Running Shorts?

I did a lot of running back in the 2000’s. Since they ended only four or five years ago, I figured I wasn’t that out of touch. Self delusion is a wonderful thing.

Back in the day, my preferred running apparel anytime the temperature was above freezing was a pair of the ubiquitous “Running Shorts”. They were usually polyester so as not to accumulate too much sweat, had an inseam of maybe 5″ or less so as not to get in the way, and had an inner liner so as to keep your privates snugly and unexposed. You could pick these up at any running store or race expo for $10 or $20. They were de rigueur, the standard, a no brainer.

So now that I’m trying to revive my running habit, I find the shorts I have either degraded by age, obsoleted by fashion, better fitting for only one leg, or MIA with the odd socks. No problem!  I have a nice gift card from Finish Line Sports, a Christmas gift from my son in his attempts to get dad moving, and I’m off to shop for some nifty new shorts.

But alas!  Times have changed! Where have my trusty Running Shorts gone? A survey of the men’s shorts department reveals a variety of shorts, most with 9″ or 10″ inseams, and few with “liners”.

Yah, okay, maybe the 5″ inseam isn’t a flattering look for an obese and aging man. I can see myself in something a bit longer though I expect it will increase my consumption of GlideBodyGlide in attempts to keep my already gapless thighs from shredding each other. And, by the way, BodyGlide has changed too – now coming in an unfamiliar blue and white package and offering a special option “for her” – ‘cuz we all know women want to moisturize while avoiding the chafe. Or maybe the pink container just goes better with their outfits?

But where has my trusted “gusset” gone? Will my “package” be evermore sentenced to confinement by the traditional, though I thought obsolete, jock strap? Do they even make jock straps anymore? Back in my prep school days we got a freshly laundered one, along with socks, shorts, and a T-shirt, prior to practice each day from the athletic trainer. But I thought my days of elastic undergarments were over. Perhaps those with greater blessings than I are still familiar with the snug embrace of the athletic supporter but my more average accoutrements had always preferred the less restrained and better ventilated ride of my Running Shorts’ liner.

And then there are these new “2-in-1 shorts” with a “built-in compression liner”. Compression liner? Spanx? I’m supposed to run in Spanx? GirdI mean, if I’m gonna go for foundation garments, I think I’m more of a lace-up corset kind of a guy. Maybe something with little white bows? But I digress. I’m not looking for something to shape my derrière, just something to keep my junk from the friction!

I finally found a couple of the more expensive shorts that promised an inner liner or a “mesh gusset” – something I thought more appropriate in a bathing suit – but at a price of $55 or $60 a pair!

FotLSo for now I’m trying some 9″ inseam polyester shorts over my trusty cotton Fruit of the Loom briefs. The whitey tighties are fine for the short distances I’m currently able to achieve, but I’m going to need another option before long. Guess I’ll keep shopping.

 

Posted in Attire, Running | 3 Comments

Déjà vu all over again!

TiredAfter a few aborted attempts…  I’ve registered for an October 5k and once again undertaken the “Couch to 5k” training plan in an attempt to get moving and gain some health.

Last night was Week 1 Day 1. Upper 70’s and steamy roads wet by a summer rain. A pesky horsefly followed for a while before giving his life to a lucky swat. It was good to be out in the neighborhood. It was sad to be out of breath after what once would have seemed a trivial effort. Youngest son, who’d been out on a 4 or 5 mile run of his own, joined me for the cool-down walk followed by a heavenly underwear-clad dip in the chilly pool.

What makes this start different? An increased feeling of resolve? Pictures from the beach showing the large, rounded, out of shape man I’ve returned to being? The appeal of racing in lederhosen? My wife’s ever-present prods of concern? My kids depending on me less and less and the nest empties? The fact that *I* chose to do it myself? Maybe.

Here we go.

Posted in C25k, Running | Leave a comment

Timberman 2009

 

Timberman 70.3 2009

Timberman Triathlon Festival

August 23, 2009
1.2m/56m/13.1m

Fashion Report
Club tri-shorts and top, Xterra Vortex sleeveless wetsuit in complimentary black.
Well-worn Adrenaline GTS 8’s.

Breakfast Report
Single serving box of Cheerios. Raw, plain multigrain bagel. Banana. OJ.

Result Summary
1.2 mile Swim: 41:23 (34:29/mile, 1:58/100y, 1336/1862)
T1 – 4:45
56 mile Bike: 3:02:22 (18.4 mph avg, 1047/1862)
T2 – 5:37
13.1 mile Run: DNF
Total: DNF (158/162 M45-49, 1833/1862)

In-race Nutrition
T1 – Bit of Gatorade.
Bike – 3+ bottles of Gatorade, 1 small Clifbar, 1 Gu.
T2 – Bit of Gatorade.
Run – N/A.

Evaluation against previously posted goals:

Entering the race seriously undertrained, my plan was to go as long as I was having fun. When I stopped having fun, I’d stop.

Fun

I most definitely had fun. The weather, again, exceeded expectations; both DW and DS1 had great races in Saturday’s sprint; I got to see lots of friends; had a blast encouraging swimmers from a kayak on Saturday; had some nice meals out with the family.  All good!

This was DS1’s first “adult” triathlon and he did awesome! Starting in the final “first timer’s” wave, I got to keep an eye on his swim from my volunteer kayak position. He was steady and confident and did great! He had a blast on the bike and, though he said he had to walk a bit with a side stitch, he looked strong on the run and had a blast! He says he’d like to do another – so that’s a victory! DW completed her race without her knee hurting too much or swelling too badly – so that’s a victory for her as well!  Wooohooo!

