Thursday, August 23, 2012

Race Report: 2012 Timberman 1/2 Ironman!

The Day Before the Day Before

Webb: We both took Friday off from work so we could drive up the day before the day before. That would allow us to drive up early and maybe beat the traffic, then have all of Saturday to fix or buy our way out of situations and to shake out traffic weary legs. We collected our things, prepped the bikes, including my ERC race wheels, packed the car and headed to The Gateway to Maine.

Elle: Either we left late or there is never a good time to beat the mad traffic on the way up to Gilford, New Hampster. Luckily we happened upon a radio station that was playing Moving Pictures, that’s right, back-to-back-to-back Rush.

Webb: It was like the radio waves knew we were headed toward Canada. I kind of expected to hear blocks of Bare Naked Ladies, The Tragically Hip and Triumph too. And yes, Red Barchetta rocks, even when you are in crawling traffic.

Elle: We checked into the Lighthouse Inn B&B, which also has some nice cabins right by the water closer to the race site. The cabins have little kitchen areas with a small fridge, microwave and toaster, so we could eat our normal pre-race meals. After we unpacked the car, we went out to Gunstock and registered – I got a nice number, 600. Not so lucky, the guy behind me in line had race number 666. We walked around the ‘athletes village’ for a bit and looked at stuff to buy. I ended up grabbing a bag of Gu Chomps, plus some 'Hoo Ha Glide', which I've been meaning to get for awhile. I'd heard good things about it, and, I KNOW you're not supposed to do anything new on race day, but I just had to try it.

Webb: My bib number was #654. With a number like that, one might see it as a reminder to negative split each discipline. Or one might not. Anyway, viewing the multitude of items WTC dreamed up to stamp with its trademark worked up our appetites. We found a place to have dinner right on the lake. The food was ... um ... the view was great!  Then it was back to the cabin for some precious sleep. Sleep the night-before-the-night-before is critical to race success. I don't know why. Maybe it is because a lot of people are unable to sleep the night before a race?

The Day Before

Webb: Ahhhhh sleeping in is the best. Elle knows I love diners so she found the Union Diner, a 50’s-style diner. We sat at the bar and I enjoyed my typical fare of pancakes. I was disappointed they did not have real maple syrup. It still kind of hurts me a little to be that near Vermont and Canada and not have the real thing. The pancakes were good otherwise and met their purpose as a carb-rich meal 24-36 hours before the race.

Elle: After breakfast it was back to the cabin for our “shake out” bike and run brick and a cool dip in the pool. Then it was time to head to Ellacoya State Park - location of the Timberman race - to rack our bikes in transition area for the mandatory bike check-in. While we were there we ran into some of our St. Croix friends, Sam & Hana. (Hana would end up qualifying for the 70.3 Championship in Las Vegas!) It's always so fun to be around all of the other athletes at races, checking out all the bikes, looking out for people you know, meeting new people, there's lots of energy in the air, it's really exciting.

Racking the Bike the Day Before
Webb: Checking in your bike the night before is weird. I racked my bike in the spot labeled #654. Looked at it for a few seconds and thought, "Well, I guess that's that." Normally I spend the next 30 minutes getting ready. On this night, I just racked my bike and went on my way. Of course, Elle was over in the next row talking to about 100 people.

Elle: We went back to the ‘athletes village’ at Gunstock to buy some gear, and ran into Nate & family. (Nate would go onto to be the top amateur and 8th overall. Whoa, we have some fast friends.) Afterwards we had a very early dinner at local watering hole, Patrick’s Pub – yum. But I could have done without the 1987 music soundtrack.

We headed back to the cabin to pack up everything we could – race bag, morning bag, everything we didn’t need that night or in the morning was packed up and put in the car in anticipation of our 3am wake-up and 4am departure.

Race Day!

Webb: We had been warned that while the parking lot would open at 4:00AM, it would surely be full by 5:00AM, if not much sooner. We chose to go for the parking rather than sleep another hour. We planned to be on the road by 4:00AM for the 15 minute drive. Not surprisingly I did not sleep well. I wasn't anxious. I just don't do 9:00PM bedtimes. I was committed to resting even if I could not sleep. Eventually the 3:00AM alarm went off. I felt fairly well rested. I made my breakfast and pulled together my last minute things.

(Not pictured: Wetsuit)
Elle: It was tough getting up at 3am, no lie. But I knew we had to get up and get going if we wanted to get a parking spot at the park. So the alarm went off and we got up. And to my real amazement, we actually had breakfast, packed up our final things, and were on the road by 4am, just like we planned! That never happens! We got to the park, and there wasn't the line that we'd been told about. Apparently we got there just before things started to back up. Another plus! Things were going well so far! We parked and then reclined the seats to sleep for a bit before heading to transition area.

