Who is Ted?

I'm the father of two beautiful daughters and an amazing wife. For fun, I enjoy the long hours of seemingly endless suffering that endurance sports (mostly running, cycling and triathlon)provide. During my "down time" I'm an avid beer snob and self-described gourmet chef (in other words I like to burn things on a stove or grill).


2014 Season Analysis (taking the long route . . . long post!)

Rambling Introduction
It's that odd time of year again.  The races are over and done, somewhat cooler weather is settling in (35 degrees as I write this) and giving us a hint of what's to come for the next several months.  Although I'm still swimming, biking, and running, it isn't driven by a goal.  It's done for fun, and because not doing something feels disappointing and sad.  In previous "off seasons," I used to worry about getting out of shape, but that thought no longer crosses my mind.  Swimming, Biking, and Running aren't just things that I do, they are part of who I am.  Letting those go would be like letting part of myself disappear.  Not going to happen.
Beginning (at least in earnest) in January, I will start training for the biggest challenge to date, the Ironman.  I approach this with a mixture of trepidation and confidence.  The nervous side reminds me of how wasted I felt a month ago after completing a half-iron distance race.  As that discomfort fades, it's replaced by my belief that with a few hundred days to prepare and train, I can be ready for whatever Ironman throws at me.  I know it won't be easy, but it won't be impossible either.  The psychology of the thing is key.
I am my father's son.  When he sets his mind to something, he's relentless in his preparation.  He will study, analyze, and plan a project to meticulous detail.  It isn't so much to seek perfection, but rather to be well-prepared and to develop contingencies for any obstacles or challenges that may arise.  It keeps the wheels from coming off and while the outcome isn't always what you expect, it's usually a success.  This is how I intend to approach the Ironman. I will learn as much as I can, study it from many angles, and develop strategies, contingencies and plans that will see me to the finish line.  But before looking forward, I'm going to look back.  And that's really the purpose of this post.  I want to review this past season, and see what I can learn from what I've done.  Reflecting on how I trained, where I succeeded and when I fell short will help me to prepare a plan for the coming year.

Big Picture Review . . .
Going into January 2014, I had a pretty good sense of what I wanted my year to look like.   Having suffered a bike crash in the fall of 2013, this was my comeback year, and I wanted to get back on the horse (or in this case the bike).  Despite the late season crash, I saw 2013 as a success as I completed an ultra, and set a PR in the half marathon at the tender age of 41.  I also completed my first century ride, and long distance swim race.  In essence, 2013 was all about the volume, and it seemed to have served me well.  So volume was my "strategy" going into the new year.  If I could top my mileage from the previous year, I would certainly do better, right?  Well . .. while I still believe that volume is a key factor for success in endurance racing (and it will still be a cornerstone of my preparation), there's more to it than that.

The chart above shows the total "time" that I put into each discipline per month.  This include more trainer rides over the winter, as well as a commitment to get to the pool more frequently during the winter months.  Since I wasn't training for an "ultra" as I had in 2013, I wasn't out running to the same extent, but I also wasn't injured (apart from a slight calf strain at the start of January).  My build continued up through the month of June, but dropped a fair amount in July when work took me out of town for a couple of weeks (Note: September totals are lower because I set the custom date range for this chart to September 7th, the last race of the season, although recovery and sickness made the rest of the month rather low anyways).  Looking back now, I realize that in the first part of the year, I was doing less "going long" and really working more on intensity/ frequency.  This did increase my total volume overall, but that didn't really translate to the same base level of endurance.

My early season races this year included both a sprint triathlon in May and an Olympic distance race in early June.  I was pleased with the outcome of these two races, but I was definitely focused more on speed than on distance.  This became painfully evident during my first "long event" of the season, the Mountain Top Cycling Club Experience Ride, the third week of June.  Even with a long bike ride in late May, I felt completely burned during this event.  Instead of seeing improvement from the previous year, I struggled greatly, and by 75 miles or so, it became a battle just to finish the thing.  I managed to do so, but it wasn't pretty.
Then in early July I found myself in NYC.  I didn't have a bike, and my schedule kept me extremely busy, so I switched gear and did more running.   This included a number of runs at higher intensity including an 11 mile long run on the weekend where I managed an 8:00/ mile pace.  When I returned at the end of the month, I managed to get back on the bike a bit, and entered August with plans for several long rides.  Work kept me busier than usual, and after a couple of weeks, I realized that my fitness level, while good, wasn't optimum.  I adjusted my goals for my "A" race, the Harvest Moon Half Triathlon, recognizing that sometimes, "life" gets in the way, and you have to take it in stride.  In the end my race turned out decent, and I finished the year at least feeling good, if not thrilled, about the season.
I knew this year that I also wanted to do more cycling and swimming than in year's past, and it appears that I will accomplish that by the end of December.   The distribution of time spent on each sport has shifted.  Whereas in years past, I would have spent more time running, biking and swimming got more attention than before.

