Sunday, September 12, 2010

FIRM MAN HALF IRON: Breaking through...


Total time: 5:47:47 
Swim: 36:21 (11/AG)
T1: 2:21
Bike: 3:04:12 (6/AG)
T2: rolled into bike split?? no time given for any racer... 
Run: 2:04:52 (5/AG)

6 of 12 in my Age Group

This is roughly a 3 minute PR over last years time. I know — small potatoes! But given how I've been struggling with the run, I'm pretty jazzed with this performance.

Last year I did this race to wrap up my season after LP and Litchfield.
Total time: 5:50:57
Swim: 36:39
Bike: 3:08:08
Run: 2:01:37

5 of 12 in AG

So really its the same result, but just that I was able to achieve and exceed last years' result makes me happy. Feel like it was a successful race and I'm finally starting to turn the corner on the new training protocol.

Here's how it went:

Spent a relaxing evening at my SIL's Mom's house in Charlestown, RI. We cooked our own dinner instead of going out which is always best! — Grilled chicken breast, sweet potato and broccoli and a couple of nuts :). Had oatmeal, eggs and a bagel for breakfast on Saturday and a Subway sandwich for lunch. Drank some Gatorade with lunch and stayed on hydration all day.

Packet pick up around 2 on Saturday — a gorgeous day!  — and a quick swim. The water was awesome and fairly calm. Swam for about 15 minutes.

Back to the house and a quick ride on the bat with Sully, then a quick run. Ate dinner and hit the sack soon after. I was feeling good and wanted to be sure and get a good night's sleep.

Up at 4:20. Oatmeal, nuts, banana, couple bites of a buttery bagel and some coffee. Got nervous and couldn't eat any more than that. Off to the race site around 5:30.

It was freezing! About 52 degrees when the sun came up. Set up transition. Had the last rack again, which was great. Plenty of space and easy to find. Close to bike out and run out. Got everything ready and sipped on some EFS. Hit the bathroom, stuffed myself into my full wetsuit and made the long trek down to the swim start with Sully. I was plenty warm by the time I got into my wetsuit. The water was perfect.

Think I was in the 4th wave (or was it the 3rd??) Horn sounded and off we went — all the females. Ran into the surf and headed out to the first buoy. A bit of contact but held my ground. This skill comes with experience and I've amassed quite a bit of it.

Once you round the first buoy, it should be a straight shot along the beach until you hit the last in the line and make a hook right back to shore. The surf makes it very challenging to see the buoys that are too small. Did fine for the first half, but the surf/swells got a bit wild in the second half and at one point, I stopped and thought I was the only person out there!! Freaked me out a little. Figured I better giddy up! As I neared that last buoy before the turn in, a whole bunch of people reappeared and I felt better. My stroke got pretty chaotic with the swells and surf so really just tried to keep moving toward those damned buoys. Finally made the turn and then it just a crap shoot to get out of the water. I stood up too soon to try and get out. Should have dolphined in a bit more so as not to waste so much energy trying to run through the surf.

Up the beach, wetsuit strippers equal awesome! Into transition. Fairly uneventful. Dumped some water on my face and down my gullet to get the salt water off. Got on my bike and rode!

I had 10 GUs and some salt tabs on board plus my aero bottle and one water bottle. Executed my nutrition flawlessly! 1 GU every 20 minutes washed down with water. Sips of water in between as often as needed. 1 salt tab every hour — took 3 total. There were two aid stations where I filled my aero bottle as needed. It was chilly getting started but after a while I didn't notice anymore. It did start to rain just a little around mile 10, but nothing significant — thank god!

This bike course is a bit dicey. You ride about 75 percent of it on RT 1 in RI. You're riding across exits and entrances to a major highway! Support on the course is very good, but there are places where you really are on your own and you've got to take care.

Goals for the bike were simple: Execute my nutrition plan, shoot for 3 hours, get home safe. Not a bad result. Nutrition and home safe — perfect! 3 hours... almost!

Now for the run... my goal was to manage my pace and keep running no matter what! The latter could not be achieved without managing very carefully my pace from the start. So I hit the pavement in my Newtons (too soon to go this long in the Kinvaras). Legs felt heavy. Told myself to just slow down. Running slow was better than not running at all and if I could just get past the first couple of miles, I'd be good. The first mile was too fast— 8:45 ish. This could not be sustained over the 13.1 at this point so tried really had to just slow it down for mile 2. Just get to a comfortable place where you know you can go forever is what I kept telling myself. The miles started to tick away quickly and this made me feel good. I was really afraid that I'd end up walking this run and I just could NOT have that!!

Kept on the GUs every 20 or so minutes for the first hour and then had another Hammer Gel (which is what they had on the course). The Hammer tasted NASTY and my stomach was ready to revolt so I skipped the last one or two I might have done. I walked only when I was taking in a GU so maybe five times I stopped to walk just for a very short time.

After a while I knew that I was going to keep it under six, which made me feel really motivated. Hit the only real hill on the course with about 2.5 miles to go. Walked for just few seconds and then willed myself to suck it up and get going. I've been struggling with pushing through on the run and today I was able to keep myself motivated to keep pushing. That's very good!

I was able to pick up the pace in the last two miles which seemed just amazing to me given my struggles all summer.

I can tell you that what motivated me in those last two miles was the fact that I might be able to tell my coach that I actually had a good race AND maybe even a PR (even a small one). So looking at my watch I could see that I was on target to finish around last years time.

This race finishes with about .2 miles of run through the sand on the beach. Just brutal! I made the turn out onto the beach and chose to run close to the water where the sand was wet and easier to run on. Looked at my watch and saw 5:45/6. Seeing that and knowing that I could get the PR, I sprinted like a mad women to the finisher's chute! Sully was there to high five me as he is every time!

Not gonna lie. Thought I might die at the finish, but was totally stoked with this fine result! :)


  1. This is a great result! Nice going on the PR.

  2. So glad you had a great race! YVery happy for you! You needed this one and so proud you stuck with it on the run! Now onto Arizona!! Go PAM!

  3. Awesome job Pam!!!!! You do realize that we both PR'ed within a minute of each other!!! I am so impressed. Keep up the great work!

  4. Congratulations Pam - great overall race. Aren't PR's the best?!

  5. congrats on the pr and nice race report too!