The Lake George ODT was my 5th triathlon and 6th race this year. Also, as a new member of the team, I was really excited to compete in my first Northeast Collegiate Triathlon Conference (NECTC) race. I had raced twice with the team over the summer, but I expected the collegiate conference division to bring something new to this event that I had not experienced before. The race and trip definitely exceeded the high expectations I had.
RACE PREP/RACE MORNING
We met up at 11AM the day prior, loaded up and set out for the 3-4 hour drive. It was easy to pass the time either enjoying the beautiful natural scenery of upstate NY, or listening to bizarre music courtesy of Dave and Peter. When we arrived at packet pickup, we met up with the Northeastern University Triathlon team, and went to a restaurant with them. They were a good group, and it was cool to talk with other college athletes from Boston.
On race trips, I’m always kind of the black sheep in that I bring every single thing I will consume with me from home. While everyone else is doing the pasta thing at this Italian restaurant, I pull out my salad, beans, and quinoa. This is just the routine that has worked the best for me. I feel much better having familiar foods in my body the day before and the day of a race.
Race morning, I wasn’t feeling too hot due to sleeping (or not sleeping much) on the floor of a hotel room. Only getting 3-4 hours of sleep before a race is certainly far from ideal, and was in the back of my mind as I got my bike ready, ate breakfast (banana, raisins, and dry oatmeal), and got dressed. I quickly put it behind me by recalling my best race of the summer back in June where I also barely slept the night before.
We arrived at the race site earlier than most people (probably just before 5AM), before transition was really supposed to be open. After getting body marked and settled into transition, a few of us went for a warm-up run in the dark of the morning with assistance from Colin’s head lamp. My run legs felt pretty good considering the sleep thing. Shortly after, we did a warm up ride. I lost the group right out of transition because my bike was making some concerning noises. I stopped to check it out, but there were just leaves in my rear brakes. What a massive relief considering this was 30-ish minutes before our wave start.
After getting back, putting on the wetsuits, and doing a quick swim warm-up, it was time to wait for the 6:55AM wave start. I usually just try to stay as relaxed as possible waiting for the start, focusing on how confident I am in my training and what my goals are for the day. I’ve had my sights set on a sub-40 minute 10k run all summer. It was a big thing weighing on me standing outside of transition.
There was an issue with the buoys before we started. Two of them would not stay in place. We were instructed to “ignore them.” Definitely some confusion in the water due to that, but things happen and you roll with it. Also, after coming out of the water, you had to run across the street to get to T1 after coming out of the water. The volunteers/directors were on top of that and really watched for us and held off the passing cars.
At the start of the swim, I went out pretty aggressive like usual, but had something happen to me that hadn’t before…I panicked. I never panic during races, but about 60 seconds into the swim, I really noticed feeling fatigue (from not sleeping…I think?) which didn’t instantly cause me to swim much slower, but got in my head. I really began to wonder for a second if this would be the longest Olympic triathlon I had ever done, but somehow I settled into my usual pace and regained composure.
I was able to sight and stay with a group for most of the swim, but I’m not sure if the buoy situation caused me to swim extra distance or not. The swim itself would be a little long. The race directors told us the lake was high from the recent storm that went through New England. It just meant you had an extra 50 meters or so to run in one to two feet of water at the end of the swim. All those things considered I was satisfied with my swim split.
When we drove the bike course the day before, the other guys that are stronger cyclists than me were pretty stoked about how flat and downhill the course was. While this is a big advantage for a strong cyclist, it is also great for me as someone who races with a really run-focused plan. I was excited to have less hills, meaning fresher legs for the run. The course did not disappoint during the race. I felt the most confident I have ever felt during a bike portion of a triathlon during this race. I had a professional bike fit done by Grady at Landry’s a couple of weeks before this race. I also bought a more comfortable saddle, which resolved many comfort and inefficiency problems I had been struggling with on the bike this summer. I was able to hit 32 mph on some of the down hills, and maintain 19 to low 20s on the flats. The last leg of the bike was really nice. We rode alongside the lake we swam in. I had some great scenery surrounding me as I prepared myself mentally for the run and race finish. I almost had a snag at the end; it was kind of unclear where to go to get back into transition, and the volunteers were directing traffic and didn’t see me as soon as I would have been comfortable. I lost a little speed coming into T2 trying to make sure I rode into the right spot, but nothing major.