Swim

2007: 47:44 (39:47/mile, 1265/1492 – 86.8%)
2008: 42:59 (35:50/mile, 869/1530 – 56.8%)
2009: 41:23 (34:29/mile, 1:58/100y, 1336/1862 – 71.8%)

Up at 4:30 and over to the park to get settled. I ended up parking just about on the beach right near the start so I left my swim gear in the car and headed for transition to get set up. There, I ran into tons of friends – both real and imaginary. Since my expectations were low, I was totally relaxed and had a lot of fun chatting up the peeps. When the race finally got underway after a course delay, I wandered back to my car to get suited up.

Like last year, I started in the next to last wave, followed only by the relay teams and Aqua Bikers, so there was a lot of standing around before the race. I stood around in the water with friends Monica, Kyle, and Cheryl while we made small talk to stay calm. Shortly before it was my wave’s turn, DW and DS2 showed up having biked over from the hotel and gave final hugs and encouragement!

Finally it’s time to go and we’re off. I settle into a steady stroke and try to hang mid-pack-ish. By the first turn, we’re catching some slower swimmers from the previous wave and not long after that the faster swimmers from the final wave are upon us – so it seemed like I was never out of the crowd. Maybe a third of the way across the long leg, I get wonked on the head and turn to see it’s my friend Kyle who’s caught me from the final wave! I tap him on the shoulder and tell him to “Knock it off!” for a laugh.

I was real happy that I stayed calm and in my stroke the entire way. I wasn’t pushing – just swimming easy and thinking about form. I had plenty of breath, enjoyed the sunshine and clear water, and just had fun. Experiencing none of the cramps I’d felt the previous couple of years, I climbed out to see 41:xx on my watch and, thinking I’d swum 38:xx the previous year, was pretty pleased that I was within a few minutes of that at a relaxed effort. I was thrilled to figure out later it was a PR for the swim! I must be improving my form!?!?

T1

2007: 4:06
2008: 3:34
2009: 4:45

Well, here’s where not being in a hurry really shows up!  I took my time through T1. I rather calmly jogged to my spot bypassing the strippers, removed my own suit, had a bit of Gatorade while I rinsed my feet and applied socks before gently jogging out to the bike exit. (Before the race, Cheryl had asked me if I “used the strippers.” I told her “only when my wife is out of town!”) All good. Still having fun!

Bike

2007: 3:00:24 (18.6 mph avg, 708/1492 – 47.5%)
2008: 2:53:18 (19.4 mph avg, 490/1530 – 32.0%)
2009: 3:02:22 (18.4 mph avg, 1047/1862 – 56.2%)

Again, my plan was to stay well within myself and just have fun. I’d gone a little too hard on the bike last year and paid for it – and I wasn’t in the hunt anyway. I found Cheryl on the first corner coming out of the park and checked in with her – she seemed OK, a little stressed, and underjoyed when I told her she was 3 minutes ahead of me!

I got into the rhythm and slowly loosened up my back that seemed strangely tight. I cranked along passing more than passed me and enjoying the sun on a day that had threatened thundershowers. I took my time and had fun encouraging and joking with other riders. Near the turn-around, I passed this woman “Heather” and she and I had a fun dual for the next several miles. She was faster on the ups but I’d pass her on the flats and downs. We began joking with each other on what would turn out to be probably 15 passes! Good fun.

Almost bit it when, approaching the right turn onto Leavitt Road near mile 43 or so, there was an emergency vehicle coming up from the rear with sirens blaring. The flaggers at the head of the cones were flagging me into the cone lane to make the turn. Unfortunately, the car to my left thought they were flagging them to pull over! So they did! Right at the entrance to the cone lane and right in front of me! I managed to slow enough to keep control as I did a little off-roading around the car before getting back on pavement and making the turn – but it was pretty dicey for a second there!

I did spot Monica at one point going in the opposite direction and looking strong! I kept chugging along, pushing when it was fun, relaxing where I could. I even hit 49mph coming down Marsh Hill! This was the longest bike ride I’d been on in two months or more so I knew I couldn’t push. At one point on a flat section, I felt a little dizzy and nauseas – not sure what that was but thankfully it passed rather quickly and I was back to having fun.

I cruised back into the park, dismounted, and walked my way back to my spot in transition. Just down the row from my bike, there’s a bike lying on its side in the middle of the aisle! No way around, I lift my bike and try to step over. I loose my balance and mange to dump the Gatorade out of my aero bottle onto my head before recovering and staggering on. THAT should make the highlight reel!

T2

2007: 3:32
2008: 2:47
2009: 5:37

By this point, I’ve started thinking a lot about the run. It’s starting to heat up quite a bit and the sun is beating down. I sit on my bucket and contemplate just stopping here. I’ve had a lot of fun – and I’d really rather go for a swim in the lake. I manage to convince myself I’m gonna run and get changed over. I jog out half-heartedly and start the run. I haven’t run over ten miles in months and I’ve got no umph.

Run

2007: 1:59:23 (9:07 min/mil, 713/1492)
2008: 2:22:40 (10:54 min/mil, 1091/1530)
2009: DNF

Maybe 100y out the club tents line the course. I spy the family and stop to chat. I explain I’ve been having fun but… They encourage and high-five and off I go. I’m plodding along at a slow pace – the legs aren’t too tight and, though I’m not yet overheated, it’s steamy.

