Monday, August 8, 2011

Ironman Boulder 70.3 Race Report

Race day started like every other race day: getting up at some ungodly hour (4:00 a.m.) and making it a priority to poop. The pooping did not happen as my body isn’t used to evacuating at 4:00 a.m. I am more of a 6:30 a.m. type of girl.

We got out the door by 4:30 a.m. and I felt like crying. Sometimes when my nerves are really off the charts, the only thing I can think of to do is cry (I’m such a girl). Or throw up. I didn’t do either. We got to the reservoir in darkness, pumped up tires and I carried my bike to transition (yes, I am that nervous about some errant goat-head or piece of glass messing up my day).

Transition was nuts. I set up my spot.

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I was happy and comforted to see Nora right behind me in the transition area. I managed to clean my colon in the port potty and then the volunteers got very bossy yelling at everyone to get the hell out of the transition area (about 6:30 a.m.). I ran into Stacia from Twist Yoga Wear, good to finally meet her (and she kicked some Twist Yoga wear ass by finishing in 5:17!). Also saw my friend, Dana, and blogger friend Julie.

We walked to the beach and the buoys were so far out we could barely see them. This was a one loop, 1.2 mile swim and it looked freaking far. Somehow seeing it laid out in one big lump made it look too far for me to swim even though I had done the distance in a pool countless times since April.

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We watched the pros set out, then got into the water for a 6:45 a.m. start. I put myself towards the back and side wanting to avoid dying as much as possible. I had no clue what to expect as this was my first open water tri. There were about 250 of us starting together.

I found the swim to be annoying. All of the grabbing and splashing and kicking. I would have none of people grabbing my feet and would violently shake them off. I tried to stay even with the buoys and did pretty well. I took it very easy on the swim, using it as a warm up for the day. I kept my kicking at a minimal to save my legs. Hell, I had at least 5-6 hours to go after the swim was over, so no need to go balls out.

Swim: 1.2 mile in 41:07

I peeled off my wetsuit and tried my best to dry off while getting ready to hop on the bike. I popped 3 Hammer endurolyte tabs and put on more sunscreen. It was going to be a scorcher with projected temps up to 96 degrees.  

The first 5-6 miles of the bike were relatively uphill, so it is kind of a grind. I kept a decent pace, but let my heart rate settle down. I knew I’d be out there a long time and that pacing was crucial. After about 20 minutes I started eating. I had packed my Bento Box full of Fig Newtons, Stinger gels and Stinger waffles with peanut butter (broken into pieces). I was determined to eat it all (I didn't quite succeed, but close), which would give me about 330 cals/hour and 40-50g carbs/hour. I had scotch-taped six endurolyte tabs to my bike as well. Need to get dehydrated out there.

The bike was fast. I was passed by 6 million of those intense dudes on tri bikes who have the really noisy wheels. I never felt tired on the bike, never stopped pedaling. I stayed in my aerobars 98% of the time. I was able to get comfortable and just do my thing. I was having a great time. The scenery was amazing and I felt good. At every aid station I took a new bottle of water. I knew the bike was my chance to hydrate and fuel.

On the second loop at about mile 30 I saw I sign that said, “Don’t burn up your legs, save some for the run.” This was my main concern. There are some pretty big hills on this course and I worried my legs would be burned out for the run. I tried to keep some in reserve.

About 30 minutes before the end of the bike,I stopped eating to let my stomach settle. I started mentally preparing big time for the run, remembering my strategy to go at an even pace and one that I could sustain in the heat for 13.1 miles. By this time it was really warming up into the 90s.

Bike: 56 miles in 2:53 (19.34 avg pace)

I started running and my stomach was so cramped up. Like that kind of cramping that proceeds a major explosion. Shit, I thought. SHIT! I know it was from all that food on the bike, the exertion and being bent over for so long in aero position.

I didn’ t know if I would crap myself, throw up, need to walk, cry or all of the above simultaneously. I was terrified to eat anything. The waves of intense cramping continued for about five miles. The last episode nearly brought me to my knees, but I kept running. I was scouring the landscape for somewhere to squat if need be. This was my low point of the race. Because you have to have at least one, right?

The thing about stomach cramping is that running makes it  worse and we all know that. Yet, I would not give in. I pretty much surrendered to the pain and decided I would have the rest of the day to spend on the toilet, but I needed to keep moving forward.

