Boulder 70.3 Half Ironman Race Report And My Future Fitness Plans

Well I finished another race. My 30th triathlon to be exact. It was an emotional and painful finish. But then, any race with the name Ironman in it is bound to be just that. Emotional and painful. For those of you just now tuning in. The Boulder 70.3 Half Ironman is 1.2 miles of swimming, 56 miles on a bike and a 13.1 run.


I felt really good going into the day. I felt like I had trained enough to cross the finish line, but knew I had lacked some training at times because of my schedule at home and with travel.

The swim went really well for me. It was by far the best swim I had all summer long. Smooth, easy and strong. My wetsuit felt good and I got out of the water feeling like it was a good start to the day.

Once I got on the bike for the next leg of the race, I kept calm and didn’t go out too strong. This is because the first ten miles is a slow climb and at 5,000 feet in altitude I’m not one to take altitude lightly. Once I got on the back end of that climb, the rest of the ride went pretty smooth until the last ten miles when my neck started to get really sore from the position I was in on my bike. While that was happening, an old frustrating thing that happens with my shoulder when in down in my aero bars started to flare up… or tighten up a lot. It made the last few miles tough on me mentally.

By the time I got into the run, my spirits were really high. I ran a little and allowed my legs get used to running but it was slow… really slow. The weather had turned really hot and with no shade on the run, I was doing everything possible to keep fluids in me. The run was just painful, hot and slow. But I wasn’t going to quit. So I kept going and I finally finished the race.

I finished with tears in my eyes. Partly because I was in pain and ready to be finished but also because the finish line for a race this long isn’t just the finish line for the race, it’s the finish line for a long process of training and a journey that is amazing and takes a toll all in the same season.

For the past few weeks I had been talking about taking 2014 off from triathlon races of any distance and during this race had a lot of time to think through a lot of things going on in my life. Especially, my fitness as it pertains to triathlon. Don’t get me wrong. I love triathlon and won’t quit racing but I am going to re-work how I do it.

Here’s the plan.

Even though training for triathlon is a lot of time in the pool, on the bike and in running shoes – because it’s such a calorie burner, I always want to eat my weight in food when I’m done training. I’ve never been great with my nutrition and honestly, if I kept my meals to fruits veggies and some protein, I would be a lot lighter. But I’m not. I’ve learned to race weighing anywhere between 210 and 220 over the past few years and I’m tired of it. I need a big switch in my fitness and now is the time.

So over the next year, my goal is to drop down to 175lbs to 180lbs. I think that’s a healthy and safe weight for me being 6’2” tall. I’m going to get there by first focusing on healthy cleaner eating habits. Then I’m going to work on being a stronger runner. Running is my weakest of the three sports and having the extra weight really takes a toll on me. I feel it physically but then mentally it usually drags me down even more. I love to run but I want to do it a little lighter than I am now.

I’m also going to be getting in the gym to reshape my body by lifting weights. Not to gain muscle mass but to get lean and fit. It’s proven that lifting sheds the fat and if I’m doing that with running and the occasional bike and swim over the next year, I think it will get me where I want to be.

I hear this stat all the time.

Being healthy is 80% nutrition and 20% exercise.

At this point I’m convinced that’s true.

So in 2014, if you see me talking about racing it will be in the form of running 5k’s, 10k’s or half marathons.

Another reason I’m taking time of from training for triathlon is the time it takes away from the rest of my life. Time for family, friends and work is always lacking when it comes to training this much. My son Micah will turn one in February and I want my weekends with him when I’m not travel so I don’t miss this part of his life. The truth is this. Saturday’s and Sunday’s are long training days and I’m tired of everyone around me including me having to sacrifice that time because I have to be out for a long ride that day.

When 2015 rolls around, my goal is to be down in weight and much faster in my running shoes. Then I will be racing in triathlon for sprint and Olympic distances because in 2015 I’m actually going to compete for time. My goal is to be finishing in the top 10 of my age group. I think I can do it.

Here’s something to think about for all of you attempting anything like this or if you know someone who is. Support is key. Whether you are running a 5k or an Ironman race. Support is essential! Your family first needs to be supporting you, then your friends and as a little extra goodness, my friends online were off the charts in their support when I posted what was happening with training and racing. I know it sounds crazy but knowing there are people following along online really helps get me across the finish line.

So there you go. Here’s to what was a great season of training and racing and here’s to a future of rebuilding and focusing on other parts of my life.

How about you? Have you had times where you have taken a step back to refocus and get better in your life? What did you do?



The views expressed here are those of a personal nature and do not reflect the corporate view of my employer or anyone else who employee my services.
  • Kelly

    Congrats on the race Spence!! I followed you on tracker. That’s a tough distance and proud of you for training and finishing!

    • Spence Smith

      Thanks Kelly. I know i’m replying way late but i’ve loved following you all year. Next time i’m in nashville, it’s coffee time for you and me!

  • ‘becca

    Proud of you, friend! I absolutely hear ou on the break. After Galveston 70.3 & Branson 70.3 + other local tris in ’12 – 2013 was a year of rest. I’m doing GPP & S, B, R here and there. I am racing a sprint over labor day, but will stick close to my friend who’s never raced before. It’s been a good year, with talk of IM in ’14. IM will not happen in ’14 due to other financial priorities (15 yr anniversary trip & Elliott’s going to World Cup in Brasil). So, IM in 2015 pal? Keep it up. Love your goals. You can do it, absolutely you can do it!

    • Spence Smith

      Thanks becca! we need to catch up soon!

  • Jill Mongene

    Congrats on your race Spence!! I am interested to hear if someone is coaching you for these goals or if you are setting up your own program. I’ve had to stop long distance running because I developed an exercise induced/arrhythmia/conduction issue. However, I also need to reshape my body, lose about 10-15lbs so on. But, I can run, like you said, quicker and shorter. Would love to hear more on how you’ll get to your goals!

    • Spence Smith

      Hey Jill! sorry for the late reply. I’m going to have Kat coach me on the running and blend in some weights and cross training into it. We have worked out the exact plan but i have a feeling it’s going to happen in the next week:) come to colorado and see us!

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