I run a ways out the course, see some friends, see some folks looking strong and others not. I get up onto the overlook with beautiful views of the lake and start thinking I’d really rather be down there in the water! I decide that I could keep plugging, likely end up walking much of the 13 miles, and prove that I could complete another half or… I could go take a dip in the lake, relax with my family, and cheer on others. I opt for the latter, make an early turn, and jog back to the park.

Summary

The family wasn’t sure what to make of my early return.  They offered consolation and sympathy, but I was happy!  I’d had a lot of fun, enjoyed the bike and the run, and was really not disappointed at all! And I got to see tons of friends on both days! It was all good! I declare the day a victory!

As I biked with DS2 on the couple miles back to our hotel, I saw all the runners still out there plodding along. Some looked good. But, as I watched others walking unhappily along, I knew I’d made the right call. There’s all kinds of good reasons to walk the “run” of a triathlon. None of them applied for me.

I must say, I thought the organization seemed just a wee bit off this year. Maybe the larger participation added an extra burden or something but the parking during bike racking was totally out of control, the kids race ran out of goody bags, I saw two bikers following the “last bike” car, we had an extra unexpected swim wave in the sprint, the parking exit was worse than ever, etc. Nothing big but… And yet, so much was good. Food was awesome, volunteers galore, great course as always. I’d still go back!

Posted in Half Ironman, Timberman, Triathlon | 2 Comments

Mooseman

Mooseman International 2009
June 6, 2009
1500m/44km/10km

Fashion Report
Club tri-shorts and top, Promotion wetsuit in complimentary red.
A well-worn pair of Adrenaline GTS 8’s.
LIT visor.

Breakfast Report
Cup of coffee and a blueberry muffin en route. Half a wheat bagel one hour prior to start.

Result Summary
0.93m Swim: 35:12 (37:51/mi, 2:09/100y, 626/884)
T1 – 3:15
27.25 mile Bike: 1:23:42 (19.5 mph avg, 207/884)
T2 – 2:33
6.2 mile Run: 54:53 (8:51/mi, 450/884)
Total: 2:59:33 (32/60 M45-49, 385/884)

In-race Nutrition
T1 – Bit of Gatorade.
Bike – 1-1/2 bottles of Gatorade
T2 – Bit of Gatorade.
Run – Alternated water and Gatorade at aid stations.

Previously posted goals:
I had three goals and one secret goal: 1) Stay awake on the drive up, 2) have fun, and 3) stay awake on the drive home. And secretly I wanted to be under three hours.

Evaluation

When the alarm went off at 3:00 AM I briefly considered rolling over. Then got up and at it. Stomach was bubbly. Significant bathroom time twice before rolling out of the garage at 3:30.

Not much traffic at 3:30 AM. Couldn’t find an open Dunky’s. Eventually settled for an Irving and got coffee and a blueberry muffin. Rolled into Wellington State Park at 5:30 AM, beating the crowd and scoring prime parking.

Got my number packet and talked them into giving me Shawn’s goodie bag even though she wasn’t gonna race. Did the porta potties and got set up. Had some fun finding JulieB, KSurp, KBurnell, and Mountain Girl – all imaginary friends from KickRunners, as well as lots of TriFury pals.  Good to have lots of friendly faces around!

Munched a half a bagel maybe 45 minutes prior to the start and then it was time to go and we headed to the beach. One last stop in the plastic castles to try to calm the innards (I think it was my fourth) and all would prove OK during the race. I get in the water for a good ten minutes prior to the start to try get over the shock of the chilly temperature.  They announced 63F but I think it was below 60. It was cold. Once we got the go, it still took me a good ten minutes to get into a rhythm and catch my breath. But I finally found a groove and plugged on. Caught a few of the slower swimmers from the waves ahead, got caught by a few from the waves behind, but generally stayed in stroke and cruised along. It was easy sighting off of the morning sun and I found myself actually… ahem… enjoying the scenery and the swim.

Swam until my hands hit sand and stood. Then fell. Then stood again. A bit wobbly, I got to the wetsuit strippers still fully zipped. Fixed that and zoop! I’m out. Sat on my bucket for socks and shoes and then jogged through transition.

 Hopped on the bike, clipped in, and immediately my left calf cramped. Almost got off again but was was finally able to get it to stop cramping and once I got spinning all was good. Gorgeous bike course along the lake. Slow swim left me with a target-rich environment and I was knocking them down. Found the devil-woman on a tough but doable hill and kept plugging away. (Everyone was skeered of this hill – I think the one at Timberman is worse.) Chatted with club friends, followed female lycra, and generally had fun on the bike!

Back to my bucket for the run shoes and off we go. Lit out on a slow but steady pace and managed to hold it just about the whole way! Power-walked two hills but otherwise maintained a slow but steady run. Realized about two miles out I actually had a shot at the three hours and tried to push a bit.  There’s a beach segment a few hundred yards from the finish that just plain hurt and then a final sprint down a dirt road to the line. I gave it what I had and managed to bring it home with 27 seconds to spare!

Found a few clubmates and hung with them a bit but then relatively quickly bugged out and sped home to catch the second half of the kid’s soccer game. And stayed awake for the ride home!

Summary

I was kinda dreading this race with the long drive and feeling kinda undertrained. But, I had a lot of fun.  The weather was perfect, I had a steady performance, I got to see a number of friends, and I enjoyed it all!

By the way, this race, like Timberman, is EXTREMELY well run. I highly recommend any of the Endorfun events – they do an awesome job!

 

Posted in Triathlon | Leave a comment

Boston Marathon 2009

113th Boston Marathon
April 20, 2009


Fashion Report
After much debate, I made what turned out to be a really good clothing call: my favorite Adidas running shorts, long sleeve poly shirt with my club singlet over, Wrightsock double layer socks, string gloves and some well worn Adrenaline GTS 7’s.

