Ed Note: Woody- I got tired of asking you to post your results on the website! So I caved! Yes, people, I even have to chase down EC members to post their results:)
The Esprit Triathlon Festival was held on Saturday, 12 September in Montreal, Canada.
For those unfamiliar – the event is a held on the Notre Dame Island, not far from downtown Montreal.
The swim is held in Parq de Olympique rowing basin, built for the 1976 Olympics. This ‘pool’ happens to be 2,000 meters long, approx. 200 meters wide – no more than 10 feet deep. The water is crystal clear and shares a LP – like quality: lane lines (built into the basin for the rowers.
The bike course is held on the Montreal Gran Prix/Formula One Indy Car race track – a 4.4 kilometer loop, containing the smoothest and flattest cycling surface you will ever ride on! The road is repaved annually for the Gran Prix – the balance of the year, the loop is limited to cyclists, runners and rollerblades – no cars!
The run takes you thru in/around the basin and the track.
This is the fourth time I have done the Esprit Iron-distance. It was my very first IM, back in 1995 – and will always hold a special place in my heart. Danny McCann and his lovely wife Bev are the race directors – and they put on a show that is difficult to rival!
Having slogged my way thru Lake Placid 7 weeks ago, originally I had no plans for a 2nd Ironman event in 2009.
The decision to enter was basically a last minute decision – and had little to do with competing. Bear with me for a moment…
Larry Lewis is a very dear friend I have come to know thru the triathlon world. We have competed together since the early 1990’s. Thru the multi-sport world, I came to know Larry and his wonderful wife, Kathleen and daughter Larissa – as well as several folks who have become mutual friends.
In February, I learned that Kathleen was admitted to the hospital, in NYC for brain tumors - her prognosis was not good. For the next 5 ½ months, Larry spent each day at Kathleen’s bedside, in an effort to make her days more comfortable.
On Thursday, 23 July, Kathleen lost her battle and passed away.
Despite Kathleen’s illness, Larry had hoped to make an appearance in Lake Placid earlier in the summer. The sudden change of events changed his plans to participate in the 11th IM USA.
Down – but not out… Larry was committed to participating in the Esprit.
A small group of friends gathered in Montreal to share this day with Larry and as a tribute to Kathleen.
The swim went well – crystal clear water… not particularly crowded and not a wave to be found.
The bike was pancake flat and smooth as could be! My computer went on the fritz and I lost the ability to calculate mileage accurately. The staff of SportsStats (the timing company) did an outstanding job keeping order among the racing chaos! It was a blast sharing the course with sprint distance, Olympic distance, and ½ Ironman athletes, as well as relays and duathletes – all racing on the same course and on the same day – with staggered starts. Watching the short course athletes blast by was a rush! At no point, during the 41 laps, did I find myself bored or anxious to exit – and despite seeing things repeatedly, there was always something going on to keep you ‘busy’ and not thinking about laps.
The run was special… as I had the distinct pleasure and honor of “running” 20 miles side by side with Mr. Lewis. I use that term loosely! We walked… we jogged… we tossed a bit of running in for good measure – but more importantly, we spent a few hours together sharing, laughing and reminiscing.
In Lake Placid, in 2008, I hit the wall hard. The weather was abysmal and I was on the verge of dropping out. Larry found me on the course and sacrificed his day to ensure I crossed the finish line with him. Ironically enough, the race was on his birthday that year – and it was the 10th running of IM USA. I look back at the finisher’s photo and cherish the memory. The 2009 Esprit finish photo will be proudly displayed right next to the IM USA pics. I am even more proud of the fact that between the 2 of us, Larry and I have 46 Ironman finishes!!
I cannot begin to imagine the pain of losing a spouse and best friend. I can only hope that for two days, we provided a sense of support and compassion to Larry and his family. Mr. Lewis - thank you for sharing your weekend with us -
Saturday was not about going fast… It was not about racing… It was not about qualifying for anything… It was not about podium spots…. It was not about what IM finish… It was not about setting a PR.
Saturday was, however, a celebration of life and friendship.
Thank you current members for promptly renewing your membership, and prospective members, for submitting your applications and soliciting endorsements in a timely manner. This allows us to as efficiently as possible proceed with the new member selection process. With that, all new membership applications are now final and closed. Please remember that you do not have to be a full, registered member in order to participate in most of our events. Being a full member is simply a commitment to participate in a minimum number of events and to race as an individual representing the team and our sponsors.
So my body has been recovering quite well, but my brain was put into a world of dysfunction – so I will try my best to recap the race (peanut gallery can feel free to bite their tongues – I know I just set myself up there).
Pre-race: I DNF’d my first race ever last year at my first 100 mile attempt, that has stung worse than any injury I have sustained to this point. The only solace I had was that race became know as the funeral race, and is no longer being held as NO one wants to even try it. This has been stuck in my head for a long time.
My training had been going well for most of the year – my legs got trashed in the mud at the Finger Lakes Fifties, then I followed that up by pacing a great runner at the VT100. I had hoped to use this opportunity to practice the late night running while tired and on trails. Unfortunately my runner was too fast and we got him home in 7th, I only saw about 1.5h of dark. So that didn’t work – I started to suffer from some overuse injuries the following weeks in my knee and foot, neither was good, and both seriously hampered my running. Long story short, I saw my dream of going sub-24 and getting a coveted buckle go out the window. When registering I had put my estimated finish time at 23:59:59 (while it was a lofty goal, I personally think those are more fun to chase). As the race approached I had to swallow some pride and email the RD to let him know that wasn’t going to happen, my goal was simply to finish and avoid another DNF.
The race weekend came around, I was excited. The pre-race meeting happened just after the caloric loading session, and included all kinds of fun info like: there are 2 sections of the course that are full of nasty yellow jackets (one section was apparently ‘taken care of’ by a local – don’t know what that means); that apparently during the week leading up to the race, a logging operation had begun on part of the course and no one was sure if operation was to be active during the race; then the always pleasant, ‘so earlier this week we had a lot of rain… so you are going to get wet and muddy’. Sweet. After this, Christopher McDougal (author of Born to Run) gave a brief talk and did a book signing; that was a nice addition.
Race morning: I was really excited. No stress, or anxiety, or anything else I typically feel before a race, just really excited. Maybe because I had convinced myself that I was going to finish no matter what, neither pain nor injury was an acceptable reason to quit this time. 6 am rolls around and the RD blows on his fancy new ram’s horn – we are off.
The course was two loops of a three pronged course. We start by running a half mile down the road to the base of the back of Greek Peak ski resort, proceeded to then go up to the top of the main peak, over the top, then down the front side to where to main lodge and ski condos were located, ran around a few ski lifts, then back up and over the mountain again, and back to the S/F area. Awesome, 6 miles down and my legs are already shot. The next section was shaped like a lollipop, I ended up running most this portion with Kelly Wilson (female defending champ) and Greg Loomis – I took this as a good sign of my progress as they are both accomplished and very well respected ultrarunners. The stick portion of this loop was probably some of the most beautiful trails I have ever seen! It was hard to not trip over roots or crash into trees when I found myself just looking around admiring nature in all its beauty. Unfortunately, during the first loop, this section was also spent wondering if I would need to try to keep from being crushed by logging trucks or falling trees – fortunately they weren’t working on the weekend J The actual lollipop portion of this section was my least favorite of the race, mostly logging roads of packed dirt and exposed rocks – while these conditions help make up some time over the rooty single track, they hurt – my ITB was screaming at me on the long downhills, but I really wanted to stay with Kelly as long as possible b/c I knew her goal, and knew that she knew how to get there (she had just missed 24h last year). The plan was stay with her as long as possible, then stumble the rest of the way. Fortunately I managed to stay with her almost back to the S/F aid station without feeling too over-exerted. But then she took off and was gone, I knew my limits – and the pace she started to run at this stage of the race wasn’t possible if I was to finish this thing.