I think one of my favorite parts of a triathlon is putting on my running shoes in T2. Mostly because the run’s my favorite and best leg; and partially because I can be relieved I didn’t have a race-ending mechanical problem on the bike. I haven’t had that happen yet, but it’s a definite point of anxiety for me.
The run course was great! It was a two loop course, with a short, steep downhill on each lap. I know from my classes in biomechanics that running downhill still is putting substantial stress on your muscles and joints, but it still feels different, possibly better if you’ve just run uphill. I told the other guys afterward that I really felt the downhill section breathed some life into my legs each time around.
I tried something new on the run during this race. I paced myself with my watch on each mile. I knew to break 40 minutes I needed to be at or under 6:24 miles for the 10K. I think this technique helped. Even though I did not hit my run goal, I still ran my fastest 10K! After the first mile sign, my watch said 6:11. I felt good and I thought I was easily on my desired pace. However, after mile 2 or 3, my pace was 6:48, and I started to get anxious. But, I told myself that the mile signs may not be exactly 1 mile apart, and of course my pace will be affected if a certain mile is predominantly uphill, downhill, or flat. Somewhere during the middle of the run, I passed a few people from MIT and Northeastern. It felt good to gasp out some encouraging words to some fellow Boston collegiate triathletes, but it also bumped up my confidence that I was moving up in the collegiate division. By mile 5, I think I almost said out loud to myself, “STOP looking at the watch!” because I knew it was time to stop being a scientist about the race and just let it all out. I still had enough energy to steadily accelerate all the way to a sprint finish over the last mile.
I’m really happy with my results. This was my best race so far. I finished 23rd in the collegiate division, and was the 22nd male collegiate. I had a great time racing my first NECTC race, and can’t wait for the next one. Bring on MightyMan!
By Ben Lakin
15th M25-29, 224th OA
Having spent a year intensely training with the BU Triathlon Team, I was ready for a new challenge. I had completed three Sprint and two Olympic Distance Triathlons over the past year, and I was ready to try the Half Ironman distance. I registered for the Patriot Half in East Freetown, MA in January, knowing that I wanted my second race of the season to be a half ironman. I trained hard all spring, focusing on building a lot of base for the longer distances. My goal was simply to finish in less than 6 hours (I was striving to break 5:45), and I was fairly pleased with my performance on race day. I raced hard, learned a lot and gained confidence that I could complete longer endurance sports.
Since the swim waves started at 7 AM for the Patriot, I awoke at 4 AM on race day. I quickly dressed in my tri gear and warm ups, prepared an English muffin with peanut butter, woke up my girlfriend who agreed to come to the race with me (I know…what was she thinking?) and lugged all my previously-packed gear to the car. We drove down to East Freetown as the sun was cresting over the horizon, and the scene made me more excited. The drive lasted about an hour, and during that time I ate my English muffin and continued hydrating. We arrived at the parking area around 5:30 AM.
Unfortunately, the lines for registration and body marking were already fairly long and growing quickly. I hurriedly signed in, picked up my “schwag bag” and waited to be body marked. Once marked, I proceeded into the transition area to set up everything. Typically, I warm up with a short run followed by a swim before the race start. However, due to the lines to get body marked, I had to settle for just a warm up swim. After ensuring my transition area was arranged correctly, I studied the entrances and exits to the transition area, memorized the location of my bike rack, donned my wet suit and headed to the race starting area for a warm up swim.
With swimming not my strongest sport, I’ve started doing a warm up swim before each race to calm my anxiety and let my body adjust to the water temperature. Thankfully, the water wasn’t cold on Long Pond as it was 70-degrees on race day. This is my first year racing with a wetsuit, and I have greatly enjoyed the investment. Before starting the swim, I examined my goggles and ensured they were adjusted correctly. For the warm up, Mark Slater (another graduate student on the BU Tri Team) and I swam out to the first buoy and back, and I simply focused on sighting and form and mixed in a few accelerations to increase my heart rate. Feeling pretty loose after the warm up swim, I proceeded over to the starting area and was ready to race.
