Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Race Report: Pumpkinman Sprint Triathlon

Leaving Ogunquit at dawn
Webb: On Saturday September 7, Elle competed in the Pumpkinman Sprint Triathlon held in South Berwick, ME. This race came highly recommended and being the Mainiac that she is, we decided to make it a mini-vacation. Hey, they don't call Maine "Vacationland" for nothing.

Elle found us a nice place to stay on the coast in nearby Ogunquit, about a 20-minute drive to the race site. We had vacationed in Ogunquit a few years back after I finished my first international-distance triathlon (Fireman). We loved it so much, we had to return. Enough about that, let's hear what she has to say about the race.

Athlete prepares for the swim warm-up
Elle stressing out


Elle: Pre-Race: We headed out to the race site on Friday to pick up our packets and check out the race site. Usually we try to train on at least some part of the course, but we hadn't this time. So we decided to drive the bike and run course. Holy crappy roads, batman! I mean, the car was having trouble on them, how would the bike handle it? And I say this, as crazy as it seems, but even though the bike and the run were loops, they honestly seemed to be uphill both ways. Just hill after hill. One of the roads on the bike course was even called 'Great Hill Road'. You can guess what that meant. And you'd be right. But anyway, back to pre-race: I had another great number: 617. Yeah, Boston's area code. Sweet! Could that be a sign of good things to come?
Race morning, after I set up my transition area, Webb and I got in a little run on the course, which ended up being a good idea, because I got a chance to experience the hill I'd be finishing on. Then we did some drills. I was feeling good.

Powderhouse Hill Run to T1
(about 150m to the top)
The Swim: 1/3 mile pond swim
Elle: I actually got a nice warm-up swim in beforehand, which I think is really important. Since I've been doing that, my swims have improved. And this was no different. I've been swimming my races with a new technique, and it didn't let me down today - for the first time ever, not only did I catch up to the swim group that started before mine, I caught up to the swim group that started before them! Swim PR!

The Hill Run to T1: About 250 meters
Elle: The hill out of the swim was tough, I'll admit. I was pretty tired at the top, but I thought it was kinda fun. I might be weird that way.

The Bike: 14.25 miles
Elle: So the roads were bad, but I knew what to expect, so I was extra careful to pay special attention to the road - one distraction could mean heading right into a flat tire and race over.
I didn't want that to happen! I usually don't get passed on the bike by women, but there was one woman (and in my age group!) who did pass me, then I would pass her. We continued to leap-frog for a bit. I could have sworn that after she passed me the second time she looked back at me - what? There's no need for that! So I decided: if you want to play that game, fine. But I'm racing my race, I'm not getting caught up in your race. If you want to beat me, fine, but I'm going to make you work for it. So I worked hard, but I didn't kill myself. After I passed her the third time, I never saw her again.
When I finally go to Great Hill Road, it was actually pretty great, because people had spray-painted the road with encouraging, inspirational messages, one of which was, "Shut up legs!" That put a huge smile on my face.

The Run: 3 miles
Elle: Thanks to all the brick workouts that Nate had me doing, I felt good off the bike. Not only
that, but most of the run was nice and shady, and I felt strong passing people. I had this strange, nagging suspicion that I was being chased, but I didn't want to look back (I once saw a sign at a road race, "Look in the direction you want to go"). I felt good at the finish, maybe too good, I could have pushed it harder on the run, oh well, lessons for next time.
Oh, and this was the first time my mom came to see me race. I think it was fun for her. I certainly didn't feel that I'd have a stellar race day (I won't get into how much I had drank two days prior, or how I had been praying to the porcelain god the morning before the race...). So I didn't believe Webb when he said I had podiumed. But sure enough: second in my age group! I think it was great for my mom to see and understand this 'strange hobby' of mine. Now she could understand. And the medal is a bottle opener, which I actually ended up using the next day...


Racing in Maine: Whoopie pies and Bottle-openers
Representing the 617