Webb: Isn't it cute how she implies "we" slept for a bit? I closed my eyes and rested for 45:00 while Sleepy McSleeperson drifted off into a cozy dreamland. At 5:10 I had enough "sleeping" and woke Elle to go set up our transition areas.

Elle: I kept waiting for the pre-race jitters to set in. I usually start getting nervous in transition while I'm setting everything up, but I just didn't. Which was weird. But I figured, it will come. But it didn't. I felt oddly calm. Ok then. On to the swim start!

Lake Winnipesaukee at Dawn
1.2 miles (2km) in Lake Winnipesaukee
Elle's Wave: 7:20AM
Webb's Wave: 7:25AM

Webb: The swim course was a simple rectangle. Swim straight out, turn east (right) at the big red buoy, swim straight to the next big red buoy, turn right again and swim to shore. Nothing to it as long as you keep the buoys on your right.

Elle: I knew the lake was shallow, but I didn't really know what to do about it. As we all watched the pros head out, they honestly looked like a school of dolphins, and I remembered watching a video online some time ago about shallow swim starts. I couldn't believe I remembered, but when I got out there, inspired by the pros, I dug my feet in the sand and dolphin dived my way to water deep enough to swim in.
Exiting the swim!
And it worked! But that's when the swim business went down. Bodies swimming over bodies, mass chaos, I got punched in the mouth, total insanity. I tried to remain calm, but I had to keep stopping because there were so many people, I couldn't even get a full swim stroke in. At one point the guys in the next wave were catching up. And I swore Webb swam right by me, but I can't be positive. Anyway, I did my best to just get through the swim, and before I knew it, I was out of the water.

Webb: My wave departed at 7:25AM, or 25:00 after the pro men began the race. (By the way, firing a cannon to start the pro fields is unnerving.) My wave was split in half alphabetically. I don't know if any other division had quite as many competitors. I noticed from watching the other waves that the shallow start would add about a minute of walking. It was useless to even attempt dolphin diving. It would have been more like: 1- Dolphin dive. 2- Stand up. 3- Wait. 4- Repeat steps 1-3. I'm simply not that a good a swimmer to push up front and do that. So I walked while guys splashed all around me.

Lookin' good!
Once the pack thinned out enough, I dove in and started slipping behind one swimmer after another methodically moving my way through the field. With six waves ahead of our group, the water was getting a little rough and it was difficult to sight the buoys. I just kept moving with the pack until I became a little frustrated. I saw a gap, shot into it and swam in clean water for several strokes. I sighted a few times and still couldn't see the buoy. This wasn't unusual so I kept swimming. I had a gnawing feeling things weren't right. I stopped and looked around - all the way around. Over my left shoulder I found the buoy with all the rest of the swimmers. D'oh! I had swum due east towards the middle of the rectangle. I did a 18o and swam my way back into the mass of flailing arms and legs. Later on the homestretch of the swim I found myself drifting eastward again. What is wrong with me? I don't like the sun that much. I do not want to go to there.

Coming out of the water I felt good. Even though I had no idea what my split was, I had a lot of energy running into T1. I left my sun-wandering ways behind in the water and headed for the wetsuit strippers. YES! Wetsuit strippers! There were a few athletes standing while volunteers pulled and tugged at the ankles of their wetsuits. I demonstratively singled-out a volunteer and flopped down on my back. He looked at me like I was crazy. I told him, "Trust me this will be easier." In one fluid motion he whipped the wetsuit right off me. Of that group, I was the last one in and the first one out. Screw grace and elegance, this was a race.


56 miles (90km)

On the Cervélo
Webb: We had done this course twice before on practice runs. I knew the major hills were within the first 11 or so miles. That meant the middle 34 miles is the place to find speed. I told myself to take it easy and save the legs for the return trip and, of course, that wee bit of running at the end.

Adrenaline was coursing through my veins. I wish my talent equalled my love of cycling. Even with a constant internal reminder to slow down, I was enjoying taking down the hills that gave me some fits in training. That was until the last and most serious climb around mile 11 when I dropped my chain. Arrgggghhh. I pulled over, reached down and slipped it onto the inner chainring. I then stood there on the side of the road waiting for a break to re-enter the fray. Moments later I was bombing down the descent.

Timberman 70.3 Bike Leg Profile

The descent took us to the highway and the fast middle section. It is basically flat, with some negligible rollers. I was feeling great, which you know is a trap. I would back off a little and then look down to see my HR elevating again. I'm convinced the hardest part of long course racing is restraint.  I think the key is to make your slow speed faster than your peers.