The swim was a 1.2-mile rectangular course with a shallow water start. When our wave was called, we all proceeded over the timing chip mat and into the water. I dipped under the water once more to check my goggle seal and then made my way over to the right side of the mob in an effort to avoid some of the craziness when the swam began. Finally, the bell sounded and we started. Despite trying to move to the right before the start, I still was kicked and whacked a few times in the first 100-yards. I knew I wasn’t strong enough to stay with the leaders on the swim. I tried to stay focused, concentrated on my form, breathing and conserving energy for the remainder of the race. Thankfully, my open water swimming skills have begun to improve, and I found myself tracking fairly straight and sighting well. After about 200-yards, I fell into a rhythm and swam the long distance.
This year, I learned that swimming until your hands reach the ground is faster than standing up earlier and attempting to run out of the deeper water. That’s what I did, swam until my hands touched bottom. Emerging from the water, I was dizzy. I often become dizzy after a hard swim, but I focused on jogging out of the water and removing my goggles and swim cap. I started stripping my wetsuit as I ran towards my bike. As I ran to my bike, I noticed my friend Mark was already at his transition spot. Since we were the first wave, we were some of the first racers out of the water. Being new to wearing a wetsuit, I learned I need to practice removing it quickly. I struggled to remove the wetsuit from my feet before finally succeeding. Since I was doing my first half ironman, I decided to don biking shorts for more comfort on the ride. I slid those on over my underarmor shorts. Then, I put on my shoes, gloves and helmet and ran out toward the mount line.
Initially, it was a little cool on the bike as my skin began to dry in the wind, but the sun was continuing to rise, making for a beautiful day. Thankfully, the bike course was fairly flat throughout the race. I quickly settled into a rhythm and cranked out the miles. The course was a double loop course and was not closed to traffic. It was well managed and policed at the major intersections. There were two water bottle exchanges on each loop that I later realized I should have utilized. I had planned to average 17-18 mph on the bike to save something for the run. My legs were feeling strong after averaging 18 mph on the first loop. I kept the pace for the second loop. It was encouraging to pass my friends, girlfriend and all the spectators at end of the first and second loops.
After completing the first loop, the temperature began to rise. I realized it was going to be warm on the run. There was a beautiful causeway section over a lake on the ride about 20 miles into each loop. It was foggy and gloomy on the first loop, but the scenery was spectacular on my second pass. As I approached the camp and headed into the second transition, I knew I had lost a lot of ground on the bike. I anticipated this. I’m fairly new to cycling and I don’t have an aerodynamic time trial bike. I was also determined to save some energy for the run.
As I entered transition, my legs had their usual wobble. I quickly racked my bike, changed into running shorts, slipped into my running shoes, grabbed my race belt and hurried toward the run out. As I exited the transition area, I realized I forgot to grab my next GU. Oh well…there would be plenty of aid stations with Hammer Gel. I decided not to turn back.
The first ½ mile of the run course follows the same route as the bike. I had focused on bricks going into this race. My legs quickly loosened and my stride settled. I passed several people as I held my 8-minute mile pace. I passed Mark around mile 2. My legs and body were feeling great for the first 6 miles, and I maintained my intended pace. At the six mile marker, I suddenly ran out of steam. It literally felt like someone had turned off the power to my legs. My legs didn’t hurt, but I didn’t have any energy. At this point, I realized that it was quite warm (I later found out it was about 85 degrees) and I was beginning to feel the intensity of the sun. I slowed and walked for about 20-yds to try to regain my focus. I started running again, but my energy still was significantly lacking. After struggling to get some momentum going, I finally reached the mile 7 aid stations. I gulped down some water, HEED Sports Drink, and dumped a cup of water onto my race hat to cool off. At this juncture, I created a new plan to finish this race. I realized I was too dehydrated to maintain my goal pace. I started running to each aid station. I walked through the aid stations to pick up water, HEED and/or an orange slice (those tasted so good after 5+ hours of competition!). Then, I ran to the next aid station. I simply focused on running to the next aid station. After 3 miles, I began to get into a rhythm. This strategy quickly helped me get passed the 12-mile mark. My adrenaline began to surge as I continued to run towards the finish. I heard the spectators’ cow bells as I drew closer to the finish line. What a relief.