I changed my shoes for some sturdier trail shoes and headed out for the third out and back arm of the course at 33.8mi, basically consisted of a long steep, slippery climb to the trail, then a 13mi out and back section of fairly brutal single track (including a half dozen climbs that had safety ropes to hang onto for both up and down). After getting up the climb, I really started to have trouble, I was slogging along, my ITB felt like it was going to snap, and a lateral plantar muscle had really decided to spend a lot of energy sending pain signals to the brain. It was actually a bit devastating how much I was slowed down. I tried to stay positive, but I was having a bit of an issue with tripping over every single freaking root on the freaking course!!! It truly is amazing how much that can weigh on you psychologically. At that point, I was on the - aid station to aid station mini-goal thing. My support crew chief (Juli) and co-chief (miss Puna), were at every aid station except Rock Pile, which was in the middle of no-where and crews were not allowed. She knew what I wanted or needed before I even made it to the aid station (except advil, I didn’t get that until about 20 miles later than I probably needed, but then again that was okay b/c I took so many of them the last 40 miles that she nearly had to cut me off towards the end of the race). My Parents made the trip out too, but Juli was too organized and I am not sure they were able to help as much as they wanted, though my dad was able to grab some photos since Juli was busy caring for me. S-caps, shot bloks, liquid, everything was laid out and easily accessible when I came into an AS. Crossing a few streams and tripping over more roots, I finally made it to Daisy Hollow AS at the end of the 13mi out and back- then they made the runners go thru the AS down a 30 foot hill, touch the road and then came back to get aid – really really not cool! I was already having a bit of trouble with the Gatorade at this point because it was too sweet, unfortunately the race beverage was GU brew, which is nasty, so I dealt with it. By this point there were all kinds of people, runners, volunteers and spectators making fun of the bionic looking leg of mine with all the kinesiotape and ITB strap. Whatever, I was going to finish, how I looked really wasn’t as important on this day. Stumbling out of Daisy hollow was tough as I was hurting pretty bad and knew I wouldn’t see Juli at the Rock Pile AS so I had to have enough liquid to get me 10 miles (3ish hours if all goes well) go over the roots and hills and streams, all of which were doing their best to put me on my butt. This stretch was probably one of the toughest parts of the day. I finally made it to Juli again and eventually down the steep slippery hill to the half way point… Awesome! I broke out the coconut water to take a break from all of the sweet stuff, changed into lighter shoes and then, well crap – back to the up and over and up and over the ski mountain section!
This section was the worst of the entire race, My legs were 80% non-functional, and my foot was still screaming. It took me almost 25 minutes longer this loop than the first time (I think), and I finally hobbled back to the S/F aid station. I was kinda happy that I made it of the ski slopes before dark, but was really really concerned that my race was going to come to an early conclusion, again- I was spent… I was desperately trying to stay positive. I had to change socks because I had grown a blister the size of a small person on my heel. Downed a coconut water, a cheese quesadilla, and a beer. The beer thing probably would have worked better if I didn’t basically shotgun the thing – it took my belly a couple minutes to work through that. This is also where I picked up my pacer, Tom, a smaller guy, retired army man – did the race last year in 29h. After warming back up to the course I actually started to move, not sure if it was just because I had someone with me to chat with, but I didn’t care. He stayed right behind me most of the time we spent running together. We came moving out of the woods to the aid station near the logging road loop, grabbed a quick snack and were on our way. In retrospect I have a really hard time piecing certain things together – I think now, that the pain continued to get worse and worse throughout the night, but at the same time, it actually affected me less and less throughout the night. When we were leaving the aid station at mile 67ish, at the end of the lollipop loop, I looked at my watch and noticed it was only 9:30, I actually questioned my pacer b/c this didn’t seem right – I was having a terrible day and it should have been much later in the night??? He confirmed – the dozen or so brain cells that had survived the first 67mi and the beer apparently put down their books and picked up calculators for what, at the time, seemed like extremely complicated math. If I can run this section in about 1hour, I would leave myself with 7.5hours for the last 26miles. That just didn’t seem right, but I didn’t have sufficient brain cells to get into an argument with the ones who just did all of the math, so I started to run a bit harder. It was a huge adrenaline rush – I knew I had to pace myself since I still had 33ish mile to run, but you will take any life you can get at this point in the race. We ran well back to the S/F, I grabbed some chips, M&Ms, some coke, a coconut water, swapped my shoes and split for the last leg of the race – with slightly more than 7 hours to go. I remembered it took me 3:15ish for the 13mi out on the first loop, and maybe 3:30 to get back… so if by the grace of something holy I could manage to move the same pace I just might be able to break 24h! I knew I walked a good chunk of sections the first loop, I was actually moving well now- is it possible? There aren’t many thing s that can take the wind out of you sails like a steep slippery long hill! Which is how this section started- I survived to the top, had a bunch of coke and various other junk food type stuff and started off again. By now I was focused, I think the pains from my injuries and first loop were still there, but they were no longer a factor, both Juli and I have missed race goals by seconds – there was no way in hell I was going to run a 100 miles and ‘just miss’ a sub-24h buckle, no way. I was either going to break 24, or absolutely explode trying to. Having seen the course during the first loop, and the distances between aid stations, I started to set time goals, and running hard (what felt like hard)- we pulled into Rock Pile basically on schedule, but my pacer needed to sit down, something he ate at an earlier aid station wasn’t working with him. I think he saw the urgency in my eyes, I desperately wanted to get to Daisy Hollow with at least 4h to go, since it took me 3:30-45 to get home on the first loop, I had to guess it was going to take longer this loop, I wouldn’t have a chance to break 24 if I didn’t get there by 2am. He got up and we continued, about 3 miles into this section he was having all kinds of problems from his stomach, which in turn gave him issues with his footing. We stopped for a moment, decided I will push forward, and will have Juli wait for him at the turn around and we would meet up again with 3.5 to go as the slippery downhill was a bit too dangerous to do solo at night. He agreed, I took off running getting to Daisy hollow on schedule- they had freakin salty pierogies there- holy crap they hit the spot. I had a little time to catch my breath chat with the RD and Juli while I ensured I had everything I needed to get me through Rock Pile and back to Greek Peak AS and Juli 10 miles up the hill. Pulled out of Daisy Hollow with 4:03 to go… Holy Schnikys I may pull this off, I actually felt pretty good at this point – Without my pacer (pacers aren’t really pacers so much as fresher eyes to keep you on course and fresher legs to find help in case you get into trouble), I managed to go off course 7-8 times, but each time I noticed something was up relatively quickly and was able to back track without loosing too much time. The only incident which caused me to loose time involved a very large (40-50 poundish) white fuzzy thing, that was just off the trail and moved away from me when I got close, I was fascinated by this, and since both headlamp and flashlight were focused on trying to figure out what the hell it could be – I went off course. I still do not know if there is a fluffy white monster living in the woods or if I was hallucinating, but I can still picture that thing exactly as I saw it that night… re-focus… I was moving as fast as I thought I could under the circumstances, running hard, but yet still pacing to ensure I make it to the finish. I was making good time, when I bit it fairly hard on the nasty switchbacks of a steep section of the course. Fortunately when I went down, I happened to fall into the hill… had I gone the other way – I may still be out there. My handheld flashlight showed me just how lucky I was, it fell the wrong way. Conveniently, the switchbacks made it easy to retrieve the light.