Overall, I feel like my training this year set me up for more speed, and a bit less endurance.  This made longer events feel harder than I might have hoped. To a certain extent, I think this has more to do with how I "entered" the season, rather than what I did during the season.  When I started training in January of 2013, I'd already built up to a 20 mile long run (at elevation no less).  And while injuries early in that year set me back a bit, by May I'd done my ultra and a long mountain ride.  Going into 2014, I was coming off the bike crash, which depleted a lot of my base mileage.  Before the year even got started, I'd already suffered a small calf injury which kept me from running until late January/ early February.  I did put together some long runs in February and March, but they were only to about 15 miles or so, and left me pretty wiped out.  That's a key piece I'm going to consider for my start in January of 2015.

Just keep swimming . . . Just keep swimming . . .
So far in 2014, I've done more swimming than in any previous years.  Starting in January (the first time back in the water since the crash), I consistently got to the swimming pool at least twice a week and that expanded to three times a week whenever possible.  As I've noted before, this hasn't made me a lot faster, but I do feel like I'm expending less energy in the water.  This is also the first year that I've tried to take a more structured approach when training.  For the first few years, I pretty much just got in the pool and swam.   This year, I worked on including more actual workouts including technique work, kicks, and speed work.  That seems to have had the biggest impact on my swimming, and something I'll plan on doing more in the coming year.

A challenge with the swimming has to do with the available swim times, relative to my own schedule.  The best time for me to swim is before work.  I don't mind getting up and swimming at this time, but since the pool opens at 6:00 and I have to be back home for the kids by about 7:00, this really only leaves me with about 40 minutes to get a workout in.  It's something that I will have to look at for 2015, when I'll need to build to some more extensive workouts.

The other big challenge is the number of OWS opportunities that I get.  The nearest OWS to me are easily 2 hours or more, which means I get very little practice.  In 2014, I hit the open water a total of three times.  Two of those were during triathlons.  For the coming year, I may see if I can't get up to Boulder for a couple of their stroke and stride events in the summer.  I'll also take a look at options in Colorado Springs, and the Fort Collins/Loveland area when visiting my parents.

Actually Lance . . . it is all about the bike . . .
By the time 2014 winds down, I will have logged more miles on the bike than in any previous year since I started doing triathlon.   A goal this year was to get stronger on the bike but I don't feel like  I realized that goal.  I have ridden more on the trainer than in years past and it's something that I will continue to do.  I will also stay on the tri bike a great deal more in 2015.

Being out of town for two weeks in July definitely impacted my efforts towards stronger bike fitness this year.   I managed to get enough riding in to complete the Harvest Moon in just under three hours, but my legs definitely felt a bit cooked when I started the run.  A bit more data from the 2014 season:
The speed factor definitely increases once the spring/ summer months roll around.

Although I'm not really a "grinder," my bike cadence is slower than typical . . . something I'll look at during the off-season.
It's been said that the secret to success at Ironman is strong cycling fitness.  For the remainder of the current year, I will spend more time on the trainer and try to get more riding frequency in.  I find it difficult to spend much more than an hour on the trainer at any given time, but once January rolls around, I'll look to do a few longer rides down in the basement.  I'm even considering a subscription to Trainer Road (or the new Zwift if it's available) to give me more options when working out.  

Born to run . . .
I still love running the most.  Probably always will, and it's hard to choose to swim or bike sometimes when what I'd really prefer is to put on a set of headphones and head out the door.  Without an ultra to train for, I've definitely run a bit less compared to the year before. Barring injury, my run mileage will probably be similar to what it has been in the last couple of years.  