Breakfast Report
Bagel and OJ at home, another bagel on the bus to Hopkinton, a banana in the field, much Gatorade and water.
Probably started a little light – might have eaten a bit more before leaving home.

Result Summary
My 6th Boston and 10th marathon overall was a personal worst: 26.2 miles in 4:14:16 – 9:42 avg.

Bib

Name

Age

M/F

City

State

Country

Ctz

  *  

23692

Intorcio, John

48

M

North Reading

MA

USA

 

 

Checkpoints

5k

10k

15k

20k

Half

25k

30k

35k

40k

0:28:59

0:56:57

1:24:51

1:53:04

1:59:06

2:22:28

2:54:46

3:27:21

3:59:35

Finish

Pace

Projected Time

Official Time

Overall

Gender

Division

0:09:42

 

4:14:16

18014

11216

2233

 

In-race Nutrition
Triberry Gus at 12, 17, 22. Gatorade or water at most stops, a mixture of both for the second half.

Evaluation against goals:
Goals were to have fun and run in the 4:00-4:15 range. Had a “secret goal” of being sub-4 and a plan to go out at 9’s and see what happened.

Perhaps an omen… 2:30 AM the night before the race… The batteries in one of our carbon dioxide detectors go low. It starts to beep, the dog starts to bark, I’m trudging downstairs to get a ladder from the garage to get the thing down.  Of all nights!

Fun
I’ve never run another race like Boston.  The crowds and the atmosphere are like no others. I had fun the whole way – from riding into town with friends Natasha, Frank, and Brian, to hanging out in the athlete’s village with Thor, Adam, Monica, Natasha and several thousand others, to making new friends along the road, to meeting friends in the bar after the finish – it was a great fun day!  Saw lots of clubmates out on the course and in volunteer roles, found friends and family along the way, and just enjoyed the 26 mile party! Totally fun. 

Stay under 9’s
Yah well…  I knew I was undertrained going into this. I’d had an injury back in February (fell by the pool in Mexico twisting one knee and pulling the opposite hamstring) that cost me a couple of weeks in training and I’d done no speedwork and few “quality” runs. Still, I was encouraged by my run at Derry and thought I had a shot at the four hour mark – so I relaxed and got ready.

I started out with Natasha in the unsorted throngs from the time-waved entry corrals.  We bobbed and weaved and passed and were passed by many as the field tried to spread out. I made a detour into the woods after a couple of miles and urged Nat to run on to her faster goal (she’d finish with a nice 3:45!) while I trudged along. Thos first few miles were kinda slow – coming through the 5k mark at 9:21 pace.

As the crowd began to thin, I seemed to find the 9 min mile rhythm. Cruised through Framingham and the Wellesley screams and, by the half way point, was on-plan. Crossed 13.1 in 1:59:06 but knew that wasn’t going to last.  No real pain – jus didn’t have the speed in my legs. I refocused on the primary goal, having fun, and began to high-five more kids, chat with more runners, and focus on just running steady.

I got to the hills as we turned the corner at the fire station (mile 16) and could feel my pace dropping. I started walking the water stops to make sure I grabbed both a cup of water and a cup of Gatorade, mixed them, and tried to drink the whole thing. I was happy that, albeit slowly, I ran up every hill – no walking except the length of the water stop tables.

I continued my slowing but steady pace down through Cleveland Circle and toward the ever-retreating Citgo sign. I was still running – just not so quick. I paused to greet my family just after mile 25 and knew I had it in the bag. 4:00 was well out the window but I was sure I could pull in under 4:15.

I go under the final underpass and turn onto Hereford street and I start to feel the first twitches in my calves. I change up the stride a bit and keep them at bay.  I make the final turn unto Boylston street and can see the finish line ahead. I’ve got more than 4 minutes to go the final 600 yards and I figure I can do this! And then… The knives to the calves strike – are you kidding me?  Now?  But it’s right there! I hobble a bit, break stride a few times, but manage to cross the line with 44 seconds to spare.  It’s a victory!!

Then the fun part of the race…

Met up with friends (Monica(5:50), Mike(2:45), Adam(5:04), Cheryl, and Thor(3:02)) for a few 12oz carbo reloads. Now THAT is the way to finish a great day!

 

Posted in Boston, Marathon, Running | 1 Comment

Derry Prep 16-Miler 2009

Derry Prep 16-Miler
January 25, 2009


Fashion Report
Overdressed in polypro briefs, tights, long sleeve top,
fleece vest and club wind jacket. Should have gone with two shirts in lieu of
the vest. Hat, double gloves (reduced to single half way through), neck bandanna, and a pair of Adrenaline GTS 7’s.

Breakfast Report
Two packs of oatmeal, wheat bagel w/ margarine, and OJ. Medium DuDo’s cup
of coffee en route. Banana before the start.

Result Summary
16 miles in 2:20:31 – 8:47 avg.

In-race Nutrition
Couple ounces of Gatorade at 3, 6, 9, and 12.  One triberry Gu at 9. (You know it’s cold out
when you have to chew your Gu.)

Evaluation against goals:
I had two goals: have fun and stay under 9s’.

Fun
Yah, this a great race. 
All the regulars are there. I saw club friends, friends from other
clubs, online friends, and homies. It was a blast! And out on the course, it
was warmer, sunnier, and less windy than expected. I stayed in control the whole way, and enjoyed
myself. 

