IM Boulder 70.3 AG Win – Sheila Leard

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Last September when IM Tahoe was canceled due to the wildfires I chose this race as my parlay race. I was really on the fence about racing Boulder 70.3.    My concerns were that after recovering from racing St. George 70.3 on May 2nd and needing a short taper for Boulder 70.3 it would leave very little time to build running mileage which is still low due to an injury.  Along with those issues was a conflict to be present at my daughter’s Equestrian show. I’ve never been to Boulder Colorado and decide I’d give it a go. Jon was able to manage my training schedule so that I would be as ready as possible given all the circumstances.

Boulder is beautiful! The mountains are in control.  Thursday before the race it was raining hard and very windy. There was talk of the swim being canceled due to the bacteria run off into the reservoir. The weather cleared on Friday and the scheduled race was on as planned

Swim –

The day arrived to gorgeous hot mountain conditions.

I just love it that there are buoys almost every 200 yards. Sighting is tremendously easy. The water temp was perfect. My goal was to see how long I could hang on to the pack without overdoing it. I made it half way and then I could feel them moving away. I know that I need to work on open water tactics. This has always been my nemesis.

43:17 – 4th

T1 – 3:27 the run from the swim wasn’t too long. I appreciated the little perk of having the being given a nice All World Athlete bike rack positioning.


Fun! The first 11 miles is a deceptive false flat. It was crowded and it was hard not to be in a blocking position or burning matches getting out of small packs. I tried to stay within my goal watts and also pay attention to perceived effort. Coming from sea-level I was aware of the altitude and was trying to be careful. I also was looking for anyone in my age group.  In my AG (60-64) the numbers are small and but there are usually 3-4 really competitive women. I keep a keen eye out for them and try to figure out if I am hunting or being hunted. Jon had wanted me to negative split the second half in terms of watts. Holding back on this course takes discipline because it’s so quick. There are rollers and a few pitches but otherwise plenty of miles to stay aero. Jon told me thin mountain air has advantages on a bike. I felt really good and was truly marveling over the beauty of the course. I made a strong effort to stay on top of hydration and fuel. I had two bottles of OSMO, Stinger chews, half a Bonk Breaker and half a bottle of Tailwind.  I ended up drinking only half of the Tailwind but never felt depleted of fuel.  Before the race I drank a bottle of OSMO PRE-LOAD to saturate plasma volume. It worked well but I notice that when I keep my sodium levels peaked my mouth becomes finicky. Anything sweet doesn’t work. I had mint tic-tacks and mint TUMS with me. I popped a few of those around mile 40 which helped.


At mile 45 I hadn’t seen any women in my age group.  I’m thinking … “dang they swam fast and are riding hard”.  By mile 53 I finally sighted one woman. I made a hard pass thinking she had to have to seen me.

2:49 – 1st

T2 – 3:24   this is slow for me. Almost got taken out at the dismount line. Got it together and moved on.


Coming out of transition I see the athlete I had just passed. She got out quick. I hear spectators say go Laurie. I figured she had to have seen me again so I picked it up my pace and said to myself keep Laurie behind me. I really wanted to know what place I was in. What level of suffering did I need to go to? The run is an out and back twice on dirt roads. It gave me a chance to see where other athletes are.  After the first turn around I saw her again and had about 3 minutes on her. I also hadn’t seen any other women in my age group. Maybe I missed seeing them. My pace was a little faster than I expected but not for long.  I felt good up to mile 5 and then it hit. Dry heat, low run mileage and altitude was the beginning of the suffer fest. I had thought I could break six hours if I stayed on pace.  All I was thinking ‘don’t let anyone in my age group pass me’.  The aid stations were now a walk break for ice and water. Gatorade and Cola was an option but all I wanted was ice. I knew I was gassing out and needed fuel. I had glucose tabs with me and took a few spaced 5 min apart. It helped. My pace was pathetically slow. Many of the encouraging words Jon had sent me were going thru my head.  My mantra became just finish, don’t get passed and be bold. The finish was a sweet sight.


2:30  – 1st

Overall time – 6:10

Turns out the second place women never saw me on the bike or run. I never knew what place I was in. The lesson for me is to race every minute and make it count. Jon emphasizes to focus on the process the rest will happen. Now it’s time to get some run fitness under my belt or should I say feet?

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