Wow, what a learning experience I had at the Timberman triathlon festival. This was my 10th year participating in the 70.3 Timberman race. So I decided to switch things up a little bit this year and race both days. I started the racing on Saturday morning with the sprint triathlon: .3 mile swim/15 mile bike/3 mile run. The swim and bike where a lot of fun. Sprints are all about high end efforts, but I was able to stay in control for both the swim and bike. Once I got onto the run, I had to switch things up a bit. I came out of transition with an athlete from the 1st wave (I was in Wave 2). He asked me if I wanted to run 5:30/mile pace. It was a little faster than I wanted to run, but I had to commit then. I went with him. We hit the first mile at 5:26 pace on a flat section. The second mile we went uphill a bit and hit that mile at 5:39 pace. The last mile was slightly back downhill at 5:18 pace. That last mile hurt a bit more than I had planned. Results: Swim: 7:04 / Bike: 37:31 / Run: 15:19 / 1st Overall
I had my whole family up in NH with me. So we spent the rest of Saturday at the waterslides, bumper boats, go-karts, batting cages, and adventure course. The weather was perfect and we really enjoyed the Weirs beach activities. I made sure that I used my Standard Process Complete and Whey Protein shakes for recovery. I knew I would need as much muscle recovery as possible.
What a difference a day can make. I was up early and ready to roll on Saturday morning before the sprint. However, I slept right to my alarm on Sunday morning before the 70.3. I was definitely tired, but excited to see how I could hold up on the 2nd day.
My coach, Paul Regensburg, told me to keep the swim consistent but no kicking. Then he told me to hold back on the bike. He did not want me to push any hills and ride conservatively. He was concerned about the second half of the run. I followed the coach's orders and felt really good heading out to the run. In fact, once I got onto the run course, I was surprised how good my legs felt. I hit the first loop of the run at 6:06 pace. As I was finishing the first loop, I started to feel some fatigue coming on. Then I experienced something that I had never experienced in a 70.3 race. My legs just went. I couldn't believe it. I've raced some really hot and challenging races before and I've run slower due to those conditions. However, I've never had my legs just completely blow up on me with ideal weather conditions. The experience was so quick that I didn't know what to do. I wanted to just stop. My legs felt like lead. I plowed ahead as my running form fell apart. I decided to try grabbing cola at the aid stations. I had to walk the aid stations to make sure I got as much in as possible. I've never had to walk aid stations during a 70.3 race before, but I have used that strategy in my ironman races on a regular basis. I had to walk 4 aid stations in total, but managed to finish a very challenging final 10 kilometers.
It's kind of ironic that the previous year I tried to take the swim/bike as hard as I could to simulate tired legs when I started the run. My coach had asked me to try that approach to simulate the tired legs that one feels when starting the run in Kona. Well, I achieved that feeling and more by racing the Sprint race the day before. What a learning experience.
Results: Swim: 28:23 / Bike: 2:17:58 / Run: 1:24:49 / 14th Overall/ 3rd Amateur/ 2nd M40-44
Career Highlights: 2009 USA Triathlon Amateur Athlete of the Year, 2012,2013, 2014 USA Triathlon Masters Athlete of the Year, 2014 USA Triathlon Olympic National Championship Masters Champion, 4 X Ironman 70.3 World Championship Age Group Winner (2008, 2009, 2012, 2013), 18 X 70.3 Overall Amateur Champion, 9 X Ironman World Champion Finisher (4 X Top 10 in Age Group), 2015 American Zofingen LC Champion, 2nd OA IM Maryland
I started competing in triathlon in the summer of 2000. I had always been intrigued by the sport since the early ‘80s when I would watch the Hawaii Ironman on TV. I got into running at a young age (6yrs old) as my father was a big marathon runner back in the late 70’s, early 80’s running boom. I did my first 10-mile road race when I was 10 years old. I also played ice hockey throughout my childhood and I stopped running my sophomore year in high school in order to completely focus on ice hockey. I did not run again until the fall of 1999. During that race, a friend of mine mentioned that he competed in sprint triathlons, short duration races lasting around one hour. I was immediately interested and I signed up for my first triathlon in July of 2000 up in Falmouth, Ma. I was immediately hooked. I loved the competition. I especially liked the aspect of the three sports and how one could continue to practice and improve in each sport. I believe all three sports compliment each other. I also really enjoyed the idea of challenging myself to see where I could get. So, while triathlon is a competition, I see it more as a race against yourself then others. It is a very addictive sport, but I think it’s probably one of the healthiest addictions that I know of. The training is also a great stress relief. I worked in New York City for the past 5 years and down on Wall Street for 2 years. The commute and the lifestyle can get pretty stressful at times. The training really helped me de-stress and stay focused. I have three little boys and I really enjoy sharing the sport with all three of them. I don’t care if they ever compete in a race, but I do believe it’s important to expose them to healthy opportunities in life. I would say that the hardest endurance scenario I’ve faced was actually the first half ironman I competed in up in Laconia, NH, which was the Timberman race. I’ve completed four full Ironman events, but that half ironman was my first attempt at the distance. I feel, in hindsight, that I just was not properly trained for the event. It was an incredible eye opening experience. I don’t think I’ve been more tired then the moment I crossed that finish line. However, the human mind is fascinating, as I was looking forward to the next race less then 24 hours after.