Lots of Love for Lake-to-Lake Tri
Submitted by Editor on
By Iron Tiara Kristina Jensen
Loveland Lake to Lake
About a week ago, I got talked into racing the Loveland Lake to Lake Olympic Triathlon (1.5K swim/30 Mike Bike/10K Run) by my very FUN and very FAST friend Joy. And to say her name suits her personality is *quite* an understatement. Being around her makes me smile and laugh, and if she was recommending this race to ME of all people, knowing I like the longer events, then I knew it had to be a top notch event! Although this was going against every fiber of my ultra-endurance being, I really needed to get out of my comfort zone of the one and only distance I DO participate in. I also have actually heard, throughout the years, by so many people, what a spectacular and amazing race this was and so curiosity got the better of me. I am a creature of habit (shocking) and I have only done three Olys; Boulder Peak 2008, 2009 and 2010. It has been FOUR years since I have raced this ouch-my-entire-body-is-going-to-hurt-and-I-just-might-puke distance. What. was. I. thinking?!?
When my alarm went off on Saturday at 4:15am, all I could think about was what in the world do I eat before this *short* of a race. My swim wave was set to go off at 6:34am, and so whatever I decided on, had to digest quickly and easily. Typically, I will wake up 3 hours before Ironman and take in between 700 and 800 calories. I scoured my sister’s fridge and set my eyes upon some (fairly) green-ish grapes and a 100 calorie gluten free bagel. Ok. This should do it and in typical KJ fashion, with transition opening at 5:00am and closing at 6:15am, I got there around 5:35am and putzed about, socializing more than thinking about the fact that my race was starting in an hour. I think I finally started setting up my little transition area around 5:53am and (kind of) made my presence known. I saw lots of friends and ran up to them, hugged them and chatted about how fun this day was going to be. If you’ve ever talked to me, then you also know that I don’t have an inside voice and my laugh emanates from deep down in my belly. I am sure that I was getting eye-rolls behind my back and mumblings of “shut. UP!” and “Why are you so damn perky?” were being uttered. Ha! And so to further reveal my boisterous nature, I turned up the speaker on my iPhone, flipped on Spotify and started dancing to some beat-thumping music. Oh crap! I now have about 11 minutes to get my stuff laid out and wetsuit on before they kick us out. I swear I am going to be late to my own funeral, which is totally cool actually, as I’m in no hurry to go down, er, um, I mean up to my final resting place.
I sneered at the tiny sliver of grass that my fellow neighbors left me, clearly they were all only children, and set up my lil’ messy marvin transition space. I am a “Type A” OCD person’s worst nightmare. I proudly left with 1 minute to spare, my crap thrown down in what I thought was good order, and headed down to the water to hang out with my friends. We were talking about whether or not we should even warm up. I was in my sleeveless wetsuit and was a little nervous that I would freeze my booty off. I tentatively walked in and was pleasantly surprised at how warm it was. Sweet! I knew immediately it was going to be a great swim. I took care of my business before taking a few quick strokes, because let’s face it, we all do “it” as soon as we get in the water. It’s the warm up to the warm up!
At 6:34am, I dove into the refreshing water and started swimming. No panic. No having to stop and catch my breath. Huh? NO NERVES. This was incredible. I got into a rhythm immediately, something which never happens and swam my more than warm booty off. The lake was calm and incredibly peaceful. I couldn’t believe how quickly 1500 meters went by. I popped up at the swim exit to immediately check my time and it was under 32 minutes…Fist pump to the sky. P. flippin’ R. baby! All my drill work in the pool is paying off! The run to T1 is pretty long and about a minute and a half later I was at my bike, grinning ear to ear, getting ready for my favorite part of triathlon!
I learned that morning that the first 14 miles or so were a nice, slow and grinding climb to Horsetooth Reservoir. Ok – I love to climb, this is going to be a blast. I don’t think I’ve ever ridden in this area before and my breath was taken away, it was just so pretty. The descent out of Horsetooth was crazy fast. I’m a thrill seeker and have no fear when it comes to tucking into a tight aero position to coast downhill. Once out of that area, we hit some rollers, which are my nemesis, as it’s tough for me to get into any kind of rhythm on them. I saw this opportunity as great training for IM Boulder as there are several sections of those little bastards in the second half of the course. 30 miles later (gosh, this race is going by SO fast), I was back into T2, wondering what in the world my legs would feel like. With my injury, I haven’t really been doing a lot of bricks, and I had just run the Estes Park Marathon seven days before, so this could be a really great experience or an absolute s&%t show. All I had was 10k to go. I tell you what, 6.2 miles is endless when you have it in your head that you absolutely MUST run each one as fast as you possibly can. I hate that feeling of my heart beating all the way up in my throat. And that burning in your legs, as if they’ve been set on fire? gah! I never feel that during Ironman. I’m simply not a sprinter. I exited transition on wobbly legs and it felt like I was running through sand, filled with honey on feet that had 10lb dumbells strapped to them. I thought my pace might be in the neighborhood of about 11 minutes per mile but since I didn’t wear any kind of GPS watch, I believed it was actually probably closer to 12.
The run was a nice little out and back, through some quaint neighborhoods that flanked the lake, lined with really sweet spectators. Just past the one mile mark, there were these 2 High School boys yelling and shouting all sorts of encouraging words, and definitely had the athletes giggling and smiling. I high fived all my speedy friends as they were heading back in, miles ahead of me. I don’t think I have EVER been so happy to see a mile marker three, as it was the turn around. Gosh, I am such a wuss. I tried to pick up my pace a bit and bring it home as fast as I could. When I crossed the finish line, all I could think about was how much I LOVED this race course and how much I LOATHED this distance. I’ve got to get over that though because I am definitely doing this race again next year. And if you haven’t done so, you need to get in on it. It’s incredibly well organized, stacked with really great staff and support, gorgeous views of the foothills and a challenging course that keeps you busy and engaged. There are various events apart from the Olympic, including a Sprint, Aquabike and a Relay. Peggy Shockley really knows what she is doing, organizing and directing this race year after year!
OH YEAH. So my run time? You know, that near walking minute per mile? Not even close. I BROKE ONE HOUR!!!! My average pace was 9:32 per mile. Baby steps I tell you… baby steps. This girl is on the mend…and finally off the market. I’m certain you’re all wondering can he even come close to keeping up with the likes of lil ol’ crazy, insane me? Well, as a 9:32 minute per mile 10k runner, I am fairly confident that he can.