Friday, March 29, 2013

Timberman Half Iron Relay 2012




Skipping ahead a few races to get to Timberman, which was actually my "A" race for the year.  I had finally convinced Jerry and Marc to do this race with me, so I had a pretty strong bike focus this year.

Pre-race routine:

We had Make-A-Wish parking passes, so we didn’t need to get to Ellacoya early enough to get into general parking. This allowed an extra hour of sleep, or more accurately an extra hour of lying in bed wishing I were asleep. The plan was to meet Jerry and Marc at the William Tell parking lot at 5:45 and head over to the event. Got our of bed at 5, had a bagel with jelly, Reliv mix, and coffee. Met the team and headed to the park. Got there and found our transition spot and got the details of the relay handoff. There was a pen right at the swim out arch where we had to exchange the timing chip. Our bike rack was also at the swim out corner, so that meant I was the one who would lug the bike the entire max distance of the transition area. I decided on the best path, and set up the bike. No need to set up a transition area as I’d have my helmet and shoes already on and just run like crazy with the bike to the mount area. Helped Jerry with his wetsuit and he took a few hundred yards of practice. Marc walked down to the start with him and I waited in the pen. The swim start is a few hundred yards down the beach including some waterways, so I didn’t want to get my feet wet and covered with sand.

Event warmup:

Not much, just waited for Jerry to get out of the water. I did some dynamic stretches Baroody has shown me to warm the legs up, but didn't do any cycling.


   Swim

Comments:

We could follow Jerry as soon as the gun went off for the wave. He and another swimmer immediately went to the front and separated themselves quite a bit. By the first buoy they were already on the heels of the previous wave slowest swimmers. As they rounded the buoy to head in, they were still very close together but one of them was breaking ahead. It was impossible for me to tell whether it was Jerry or not, but I knew we’d be near the front of the relayers out of the water. He was also passing most of the previous wave, meaning there wouldn’t be many people at all in front of us since we were the second wave after the pros. Jerry came to the pen a few seconds behind the lead relay swimmer. We exchanged the timing chip strap and I was off.



T1



   Bike

Comments:

The other cyclist who was slightly ahead of us took a different path to the mount line, and I really hustled through transition with my bike and got there first and mounted. I pushed out of the transition path to the cheers of the Make-A-Wish section and entered the road. I knew there were only about 10 people from the first wave ahead of me at that point, and I could see three on the first hill right out of transition. I pushed really hard immediately and passed two before the hill, and caught another as soon as the hill crested. By the time I turned at Sawyer’s 3 miles in, there were only 2 people I could see ahead. I decided to hammer the first 10 miles near threshold to the top of Marsh Hill and evaluate at that point.

I passed another person on the uphill before the sprint turnaround, and I could see one more pretty far ahead. It was very strange being almost completely alone in such a large race, and I was glad to have targets to chase down.

I passed another cyclist after the left off 11B and wasn’t sure if there were any more ahead. On the climb up Marsh Hill, I was passed back, but as soon as we crested and started down the fast downhill I zipped by. About a mile after turning onto 106 I went past the last age grouper and couldn’t see anyone ahead even though the straightaways gave me about ¾ mile of visibility, so I assumed I was in the lead among age groupers at that point.

Holy crap! First age grouper at Timberman! I knew we were only a relay team and the wave assignments made this a possibility, but still, holy crap! I decided then to have a goal to be the first into transition and settled in for the flat middle section of the course. I took a gel at about an hour in, and realized I’d only had one sip of my calorie drink.

Knowing I wouldn’t be running afterward, and also that my intensity was pretty high, I decided against consuming my normal amount of calories for this ride. I saw the pros coming the other way at mile 24; two were well ahead of the rest of the field and absolutely flying. The rest of the out was uneventful as I hammered through the course.

At the turn around, I passed a woman pro who looked to be having mechanical issues. She was going very slowly and was very encouraging as I went past. After that I seemed to lose focus a little and sort of went into “triathlon mode”. My brain was telling me to hold back and save something, and my body was listening. After about 5-7 miles of that, I “woke up” and remembered I wasn’t running afterward and hit it hard again.

When I turned onto the Farrahville crook, I looked back and still couldn’t see anyone. I powered up the short hill and was back on 106 before I knew it. After turning onto Leavitt again, I knew the Marsh Hill climb was ahead and decided to hit it as hard as I could. I was thankful we switched to the compact crank and I got out of the saddle and pushed hard all the way up. At the top, turning left for the downhill, I looked back again and still saw no one. 10 miles to go and still the first AG’er!