Stay under 9’s
This race is a bit crazy ‘cuz the course has got some huge hills. Particularly because I’d spent the previous day skiing, I knew
I wouldn’t be able to hold steady on those but that remained the goal.

Mile 1-4 were nice and steady.  The sun was out, there was a huge crowd, I
was running steady playing with the HRM. I was staying in the low 130’s and
still holding 8:45 or so on the gentle climbs.I thought I should slow down but things felt right and it was easy.  Figured maybe if I banked a bit, I’d make up for it on the hills.

The first real climb is at about 4.5 and I managed to stay
steady and mostly run up it. Felt good. Ditto the climb at 6. I was good most
of the way up and was enjoying the sun.

The real fun starts about 9.5. You make a left turn and…
Hello hill!  I power-walked the steepest
section and there was a guy running along side me who turns to me and says
“WTF? You’re walking and gaining on me!” I used the same technique on the big
hill at 11 – power walking the steepest parts. (My mantra was “we may all have to walk… but we don’t have to walk slow!)

Once over the big hill, I knew I had it in the bag.  I gained a number of positions late as others
faded. My last three miles were the fastest of the day at (8:24, 8:13, 8:05)
and I still had some in the tank so… Victory!

Summary

This is a great race every time. It’s well run, a challenging course, and draws a fun crowd. I’ll go back!

Posted in Running | 1 Comment

Timberman 70.3 2008

Timberman
Triathlon Festival

August 17, 2008
1.2m/56m/13.1m

Fashion Report
Club tri-shorts and top, Promotion wetsuit in complimentary red.
A well-worn (and stinky from summer running) pair of Adrenaline GTS 8’s.
LIT visor.

Breakfast Report
Cup of coffee en route. Wheat bagel, OJ, and a cinnamon doughnut in Ellacoya parking lot. Banana and a
ClifBar one hour prior to start.

Result Summary
1.2 mile Swim: 42:59 (35:50/mile, 2:02/100y, 869/1530)
T1 – 3:34
56 mile Bike: 2:53:18 (19.4 mph avg, 490/1530)
T2 – 2:47
13.1 mile Run: 2:22:40 (10:54 min/mil, 1091/1492)
Total: 6:05:16 (91/142 M45-49, 869/1530)

In-race Nutrition
T1 – Bit of Gatorade.
Bike – 3+ bottles of Gatorade, 3 salt tabs half hour prior to finish, 1
Clifbar, 1 Gu.
T2 – Bit of Gatorade.
Run – Alternated water, Gatorade, and cola at aid stations, Maybe 6 salt tabs.

Evaluation against previously
posted goals:

I had six goals: have fun and beat my time from last year in each of the five segments.  

Fun

I most definitely had fun. The weather exceeded expectations; DW had a good
race on Saturday; the boys enjoyed the Timberkids race; we even snuck in a nice
meal or two and a bit of time relaxing on the beach! And I got to meet several
of my imaginary friends!  Fun
accomplished.

Swim

2007: 47:44 (39:47/mile,
1265/1492)
2008: 42:59 (35:50/mile, 869/1530)

I started in the next to last wave, followed only by the relay teams and
Clydesdales, so there was a lot of standing around before the race. Spent most
of that standing in the water and sharing nervous stories with friends. When it
came time for our wave I chipped in and found a spot mid-pack. Some guy doing His
best Mel Gibson/William Wallace imitation lit off on a great speech about how we
were going to get through the swim and start picking off the waves in front of
us. And as we did, we’d “harass” them! We’d remind them to drop back and give
us 20 seconds! And we’d be proud! Good fun.

The horn sounds and we’re off.  I’m
swum over a bit in the first 100 yards but then find a little space and a pair
of feet to follow and find a rhythm. The course is out, across, and back and the
waves aren’t too bad swimming into the wind on the out leg – though they
increase as we near the first turn. Winnipesaukee has beautiful clear water and
I’m in a rhythm and enjoying the scenery and just relaxing along. First turn
and we’re now across the waves and, shortly, the first of the purple caps come
by me. But they’re relay “specialists” and I’m catching a few of the blues from
the wave in front of us as well and it’s all good. I work to the final corner
and turn for the inbound leg with the apparently helping wind and I’m still
feeling the rhythm and doing well. I took a few breaststrokes here and there to
check position or clear some space but I felt comfortable and in my rhythm the
whole way until…

When my hands hit sand I stood up and wham! Both calves cramp! OK, so I
don’t kick a whole lot when swimming in a wetsuit – just try to keep my toes
pointed. I guess they got tired of being pointed or something but I lost a good
45 seconds dancing around in two or three feet of water trying to get my calf
cramps to stop!  Even with that, I took
almost 5 minutes off my swim time from last year and I’m quite pleased. Call
this one nailed!

T1

2007: 4:06
2008: 3:34

Finally out of the water and wetsuit unzipped. I try to pull cap and goggles
through the sleeve and wind up doing a ridiculous little dance as everything
balls up and gets stuck. But I get it loose just before arriving at the
strippers and flop. Two kids pull but not hard enough and one leg is stuck and
my calf is cramping again!  So I have to
stand up, wetsuit on one ankle still, and hop around a bit to get that cleared.
Suit’s finally off and the rest goes smooth. I apply socks, shoes, etc and make
a good run out of the transition area. Even with the wetsuit debacle I cut 30
seconds off last year. Another goal bites the dust!