Then, guess what? The pain went away. Just like that. I never ate a thing during the run for fear it would return. I took a gamble by not eating, but it’s what I had to do.

I made it through loop one of the run and was feeling great. My friend, Joie, was waiting with more endurolyte tabs, cold water, sunscreen and her smiling face, which helped my mood so much.

Mile 6.5 of the run

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Here I go for loop two, then I’m done!

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Loop two was a war zone. People were grunting, moaning, walking. It was hot. As in, the kind of hot where you’d prefer to not walk to your mailbox let alone run a half marathon. I stopped each mile at the aid stations to pour ice water on my head and stuff my bra with ice. I took sponges and cooled my whole body. I drank small sips of flat coke and water. I pushed on. I passed lots of people at this point. At mile 11, I could not believe I felt as good as I did and I only had 2.1 miles to go. I did not have on a Garmin, so I had no clue about pace. I just kept moving.

As I got within a mile of the finish, I started to cry. Not an all out ugly sobbing cry (that would be stupid), just some soft tears. I had almost done it. I would do it. 15 hard weeks of dedicated training. Lots of uncertainly about my abilities.

Run: 13.1 miles in 2:00 (9:12 avg pace)

Yes, my slowest half marathon ever, but I usually don’t do those after swimming 1.2 miles and biking 56 miles. I also don’t do them when it’s freaking 95 degrees!

I crossed the finish line in 5:43. I hoped to be under 6:30 and dreamed of getting close to 6:00. I had smashed my goal. Now I need to take a class in how to not underestimate myself.

I was 18/74 in my division (40-44), 198/449 for women and 565/1327 overall.

Best part of the finish besides finishing was getting a Boulder 70.3 hat soaked in ice water. Oh, and a medal.

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Joie was waiting for me at the finish, looking like a tourist. Love her!:

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Then my mom, dad and the kids got there. Sam might get beat up for wearing those glasses:

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Surprise of surprises, my friend Clair showed up, the one who wrote me the amazing email the other day. She lives in Virginia and I knew she was out here on a family vacation. No clue she would be at the finish or that I would see her before next week. Incredible, uplifting surprise!

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I got to watch Ken finish in 6:32.

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Many of you know Ken and I have done most our training together and that this was a first half ironman for us both. So, obviously the dude in this video was not meant to represent Ken! It meant so much to see him finish so strong! I mean, we used to sit on the couch, drink Budweiser and watch Beverly Hills 90210 back in the 90s, so we've come a long way. (Although  still do those things, I just train early in the morning and sit on the couch at night).

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Whew! That was a long ass report. Almost as long as my race. And, probably kind of boring, but it’s my story and I’m proud of it. It’s one more example of how we have to set our sites HIGH and never stop believing. In the end, we are so much stronger than we think we are.

discipline + passion + no excuses = success

SUAR

PS: And huge thanks to the volunteers like Laura and Becka. You were AWESOME!

116 comments:

  1. Congrats! That is amazzzing! :)

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  2. Not boring at all! I hung on every word! You executed such a strong and smart training plan and that showed through in your race. Even the crazy hot conditions and a cramped up gut couldn't slow you down. Truly inspiring! Congratulations!!!!

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  3. Y'all are awesome! Congrats on your first (because I'm quite certain there will be more) 70.3!!!!

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  4. I am so damn proud of you! you did it- You Did It-- YOU DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOW! XO

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  5. Congratulations! That's an awesome report for an awesome race!
    I completed my first sprint tri (River Cities) in Louisiana this weekend & I was thrilled/exhausted when I crossed the finish line! The 800m swim was killer...but I did save some for the run!
    I did want to tell you that I chanted "Shut up & RUN!" to myself when I was running the hills in the final mile! Your mantra motivated me to finish strong!
    Thank you!! :-)

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  6. You kicked that TRI in the ass! You made that TRI your bitch! Enjoy! Celebrate! You DESERVE it! All your hard work paid off big time. So proud of you. Almost makes me wanna do one :)
    Jamie in Arkansas

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  7. Glad the stars (and your colon) aligned for you to crush that race like you did. Amazing stuff!

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  8. Good for you. Great job out there. The one thing I don't understand is why "Tri" season is during the hottest months of the year.

