped, and sore for the next week. One last surprise greeted me with the finish line in site: the Big Man AKA Sasquatch AKA Twig. The Steamboat Springs legend popped out of the bushes, utilizing a scare-tactic-cheerleader technique that will either fire you up or cause you to ‘go postal’ on the undercover assailant. I chose to gently smack Twig in the ribs and would finish the job on the other side of the finish line.
My superfans again, make the grueling race experience all worth it in the end. As they say in the woods if you race a 70.3 and nobody is there to cheer you on, did you really race. Just promise me water balloons next year friends, OK?