Although strained calf muscles in January and May impacted those months, I still ran a few times a week during the rest of the year.  In the off season, I'll run a bit more, and plan on doing a long run each week in the off-season leading up to January.  This will help me to start the year with a strong aerobic base.

The chart above shows my average heart rate (for running) across the six previous months.  With an average of 148 bpm, this is slightly higher than my Aerobic Threshold which would be around the 137 bpm mark.  Note that these do not include races as I tend not to race with a HR monitor.  
Going into 2015, I know that I will need to think about a plan for the Ironman in terms of the run.  With strong bike fitness, I'd like to follow that up with a solid run.  I'm not talking about anything under four hours, but I'm considering employing a 5:1 Run/ Walk ratio right out of the gates.   This strategy served me well in doing training for the Ultra and it really seems to help limit the amount of fatigue that sets in.  It's also great for training as it greatly reduces the recovery time after a long run.  I will continue to toy with this idea in the off-season before making a final determination.

Other Factors . . .
There is a bit more data that I can look at in order to review the 2014 season.  One of those is consistency.  The data at Beginner Triathlete.com allows me to compare my planned workouts vs. my actual workouts.  It's a less than perfect tool, but here's the way it looks:

By and large, I managed to make the time to get workouts completed, and only came up short in a few instances.  If I missed a workout on one day, I usually found a way to make it up on another.  I'm really not shooting for perfection on this part, I just want to be as consistent as possible.

Race Performance . . .
I didn't do a lot of events this year where I really raced for a place/ time.  I did a total of 3 triathlons this year which was a 30% increase from the year before.  Here is how those races broke down:
Although I'm definitely not at the pointy end in any of these races, I did manage to finish within the top 25-42% for my age group in each of the races this year.  I also set a PR in each of the events so I'm definitely pleased with the season overall.  More importantly, I was able to get back into triathlon after my crash.  The injury, while better, still lingers, and from time to time (especially during swimming), it can still be a bit sore.

Take aways . . .
So what does it all mean?  As I look to the coming year, there are definitely a few keys that I'll apply to my preparation for Ironman in the coming year.

  1. Enter the year with a strong aerobic base:  Between now and the new year, I'll emphasize aerobic fitness as a building block to my training.  Longer and slower will be key as I enter the year and get ready to implement a training plan.
  2. More cycling, more often, with more structure:  I tend to go out and just ride without any solid goals or plans.  Sometimes I'll ride fast, and other times I'll ride slow.  Hill work, intervals, cadence work, etc. all will need to come into play for 2015.  
  3. Same with Swimming:  Although I engaged in more structured swim activity in 2015, I can still do a lot more in the build up to Ironman.  Given the time limits I have for swimming, and the lack of OWS locales, each swim workout needs to be purposeful, and designed to help me improve if not in speed, at least in efficiency.  
  4. Strength, Core, and Flexibility: I didn't really touch on it in this post, but one thing that I will work on this off season is much more strength and core work, along with daily stretching.  If there was one area of my training where I really fell short this year, it had to do with sub-minimal attention to strength and core.  That can't happen for 2015, especially when it's such a fraction of the overall training time
Conclusion . . .
August 2015 is a very long ways off.  Between now and then there will be snowstorms and hot summer days, and plenty of successes and setbacks.  There is a lot of "work" to do in preparing for the Ironman, and I'm just at the beginning phase.  But for me racing has always been the "reward" for the long journey of training, and that's what I really enjoy about endurance sports.  


Harvest Moon Triathlon Race Report

. . . There was only a half mile to go . . . probably even less than that.  I looked down at my feet mostly because I was too exhausted to lift my head any further.  Every step that drew me closer to the finish also inspired a steady wave of nausea like the small ripples washing onto the shore of a lake.  I took the deepest breath that I could and tried to hang on.  A few other competitors came by me in the last stretch leading up to the finish.  Finally, I rounded the corner and up ahead the finish line came into view.  Directly in front of me was the optional "slip n slide," but I deferred, knowing that hurting as badly as I was, I might not be able to make it up and off the slide before the next competitor came barreling down behind me.  I wandered back behind the slip and slide and grabbed a couple of bottles of water.  There was a concrete post that reached just to my shoulders.  I leaned forward and rested my arms and head for a minute, before a kind volunteer offered to get me some recovery beverage.  As nasty as the orange concoction tasted, I stuck with it, knowing how badly I needed the calories.  With that my 2014 triathlon season came to a close . . .