Anyway, I was running and running, then checked my watch to see what my time was, since I couldn’t remember the details of the course approaching the aid stations, I was trying to use my goal times as a feel for how long I had to get to Rock Pile, My watch says I should have been there 20 minutes ago!!! Crap, I am going to miss 24h, damn, I knew I shouldn’t have gotten my hopes up!!! – I still pressed on hoping it was around the corner and that maybe I could make up time at the end? What felt like 15-20 minutes later I stumbled into Rock Pile – looked at my watch and I was there exactly when I wanted to be??? Why did my watch say I was loosing time back there. As I write this, I am starting to think that I was loosing my mind during the later stages of the race, none of these things actually caused me to think twice? Happy I was on schedule again, I had a couple cups of Mtn Dew, some gummy bears, some Reese’s peanut butter cups and was on my way. I thought now that I was moving pretty good, I think I had 2.5 hours to go 4.5 miles from Rock Pile to Greek Peak AS, then 3.7mi to the finish… I can do this. This section seemed really long this time though, it just kept going and going… but the thought of the buckle made me force myself to push through any pain and fatigue – it simply was not an acceptable excuse to walk or slow down, not now, not after 90 miles. After running for about an hour, a runner passed me in the other direction heading out towards Daisy Hollow, I knew I had to be getting close to the aid station and needed some sign of hope, I was struggling as bad as any time during the race, it had been pitch black for some 7 hours now, I had been solo for the last 3-4 hours, and was in need of nutrition- I was starting to fade (going through extreme ups and downs now), Iasked him how far it was – he paused for about 10 seconds then said ‘its less than 4.5 miles’ … um, no-shit Sherlock, the aid stations are only 4.5 miles apart and I have been running for an hour. Damn that was frustrating, turns out the aid station was only fifteen minutes away up a long hill. That means he had just left that aid station and had no idea that he did so – poor guy.
I finally got to Greek Peak aid station – only 3.7 miles to go!!! I started getting really excited, I had a good 1.5 hours to go, but was trying not to get too excited before I reached the finish- I neglected to mention earlier that this very steep, slippery and long hill, had a good 50ft cliff straight into a shallow river immediately next to the trail, no barrier, no safety anything – kinda nerve racking, especially in the middle of the night, I took my time getting through this section as getting hurt now would have been rather stinky, having Tom there with me helped me feel a little bit safer so I was able to move faster than I would have if I was solo. We finally made it down the hill and off the trail, all I had left was a half mile on roads and 50 minutes to run for a buckle. Coming around that final corner I picked up my pace like I was starting a track workout with a 150yrd sprint – So freakin Happy!
Hi: mid-60sLow: mid 30sElevation change: ~18,000 feetDistance: 100.2 milesTime 23:13 This report completely understates the roll that my support crew had during the race – the fact that Juli, 7+ months pregnant, stayed up the entire race waiting to help take care of me at aid stations is honestly more special to me than my accomplishment. THEN taking care of me after the race – she is a remarkable woman!
I am very happy to join Krista and Sean as a BTT 100 mile finisher:)
Looking for a late season half to carry on my training as I plan to do Ironman South Africa next year April, I was faced with 2 options…PumpkinMan Half in Maine, or IronMan 70.3 in Cancun….need I say more…This was truly a great experience. We arrived in Cancun on Friday, and got my bike unpacked and setup on Friday night. I went for a quick cycle on Saturday morning to make sure everything was working and then headed off to registration. Registration was held at one of the hotels and was pretty seamless. Apparently IM Cancun is known for providing Fleece jackets as part of their goodie bag, and this year was no different. By far the best goodie bag that I have received. Bikes needed to be racked on Saturday, so I cycled down to the transition area (5 miles) which was set up at the Wet n Wild water park. Strange thing was that they body marked you the night before (which I am sure our hotel did not like very much as all the beautiful white sheets now had black permanent marker all over them by Sunday morning). On Sunday I was up around 4.30 in order to get a cab by 5.15 to get to transition. I was able to share a cab with a few athletes who were at our hotel, including an Elite female (Julianna Morley) who finished 4th overall woman for the day. When you get to transition and its 5.45 am and it is still dark, and the sweat is literally pouring off of you, you have an idea that it is going to be a very long day! The temperature for the day ranged from 86 to 94 with humidity between 90% and 100%...It was HOT! ( I think that I have been in Boston far too long and all the African in me has been lost). The swim is an ocean swim with no wetsuits…thankfully…with the water temperature being about 82 degrees. It was pretty uneventful but I just took it really slow (that’s my excuse) as I knew I would need everything for the bike and run. When you finish the swim, you have about a ½ km run along the beach and then through the water park to the transition area. The bike course is pretty flat, but very open so you are in the direct sun and wind for the entire bike course. The bike course goes out from transition for about 4 miles , until you get onto a highway, and then it’s pretty much do 2 * 24-mile loops and then head back. I must say that the roads were in really great shape. Going out on my first loop, watching the earlier starters coming back, I thought I was in the Tour De France. I have never seen so many pelotons in my life. It was kind of disappointing seeing this, and I can’t really blame the officials as they tried to penalize who they could, but it was crazy. The return leg of the loop is a little more of a downhill flat so I could get into a decent pace and rhythm. I was looking forward to that return stretch on the 2nd loop as I felt I could really push it…oh but I was so wrong, as the wind had picked up and was now a direct head wind all the way back. I made it into transition and was off onto the run. The run course is a 2-loop (mostly flat) course along the main hotel zone road. There were a lot of people walking this run straight out of the gate, and I was able to pass a lot of people who had passed me on the bike which was great. I walked through every water stop (both sides) and would grab a Gatorade to drink and 2 bottles of water to pour over myself. The first 3 miles were really tough but eventually I find my rhythm which seemed to help. About halfway through my run, we got a little downpour and all that this did was create a huge amount of steam to come off the hot road so that certainly did not help. One of the craziest things that I saw was that they had messed up the mile markers, There was no Mile 12 marker but instead it went form 11 to 13, so people who thought they were .1 miles from the finish had a rude awakening when the end was actually 1.1 miles away…not a very funny joke at the time. I eventually finished the race and decided to get the massage afterwards. I stood in line for about ½ an hour but eventually got my turn which was well worth it and highly recommended (Full body massage for about 15 minutes). I finished the race in 6h12 which was my worst time for the year…although I PR’d on the bike it was the run that just took everything out of everyone. I was still very happy with my performance and will definitely be planning my return trip next year! (Going to a place where it is highly encouraged to have Tequila in your body by 10am…you bet I’ll be back!).
Lots to report over the past couple of weeks. We've had a ton of people racing late season tris and road races (mostly to get ready for a fall marathon).
