Timberman 70.3 2009
August 23, 2009
Club tri-shorts and top, Xterra Vortex sleeveless wetsuit in complimentary black.
Well-worn Adrenaline GTS 8’s.
Single serving box of Cheerios. Raw, plain multigrain bagel. Banana. OJ.
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.
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!
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!?!?
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!
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!
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.
2007: 1:59:23 (9:07 min/mil, 713/1492)
2008: 2:22:40 (10:54 min/mil, 1091/1530)
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.
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!