Matt Hanson | Professional Triathlete
5x Ironman Champion/ 4x 70.3 Champion

Ironman Boulder Race Report

In just short of a decade, I’m finally finishing up this race report. Right after Ironman Boulder, I hosted a camp for MHRacing athletes before heading home. It is crazy how much time and energy hosting those camps takes out of you! Doing it the week after an Ironman was ambitious in hindsight, but the camp went great and we had an amazing time!

I arrived in Boulder 2 weeks before the race to spend some time training with the JDcrew and also get acclimated to the altitude. It was a great two week block. I always love going to races where I’m comfortable training and where I can hang out with good people after. I think it really helps get to race day relaxed and ready to roll. 

Race Morning
As per normal routine, I woke up 3 hours before the race and drank my typical 2 servings of First Endurance Ultragen for breakfast. I rode down to the bag drop with Lauren Brandon and we hitched a ride to transition with coach Julie. Since it was 40 degrees out, I spent double the time warming up as I typically would. I knew that race starts at altitude always suck, and the cold air wasn’t going to help any…so wanted my body to be ready to handle it. 

Swim – 54:01
I started much slower than I typically would in respect to the altitude. I put in a surge around 300m when things settled down some and went to the front of the chase group. There were 3 guys off the front at that point, so I just settled in and pulled the group around for the remainder of the swim. Aside from Lauren flying by me like I was swimming backwards with about 200m remaining, it was business as usual for the rest of the swim. 

Transition 1 – 3:33
I lost a fair amount of time here in transition. I was able to get out of my Zone3 Vanquish wetsuit without any issues, but the average temps during the bike was forecasted to be 45 degrees. I elected to throw on gloves and socks which definitely cost me some time in the short term. But I got everything sorted, grabbed my bike and ran to the mount line. 

Bike – 4:09:18
I am really happy with how the bike went for me. This was definitely the best paced bike leg I’ve ever put together. The NP and average HR for the first 2 hours was the exact same as the last two hours, and my VI for the total ride was 1.01. Plus it was 5w more than I’ve ever averaged in a full.  Doesn’t get much better than that! The course had a number of out-and-backs, so I was able to get splits to the guys around me a number of times throughout each lap. I was holding the gap to TO constant, gaining a bit on Brent, and losing a bit of time to Sam and Kennett on the first lap. By mid way through the second lap, I had caught Brent and was putting a small amount of time into everyone else. I got off the bike about 4:20 down from the lead and though I had done enough to have a chance to run for the win. 

Transition 2 – 1:39
I came in to T2 in 4th and was able to get splits to the three guys in front of me. I was able to get through T2 without issue and get out on to the run.

Run – 2:48:35
The run course at Boulder starts with a 4 plus mile false flat climb before getting a nice 4 plus mile gradual descent. I had run this section a few times and had the plan of being very patient over the first four miles. But as soon as I left transition, I was able to see Sam and Kennett about 90 seconds in front of me…and well the plan sort of went out the window. I could see that I was closing the gap and the body was feeling good. So I ran a bit more aggressively for the first uphill section (aggressive, but not stupid!) and was able to pass Sam and completely close the gap on Kennett. However, as soon as we got to the downhill section, Kennett opened things up a bit and was holding pretty even at about 10 seconds in front of me. It was too early in the race to put in a surge, so I just held steady. When we got to the next little uphill section I was able to pull past him and get a small gap. I caught TO around mile 9 and from then on it was just focusing on not screwing anything up! I got through the next uphill grind to the 1/2 way point and saw that I only had about 90 seconds on 2nd, which I was a bit surprised at considering how quickly I was able to close down the gap and I still felt like I was running well. Through the down hill section I found I had extended the gap to just over 2 minutes which was better, but not enough to be able to breathe a sigh of relief. Kennett definitely kept me accountable the entire run and I wasn’t really able to shift into ‘cruise control’ until the last couple of miles.

Overall – 7:57:03 
I definitely have to be happy with the day overall, setting a new overall course record and run course record as well as dipping under 8:00 on a tough course. My wife had decided to drive out with my sister and surprise me (she kept telling me she wouldn’t be able to make it due to work). Meeting her at the finish line is always an amazing moment, especially after not seeing her for over two weeks! It was also great to have my brother there and so many friends and JDcrew teammates out on the course cheering me on as well! It was a great day for Julie’s group with LB taking the win by an insane margin and TO taking third and punching the ticket to Kona. On to the next!

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