Jul 28, 2009

It's Race Day!

Another Winding Trails Tri race day today... and it's not even raining!

I'm pretty stoked to be racing again, watching the Ironman this weekend has gotten me fired up! I'm all packed up and ready to go after work, hopefully the weather will stay just like it is now, cool but not raining.

It was really a great weekend, I'm planning to write up a report even though I didn't get to race.


Ironman USA weekend

What a great weekend, I was able to hang out with my two older kids and watch a great race on Sunday...

We arrived on Friday night, but pretty late and crashed in the back yard in the tent my brother set up for us. His place is pretty small and there isn't much room, but the view and location are worth it.
On Saturday morning, we headed down to the town of Lake Placid on our bikes which was a bit of an adventure with a 9 and 11 year old. It's got a pretty steep downhill and some steep uphills and about 5 miles in total to get all the way to the Olympic oval. On the first downhill, my 9 year old looked back at me and went into a high speed wobble which raised my heart rate a bit. Fortunately she recovered quickly before I had a chance to try something stupid to catch her.
We went into the Oval where they have the expo set up to look around. It's kind of fun to walk around and look at the merchandise and all the crazy bikes as people are walking them into transition. We ran into my buddy Dave who was racing and a bit frantic at the moment with some bike issues. His wife and daughters were also there, and they know my kids so we hung around with them for a while as they got their faces painted, one of my daughters got the IM logo and the other got a butterfly... go figure :)
The girls had some questions about the race and what it was like for me 2 years ago when I competed and I showed them the transition area and where you entered and exited.

They both got to try on some aero helmets and play with some other cool stuff as you can see.

After hanging around for a bit, we were ready for the ride back out of town and up the hill to my brother's place. It was fun to ride with the kids, they were really excited to be out in town and you could tell a lot of people thought it was pretty cool to see kids riding. The vibe over the weekend is very much a biker and runner friendly atmosphere and there were calls of encouragement for my kids from lots of folks going past.
As we got close to the last big hill out of town, I told my brother to go ahead and grab the truck to pick up the kids. It was a bit easier for them, and then fun for me as I loaded up the kids and then took off after my uncle who had continued up the hill. I caught him, gave him a sneer and a challenged and promptly dropped as I accelerated past! He's going to need to work on his climbing before next year!
That afternoon, we met my sister-in-law at the Addirondak Loj where she works and went for a hike up Mount Jo.

The view was great and it was a perfect day for a hike... after a short stay, we headed back down and then had a nice dinner at my brother's place and watched the Mount Ventoux stage of the Tour de France.
Fun day all around!
Race Day - Sunday
We were scheduled to work the first bike aid station which was conveniently a 1/2 mile up the road from my brother's house. Our theme was funny hats, my uncle has the umbrella hat and my brother is the hombre...
Most of my day was spent running back and forth getting water and Gatorade to the folks handing them out to the bikers. My daughters were doing the same thing, and I think they really enjoyed their day.
Bikers came pretty fast and furious on the first lap as we were only 10 miles into the course and they hadn't spread out all that much by the time they reached us. It was hectic, but pretty smooth in general...
The second loop was where things got a bit more interesting. First, the leader went through and it was over 11 minutes until the second place competitor was seen. As we found out later, Mark Twelsiek was in the process of dominating the race. I didn't get a chance to catch the leading woman, as things quickly go busier. The second wave of bikes was definitely more spread out and we started to see some pretty tired riders. We also started holding some bikes as a people began getting off to use the toilet. I think this was the part my daughter enjoyed the most, holding the bike for the racers and then helping them with whatever fluids or foods that they needed before they started back up.
We also had a bit of excitement as an ambulance pulled up to the front section of our station. Since I was further down the road, I didn't really know what happened, but it turned out that a racer had experience some heat exhaustion and was in pretty rough shape. Fortunately it turned out fine for him health wise, but his race was over as he was pulled from the course. Slowly, the stream of riders slowed and we saw more and more of the folks that were struggling. It's a bit inspiring, but also tough to watch as I had to assume that some of these riders were not going to make the cutoff.
All told, a very good experience, we wrapped things up around 2:30 or so and then cleaned up and headed back to the house. We decided to chill for a bit, eat some dinner and then plan to head downtown again to watch some of the run.
We rode our bikes down again, a bit more controlled this time and slowly rolled through the run course. At this point it was about 7 PM and a lot of people had finished, but there were still a ton of competitors out on the course. I had expected Dave to be finished at this point, but it turns out he had a bit of a meltdown so we actually got to watch him finish. I also ran into my friend Sean's wife and she mentioned that he was also just about to finish and I was able to high five him on the way past. We hung out for a bit and watched a bunch of people finish up and then headed back up the hill out of town.
This time we decided to try the whole hill and it was fun to see the dynamics of my daughters working up the hill. The younger one is much more of a competitor and really pushed the whole time even though she was on a single speed bike. My oldest is much more laid back and she shifted way down and just moseyed along. A fun bike ride until my pedal fell off! I had switched out my clipless pedals with flats so that I could ride with my running shoes. They were old pedals though, and for some reason they weren't holding into the cranks. On the bright side, I did get to do a brick as I ended up running the last 1/4 mile trying to keep up with my daughters. A very good day indeed!
Monday morning I packed up while my uncle and brother waited in line to register for next years race... and then the long drive home. I'm looking forward to my next visit to the area again already!


Jul 23, 2009

Tinman weekend!

Yeah, I'm a slacker for not posting this quickly...

