Mooseman – The Best Laid Plans

Turns out things don’t have to be perfect to be fast.  If you would have told me I would break 6 hours in this race I would have disagreed…   In 2010 I did Timberman 70.3, which is a much easier course, and came up short of the 6 hour mark so I did not have high hopes for breaking 6 at Mooseman with its mile of climbing on the bike, and ugly hill on the run.  I had my sights pretty well set in the 6:20 range as being a solid effort. This would be the first head to head to head race between Eric, Katherine, and myself this season.  It would be a big test, seeing who could bring the pain.  Katherine was throwing out handicaps, which meant she apparently had an hour in hand over Eric and me.  I went up with Eric the evening before the race to get our race packets, check in our bikes at transition and head to the pre-race meeting.  Due to the rains the last few days which seemed like they would continue on race day (we checked the weather many times) our transition areas were more or less under water.  So we decided not to check the bikes in and lug them home and setup transition early on race day.  We met some friends and fellow Sustainable Athletes at the meeting, talked some trash, listened to the rules and headed back home to get some rest.  The rest wasn’t restful due to almost constant fear that it would be rainy and wet on race day, which would not be exciting on the bike, but I was worried about the run.  I wasn’t really in the mood for wet, blistered feet.  Race morning started stupid early, with a wake up time of around 3:30, we packed most things the night before, so we grabbed the last of our stuff got dressed and headed out.  We arrived a touch after transition opened to a somewhat dry course and no rain.  My hopes soared at the thought of actual dry feet on the run!  This was slightly tampered when I got into transition and realized that from my (mostly) dry transition spot, I had to run through a muddy lake to get to either side of the transition area.  So if I put my shoes on at transition they would be soaked before the run even started.  Eric and I came up with a decent strategy to deal with this, basically don’t use transition to transition.  Grab your shoes (and bike the first time) and run out in bare feet find the first dry spot on the course and put shoes (and socks) on there.  But there was still a threat of rain so I left all my transition stuff in garbage bags to keep it dry and headed down to the swim start.

The team pic from the night before.

Swim:

I got to the start early so I put on my wet suit and watched the pros take off before getting in the water and splashing around for a little warm up.  Then I lined up with Eric and Matt with the other old guys and waited our turn. The swim, especially in a 70.3 tends to make a lot of people nervous as they hear all about the “washing machine” that the swim start is.  I’m sure it can get nasty in a giant mass start of a full Ironman, but with these wave starts it’s not that bad.  But people still tend to line up back and to the outside a bit.  I am an overconfident swimmer so I lined up towards the inside front where the action would be.  The start wasn’t bad, a little bit of contact, but nothing to write home about.  I tried to find some feet to follow, but I am an awful drafter so I just swam.  As the swim went on some of the front runners in my wave faded and caused some traffic and some body contact as I tried to get around them.  I swam relatively straight (for once) for most of the swim never really finding any open water until I swam wide around the second turn buoy.  I picked up the pace for the final run into swim out, while still trying to stay relaxed and not waste too much energy.  At this point I had no idea where Eric was but I figured I’d find out when I got to transition.

T1:

Got my wet suit off with help from the strippers without much fan-fair, and ran through the giant mud puddle to my transition spot.  As I arrived and opened my bag, Eric trotted up, some 11 seconds behind me.  I quickly put on my helmet, sunglasses and bike gloves, grabbed my bike shoes and ran out of transition. Following the super-secret plan, I ran to the mount line where a woman was waiting with a hose to spray off my feet, washed my feet threw on my bike shoes and was off.

Bike:

First section of the bike is relatively flat so I tried to stay in control and take it easy going into the hills.  My legs coming out of the water were not doing well.  They had no power, and I found myself struggling up even little hills.  This was not good.   I even stopped for a second to check if my brakes were dragging, no such luck.  I could only hope my legs warmed up and came around sooner rather than later.  Then shit really started to fall apart. On my bike I had my aero-bottle full of water and 2 additional bottles of Carbo Rocket 1/2 Evil nutrition, which I was planning on using for the entire ride, only getting water and maybe a Gatorade from the aid stations on the bike.  So of course on one of the first corners, I hit a bump which ejected half of my nutrition off the bike and into the gutter.  Awesome.  You know that saying, “Nothing new on race day.” Yeah, not gonna happen.  Shortly after that debacle the hills started. My legs were still not up to par, and I was wasting a lot of energy on the lower hills but soon enough I was on the big ones, where I was basically at a standstill between pedal strokes.  I contemplated walking at one point but then the guy in front of me tried that and tipped over before he could unclip.  I figured that would happen to me too and would hurt more than the pain I was in so I continued on, passing a decent amount of people heading up the final climb. Once the climbing was done for the first time I hit the first aid station.  I grabbed a Gatorade and jammed the first of many bananas into my mouth having no idea how much I needed to eat in order to replace my now missing nutrition bottle.  Just after the aid station I saw a familiar rider on a pink bike; I had caught Katherine who had started a couple waves in front of me.  I made fun of her bike, wished her well on the coming decent and was off.