Several hours before that I awoke at my brother's house.  I'd had a solid night's sleep and I awoke not feeling overly tired.  That said, I was fairly anxious as I realized that I had a long day of racing ahead.  I didn't doubt my ability to complete the race, but I wasn't sure how I would perform with the limited amount of training I'd gotten to do in the previous month.  After a quick breakfast we hit the road and reached the race venue in a short twenty minutes.  Our early arrival meant that we were rewarded with a close-in parking space right next to the transition area.  It took us little time to get set-up, body-marked and to take the obligatory trip to the port-o-potty.  A short while later we were down at the water's edge listening to the pre-race announcements.

The Swim:
I'd heard that the water in the Aurora reservoir was a tad cooler, but also very clear, and this was certainly the truth.   As our wave got underway, it was amazing to actually be able to see within my immediate vicinity while staring down into the lake.  This was the first OWS I'd done since the Boulder Sunrise Triathlon back in June.  It was an out and back course that was approximately 1.2 miles long (perhaps a bit shorter than that).  Starting out I had my usual ordeal with being in the washing machine caused by the dozens of other swimmers all around.  I'd tried to move off to the right side, but I still found a number of people coming up from behind me and so I tried not to get kicked or punched.  While I managed to avoid any knock out blows,  I did find the right side of my goggles had a small leak, and so every couple of minutes I was forced to roll onto my back and drain my goggle.  In spite of this, my swim went surprisingly well.  I really tried to focus on both my breathing and my stroke technique, and the more I concentrated, the easier the swimming felt.  As I reached the final turnaround buoy and glanced at my watch, I was pleased to see that I was heading back after an outbound swim of 16:55.  At that pace, I would be right around 34 minutes total, which was well below what I'd anticipated.  I pressed on and did some of my best swimming in the last two to three hundred yards.  When I reached the shore I was a tad slower at 36:55, but this was still on the pointy end of what I'd hoped to do.  Even better, I did not feel tired and I still had plenty left for the rest of the day.  Swim Result (Based on prediction chart): Between Epic and Great.

Transition One:
Sometimes it's easy to take the transition time for granted in this long of a race. Given that the race lasts several hours, there isn't the same level of pressure that can be found in a sprint or olympic distance event when it's essential to be in and out in less than a minute.  Still I wanted to make my transitions a bit quicker and not waste unnecessary time.  I had no trouble getting either my arms or my legs out of the wet suit, even with my watch and timing chip.  I quickly dried my feet and got my shoes on.  The helmet and glasses presented no problems and I was out on the bike course.  Total time for T1 was a quick 2:37.  T1 result: Between Great and Good.

The Bike:
The wind was out and it favored us on the outbound leg.  In fact most of the first 30 miles were somewhere between 21-24 mph with little or no effort.  I even clocked one of the miles in under two minutes.  I coasted most of the downhill sections in order to save some energy for later.  I figured that as long as my average speed was somewhere around 20 mph, I was on target for a great ride.  Halfway through I was at 1:18, which would mean a 2:36 ride if I kept the same pace.  I knew that I wouldn't and right around 30 miles the course turned back towards the start and I found myself confronting a steady headwind, as well as a fair amount of climbing.  I did my best to increase cadence on the hills and spin up them with as little effort as possible.  That being the case, I saw my pace dip to below 13 mph on several occasions.  I continued to ride conservatively, but even as I climbed the last bit back to transition, I sensed that my legs were a bit more fatigued than I'd hoped.  My time for the bike leg was 2 hours, 56 minutes, and 14 seconds.  This was a bit slower than I would have hoped, but given the wind and hills was a decent result, putting me somewhere between a "good" and "great" performance.

Transition Two:
Back in transition, I experienced some minor confusion as I returned my bike only to find another bike in my spot.  Another competitor had placed it there without realizing that he was one space off.  At the time, I found this fairly irritating though in retrospect it wasn't such a big deal.  Funny how races can make us hyper-sensitive to things.  At any rate, I racked my bike and carefully got into my running shoes.  As with T1, I didn't want to spend a lot of time in transition.  I was able to stay focused and managed to make it out in 2:58.  Closer to Good in terms of results.

