2012 Timberman 70.3 Race Report

This race has been 3 years in the making and more specifically the product of what can happen when you put yourself in a position to succeed.  Over the past 3 years I have changed many things in my life with the main purpose being to allow myself to become a better triathlete.  This started with simply buying a bike and learning how to ride for more than 45 minutes.  That progressed to signing up for my first two Ironman races in 2010 and then finally to putting a career on hold to chase a dream.  That dream was to simply strive for something that I thought bigger than myself.  It is not that I think myself to be a future Kona Champion, that simply is not in my cards.   However, the GOAL is to be competitive and go head to head with some of the best in the sport.  With each season, each race and each training session I am building towards being able to hold my own.  (It is not easy and I still have an extremely long way to go, lets face it I had a great race on Sunday and was still 28 minutes behind the winner, Joe Gambles).  Contrary to what you might think, at 5’8” 152 lbs, I am no physical specimen.  Every accomplishment is earned through what I feel is hard work and determination.  Luckily triathlon is a sport that rewards those attributes. Miracles simply don’t happen in triathlon.  No one is making a one-handed grab in the corner of the endzone from a Doug Flutie hail mary, the band is NOT coming on the field and you are not going to hit a home run in the bottom of the ninth down 1 run with 2 outs and 2 strikes against you.  In triathlon you are pretty much going to perform at the level that you trained yourself to be at.

The Race

The alarm in my head went off around 4:02.  Breakfast, as shown below was consumed by 5 AM and by 5:50 I was headed down to transition.

Breakfast of Champions

After my spot was taken care of in transition I headed down to the beach and got comfortable as my wave was going off a full 50 minutes after the Pro Men.

The Calm before the Storm

The Swim:

Swimming has not been as much of a focus as in the past for me.  I’ve been doing more open water work lately and frankly just put more time in the bike and run department.  Which is why coming out of the water under 30 minutes made me very happy.  The swim as usual is typically a boring part of the race to talk about so I will just say that it was a very crowded swim with all the waves in front of me still in the water which made for a lot of weaving and additional sighting.  BUT, when I was about 50 yards from shore I saw the clock just clicking over to 29:xx so I went as hard as I could and ran as fast as I could into transition and was rewarded with a sub 30 minute swim.

Swim Time: 29:58, 5th AG, 57th OA

The Bike:

A brain fart while in transition cost me about 45 seconds I would guess.  I simply could not locate my bike, I thought it was by a tree but it turns out there were about 25 trees in transition.  Whoops!  Anyway, once I found my bike I was on my way.

The first section of the bike before you make a left and get off the highway is a little hilly right at the start and my legs really weren’t happy.  I think the kicking at the end of the swim exhausted them a little bit.  So it took a few miles before I felt comfortable on the bike.  Once I did it was time to start climbing as the first section of the course is mostly uphill.  Nothing to notable happened here other than the fact that I exploded a Powerbar Gel on myself and bike, which meant that I was A. Sticky and B. In need of a fuel replacement at the next aid station.  Otherwise things went smoothly over the first 30 miles.  After the initial hills its flattens out and even has a net elevation loss for a pretty long way, enough so that my average speed over that section was around 28 mph.  Somewhere around 30 miles into the race a 27 year old who, coached by my buddy Chad Holderbaum came by me in Chad fashion pushing a big gear.  He said hello and continued on his way.  In a full Ironman distance race I probably would have just let him go but this was a 70.3 and I wanted to race!  Plus finding out my limits is always a good excuse.  Needless to say I pushed a bit harder than I had and actually maintained a manageable gap between us until I dropped my chain at an aid station and had to stop and fix it.  Luckily when I did that 3 other guys in my AG came by me and so I had some more motivation.  I used them as targets for a little while and ended up going ahead of them with a couple miles left.

Bike: 2:20, 2nd AG, 16th OA

(Garmin File–> http://connect.garmin.com/activity/212623071)

The Run:

Coming off the bike I could kind of tell that I was in second in my AG and probably 3rd out of the 29 and unders.  I figured that there would probably be 2-3 people in the earlier waves that would be challenging for the overall amateur podium so given that I knew I would need a good run to have a chance at top 5.  Out of the gate I was a little slower than planned at around 6:25 – 6:30.  I really had to pee and it was uncomfortable.   None the less I managed to pass a couple people my age and knew I basically had one 29 and under guy to pass by the end of the race and that would give me a good shot at being top 5 or top 3 in the amateur race.  Since I passed a couple guys by mile 1.5 I decided to make a porta potty stop and it was the best decision I made all day. After that I felt a ton better.  After the stop I passed the couple guys back and settled into a pretty steady pace over the first 6 miles.  At the beginning of the second loop I felt really good and started to lift the HR.  When I hit the turn around at mile 9.5 I saw that I had closed the gap to my buddy Fredric (Shown in the finish line pic with me below) who had been running ahead of me these first 9 miles.  After the turn around you get back on the lake road by climbing a slight incline and I could tell that I was gaining.  With about 1.5 miles to go there is a downhill and it was here I decided that I was just going to run right on by and not look back.  I closed with a good effort and stayed ahead, crossing the line in 4:16 with a 1:22 run split.  Regardless of the overall placement I am very pleased to have run close to 1:20 off what was my best bike effort in terms of power and speed.