We'll start with September 12 and 13. September 12th saw Steve Sian and Mark Pelletier race half marathons, Maple Leaf Half Marathon (VT) and Plymouth Run to the Rock Half Marathon, respectively. Both put in solid races. September 13th had a few BTTers head up to Maine for the Pumpkinman Triathlon Festival. Pete Jensen and Mary Beth Begley both raced the half ironman distance event. The quiet man, Jamie Strain, continued his 2009 tear with a top five overall finish at the Mighty Hamptions Olympic distance race (he also won his AG). Great job Jamie! And, lastly, taking her skillz offroad, Jess Douglas raced the Hale Offroad Triathlon in Westwood where she finished 6 woman overall and won her AG. Never at a loss for words:), Jess gives us her report:
I entered this race last year on a whim. Thought it might be fun to try mountain biking in a tri, despite the fact that I don’t do any offroad training. Ended up winning, despite crashing and breaking/spraining a few ribs and my big toe.
Then comes this summer, where I had a full race schedule planned, and it did not include this race. But with injuries, etc, my plans changed and I figured I should at least try to defend my title.
Then it poured buckets on Saturday. Maybe I would bag it, but couldn’t be that wimpy. Got to the race really early and set up transition. Got on my bike, and played on the trails a little. What was I thinking?? The last time I was on a trail was the race last year (when I crashed!!)! Anyways, I ran a little, then got in water – very metallic and brown. And a lot more chilly than Walden had been last week, darn rain.
This is a very small race, and all the proceeds are used for a scholarship fund they use for the summer camp they run at the reservation. Pretty cool.
Swim was good. Got smacked in the face right out of the gate, knocking my goggles a little and letting a little water in. So, I stopped, fixed them and tried to find a rhythm. Felt good after the 1/4 mile swim, got in and out of transition fairly well. I did miss the crowd of blue and green cheering me on at Timberman, though!
The bike course was different that last year, more technical and a little longer, I think. VERY wet, muddy, slippery and generally yucky. I am proud that I did not crash again, but was worried that I would. About halfway through, my left shoelace came untied and wrapped itself around the crank. OW. Stopped to fix that, and 2 women and a few men passed me. NOT happy about that. I do not like being passed. But it was hard to get back around the people in front of me on the narrow trails. There were many times that I had to get off the bike, mostly on the uphills, but also one nasty downhill, and one wooden plank over a creek/giant mud puddle.
The run was also longer than last year. Really nice trails, nothing too big as far as climbs or descents. Still really muddy and rocky. About 1/4 mile in, my right shoelace came undone, but I had just passed one of the aforementioned ladies who passed me, and didn’t want to lose ground to her again. So I ran the rest of the race with that shoe untied. Needless to say, this is the last race I will ever do with regular laces in my sneakers. Caught the other woman who passed me as well! Finished the run feeling pretty strong, but was disappointed to hear that I was only the 3rd female finisher. I hadn’t even seen the other 2! Anyways, it was a fun day. They also have 2 kids tri’s for ages 9 & under and 10-15.
Plans for next year: 1) Take advantage of the training rides the offer on the course and actually get out on the trails other than the day of the race. 2) Recruiting some more BTTer’s to participate in this “Alternate BTT” event. 3) NEVER racing without yankz on my sneakers…
On September 19, we had BTTers at both the Lobsterman Triathlon and the TDD Triathlon. After a lot of pre-race smack talk between Brian Quigley and Jorge Martinez on Facebook, only BPQ toed the line at Lobsterman, along with his better half, Michelle. BPQ finished second in his AG (Jorge is still trying to figure out a way to redeem himself:)). Meredith Harjes and Ira Sills (making up for lost time) trekked out to the edge of Western Mass for the TDD triathlon, where both had AG podium finishes.....Meredith 1st and Ira 3rd. Great job guys!
September 20th brought us our last tent series race...Buzzards Bay. Being a late season race, we didn't have a strong showing, but we still had a couple of diehards race....Stephen Wall and Elaine Metcalf. Both finished on the podium (2nd and 3rd) in their respective age groups. Way to represent! And Scott Stavely entered the elite wave at the Dover Sherborn Triathlon and finished with a 5th overall placing. Way to step up!
Lastly....we have Mat Davenport. For those new to the team....Mat is Juli's ornary husband:) You may remember him from the pub run. Then again, you may just choose to forget! He actually used to do triathlons...seriously! Now, Mat is an ultradistance runner. Mat recently completed the Iroquois 100 Trail Race in New York in under 24 hours. Yes, people, that's 100 miles!!! Maybe Mat will grace us with a race report. At the very least, we'll hear him mumbling about it on December 5th! I'll be the guy next to him, mumbling about Kona!
Speaking of Kona, this is my last posting until after the big race. As I mentioned in a early report, I'll be posting daily updates and pics from the Big Island on my blog:
Hi Everyone, I just wanted to share the latest sponsor newsletter with the team (click HERE). These go out quarterly to all sponsors, so if you have any news you'd like to include in the next one please let me know.
The two news letters from earlier this year are linked below, and they also live on the member page of the BTT website.
Enjoy, -Rachel (Click HERE for newsletter #1/January 2009 and HERE for Newsletter #2/April 2009)
Hey folks....lots to report with Labor Day weekend in this review.
August 29-30. Only one race to report here (following Timberman). But it was a big one....The Cranberry County Triathlon. This olympic distance race is always heavily attended by BTT and this year was no different. We had at least 6 BTTers race (at least those who registered results!), with long time member Scott Stavely placing 2nd in the male 40-44 AG, and Brett Johnston's relay team finishing 3 relay team overall and 2nd in its division. Nice job everyone!
September 5-7 (Labor Day Weekend). There was lots of racing going on over this extended weekend. The big race(s) of the weekend was the Plymouth Rock Triathlon Festival, which included the Mayflower International Distance on Saturday, and the Plymouth Ironman Distance and Iron Aquabike on Sunday. On Saturday, as par for the course, Rachel Saks dominated her AG and finished 41st overall. On Sunday, Krista Schepanovsky tackled the full iron distance race...trying to exorcise some demons from the previous year. Also, Elaine Metcalf, Nicole Kimborowicz and Pat Dwyer (me) competed in the iron Aquabike. Kudos to all those that raced the iron or aquabike. As a veteran ironman racer, I will say that Plymouth was definitely one of (if not the most) difficult iron bike I've ever done. The wind was blowing at a sustained 20mph....and it wasn't a warm wind. And, the roads were terrible...with bumps and ice heaves everywhere. In fact, I broke my aero arm rest 60 miles into it. That being said, it's a nice race...they do a good job. At the end of the day, Krista did exorcise her demons and podiumed with a 3rd place AG finish and a time of 13:47.