I headed up to Lake Placid on Friday afternoon with my uncle for the weekend with bikes and gear in tow. We through the mountain bikes in the truck, thinking that perhaps on Sunday after our race we would get a chance to go for a spin either downhill on Whiteface or perhaps on some local trails. It was a relatively smooth ride, although we hit a wicked rainstorm coming through Keene just before going over the pass into LP.

We got to my brother's house just before he arrived home from work, and we thought about breaking in just as he arrived there. After heading down the road to pick up my sister-in-law, we decided to go to my uncle's place in Long Lake which would be only 15 minutes from the race in the morning. We had a nice dinner at the Lake Placid Brewery, (I love their UBU ale), and then headed to the race site to pick up our race packets! It was a little bit funny to see the operation in action, it was a couple of older ladies who clearly had no clue about racing. One of them asked which race I was doing since there was a sprint and 1/2 Iron. I answered "I'm doing the 1/2 Ironman race"... she looked at me blankly for a few seconds and then said "Do you mean the full Tinman?". A different perspective then the crazy good organization that is the Mooseman.
Race morning went pretty smooth as we got to the transition area in plenty of time to set up our stuff. It rained a little bit off and on, which turned out to be a pretty good barometer for the day. We had brought plastic garbage bags to keep things dry and it turned out to be a great help. I set up my spot as usual, but pulled the garbage bag over and around all of my stuff to be sure I at least started my bike ride dry once I got out of the water.

The swim started out fine, I was in the third wave, 10 minutes behind my brother and 10 minutes ahead of my uncle. It was a relatively smooth swim, probably a result of the fact that most of my training had been in the swim lately with the sprained ankle mostly keeping me off the roads and running.   Ran into a little bit of weeds here and there which was a bit freaky at first, but once I got used to it I was fine.  Got out of the water and noticed imediately that I felt good, but it was pouring!  Swim: 46:14 - A bit below expectations
T1 was fine, I had tucked my stuff under a plastic trash bag so it was relatively dry... which didn't last very long!  T1: 3:20
Biking was on an out and back course with very few turns.  Afterwards I recalled that I didn't need to touch my brakes except for the turn-around and then at the end of the bike.  So from that perspective it was a pretty good bike... but other than that, not so much!  I ended up getting very cold, it was pretty much pouring almost the entire time.  My legs felt pretty good and I managed to stay fairly aero for much of the ride.  I passed my brother coming the other way before the turn-around, and noticed that he was in front of my pace (he started 10 minutes ahead) but detailed math was a bit tough at that point.  Then, after the turnaround I noticed my uncle also ahead of my pace... making me a bit nervous :)  I sure didn't want him to catch me, so I pushed a bit more on the way back.  There was a pretty low point for me at about 45 miles as I got pretty cold and was really feeling poorly.  The good news was that Eric didn't catch me, and the sun came out when I was a few minutes out from transition. 
Bike: 3:21:51 - 16.6 mph
T2, no issues... I was very happy that I had my sneakers under the plastic and then were dry.  One decision that I had to make was to skip the socks, I pulled my wet ones off and decided to go without for the run.  T2: 3:48

Run... yeah, it got ugly... real ugly. Almost immediatly my ankle was sore and I could barely run.  The start was almost all uphill and that didn't help at all.  Much of the first couple miles I was walking and in quite a bit of pain.  There were a number of thoughts running through my head... "why the heck did I do this again?"...  "My uncle is definitely going to catch me"... "I can't do this"...   I certainly felt like quitting, and was struggling quite a bit.  Gradually, I could run a bit, mostly because my ankle and foot got numb, but there wasn't a whole lot left in my legs.  As I mentioned, not a lot of running lately, and it was coming back to haunt me.  The course was two loops that met in the middle close to the transition area with some hills and an interesting cut through the woods in a couple spots.  On my way back from the first loop I was feeling very poorly and really considering bailing entirely but fortunately ran into a cheerful lady who had me run with her for a couple miles and brought me past the turn for the transition area so I kept running fairly well.  Unfortunately, that didn't last very long and I started really suffering.  From this point forward, approximately at mile 7 it became a total slog... walk a few steps, job a few steps, pull up in pain and start walking more.   My body was really rebelling as I headed out over a sand path to the second of the two loops and the most hilly section.  The one good constant was the plethora of aid stations with oranges and water and gatorade which at least broke the monotony of the trudgery.
I'd long ago resigned myself to have Eric catch me which would ultimately mean pass since he only needed to finish within 10 minutes to beat me... but bit by bit it dawned on me that he must not have been having a very good day either.  Miles 8,9 and 10 seemed to take forever... I knew I needed to finish a loop and get back to the place where the run course split but it seemed every step was taking me further from where the road came together and I would have knowledge of the course to the finish.  Finally, I turned a corner and saw the intersection which was not where I expected but that was actually pretty buoying to my spirits.  At this point I knew the rest of the course and could gauge what I had left.  It still hurt a lot, but when I turned one of the last corners and headed downhill towards the finish I decided to see what I had left.  Coming into the park area I was stumbling and hurting but as I slowed a bit a spectator yelled at me and I pushed on.  I crossed the line gasping and choking... but another race done. Run - 3:01:51 Pace - 13:31

In retrospect I'm fairly happy with the results considering the amount of training I was able to put in.  The results were over an hour slower than my fastest 1/2 iron time, but at least my uncle didn't beat me :)  It also made me resolve to train a bit more for the next race, but bottom line is that I had fun again!
Overall - 7:12:02


Jul 20, 2009

Back from Vacation

Tinman Race Report still coming...

Went to Hershey Park in PA for a week and didn't do too much else...

Ironman USA this weekend, looking forward to watching it with my brother and uncle.


Jul 6, 2009

Photos from TinMan...

Yeah, I know I need to do a Race Report... it's coming I promise!



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