I’m going to keep this short, so I’ll try to spare you some of the pre-race details etc.
Preface: Before I begin, there were a few things going on in my head and my body that you might want to know:
- I was nursing a lower back strain and a still unidentified foot injury
- I was feeling burnt out lately and was partially looking past this race to a couple of weeks off.
- I considered moving up to the half iron distance the night before the race.
Swim: (.6mi) 23 minutes
There was one mass start as there were less than 150 competitors. It was however fairly violent and during the first leg of the triangular course, I found it very difficult to find any room and consequently had trouble getting into any kind of a rhythm. The back leg and the home stretch found swimmers more spread out, and I settle into a little more of a rhythm, but still nothing real nice. I found myself fatigued early and my breathing was labored. Recently my open water swims have been great, and I assumed it was because I had more experience, but I’m thinking now it was because I haven’t used a wetsuit. What I’m thinking is that the wetsuit makes me feel a little restricted and I tent to hyperventilate and not allow myself to just swim. I’m not sure how to solve this problem. I’ll need a wetsuit when I do Chesapeakeman 140.6 in 383 days. I guess the solution is to practice more with it on. I’m as comfortable as a cucumber without one, but will need the buoyancy come race day. Reportedly, the course was also longer than the supposed .6 miles, a notion that I support since I’ve swam full miles in the ocean in less that 25 minutes. All in all it was a pretty disappointing swim, but I did learn a bit and know what direction I need to go with my swim training.
T1: I transitioned very quickly and had no issues clipping in for the first time in a race. It was great seeing Julie and my kids right there, along with Annie and Jimmy Zanolli who were awesome enough to come an cheer me on. Annie needed to get some race atmosphere to keep her motivated for Ironman 70.3 Poccono in a few weeks. My dad had told me that he would be there, but wasn’t.
Bike: (39.68 mi) 2:05
I’ve ridden this bike course a few times and knew that it was hilly. I set an ambitious goal of 19 mph, figuring that with the hills and it being the longest distance that I’ve every raced I shouldn’t go nuts. Honestly, in my head I didn’t think I was going to be able to hold this. As it turned out, I held the pace just fine. I took in my nutrition just as I had planned and I felt like a million bucks the entire ride. I was passing people on the climbs, something that rarely happens to my fat ass. I was conversational the entire ride, checking with other riders to see how their day was going etc. I topped out at 39 mph on one of the downhills which was a bit of a rush. I thoroughly enjoyed passing people who had wheel sets that cost 3x what my bike cost. Oh, and that aero helmet makes you look like a…. nevermind. I totally would have felt comfortable doing at least another lap or two of the course. I had a bottle filled with 570 calories of Hammer Perpetuem. I couldn’t be more happy with how this worked. I couldn’t even feel it in my stomach, but I continued to feel perfectly fueled the entire race. I highly recommend at least trying it. The taste might leave a little to be desired, but it sat perfectly and is not at all sweet. The other nutrition that I had was 4oz of my homemade gel. (I found many recipes online and adapted them for my own. Basically 75% brown rice syrup, 12.5%honey, 12.5% agave nectar, 1/2 tsp of molasses for potassium, 1/2 tsp salt.) I had a bottle with two Nuun tablets, and two bottles with half gatorade half water. I was good to go.
T2: Quick and uneventful. It was awesome to see my wife and kids right there again at transition. My son Luke ran to the other side of transition where the run out was. He ran about 100 yds with me when I began the run course which was awesome and gave me all the energy I needed.
Run: (6.2mi) 55 minutes
The rest of the 6.2 mile course was rolling hills with one fairly large hill up and down. The course was an out and back, so I had to deal with this hill twice. I listened to the advice of Kevin Neuman, who by the time most of you read this will be an Ironman. Congrats Kevin! I ran up the hill with my head down and it seemed the hill disappeared. Totally psychological, but it worked, or it seemed to and that’s all that mattered. Now, I’m still 15 lbs over 200, so we all know I’m not setting any land speed records. Additionally, the training plan I followed was lacking a little on the speed work. I was hoping for around 54 minutes and I nailed 55 minutes and the course was more hilly than I thought. With about a mile to go I picked up the pace to 7:something and I finished feeling great. I crossed the line and again, Julie and the kids were right there.
Summary: Quakerman was much smaller than I thought. I think only 50 people competed in the HIM and there were less than 200 in the Olympic. I regret not doing the HIM, even though I didn’t train for it, I know I could’ve done and probably would’ve felt fine at the end. It was a beautiful course, and it was well run. The only negatives I have to offer were that the swim distance was clearly not true to what it should’ve been and the bike course was open to traffic and I got a little too close for comfort a few times, especially traveling down rt 313 at about 35 mph, when there isn’t much of a shoulder. Hello tractor trailer!
No it’s about 2 weeks off to heal up and hopefully figure out what’s going on with my foot. Then it’s onto the Philly 1/2 Mary. I’m going to be training for a full marathon though (as per Jeff Irvin), mostly to get the long run experience before my IM training begins in the Spring.
Thanks for reading and look for the Year in Review coming soon!