The first part of the decent wasn’t that bad, the road was a little wet but not too bad, I got held up a little going into the 90 degree corner at the bottom of the crazy steep hill by people who were a little more cautious then I, but nothing too bad as I headed into the dicey part of the decent. This is where the course gets a little less steep but they throw in some crappy pavement some tight off camber corners and guard rails, guarding a nice big chasm.  This is the part where I’m a great big wussy and slow down, but luckily no one could make a ton of time on me as there was a speed limit on this section to keep riders in check.  Alas by the time I went through there were still 2 downed riders and an ambulance in the ugliest corner.

I managed the decent well enough and got onto the flat part of the course.  Here is where I really had to hold myself in check and work on not expending much energy.  I paced myself behind a woman going slightly slower then I wanted to for a lot of this section, but she (or maybe I) was a bit surgey so after swapping spots a couple times I made the pass stick and was on my way.  Towards the end of this section is when my arch nemesis Ben caught me.  I didn’t know how far behind me he had started but he is usually a much better biker, we chatted for a second, I said some disparaging things about his mom, and told him to say hi to his sister for me (I’m a nice guy like that), before he was off  ahead of me.  He didn’t get away from me though, he is very sasquatchian, so once the road began to go up hill again, I reeled him in.  He would pass me on the downhills and flats but going up I would get back by him.  I managed to put some distance between us going up the giant hill the second time, but once again after the crazy decent, (no ambulances this time) at the beginning of the flats he caught me and I never saw him again on the bike.

About now my one bottle of nutrition was long ago emptied and I was making shit up as I went along.  Grab a gel here, a banana there, some more, nasty tasting mango Gatorade and just hope for the best.  At the final rest stop with maybe 15 miles to go before the bike finished, I grabbed a Gatorade and attempted to squeeze it into my aero-bottle.  I squeezed, and nothing came out.  Shit, it must just be closed, so I turn the cap with my teeth while attempting not to crash, and squeeze again…  Still nothing. Mother#@$%#, he didn’t take the foil off the cap! So I unscrew the top, and am there holding an open Gatorade in one hand and the top of the bottle in the other gingerly steering with the side of my hand looking at my aero-bottle wondering how the hell I’m going to get this liquid in there through the splash guard.  I decide to pop the top of the aero-bottle and pour it in straight.  Some more hand gymnastics later, the aero-bottle is open, but the lid won’t stay out of the way.  Still riding, I’m attempting to hold it out of the way with the hand that is steering and holding the bottle cap, and the freaking splash guard falls out of the top and is lost behind me…  That made filling the bottle up easy enough, but now every time I hit a bump I was splashed with sticky Gatorade making a huge mess and is that much more liquid that I don’t get to drink before the run.

I angrily pushed it a little bit more the last it 10-ish miles into T2 drinking what didn’t splash on me, did an amazing flying dismount and headed into transition.

Finishing up the bike

T2:

The Bike to run transition was fairly uneventful, shoes were still on the bike, ran through the giant ankle deep mud puddles, tossed my bike stuff on the ground grabbed my hat, socks, and shoes, and ran out of transition.  Just outside of transition after I had run through the swampland again was where I did the bulk of the work.  Putting socks and shoes on my now wet feet and heading out on the run proper.

Run:

My coach had given me a goal of running close to my half marathon time from earlier in the year (1:48).  That seemed a little optimistic to me, but I gamely decided to see what I had in me and proceeded to go out running strong.  There was cloud and tree cover so my GPS was fairly unreliable, switching between 7:30s and 10:20s so I wasn’t sure exactly how fast I was going.  I hit the first mile marker at around a 7:45 pace.  I was working hard, so I eased off a little and continued on.   If the course had been flat I think I would have had an outstanding time and been happy with my run.  The course was not flat.  There is a steep hill you hit around maybe mile 2-ish, and then you run down the other side and turn around and run back over the hill around mile 4-ish.  This is what did me in.  My legs had no power for going uphill, my running slowed down enough to where power walking was more efficient, so I walked up the hill. Going down the other side I saw a familiar sasquachian figure.  I was catching Ben.  This is how our races go, I out swim him, he out bikes me, then I out run him.  On shorter races he usually doesn’t have enough time to get a big enough gap on me on the bike to hold me off on the run.  But 2 years ago at Timberman 70.3, he pulled it off beating me by just over 2 minutes.  I was slowly catching him and I thought he had started after me, so I figured I had to beat him by around 8 minutes to actually beat him.  I ever so slowly reeled him in as we went back over the hill on the out and back and finally caught and passed him around mile 5.