I was redlining now so I took a breather by coasting down Marsh Hill, still hitting 46. From there to home is only about 10 miles and one real hill, so I pushed up the hill and then rode hard down the other side. At the stretch near Sawyer’s two cars had stopped in a spot where I couldn’t get by and the police were trying to get them off the course, but I had to come to a stop while they cleared out.

After they pulled off, I clipped back in and continued on. As I turned right onto 11, I could see the road all the way back to the farm stand and knew with 3 miles to go no one would catch me. I rode hard for the final stretch, turned into Ellacoya, got the huge star treatment from the Make-A-Wish area, and dismounted. I ran my bike back to the rack, ran to the pen and handed of the strap to Marc.

What would you do differently?:

Not much. Saddle was uncomfortable, and the loss of focus was a mental midget moment, but overall this was about all I had to give.


T2



   Run

Comments:

Jerry and I waited for the next relay team, and they showed up 11 minutes later! We figured no one would catch Marc with an 11 minute lead, so at that point barring disaster we knew we had a great chance to win. At the end of the first 10k loop we told Marc he had a 9 minute lead to start (we didn’t want to tell him 11 and risk him slacking!) but didn’t see any other relayers for 6 minutes, so we stopped looking and knew no one could make up that much time on him in 10k. In the end, we won by about 8 minutes.



Post race

Event comments:

Surreal moment to be the first AG'er into transition in such a large event and to win the relay division. Never been near the podium, so even as a relayer it was a special moment. We got personally engraved pure Maple Syrup as prizes, so the pancakes the next morning were especially awesome.

My only slight disappointment was that Chrissie usually comes to this race and hangs out with the Make-A-Wish racers, but as she is taking this year off she wasn't there. She did send us an email greeting and gave us a copy of her book. Hopefully we'll see her next year. Not much more to say.
 


Wallis Sands 2012 Half Marathon

Long ago in  aland far away my 2012 season happened.
 
Wallis Sands Half Marathon Race report:
 
Pre-race routine:

Up at 4:30. Had a banana and a half bagel with honey. Ate relatively light since my previous 2 day carbo binge left me with some cramps during yesterday's run and still felt a little stuffed at dinner last night. Had two coffees at home and then stopped at Starbucks for the last one on the way to the race. Slept terrible as always before a race.

Event warmup:

Ran abut 5 minutes in the parking lot, then out to the road and a few pickups to race pace.


   Run

Comments:

First four miles were right along the coast, therefore nearly perfectly flat, and with a wind behind the back. I tried to go pretty easy and felt like these four miles went by quickly and without issue. I had opted to wear the long sleeve summer layer under my Gnomie shirt, and I after mile 3 I thought maybe it would be too much so I pulled up the sleeves at least.
 
I was running with someone who told me in the start chute he was hoping to go out in 8:00 pace before he picked it up, so I assumed we were about at that level. As we turned inland, I did a quick check and everything was 100%. Achilles was absolutely fine, breathing was smooth, no cramping in site. First third of the race was down and so far I had been smart and not gone out way too fast. (8:01, 8:02, 8:05, 8:06, HR was at 164 avg by mile 4)
 
I lost my running partner as he took off on his quest for faster paces, and I really never ran with anyone the rest of the race. As the fifth mile progressed, we hit some minor hills and I really worked to keep the effort constant, no matter the pace. I had tried something completely different this race with my GPS. I decided to only have the HR visible so I wasn’t obsessing over moment to moment pacing and such. At this point in the race, the effort was even but hard. I did feel like I could maintain this effort for the whole race, and since HR was showing just a few beats below threshold I thought that was good.
 
These middle miles were mostly into an increasingly strong wind and through rolling hills, thus the slower mile times despite the even pace. The wave start of the race and relatively low number of entrants kept the crowd down and I was running basically alone with usually 10-20 yards free in front of me. (8:15, 8:20, 8:18, 8:06, 8:26, HR was at 163 avg).
 
The last third of the race was mostly flat with a few small rollers, though still into the wind until the last mile and a half. At this point, I was starting to feel some tightness in the legs though overall everything was great. At mile 10 I did a check to see how the last 5k should be run, and everything was right on. No Achilles issue at all, no cramps, no leg problems. Tried to tick the effort up just a bit, and started catching a few people who were fading. Kept that level of effort through to the end, though picked up the pace at the last quarter mile to pass a few people on the way through the chute, one of whom had passed me about a half mile back.
 
Felt great about the finishing effort, though given how relatively fresh my legs felt gearing it up for that last quarter mile push I wonder if I could have extended it back a mile or two. (8:05, 8:07, 8:09, 8:09, 6:57 last quarter mile, HR was 167 and peaked at 170 at finish).


