Sunday, October 10

First Posting: The long overdue race report

Pumpkinman Half Iron
September 12, 2010

Course review
Fresh off the sprint race, buoyed by a personally rewarding effort and result, I loaded my gear and headed out for a tour of the 56 mile bike route.  I had Gatorade, grapes, and Zone bars to hold me over till diner.  So off I went as I fired up the Garmin 276 GPS I borrowed from work preloaded the bike route to make it easier to follow.

I was looking for bad spots, sharp turns, and steep sections and most importantly, key flat spots for sucking down Gu without ending up over a guardrail or something awful.   A profile chart I built indicated 4 main climbs and descents, each seemed perfectly spaced to allow me to Gu at regular intervals between them.  First at mile 8, then at 15, 25, 35, and finally at 45.  Driving the route confirmed the locations for nutrition were good and without major issues.  The other thing I noticed was that only 1 climb (twice) was of any real consequence and the rest of the ride should allow me to stay aero and smooth.

Last minute adjustments
Back to the hotel and to 99’s for a diner of panko crusted haddock with asparagus, artichoke, roasted peppers and pasta – what an awesome prerace meal.  I spent a little time tinkering with the bike – adjusting the shifters, taped 6 Gu to my top tube (only 2 were Roctane – I had a few GI issues with them on the sprint), doubled the flat kit, removed all tools, and adjust the Speedfill system.  Finally up to the room to setup my outfit and get to bed.

Race Day
In all the races I have done, this was the first time I ever got a solid 7+ hours of un-interrupted sleep.  Up before 4AM for coffee and PBJ.  Dress and grab my ‘event’ bag then out the door at 5AM.  Getting there so early was nice.  I had plenty of time to be lazy, no rushing at all.  After setting up I wandered around looking for Carole’s colleague Jay from work.  We headed down to the lake for a warm-up.  The big change from the sprint course is how much longer the swim looked.  The buoys seemed to be much farther than I expected.

Swim – 41:49
No heroics today – at gun time instead of rushing out with the pack, I slowly walked in up to my waist then started to swim.  By then, the pack was out in front and I didn’t need to deal with all the coyotes and wolverines trying to shred my wetsuit and drown me!  That left me free to settle in and swim clean.  No panic breathing, just smooth easy swimming – very nice!  By the middle of the first lap the woman’s’ best were flying past but I was also getting by a few of my age groupers that were running out of gas.  Big cheers erupted from the crowd as I lapped around the beach.  Second lap was fairly quiet; all the real swimmers were long gone. 

T1 – 4:56
The hill is a killer and I chose to walk the steepest part again.  Despite the dip-pool I still had grass on my feet and it was a pain getting it off before fighting with the socks.  Next race I will bring my own dip tank and crate to sit on too. 

Bike – 3:01:43
The first 5 minutes I got caught up in the chase and my HR spiked before regaining control.  Downshift – spin up the cadence – relax into the aero bars and focus. The day was cool and overcast so I was glad I decided to wear a short-sleeve bike jersey over my tri-bibs.  I put it on under the wetsuit so it was damp to start.  The extra layer that covered the shoulders kept me from getting chilled.  Before I new it my first Gu break was here so I tried a Roctane – nasty.  Started burping as the incline grew as if to say “Hello, I’m that pasty shit you ate.  How do you like me now?”  Exactly why I only put 2 on the top-tube – that wont happen again.  By the long rolling flats from 14 to 18 I found my groove. Keeping aero, drinking every 15 minutes from my Speedfill, cadence stable at 85 to 90.  The relatively big climb at 20 was not as steep as I first though and didn’t drain my energy much.  Just kept the cadence up and let the speed take care of itself.  I knew I would get a 2 mile screaming downhill to make up ground.  At times I was clocking 36mph! 

Suddenly it seemed, I was on the second lap. But now my issue was I had to pee.  I had to pee really, really bad.  I thought about going on the bike – nah, maybe I should stop – nah, can’t do that either.  Look around, no other bikers, no houses, good place to go…. I try but it just doesn’t work on a bike seat.  Stand up and coast… still cant go….I try harder…Hah! Got a little… but it stopped.  Try again…. nothing. Damn!  OK, hold it till T2, it’s only another hour – this is gonna be tough!  By mile 45 where the course heads back, my bladder was so full that on every peddle stroke, each leg pressed against my bladder reminding me how bad I had to pee.  That was the hardest part of the bike!

T2 – 2:08
Off the bike and in.  The place was a total mess.  Shit everywhere.  Rack the bike, strip the extra jersey, guzzle half a Gatorade (yeah I still have to pee!), sneakers on and change my shades, grab my hydration belt and head out. 

Run – 1:58:19
First stop – nearest Port-O-Potty!  They had a row of them just outside the transition and I was glad.  I looked at my watch as I entered.  I urinated for 2:12!!! That’s longer than my bike-run transition.  I had to pee so bad would have filled both my bike shoes!  There was no way I could run carrying an extra 3 liters!  Ahhhh, much better! 

The first mile is rolling downhill and I made incredible time there clocking 7:30’s for the mile (I had 2 minutes to make up).  After that I tried to maintain 8:45 or so which went well for a while. The course was a double out and back so I got to see the lots of folks way in front and way behind.  Things were going excellent and I was on my second ‘out’ and as I shifted to coasting down following a climb to mile 10 I felt like my left hamstring got hit with a sledge hammer – Whack!  Stopped me dead in my tracks.  At first I couldn’t walk, then I crumpled in a pile with a massive cramp.  I tried to ease it, squeeze it, stretch it.  Several runners asked if they could help.  I assured them I’d manage.  The cramping worsened. Right quad, left calf then the right calf.  I thought I was done, bummer!  It dawned on me that sitting was a problem so I got back up, stood for a minute, most muscles started to relax – good!  But not the hamstring – bad!  Take a step, squeezing the tight spot, another step – good.  A minute or 2 later, I was walking better – drink Steven, drink.  I drained the last 12 oz I had.  Started to shuffle, things were working again.  It only took about 2 minutes to recover but it scared the crap out of me.  I really thought I was done for the day. 

The last mile was tough.  I really blew my wad in the middle miles and I should have known better.  A quarter mile from the finish was a steep little section that I could feel in my hamstring as soon as I hit the incline and forced me to walk to the top where a camera guy caught me.  I started to run again – there was no way I’d let him get away with a picture like that.  I rounded the corner and head down the hill in the finish chute, fist pumping and Yahooing all the way.  When I saw the clock, I couldn’t believe it – sub 6 hours!  In my wildest dreams I never would have thought I might break 6 hours.  What an awesome finish!

Final Time 5:49:05

They put on an excellent turkey dinner for the athletes.  As the awards started, I was getting ready to go.  I didn’t win anything, mid-packers like me never do.  But I stayed for a while, amazed by the finish times of the elites.  Then, to my surprise, they announced an award for those who did both the sprint and the half iron.  I was 1 of only 3 (that were still there) to get one.  It is an awesome black ceramic mug with a custom Pumpkinman logo surrounded by laurel with a 2010 Challenge Finisher inscription.  It has to be one of the most gratifying things I have ever received from a race!

1 comment:

Caratunk Girl said...

LOVE IT!! You write the best race reports, it is about time you started a blog!! :) I told you this before, awesome job on this race, so awesome that you did both races and got an award!! SWEET!!