Coming into the camp, over the foot bridge and down the final straight across the line was a great feeling as the announcer called my name. I grabbed a water bottle, took a seat and tried to relax for a minute as my girlfriend came to greet me. I was pleased to complete my first half ironman and grateful that I was supported by several good friends. I learned a lot from this race, and I think my next one could be even faster.
By Katie Weller – May 23, 2011
Sandwich to Provincetown…and back – 112 miles
THE EARLY MILES
Overall, the CapeRide went really well and was an awesome experience for everyone. Gordon, Chris, and I left from Shawme State Park at 8 AM after having a quick breakfast of bagels and peanut butter. Chris and I camped there the night before in a yurt and the campsite let Gordon park his car in the parking lot all day. The prices were really reasonable and they had great facilities – I recommend the campsite to anyone who races on Cape Cod and needs a place to stay. The weather was a little rainy and cold, but we all had the right gear; long cycling pants, under armour, light cycling jacket, full gloves. Chris and I both carried Camelbacks. Gordon carried two extra water bottles in his jersey pockets. We all had 2 water bottles on our bikes, GU gels, and NRG bars.
We stayed on route 6A the entire ride which was really convenient because there was no chance we could get lost. Last year, Chris and I spent 10 miles riding around Sandwich looking for our car. We kept the pace around 17-MPH; relatively easy for the first 30 miles. We each pulled for 5 miles and took turns drafting. The roads were not busy for the first 30 miles.
PROVINCETOWN AND BACK
We turned onto 6A. Our pace slowed for the next 30 miles to Provincetown due to long hills and busy roads. We each had 2 gels and a couple small NRG bar samples along the way. We stopped in Provincetown to use the public bathrooms on the pier and ate sandwiches at one of the snack bar areas. We rested for about an hour, which gave us enough time to relax but didn’t put us behind schedule. Provincetown was really cold and windy when we arrived, but we made use of a Bank of America ATM area and crammed all 3 of us and our bikes in to get warm! We received some very weird looks from people walking by.
We finished eating, filled our water bottles up and headed back. At first, the ride was a lot harder. There was a huge headwind and we were all cold from the rest. We powered up some big hills, which we found were a lot bigger on the way back than the way there. We struggled for a few miles and took turns pulling. Once we hit 6A, the ride went really well again. We picked up the pace back to 17-18 MPH and finished the ride back in Sandwich where Chris’s parents picked us up.
The cool weather also kept us from sweating excessively. We ended up bringing more than we needed. I ended up drinking all the water in my Camelback but only half a water bottle. I wouldn’t bring less because if it were hot, we would have needed the extra calories and water.
This is my second year doing this ride. It has been a great experience, but I probably won’t do it again. Route 6 is very busy and feels like you’re riding on a highway. It has also been cold and rained both years. Many of the roads don’t have a much of a shoulder to ride in. Regardless, I’m really happy I did the ride this year, and look forward to doing more century rides in other parts of the country.
June 4, 2011
Escape the Cape Triathlon
By Chris Tommila
3rd M20-24, 12th OA
I came into this race feeling pretty good. My training had tailed off a little bit towards the end of the school year. I wasn’t coming in to it with all of the momentum I had hoped for. However, I had been putting a lot of miles in on the bike and done some brick work. Therefore, I was confident I could very well. As it turns out, my expectations were spot on, and I performed exactly as I had hoped.
The swim was slightly more difficult than I had planned. The previous year, we swam with the current over the ? mile course. This year, we battled it the entire way and it showed in my time. Knowing that the swim course was a point to point, I decided to cede the inside line to avoid the typical mass of destruction and started about ten yards right of the start buoy. Shortly after the start, I settled into a groove and had a good stroke going. I saw a lot of guys surge from the start. I knew the current was working against us and would be quick to push a lot of those guys back to me within 100 meters. Luckily, my gamble paid off and I picked off most of them by the time we exited the frigid water (somehow the bay had not even begun to warm up yet). I ended up coming out of the water 10th in my wave.
I sprinted into transition from the swim, yanked off my wet suit and started getting ready for the bike. I looked around and saw that most of the top 10 were still in the transition area at that time. Having opted not to start with my shoes clipped onto my bike, I threw on my sunglasses, helmet and shoes before running my bike through transition. I moved up to 8th in my wave in the process.