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  9. Congratulations!! I'm feeling more and more inspired to give this distance a try.... Also, I love that you and your husband did this together! My husband isn't a swimmer so I'll keep working on him to do a 1/2 or full marathon with me. :)

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  10. COngratulations, Girlie! You are an inspiration!

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  11. CONGRATULATIONS! Great race report. Hope you are totally still basking today.

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  12. Loved each and every word! Congratulations! Can't believe how hot it got and how you maintained that pace! Excellent. Now go enjoy a beer and 90210!

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  13. I loved reading every part of this report! Your pace plan and self talk were outstanding!!! It's so easy to get caught up the race rush and you remained calm and collected. So impressed!! But not surprised. You trained your ass off. Aside from the shart waves during the run, it sounds like ur first HiM was amazing!!!!! Congrats!!!!

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  14. super congrats to both of you!

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  15. wow congrats! That is amazing!!

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  16. Wow, you both kicked some MAJOR (half) ironman ass! Great job!

    And am I the only one that thinks the tri should finish with the swim? I mean, wouldn't it be great to bike, run, and THEN cool off?

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  17. SO excited read this! You are amazing! Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!

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  18. AMAZING....way to go. You even made me tear up. Just can't imagine what could be on your list next. Congratulations!!

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  19. Just the kind of inspiration I needed today. Congrats on your race!!! You know, you seem to continually surprise yourself with your results but surprise none of us.

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  20. Beth, you rocked this!!! I'm so proud of you. And way to kick the bike leg butt!! Enjoy the high, you deserve all the feel good vibes. You did it!!! So inspiring to me. Thank you!! You are amazing :)

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  21. Great job. The smartest thing you did all day was remain calm and keep steady pacing.

    WONDERFUL first 70.3 experience!!! holy crap haha.

    Keep up the awesome work and have fun on your next journey!

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  22. That is GREAT! I am even more excited to do this someday. Glad it went so well!

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  23. So fantastic! I love your long race reports because they let a newbie like me into the headspace of a dedicated athlete, and I learn so much! - thanks for that! And I never knew a person could run through those kinds of cramps - me and my G.I. tract are very glad to know that's possible!! Enjoy your rest day(s)!

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  24. WOW you are amazing! You inspire me everyday!I enjoy reading your posts every day they make me laugh, smile and I can relate to almost every thing. Put your feet up today, you DESERVE it!!!

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  25. So happy for you!! great job smashing your goal time!!

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  26. Wow, you are an inspiration, as always! Congratulations!!

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  27. I loved reading your race report. Congratulations on conquering the HIM! You ROCK!!!

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  28. "I had no clue what to expect as this was my first open water tri." Not a tri, a HALF IRONMAN! Um, simply amazing. Congratulations to you and Ken.

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  29. Great report! It's so cool that you and Ken could share the experience. Congratulations on a job well done!

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  30. SO impressive! Enjoy your success - you surely deserve it.

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  31. I will say this again! I think triathlons are your thing. To pull that bike split on your first tri is amazing!

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  32. Congratulations! This was so inspiring to read! You're awesome!

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  33. Loved the race report!!! Awesome job Beth!

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  34. Congrats on an awesome result!

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  35. Holy sh*t girl...that is awesome. Congrats!!!

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  36. Wow! congratulations!!

    And it wasn't a boring race report at all. I love race reports that make me feel like I was there.

    Nice job!!!

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  37. Way to go! You ROCKED it! I am very impressed. I did a Sprint tri at the Boulder Res earlier this year so I really enjoyed reading your race recap. Are you more inclined to do another tri now that your first went so well?

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  38. Definitely not boring - great recap and FANTASTIC race - CONGRATS!!!! Way to crush your goal time and prove you can push through it all!

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  39. CONGRATULATIONS!! What a great accomplishment and so inspiring!

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  40. Hooray Beth!!! You killed it! You really raced smart. Be proud, you absolutely did a great job.

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  41. Absolute Supehero.

    And yeah for Queef Latifah to show up for you. That is awesome.

    Great race report. I will be copying and pasting into this Saturday's post.

    And now it is time for CTER v SUAR in PR....I think it has a nice ring to it don't you? Yes, I will pressure you until you finally tell me to STFU or sign-up whichever comes first.

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  42. You are just beyond amazing on so many levels!

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  43. how awesome....HUGE congrats to you and hubs. you are amazing!!!!