However, Plymouth wasn't the only race of the weekend. Austin Whitman went to the far reaches of the New England region to do some early leaf peeping and cherry picking...I mean racing! Kidding Austin! Austin dominated the field at the Circle Triathlon in Ashland, New Hampshire. And Dave Marinofsky started his Boston Marathon build by competing the Laborious 10 Miler in Marlborough, Mass. Lastly, our old friend Mike Williams, who left us shortly after IMLP, continued to fly the BTT colors in Austin, Texas. Mike raced the Austin Sprint Triathlon and made his first podium appearance with a 3rd place AG finish. Mike gives us his report:
Bringing it BTT-style to Austin
I came out of post-IMLP semi-retirement to mix it up in my new town of Austin! After six weeks of unpacking boxes, building baby furniture, and starting a new job, I dusted off the BTT kit for my first Sprint(!) distance race in over two years. Long story short, I was finally able to put the BTT "podium" shirt to good use. I placed third in my age group! Yes, Austin, that's how we roll in beantown. Here's my summary: Austin, as you can imagine, is a great town for triathlon. Good people, lots of positive energy, year-round training. What I missed, however, was the cheering section that I've become spoiled with in New England. I didn't hear a single "go BTT." So... the upside of being a little lonely out there was the absence of any distractions... and I found a fast (enough) gear to make the blue and green noticed. Ok, small secret... there was also an Olympic distance option so I have to believe that's where the real players were racing. Richie Cunningham ran away with the men's and Desiree Ficker came from behind on the run to win. I miss all of you and hope you're having a great New England fall. Please look me up if you come through Austin. I'm thinking BTT "WINTER" Training Weekend!
Lastly, I'll leave you guys with a couple of pictures of some pretty cool bikes....Woody Bikes. A buddy of mine from Cape May, NJ makes these. I saw them up close in August and they're very cool. However, I don't think you'll see them at any triathlons any time soon!
This week's review covers 2 weekends....August 15-16 and August 22-23.
August 15-16 flew a bit under the radar, with no big "multisport" races on the schedule, and with Timberman only a week away. But, that didn't prevent BTT from getting out there...especially Jeff Aronis, who competed in the incredibly difficult Mt. Washington Road (bike) Climb. He did this one week before also competing in Timberman 70.3. Jeff also competed in the Mt. Washington Road (run) race earlier this season. Me thinks Jeff is a glutton for punishment! What's next? Iditarod? Leadville? Badwater? Nice job Jeff! Also competing in a "single" event was Austin Whitman, who took to the water for the 1.7 mile Save the Bay swim in Rhode Island. Also competing in RI was Sasha who took on the Wild Dog Tri. And, lastly, Matt Bergin took a few steps outside his door to compete in the inaugural Urban Epic Triathlon-Boston. Great job everyone!
August 22-23 represented one of BTT's big weekends....w/the Timberman Triathlon Festival on the schedule. In all, BTT had over 25 members racing over the weekend. We also had a big turnout at the tent, which was situated just next transition. The women of BTT were the story on day one, with Rachel Saks and Jess Douglass taking the podium. Rachel, in usual fashion, crushed the field and won her AG and finished 52nd overall. While Jess took home some of Keith Jordan's syrup with a 5th place finish. It's also worth mentioning that Braden Larmon, Ira Sills and Nicole Richer all just missed podium spots. Also, a shout out to Ira who, after suffering an early season crash, competed in his first tri as a member of BTT. On Sunday, we had a sea of blue and green on the course. Unfortunately, the heat and humidity left a lot of it melted on the run course!!! Yes, it was hot! We had 4 podium finishes (3 individual and 1 relay). BTT was led by Trish Weston's 2nd place AG finish (post your results Trish!!!). Carolyn Cullings also endured the heat to reach the podium with a 5th place AG finish. And, Pat Dwyer (me) finished 3rd in his AG. The relay team of Brian Kearney, Brian Quigley and Joe O'leary (non btt), dominated the relay field to win easily. Also, just missing out on a podium spot.....and I mean JUST missing out....was Meredith Harjes. Meredith was kind enough to write up a report on her day:
This was my 4th half ironman and my second time at Timberman. I had an awesome time when I raced it in 2007 and was looking forward to doing it again. This was my "A" race for the season, so I was tapered, focused and ready to go. I was nervous about the weather forecast, with all the Thunderstorms up there I just didn't want the swim to be canceled.We got to the race site really early (a few minutes after 4), but it paid off having the car parked right next to the BTT tent, especially so that Dan, Grace, and Baby Ian could have some "AC Time" on what turned out to be a hot day.The race was delayed by about 30 minutes, which probably threw off everyone's nutrition plans, but no big deal. I was in the 9th wave and as we were getting ready to go they mentioned that there were already over a thousand people in the water. They also gave a leader update, I was shocked to hear how far the pros had gotten on the bike course before I had even started the swim. The swim was uneventful, I found 2 other girls in my wave pushing a good pace, and we stuck together like glue for the entire swim. That's the first time I've had an experience like that in the water, and I liked it... good motivation. Seemed like we were a cooperative pack even if there were a few elbow jabs in there. T1, nothing exciting. transition always takes me a long time because I towel off and reapply sunblock. Dan can usually spot me in there pretty easily, he just looks for the cloud of sunblock from my spray can.When I got on the bike the weather was very comfortable. With so many people in front of me, the course was completely packed. The officials seemed like they didn't know what to do. There were just constant groups, it got a little frustrating at times. I had to go faster than I wanted at some times to get around people and slower than I wanted at other times to keep out of the draft. The first 13 miles are quite hilly with the "monstah" hill at mile 10. I was very glad to hit the flats for the next 30 miles. I really enjoyed seeing so many BTTers on the course, but it's never fun to see the blue and green on the side with mechanical issues. Sorry to Tony and Lauren for their issues! Way to rock it for the rest of the race though.Coming into T2 I was very excited and ready to be off the bike. Again toweled off and reapplied the sunblock, grabbed my clif bloks and was off on the run.I loved hearing the huge crowd of spectators at the BTT tent, THANKS for cheering!! Saw a few people taking photos as I was sloshing gatorade all over my face. Feel free to delete those. The first loop felt great, there are SO many aid stations on that course (with lots of great volunteers, they are really amazing). Lots of opportunities to dump water and ice over your head. The double out-and-back is so much fun, inspiring to see the pros cruising into their finish and great seeing BTTers again and again. Thanks everyone for the encouragement!! Heading into the second lap I noticed the heat, my face felt on fire but I still had the chills. The final 3 miles back into transition were tough, the hills felt enormous. By this point the course had become a slalom, I had to keep zigzagging between people as the heat took it's toll and people had begun to walk.The finish line couldn't come fast enough, it's always a little further around the corner than I expect :)Quite amazing to see Chrissie Wellington handing out medals to the finishers with a huge smile on her face. I tried to head over to get my medal from her, but another pro stepped in front and handed one to me. Oh well, she was great too and even complimented BTT for our strong presence!!On a more personal note, I am very glad to have hit my goals and to have PRed on the course. I had a rough couple of months of training and racing and ended up finding out that I have Celiac's disease (an allergy to wheat, basically). I am so glad to have figured that out and am relieved to be making progress in the sport again now that I am taking care of that issue.Thanks again to everyone... this wouldn't be so fun without such a great team.
Also, last year I kept a blog for my family and freinds while I was training for Kona. I posted here and there about my training, etc. But during race week, I posted every day with pictures. Since I qualified again, I'm going to keep the blog again. It was actually pretty fun to do. I recently posted a short Timberman RR. You can check it out HERE.
I grew up in a very close, active English family - as a result of my dad’s job we were always on the move: Wales, England, St. Louis, Belgium, back to St. Louis, Philadelphia, Colorado, and finally Boston. As you can imagine I have got quite good at moving, adjusting to new places and meeting new people.