After the turnaround, the adrenaline had totally dissipated. I still felt good. My pace had calmed down and I was just cruising along, with a bunch of riders. It was like they were having a draft fest. I kept trying to pass people so I wouldn't be drafting, only to have them pass me back. For the first time I understood what the pros meant about setting a pace and taking turns working up front. Up to that point, such draft-legal cycling talk was incomprehensible to me. We're triathletes; we don't work together on the bike. It is true though, you can pace each other in those situations without actually drafting. During one of these moments we were getting bunched up, so I shifted with the idea to pass some people and get into the gap up the road. All of sudden SRAM! Dropped chain #2.

Once again I stood on the side of the road with grease-covered fingers watching an endless pace line fly by me. I'm not going to lie. There was a time or two I thought about inserting myself into the road to watch them all fall like dominoes as the first rider hit the brakes. C'mon people! I know it is crowded out there. At least make an effort not to draft blatantly.

Back on the road, I found some space and pedaled smoothly preparing myself mentally and physically for the last 11 miles of hills. That Yukan Half-Marathon was still ever-present in my thoughts. Soon enough I was climbing the first big hill and a pattern was set into a motion. I would pace easily up a hill and 10 or so people would pass me. On the descents, I would tuck my ears back and fly by them. A quick side note to the trepidatious triathletes: I understand that descending can get a little frightening; however, there comes a point when your fear becomes dangerous to you and everyone else around you. Ride with confidence, even if you have to fake it. It will be safer for everyone.

Finally, I was on the last climb about 1.5 miles from the transition area. I shifted to an easier gear to try to keep my cadence high when, you guessed it, Dropped Chain #3. I cursed. Loudly. That's a penalty if a race marshall hears you. Anyway, once again, I have the chain back on in about five seconds and wait another 20 to 30 seconds for a break in the action. Maybe it wasn't that long. It sure felt that way. I finally get back in the game and I hear someone shout, "On your left ... wait ... nevermind," as she trailed behind me. I was biking angry at this point. And that's when it happened. Heading into the final descent to the transition area, I shifted the chain right off the big chainring for my 4th and final Dropped Chain. I was maybe a mile away. <heavy sigh>

Pacing, pacing....
Elle: While Webb was having an exciting bike leg, I was actually doing a pretty good job of pacing, not getting too excited and going out too hard, as I've been warned not to do. It was tough to watch all of those bikes pass me, but every time, I just thought, "Yeah, I'll see you on the run after you've blown up from going too hard on the bike!"I don't know if I actually did pass those people on the run, but it made me feel better to think that I would.

Meanwhile, after about 15 miles I realized I had to use the bathroom. Ugh. I really didn't want to stop, so I tried what the pros do, which is... they pee on the bike. Whatever, I was already going to be sweaty and gross, might as well give it a try. So I tried. And tried. I just couldn't make it happen! After the turn around I realized that I wasn't going to be able to have a strong finish up the final hills like this. So I decided to bite the bullet, and stop at an aid station. My tri suit isn't the easiest thing to pull off and on, so I lost some precious time there. I decided to fill up my aero water bottle, and ended up somehow dislodging the top, which caused a loud rattling for the remainder of the bike course. It was so loud, that as I approached other triathletes, they turned and gave me a funny look. So I had to keep yelling, "Water bottle malfunction!"

13.1 miles (21km)

Putting another 70.3 in the books
Webb: My goal was to run the 13.1 in under two hours, like, 1:59:59. I've already said enough about how the Yukan Half kicked my arse. More importantly, memories of my 13.1 in St Croix lingered uneasily in mind. On that day, I ran-walked a 2:25. Generally speaking, I was optimistic I could do this whole race in about 6 hours. On paper I should be able to finish a fairly challenging 70.3 in under 5:45. The last five weeks were torture though as I spent a lot of time at work and missed some key peak-period workouts. Plus, I may have written our training plan one month too long. I decided to take the pressure off and just enjoy my time out there.

With no real goal times, I took my sweet time in T2. I put on some socks, which was new for me. Normally I don't wear socks because it just takes too long. Lately though, I have developed blood blisters on the ends of my toes after long runs. I also took extra time to stretch my hamstrings, have a gel and some water. I then jogged to the Run Out arch.

Passing under the arch I saw the official clock up ahead. It read 4:09. Not bad was my initial thought. If I run this in two hours I'll have a 6:09 finish. Then I started talking and gesticulating to myself as I ran down the chute to the road: Wait. That is the official clock, which must be based on the men's pro start. That means I can deduct 20 minutes. I am 11 minutes ahead of schedule. Is that right? Why is math so hard sometimes? Ok ok ok ok ok I can now run this thing in 2:10 and still break six hours. (Some of you are thinking, "Wait. What?" Yeah, I know. Hold that thought.) That initial high gave me a surge of energy that pushed my pace to 8:00/mile. Tooooo fast. Right away I was into my two-hour shuffle.