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  44. What a fantastic race report. You are an inspiration to all of us that are just moving from the "sitting on the couch" phase of our lives into this incredible sport.

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  45. You both did amazing. Just the run alone would have killed me. Great job, great report! When is the next one?

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  46. AMAZING finishing time. AMAZING! Congrats to you both!

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  47. Found your blog through fellow blogger Julie (youjusthavetotri), really enjoyed it. I too did the race, it was hot, hot, hot! My recap, on www.coloradobikeaholics.com. Congrats on your first half ironman. Do you have a full in your future--or a desire for one! Rock on!

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  48. SO proud of you and a big THANK YOU for sharing your training and racing with us. Frankly, I don't always appreciate your writing style, but immensely respect you as an athlete...makes me a SUAR reader for life! Congrats, again - you really did a fine, fine, job!!

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  49. WOW - totally impressive!

    So happy for you and Ken that both of you had a great race!

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  50. Fantastic report! What do you mean boring!??! Congrats again for rocking your Ironman.

    S

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  51. Great race to you and Ken. What is you next event? From Boston to Iron-girl.....what a year!!

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  52. Way to go - smashing your time goal!

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  53. so cool Beth! you guys make a great team. Such amazing support. way to go!

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  54. "Now I need to take a class in how to not underestimate myself"...Love these words! Such a good reminder for all of us. Congratulations on an awesome race!! :)

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  55. I don't know why but that really brought tears to my eyes. What an amazing journey to follow you through. As if you need me to be proud of you, yet I am! Congrats to you and Ken. Nothing short of inspiring!

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  56. Fabulous report! What a stellar job you did in this race... both in preparation and execution. So totally happy for you :)

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  57. you are truly an inspiration!! Great job both of you!

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  58. Congratulations! You are awesome! And, not boring at all - I have been reporting your progress to my husband as if you are a long-time friend instead of someone I've never met. Great job and I hope you are still basking in the glow of it all!

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  59. Great job! I loved reading that! So inspiring!

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  60. WOW!! Congrats to both you and Ken!! Just freaking awesome!!

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  61. Well done, Beth. In the words of Winnie the Pooh..."You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think..."

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  62. Great race report! You did awesome. Way to smash your goal. You look pretty nervous in your "before" shot, it is amazing how much better you look at the end, which is not always the case out there! You looked fabulous at the end! Aren't you glad you are a runner and know how to finish a run when it is hard?

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  63. That was a fantastic race recap. I'm so excited for you. What an accomplishment. Are you going to pack in the marathons and continue with the tris? Which do you like better? YOu did so great, it had to have made you want to go back for more.

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  64. AMAZING! 45 minutes faster than you had hoped and 18th in your AG? That is insanely awesome :)

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  65. Amazing, awesome and inspiring!! Way to fight through the race and still finish in a kick-ass time!!! Way to go!

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  66. Excellent work, Beth! Congrats on an awesome day!

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  67. I am so, so happy for you, Beth! You are so very inspiring to me! Loved every word. Congratulations, my friend! (and so fun to see the pic of you and Claire! What an amazing friend she is!) xoxo

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  68. You totally rocked it!! Huge congrats to you and Ken! If you could do that in that kind of heat, I can only imagine what you could do in nicer conditions. AWESOME!! Congrats again. :)

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  69. Congrats to you and your hubs! That's so incredible... what an amazing experience. You committed and worked hard through a long training cycle and all your hard work paid off! Totally inspiring. Congrats again!

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  70. Congrats, Beth! No lessons in "underestimating self" needed, just a kickass race to prove you're capable of way more than you knew :) I can only imagine where you'll take this...

    Congrats to Ken, too!

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  71. Did I tell you yet how great you and Ken did!!! I can't wait to see where this takes you...I'm looking forward to seeing you (at least your backside off in the distance) at more races next year!

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  72. amazing job! congratulations! Also a great race report. I want to do this course one day and you definitely inspire me to be able to do it.

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  73. You did it and did it very well! Very happy for both you and Ken - congratulations on a great day!

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  74. Probably too much solid food on the bike...but way to push through it! And in 95 degree temps, no less! I hope Honu is kinder to me next year.

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  75. congrats on the PR! So will you be doing more half IM's?