My parents always said that I had trouble sitting still, and the word ‘relax’ is not in my vocabulary. I have been active for as long as I can remember – hiking, skiing, sailing, racing my brother on bikes down hill and inevitably giving his friends black eyes (this is a story for a different time). In Belgium I started swimming competitively, then went on to varsity soccer, field hockey, equestrian show-jumping, rowing, cycling, and it wasn’t until I attended the University of Colorado that I got into triathlons.
After 6 years of rowing competitively my back had had enough. Being a 5”3’ lightweight rower and trying to compete with 6ft heavyweight women proved challenging to say the least…and no…I was not a coxswain! As a result of my height to power ratio I was attending physical therapy 2 times a week with a very painful lower back injury. The therapist told me that I could continue rowing and potentially not be able to pick up my kids (read: future-tense), or I could stop rowing and my back would eventually get back to normal…I decided to pick up cycling!
Living in Colorado you couldn’t ask for better roads, scenery, and hill climbs…however there was one issue…I got board…apparently I have ADD. My senior year I joined the University of Colorado Triathlon team, but it wasn’t until I moved back to Boston in 2004 that I competed in my first triathlon – the West Kennebunk Fireman Sprint with Team in Training and placed 3rd in my age group. I figured if I could place in my first race, I may be decent at this whole ‘triathlon’ thing, and thus the drinking of the ‘Kool-Aid’ ensued.
Fast forward five years…after 10 months, over 800 hours, and an average of 20 hours of training per week I am an Ironman! Although the road to Ironman came with many highs and lows – I have never been as proud of my dedication, discipline, and performance as I was with Ironman. I found my biggest challenge in trying to balance training with spending time with my fiancé, family, friends and other ‘non-triathlon’ related events (yes, they do exist). I despise being selfish, and at the end of the day it was always all about me and what I needed. Luckily my friends and family couldn’t have been more supportive of my hungry, cranky, tired mood swings and for that I am truly thankful.
The morning of the race was a tough one; have you tried swallowing 2.5 cups of applesauce the morning of a race?? While pulling on my wetsuit (which is never an easy thing – see Sean Brady for explanation) tears started and wouldn’t stop, I didn’t know what I had got myself into. The idea of being an Ironman was certainly glamorous, but walking to the swim start scared the hell out of me – it wasn’t until I heard someone from the crowd yell “this is what you wanted to do!” that I realized he was right, this IS what I wanted to do and I needed to H.T.F.U! For the rest of the day my motivation was that “this is what I wanted to do” and although there were times I wanted to stop each thought was followed by – this is my own bloody fault, and if I cry it is a waste of energy…so no crying till the finish line. And, as I crossed the finish line…I couldn’t stop smiling!!!
Life is full of adventure – although there is not an Ironman planned in my future next year (wedding planning takes precedence) you can be sure I will see you at the starting line with an even bigger smile on my face cheering everyone on and remembering…this is what I wanted to do… until next time!!
ED NOTE: Amy went 12:29:20 at LP (but still hasn't posted her results!!!!).
This weekend (August 22-23) marks the second of the Boston Triathlon Teams' enhanced tent series races. We'll have the BTT Tent set up near transition for both Saturday and Sunday. Although we'll have some food, this is a BYO food and drinks event. So, bring your beach chairs....pack your coolers....bring your grills...and plan to hang out at or near the tent. FYI...if your not a member....this is your chance to come hang out with the team.
August 1-2. This weekend saw many BTTers heading up to Salem for the Witch City Triathlon. In all, 8 members raced (or at least logged their results on the website)...with 2 podium finishes. Austin Whitman led the blue and green w/a top 3 finish overall. While new mom, Nicole Richer got back to her winning ways with a 2nd place AG and 10th overall finish. We also had some near miss podium finishes w/Marybeth Begley (4th), Marissa Solomon (4th) and Kristin Parlangeli (5th) just off the mark. Also worth mentioning...not to be outdone by her husband (Austin), although not a member (yet), Victoria Arrigoni won her AG and finished 5th overall woman. All in all a great day up in Salem. There was even a Rip sighting:)
We also had a smaller BTT contingent head up to the Greenfield Litelife Triathlon...where we had all 3 members racing reach the podium. Jay Higginbottom (3rd), Carolyn Cullings (1st) and Lauren Cullings (2nd) all placed in their respective AGs. Great job!
August 8-9. This weekend saw some highlights and lowlights for BTT. First the highlights. We had a strong contingent head up to Gloucester for the inaugural Gloucester Sprint Triathlon (a tent series race), where Stephen Wall and Madame President (Meredith McHarjes) both reached the podium in their respective AGs.
Rachel Saks Aronis made the solo trip up to Salem to do the Wildfish 1 mile swim, where she won her AG and finished 8th Overall.
Lastly, Matt Pokress finished w/his highest placing ever (2nd overall) in a triathlon at the Lowell YMCA Tri (great job Matt). However, we can't mention Matt's placing without mentioning Bill Reeves. Bill helped Matt's placing by getting smoked by a car on the course while leading the race (we can joke now that Bill is fine...but it was a fairly serious crash). Rumor has it that Matt plans to take Bill out to Helens to thank him! Consolation for Bill, of course, is that he is now up for the O'toole Award at the Banquet!
And, although not an official race...but more of a benefit of sorts, I participated in the inaugural 5-5-5 (5 mile swim, 5 mile beach cruiser bike, 5 mile run) down in Cape May, NJ. It's a grass roots event put on by some freinds of mine to benefit the parents of my buddy Terry who he lost to cancer. Only 25 or so people participated, made up mostly of current and ex-lifeguards. It was a ton of fun. I may see if I can invite a couple BTTers to participate next year.
With the summer half way over, we have 2, heavily BTT-attended ironmans in the books....IM Switzerland and IMUSA- Lake Placid. The next "big" race for BTT is the Timberman Triathlon Festival (sprint and 70.3), where we'll have a huge contingent racing....and cheering. It will also be the second (of 2) "enhanced" tent series races. We're hoping to have team sponsors Landrys and Marathon Physical Therapy with us at those events. If you're not racing, definitely plan to come up in support. It figures to be a very fun weekend.
