Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Vacation post Ironman

It's always fun to spend a few days on the back end of an Ironman, or any big race for that matter exploring the we did just that!

We went to a Rockies Game!
They lost, but that's ok. Saw some batting practice, checked out the row of seats 1-mile high, made the jumbo-tron, had drinks at the tavern, watched some Olympics at the Restaurant and saw a beautiful sunset!

Touring the Broncos Stadium
Never something I would have said, hey, let's do this, but it was actually super fun! Really interesting, especially if you are a Broncos fan. The Colorado Sports Hall of Fame is there too...definitely worth checking out, I highly recommend it!

I've been through and around Seattle a whole bunch of times, but never had the opportunity to spend actual time in Seattle City Center. Scott got us a CityPass and we had a 12-hour layover on our way back home...perfect time to explore! We went to the Space Needle, Public Market and had all sorts of delicious food, EMP, Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum (definitely worth the $$ and time!!) and Etta's for lunch (thanks Casey for the recommendation!). 

and now we're back home and back in the swing of things. Happy Wednesday!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Ironman Boulder 2016....Anything is Possible

In case your Facebook hasn't been blown up enough over the past week from our incessant posts, facebook live videos and some post race vacationing, here's one more. I have to do a post race recap from my first Ironman WIN! 
The short of it is this....three words, one for each discipline, and if you want to read the nitty gritty, by all means, keep reading...
The swim...weeds
The run....uncomfortable
The morning starts off like any other race morning, very little sleep and an early wake up. This might have been the first big race that I've actually been able to get down breakfast without gagging and force-feeding myself. Win #1 of the day. My mom wasn't there to braid my hair, but thankfully Grant and Nikki to the rescue.
Logistics with this course are a bit difficult. No one is allowed to drive to the reservoir on race morning so that means all 1700+ athletes, families, spectators, EVERYONE had to shuttle out to the race start. 
Pre race, I was actually quite calm....Scott, Grant and Kirk might have another thing to say about that. Don't get me wrong, I was nervous, but nerves are good and compared to past races I knew I'd done everything I could to get me to this point and my only job now was to go out there, race, have fun and do what I've been training for.
The rolling swim start...why oh why can't we just have mass start swims again!? In retrospect, this wasn't HORRIBLE, it wasn't IDEAL, but it wasn't the worst way to start a swim, only downside I can see is not knowing about what or who is behind you. But I guess when racing you shouldn't concern yourself with that; do what you can do for you and don't worry about others. Anyways. I lined myself up in the "Less than 1 hour" group and this might have been another first....I got zero comments from AG men about me being up in front. Win #2. (That picture is NOT when the race started, thankfully, I was able to weasel my way up to the front of the line before the gun went off). 
The gun went off and we ran maybe 5 steps and were off swimming. The swim course goes like swim out for a long time, make a left turn, swim across the reservoir for another long time through a sea of weeds and algae, make a final left turn and head back to shore for the last long time (*can you tell I thought the swim felt long? It wasn't, it just felt that way to me). Super easy sighting and calm, cool water, just not as clear at the Pacific! The swim broke up pretty quickly and right away I found myself swimming with 3 men, away from the masses. The four of us swam together for the majority of the race until the lead man took off, I tired to go with him, but kept getting blocked, or at least I felt like I couldn't get around the other two men in front of me, I don't think it was their intention, but every time I zigged, they zagged and I couldn't make the break (thanks for not being an agro, angry AG man when you couldn't shake me Conrad!). At this point, I knew we had a sizable gap on the rest of the group so I just settled in, no need to get frustrated and waste energy to make up less than 60 seconds to the lead man. It was really nice to have the paddle boarders right up ahead to make sighting easy peasy! The rest of the swim was uneventful and I made it FOTW female and fourth overall. 

*Side note to race directors....if the turn buoys are RED, please don't let you lead paddle board escort use a paddle with a RED blade because every time you sight, you think you are almost at the turn buoy, but you aren't! Maybe that's why the swim felt long! 
I think now is the right time to say thanks (and thanks is not enough) to the best sherpas and cheerleaders a girl could ask for! These 4 were all over the course ALLDAYLONG. I never knew when they were going to pop up and that certainly kept me moving forward! And not just these 4...Nikki and Joe came down, over, across? from Fort Collins to be there for the day and there were countless others cheering from back home on Oahu and the mainland, so thanks! I heard you guys ALLDAYLONG and couldn't have done this without all of you! 

