>Mooseman 70.3 Race Report
Overall Time: 5:08:56 (5th in Age Group)
Swim: 32:41 (5th AG)
Bike: 2:52:34 (8th AG)
Run: 1:40:22 (5th AG)
My first Half-Ironman was Rhode Island 70.3 last year with a time of 5:15:56. Naturally, coming into Mooseman, I was aiming to break 5:15. After previewing the course a month before, I was almost dead certain that I would be unable to make that goal, due to the ferocious hills on the bike course and the very cold temperature of the water. Yesterday, I crossed the line at 5:08, and this is a detailed report on my preparation before the race, as well as the race itself.
We left on Friday at 12:00 pm: myself, Andy (a Boston Performance Coaching athlete), and Sean (a BU grad student on the BU Tri Team.) We arrived in Bristol, NH at our camp ground, called MooseVillage. A summer camp had turned their soccer field into a camp ground for the athletes, with breakfast offered from 4:30 am – 7:30am and showers/toilets. The field was scattered with tents, dozing athletes, TT bikes, and an occasional Zipp wheel tossed to the side. A funny site to see. We also went for a quick swim Newfound Lake, where the water temperature was 67 degrees! Perfect for the swim! Sean and Andy raced the Olympic distance race on Saturday, so we had to get to bed early.
We woke up at 5:00 am on Saturday, having listened to thunder from 2:00 am onwards, accompanied by the continuous clattering of rain on our tents. I struggled out of my tent, meeting up with Sean and Andy on the way to breakfast. After a hearty breakfast (Sean ate a massive meal, including bacon, before his Olympic race in the morning), we then headed to the race course, where we parked in a massive mud parking lot. The rain continued until 7:00am. Unfortunately, the thunder and rain made the race director cancel the swim and cut the bike to 17 miles, but Sean and Andy had great races! The sun came out just as the race started, and made for an excellent race day.
After watching their race, we went back to the camp ground and relaxed. I drank a bunch of water and fell asleep a few times on my sleeping mat on the field. My legs were feeling a bit lazy, so I ran for 20 mins or so down the run course, and stretched a bit. We then packed up our tents and left to move into a cabin with some other BPC/BTT athletes, who had offered us a place to stay if it continued to rain. This was a pleasant surprise, after having to wake up in the terrible weather the night before. My lunch that day was a hamburger, chowder, and pasta salad at the post-race for the Olympic race- not the ideal pre-race lunch. At 5:30 pm, we drove to The Common Man, a great restaurant in Ashland, NH. We had scouted this place during out course preview trip, so we knew it was legit. The waiter gave us a basket of banana bread and French bread, and we all devoured the basket within seconds. Soon, the waiter came back with another basket, which vanished just as quick. I ordered a Caesar salad, and linguine with meatballs. I didn’t finish the whole plate, because it was a massive meal and I had already eaten too much bread. Sean and Andy kindly ate hamburgers and drank the local Common Man Ale, as I sipped on my water.
We bought some food for breakfast and headed back to the cabin. My race stuff was all set to go already, so I just filled up my water bottles, and put them in the fridge. Andy and Sean relaxed on the dock by the water, and indulged in some wine and beer, as I went to bed. I fell asleep at 9:20 pm or so, setting my two alarms at 4:50am and 5:00am.
I woke up at 4:55am and walked into the main room, where Andy and Sean were passed out. The sunrise was awesome, and pink sunlight made the entire room glow, so I barely had to use a headlamp. I downed an Endurox drink, drank a bottle of water, ate a Pop-Tart, and half a piece of whole wheat bread. The Endurox shake made me feel a bit full, so I wasn’t able to eat as large of a breakfast as I wanted to. I topped of my tires, and rode to the course by myself with my TT bag on my back (we were only 1 mile from transition). I noticed that my bike computer was not working, which was because I forgot to transfer my magnet to my race wheels-stupid. No worries-I had raced before without a computer and I actually liked it more. The road was empty except for one athlete who was walking down the road with his TT bag, and a bike pump in hand- I gave him a thumbs up. I soon joined the massive stamped of quiet athletes as they marched from the parking lot to transition. Everything worked out. Body marking was quick, and my bike was soon mounted, transition set-up, and I was feeling ready. The guy on the speaker kept saying that it was supposed to rain at 7:00am, and that it was important that everyone understood that safety came first. I munched on another part of a Pop-Tart and went to the bathroom a few more times. At 6:40am I walked to the swim start and dropped my morning clothes bag off at the tent. I was Wave 3, so I had jumped into the water as soon as I could- water temp was now 69 degrees! No rain yet. I swam for 4 mins or so, and then watched the Pro Male/Female wave go off.