July 25-26. What can we say about this weekend? It's LP. It's typically the biggest event on the BTT schedule, not only because of people racing....but also volunteering, spectating and training. Like IM Switzerland, once I have some race reports and pictures, I'll do a separate race report posting, specifically for this race. But, first I need the writeups! So, please get those to me. Also, I know those of you who raced are still recovering...but I need for you to POST YOUR RESULTS!!!! I promise that typing your results will not cause much post race stress on your already fatigued bodies:) As of today, only 2 have posted. Long time member, Evan Israelson, came out of the witness protection program to race LP once more! We haven't seen much of Evan lately, but he must have been training as he put forth an impressive 14:46 ironman. Also, Austin resident (more on that later), Mike Williams put in a solid 12:14 ironman...even though he'll readily admit that he didn't heed my advice to take it easy on the bike....especially the back section of the first loop. I'd call it a rookie mistake, but this is Mike's second ironman!!! Regardless...it was a great effort...on what is considered one of the toughest ironman courses. As I mentioned, Mike is heading to Austin, Texas with his wife, Lynn, to start a new job. Good luck Mike! We'll miss you! 2010 figures to be an epic year at LP for BTT, with over 20 people racing. LP was not the only race of the weekend. Some of us stayed local....to compete in the inaugural Marlborough Triathlon and the Massachusetts State Triathlon. In Marlborough, Scott Stavely finished an impressive 2nd Overall Amateur...way to go Scott! Also racing, with solid performances, were Brett Johnston and David Welch. In Winchendon, we had 4 BTTers racing....Jim Sweeney and Katie O'Dair (not the swim portion of a relay...but the whole thing!!!) raced the sprint, and Pat Dwyer (me) and Glen Cote in the International Distance. I finished 2nd Overall (trying to run 6 miles hard the day after a 100 mile bike is not fun) in my race and Katie finished 2nd in her AG. I realize that I'm breaking my own rule here by posting Katie's result...since she didn't post it on the BTT website! But, in my defense, she did send me a race report:
I know it has been awhile (a few years) since I have written a triathlon race report. But I will use any excuse to write a race report (recall the time when I didn't actually race but wrote a report anyway) so you go. While many friends and teammates were racing at Lake Placid this weekend or doing other adventures which required hours upon hours of time, I chose to do the relatively obscure Massachusetts State Triathlon in Winchendon on Sunday for my triumphant return to the sport. I wanted to see my sister Liz and convinced her that it would be fun to meet in the middle and do the race, so she signed up too. So off I went to the middle of Massachusetts early on a Sunday morning. Even though I had made a cup of coffee for the ride, I was jolted awake by a sign in Leominster that said "Birthplace of Johnny Appleseed." It seemed too early in the morning for my world to be rocked but the truth is I am from Ohio and I always thought Mr. Appleseed was from Ohio. I made mental note not to get too upset and to look it up later. My hope for anonymity was quickly dashed when I pulled into the parking lot and Pat Dwyer pulls in next to me. He seemed equally shocked to see me at a triathlon, and I explained that hey, just like Lance, you have to start your comeback somewhere. He then quoted LL Cool Jay, saying "don't call it a comeback..." and I knew the day would be interesting. So then I see Jim Sweeney, Glen Cote, and the rest of the 600 people who apparently didn't get the memo about small, obscure race. I also saw a woman with a t-shirt that said "I don't do triathlon; I do triathlete." That's a creepy t-shirt slogan, imho. She was pushing a baby carriage, too. So Liz and I set things up in transition and headed down to check out the swim. There was a sprint race and an intermediate race, so both swims were marked. They looked decent, not too short. We goofed for awhile at people who were carrying huge buckets of water to set up in transition. You see, the transition was through a field of wet grass, not sand or gravel. God forbid a blade of grass gets on your shoes. Anyway, off we went on the swim. Believe it or not, I sprinted this, trying to be true to the name of the race. As some of you know, after my mom gave birth to me and the doctor came around to have her select certain traits for her new baby she decided not to check the "fast twitch muscles" item. I don't think they do that anymore in hospitals, btw. So the mens wave went 4 minutes ahead and by the first bouy I was swimming with some of the men. I ran into this blind guy searching for the bouy. Well, actually, it was Jim and he forgot his contacts and obviously could not see. He eventually followed some of the pink caps from my wave and made it to shore safely. I had a great swim and then a beautiful and short ride which was rolling but for one hill, at mile 4, that lasted 1.5 miles and it was steep. Everyone on the climb seemed to know about it but because I never read the race info I had no idea. Better that way. I was still holding my own at the start of the run but we all know what happens next - yep, got passed by 4 people on the run. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted. Halfway through I was passed by this woman in my age group, she was strong yet so supportive and encouraging that I held on nearly until the end. It was great sportsmanship and I thanked her later. Ended up second in my age group, very happy with that. I attribute this to the fact that lots of people were up at Lake Placid this weekend! Liz had a great race, she is becoming a regular on the tri circuit racing consecutive weekends this summer. Pat got second overall in the intermediate race, looking strong even though he did a 100 mile ride yesterday. Jim (sprint) and Glen (intermediate) both had great races, and it was fun to hang out with them a bit. Dave Marinofsky was there with his Pure Madness and if his business is any indication, the economy is picking up. All in all, a very fun race and fun day. And in case you are wondering, I looked up the Johnny Appleseed thing. He was indeed born in Leominster under the name of John Chapman, however he got the name Johnny Appleseed in Ohio in 1800 when he used a pack horse to bring seeds to the Licking River. Now go and tell someone you learned something today!
Lastly, I'll leave you with an Ironman Switzerland race report from Marybeth Begley, who travelled long and far for her first ironman distance. I met MB in 2006 while competing at the 5 Star Sprint Tri in Douglass, MA. It was her first triathlon...and she was scared to death about the swim. Look at her now! She's a seasoned vet and ironman finisher! Way to go MB!
Ironman Switzerland – July 12, 2009
The crew: Brian and Michelle Quigley, Rachel and Jeff Aronis, Alan White, Jamie Strain, Mark Vautour (Landrys), Lauren Scafidi (QT2) and me. Nancy Arena raced the Zuri Olympic Triathlon on Saturday, July 11th and was our support and cheerleader the entire day for IM Switzerland.
I’ll focus mostly on the race but traveling to Switzerland was part of the whole experience and cannot be overlooked. From the flight over (most of us were on the same flight) to going separate ways on Tuesday after the race. With the exception of The Quigleys we all stayed at the same hotel so we were together a lot. I can’t imagine a better group of people to travel with and do my first Ironman.
We helped each other drag bike boxes and luggage on and off the trains (Jeff directed us) and then walked from the train to the hotel. Only one casualty … an outdoor table got knocked out during our march to the hotel.
We met some great folks from England, ran into Team Psycho racers and practically joined a new Pirate team but we decided just to steal their motto……aaarrrrgggghhh.
We had some great pre-race fun like five of us renting a Fiat and driving the bike course. We got a little lost (but we had an IPHONE), got stuck in some construction and lifted the Fiat off of the ground which meant I finally got some lifting in my schedule.
Nancy and Jamie (yes he raced both Sat and Sun) raced the Olympic distance on Saturday and we had some great fun cheering them on during the run portion. It definitely helped keep my mind off of my race.
Race Day: 4:00 a.m. for breakfast 5:00 a.m. for taxi 5:15 a.m. – 6:45 a.m. Lots of visiting the port-o-potties, they flush in Zurich. This IM is also old school as you keep everything at your bike – no swim to bike and bike to run transition bags. 7:00 a.m. Race Start. Although I felt the Swiss were very specific in the Pre-Race Meeting about how the race would begin and all the notifications (in-water start), I found myself with Michelle just barely in the water when we noticed that everyone was swimming and we looked at each other and said “I guess we should go” oh well, what’s another 25 or so yards when you are swimming 2.4 mi.
Its two loops, first is a rectangle, then a triangle and the first loop is shorter.
The buoys at the turns were huge but the ones in-between were the size of apples. We certainly got kicked around but we all made it out of the water safely.
I think I added about a minute to my T1 time because I was in a little shock at all the naked male bodies around me. I know its Europe but I was still a little shocked. This race was about 2,000 men and 300 women.
The Bike: We drove the bike course so I was prepared. The first 17 miles (of a two loop course) or so were flat. I had no idea that there were so many people behind me in the swim; I got passed by so many bikers. After mile 17 I knew what was in store for me…The Beast …. And this is where we got stuck so it put a smile on my face as I approached the “spot”. The views were spectacular but there is a reason why it was called the Beast. The downhills were technical and in about 4 areas, they did not allow the aero position.