The Run:
Starting out on the first mile, I felt a bit winded and tired from the bike and I sensed that it would be tough to string together a really solid run.  I decided to really look at it as a mile to mile situation.  I pushed forward and to my surprise I hit the first mile in just over 8 minutes.  That was too damn fast I thought to myself.  I stopped and walked through the first aid station so that I could get plenty of water and ice.  The sun was beating down fairly well at this point, and I wanted to be sure that I stayed cool.  The next two miles were a bit slower and I probably spent a little too long at the mile 3 aid station.  I made a mental note to try and walk through the aid stations rather than stopping completely.  Just past mile four I found a bathroom and decided that a quick break was in order.  I also discovered that my right calf muscle had begun to cramp up a bit.  I stopped a couple of times to stretch it out.  I still had 9 long miles ahead of me and I contemplated that I might be walking a fair amount if my calf got any worse.  Instead what I discovered is that the pain was diminished if I kept moving.  I decided to keep running and as I did, the cramping was less bothersome.  I kept getting closer to the turnaround and saw my brother a few minutes ahead of me.  There was a small miracle when I reached the turnaround.  The sun disappeared behind some clouds where it would remain the rest of the afternoon, and I suddenly felt rejuvenated.   As I worked my way back to mile seven, I picked up the pace quite a bit.  Unfortunately, it was a bit too much, and my calf seized up on me again.  I stopped and stretched it out as best I could, but it would remain a dull ache for the next six miles.  Still, I pressed on.  Without the sun, it was much cooler and I even managed to skip a couple of the aid stations.  In retrospect, I probably should have hit one or two more, as I think the last couple of miles were really a "bonk" for me.  I managed to catch up to my brother once at mile 9 and then again at mile 10.  It goes without saying that we were both feeling the effects of a long day of racing.  My time for the run was 2:08:41. This was a "less" than average performance, but I can honestly say that I gave it everything I had, which is the true measure of success.

My overall time for the race was 5:47:27.  This put me in 112th place overall out of 363 competitors.  That's within the top third overall.  In my age group I was 19th out of 45 competitors, or somewhere around  the top 43%.  I've had better finishes in other races, but I still was pleased to be in the top half overall.  When I look at my overall time that gives me a result that is pretty close to a "good" performance, and I'd say that feels about right.  With a bit more training, I think I could have cut the bike time down by a few minutes, and with better bike fitness, that will translate into a stronger run.  I can't say when my next half distance race will be, but I know the next time, I will be in better condition than I was this go around.

Speaking of next races, I know that the next big challenge for me is Ironman Boulder.  This race was a not so subtle reminder of how difficult that race is going to be.  Had IM Boulder been yesterday, I would have been nowhere close to finishing.  Mercifully, it was not.  I will take a bit of a break now, and then sit down to plot out a strategy for tackling that next great challenge.


2014 Harvest Moon Triathlon Race Plan

In October of 2013, I was cruising along the bike course of Ironman 70.3 Austin.  With around 8 miles to go, I was feeling great and was about to dial back my speed a tad so that I would have something left for the run.  At that moment, a large orange cone appeared on the road straight in front of me.  There was no time to brake or maneuver around it, so I clobbered it at a little over 20 mph, hoping my momentum might help me to stay upright.  It didn't, and instead of finishing the race, I wound up in the emergency room with a broken collarbone, cracked rib, and a pretty fair amount of road rash.  I would spend the next two months recovering.
Not so great ending to Austin 70.3

It's now 10 months later, and I'm gearing up for the Harvest Moon Triathlon.  This is a half-distance as well, albeit a local, non-WTC one.  It's my last triathlon of the season, and most likely my last until Ironman Boulder next year. For 2014, the Harvest is my "A" race and I'm excited to get after it.
That said, I've had to adjust my goals a bit this time.  Last weekend I went out for a ride and a run, and while I didn't feel terrible, I can also tell that I'm not at optimum fitness.  I don't have any doubts about finishing, but I also recognize that I haven't put in the time and effort into training to put together a sub 5:30 performance.  There have been a number of reasons for this but the main one has been that work has been unusually busy this month.  Not only do 55-65 hour work weeks reduce the amount of time available to train, but they also do a decent job of zapping the energy to go out and train.  I don't have any doubt that I can finish the race, and I still feel like a sub 6 hour race is feasible, but I will need to be feeling 100% and I will need to race smart.  So with that, here's my race plan!