One of my regrets from the steamy, miserable run in STX was my under-utilization of the cold sponges. This time around I made a point to wear my running hat for the sole purpose of putting ice-cold sponges under it. That made a huge difference. Even though it was not as hot as STX it was still pretty damn warm and those sponges brought serious relief. I also did a better job of on-the-run nutrition. I drank often and had a couple of gels. The real treat was around mile two and eight. There was a huge pile of snow! O the wonders of New Hampshire in August. A high school volunteer handed me a snowball on my first pass. I ran with it for about a mile switching it between hands and holding it to my wrists.

As I was finishing the first loop, I allowed myself to look at my watch. I came in under an hour. Excellent. I could now run the second loop in 1:10 and still finish under 6 hours. I was feeling confident as I came around the loop to the next aid station. It appeared to be manned by mostly pre-teens. I yelled out: "Can someone just throw water at me?" Within two seconds about six of those kids simultaneously threw cups of water on me, hitting me from waist to eye-level. They couldn't have done a better job if they had practiced.

70.3 is fun!
Elle: That. is. awesome.

Webb: Coming up to mile seven a thought occurred to me: Elle started at 7:20, not me; I started at 7:25. Wait a minute, that means I am on pace to finish in 5:45. That apparently mattered to me. Now I cared. And that is when Mother Nature said, "Sloooooooow down." My legs felt so heavy as I trudged up one of the smaller hills. Now I had something to run for and I was not going to buckle. I convinced myself to maintain a steady pace and then give the last 5k everything I had. Each successive hill in the warm sun felt like it was dealing a blow. I made the final turnaround and braced myself for the stretch.

Right at mile 10 the road pitched up a bit as the course rejoins the highway. This is where I was to make my move. Wouldn't you know it, some volunteer was playing Gonna Fly Now. As clichéd as it was, it gave me chills as I ran up that hill. The next three miles were rotten. I would run hard, catch myself backing off, tell myself, "Everybody Hurts," then run hard again. At some point I looked at my watch and figured it was mathematically impossible for me to make it in 5:45.  I hung in there and ran the last mile as hard as I could. Final run split: 2:01:36.

Elle: Meanwhile, I was ecstatic to see the 'Bike In' arch, I was so ready to be off the bike! And into T2 I went. For sprint and Olympic distance races I speed in and out of transition in about a minute. For my first 1/2 IM, I took my time. Like Webb, I put on socks, which I don't usually do, and made sure to Body Glide up my feet and toes. I had some Gu Chomps, took a drink. Looked around, and decided it was time to go. I can't tell you how happy I was to be on the run. It meant that the swim and bike were over! It meant that I was actually going to finish this thing! I started the run leg in a great mood - I was really enjoying this race.

The run course was thick with spectators, which made things fun. People were excited and supportive. One wonderful woman was standing out in her driveway holding a hose, spraying cool water on whoever wanted it, which I did. Another house had a table out front with a big sign, "PANCAKES & BACON", and sure enough, there was a plate of bacon and a plate of pancakes! I saw one guy grab one of the pancakes, but he left the bacon.

Webb: I totally saw a guy stop and carefully select a strip of bacon.

You are a Timberwoman!
Elle: I knew Webb was on the course somewhere, so I was keeping my eyes peeled on the other side of the road - I didn't want to miss him. Finally, I saw Webb off in the distance, running towards me. It was so great to see him. As we passed each other, we went for the hand slap, but, doh! We missed! [Webb: To be fair, I missed.] I felt a little bit like an idiot. This was a 2-loop course, so that meant that we'd see each other two more times. So the next time, I made sure we didn't miss - I locked in Webb's gaze, and we did a successful hand slap. Yeah, we're dorks. The third time we passed I just said, "Hey, I thought this was supposed to be hard!" I actually think that annoyed one of the runners near me. But honestly, I was feeling really good at that point. It wasn't until mile 9 that I started to hurt a bit. From then on out it was a bit of a struggle, so I stopped occasionally at the aid stations for water and/or Gatorade. And unfortunately had to slow down a bit. But I was still having a good time. When I finally turned the corner and started down the finishing chute, I felt like a million bucks. I did it! I had just finished a 1/2 Ironman! And there was Webb, waiting for me.

Webb: Elle and I saw each three times on the run. Each time she closed on me. After I crossed the finish line, I drank a bottle of water and then stared down the finishing chute. And then there she was, beaming her smile amongst the pain and suffering that was the rest of us. It is kind of disgusting how little she shows her effort.