At the turnaround I was struggling a little keeping up the pace, usually on double out and backs this part sucks because you see people finishing and you know you have to go out for another lap, but this time it wasn’t that bad even though I was hurting.  I had also given up on coming close to my half marathon PR, I was just hoping to break 2 hours.  At the point that I hit the hill again is when the wheels started coming off the bus.  My nutrition plan of randomly eating stuff wasn’t as effective as I had planned and I wasn’t feeling so hot.  I made decent time to the hill but it was a longer walk up the hill this time and down the other side wasn’t so fast either.  Things started to be more of a trudge, at the turnaround I noted that Ben was gaining on me.  I walked back up the hill grabbed some coke at the aid station and with 2 miles left decided to give it all I had.  My speed started to drop down into the high 7s again, but it would not last.  I made it about a mile before quickly decelerating to a more plodding speed.

The last mile hurt.  I was out of energy, my legs were toast and I wanted to be anywhere but where I was.  Everything hurt and I wanted to stop.  And if this half Ironman hurt this much, what the hell was I thinking even attempting a full Ironman?  Could I do this for another 8 hours?  How much money would I have really wasted if I bail on IMNYC?  I tried to be positive, and was listening for the cheering of people near the finish, I finally heard it and it didn’t help just more painful plodding.  But I did know the suffering was ending soon as I headed off the pavement onto the dirt and rug path that led to the finish.  I plodded along with no other competitors around until about 50 meters left when Ben came flying by me in a sprint for the finish.  I had nothing to answer with and just continued plodding into the finish.  As I came across the line the clock read 6:19:xx which after some quick confusing math I figured I had broken the 6 hour mark, if only just.  I was having mixed feelings.  It definitely did not feel like my best race but it was a big time PR on a much more difficult course then my last one.  I swam well, biked strong (maybe a little too strong) and I broke 2 hours in the half marathon, but I feel like I could have done better.

Don’t run angry…

After all was said and done, I beat Eric, who also had a big time PR, by about 20 minutes.  And crushed Katherine and her self-imposed 1 hour handicap with minutes to spare…  🙂  It also turns out that Ben started 2 waves in front of me, so even with his last minute heroics I still beat him by 7 minutes.

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In which I don’t run a race

After Friday’s night in and Saturdays epic 100+ mile brick action and resulting rest of the day nap, I was feeling a bit anti-social.  You can’t really have a Memorial Day weekend and not actually see anyone (twitter doesn’t count, it should, but doesn’t).

Luckily I had a busy Sunday planned, of course all of it was packed into the same timeframe.  First I was supposed to run with the Rail Trail Girls at 7AM for about 11 miles, but I was also due to be at Pineland Farms to cheer/support Danielle and Sara for their 25k trail run which started at 10AM.  Not being able to be in two places at the same time sucks sometimes.  So I cheated a little, I started my run about 40 min early doing a little out and back on the Rail Trail and met the girls (FYI calling these amazing runner women girls is bothering me, chicks doesn’t work either.  Dating a philosophy professor who teaches feminism has it’s downsides I guess) right at 7 where I would run with them for the first 30 min of their run and then head back while they complete the rest on their own.

They returned my sunglasses too. Not until having fun with them first.

Because I travel so much it’s been a while since I ran with anyone so my short run with the girls was very pleasant as they chatted away about random stuff.  I tried to chime in occasionally but I’m not used to talking while running so I just listened and drifted off occasionally.  After my brief 30 minutes with them I turned around and headed back for a quick shower and to bolt down to Pinelands.

I got there with about 10 minutes until start time and was wandering around the herd of runners prepping for the 25k, the runners already in motion for the 50k and 50 miler, which had been in progress since 6 AM, and all the supporters looking for Sara and Danielle the suckers runners I was “supporting” and taking pictures for.  I found the starting line and figuring they would have to show up there sooner or later and kept an eye on the chute.  I finally spotted them as they headed to their starting spot and snuck up to photo-bomb their pictures, wish them good luck, grab Danielle’s camera, and start cheering.

They look so happy… They have no idea what’s coming…

I grabbed a spot a little down the trail from the start and waited.  I chatted with a nice woman who was supporting her husband and learned a lot of stuff a veteran supporter would have already known.  Such as the course length, direction and what the hell is actually going on.  I found I would be able to beat them to the first aid station if I hurried, then after a while they would come back through just under 14k into the race.

Boom, and their off, Sara being to fast I missed her right away, but caught a couple shots of Danielle before I bolted moseyed for the first aid station.  I got there just as Sara motored by and once again in time to get a phew pics of Danielle.  Then I found a shady spot and played the waiting game until they came back through over 1/2 way through the race.

