Buffalo's Roam in Lubbock Texas

Ironman challenge, It is 5:14 a.m.; the night is black. A distant storm approaching, throwing lightning bolts to the earth, threatens the 6:30a.m start. Overhead, the stars are shining and the wind is blowing in from the Northeast. A constant flow of athletes are cautiously walking their bikes and gear down a steep and winding hill to the distant light of the transition area. 

Buffalo's Roam in Lubbock Texas , From atop the hill is the pounding voice of the announcer calling out the current time and providing athletes with final instructions. Fourteen hundred athletes are quiet with their own thoughts of the day ahead. I am having my own inner conversation. Discussing my objectives in the race with the Almighty and quietly asking God to race with me today. God and I set reasonable goals, and I felt God’s presence, His affirmation and consecration of the plans we made together. Quiet came to my soul and filled the air around me. 

I approached transition and the bellowing percussion of the announcer, the hollering from the body markers, and the chatter from participants interrupts all tranquility and inner reflection; suddenly your attention is shifted to the race at hand. The calm that was is exchanged with the rush to get your body marked, find you transition location, set up your gear to allow for the quickest transition times possible, and get yourself to the race start before the gun fires. 

It is June 25th and I am ready to race the
2006 Ironman 70.3 Buffalo Springs Lake Triathlon!

I stood on the beach of Buffalo Springs Lake and a bit of anxiety set in. More panic producing anxiety than just the pre-race jitters. I decided to get into the water and see how I felt. I waded into the water, about waist deep, and then dove in. A few strokes later and I stopped. I could feel the warm water flowing into my wetsuit and I realized, yet again, that the fear needed to be disposed. Asking for help, I continued my conversation with God to dispel the fear. I swam some more and felt so relaxed! It was peace amidst a hum of excitement. 

The third wave started and I knew it was time to exit the water and prepare for the beach start of my wave. I had spoke in depth to my coach about approaching this start differently. The gun went off and instead of rushing into the water in a mad dash, I paced my approach. Keeping each stroke deliberate, powerful, and purposeful, I completed the first 300 meters. In the past, I have allowed myself to become too caught up in rushing out of the start that my stroke resembles more of a flailing motion. This flailing about causes my stroke to become inefficient, thus requiring my stroke cadence to increase. The increased cadence requires added breath, making breath control impossible. I end up having to stop about 300 Meters into the swim, unable to regain a full breath. The approach my coach and I worked out alleviated this problem entirely. 

My swim went well. I feel like my swim was long. I know that I could have swum faster. But in this particular leg of the race, I was more concerned with having an overall good swim. I accomplished this. I was able to cut my swim time by 0:3:53 over my Oceanside time.

Buffalo Springs Lake is a great swim venue. It is a spring-fed lake. The lake sits down low in a shallow canyon. This canyon eliminates a lot of the wind, helping to make the water calm. I knew that I wanted to approach the bike harder than I had in the past. I accomplished this. I cut my bike split by 0:10:38. This was accomplished mainly by trying to my make my pedal stroke more efficient. It resulted in using my quads more and saving my hamstrings and glutes for the run. 

I had no computer on the bike, and therefore I had to gauge my speed based on my perceived exertion. Understanding my body as it fatigues, I was able to maintain a very level and paced intensity to improve this time.
After about mile 38 to 40, it became a matter of mental discipline to keep the intensity at the same level as the start of the bike. The bike course at Buffalo Springs required me to control my thoughts. It seemed like every road was uphill in both directions. The course was a modified “out and back”. So going out on the course seemed like you were riding a false flat. A false flat is where the road is not quite level but slightly uphill. At the turn-arounds, you expect to be going slightly downhill. But the road, once again, appeared to be another false flat. 

This happens on some roads and it is clearly an optical illusion. The difficulty is when you let negativity about the course, or anything for that matter, into your thought process, the race becomes exponentially more labored. Your thoughts then become your main competitor and you lose to your own thoughts. It is amazing how much harder racing is when you allow yourself to think about negativity. Your body can be SCREAMING OUT in pain, but you really have to block the negative thoughts about suffering and press on. This is one of the victories in Ironman Racing. 

In Oceanside, I had one huge advantage over Buffalo Springs. I was at sea level in Oceanside and Buffalo Springs is only about 900 feet lower than in Utah, where I normally train. Though the terrain of the bike course was more challenging in Oceanside, my body was better able to cope with and recover faster due to the added oxygen intake at sea level. In Oceanside, the high temperature for the day was 57.9 degrees with virtually no wind. However in Buffalo Springs, the high was 84 degrees with a relative humidity of 61.2% and 13 mph headwind in every direction! Given these differences, I feel like the bike course at Buffalo Springs was a bit more difficult than Oceanside. In any rate, I improved my bike split by over 10 minutes.

The run is where I wanted to improve the most at Buffalo Springs. Though the split time makes it appear like I didn't improve very much, I know I made a large improvement over Oceanside. I cut my run split by 0:2:28. Oceanside’s run course was flat. It followed the beach and therefore, there was virtually no climbing. Buffalo Spring’s run course had three good hills to climb. I was trying to gauge my run pace based on perceived exertion. But, due to the addition of three hills, I missed the goal that I had set for myself. I wanted to maintain at least a 0:9:00 mile. I ended up running the 13.1 miles at a pace of a 0:9:40 mile.

A few days before the race, I felt a little ill. I felt like I was getting a cold. I increased the dose of Xing I was taking to help my body fight off the cold. Within a couple days, I felt fine again. Xing is a dietary supplement that I have been taking. It has Green Plumb extract, an herbal blend, and a full array of vitamins and minerals. I feel like I was able to race in part to Xing.

I am happy with my performance at Ironman 70.3 Buffalo Springs Lake Triathlon. I improved my time at Buffalo Springs by 0:22:24. Next up, VINEMAN!
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