This was my 8th year participating at the Timberman 1/2 IM. Yeah, I really like this race. Although, It was quite a bit different this year under the new ownership. The race expanded to over 2,700+. This was about 800 more than last year and a far cry from the 500+ that competed in the first year. Here's a pic of the transition area:
I drove up to the race on Saturday morning in the most comfortable ride around:
[caption id="attachment_4125" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="This car rocks!"][/caption]
I love this car.
I wanted to get up to the race venue early to register and get organized. I was able to catch up with teammate Mark Vermeersch and last year's teammate Mike Lavery on Saturday at registration. They were looking super fit and ready to have some fun on Sunday. Both Mark and Mike had fantastic races on Sunday.
Race morning came in with perfect weather conditions. It was in the high 60s/low 70s and overcast. We even got a little bit of rain on the bike and run. You just couldn't ask for better weather conditions. I always plan a race strategy with my coach, Paul Regensburg (http://lifesportcoaching.com/coaches.php). The strategy for Timberman was to swim hard, then build into the bike and try to hit the 2nd half more aggressively then the 1st half. We've had different approaches at the other races this year. While each race course and weather conditions are different, we've noticed that I've had problems maintaining a strong 2nd half bike this year in my 70.3 races. So for the Kona prep, the strategy was to hit the 2nd half hard and get the run right up to pace and hold it.
My swim wave was scheduled to go off at 7:55am. It was the 13th wave of the morning. I saw Zach Pratt before the swim start and I thought we might be able to work together on the swim. I had swam behind Zach at 70.3 Rhode Island. So, I thought that if we could work together on the swim, we could be more efficient. However, that game plan went out the window when we got about 400 meters into the swim and started to catch the wave in front of us. It became too crowded. So, I spent the entire swim by myself. This worked out ok as I just focused on finding my rhythm and trying to avoid the packs of athletes swimming on top of each other. I exited the swim in 27:45. My Aquasphere Ironman Icon worked perfectly.
I was out onto my Orbea Ordu and ready to try to put the game plan into effect: I settled in and made sure I got my heart rate under control. I relied on my Timex Global Trainer to dial in on my heart rate, speed, and cadence. I felt really good with the dialed down effort. I was also able to really focus on my nutrition and electrolytes. I still maintained a minimum of 800mg/hour of sodium even with the cool conditions. I found out later in the day that this was a very good strategy. I hit sections on the 2nd half of the bike, that I have really struggled with in the past. However, this year, I felt great. There were a few sections on the bike course that got a little dangerous with all of the extra bodies. There are a few steep downhill sections and there were a few people riding right out in the middle of the road and on their brakes. This created a little bit of an issue when a car was coming up the other side. However, that's part of racing in the age group wave start format. I came off the bike in: 2:17:02. This was about a 2.5 minute CR for me. I was most pleased with how fresh I felt coming off the bike. I was really looking forward to the run.
I went through T2 pretty quickly and tried to build into my race pace. I felt really strong and I started to open up my stride at the 2 mile marker. Endurance racing is funny. You can feel great one moment, then the wheels can come completely off the next. Well, the wheels did not come off, but at the 2.5 mile point I got a massive cramp on inside of my left leg. It almost brought me to a complete stop. I shortened my stride and grabbed my Thermolytes. I started to chew on one. This was not enjoyable at all, but it was very effective. The cramp went away and I made it to the next aid station and took 2 more Thermolytes. In hindsight, it was fortunate that I was so proactive with the electrolytes on the bike. Things could have been a whole lot worse. I continued on my electrolyte dosage the remainder of the run. I felt really strong until the 11 mile mark, when my muscles started to fatigue a bit. I started to incorporate coke at this point for the simple sugars.
I was able to finish the run in 1:19:03, which was my best run on this course by 2 minutes. My overall time was 4:06:36 (my best time by 3.5 minutes on the course). This placed me first amateur overall and 9th including the pros.
Thanks for reading.
10 months ago