Finally after cheering for a bunch of 50k and 50 milers the 25k-ers started filtering back through.  Knowing Sara was stupid fast, I started counting female 25k runners (white bibs) to see where she was sitting.  When she finally came through she was in around 8th place.  I cheered loudly and yelled as much to her.  Apparently this was unacceptable as she angrily flipped me off and continued running.  (Sorry Sara, /I’m/ not the one who let 8 girls get in front of her)

F#@% you Andy, F$^#. You.

I continued waiting for Danielle, and waiting, and waiting…  Then I started to get nervous.  I knew Sara was the clumsy one, but I also knew Danielle had no trail running experience, so I pictured her bleeding with a skinned knee and a twisted ankle walking back because she is to stubborn to quit.  I noticed more and more people who I knew she was faster then going by and this didn’t ease my mind.  Finally I spotted her struggling up the hill towards me.  She briefly stopped and expressed her disappointment with her performance so far in the race.  Which led to one of my top 3 favorite tweets of all time.

Never again… Until 3 minutes after I finish.

She continued on, none to happy with the trail running thing, but determined to finish strong.  I then headed back to the start/finish line to meet up with Eric and Victoria, and await Danielle’s pass through to the back half of the course.  It wasn’t a long wait until she came through, still hating life but looking a bit better.  Then it was on to more waiting.  Eventually Sara came down the finishers chute, in a stupid fast 2:07 something at 8:11 miles…  Yeah she was disappointed…  She’s annoying like that sometimes.  Also she had rolled her ankle (again) with like 3 miles to go, and still managed to hold onto 9th place (I think, maybe 10th).

I congratulated Sara at her finish and being a relative rookie at all this non-racing just kind of hung out and grilled her on how the race went and other random topics.  She got some water and we headed over to the shade to await Danielle’s finish.  Which of course we totally f-ed up.  Just as I was about to suggest we go over to the finish, over walks Danielle having already finished (oops).  Luckily for us she was so pissed off at the course and its unending undulating hills that she didn’t have the brain power to be pissed at us as well.

We then hung around in the shade as they recovered and told their war stories, before grabbing a beer and eating “lunch”. (3 cookies and 2 chips)

Beer makes everything better.

Then we just bummed around for a while until it was close enough that we would be able to see Maddy finish her 50 mile race.  And when she did, amazingly she didn’t collapse and ask to be taken to the hospital like I would have, she even had time to pose for pictures and was legit smiling.  (She /had/ to have been on some form of drug) After congratulating Maddy on her feat of crazyness we all headed our separate ways.

Why are they smiling?

A good day overall, I got in a nice run, Sara had a top 10…  Danielle on the other hand:

To be fair, I think the second tree may have caught her at the line.

In Check

When you are in the midst of IronMan training (and I’d imagine Marathon or Ultra training as well) you tend to get always be looking at where you are, and where you need to be.

I need to bike 112 miles and then run a marathon, until today the most I had biked in one session in the last  years was 66 miles a couple weeks ago.  With only 75 days left until the race this is becoming more and more of a concern for me.  I trust my coach and I know I’ll be ready but it is hard not to look at those two huge numbers and not worry.

But then I found this in my workout details for today:

Wait what?

Let me zoom in to the important part:

Two hours?

So basically, I have a 2 hour warm up on this particular 5:45 brick. Two. Hour. Warm up.  This is what snapped me out of the forward looking thinking.  Most people have trouble working out for 2 hours in a week.  And I’m about to ride 90 miles, then tomorrow run 11 more.  Ask me if I would ever do that, even last year, and the answer would be, “Hell no.”  But here I am riding and running more then seems reasonable.

So it’s good once in a while to keep yourself in check, stop looking where you need to be and look at where you are currently and what a total bad-ass you really are.

Unrelated:

Unrelated pic of Carrie spotting an alien at RTB last weekend.

RTB Relay – The Recap

Describing these races is a complicated affair.  You go through so many emotions and ups and downs in a short 48 hours.  Starting with nerves at meeting new people, the unknown route, and the always precarious night running, there is the lack of sleep and it gets pretty repetitive after a while.  For other perspectives and more pictures check out the other recaps by:

Jen

Carrie

Christy

And by popular demand (aka she texted me whining): Danielle

The weekend started with a 5 AM alarm, about an hour before I had planned on getting up.  This would not pay dividends later in the weekend.  I drove down to Portsmouth to meet up with my van mates, Jen, Jill, Stacy and Carrie, where I was quickly banished to the back of the van so they could continue chatting as we made our way to pick up the final member of our van. With her blunt personality and driving skills, Jill (aka Rumble Strip) became the target of my unending teasing.  That happens sometimes, I’m not sure why.  I can only hope that she will not hunt me down and stab me in the eye at some point.

