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


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