Ironman Boise 28.4: Holy Iceballs

With my Vegas spot secured, I felt at ease racing Boise. Though, I wasn’t going to take this race lightly. I was going to use this race to really test myself on the bike. My coach wanted me riding 10-20 watts higher than Florida. I knew this would really push me to my limits, but I was ready to take on the challenge.

I flew into Boise Thursday evening. I ran into Klas, Alex, and, and Karl on the plane. Good times!

The AZ boys are in town!

So, there were two main reasons I was looking forward to Boise:

The “Father vs. Son” show down, Part III–

Father was victorious at our first duel, Marquee 70.3 in 2011:

FYI: Dan isn’t really my dad, but he’s definitely old enough to be!

Round 1

Son was victorious at Ironman Coeur d’Alene:

Round 2

The #1 reason I wanted to visit Boise: Linsey.

As soon as I flew into Boise, I went to Shu’s Idaho Running Company to attend the Linsey’s Meet and Creep BBQ.

The Linsey Meet and Grill

We were ecstatic to see each other.


Friday:  Kevin and I drove the bike course, checked in, and went for a quick ride and run. The weather was beautiful Friday –temperatures in the 70s and mostly clear skies. On race day, winds were expected to be 15-20 mph with a 60 percent chance of rain.  I endured some pretty bad hail, rain, and winds at Ironman Arizona 2010. I thought I was prepared for any kind of weather condition.

Course recon with Mirg

Race day: Ironman Boise is unique with its late race start. I woke up around 5:30am race morning, ate, went back to sleep, and then took my time getting ready. I left my hotel at 9:30 a.m. and arrived at Lucky Peak State Park around 10:15 a.m. By this time it was drizzling. Growing up in Seattle, I thought I was used to these conditions. I wore my Durapulse jacket over a hoodie, gloves, compression running tights, and a blanket to keep warm.

Lucky Peak on Friday – Blue skies!

Kevin’s wife dropped us off and we made a half mile trek uphill on a dirt path carrying our bikes to the transition area. Then, the conditions got increasingly worse.  The wind picked up, temperatures were in the low 40s, and the rain increased. After getting body marked and my bike set up, I still had close to 2.5 hours before my wave went off!  I didn’t start until 1 p.m!

Now, I’m the type of person who will train through just about anything.   I rarely make excuses and I consider myself a pretty tough guy.  I’m accustomed to training in 100+ degree temperatures (I actually like it) and I’ve also been in  some cold conditions. I thought I could handle anything.  Looking back, it’s this LONG wait before the race start that really took a lot out of me.

There were very few sheltered areas to keep dry. I hid underneath a tiny tree. My clothes started to get soaked. I could feel my body going numb… first my hands, then my toes and feet… then my legs. I got real cranky. I curled up in a ball and stared at the ground for an hour. They had “Wahhhmbulances” (shuttle buses) taking athletes back to the downtown area for those who decided to not compete.  I knew I wouldn’t hear the end of it if I bailed.  It was time to HTFU.  Everyone was dealing with the same weather conditions, so this was no time for excuses.

About an hour from race start, it was announced that the bike would be cut short to approximately 15 miles due to freezing rain, wind, and reports of snow on the bike course. I could hear all the disgruntled athletes around me.

Transition closed at 11:45 a.m. so I slowly made my way up to the lake. I tried giving myself many pep talks to “man up” and “stop being such a baby.”  I tried jogging, jumping up and down, yelling at myself to get pumped up, and doing pushups to get warm. Nothing worked. I was so miserable.  I ran into my friend Dusty. He was standing in the rain puddles because he thought the puddles were warmer than the concrete!

Then, I made one of the smartest moves of my triathlon career. I snuggled in a Porta John for 45 minutes for my wave to start. It allowed me recollect my thoughts, go over my race plan, eat my bagel, lube myself up with Vaseline, and warm up. Frankly, I’d sit in a warm, crap-smelling hut over being stuck in the freezing cold any day. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

I think Boise 2012 will always be remembered for athletes riding in their wetsuits.  I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw pros riding off in their wetsuits.  Hilarious (and smart).