Jill – Don’t be fooled, there’s death behind that smile. Also, a lack of the ability to stay between the lines on the road.

Once we collected John we were off to the start, making sure we were there at the time prescribed by our team captain, who then rolled in about half an hour later. We amused ourselves by checking out all the other team vans and their uniforms and decorations.  Once we were all together introductions were made and we were off to learn not to peen on anyone’s lawn and other important rules. (mostly not to pee on anyone’s lawn and be quite at night, complicated stuff)

Then it was on to some team business, passing out our team sweatpants, getting our team pictures done and meeting other people we “know” from the intertubes.  We ran into Danielle (who i think knew everyone at this race), she and I then finalized our bet.  Her team was starting 40 min after ours and she thought they could beat us, and she was really insistent on making a bet.  So I obliged her, having no idea the relative speeds of anyone on either team.  She knew everyone, so I think she was totally suckering me to get free food.  I also met others on her team who I knew only through the interwebs, it’s always exciting when an avatar becomes a real person. This seems to happen a lot around Danielle, she is a magic bridge between the tubes and real life; Charon, minus all the death and hell stuff. As our start time approached we gathered at the starting line to see our first runner off. At that time we split up, van 1 to go to the top of the mountain that was leg 1 and await Ruddly, while we in van 2 headed out for some food and to kill time until it was our turn.

Inverted outfits!

Before we knew it Jill was getting the slap bracelet and it was our turn, which began a blurry ride of bunny hopping runners, running, pooping, drinking, eating whatever was on hand, pooping some more and making a vain attempt to get what little sleep we had time for.

At the first transition I was hanging out with Danielle whose team had already caught up to us.  She was telling me that I was up against her team mate, Dutch.  And that he was wicked fast and was totally going to pass me. Pfft, not on my watch.  I got the baton and was off.  It was going great, I was feeling relaxed but according to my Garmin I was reeling off 7:30 miles like a boss.  This made me a bit nervous, as I’m not that fast and I had the big leg of the relay, 22+ miles total, a mileage unheard for me in a 24 hour period.  But I felt good, so I kept it up.  Then the hill came.  I motored up it, dropping to 8:00 min/mile, my confidence was soaring.  Then the wheels came off, with 6 miles down and about 1.5 to go things got slow quick.  As I muscled my way up the climb to the finish I knew this was going to be as hard as advertised.  i kept waiting for Dutch to motor by but he never did. I finished with what I had left and passed the baton happily onto John for his leg and joined the girls in the van.

Not present: The van

Unfortunately, while I had held off Dutch, Danielle who was running out of her mind, motored by John, (Who has been henceforth banished from our team to a life of sad loneliness) costing me my bet.  On we soldiered in the increasing heat of the day.  While there are many up sides to sharing a van with 4 skinny, attractive, runner women, there is at least one downside.  They don’t contain heat well.  Thus when I am suffocating and sweating profusely in the back of the van they are just fine, but when I am at a comfortable temperature they are freezing.  They let me have my way some most of the time and kept there complaining to a minimum, at least where I could hear it. (Of note, we had been given team sweatpants that day, but I never saw them on anyone… herm…)

John making the hand-off as an already finished Danielle re-hydrates

After our legs were done we grabbed some quick food and headed over to the next van transition to get some rest.  I knew I would never be able to sleep in the van so I grabbed a patch of grass and attempted to get some sleep, between car alarms, loud talking and portapotty smell, I only managed to grab maybe an hour total sleep split up over the course of our time there.  And I wasn’t happy that there were no showers, I needed a shower.

Way too soon, it was time for us to get up (1-ish am) and prep for our next leg.  And boom Jill was handing me the baton and I was running again, my night leg this time.  this was my longest leg, over 8 miles.  It was also the most painful.  As I had feared, I had wrecked myself stupidly during my first leg, so I had to suffer through this leg and just hope I had something left for my final leg.  The night leg was uneventful, my team did a great job of being where they needed to be to get me food and drink throughout my run.  This leg sucked because I was caught by teams that had started much later then us, aka they were stupid fast.  I ended up being blown by, by at least 5 runners like I was standing still.  Not the best feeling when you are already hurting.  Eventually I handed the baton off to John again and was back in the van.  I think I failed my team a little and fell asleep for a short bit while they dedicatedly ran and supported each other through the night.

Night running.
Not pictured: everyone

It was already getting bright out by the time we were finished and had made our way to the next van transition.  Once again, I grabbed some grass outside of the van to get some sleep.  The girls had already spread out in the van as I had been driving so I grabbed the first pillow I found out of the back.  This turned out to be very fortuitous for me.  It turned out I had grabbed Jill’s 1200 thread count Egyptian silk covered, super comfy pillow of doom.  Not even her husband had ever layed his head on it.  And here I was, two legs worth of sweat and grime deflowering her pillow and getting the best 1.5 hours of sleep ever on it.  It was glorious.  My shady spot quickly became a sunny spot and it was time to grab some food and get ready for our final leg.