I had a lot of confidence going into this extremely fast 10 mile bike course. There are very few hills and they barely feel like inclines when climbing. About 1 mile into the ride, I realized I was closing in on a couple of riders and made my pass by 3 miles putting me in 6th position on the road; and feeling good. I fought for position with another oncoming rider before permanently dropping him by mile 4. As I neared the “no pass zone” set up about a quarter mile from the turnaround, I decided to gun it, hoping that any riders stacked up behind me would have to ride a slower pace. That tactic helped keep my 6th position until mile 8. Two very fast riders passed me. I remained in 8th going into T2.
I tried the flying dismount for the first time coming into T2. Luckily, it went off without a hitch and I saved some serious time by leaving my shoes clipped into my bike running into transition. At this point, the field was spread out and there was only a couple athletes in transition as I threw on my shoes and ran out of T2 holding onto 8th.
My legs were a little tight coming out of transition and didn’t loosen up much for about half a mile. At that point, I began to stretch out a bit more and my pace quickened considerably. The course was very flat with the exception of one short steep hill about ¾ of mile into the run. After cresting the hill and cruising down the other side, my legs were shaken loose and I began feeling very good. The rest of the run went by uneventfully and I came across the line in a triathlon 5K PR time of 19:10. During the run, I had opened up a large gap on my next closest competitor without even noticing. I had expected that a couple of athletes from later waves may have beaten me and they did. I dropped from 8th to 12th place in the standings by the time all competitors had finished.
By Gordon Towne
7th M20-24, 30th OA
After spending the past semester training with the BU Triathlon Team, I finally got the opportunity to compete in my first sprint triathlon at the 2011 New England Season Opener in Hopkinton, MA. Having only taken my first strokes in the pool nine months before race day, and with a forecast for cool water temperatures, my goals were mainly to get my feet wet and put in a respectable showing where I could. As it turned out, the race was a great experience and left me looking forward with anticipation to those to come.
As might be expected, I was fairly anxious to get the ball rolling on my first race, and beat my 5AM alarm on race morning by a considerable margin. I took the opportunity to go through all of the gear I had meticulously laid out the night before, and make sure I had included everything from my transition checklist. Confident that I was ready, I scarfed down two bananas before heading out to meet the rest of the team at the cars. Getting from Boston to the start in Hopkinton went smoothly, as all 16 BU triathletes competing appeared, loaded into cars, and were on their way.
After everyone arrived at the transition area and picked up their race packets, we were excited to find that based on our numbers, our group had been placed together in transition. This was great for me as a novice, as it gave me a chance to get some pointers on optimal transition setup from some more experienced racers. With about an hour to go before race start, we stared the process of warming up all three sports.
Colin and I started out riding a section of the course. Mentally, I found it refreshing to get out on the bike and I was appreciating how scenic the park was with the new leaves having just emerged on the trees. My legs were feeling fresh and turning over well. More practically, some of the road surfaces we would be riding had really suffered after the cold winter, and getting to scope out some of the descents pre-race would give me more confidence to take them aggressively later on.
After the warm up ride and a quick jog, the transition area was starting to bustle, and it was time to don the wetsuits and get in the water for a warm up swim. For all of my apprehension, I found that I was surprisingly comfortable in the water. In the 59 degree water, I was certainly appreciating the wetsuit and double swim caps I was wearing, but didn’t get hit with any feeling of shock as people had warned me of. Buoyed by this injection of confidence (and all that wonderful rubber) I was ready to race.
The swim would be a point-to-point 400m course paralleling the shoreline and returning to the transition area. Treading water at the swim start, I made my way to the right side of the pack, wanting to stay out of the fray as much as possible. Finally, the gun went off and we were off. I knew I wasn’t strong enough to hang with the leaders on the swim, so focused on my form and conserving energy for the bike leg. Without a set of feet to follow, I soon found that I was cutting too aggressive a line back toward shore, as the orange of the first buoy that had started to my left suddenly filled my vision. I corrected my line, and reminded myself that I wasn’t in a pool anymore. There was no convenient black line on the bottom of the lake pointing the way. The remainder of the swim was fairly uneventful as I settled into a rhythm and ticked off the distance.