Swim- 46:15 (2:23/100m)
T1- 3:05
Bike- 3:16:39 (17.1 mph)
T2- 3:46
Run- 1:58:23 (9:02/mile)
Total- 6:08:08
Age Group: 39/98
Overall: 802/1699

Swim- 37:37 (1:56/100m)
T1- 2:36
Bike- 3:01:13 (18.5 mph)
T2- 3:34
Run - 2:01:36 (9:16/mile)
Total- 5:46:36
Age Group: 84/230
Overall: 548/1699

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Track Us at Timberman 70.3

Follow us live at Ironman Live athlete tracker:

General race info can be found here:
If the Ironman Live link does not work, check the general info page in the upper right for a link for Live Race Coverage.

All you need are our bib numbers:

Elle: 600
Webb: 654

Elle's swim wave begins at 7:20AM EST/4:20AM PST (11:20 GMT)
Webb's swim wave begins at 7:25AM

If either of us breaks 6 hours, it will be a fantastic day. That means you West Coasters can track our finish after breakfast.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Heading up to Timberman!

Public Body workout in the park
Elle: The last 2 weeks included some easy workouts, some tougher workouts, and a lot of resting and tapering. Public Body was fun, as always, and we got in a good SEAC track workout (with post-run meal at Anchovies). We did a 3-hour easy bike ride in and around Weston (I verped my way through the second half of that one!). I think we are both on our way to getting a little burned out (or is it burnt out?). Either way, we are ready for this race season to come to a triumphant close.

We are currently packing up and preparing to make our way up to Gilford, New Hampshire, site of the Timberman Half Ironman. Webb is making final bike tweaks, the race bags are packed. I guess there's nothing left to do now but race our hearts out and hope for the best!

RACE REPORT: Rockport 1/2 Marathon - brought to you by

SATURDAY: Pool Workout
500 swim
500 swim with pull buoy
500 swim with pull buoy and paddles
500 swim

Webb: Yep, the return of one of our favorite workouts. I added on the warm-up we've been doing lately that includes a kicking drill and buoy. For the warm-up sets I've been placing the buoy between my ankles. It forces me to use my adductor muscles more and it helps me to swim less like a fish (side-to-side) and more like a mammal (up-and-down). When I swim the main 500 sets I move the buoy up to the more traditional spot. There is no way I could swim another 1km with the buoy at my ankles. At least not yet.

Elle: You all know I like this swim workout. It helps me with my confidence in the water, doing the long sets. Slowly, ever so slowly, my swimming is getting better. I think.

SUNDAY: Rockport YuKanRun 1/2 Marathon
1-mile Race
5k Race
1/2 Marathon
Representing Team

  We ran this race as members of Team We joined the Team some months back after meeting they guys at the Multisport Expo in March. As endurance athletes we do not take water for granted. We know how important proper hydration is to performance and recovery. What we may have taken for granted was how easy it is for us to access clean water. Not only is the water from our tap perfectly acceptable but we can also purchase bottled water in many different varieties. Compare that to the nearly 900,000,000 people who do not have access to clean water. That is ridiculous.

What we definitely took for granted was indoor plumbing. I'm not talking about the pipes that bring water to the tap; I'm talking about the toilet that flushes away the waste. About 1,200,000,000 people do not have adequate sanitation facilities to remove human waste. That is abominable.

We joined the team because these facts are startling and yet the solutions are straightforward and sustainable. The plans are in place. We just need to do our part. I implore you - yes, implore - to check out their website and consider joining Team

Elle: I found a great little B&B 0.5 miles from the race start. And I have to say, The Yuletide Inn is fantastic. Marie, the owner, is wonderfully East Coast eccentric, with the hair to match. When you enter the inn, you're welcomed by Marie's two, adorable little dogs. The Inn is quaint and cute. So we unpacked, and sat in the common room while we petted the dogs and chatted with Marie about the Olympics. We were getting a little hungry, so we walked to downtown Rockport (about 1/4 mile away) to have dinner. One thing about Rockport, though, too many people, not enough restaurants!

Webb: Most of the restaurants were busy and had long waits. So we finally settled on a place that could seat us right away and had an acceptable menu. By acceptable I mean there were non-meat dishes. Even before I stopped eating meat (fish excluded) I was not a fan of eating it the night before a race (fish included). I had identified at least three items that I could order. At the top of my wish list was Mac n' Cheese. The only potential problem was that it was actually Mac n' Cheese with Lobster. I don't eat lobster. Like ever. I've tried it. It is foul to me. So here's the dialog that ensued:

           Webb- Excuse me. Is it possible to get the mac n' cheese without lobster?
           Over-worked Waitress- I don't know, it's not on the menu that way.

