Timberman(Gilford, Tilton, Laconia??? New Hampshire) was my fifth Half Iron distance race. I’d done Eagleman twice and Kinetic twice with what I consider disappointing results. In fact, if you search the Eagleman 2010 results, you won’t see my name. I exceeded the swim cut-off time and was Disqualified(DQ). I didn’t know about the DQ until after I’d completed the entire course. I think I ended up five minutes faster than the debacle at Eagleman in 2008. And things had only gone marginally better at my Kinetic races. Those are stories for another day. The common denominator at all those races was that I had basically no ability to run after the ride. But, I’d also forgotten why I thought I could do HIM(and IM) with any sort of personal satisfaction while still having fun.
So with two months between Eman and Tman, I hired a coach(Denise Wood - Redhammerracing.com). All that futility at previous races was actually not totally a bad thing. It all got me to the point of understanding that I needed help and to the point of actually listening to that help.
I bet I have 5 pair of swim goggles in my car. So at the Tman expo, after a practice swim in Lake Winnipasaukee, I bought another pair. Standing at the start in my wetsuit, 10 minutes before the start I had both pair of goggles in my hand. I want to wear the new ones but *nothing new on race day* is a rule of triathlon racing. Five minutes before my wave goes off I decide on the new ones. So I tuck the old ones into my wetsuit, position myself to the outside rear of my swim wave and off we go. Swim was pretty uneventful, lots of zigzagging and there was some chop and big rolling waves on the leg farthest from shore. If I hadn’t had bay swimming experience that might have been somewhat (more) unnerving. Lake Winnipesaukee is really clean and clear and tastes good. A great place to swim. No problems with the new goggles but somewhere I lost my spare(older) pair. :-( They served me well! Swim time: 46:55. Slow but well under the swim cutoff time. The wetsuit strippers probably saved me at least a minute.
I’m always elated to be running out of the water, even if 5 later waves have passed me in the water. The thinking goes, I was expecting to die and I made it, so everything after this is a bonus. No different here but I don’t think I felt that good coming out of the water at any previous race. Coach Denise had basically been drilling it into my head, since our very first meeting, that I needed to fuel consistently on the bike to be able to have any chance of running strong later. The other major part of the plan was to ride conservatively. Don’t forget there’s a 13 mile run after the bike ride. Save something for that. After I got about half way, riding along, sipping “Sustained Energy”, singing a song and eating pretzels I started thinking, even though I’m being conservative I could still ride under 3 hours. It Started raining pretty heavily as I approached T2. Not quite under 3 hours but still well under the 3:10 I’d planning and feeling really good. Loved this bike course. It’s challenging with hills in the first and last 10 miles but relatively flat in the middle. It can potentially be ridden very fast. Lots of great support out on the bike course. Even the devil was there. Just like at the Tour. Still not quite sure why she was looking directly at me both times I passed her. I did see a couple of big packs go by me. That’s one way to ride it fast.
OK, raining pretty hard in T2, everythings wet but I’m feeling pretty good. This is what I’ve been waiting for. This is what triathlon is all about, in my mind. Who can run after swim and bike. How well can you run after swim and bike? How well can I run after swim and bike? And the answer without further delay is... quite well indeed! Long training runs had been to run the first half around 9 minute miles and then decrease from there down to around 8:20, 8:15. The race turned out similar. First 8 miles were between 8:58 and 8:42 and decreasing to a last mile of 8:03. I know those are not fast numbers for some of you but they’re pretty much exactly where I(we) had planned to be. And I felt great all the way. Have I repeated that enough? The two loop run course had a few hills but I loved being able to see and encourage other members of team Timberman. Maybe I’m getting use to this distance because the out and back didn’t seem anywhere near as long as the out and back at Kinetic. And definitely not the DNF inducer of Eagleman. Maybe that it didn’t seem so far is testament to how well my nutrition went and my state of mind because of it. Maybe it was the fact that it wasn’t 100 degrees and high humidity. Maybe it was my training and fitness level but this was the first time I’ve felt like I was actually racing in my short career in triathlon. I did carry a bottle of the same nutrition I use on the bike, through the first run loop. This allowed me to bypass all of the aid stations. But by the end of that first loop, I just couldn’t stand that stuff any more so I just took in water on the second loop. The run course was pretty crowded the whole way. Lots of relatively happy people. Unlike Kinetic and especially Eman. Run 1:55
Great Race!, Great Venue, Great people! As always I’m happy to be able to participate, much less meet a few of my goals. I can’t say enough good about Denise and Red Hammer Racing. I thought I’d hate having structured workouts. But I really enjoyed it. Thanks Denise! The whole experience was fun. The race AND the training. Also, thanks to Team Timberman. I love doing these races with a large group. Y’all are so awesome.
Also, cant forget my peeps, Krystal, Madia and my mom. Thanks for putting up with rain, heat and days worth of my slow driving and neurotic behavior.