Another good thing about the women in our van: Yoga

downward dog

It was getting hot, real hot.  My final leg was sometime around noon, it was my shortest leg something just shy of 7 miles.  I was still hurting at this point but my super pillow induced slumber had helped a bit. I tried to stay tough in the heat and pass some people for a change.  I told my van mates to give me some water and Gu around 1/2 way, but they were smart enough to figure I would wilt in the heat and gave me an extra stop for water.  This helped immensely as I reeled in a couple runners.  Then with about a mile left and 2 runners ahead I decided to give it all that was left, my Garmin started to once again show 7:30s and the occasional 7:2x, and I picked off the final two runners with less than 1/2 a mile to go.  I flew into transition handed off the baton and was done. 22+ miles, over 3+ hours, the most mileage I had ever piled up in a 24 hour period was complete.

Carrie makes the hand-off to Jen in 2000 degree heat

Fuck it, it’s to hot for this shit…

It was at this point I began to notice I had been hoodwinked.  I had been given the largest leg of the race, everyone else was scared of it.  I figured because they were newer or slower runners.  Umm, no.  I began to notice our runners were smoking fast and knew what they were doing.  I wasn’t even in the top 3 fastest in my van, let alone on the team, which was filled with marathon veterans and ultra-runners in training.  Yet somehow, having never run a marathon and only 2 half marathons I got suckered into the big leg.  Not that I’m bitter.

Stacy practicing her murder stare.

From there we hopscotched through our final legs to the beach.  It was stupid hot at this point so everyone was having a rough time, but we managed to tough i out.  And after 30 hours Jen rounded the corner to the finish line and we “joined” her running to the finish line.  “Joined” may be too strong a word as she blew right by as we tried to keep up in flip flops and on smoked legs, but whatever, we were done.

We hung around just long enough to say hi to friends and get some team pictures taken, for Danielle to gloat (She’s good at that), then we were out of Dodge.  We were all exhausted from running, and tired from not sleeping, so the mood on the van ride home alternated between total silence, delirious laughter at the most pointless things, and bad jokes.  It was probably one of my favorite parts of the trip.  We dropped John off, then headed to drop me off at my car where I headed back to my sister’s house where I proceeded to pass out.

Things get sexy when people are tired..

The whole weekend was a blast, I had tons of fun.  Twittering, meeting new people, spending way to much time in close proximity to some of them, I loved all of it.

Team Need For Speed

There will definitely be a “next year”, there is even talk about a later THIS year…  We’ll see…  🙂

BodyGlide (TM) Sponsorship Application

Name: Andrew Malinowski
Age: 37
Hometown: Gardiner ME

Dear Sirs and/or Madames,

I would like to humbly submit my application for sponsorship.  After reading this I’m sure you will be as excited to work with me as I am to work with you!  You will see how we are a perfect match for each other – you preventing my chafing and I spreading the good name and value of the BodyGlide product line. (And potentially expanding the product line too.   Two words: BodyGlide Pleasure (TM).  Maybe get Rinny and I to do a commercial together…  Think about it.)

The main reason I would make a good spokesperson is I am intimately familiar with your products.  I use them virtually non stop.  From where I am sitting right now I can see at least 4 sticks in various states of use, and I know of at least 2 others in the next room.  Also let’s face it, you do not want to sponsor the pros.  No one can relate to a super fit 0% body fat guy sprinting along a marathon with a little BodyGlide logo on his left arm.  Racer 1138’s mom isn’t going to notice your logo, let alone think it may be of use to her.  I’m giving you first option of large front and center middle of my chest and the middle of my back.  And believe me, no one is going to mistake my physique for that of some unattainable Greek god.  They will realize right away that my physique is very attainable and secretly then wonder, if /THIS/ guy can do an IronMan with the help of BodyGlide, then so can I.  Boom! new customers!

You’ll be signing yourself on with an above average swimmer.  People will see me gliding (gliding? get it: BodyGLIDE…  Talented writer too.) through the water in my beautiful custom made (by you) BodyGlide/Orca wetsuit.  I will come out of the water a little ahead of the big pack, when it is not too chaotic, giving good views for the fans and the cameras alike of your logo front and center.  At this point I’d even let you do a quick interview with me on my way to T1. “Chafing?  What chafing?  Sunburn, nah-ah – I used new BodyGlide with sunblock.”  That’s advertising gold right there.  Also this means that all the good bikers who ignore the swim will come by me at some point on the ride.  That is a /ton/ of eyeballs on your logo and seeing that I’m so smooth and comfy on my bike, they will KNOW I use BodyGlide-Chamois Glide (TM).

