Heading into this year’s Timberman was kind of strange. I suppose it was because both Genine and I knew we hadn’t done the training we should have done to make this a successful race. Which I suppose took the pressure off in terms of expectations. On the other hand, I had no desire to suffer through the cramping I dealt with at Mont Tremblant 70.3. So even though there were lowered expectations, there were some goals in place, and there never seems to be a lack of lessons learned during each event. I’ll start off with one of them.
We had to check in our bike the day before the event. No problem, except we were meeting the McFadden’s for dinner at their place and I felt we were running behind schedule. So I checked my bike in leaving all the taping of equipment into place onto my bike for the next morning. Not a big deal. Except that the next morning I was doing my tape job while it was packed in the rack. 6 GU’s on the top tube, it looked good but I found out on the course that I didn’t tape some of them low enough. So when I ripped them off, I only got half of the opening, which leads to much longer than twice the time to consume the GU while on the bike. Lesson learned.
Swim: I knew this wasn’t going to be a good swim for me. (haven’t put in the laps). I still planned on focusing on a few things. At Mont Tremblant, I was way off line and had to swim like crazy to get back on track. After that race was when I realized that because I tend to go left, I have to pass people on the right, otherwise I’m going to be going off track. This worked very well other than for the first 300m or so. Because I’m so slow, I put myself further back in the pack for the start, almost last in fact. I started on the buoy line because it was a clockwise swim. Unfortunately, someone nearly the same speed as I was to my left and he kept drifting right, to my drifting left…. We were hitting each other so much I was expecting an elbow to my ribs or a punch thrown at any moment. I backed down. I let him swim ahead and I watched him swim to the inside of the buoy line. After that it was a pretty good swim, meaning I found feet when I could, I swam a good line and I wasn’t killing myself aerobically. On the way back to the shore, I spotted a cap from the wave behind us. I jumped on his feet…. For about 4 strokes. I kept his kick in sight as long as I could for a directional aid tho’. I ended up using about 3 or 4 people from the wave behind me as a guide on the way to shore. The best news, when I stood up to get out, my legs didn’t cramp on me. Finally!!!
Swim: 38:00 for comparison in 2009 I swam a 33:27. This year IMMT 37:44.
Wetsuit stripping: I hope the kids weren’t offended that I didn’t go to them even tho they were waiting. I waited briefly for the only adult male I saw there. It went smoothly and I was headed for my bike.
|Running into T1|
Bike: I plan to go really easy on the bike today. If I have the cramping issues I had at Mont Tremblant, I’ll likely never do another 70.3. I told Genine I planned to stay in my small front chain ring as much as possible.
I was in the 7th of 12 waves starting today. The later waves were equal to my age or younger so there were people passing me like I was standing still. I had read about how when racing an ironman, your bike ride should feel like the easiest ride you’ve done all year in terms of effort. Well, considering my training, I figured this was a good strategy to follow. So I kept my ego in check and watched what felt like 100’s of people pass me. I was being more than courteous to people that were approaching. I’d wait to pass until the really speedy people were around me. Which I thought was going to lead me into taking a penalty. We were on the way out, approaching an intersection, which had cones out to separate us from the cars. I was looking to pass some slower riders and I looked over my shoulder to see others approaching. Well I think it was a group of 5-8 riders…. And a motorcycle with an official on it. When we reached the cones, it got really congested. I was definitely close to the slow cyclists who where ahead of me and to my left was this peloton of 5-8 going by and I’m watching the official on the motorcycle write down numbers onto his clipboard. I felt that he looked right at me as he wrote it down. At which point I thought to myself, this is going to be my slowest 70.3 bike and they are going to give me a penalty on top of it! Ah well, the group that was passing deserved it. If I got caught in the slow lane in a “draft” waiting to pass, that will teach me a lesson. (I didn’t get a penalty).
Shortly after that, I heard a siren behind me. Up ahead, I see a tangle of traffic and people off the road tending to someone. That always makes me nervous. A good reminder that safe is better than fast. (at least for me).
I spot Ed who started 15 minutes ahead of me just before I turned off of 106 towards the turnaround. I note the time and see how long it takes me to reach where he was. It was a bit of a guesstimate, but I was about even with him. That was encouraging. I really expected that he might beat me by 10 minutes or more today.
This next statement might give light to my lack of intensity. I think it is important that friends point out to THEIR friends, when it is time to replace their bike shorts or Triathlon bibs, as it is unlikely that they will be in front of a mirror in full sunlight. There were several people on the course today that their shorts, in full sun, were presenting a full moon to the people behind them. Not pretty. I know it’s a tough topic to bring up people but I’d appreciate it if you’d mention to them that it’s time for some new shorts/bibs.
Once I got off of 106, I knew that I could probably get away with pushing a bit harder. As I was climbing the connecting road to 107, there were 2 kids on BMX bikes (or 20 inchers as they are called, I think). As I climbed by, I said “Race Ya!”. The younger of the 2 said “All Right!!!”. The older said “Noooo, you can’t do that”. Could have been a funny race to the top of the hill!
107 is a downhill bomb on somewhat iffy pavement. So perhaps a blessing in disguise, I had a few bikers ahead of me that were overly cautious and a car between them and me, there would be no bombing of 107 today.