Swim: I positioned myself to the far right of my wave, hoping to stay away from the main pack, so I could stay in good form and actually use my new and improved stroke. I started with two guys in front of me on the beach, thinking they would lead out fast. The gun went off.. I sprintd into the water and dove in, coming up in front of the two guys. Why was I in front? I’m not a swimmer! Oh well. I hammered it for 50 yards or so, and then settled into a grove. I could see the first 4 swimmers or so parallel to me on the left. I soon met up with the lead pack, but they soon pulled away after 100 yards or so. As I got to the left turn, I saw two more people come up from behind. A drafted with them for a few minutes, but then pulled away. Feeling strong. After that, I never saw another person from my wave until transition. My goal was to break 30 mins, which I missed. I still have to work on pushing it, instead of just sticking into my groove.
T1: In transition, Robin, a kid from Quebec caught up to me and we exchanged a few laughs as we got our stuff together in the muddy/nasty transition. I entered the bike in front of Robin, and was soon on my way. Rain was now coming down hard.
Bike: After 3 miles or so, Robin passed me. I stood up and hammered it, trying to stay with him. Also, another kid from my age-group zoomed past me- I hoped the hills would take it out of him. I soon slowed to a steady pace, because I wanted to stick to my plan. I knew there were 3-4 big hills, and we did the loop twice. I knew that he was pushing it really hard to get out in front of me, so I waited to see how he felt on those hills. I took it easy on the first big hill, and was 20 yards or so behind Robin. A woman in a devil costume was at the top with her iPod speakers, rockin’ it in the pouring rain. Cheered everyone up. On the flat parts, Robin and I were constantly switching positions. I tried to drop him as we made a turn, but he caught up after a bit. On the last hill of the 1st loop, I hit it hard, and dropped Robin for good-great to have him out there to push me. At mile 23 I had drank half my Fluid Recovery drink, half my water bottle, and 2 GU’s. My legs were getting a bit tired, but I was in good shape for the second loop. My plan was to push it on these hills, and I felt strong during this last loop. On the flats I cranked it, trying to keep the pace up. Hopefully I would soon catch another one of my age-groupers. As I continued straight at mile 50 to head to transition, I had finished two more of my GU’s, all my water, and all of my Fluid Recovery. I opened up my GU Chomps and ate t
wo of them. I did a flying dismount and was surprised that my legs felt so good as I jogged through transition. I looked at my watch and noticed that I had broken 3 hours for the bike by a good margin! I could break that 5:15 goal!
T2: Still raining. Grabbed Amphipod belt, 2 GU’s, hat, and put on my race shoes and socks.
Run: Raining hard. I started the run at a 7:15 pace, feeling solid and trying to stay focused on getting the first loop done. The fans were great along the course. I started to get a cramp in my left quad, so I changed my stride to stretch it out a bit. I didn’t have to stop for water, because I had all my water/nutrition on me. At the turn around, a crazy lady with cool glasses was hanging out water, which was hilarious. The hills started to take it out of my legs, so I sped up my cadence. At mile 5, I took my first GU and had finished 1/3 of my water. I was probably running a 7:20 as I headed back into the turn around at the transition. As I made the turn, my legs started to crumble. The bike must have taken more than I thought out of them. I tried to keep a calm face and strong upper body, so to trick myself into not being tired. I saw the Pro’s coming to the finish, coming past with 5:50 paces. Wow. I soon saw a West Point Triathlon jersey ahead of me. It was a 20 year-old from my age-group. Hell yea. I maintained my pace and passed him at mile 9. The big hill was very hard, and I was almost totally out of gas. I had finished 2/3 of my water and had 1 GU left. At the turn around, I was ready for the race to be over. I started to slow a bit, on the edge of shuffling. I made the final turn at mile 10 or so. I started feeling tipsy, so I threw down my last GU, and picked up the pace. Hopefully this dizziness would disappear once I got back onto pace. I started to move my legs a bit quicker and used the downhills to regain my strength. I tried to divert my attention to the lake which was a cool site. Still raining. I grabbed a cup of Gatorade, just to try to get a bit more energy into me to finish off the race. Heading back along the river, I got to mile 12…1 Mile to go!. Stay strong. My pace was still a bit slow, but it was better than before. I lost track of the landmarks that I had in my head from the first loop, until I saw Andy on the side of the road taking a picture. I hoped he hadn’t decided to jog a few miles away from the finish to get some good pictures! He ran alongside me for a bit, which helped me a lot. I went through the crowd, down into the woods, around the fences, and through the finish line. 5:08.
After the race, I have to say that I’m happy with my time. 5th in age-group. We only got one spot for Clearwater 70.3, which was taken by the winner, another West Point Athlete.
I still have to improve my swim to break 30 mins, get some more biking in, and get that half-marathon run closer to 1:30. My run pace was 7:40, and I was hoping to race closer to 7:15/7:20. Getting 5:08 has shown me that its time to set my next goal at breaking 5 hours. Next race: Rhode Island 70.3 July 11th, before I fly out to San Fran on my way to New Zealand for 6 months. And Yes, I’m bringing my bike.