Out of the water and onto the bike. I knew the bike was going to be fast, but just how fast I wasn't really sure. The bike was a multi loop course, basically 1 mini loop that was about 24ish miles and then two bigger loops that worked out to be about 45 miles each and then finishing in downtown Boulder at the HS. The bike course is beautiful. Clear, 90% smooth roads, well marked, very little traffic and did I say beautiful? 
I had a plan and the goal was to stick to it no matter what. Stay consistent and strong for the first 3.5-4 hours then start building for the remainder of the ride and into the run. I was passed by one of the girls somewhere between mile 20-30 and I just let her go, I wanted to go with her, but I had a plan and someone blasting past wasn't going to change that and for a split second, I thought, go! because I could have, but I stuck with my plan and kept telling myself, it's a long day, anything is possible and you know what,? and it ended up paying off in the long run (ride). I re-passed her again on climb around mile 80 and was able to finish the ride still in the lead. 
I saw my support crew maybe 10 times throughout the ride and to be honest, I have zero idea how they were able to sneak attack and find me all those times, but seeing them was a boost of energy and adrenaline that was much appreciated and needed! 

So off of the bike we had to run probably 2 miles to get through transition and into the change tent (not really 2 miles, but it was a looooooooog way!).

I don't have a ton to say about the run (but you'll get some running commentary of what was going on in my head throughout the run) and I'm sure if you've made it this far you are probably getting bored already because no bike pictures (problem solved...I ordered them and just updated)! So here's one to break it up a little bit....
The run....the run was tough, but what Ironman run is easy. It was completely on Boulder Creek trail, a beautiful path that is closed from traffic, protected and somewhat sheltered that you can walk, run and ride bikes on, however, the entire run was on concrete path. If you've never run on concrete path, it's hard and unforgiving on the body. 

For me, the run did not start out feeling great, but it usually takes me a bit to get my run legs after the bike. I started running and instantly tight, burning quads, 
"oh well, it's the beginning of the run, it'll go away, ok it's been 3 miles, it should be getting better soon, nope, ok a mile or so more and I'll be good to go and can really start running, I want to run smooth and fast, I can run smooth and fast and comfortable, oh there's Scott and Grant and Kirk I better keep running, they've been out here ALLDAY and look how excited and happy they are, keep going don't stop, what is that beeping I hear, it's not my watch, it keeps beeping and it's kind of obnoxious, mile 6-7ish and one of the first u-turns, oh there's the beep, there's a bike following me and she has a walkie-talkie, glad I noticed that for the past 45 minutes, there's a bike following me,?! oh boy, and it says 1st place female on the bike, I better keep running, there's Kirk again yelling and screaming, and now Scott, motivating me like crazy, ok, ok, keep going, keep running, beep, beep, mile 8 aid station up ahead, I need to walk through this aid station get some ice, shove it down my pants and then my legs will feel great and I can run the rest of this marathon, run again, wow, now it's even worse, ok reassess, beep, beep, marathons aren't supposed to be easy, they especially aren't easy at the end of an ironman, suck it up, there's magic in misery, keep going, there's still a bike 
behind you and every time you run through the crowd everyone is so happy and excited, smile it'll be easier if you just smile, aid station, walk, ice, water, coke, ice, run again, beep, beep, just keep moving forward, you have to keep running you never know when Scott and Co. will pop up and you can't be walking when you see them, this hurts so much, smile, breathe, keep moving forward, you are over half way, now you really can't stop, just walk quickly through aid stations and get back to running as much as it hurts, you'll be more upset if you stop now, it's just a little pain, haha, a little, oh look, it's Nikki and Joe and Scott, they are so encouraging and I'm such a jerk for not even being able to acknowledge them, and they have some seriously bad math skills, because the splits they are giving me are way off, I know I'm not great at math, but I'm pretty sure they are lying to me (they weren't, I couldn't do math), beep, beep, keep moving 10k to go, you can run a 10k any day, why is this so difficult, I'm not even running that fast, don't walk, don't walk, aid station walk fast run again, nope, walk, what are you doing, why are you walking!? run again! just keep going you are almost there, almost, and out pops, beep, beep, 
Roberto, he can't do math either :-) (turns out I can't do math when racing), oh there's Scott again, good thing I'm still running, magic in misery, magic in misery, ok 5k left only one more uphill then we are home free, oh man, this is taking FOREVER, this hill is like everest, finally to the top, turn around, 2 miles left, bike still with me now she says you're almost there, finally! downhill, almost there, this might be the longest 2 miles of my life. Scott again! he says I'm almost there and he'll see me at the finish! the finish can't come soon enough, 1 mile left, if I can run this in less than 8:30, I 
think I can break 10 hours, what?! how is that possible, this hurts, I just need to get to the finish, less than 1 mile to go, just keep going, this hurts oh so much, magic in misery, anything is possible, breathe, why does this hurt so much, you're almost there, bike lady says, the chute is up ahead she's going to turn away now, I made it to the finishers chute, is this really happening, am I really about to win my first Ironman?! I think I am, ok, pull yourself together, zip your jersey, take off your glasses, you made it, this was the hardest run you've ever done and you're almost done, high five every little kid in the chute and take it all in. Finally Mike Riley says, From Kaneohe, Hawaii, you're first women's finisher Lectie Altman!"
 That was a really tough marathon at the end of the day and the only thing I have to say to people out there is just keep moving forward, you never know what's going to happen and if you aren't hurt or injured, it's just pain and that's temporary. 
I couldn't be more happy with how the day went, the run was tough, but I got it done and I just want to say a huge thanks to everyone that helped us get our first win! To Raul and the BOCA family, I can't thank you guys enough, Scott, you are the best sherpa, supporter, helper, boyfriend, get me whatever I need before my race a girl could ask for, The Johnson's for being great hosts, we miss you in Hawaii, ColoRADo is lucky to have you, Nikki and Joe, thanks for volunteering and coming out to support me, Roberto, thanks for the pre-race bike course recon, Mom and Pop, best parents a girl could ask for, Michelle and Gary for always being willing to come out to ride or run with me regardless the distance/set, UH masters swimming, Kaneohe swim crew. ROKA for the fastest wet suits and best swim equipment on the market hands down, thank you, Planet Sun Hawaii, keeping my skin protected all day long, BioAstin Hawaii for helping me recover faster so I can train harder and anyone that was out there yelling cheers of encouragement along the way, thanks!!!   
Congrats to everyone that raced last Sunday and see you in KONA!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