Emerging from the water, I started stripping my wetsuit off as I ran up the beach. After passing a small BU cheering section on the run up to transition, I noticed a few fellow BU triathletes getting ready to head out on the bike. Not knowing where my swim had put me, I was happy to see that I hadn’t lost too much time to the others in my weaker discipline. I dropped the wetsuit, donned the shoes and helmet and ran out toward the mount line.
I was finally glad to be out on the bike. The bike started out up a fairly sizable hill. I got out of the saddle and powered up this first climb. The course was fairly crowded with the tail end of the duathlete start wave mixed in with the first wave of triathletes. Admittedly, I was probably getting a little too much pointless pleasure out of picking off some of the other riders. As the ride progressed and the field thinned somewhat, I focused on settling in to a high cadence and carrying as much speed as I could over the rolling hills. The bike course encircled the reservoir where we had just swum and I took note of the scenery as the sun came out.
The bike went by quickly, and soon I was making my way through the park gates and toward the last climb before transition. On the ascent, I noticed Chris ahead and gave him some words of encouragement as we both grinded up the hill. I rode past him, but presumably not wanting to be beaten by the newbie, he picked up the pace and pulled ahead of me as we crested the top. Coming down the final descent into transition behind Chris and remembering horror stories of his previous adventures on that hill, I jokingly shouted that I would give him a wide berth.
Entering transition feeling like a pro, I quickly racked my bike, slipped into my running shoes, and started toward the run out. Five strides later, I realized I was still wearing my helmet. Swallowing a bit of that pride, I ran back, threw it on the ground next to my bike, and took off.
The first section of the run course follows the same route as the bike. Starting out, I was painfully reminded of Nick’s advice that that first hill would be tough off of the bike. Soon enough I was over it, trying to keep my legs under me and make up some time for the descent down the back side. Approaching the first turn around, I saw Nick blazing out the other side. We shouted words of encouragement at each other. Following right behind him were David, Colin and Chris, and I was happy to see that the BU contingent was putting in such a strong showing. I tried to match their pace as much as I could over the coming hills.
The final portion of the run cuts across the top of the dam that maintains the reservoir. My legs were starting to feel it as I emerged from the trees onto the dam. Then I noticed something up ahead. I soon realized it was some strange man in a gingerbread-man costume! To my surprise, the gingerbread man started cheering for me as I ran past. Getting closer, I recognized it was our president, Max, giving me a helpful reminder to run as fast as I could!
Coming down the final straight across the line was a great feeling as the announcer called my name and I was greeted by a group of celebrating teammates. I was happy with the showing I had put in, and that I was able to celebrate it with a great group of people.
>Ironman 70.3 Providence
By Max Metcalfe, Boston University Triathlete
Finish: 5:05:04 – 7th M18-24
This was my second year racing the Amica 70.3 Providence, and I was excited to compare my 2009 race to this year. Last season was my first year racing a Half Ironman distance triathlon, and I have come a long way in fitness and overall triathlon experience since then. This also being my second Half Ironman of the summer, racing Ironman 70.3 Mooseman five weeks earlier, I was in a good training groove coming into the race. I ran two 15+ mile runs and two 12-14 miles runs, as well as rode two 60+ mile rides. I was also very lucky to have access to Walden Pond at least twice a week, which helped my open water swim greatly.