Next we climb across Frank Bean road to 11. I passed quite a few people here. I started to feel good about my pacing decision. Then when I started to climb 11, I knew I wanted a clear road to bomb the downhill if possible. I passed enough people to create a gap ahead of me, then eased off a bit. At which point a couple people passed me but not very convincingly. So I passed them back as we neared the top an then FLEW down the hill. I don’t think I was passed again until I was in the no pass zone just before transition. That’s right. A QT2 person passed me, and the person ahead of me in the no pass zone going into transition. I get that we should have been going faster here but seriously, we are talking maybe a 5 second difference. I hope that was the difference of a podium for him….
3:08:18 . 2009 Timberman 3:06:36 (with a flat). Mont Tremblant 3:02:16
|Liked the new Lizard Skins bar tape and CeeGee's aero pads!|
Run: In my head I had 2 hours as my time goal. I realized that this would be difficult but I was hopeful that I might make up for time lost on the bike. (I was surprised that I finished my bike in 3:08:18, I was kind of expecting 3:15:xx).
Very early into my run, I see a pro woman approaching. Heather Wurtle. People are applauding and yelling. I figure she must be in first. Moments later I spot Cait Snow. She is FLYING. I shout “You can catch her!” I had a feeling that I’d like to see this finish line. (Cait came up 13 seconds short)
Back to me.
I didn’t have my footpod to track my pace. Nor did I bother to hit the lap button along the way. I just kept looking at my HR and it was low 170’s. Could I hold that for 13.1?
The first aid station I came to had a sign up. Pancakes and Bacon Ahead! Seriously, There was a 18” tall pile of bacon and dozens of pancakes on a table. I was very tempted to try the bacon but it was too early in the run. Not long after that, I came upon the best aid station in all of triathlon. (at least in my limited experience). The have a pile of ice shavings from the ice rink. So you can grab a snowball or two and put it wherever you think it would help the most. This is why I make sure I have a hat and not a visor at Timberman. The snowball under the hat is awesome.
As I was approaching the first turn around, I knew I should be seeing Ed soon. I saw him just as I left the highway and was heading into the neighborhood. I noted the time to see if I’ve made up anytime on him since the bike. I believe I came up with 10 minutes down with about 10 miles to go.
The way back to the park has some climbing. I was pushing along nicely right up to when you are about to leave the highway at mile 4. My right quad cramped. Not nearly as bad as what I dealt with at Mont Tremblant. I was able to start walking within a few seconds. I took this as my cue to dial the intensity down. That also meant that I decided to powerwalk the steepest hill on the course. Not a big deal, better than cramping up.
I get back to the park and am met with cheers from the McFaddens as I head out for loop two. I was tempted to ask how far ahead Ed was but figured I’d be better off just managing myself and not trying to push it.
As I reached the Pancake and Bacon table…. There was no bacon left on the table. The price you pay for being slow I guess. Fortunately, the snow pile up ahead was still in full operation. I can’t remember who I saw first heading in for lap 1 Ed’s son Dan or Genine. I think it was Genine. She was just pushing through it. Then when I saw Dan, he looked like he was doing just fine.
As I got to the end of the highway heading towards the final turn around, I figured I would soon be seeing Ed again. Only I never saw him. I figured I must have been over confident in my pace and didn’t start watching for him early enough. I could have easily missed him at an aid station. Just keep running.
I was feeling pretty good about the fact that I had just run the entire way out once again without cramping, but the scene of the crime was just up ahead. Instead of tempting fate, I power walked that section. Kind of a bummer, but I’m going to call it game management. In golf you can go for the green and possibly drop it into the pond for a penalty, or you can lay it up and leave yourself an easy chip. There is a time when each of those decisions are the right choice. I took the easy layup. Then I was back running again. Oddly enough, just as I was approaching the steep hill again, I thought I saw Ed just up ahead on the hill. I knew running was going to be a bad choice. Fast walked the hill. The whole time thinking I’d be upset if I didn’t catch up, because at this point it would be fun to run to the finish line with him.
Once I got to the top of the hill, I couldn’t see him, I did see Genine headed the other way. I finally asked, “Have you seen Ed?” She said no, he’s got to be behind you. Now I’m really confused. Maybe Genine just missed him.
I get to the finish, no sprint down the chute or anything. I actually didn’t seem to have anyone nearby in front or behind me. The McFadden’s were cheering and I made it to the finish.
Run: 2:09:19 2009 2:09:54 Mont Tremblant 2:22:14
Total 6:01:31 2009 5:55:44 (with a flat). Mont Tremblant 6:10:53
I’m going to say that Mont Tremblant is the more difficult bike course. Even so, I find it interesting that my slowing down by 6 minutes on the bike, made an enormous difference in being able to “run” without major cramping. Which saved me 13 minutes.
At first I found it surprising that my total time is only off by about 6 minutes compared to 2009. I think I weigh 15 pounds more than I did in 2009 and my swim was about 5-6 minutes slower this year. To be fair, I should subtract another 6 minutes from 2009 for the flat I fixed on the bike.
That may be it for triathlons in 2012. I have no inspiration to race Buckman or Skylands. I’m just not in the shape I should be in to make it really fun. Which is the big lesson for the year. If you want to see improvements, you’ve gotta be at race weight. Diet is going to the top of the list. It’s going to be more important than biking or swimming for awhile.
NYC Marathon attempt is next. Maybe my pacing lesson can carry over to Marathon.