I didn't know if I should admire her or be furious. I ordered the veggie pasta.

Elle: We finished our mediocre meals and walked back to the Inn to rest up for the next morning. Luckily the Olympics were on - both entertaining and inspiring!
Cut to morning time - part of the deal of staying at the Yuletide Inn is the wonderful breakfast, cooked by Marie. I enjoyed some fresh berries, a bit of quiche, and some breakfast potatoes. Yum!

Webb: Getting up was hard to do. I don't mean waking up, I mean getting up. The mattress was so soft. I think my feet were actually higher than my head. Once I was able to extract myself from the pillowy bed, I hurried downstairs to enjoy the promised blueberry pancakes. They were delightful. I could have sat there all morning eating them if it weren't for that meddling half-marathon.

Danielle wins the 1-miler!
Elle: Race day consisted of 3 races: the 1-miler, the 5k, and the 1/2 marathon. If you do all 3, it's called the Triple Threat, and you get a mug. We decided that since we had our A-race in 2 weeks, it would be wise just to do the 13.1 miles. But we had told our friends at SEAC running club about the race, and convinced some of them to show up. We actually saw our friend Mimi, from our old Niketown Running club days, finish the 5k. And then ran into the SEAC crew: Jason and Danielle (who were both doing the Triple Threat), and Albert and his friend Basil. And lo and behold, Danielle won the 1-miler, and came in 2nd for the 5k!

my new 'b positive' gear
I saw that b positive had a table set up, but the thing that made me take a closer look was that they had posted that you could pay with your race number. I thought that was really cool, and so were their yoga pants and long sleeved t-shirts, so I bought them. They were really nice, and said they could hold my stuff there until after the race, and even let us keep our other bag with it, so we didn't have to use the bag check. (Hey Kyle Damon, Steve Martin says 'hi').

Webb: We found ourselves hanging out with Albert, Basil and new Ironman Greg (IM Lake Placid!) near the finish area as Danielle and Jason finished. At some point we were thinking the half-marathon should be starting. But where? There were no signs. I heard someone talking louder than others as a herd of people made their way in one direction. We followed along.  It was apparent no one really knew where the start line was. Then all of sudden people started running, so we did too.

Runnin' for Team Water
Elle: The course was pretty scenic - a lot of it right along the water as we ran into Gloucester. It was a really hot day, and, in my opinion, they didn't have enough water stops for such hot weather. The ones they did have were staffed by, what seemed like, inexperienced race volunteers and they didn't know what they were doing, or maybe they just didn't have enough volunteers. I took 2 cups of water at each stop, one to drink, and one to pour over my head.

Webb: It was a beautiful course with some challenging sections. Our focus was to take it easy. We weren't racing after any PRs that day. That was the plan, even before we encountered the heat and hills. Around mile 10 we decided to stop and walk because Elle was having some cramping. Up to this point I felt pretty good. We were cruising without pushing it. Mile 10 prove to be a reversal of fortune for both of us. It was also where Albert caught up with us. He was also out to run an easy race. Once we began running again, Elle slowly started to separate from me and Albert. Meanwhile, I began to struggle. I think I failed to drink enough water or my nutrition was off, or both. With each 1/4 mile I continued to feel worse. The heat was really kicking my arse. With about a mile to go Elle let us catch her. I think this is where we saw the first of two men being treated by EMTs. Both looked ok and were probably just beaten down by the high temperatures. The last half-mile or so was nearly all uphill. It was awful in my state. Still I dug deep and the finish line couldn't have come any sooner.
Jason stretches, Webb rests, Albert goes shirtless
SEAC representing!

After the race we hung out with the SEAC crew, near the kitty pools with ice in the shade. I immediately drank three bottles of ice-cold water and then held one to my neck. Don't think such easy access to ice-cold water didn't escape me as I wore my shirt. We really have it easy. In a few minutes, I was as good as new. Heat is definitely my demon. I must find a way to vanquish it.

My favorite part of the race had to be when we were running along a string of cars, bumper-to-bumper, queued up to enter the beach parking lot. One particular guy had his windows down blasting the theme to Chariots of Fire. Elle was wearing her headphones, so she totally missed it.

Elle: Next year - the triple threat!

