Tuesday, August 25, 2009

70.3 Timberman Race Report

This was my 7th year racing 70.3 Timberman. I really enjoy this race and I have tremendous praise for race director Keith Jordan and the first class event he has built. I came into this year’s event on the back of a classic pre-race mistake. On Wednesday prior to the race, I had gone through a demo full body training session that had one heavy dose of calf raises. The training session was followed up with a track workout later in the day. I spent the next two days with my calves completely blown out and I was barely able to walk properly. On Saturday, I went down to the race site to watch friend and Timex teammate, Ian Ray, compete in the Sprint triathlon (he got 3rd overall!). Fortunately the massage tent was set up and I was able to get some work done on my calves. I spent the rest of the day trying to stay off of my feet and praying that I would recover in time for Sunday morning.
Race morning I awoke and took that first nervous step out of bed. The calves were still tight and a little tender, but much better then the previous three days. As I walked around, they started to loosen up and I was feeling a lot better about the run effort to come later in the morning.

Once we got down to the race start, the transition area was a buzz of nervous energy. I looked out at the water and it was nice and flat, sweet. We had one little hick-up as a early morning accident between a car and a deer out on the bike course forced a twenty minute delay. However, once the pros were in the water, the wave starts flowed smoothly. I went off in the 5th wave of the morning and I was able to find some clear water quickly. My Aquasphere wetsuit felt great. The remainder of the swim was extremely enjoyable in beautiful lake Winnipesauke. I was able to exit the swim in 27:16.
When I left T1 and jumped on my Trek TTX SSL, I started really looking forward to following the race strategy that my coach, Paul, and I had planned out on Friday. The game plan included taking the first 12 hilly miles in a conservative fashion to save my calves and really push on the flatter 32 mile out and back section. I hit the first 12 miles well, but I was having a hard time really dialing up my effort on the flat section. I felt good and my perceived effort felt about right, but I just couldn’t get into my higher racing zone. I settled in and tried to make the most of it. It was a very humid day and I tried to really concentrate on my liquid calories. I also wanted to make sure that I was taking enough salt tabs so I could avoid any cramping. My calorie game plan combined with the salt tabs worked well to bring me into the bike finish with a 2:19:21 bike split.
I got out onto the run and I quickly realized that I was going to need to stay consistent with my salt intake. The temperature was rising and the humidity was approaching 100%. The two loop run is always more enjoyable as I’m able to see a lot of teammates and friends multiple times. My K-Swiss K onas felt great. Due to my calf issues, Paul had asked me to make sure I really focused on shorter, quicker strides. This strategy really helped me to keep my mind off of the fatigue coming from my calves. In addition, I resisted the urge to over-stride on the downhill sections. By the time I hit mile 11, I was relieved that my calves had held up. I started to open up my stride a little and it actually felt pretty good. I crossed the finish line with a 1:21:27 run split and a total time of 4:10:54. This placed me in 8th overall and the top amateur. Thanks for reading.

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