Oktoberfest 5k

After hitting every workout of the C25k workout program, I knew I’d rock this 5k. I started out with a brisk but even pace and ran mid-pack before kicking it in for the finish.

That’s the report I should have written. Instead, it was a half-hearted training effort (and the promise of beer at the finish) that brought me to the start line of the Oktoberfest 5k this morning.

The weather was awesome. One of those nice crisp fall days that’s a bit chilly in the shade and a touch warm in the sun. Four friends and one toddler joined my wife, Shawn, and I as we prepared for the big event. My wife was a bit nervous. My expectations were sufficiently low that I wasn’t really bothered. Knowing it wouldn’t be an impressive finish, I went for the traditional lederhosen as race-wear.

Our performance was marginal. My right calf cramped a bit in the first quarter mile but then mercifully loosened. Shawn and I stuck together for mutual support. Her pace is usually a bit slower than mine but she was better trained.

We were far from the front of the pack – but we weren’t last either. They were taking down the two-mile split clock when we went by, and, by the time we got to the finish area nobody was giving directions anymore so we took a wrong turn that added an extra 350 yards or so to our race and really screwed our finish time! Probably would have been in the top 50% of finishers otherwise. Probably.

I out-leaned Shawn at the line to finish ahead of her. You know, male pride and all.

OK, it was ugly, but it’s done. And it was fun. My first race in at least two years is in the books and it got my moving. Now, to just keep moving!

Posted in 5k, Running | 1 Comment

Twenty Minutes Easy

Twenty minutes easy.

Maybe a nice cool down after a 5k. Or perhaps a warm up for a marathon. A long transition at a tri? Certainly not a substantial workout or anything worthwhile on its own.

Unless you’re doing the “Coach to 5k” training program, in which case, it’s monumental.

Coming just about half way through the nine week program, on Day 3 of Week 5 to be precise, the twenty minute run doubles the longest preceding interval. It’s daunting in its singular duration. Twenty minutes easy. Continuous. Like twenty minutes in a row without walking. Five minute warm-up, twenty minutes easy, five minute cool-down. That’s it.

I’ve completed ten marathons in 4:15 or less. My best was a 3:19 in 2003. I’ve done a few half-ironman distance triathlons – my best at just a few minutes under six hours in 2007. I’ve been a well trained endurance athlete in the not too distant past but today, I was pretty intimidated by the idea of running twenty minutes easy.

I had a bit of a burnout. Maybe I over-trained. Maybe I just succumbed to the inner demons of laziness and sloth. Maybe age caught up with me a bit. Maybe not working out after many years of working out just felt a little too good. But, for whatever reason, I went from marathoner to couch potato. I’ve really not exercised at all for the last couple of years.  I gained 50 pounds or more and my health deteriorated.

But today, I ran twenty minutes easy.

It wasn’t even as bad as I’d anticipated. I started it in the uphill direction, figuring I’d need the gravity assist at the end. I told myself to just slow down when I felt like stopping. And, honestly, my pace was pretty pitiful. But that didn’t matter; I ran twenty minutes easy.

Running is so much in your head. My head got a boost today. I ran twenty minutes easy.

Posted in C25k, Running | Leave a comment

The First Mile is NOT the Hardest.

We’ve all heard it. Stiff muscles. Adjusting to the temperature. Finding the rhythm. That first mile of a run can be really tough!

But right now, for me, it’s not the first mile that’s the hardest. It’s the one before that.

I know all the tricks. Set your clothes out the night before. Make a plan with a friend to hold you accountable. Build a routine. Find the right time of the day.

Problem is, I know all the excuses too. And I’m using them. It’s too humid. It’s too soon after eating. It’s raining. I’ll just go later.

Once I get going, I’m actually doing OK.  Several workouts have turned out to feel much easier than when I’d played them out in my head. I might actually be gaining a little fitness. If I can just… Get. Out. There.

So what it comes down to is goals and commitment. I set a goal of running a 5k on October 5th with some friends. I later set a further goal of, not a finishing time, but of running the whole distance. Those remain my goals and I’m recommitting!  I will be on that start line!

Now, if I can just get to that first mile…

Posted in 5k, Running | Leave a comment

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

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.


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!?!?


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!


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!


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.


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.


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 International 2009
June 6, 2009

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.


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!


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.











Intorcio, John



North Reading


























Projected Time

Official Time











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!

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’.

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

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!


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

Triathlon Festival

August 17, 2008

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.  


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


2007: 47:44 (39:47/mile,
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!


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!


2007: 3:00:24 (18.6 mph avg,
2008: 2:53:18 (19.4 mph avg,

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.


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!


2007: 1:59:23 (9:07 min/mil,
2008: 2:22:40 (10:54 min/mil,

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.


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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