Pre IM Boulder Festivities

IM Boulder was such a neat experience for me.  Not only was it my first IM to participate in, I’d never even been to an Ironman branded race before.  After a week’s vacation in southern Colorado, we headed to Boulder for a weekend of Ironman fun.

Friday:
Got into town at about noon and had lunch at this amazing place called Zeal.  We would learn through the weekend that Boulder had tons of healthy food options, but this meal was so good.  Unfortunately I ate it all before thinking to document.  I had the Miso Bowl, here’s the official description:

wild mushroom medley, greens, asparagus, tomato, eggplant, thai peanut sauce, on rice.

It was healthy, it had spice, it was so good.

After that we headed over to Ironman Village at Boulder High School.  We perused the expo, completed athlete check-in and just took in the Ironman experience.

Finding my name on the shirts with all the participants.
Finding my name on the shirts with all the participants.
Got my official backpack!
Got my official backpack!
Ready or not, IM Boulder is here!
Ready or not, IM Boulder is here!

From there we checked into our hotel and went out to drive the bike course.  In the weeks leading up to the race, I’d seen various accounts of the bike course and was anxious to see for myself.  Driving the course did a lot to calm my nerves.  The hills at Legend 100 in Kansas seemed far more intimidating.  Also along the stop, we went to Mary’s Market in Hygiene.  It’s a cute little market that was right along the course that we decided would be perfect for spectating.  This was another thing I really loved about Boulder.  This market truly caters to cyclists: from the bike racks in the yard to the quick portable healthy snacks to the Scratch Labs fountain drinks.  Why don’t more places do things like this?  There are so many people trying to lead more active lifestyles, if more markets and convenience stores could support that I think they would see increased business.

Friday night we met my parents and sister for another great dinner, then enjoyed the Pearl Street Mall.  In downtown Boulder, they have a few blocks in the middle of the city that are closed to traffic.  Filled with shops, people and street entertainers, there was plenty there to keep us busy.

My husband got pulled in as a volunteer with one of the street performers.
My husband got pulled in as a volunteer with one of the street performers.

Saturday morning was the Ironkids race.  All week month long, my kids had been arguing about who was going to win this mile race between the two of them.  After a 4 mile fun-run at the beginning of the month, it was apparent that their running paces were getting faster and were pretty close to one another.

Pre race smiles
Pre race smiles

The youngest kids ran first in a .25 mile race.  It was completely adorable, some kids barely able to walk being helped along by their parents.  Next it was time for the older kids to run a mile.  Two of the sports greatest athletes were on hand to encourage the kids, help them warm up and even award their medals at the end.

The pros warming the kids up.  My son is in the front row with the blue hat on.
The pros warming the kids up. My son is in the front row with the blue hat on.

We had watched the Kona broadcast on tv, so my kids had seen Marinda Carfrae before, but didn’t know as much about Amanda Stevens.  My takeaway was how humble, kind and inspriring they both were.  And like I told my kids, how many other sports can you say you’ve met a world champion in!?!?

Grace with World Champ Marinda Carfrae.
Grace with World Champ Marinda Carfrae.
Jack with pro Amanda Stevens.
Jack with pro Amanda Stevens.

Though my kids were excited about meeting them, I had my own fangirl moment as well.

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Me with two of the best in the sport, Amanda Stevens and Marinda Carfrae.

Although the fangirl moments were fun, the real point of the day was the kids race.  My son, age 9, had worked his was to the front of a very large crowd, toeing the starting line ahead of his sister.  He loves to take off fast and see how long he can hold on, while my daughter prefers to pass people as she goes.

The starting line of Ironkids.
The starting line of Ironkids.
Jack on the other side of the track, still pretty close to the front.
Jack on the other side of the track, still pretty close to the front.
Grace on the other side of the track, in a much bigger crowd of kids.
Grace on the other side of the track, in a much bigger crowd of kids.

After this, the course left the track and we couldn’t see the progress until they returned to the track for the final 100 m.  Myself, along with all the other anxious parents waited, hoping to catch a picture of their kids as they ran by to the finish.  Out of the huge number of kids, I was shocked when I saw both of my grey shirts racing one another at the end.

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It was a very close race, they were within a couple seconds of one another and both ran their fastest mile ever that day.  We were all so proud of them.

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The rest of Saturday was spent preparing all of my bags and dropping them off at the appropriate locations.  It seems like that shouldn’t take that much time.  I was amazed how it was truly an Ironman weekend and took a very good part of the day Saturday.  Word to the wise, make sure you start this process early, it will take longer than you expect.  The bike drop-off was out of town at the Boulder Reservoir.  It included a very long walk.  Had I realized this, I would not have worn flip flops.  As we waited until the heat of the afternoon, we were all a little crabby through this process, it was a long, hot walk.
After that we headed back into town where my family attended a meeting that day as they were volunteering on the run course at an aid station the next day and I dropped off my run bag at the High School track, again a pretty long walk.

Saturday was capped off with a pasta dinner and what should have been an early bed time, but the nerves and excitement kept me up til probably 10:30.  Next up, race day!!!

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7 thoughts on “Pre IM Boulder Festivities

  1. Thanks for sharing! Sounds great so far! IM really is a great but big experience. I checked in on Thursday and felt that the days were quite full (without Ironkids). Love the photos! Looking forward to the race report!

    For what it’s worth, the old IM 70.3 Kansas (now Legends Tri) bike course was wildly underrated in terms of beauty and level of difficulty. Concurring that course (especially now that they made it longer is am impressive feat and would prepare you nicely for a full IM. I absolutely hated the dam(n) hill towards the end. There was a guy with a sign at the top of that hill which read “So, you thought Kansas was flat…”. Yep. Guilty as charged…

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    1. Thanks! The pre-race in Boulder was really amazing, I’m not sure future races will hold up to this one. Kids having an awesome race, me getting to meet the best of the best and a fun town/environment to enjoy it all in!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Kristina

    Sounds like you really enjoyed the days leading up to the race and took in the experience. I agree 100% that you can’t overestimate how long everything will take, especially at races with 2 transitions.

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  3. Pingback: IM Boulder Race Report | emilystrijourney

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