Post-race, sitting in the shade

Webb & Albert running into the finish

Friday, August 10, 2012

Key Workouts as Timberman Nears

MONDAY: Pool Swim
w/u: 2x {100m swim, 100 Verzbicas kick, 100 buoy}
main set1: 5 x 300m (build every 100 from easy to hard)
main set2: 6 x 50m HARD (leave every 2:00)

Elle: The pool was unusually full today, so I actually had to share a lane. I took a look around at the lanes and saw this one guy who I'd seen before. He looked a lot like our friend Nate (who was on the BC track team with Dan & Justin, owners of SEAC, and who won this year's 'Escape the Cape' triathlon-turned-duathlon, and who qualified for Kona at this year's Eagleman), but when someone puts on a swim cap and goggles, you'd have trouble recognizing your own brother. So I had been wondering for a little while now if it was, indeed, Nate. Well today I decided to get in the lane and finally figure it out. I smiled at maybe-Nate and asked if I could share the lane. He smiled back and so I jumped in. But I still couldn't tell! So we shared the lane, swimming in very close proximity. Not knowing. He was out before I was finished with my set, and we never had rest periods at the wall at the same time, so the mystery continued. Until I got home and sent out a tweet:

Sadly, Elle breaks the 1st & 3rd rules of Triathlon:

1. Don't get injured.
2. Don't get sick.
3. Don't break rules 1 & 2

Elle: So my knee injury from last fall came back, arrrgghhh!
So my sad evening was spent with RICE:

Webb's Bike Workout
Long, steady climbs
w/u - 30:00 RPM >100
3 x 15:00 Big Gear, RPM 55-60 as 2:00 seated, 1:00 standing; 5:00 easy spin recovery
Total: 1:35:00

Webb: I'm not sure if this is a good workout to do in peak phase. Timberman has some hills and they have been looming over my thoughts. Don't call it anxiety! I'm being prepared. Each 15:00 interval was at a steady effort whether in the saddle or up on the pedals. I think I did a good job of keeping my effort in check by monitoring my pedaling technique. The time passed by fairly quickly thanks to Netflix and District B13: Ultimatum, a French action movie built around parkour/freerunning and martial arts. As I've said before, I like to watch foreign action films while on the trainer. The action keeps me motivated, the subtitles keep me from needing to follow the dialog and, really, when it comes down to it, you can miss some dialog and keep the gist of the story.

Post Public Body nutrition at Tremont 647
WEDNESDAY: Swampy Public Body
Elle: Soon after a downpour, the Public Body crew headed out for a hot, steamy session of body strength and conditioning, or more specifically, "MetCon." Unfortunately most of my workout clothes were sitting in the dirty laundry hamper, so I had to dig out my short, hot pink shorts. There was no shortage of ribbing about those shorts, I assure you.

THURSDAY - SEAC Track Workout
- 1.5 mile jog
main1 - 6x 200m (200m jog recovery)
main2 - 3x 100m strides (100m jog recovery)
c/d - 1.5 mile amble

Webb: It was another warm and humid night at SEAC run club. We arrived at the track and I was feeling tired. Work has been really kicking my ass lately. Not ideal for a peak phase. Oh well, that is what run club is for. As long as I can tear myself away from the office I know the crew will motivate me.

On this night the instructions were simple 6 x 200m. The second 3 intervals were to be faster than the first 3. My current goal is to run all 200m repeats under :40. Since these had jog recoveries and not walking or laying down recoveries, I was shooting for the first 3 to be at :39 - :40 and the last 3 to be at :38 - :39.  Much to my surprise I ran the first in :38. Oops! I slowed down to :40 for #2 and then fearing complacency, I sped back to :38. Damn. Ok, onto the second half. Even though I was a little faster than planned I was determined to run the second half intervals faster. Every. Single. One. I ran #4 in :37, #5 in :36 and and #6 in :35. Don't think I could have done a better job had I tried. Well, I did try. Still I'm surprised I pulled it off. I paid for it though. The strides and cool-down were miserable.

Elle: Since my knee was feeling wonky, Dan, our trusty run club leader, gave me a workout to do on my own: hard efforts on the straight-aways, no turns, as that would aggravate my knee. So while everyone else was doing the prescribed workout, I did 12, 100-meter hard effort. This close to Timberman, I don't want to make any rash mistakes that I'll regret on race day.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Our 100th Post Calls for Masterpiece!


Elle's 2800m Swim Workout
w/u - 50m swim, 100m kick, 50m swim
main sets: 400m, 300m, 200m, 100m } @ moderate pace (:20)
                 300m, 200m, 100m} neg. split (:25)
                 200m fast (:30)
                 100m fast (:30)
                 4 x 150m pull (:20)
c/d: 100m easy
total - 2,800m

Webb's 3050m Swim Workout
w/u - 200m easy swim, 2 x [100m swim, 100m kick, 100m buoy]
main1 - 5 x 300m [odds build every 300m, evens Tpace]
main2 - 10 x 50m sprint on 1:30
c/d - 250m easy swim
total - 3,050m

Webb: This swim was harder than I expected. The warm-up and main sets are mostly derived from a TriathleteMag Half-Ironman plan. The first substantive variation is the replacement of the generic kick set with a drill I call the Verzbicas Kick. That is not really fair since it was actually comes from swim expert Genadijus Sokolovas, or Dr. G. He turned Lukas Verzbicas America's fastest young runner into America's most promising ITU athlete.