Bike

2007: 3:00:24 (18.6 mph avg,
708/1492)
2008: 2:53:18 (19.4 mph avg,
490/1530)

Calm, non-flying mount and into the bike. Spun a bit up the first hill to
get things calmed down and then began to settle in. I dueled with two or three
other riders for the first half of the race as we’d swap leads on various terrains.
One guy was a youngster with a carbon bike and fancy wheels – he’d outpace me
on the flats but I could satisfyingly easily out-climb him (which struck me as
odd) and, with additional ballast, got more out of the downhills. The mood was
light and I was joking with several riders. I met The Muffin Queen on the
biggest hill as we were both cursing and cranking away in the lowest gears we had.
I passed several other club riders or saw them coming the other way and wished
them well. Didn’t really feel like I was pushing too hard but… In retrospect…
Maybe did not sufficiently weenie the bike?

I grabbed Gatorade at each aid station and refilled my aerobottle – tried to
keep drinking the whole way. There was a bit of a headwind for the return trip
– but not horrible so it was just try to keep a steady pace. Had a blast on the
big downhills where I seemed braver than many and kept it full out. Felt like a
solid effort throughout but not like I was pushing the limits so I was pleased.
Upped the cadence coming into T2, did a “standard” dismount, and clocked in at
19.4 avg. Another goal nailed.

T1

2007: 3:32
2008: 2:47

Did my best to run through but was held in a bit of traffic. Quick shoe
change, add the visor, and let’s go! High five the family on the exit. Nailed!

Run

2007: 1:59:23 (9:07 min/mil,
713/1492)
2008: 2:22:40 (10:54 min/mil,
1091/1530)

I seemed quickly into my run rhythm but my quads felt strangely tight.
(Could it be that I’d had only one ride that reached 50 miles in training?) I
plug on and try to settle into a 9:00-9:30 pace that I thought I could reasonably
hold. There’s amazing support on the run course – at just about every mile there’s
water, Gatorade, cola, salty food, Gu, salt tabs, bands and either ice or a shower or,
in one case, a pile of snow harvested from the local hockey rink. So I take
advantage of all of these and plug on.

But the quads are still tight and they don’t seem to loosen. I spot my buddy Thor at
mile 3 just before the first turnaround and get some words of encouragement and
harassment from him. Not long after that, around mile 4, the first knife to the
muscle stabs. Left quad. Zing! I try walking but that seems worse. I try some
stretches and get back into the run. But that’s the start of the end. Shortly
thereafter I come upon a clubmate who’s having similar issues with a hamstring.
We both agree it’s too early for this stuff and push each other on – we’d
leapfrog each other the rest of the race. By the first passing of the finish
area, I’m walking a lot. One quad or the other keeps cramping and I can’t get
them loose. I take more salt tabs and pretzels hoping they might help but by
maybe mile 8 I know my day is done. I see Thor again at around 10 and he’s his
usual upbeat self and offers challenges and encouragement but… It’s not gonna
help. By 11, my calves have joined the fun and my legs are just big cramps. You
know the cycle here: run, cramp, walk, repeat. I repeat for the rest of the
race. I’m a mess at the final shoot and can’t even muster a show for the crowd.
With fifty yards to go, I finally break into a painful jog that’s a bit slower
than my walk. Maybe thirty yards from the finish, DS2 jumps out from behind the
fences and he and I manage to jog it in – nice thrilling climax to an otherwise
disappointing run. Missed this goal by a mile.

Everybody said it was hot – but I never felt overheated, just couldn’t keep
the legs working. I think I had enough salt – just think that the lack of long
training rides and runs meant that I needed to go even easier on the bike to be
able to have a good run.

Summary

Overall, I was ten minutes slower than last year after being thirteen ahead
at the start of the run. At that level, I was disappointed. But, I nailed five
out of six goals and, the biggest one, having fun, I blew away.

As last year, the organization at this race was excellent! The weekend’s
atmosphere is unmatched in New England
triathlons. What a great time!

 

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Massachusetts State Triathlon

Massachusetts State Triathlon

Dennison Lake, Baldwinsville, MA

July 27, 2008

 

Equipment/Fashion Report
Club tri-shorts and belly-exposing top.
Complimentary red Promotion Wetsuit
Adrenaline GTS 8’s.
LIT visor.
2006 Felt S32.

Breakfast Report
Wheat bagel and a banana en route. Cookies ‘n Cream Clif Bar about an hour before race start.

Result Summary
0.9 mi Swim: 28:37
(31:48/mile, 1:48/100y, 83/166 Finishers + 3 DNF’s)
T1: 2:43
22.7m Bike: 1:06:42 (20.4 mph avg., 42/166)
T2: 2:20
6 Mile Run: 53:05 (8:51/mile, 116/166)
Total: 2:33:26 (78/166, 11/16 AG)

In-race Nutrition

Gatorade in T1 and T2, 1 bottle Gatorade on the bike, generic granola bar at about bike mile 10, water and Gatorade as available on the run.

Evaluation against previously posted goals:

I didn’t really have any goals. We’d returned from a week at Scout Camp the afternoon before the race and there may have been a beer or two consumed while floating in the pool and recovering later that day. I was racing mostly to get the participation points for TriFury in the USAT State Club Championship. The fact that it was the Championship made for a strong field that was further weeded out by the weather.

When I rolled over at 4:20 AM, ten minutes before the alarm was set to go off, there was a steady rain outside the window but I decided to press on. As I made the 60 mile drive to the event, flashes of lightening lit the sky and heavy downpours soaked the road causing my little car with bald tires to squirm and me to wonder what I was doing. But, as I approached the race venue, the rain begin to let up and had completely stopped by the time I got out of my car about 6:20. So… A dry race! (Well, except for puddles and wet roads.)