I arrived in Providence at 11 am with Josh and Colin packed in a mini cooper. Imagine 3 bikes glued on the outside of the small car and every bit of room filled with helmets and transition bags. We registered and then stopped at Legal Seafood on the way to drop our bikes off at T1 in Narragansett. I ate a grilled chicken sandwich with a Caesar salad and lots of water. I did snack on a few fries, which seamed a bad idea before the race, but they were too yummy to resist. We set up T1. Bikes were in working order. Racked them for the night. Back in Providence, we went for a quick 15-minute run up the long hill of last year’s course just to get the blood flowing and the driving out of the legs. After putting our run gear into our T2 bags and put them in transition. At 6:30pm, we sat down for dinner and all devoured spaghetti and meatballs. Just before bed, I bought a Milky Way bar, which would be a large portion of my bike nutrition during the race. We were all very relaxed for a night before a triathlon. At 9pm, we fell into a deep race night sleep – pleasant, yet cluttered with sudden dreams of race morning and the terrible feeling of arriving at the race site, forgetting an essential piece of equipment. I awoke at 3am wake up and settled into my race morning nutrition feast. I tried to get a bit more food into me than at Mooseman. I drank 1 serving of Endurox, 1 packet of Pop-Tarts, and 1 Banana. I would also later consume half packet more of Pop-Tarts, and 1 GU on the beach. In the hotel lobby, I grabbed a cup of coffee and then walked through the dark streets of Providence towards the shuttle. The streets were mostly empty, except for a stream of calm and focused triathlons walking alongside staggering drunk bar-goers. We had to wait for an hour on the beach, since we were the last wave of the day. My warm-up went great and I was feeling ready to go. Focused, awake, and fueled…my third Half Ironman. I was ready!
SWIM (33:27) As at Mooseman, I started on the right side of the group behind one row of people. When the gun went off, I led the right side of the group into the water and pulled hard for a few hundred yards. The waves were big and it was hard to sight the buoys and keep your head clear for breathing. I tried to push it hard on the way in to take advantage of the waves. Coming out of the water, I saw that my swim time was yet again 33-minutes. I thought I maintained a pretty good position relative to the other racers in my age group.
T1 (2:36) As I ran towards my bike, I saw Colin’s bike still racked very nicely on the rack next to mine. At that moment, I reminded myself to collect my well deserved $20 after the race! With a smooth transition, I was off.
BIKE (2:51:00) To prevent the hydration problem I had at Mooseman, I started the bike with a 24-oz. Gatorade sports drink between my aero bars, a 24-oz. bottle of Fluid Recovery, and a 24-oz. bottle of water. My plan was to first drink all of the Gatorade and ditch it at the first food stop. I knew the course pretty well from racing last year and doing a few scouting trips. I kept my cadence high and focused on getting that initial fluid into me. By the half way point, I had consumed half of my GU flask, which contained 2.5 servings of Fluid Recovery, half of my Fluid drink, and half of my delicious Milky Way bar! I chose not to have any caffeine during the bike. I had substituted GU gels for Fluid Recovery. In regards to my Milk Way Bar, it was great to have a solid piece of food mid-way through the bike, and passing other competitors while your munching on a candy bar makes you smile! Like my other races, I struggled to keep my mind focused on the bike, and from drifting to the run. I could feel my legs slowly losing strength, but I kept my effort balanced. I wanted to exert myself, yet leave just enough in my legs. I felt like I balanced this perfectly on this race. Surprisingly, my bike time was slower than my bike last year. I’m a stronger biker this year, yet the conditions this year (headwind?) were tough.
T2 (1:15) As I came into transition, Northeastern Triathlete Mike Abbene passed me. I knew my run would be strong. I remained focused on my race and my transition. With all these people around, I would hate to do something embarrassing like knock my water bottles off my bike, which Colin and Josh managed to do multiple times.
RUN (1:36:49) During my training, I focused on maintaining a higher cadence during the run. The first loop of the run felt awesome! Despite it being very hot, I was able to keep my core temperature down with ice sponges and the occasional cup over the head. I decided to ditch the hydration belt for this race. I had to make sure I got enough water into me at the aid stations. At every station, I ditched my old ice sponges for new ones, drank 1-2 cups, and tossed any extra water over my head. This process kept me feeling fresh even as I was starting my second loop. I was feeling very strong. I wanted to make sure I pushed it very hard on the second loop. I also consumed 3 GU’s with caffeine from a Gel Flask, finishing it at mile 11. During the second loop, I slowly picked up the pace. Soon I felt my legs begin to really lose power. I saw the 5-hour overall time goal disappear on my watch, and I picked the pace up even more to try to get across the line as close as possible. I saw my family, friends who came to watch the race, and the other BU triathletes on the course. This really helped me stay composed mentally throughout the hot run. I have never felt this much in control of my pacing and my body. Great run! My half marathon time was 1:36:49. My time during last year’s race was 1:49 and Mooseman’s run was 1:40.
— Now I’m off the New Zealand for 6-months!!!