KPAL Hammerhead Sprint Triathlon

I was fortunate enough to be invited over to Kauai, by my friends Mei and Thad (and Lisa, race director) to participate in the inaugural KPAL Hammerhead Sprint Triathlon (a fundraiser for the Kauai Police Activities League). First and foremost, thanks, what a weekend!!
If you get the chance next year to head over to the Garden Isle, plan it around the KPAL triathlon, you won't be disappointed. A super fun, local, low-key, grass-rootsy, everyone supporting one another kind of race. Not so bad, in my opinion.

So here's a brief overview of the race.....

Swim....the swim was about a 500 meter swim in Kalapaki Bay. Not the most beautiful, crystal clear water you get in Hawaii, but ocean swimming is almost always a good time. It was a short and sweet swim, very protected, mellow surf, with plenty of water support. Perfect for first time ocean swimmers.
Bike...the bike was just over a 14-mile, 3-loop ride starting at Kalapaki Beach, heading up Kalapaki Circle aka Ho'Olaulea Way and turning onto the Kapule Highway. Once on the highway we completed three laps from the North end of Vidinha Soccer Fields to the junction of Kapule and Kuhio Highways and ended back at the Stadium.

3 loops in 14-miles, you would think a road bike would be the best option, but think again, it's not as technical as it sounds, only one U-turn (that you have to do three times), but other than that, there's plenty of time to get down in your aero bars and hammer! The ride starts out with a fairly steep incline to get out of the Kauai Marriott Resort and then it appears as if it would be a pretty flat ride afterwards, but you get a nice false flat for part of each of the three loops once you are out on the highway. Another important thing to note is that the highway was COMPLETELY closed to traffic, so all 4 lanes were available for us riders, super safe, fun, fast ride!  

Run...the run was about a 5k. It started at Vidinha Stadium, we did a short out and back on the Kapule Highway then down Kalapaki Circle/Ho'Olaulea Way to the Kauai Marriott Resort, back up and out and then one more out and back on the Kapule Highway, finishing back at the stadium with a partial run around the track to finish.
Once we started the run (of the triathlon), the 5k fun run was already underway so there were plenty of people out on the course directing traffic and making sure everyone knew where to go. The run was 2/3 flat with 1/3 of the run being that same portion of the bike I talked about above, getting into and out of the resort. And how fun is it to get to finish the race with a little loop around the track!?

I think the best part about the race, as is the same in most all races, for me, is getting to race in new places with other people who want to be out there, having fun, doing something we love and enjoying the day. If it's not fun, then why do it?!
I look forward to racing next year, and you should too! 

PC: Thad Bond

Here's a link to the newspaper article recapping the race