Then the run.  This is where it will really pay off.  Everyone will be dying with sunburn and blisters, but not me.  I will run by them as only a mediocre run-walking first time IronMan can.  They will see me not hobbling, as they endure their death march of pain and they will wish with all their might that they too had thought to use BodyGlide (TM).  They will know what they need to do next time.  You will get hundreds of new customers storming running and tri shops everywhere.  This partnership will pay itself back 10 fold in a month.

Now the details.  When you sign on with me we can discuss all the financials, my new ride (Corvette Z06), and the Glide Girls (these are just a few of my ideas!) at my pre-race BodyGlide (TM) tent.  My one requirement, is a lifetime supply of BodyGlide, preferably in vat form so I can just dip myself in it.  BodyGlide (TM): I invite you to join my team so we can make this happen.

Thank you for your consideration.

Recent and Future Races
2011 Highlights:
5/7 – PolarBear Tri – Sprint: 58/130 Age Group, 74th Overall
5/12 – Pirate Tri – Sprint:
DNF crash (No fault of BodyGlide)
Black Fly Tri Festival

  • 7/8 – Time Trial – 22/25 Age Group, 118th Overall
  • 7/9 – International Tri – 26/48 Age Group, 143 Overall
  • 7/10 – Sprint Tri – 17/36 Age Group, 124th Overall
  • Lord of the Flies Competition – 12/21 Age Group

2012 Races
Great Bay ½ Marathon:
1:48:34 34/85 Age Group, 322 Overall
Polar Bear Tri Sprint
Reach the Beach MA Relay
MooseMan 70.3
Black Fly Tri Festival – Lord of the Flies
IronMan US Championships

Month 2 in review – 163 Days left

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Monthly Workout Summary: February 2012

Swim: 4:07:36, 7600 yards
Bike: 14:05, 139.02 (trainer) Miles
Run: 10:25:28, 68.97 Miles
Core: 2:45
Races:
  Mid-Winter Classic 10-miler: 1:28:35
  Polarbear 5K: 24:13 (in a snow storm)

I am beginning to feel in decent shape. Amazing what 2 months of consistent training will do. Coach Denise sets up the workouts and I knock them down. I did miss my first day of workouts, due to a sick pooch, but it was well-timed and happened during a recovery week so Coach didn’t have me try to make up for it. Overall I am very happy with my consistency and how things are going.

I did add one race to my schedule Reach The Beach, a 24 hour relay. So me, Andy and 10 of our closest friends people we have never met before and only know on the internet, get to jam ourselves into two vans and run for 30ish hours together with little or no sleep. Sounds like heaven doesn’t it? 🙂

Month 3 awaits!

Everybody Poops

Even though IMNYC is only 176 days away, I’m still relatively calm.  At least I thought I was, until last night.  Apparently my subconscious has been thinking and isn’t as calm as the rest of me.

What is it anxious about?  The swim in the Hudson river? Maybe sharks, or dirty water?  The bike and its brutal hills and long distance.  Is it hilly enough to justify using the road bike or is the aero-position on the tri bike the way to go?  Or maybe the run, another brutally hilly leg covering a distance that will be the most I have ever run at one time, never mind after biking 112 miles?

No, none of those things.

My subconscious is worried about pooping.  Yes, I’m preparing to travel 140.3 miles under my own power and my brain is worried about dropping a duce…

My dream last night consisted of me getting ready for the start of the IronMan and trying to find a bathroom so I could “pre-game” and get to the start on time.  Of course all the bathrooms I could find were either full or inoperable for any number of reasons, and everyone was heading to the start as time was winding down. Very stressful.

I’m glad my mind believes I have everything else under control, I guess now I just need to practice pre-gaming early in the morning so I know I’ll have plenty of time and my mind can relax, and I can get some sleep.

Mid-Winter Classic 10 Miler

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Consistent training is important. Who knew?!?

The plan was to *not* run the mid-winter 10-miler. It had been sold out for a while and I had moved on. On Thursday while everyone was running easy getting ready for the race I was busy hammering out some hills. The day before I busted out a nice long ride on the trainer with a little post spin run. Soon after the run my running buddy Mr. Magoo found a bib that had become available, and since I had a 1:30 run scheduled for Sunday so I figured running with a bunch of people would be way better than running by myself.

I must admit I was a little apprehensive the night before. My last long run I had bonked hard (nutrition lesson #1 eat something within 6 hours of your long run), and this was going to be almost 2 miles longer than that. Also, my coach wanted me to run between 9:00 and 9:20 / mile. While that speed is not blazing fast by any stretch of the imagination, in my mind, I keep my “long” runs just a shade under 10’s as opposed to low 9’s. I was afraid this was a recipe for blowing up hard.