I got my race packet and set up in transition and then found myself with much time to kill. I chatted with clubmates and mostly stood around. A women near me announced to her friend “this guy is famous!” which, of course, caught my ear. Turns out she’s Kickrunners Multisport lurker and had seen my picture there! Fun. I chatted with her and others until it was time to head to the beach.

There were two races – the sprint and the “intermediate” – and the shorter race waves were going first. I chatted with a clubmate, Mary, as we waited for the waves to pass. Finally, it was Mary’s turn and she was off. The old men, in blue caps, were last and next.

I started in the middle of our smallish wave – maybe 40 or so swimmers. Many took off but I seemed to hold my own near mid pack and avoided major collisions. The water was warm and I quickly found my rhythm and stroked on. Not a third of the way in I came on the first of the green-capped swimmers from the previous wave and would pass several of them through the rest of the swim. I may not have been that fast, but I was quite pleased that I stayed in my stroke the entire distance. I maybe took one breaststroke at the first turn buoy as I’d run over a woman from the green wave and paused to apologize and move away from her. I swam until my hands hit sand and then was up and out. I was quite surprised and excited to see only 28 minutes on my watch as I stepped out! I was quite pleased with my 50th percentile swim!

T1 was a bit weak. In my swim excitement, I’d unzipped but forgotten to begin pulling down my wetsuit and I struggled getting it off. I sat on my bucket for the application of socks and shoes and was finally off on the bike.

The bike course was two loops with this nasty hill at 5 and 15. It was this mile long grind that just wore people down – especially us heavier guys. The first time up, I was passed by one rider and quickly reeled him in just after the crest. The second time up, I was passed by two riders – and I took names – #428 and #290. I chased them both for the rest of the loop and caught 428 with less than a mile to go (though he killed me on the run!). 290 got away – rat bastard!! (Turns out he was a relay rider!) Other than that, I wasn’t passed and reeled in several from previous waves. I was actually surprised that my 20.4 mph average bike wasn’t better ranked – especially given that dang hill!!  I guess it just illustrates the strength of the field!

T2 seemed OK – just changed shoes, grabbed my LIT visor, and was off. Could have been faster but, I was winding down.

The run was a jog. The week layoff and lack of sleep was catching up and I just didn’t have much. I looked for a steady pace and just ran it out easy. The course was mostly flat – with a couple of squirrely turn-arounds where you could check out the competition. I passed a few but was certainly passed by more. I walked the water stops but ran (jogged) otherwise and managed a bit of a push for the last half mile or so before diving for the finish line to the applause of clubmates – thanks guys!!

So… I had fun. Max Performance puts on a good race. I finished respectably amongst a strong field (soundly MOP!) and, much to my surprise given that there were a lot of strong racers out there, I even got some age group points for the club!!  And our club successfully defended its title as USAT Division I State Champions!!! All in all, a good day. But now I’m tired.

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Hyannis Sprint I

Hyannis Sprint I, Craigsville Beach, Centerville, MA

June 14, 2008

Fashion Report
Club tri-shorts and belly-exposing top.
Promotion Wetsuit
Adrenaline GTS’s.
LIT visor.

Breakfast Report
Blueberry bagel en route.

Result Summary
¼ mi ocean Swim: 8:24 (33:36/mile, 330/754)
T1, 10m Bike, and T2: 32:11 (18.6 avg, 100/754)
3.6 Mile Run: 28:21 (7:52/mile, 227/754)
Total: 1:08:57 (162/754, 25/56 AG)

In-race Nutrition
Gatorade in T1 and T2, 1 TriBerry Gu about mile 7 on bike.

Evaluation against previously posted goals:

1. Have fun. Dust Neighbors.

This was a “C” race. A couple of guys from my neighborhood had decided they were going to do a triathlon this summer, picked this one, and booked a weekend on the Cape with their families. Seeing them practicing at the YMCA pool and around the neighborhood, I offered a few tips, talked them into some practice swims at the local pond, and so on. Then a few weeks before the race I decided it would be fun to buzz down and race with them!  So…

I got to bed early the night before and then was awakened by Gator Girl snoring while watching TV with her eyes closed. Up at 3:00 AM and out the door at 3:21. By 3:45 AM I was on the Southeast Expressway in construction traffic. I’m sitting there in my car thinking “It’s quarter to four in the morning and I’m doing 10 mph on the highway. You kidding me??” The only thing that got worse was that I found a Dunkin’ Donuts with a “24hr Drive-Through” that was closed.  Guess it wasn’t 24 hours in a row.

Arrived at the race course a bit after 5 and stumbled around, got my number and such, and set up. Made one stab at a mount with shoes already on my bike and totally hosed that. So I decided to go with no socks and a conventional shoes-on mount.

Found the two rookie neighbors, and their third buddy, and tried to offer some calming words then moseyed down to the shore for a quick dip. I was expecting water in the high 50’s and was braced for the shock. Instead, I think it was more like high 60’s and extremely calm. Wow. This ocean swim is nuthin’!!