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  76. Awe Beth - and Ken - I am proud of you guys, too! Write all you want...you'll want to go back and re-read this report for years to come and you'll want all those details. So so sooo very happy for you, girl!! Now let's go celebrate with a margarita...or 3!!
    xo

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  77. I'm so psyched for you!!! Congrats!! :-)

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  78. Great report and awesome job. You definitely brought it!

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  79. Congrats to you and the hubs!!! :) great great job!!

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  80. Speaking of being such a girl, your report totally brought tears to my eyes!

    YOU are amazing! YOU are an inspiration! Great job out there, you destroyed your goal, and that is freaking amazing.

    Congrats to Ken, too! What a great way to spend your time together, training for and racing such a huge event!

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  81. i can't even imagine being as much of a superstar as you two are! major MAJOR congrats!

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  82. Congrats! I was thinking of you on Sunday. We drove along Hwy 36 heading up to Estes Park and saw some of the mile markers. It was insanely hot so I was feeling for you!

    Great job on a solid finish in the insane heat!

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  83. I spent over 30 miles on the bike between 20 feet and 300 yards behind some "pace bootie in pink" that 'chicked' me during the first loop...congratulations on a great race!

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  84. So impressive!! You are an amazing athlete! :)

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  85. Your son is taller than you! Good for him.
    Oh, and good for you, very inspiring, totally made it your bitch, yaddah yaddah all that jazz. ;)

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  86. Awesome job!!!!
    Question...can you tell me where you got the pink top from? is it a tri top...for swimming too? with support?

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  87. Great Blog Thanks For All The Great Info And Keep Up All The Good Work

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  88. One of the things that really stands out to me about you is what an great example you and Ken are for your kids! They've seen the effects of perseverance and goal setting and I know they're beyond proud of both of you. They must have been the loudest cheering section out there! Way to go!

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  89. Annette: Tri top is from Sugoi. Has a built in bra, so no need for an extra one. Very comfy. I wore it for swim, bike, run. You can get it here on sale for $55. http://www.swimoutlet.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=21999&color=31217

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  90. NOT boring! It was inspiring! I couldn't wait to finish reading it! I'm amazed that you ran through all that pain in that heat!! You are amazing! Again, congrats to you and Ken! (sorry, that's a lot of exclamation points!)

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  91. Guess what! I was just reading this aloud to Ang as she makes hummus and she said, "hey! that was my first half ironman time!" How cool is that!?

    You are simply awesome. This was such a fun report to read! You kicked ass.

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  92. So proud of you. You are such a great role model! Makes my 6 mile run feel like just baby steps tomorrow. :)

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  93. Awesome job!!!! You're such an inspiriation to get out there and try something new!

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  94. Great job! I loved reading your report. No boring in there. And I do the same thing during races. If my stomach is acting up, I don't eat anything in fear of what COULD happen. And that's not even after a swim or bike ride, so amazing job! Wear your medal all week, girl!

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  95. awesome!! i got all choked up :) Congrats to you and Ken!!

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  96. Congratulations Beth and Ken...absolutely awesome job!

    Can't wait to see you guys train for Ironman next year! Yea...you know you want to. :)

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  97. Welcome to the club, Triathlete, Congrats

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  98. Woohoo!! Awesome, awesome, awesome!!! You ROCKed it! Woohoo!!!

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  99. Well done! Congrats on your huge achievement :)

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  100. You are amazing. I am so proud of you! You inspire me.

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  101. You KILLED it!! That is an amazing time for your first (for any!) HIM!!! Congrats lady :)

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  102. Thank you for your report! My husband is doing his first IM next Nov and needs a half, so your report was great! I am wrapping my season up in June with IMCDA after Boston marathon in April....so its all about him for the 2nd half 2012 - Isn't this a great sport for us 40 somethings! (Yes, I too drank wine and watched Melrose on the couch back in the day and swear Friends was my story!)

    Best wishes on your next IM season!

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  103. As I was pondering whether to sign up for the Boulder 2013 race, I did a search on reviews which led me to this amazing and detailed description of what I might encounter. It sounds incredibly tough, as do you - makes me want to challenge myself. I'm doing the Kansas 70.3, which will be my first one ever, but wanted to do another towards the fall season.

    Thank you for your eloquence and candor - helps a lot!

    Kudos to you on your courage and fortitude - hope to see you at a race someday.

    Kristin

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