What would you do differently?:

Not sure I could have run much faster overall, though I do wonder if I could have stepped up a bit for the last mile or two given the surge I had at the very end. I just need to keep running and get miles in my legs, and race more so I know the feeling and how hard to push. I've blown up a few times at this distance (once in a HM and once in a 70.3) so maybe that plays too much into my decision making.


Post race

Warm down:

Walking warm down. It got colder and windier, so dressed up and ate the food.


What limited your ability to perform faster:

This was a well run race for my current fitness. Afterwards I thought I could maybe have pushed some parts harder, but based on the HR numbers maybe not.


Event comments:

Well planned race, lots of parking right on site, went out in waves so no crowding at all. Lots of volunteers along the way. Love this event.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Starting over - 2013



Ok, so a 2013 resolution is to get this blog caught up and keep it up to date.  The first thing I’ll have to do is recap 2012, so that should take a few entries.  Join me in the way back machine.
2012 was a little bit of different year for me, as I had 2 main goals.  One was to run more and the other was to get my two friends Marc and Jerry involved in a tri.  We had talked a while back at CPC about doing a relay, so I targeted Timberman 70.3 as the race.  They agreed to do it, so we signed up in January and that set my “A” race for the year.  I added the Wallis Sands HM in May to give me running motivation through the winter.  I also wanted to do a 70.3 on my own, and I added a few sprints, included a replay of the site of my first tri ever – the Mainiac - to see how far I've come.

So my 2012 race schedule looked like this:

May 5 – Wallis Sands HM
June 10 – Marlborough Sprint Tri
June 14 – Hollis 5k
Aug 19- Timberman 70.3 (bike leg of relay)
Aug 26 – Rev3 Maine – 70.3
Sep 9 – Mainiac Sprint Tri

Timberman was definitely my most important race as I really wanted to have a great day with Jerry and Marc.  Jerry was going to be potentially the fastest non-pro swimmer, and Marc is a fantastic runner, so I didn’t want to let them down.
I also knew I wanted to PR the half marathon, so I spent the first part of the year focused on running and figured I’d flip the switch to biking after the half.  My plan was to bike 2 or 3 times a week to keep bike fitness in place and run 6 times a week.  I typically don’t swim in the winter, and in fact do very little swim training at all.

I have to say I was very consistent with my running and got to an average of low 40s miles per week for all of March and April.  I roughly followed a plan put forth by BarryP of slowtwitch called the 3:2:1 plan.  Basically there are 6 runs per week in the ratio of 3 runs at distance x, 2 runs at distance 2x, and 1 run at distance 3x.  All the runs are at a relaxed pace for a relative beginner like me, and the idea is just to build miles into your legs and get a great base.  So by the end, a typical week was something like 3 runs at 4.5 miles, two at 8-9, and one at 13-15.  I topped off at 177 miles for March and hit 169 for April, so those totals made me quite happy.  I also ran without any injuries for the first time in my life, and I attribute that to running so frequently, at a relatively easy pace, building miles slowly, and not buying into all the new running fads such as barefoot/forefoot running and messing around with your natural form too much.

My online mentor group on Beginner Triathlete helped a ton, and I dare say I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them.  Special shout out to mentors Dirk, Jeff, and Jonathan, as well as all the other members of the Asphalt Junkies group.  And no discussion of anything I have done in triathlon is complete without a mention of Dr. Steve Baroody, my ART specialist – without him there is simply no way I could have accomplished any of this.  He keeps my old body chugging along relatively efficiently and relatively injury free.

So this takes me up to May 5th , 7:00 AM, in the parking lot at Wallis Sands, race day for the half marathon.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Race report for half iron

Just catching up again. Wanted to post my race report from the Pumpkinman, just so I have it on record here:

Pumpkinman Triathlon Festival
2010-09-12
South Berwick, Maine
United States
50F / 10C
Overcast

Triathlon - 1/2 Ironman
Total Time = 5h 53m 33s
Overall Rank = /
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/


Pre-race routine:

Got up at 4, ate good size breakfast off eggs and fruit and vitamin drink. My head wasn't right and I just couldn't focus. Energy was still low as it's been for a while, but I figured adrenaine a caffeine would serve me well. I decided to write some notes for T1 and T2 since I felt like I'd forget to put my helmet on or something. Little did I know...

Event warmup:

Not much, just dynamic stretching. The shorter the race, the longer the warm up, so I figured a race this long doesn't need much if any warm up.


