What happened in Boulder (Part 1)

Ironman Boulder was supposed to be a breakthrough race for me, the spot where I would finally get my slot to Kona and be able to race among the best in the world, plus some other people that go there by other accomplishments; racing a lot or paying a lot, anyway, still almost all of who go to Hawaii are the best in the world and I wanted to take a shot against all of them.

I went to Boulder with such great expectations, a race in altitude and with a hilly bike leg, Just like where I grew up and where I train every day, sounds like a good match. Boulder, as we all know, happens to be the home for many top triathletes and that had me excited too, to meet some of them and to see the place they all go to become the best in the world, and since in the future I want to be one of them it was exciting to see where they lived.

I arrived there with my dad and we were automatically blown away by the beauty of this place, it was just simply amazing, the city, the landscape, everything. Plus, you saw people cycling, running, walking or just doing some kind of activity wherever you looked.

Boulder

After building up my bike, which is always uncomfortable on a hotel room I was ready to hit the roads for my first training day in the course. I had to bike 1:30 with some short efforts, just a little above race pace. Once I started my ride I felt it was meant for me, the course had these false flats, some downhill and the screaming fast flats, broken up by more hills. I felt great, my power was great and I just thought to myself that I was going to nail this race.

The next few days were all about training, swimming, running and some more biking. The swim had to be in a pool since the reservoir was only opening on certain days at a certain hour, so I went to a local pool. Every day throughout the week was the discussion about the water temperature, some people said there was no way it wasn’t going to be without a wetsuit, other said it was already too hot to be wetsuit legal, and it just went back and forth, bets came in place, pros were saying one thing, other were saying other, it was just funny to hear all of this. I was just mentally prepared for anything, Personally I couldn’t care less how the swim was going to be, I had swam a lot for this race and knew I could have a good swim that was going to set me up for a killer bike leg.

As for the run, one image says more than a 1000 words…I had the honor to run in this kind of scenery

Boulder Run

The day before the race I was very lucky to meet Ben Hoffman and Tim Don, two guys that were incredibly kind a we had a really good conversation about a lot of stuff. I also got some good advice on the course, gear, goals, it was a just a really cool conversation. It was just so much fun to have met those two guys the day before. Oh and The Hoff speaks fluent Spanish!

Tim Don

It just made me even more prepared to what I came for…to win.

Little that I knew, Boulder had a little surprise for me.

part 2 shortly…

Ironman Texas

(This is a post written shortly after Texas that I hadn’t published)

I haven’t written in a while and that was because I was too focused on training for Ironman Texas and keeping up with my duties in my job and at graduate school. The past few weeks had been crazy and therefore it put me a lot of anxiety in my mind.

So the Ironman Texas story didn’t start on race day for me, it started before and it couldn’t have a worse ending…I had a difficult decision to make which was to pull out from the race.

I wasn’t well, my knee was getting into  a bad shape, I had bad nutrition issues and on top of that my race was over, I wasn’t going to finish in the top spots.

So after 22Km of trying to run, but mostly walking. I gave it a lot of thought and if I was going to qualify for Kona, it wasn’t obviously going to happen that day but I have another shot two months from now and for that I needed to be fulley recovered. So at around the 21km mark I saw my Dad looking for me and worried, So that was it, time to take the chip off my ankle and call it a day.

In conclusion I know I did the right thing by pulling out but that was by far THE HARDEST THING I’VE EVER DONE, it was a really sad moment, all the sacrifices done by me and my loved ones, all the time put into it, the money, the effort…all for nothing.

I am feeling better now physically, although my knee is taking a lot of time to go back to normal. Mentally I am not that great, trying to get through it and convince myself that as an athlete these things happen, and you just have to move on and look forward. So for now it is recovery time for me.

Next Up…Ironman Boulder, where I will leave my skin in the course, I don’t know how its going to turn out but this awful experience just gave me more hunger for success and to finally grab what I have been chasing.

2 Months out from Texas

my amazing bike
My ride for Texas

I am now two moths away from one of the A races of the year, it has been a tough training: through a winter (although I know it is not THAT cold here in Savannah but it does get to 0`C (32F) and below, which is way too cold for my Colombian blood), and at the beginning of the year I got really sick. Second of all, 99.99% of my training is alone, I swim alone, I bike alone, I run alone, which gets boring some times and os of now I am sidelined by an old injury that came back and I have been training very little for the past two weeks but will get back to it tomorrow and hope for the best.

These days have been very hard mentally, it is really hard to not train your butt off when every inch of your body and mind want to, but the pain comes right back and I just have to call it a day. It hits you, it plays with you, but I have to be strong mentally to come out of this and be even stronger. In reality I haven’t lost any fitness for these days off. It has been a week of 1 run (that I had to cut short), 4 swims and two bike rides. So in reality I am not taking step backs in terms of fitness. Before this happened I was having good numbers in my training, especially running I have been feeling great and fast!

I still believe that I have the capability of being in the top spots in Texas, but it is not going to be an easy task. There are some guys going from my age group that is going to take my absolute best ability to beat them or finish really close to them.

It is this immense desire to succeed and to make it to Hawaii that keeps me waking up every day and doing what needs to be done, even though things sometimes aren’t in my favor as I mentioned at the beginning. I AM CERTAIN THAT I WILL MAKE IT HAPPEN!!!!

On my next post I will write about patience, a huge factor to really be successful in ironman racing. see you all then!

Top 1%

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2014 was an extremely positive year, an I’ve written about it in my previous posts. Another result, that I am really happy with, is that I was able to finish within the top 1% in my Age Group (25-29) in the IRONMAN ranking. It is just another token that tells me that I am on the right path to the top but still a long way to go. Anyway, its a pretty good result, out of 10,917 that raced in my age group in 2014, not only was I in the top 1%. I ended up on 59th place, with a year best of 11. (yes, there was a time of the year were I was on 11th place), still to end up in the top 60 is a really good accomplishment.

To me, all these little things help me get through the harsh times, there are days when you don’t want to do anything, don’t even want to look at your bike, but is all these accomplishments, and the future goals that make me get up, do what needs to be done, enjoy it, and at the end of the day be glad that I overcame whatever mental lockdown was holding me.

To some people this might not mean anything, to me it means that all of the training that I put in, the racing, the money, my family’s sacrifice, etc. Paid off, that I can accomplish whatever I set myself into, the only secret to it is discipline and hard work, and that applies to anything, whatever floats your boat in life…be disciplined, work hard!