I'm not going to try to describe the drill. Instead, I encourage you to read about it here. The point is to learn how to use your hips and core to generate propulsion. I had done this a couple of times prior to this workout and each time it became a bit more familiar and easier.

What made this workout tough though were the 10 x 50 sprints. I was able to do all but the last in :40, allowing me :50 to recover. I needed all of those fifty seconds. Thanks to the Verzbicas Kick drill, I was definitely able to use my hips to generate more power. This extra power had a secondary effect of shortening my stroke. If I want to continue to lower my stroke rate, then I'll need to learn how to ride that propulsion rather than churn my way down the lane.

Elle: My swim went well.

Webb: Really? That's it? Fine.

TUESDAY: Recovery Bike on the Trainers (easy spin whilst watching Inspector Lewis)
Elle: We decided to an easy, 1+ hour, recovery ride on the trainers. We wanted to find something engaging to watch while we did our spin, and what better than Masterpiece Theatre? Yeah, we're dorks. So Inspector Lewis it was. The episodes run over an hour, so that was perfect. Also, before we started, I put together one of our staple meals: rice/quinoa and vegetables. We have a big rice cooker, so I just throw some brown rice and/or quinoa in there, cut up whatever veggies I have in the fridge, which can be a lot and quite a variety, due to our Boston Organics deliveries. Then hit 'cook' and about 1.5 hours later, yummy, healthy dinner!

Elle: Oh, so I heard about this race in Rockport, so we signed up!
The Public Body crew @ Blackstone Park


Elle's W/O: Public Body
I was really excited to start Public Body, as I really need to work on my strength. As promised, it was a fun, challenging workout. We started at the SEAC store, and ran to nearby Blackstone Park. The locals and dog walkers had a fun time watching us sweat and work our butts off. The best part was when one of the loose dogs sneakily got close enough to snag an exercise band and run off with it. He was pretty excited about his big score, it was cute.

Webb: I am not doing Public Body. There is just no way I can get there on time, which is a total bummer because it sounds like a great workout.

THURSDAY - SEAC Track, or Running in a Sauna
w/u - 1.5-mile jog
main1 - 3 x 200m
main2 - 1 x 1200m
drills - lunges, lower-leg drive, backwards running, dynamic stretching
c/d - 1.5-mile jog

Webb: Dan instructed us to run the 200s fast, as in FAST! Our reward for our near all-out efforts would be a 100m walk recovery before jogging the next 100m into the next 200m interval. After our 200s, the group would reconvene and then set out for the 1200m interval at a 1-mile effort.

The 200s were indeed fast. I ran them in :34, :35 and :34. Not too long ago I ran 10x 200m where my fastest 200m was at :38. You could say I was pleasantly surprised. During the warm-up I had my doubts about this workout. I wasn't feeling it. I was lagging well behind the group and had no desire to put forth any effort to catch-up, much less keep-up.  The 200s, on the other hand, felt great. My legs felt loose and strong. I could feel the force as I drove into and off the track. I actually awakened an old memory of running in spikes. <heavy sigh>

The 1200m was a different. I launched into the first lap and quickly realized I was moving too fast. My goal (aka mile effort) was to run at or below a 6:00/mile pace. I looked down at my Garmin and saw I was running at 6:24. Hmmm. That sucks. So I turned up the heat and looked down again. This time I saw 5:42. Much better. Or was it? Having smashed myself against the 200m hashmark earlier, I had to pull back or concede defeat. That means walk. I pulled it back and tried to cruise the next 800m at closer to a 5k effort. My breathing became increasingly rapid and less in control. I held on, focusing on my breath and foot turnover. Breathe. Feet. Breathe. Feet. Breathe. It wasn't long until there was 150m left. I wanted it over so I picked up the pace and finished strong with a 6:12 average. Not bad. Slower than my mile and faster than my 5k.

Elle: Yeah, it was tough.
Then we had post-run club dinner at CODA. Mmmmmmm.....

Webb: Again? Really? That's it? 

Elle: I've been having some aching pain in my legs for awhile now, and I've read that it's good for triathletes to get massages to break up facia and help with some of the soreness, so I finally booked one. I went to the no-frills, Massage Envy. I ended up registering for a 6-month membership, so that means I'll be scheduling one massage a month for the next 6 months. I'm pretty excited about that.

Webb: And while Elle was getting the big rub down, I was at work late. I was so happy for her.