After getting to the race I lined up with my running buddy who knew the course like the back of his hand. He didn’t have a GPS, so I was to be the pace setter and he would let me know when we were going to hit the hills. The gun didn’t work so we were off with a verbal command.

I was still not sure that running low 9’s was a good idea, so I tried to set a pace “within” myself. Figuring that it would be better to go out slow and have something left for the end then to go out to fast and blow up again (I try not to make the same mistake twice, but if I do I at least like to make sure lots of time passes before the second time so I can  say that it was the first time I made that particular mistake).

The race started with a slight up hill and then a long slight decline, before hitting three bigger hills one after another (Momma, Papa, and Baby as named by my running buddy). I looked at my Garmin a few times and saw paces in the 9:0X’s up the incline and then breaking into the 8:4X’s on the decline. That scared me, but I figured we were going downhill and I wasn’t pushing it so, I let it roll. We slowed into the 10’s on Momma and Papa shortening our strides and relaxing as we went up.  We seemed to be keeping pace with the people around us not passing but not being passed either.

At the end of the three hills a friendly face caught up to us and said hi, but quickly decided that she had overdone it catching us and she decided to drop back. We rolled on, and started banging out 9:00 miles like it was going out of style. By mile 5 we had made up some of the time from the hills and were right on 9:00 pace. At that point there were a few more hills but we settled in and just cruised while my buddy chatted on about the course and what was coming up (a few hills did seem to slip his mind though).

Miles 7 – 8.5 were a long, steady, slight incline, but for some reason it felt hugely refreshing and we started to pick it up. Other people apparently didn’t feel the same way and we started to pick people off one at a time as we sped up. We were starting to push it at this point and I was seeing a steady trail of 8:XX’s coming from my Garmin and they were getting smaller and smaller.

As we hit the last mile (Up a decent hill for 3/4’s of it and then down the last 1/4) Magoo saw a few of his friends, we were reeling them in, but not fast enough. Magoo down shifted and I hung on seeing 8:10’s as we cruised by people left and right (of course looking totally relaxed even though, I at least, was starting to suffer, since there is nothing worse than being passed by someone who looks like they aren’t even trying). We crested the hill and started down towards the finish accelerating towards the line my Garmin showing 7:30’s.

Final Time 1:28:34 @ 8:45 min/mi

And it felt great! I am super happy with how it went! That is a minute per mile faster than my 1/2 marathon time from last summer and I felt like we could have kept it up for more. I blame all this consistent training my coach has me doing. I am on pace to murder my 1/2 marathon PR by 15 minutes if I keep this up. I can’t wait.

Month 1 in Review – aka 195 days and counting

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Monthly workout summary: January 2012

Swim: 4:48 hours, 7525 yards (didn’t track distance on a few workouts)
Bike: 13:55 hours, 140.79 (trainer) miles
Run: 7:37 hours, 48.7 Miles

Overall, I am pretty happy with my consistency, two runs ended up being cut short (stupid snow) and I skipped one core workout (wonderful beer). But, other than that I have stuck to the plan and done what Coach Denise has planned. 🙂

I am getting excited for the upcoming season! Well not the IM yet, that still scares the crap out of me, but the rest is going to rock! This is the best shape I have been in this early in the season.  Well, since this is my second season doing tri’s I guess that is not really that big a deal, but you know what i mean. But, this is just about mid-season form from last year and I still have 3 months until my first tri!

Speaking of which, my race schedule is coming together, here are the main details:

5/5/2012 – Polarbear Tri, Brunswick, ME
6/3/2012 – Mooseman, Bristol, NH
7/7/2012 – Black Fly Tri, Waterville Valley, NH
8/11/2012 – Ironman US Championships NY, NY

Now onto month 2! 🙂

PS Andy stinks.

The Playlist

It is a little known fact that the playlist is an integral part in any training regimen.  It allows an athlete to start a workout they really weren’t up for, or to really crank out a hard effort to build fitness.

Playlists are very personal and there is no one “best” playlist for everyone.  There are of course some can’t miss songs out there that belong on everyones playlist (Welcome to The Jungle – GnR), and some that should be on no ones playlist (Come Sail Away – Styx).  But except for those special cases, playlists can have almost any artist or type of music, The Beatles to Zeplin, Aerosmith to Jay-Z.  So feel free to search around for songs that get you going.

To help you with building your own playlist I will share with you some samples from our playlists to help get you going and inspire you and to get you cranked for your next workout.

Andy’s Playlist – Title: Crank It

Eric’s Playlist – Aptly Titled: Loser

Katherine’s Playlist – Title: Ode to Andy

I hope that these samples have helped you come up with your own playlist to really ramp up your training.