Run: 1:22, 1st in 25-29 AG

(Garmin Run File –> http://connect.garmin.com/activity/212607222)

Overall Results: 1st AG 25-29, 3rd Amateur and 14th Overall

Bringing it back to the finish line
Post Race jibber-jabber with my buddy Fredric
Taking home 1st Place in 25-29AG got me a big jug of Maple Syrup!

Checking in from the Lake

Hi everyone!

It’s been a while since I put something together on here.  The past couple of months since getting back to the East coast have flown by.  During this time a lot has happened for me.  A lot of really good things, opportunities and people.  I expected my home town to be much the same as I knew it when I was in high school and college…but things have changed, people have changed, yet the beauty hasn’t.  I can’t explain why because I was really only gone from the area for about 8 months during the winter and spring months but that time away has really shown me how great the Finger Lakes area and in specific the Keuka Lake area is.

Paddle Boarding on the Lake

It’s a place that I took for granted for a long time and now i’ve come to realize that I am happy here.  My family is nearby and fresh faces can be found in town, along with many familiar ones of course.  When living in a small town there can be stagnant periods of time where it feels as if nothing is changing.  The people are all the same ones you grew up with and it feels stale.  However, I am not getting that feeling here anymore.  Maybe it is the fact that my perspective on things has changed…as recently as the last few months.  Either way, I’ve come to the realization that I need to keep moving forward in my life.  I have poured myself into my interests like triathlon over the last few years as a way to block out the negatives in life and avoid the reality, which is that things change and there are different paths to be taken and different ways to achieve happiness.

My niece Ellie, my co-pilot

The next couple of months will see the culmination of almost 3 years hard work.  Triathlon has been central to my life since the fall of 2009.  Since that fall I can’t remember a single day when I haven’t trained (or not trained because it was a “recovery day”).  All those days were accounted for and if you went to my garmin connect site or training peaks you would see that something was accomplished each and every day.  I am lucky in the sense that good things came quick for me.  Some people spend many many years trying to attain what they want.  Well what I wanted out of this sport at the very beginning was to race in Hawaii at the World Championships because that meant “you did it” and provided some validation to all the hours I spent training and separating myself from a social life (I am not the type of person who is good at or wants to expend the energy juggling the two, for me in everything I have ever done it is all or nothing and all my energy is directed at a sole purpose.  100% all the time, every time; that mentality is changing as I come to realize what I really want in life)…the ironman in Hawaii was this thing that only the really good people got to do and that along with the fact that I only knew 2-3 people who had ever done it meant that I must achieve this.  This is the mind set you have when with a one track mind.  Well from day one before I had any business thinking this way…my mind was set on going to Kona.  It was as simple as that.  I eagerly thought it would happen in the first year at IMFL.  However, I was simply not ready.  I needed more time.  So after that race I committed myself to triathlon and the lifestyle it took to be a racer that qualified for Kona.  So 365 days later I went back to IMFL and won my AG, taking my slot to Kona.  Since this was last November and the race is this coming October I have had a lot of time to train…and think about the race.  During this time I left my job as a CPA, moved to Portland, OR and subsequently moved back East again.  It can be summed up that simply A LOT HAS CHANGED in a year.  If nothing else when I left for Portland it put into motion change. That change is continuing to evolve and I feel like I am getting closer to finding the next endeavor.

So the next two months will be my reward.  I will enjoy the opportunity because it is all I can do.  Without the help and support of my family this wouldn’t be possible.  My parents are simply the two best people in my world.  I don’t know why they love to see me play sports (they always have) but they do…enough so that they without hesitation gave the full speed ahead on Hawaii after I qualified.  I can’t foot that bill and most likely won’t be able to for a little while.  So this is my year…this is my one shot to enjoy the sport at a place where the world comes to celebrate it.  I am extremely grateful for the opportunity and won’t take it for granted.  With that said, I am not going to Kona to “just enjoy the experience”.  While I hope I enjoy my time on the island, I am still going into the race with a goal of performing at my peak.  Having known I was going to race in Hawaii since last November, it has given me the chance to build my whole season around it and put in the required training to race at my full capability.  With that said things happen…things change, but what really matters is that I will be physically and mentally ready for whatever is thrown at me.  Now the trick is to translate that into the rest of my life.

Next Up: Timberman 70.3 (8/19), Vegas 70.3 (9/9) and IM Hawaii (10/13)

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