12:45 p.m. my wave was called.  I was so happy to finally start.  I stepped in the 55 degree water and it was like a hot tub. So refreshing!  The swim was a deep water start.  I spent a couple minutes floating on my back before the start, trying to get my body accustomed to the water temperature.  Soon, I was off!

The swim was a straightforward, triangle-shaped swim.  Being the last wave, I had to deal with some major course congestion throughout the entire race.  By the time I hit the first turn, I started bumping into many of the swimmers in earlier waves.  It was the same thing I experienced in Florida- lots of contact and weaving.

I swam hard trying to keep warm.  This was PR swim for me!

Swim: 32:06, 13th AG, 119 OA

T1 (4:00): Ran up the boat launch, got stripped, then jogged to my bike.  I was shivering and could barely think straight.  I spent way too much time in transition.  First, fumbling around trying to get my damn shoes on, then being unable to get my helmet strap on, then trying get arm warmers on… all in all it was a disaster.  When it comes to weather, I need to better prepare myself for any kind of condition.  The coldness completely wiped out my mental toughness early on in the race.

The modified bike course—basically a straight shot into downtown.  It was approximately 14 miles and mostly downhill.

The first part of the course had the steepest descent.  Holy iceballs. I was so cold.  I was clenching my teeth so hard my jaw hurt the next morning! I took the bike pretty conservative because there were quite few athletes on the course and weaving in and out of them in these conditions wasn’t worth the risk.  My good buddy, Klas, took a bad spill at the start of the bike, largely in part to the wet road conditions.

I tried giving a good effort on the bike, but I was more in survival mode at this point.  I was just too cold to focus.  I had a very difficult time concentrating.  I just wanted to get to the run.

Bike time: 37:23, 16th AG, 115 OA

T2 (3:03): Put on socks, put on my shoes, grabbed my sunglasses and headband, and I was off.


Two loops on the Boise River Greenbelt:

The run was the highlight of my day.  This was probably my favorite triathlon run course to-date.  The course was incredibly scenic and the crowd support was awesome.  It took about five miles for me to feel my feet, but I was running at decent pace (6:39 min/miles).  About a mile into the run, I see Linsey about 100 yards ahead (on her final loop).  I kept her in sight for most of the first loop.  She said hi to me at the turnaround section!!! She loves me!!!

I even-paced the rest of the run.  As soon as I warmed up I got my pep back.  I was in good spirits again. My focus came back. I made several passes, but I knew my swim, transition, and bike deficits left me in too big of a hole.  I ran into Klas on the last couple miles of the course.  I give him huge props for finishing the race despite taking a bad spill early on the bike.  BAMF!

I finished strong with the cowboy hat.  Thanks Mindi for making a smooth cowboy hat pass off. I volunteer you to be my “Chloe” for my next triathlon races. 😉

Run time: 1:28:10, 11th AG, 98 OA

Huge congrats to Dan the Man for qualifying for 70.3 Worlds!  He’s an age grouper legend in Arizona.  He’s been in this sport probably longer than I’ve been alive.  He’s one of the “good guys’ in triathlon who knows everyone in our community.  We partied hard that night to celebrate.

Dan is the man!

The rest of the night consisted of lots of beer.

AZ gang in Boise!

At the end of the night, we ran into Titan of American Gladiator… and of course Dan had to have an ab showdown! Classic. Sorry, no pics. 😦

It was a fun trip!

Next up: some hardcore summer training in Arizona to get myself ready for Vegas 70.3 Worlds.

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Categories: Race Report, Races


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4 Comments on “Ironman Boise 28.4: Holy Iceballs”

  1. Sally
    June 18, 2012 at 7:23 am #

    Yikes! That sounds brutal. Glad you already earned your slot. You are having a great year!

  2. Bobby
    June 18, 2012 at 3:52 pm #

    The conditions when you crossed the finish line seemed much better than earlier, huh? By-the-way, I know that Titan guy, seriously.

    • June 21, 2012 at 10:03 am #

      Yes! The run was actually really nice!!! It cleared up quite a bit as the day progressed.


  1. Boise 70.3 – All About That Action, Boss | Elliot Kawaoka - June 13, 2014

    […] I flew into Boise Thursday night and stayed with my uncle in downtown Boise. Seeing blue skies and warmer temperatures was much more pleasant compared to my last Boise visit in 2010. […]

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