Swim (1.2 miles, 33:31, 1:35/100 yards)

Comments:

This was a great swim. I took it easy on the first loop and just cruised. Didn't find a draft, but there was pretty clear water most of the way. I hit every buoy so I knew I was going straight. After starting the second loop I felt great, so I picked it up just a bit while keeping everything pretty relaxed and smooth and really lengthened my strokes. When I exited the water, I felt totally relaxed, wasn't breathing very hard, and heart rate was very low. I had no coughing at all during the swim, which is amazing given the bronchitis issues I'd been having and each short swim I had done over the past two weeks resulted in violent coughing.

What would you do differently?:

Nothing, this swim exceeded all expectations.


T1 (6:34)

Comments:

This was a long uphill from the pond to T1. I knew I'd struggle with breathing/coughing if I hoofed it, so I walked the entire hill (probably about 300 yards). Once I got to my transition spot, I was experiencing some brain freeze trying to figure out how to proceed, and the notes I had written helped. I still took quite a while to figure out how to get everything on and get the bike started.



Bike (56 miles, 2:51:11, 19.63 mph)

Comments:

Based on how I felt when I woke up in the morning, I had decided to abandon my thoughts of pushing the bike in favor of taking it easy and seeing if my energy would hold up. I spent the first 30 miles on total cruise control, barely working into Z2. At mile 30, I felt ok, but the general energy level was dropping so I stepped it up just a bit but not too much. I did negative split the bike, but overall this was the easiest effort ride I've done all year. The big problem was that I didn't drink my calories or eat my Clif bar. More on that in the post race comments.

What would you do differently?:

Not too much, but given the run was so bad anyway could I have shaved some time here by pushing and still had the same run?


T2 (5:07)

Comments:

I made s'mores for everyone in my rack and caught up on some email while I was in T2. Seriously, T1 I expected to be slow due to the hill, but what the heck was I doing in T2? I still don't know what could have possibly taken this long. I guess my brain really was on vacation.



Run (13.1 miles, 2:17:19, 10:29/mile)

Comments:

I saw the clock on the way out of T2 showing 3:36 and knew even a 2:04 would get me my uber goal of 5:40, so I knew 9:20 miles would get me there. I was right on track through about 10k, in fact a bit ahead. Then I started slowing down a bit. It was great that I had hooked up with someone running his 6th HIM and wanted to run at the same pace, so we were encouraging each other and just running together. I didn't really have any leg or muscle issues, I just had no energy. Starting around mile 8, I began to get lightheaded, and at the mile 10.5 aid station, I dropped to the ground after getting water. I spent about 20 minutes eating pretzels and resting until I felt ok, and then walked and ran the last 2.5 miles to finish.



Post race

Warm down:

Drank lots of gatorade, stretched a little, let my boys wear the finisher medal, and enjoyed the turkey dinner.


What limited your ability to perform faster:

Not signing up for the aquabike?

I retrieved my bike out of transition and found that I had only drank about 2/3 of my calories. Apparently when I took the last draw on the straw and it was empty, I was using the water straw but thought it was the calorie drink straw. Maybe this was the cause of the huge energy drop on the run. Or maybe I just need to swim/bike/run more and be fitter!


Event comments:

This was an awesome race top to bottom. Well organized, great volunteers, super course.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Season over

Planning a local 5k for Oct. 30th, just for fun and to track progress through the winter.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Back from Pinehurst and training at home again. Got a long run in the North Carolina heat and it was a learning experience. Go slow and hydrate! It was interesting to do my long run one week at 92 degrees and then my first long run back home was at 36! Ah, New England...

The weather is finally co-operating though, and I'm starting to get some longer rides in. The bike setup feels good.

I've got my training plan down for the HIM with help from Leigh. It seems light on volume but she assures me there's enough with the quality work I'm doing, so I'll just follow the plan. Essentially the key workouts are a hard bike (hour TT type ride), a hard run (variety of speed work), long bike (up to 3+ hours), and a long run (90 mins max). Other weekly work includes at least one other mid-long ride up to 2 hours, and a few more runs including some short bricks. The swimming is as I fit it in, with emphasis on lake swims as often as possible.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Not much going on except training again. I'm finally back in the water with a few pool swims. The plan is to do a few swims a week early morning in the PEA pool. It's good because everyone at home is still asleep while I'm drowning so the cost to the clan is low.

I finally got outside on the bike, and found my set up is way too aggressive for the road. I'm thinking of undoing all the tri stuff and just set it up as a road bike and wait until I get a tri bike to go all aero and such.

I'm still not sure about doing a tri this month, but I probably will. Next week is a golf vacation week, so no swimming or biking while I'm away but maybe a few runs.