After lots of announcements and such during which the sun is heating up, we’re finally getting going. 10 waves each 3 minutes apart. The rookies are in 7, I’m in 8. We’re off with 100 or so in our wave and I’m having trouble finding space – but I stay calm, eventually find some room, and settle into a rhythm. I stayed pretty steady, choked on some boat fumes, and drank fairly little ocean. The swim is out, across, and back and on the inward leg there seems to be a current helping so I try to pick it up and I’m in. I spot Rob, the stronger swimmer of the two Rookies, as we’re both on the swim run-out – so I know I’ve already reeled them in!  ;)

Pretty quick transition and I’m off on the bike. Being in the eighth wave it’s a target-rich environment and I’m picking off scores. Nobody’s passed me until some chump on a Carbon P3 comes flying by – where’d he come from? Relay riders!! A couple more speedsters would fly by but for the most part, I’m the windshield and not the bug. Saw one poor woman who’d gone down on a sharp corner – hope she was OK. About ¾ of a mile out, as I’m cranking in on the finish, there’s a 200yard narrow lane of cones with no passing. I come flying into it at like 22 mph and… I’m behind a woman doing about 11. I consider passing her in the no-passing zone when I spot a course marshal giving me the evil eye. Man that was frustrating!  I wind it back up for the last half mile and cruise in. I’d forgotten to reset my computer again but I know I was well over 20 for the bike.

Another reasonably quick transition and I’m out on the run. I grab a water at the run exit, dump it on my head, and feel the shark bite on the back of my neck from my wetsuit!!  Hulo!! Leg’s seem to loosen up quick but the first mile is uphill and my ankles hurt. I’m passed by a few but pass many, many more and hold a steady pace before the last half mile and a downhill sprint. 20 yards of sand at the finish and it’s done!

It was fun throughout. I had a nice conversation or two and enjoyed myself. I was quite pleased with my top 50% swim (it’s a relative thing!), reasonably happy with my bike, but somewhat disappointed on the run.

Stood at the finish and waited for the rookies.  I was satisfied that I’d dusted them well enough to still claim neighborhood triathlon bragging rights…

2008 NEW ENGLAND TRIATHLON TOUR
‘Sprint I Triathlon’
============================
OVERALL INDIVIDUAL RESULTS
============================

POS DV/TO DIVIS NAME TIME
=== ===== ===== ==== =======
162 25/56 M4549 John 1:08:57
557 54/66 M4044 Mike 1:26:21
558 55/66 M4044 Rob  1:26:22

Well organized race, nice beach, good fun – I’d do it again!

 

 

 

 

 

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Triathlon by the Sea

Triathlon by the Sea

8th Annual Triathlon by the Sea, Marblehead, MA

May 11, 2008

Fashion Report
Club tri-shorts and belly-exposing top.
Well worn Adrenaline GTS’s.
LIT visor and club pull-over prior to race.

Breakfast Report
Dunkin’ Donuts bacon, egg, and cheese on multigrain bagel and coffee en route.

Result Summary
250y Pool Swim and Run Out: 6:08 (173/248)
T1, 10.5m Bike, and T2: 34:47 (18.2 avg, 31/248)
3.0 Mile Run: 22:46 (7:36 Pace, 9/248)
Total: 1:03:52 (45/248, 5/17 AG)

In-race Nutrition
Gatorade in T1 and T2.

Evaluation against previously posted goals:

1. Overall – Have fun. It’s a C race. No real planning. Just gonna have fun.

Slam dunked!  Big club turnout. Gorgeous sunny day. Enjoyable family outing. All good.

2. Swim – This is the one part of the race I have a real goal for. Last year’s time for 250y plus the run out of the building was 6:18. My goal for the 250y swim alone last year was 5:15. This year, I seeded myself at 5:00 and I swam a 4:45 this morning. I better come out sub 6, I think 5:45 is realistic – but I’m worried about traffic.

Was totally calm and relaxed, joking around, until about 45 seconds before my start time when I realized I had better get my goggles on. This is a staggered start pool swim with racers going in every 15 seconds – 5 laps of a 25y pool. My time came and I jumped in and was off. Down and turn and maybe half way back, I’m already touching toes. I see the racer in front of the racer in front of me coming back so I break for the right and make the pass at the 50y turn. Felt one toe touch as I came off the wall but then held a 10y lead for the next 200y, all the time expecting to be caught. Then someplace in the middle, some dolt decided he could pass about three wide while I’m coming the other way. We met arm to arm and there was no injury, but it pissed me off enough to stop and yell at him for a second and no doubt didn’t help with my heart rate. I resumed swimming pretty quick and got through it but I was totally out of breath for the last few laps and wasn’t swimming well. I knew I wasn’t doing what I wanted to. So… 10 seconds better than last year but… Disappointing.

3. Bike – New bike course this year so can’t compare with last time. Also, the way they had it set up last year, most of your T1 and T2 times ended up in your bike time. The course shouldn’t be that hilly – but I haven’t ridden it. I’d secretly like my bike computer to read 20+ for average – though I know the race results will show slower.

After a little rest on my bucket that passed for T1, took off down the hill on the long run-out. Love running in my bike shoes.

The traffic on this route was just stupid. The first stoplight I came to was red. There was no direction so I had to slow until I could see there was nothing coming. There was one intersection I hit twice that was total chaos – two lines of cars with cyclists on the right, down the middle, and then me circling them all on the left. Crazy.

I did not feel strong on the bike today. My computer showed 19.4 mph average including the runs out of and into transition – close, but not quite what I wanted. I was not passed on the bike and I passed a number of folks – so that was fun.

4. Run – Dunno. My volume this winter has been MUCH lower than last year and, again, it’s a new run course. I think I’ll be pleased with anything sub-8.

Pretty pleased here. I stalked a clubmate for the first mile, ran with him for a bit, and then dusted him. Always fun. Pleased with my third mile pace – though it took a while to get up to speed.

 Overall… fun “C” race. We had a great day!  Oh!!  And Gator Girl won a manicure in the raffle!!  Happy Mother’s Day!!

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