Taper Week:
With students reporting back to school next week, it will be an ideal time to taper, as I'll still be quite busy.  My plan is to do a ride this weekend, and get a short swim and run in during the coming week.  That's it. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday will be full rest days for me.  I want to be "itching" to go at the start on Sunday morning.  After last weekend's difficult workout, I've also been paying better attention to my nutrition.  I've laid off the beer (sigh) and recognized that a steady diet of breakfast burritos, pizza, and onion rings is probably not helping any.  I mean, Jesus!  I ate donuts at least twice the week before last.  And when I say "ate donuts twice," I don't mean that I ate two donuts.  Consider half-dozen to a dozen to be a better unit of measurement for how said donuts were consumed. All of that is behind me now, and with two weeks of healthy living, I should be doing much better come race time.

You just can't do that!
Race Day Plans:
The extended forecast for Aurora looks to be pretty decent.  Afternoon T-storms are likely, but at this point, it doesn't look like it will be scorching hot or freezing cold.  That said, you can never be certain what you will get with the weather.  I've done a lot of training in hot weather this summer, so I'm used to it, but I would prefer temperatures in the 50's and 60's come race day.
I like a simple transition area, so I will try to keep things to a minimum.  If the weather is rainy and/ or cold, I may have to add a few items, but we'll just have to wait and see.

Extended forecast for Aurora next weekend
I've been giving some thought to nutrition as it has been quite some time since I've done a race of this length.  While I don't plan on doing a lot of "experimenting" on race day, I do plan to take in a bit more nutrition than in the past.  I've had a few "bonking" moments throughout the summer that I believe are due in part to a lack of sufficient nutrition along the way.  I will probably put a couple of solid power bar items into my kit for the bike as I find these are less upsetting to my stomach.

The Swim:
The swim remains my biggest limiter.  I've worked more on swimming this year than ever before, but that hasn't really translated to getting much faster.  The lack of opportunities to do some OWS also doesn't help, and so I am not the greatest at sighting.  That said, I do feel more comfortable in the water and I'm not nearly as exhausted from workouts.  I've added more structure to my workouts and really concentrated on better form.   My goal for this race will be to swim comfortably and to try not expend too much energy, saving it for the bike and run.  I believe that a swim of 38-42 minutes is reasonable for this race.

Transition 1: Coming out of the swim, I will try to hustle out onto the bike course.  T1 is an easy place to lose 2-3 minutes if you aren't careful.  I believe that a simpler transition area helps with this as it reduces the time you need to get going (2-3 minutes).  I will skip the socks at this point.

The Bike:
I've felt pretty good on my longer rides this month.  A few weeks back, I knocked out a 62 miler and kept a pretty steady pace the whole time.  However, since my fitness isn't as strong this year, I think the bike is where I need to be careful.  It would be easy to put in a really strong ride, only to wind up struggling through the run.  From what I understand the bike course isn't difficult, but it does have a number of rolling hills and false flats on it which means it will be difficult to keep a steady pace throughout.  Barring weather issues, I think I can ride this anywhere from 2:48 on the high end, to 3:05 on the slower end of things.  That said, I would really prefer to be somewhere in the middle of these two numbers.
Transition 2:  After a long bike ride, this is an easy area to lose some time.  I will throw on my socks and shoes here, and put on my visor.  I've been running with a visor and without sunglasses which has made for one less thing to worry about (2-3 minutes).

The Run:
Looking at run times for my age group from 2013, it looks like most finishers in the top half ran between a 1:40 to a 2:20.  Since running is still my strongest area, I feel like I can put in a decent run.  Earlier this year, I would have hoped to do it sub 1:50, but I think that this is probably out of reach.  If it's at all hot, this could be another factor.  Therefore, I'm going to shoot for something between a 1:55-2:05.  What I would like to do is run the first half at about 15-30 seconds slower per mile than the second half.  If I feel good at 10 miles, then I can put the hammer down and finish strong.

The "Chart":
As always, I like to chart out the possibilities for the race.  Here are some possible scenarios:

Barring any major disasters, I honestly believe that I have a shot at finishing somewhere around the 5hr 45 min mark.  The truth is, if the weather is decent, I will be satisfied with anything under 6 hours.  That would be a good starting point going into the off-season before gearing up for IM Boulder.