Then the next climb… the climb to Forch… it never ended, long, slow and gradual. After that we headed back to Zurich. I knew that there was one more hill called “Heartbreak Hill” but we didn’t drive this one. I knew it was at the end of the loop but I’m at mile 50 or so and thought maybe we had already done it and it wasn’t so bad. I was delusional.
I turned a corner and started a climb then turned another corner and another climb then saw hundreds of spectators screaming and yelling my name while climbing more and I thought I was in the Tour de France. It was another tough climb but it was exciting. The Olympic distance got Heartbreak Hill 3x.
After the first loop, I decided just to slow it down on the flats and try and save my legs.
Drafting during the bike wasn’t enforced during the race and probably my only complaint about the race.
The Run: They say you need to prepare for anything in an IM and I definitely recognized that anything could happen. But I was surprised that as soon as I got off of the bike, I was sick to my stomach (I think I was expecting flat tires). Anyway, I thought flat coke would cure it, it didn’t and I couldn’t take down any food during the run. It really was run/walk but everyone was suffering and I was thrilled that I finished.
The run was a flat, 4 loops and so I was expecting to see the gang constantly but the configuration was a little strange but I did manage to see folks. I saw Jeff a few times where he always gave me more direction (he knew the exact distance between the aid stations), Alan called me out even when some trees were blocking views, Brian was always asking about Michelle. I was so excited when I saw Rachel that I forgot I was sick for a while. I saw Mark 3 or 4 times and we had one interesting exchange where he thought I was going to quit. Nancy was there on every loop taking pictures and cheering us all on.
“Lap control” gave you a wrist band in a different color on every loop and you knew that the red meant that folks were on their last loop and there was a lot of “red bracelet envy” but when you finally got that red bracelet (we called it the Golden Ticket) the pace got slightly faster.
I was the last of the crew to finish and despite the hour, everyone was there for me at the end and I couldn’t have been happier. After pictures, a shower and a massage, we rode our bikes back to the hotel (it was only 1.8 miles). A few of us made a pit stop for a bottle of champagne since we felt we needed to rest during our 1.8 mile ride.
Post Race: We all felt really great the next day, had an amazing group dinner together on Monday evening and then some shots with our British friends. On Tuesday folks started to go separate ways i.e. Prague, the Matterhorn, Lucerne. After some day trips, Lauren, Sara (Lauren’s friend), Nancy and I headed to Colmar, France for Stage 13 of the Tour de France. Even though it was the rainy stage and we got a little lost on our rented bikes, we had a great time. Before the start of Stage 14 we were able to see (up close and personal) Mark Cavendish, Noccentini (sp?) – the yellow jersey wearer at that point, and Tom Boonen (before he retired) and several others. The Tour was really exciting and great way to end the adventure.
We had a few big races over the last few weeks, including IM Switzerland and RI 70.3.
July 11-12. This weekend was a big race weekend. Switzerland, RI, Old Colony, Powwow to name a few. We'll start abroad...where Jamie Strain did the double: International Distance (2:10:09) on Saturday and Ironman Distance (10:17) on Sunday. As Joe Kurtz pointed out...."I don't even like to walk fast while I'm dropping off my transition bags the day before"! Way to go Jamie. Joining Jamie at the ironman distance were Jeff and Rachel Aronis, Marybeth Begley and, team sponsor, Mark Vatour. For MB and Mark, this was their first ironman. We hope to have some RRs to post later. Way to go guys! While they were racing in the Alps, a few BTTers were slugging it out in RI. July 12 marked the second annualy RI 70.3. Brett Johnston, Stephen Wall and myself all raced (rumor has it that Jorge Martinez and Trish Weston also raced...but no results were posted:) As many of us have experienced at the longer races, Stephen had a tough day, but was great enough to share his day with us:
Last year I had a fantastic day at the inaugural Rhode Island 70.3 race, posting a PR while running down my brother-in-law to beat him for the first time ever in a triathlon. These were the things on my mind when I registered for this year’s edition when it opened last September. Fast forward to this year and midday on Saturday spending hours in traffic trying to get down from Providence to T1, I was second guessing my decision. Eventually I succeed in scattering my triathlon kit across all corners of the state of Rhode Island, made it back in time for a quick dinner and was in bed by 8:45 – miraculously a PR for pre-70.3 nights! Speaking of PR’s, my goal for the day was to break 5 hours and I was feeling pretty confident despite minimal run training as a result of knee/hip issues. The morning shuttles left for the beach at the ungodly hour of 4 and my wave didn’t go off until well after 7 so I had plenty of time to kill once I got settled in. Very excited to do my first race with a strong BTT presence so I set out to look for other BTTers … found Brett and we headed to the beach to await the swim start. Long wait before my start - time and pre-race nerves are a poor combination – resulting in most of the next hour in the porta potty which would become a theme for the day. Considering how choppy the swim was I was glad to exit in 33:00 – one of my faster 70.3 swims. My bike plan was to take it out fast for the early flat section of the course, ease up on the hills and pick up a bit more time on the descent back into providence. After averaging about 23-24mph for the opening 20 miles the plan was going well. That was the high point of the day. By mile 30 I was having stomach cramps and had switched into survival mode, eventually losing about 5 minutes off my goal pace. Leaving T2 my watch read 3:14 and thinking I still might be able to salvage the day, headed out on to the run course to try to get rid of my cramps and run some 8min miles. After about 4 or so miles I had actually succeeded at both of these goals as was starting to feel pretty go… wait… I need the bathroom NOW! Into the porta potty at the aid station and I cannot describe in a public forum the horrors I witnessed inside… sitting there watching time tick away with views resembling the outhouse scene from Slumdog Millionaire all of the sudden I did not feel the need for the bathroom anymore. Back onto the course and all momentum I had before was gone - I couldn’t get into a rhythm and continued to lose time. Between mile 10 and the finish I watched 9 guys from my age group pass me – which is always fun. The only redeeming fact was I was *styling* my new, compliments of Landry’s (shameless plug), knee high compression socks preventing them from the satisfaction of knowing I was in their age group. I did eventually come across the finish line and I was struck by the realization that of all the 70.3 races I’ve done (Timberman, St. Croix, UK) the finish in downtown Providence up the street to the steps of the capital building is the most exhilarating. It is beautiful in it’s own urban way – and the crowd energy (with an awesome number of people specifically cheering for BTT) is amazing. In all it wasn’t my best day of racing – but any day you finish a half Ironman is a good day. And there’s always Timberman to break my 5 hour goal!
Here's my take on the day:
As most of you know, I raced Kona last year after several years of trying. So, this year was supposed to be an “off” year. Nothing longer than a 70.3 (which is by far my favorite distance). But, a funny thing happened during my “time off” following Kona….I had a heck of a time getting motivated…and thus my training really suffered. So, when RI 70.3 added Kona spots, I quickly signed up (literally within 5 minutes of finding out). Then, I had remorse. I wasn’t going to be ready to race a 70.3 in early July. Oh well. I had paid the money and I was going to give it my best. I arrived to Providence on Friday afternoon, registered and headed to Warwick where I was staying (we stay here so we can bring our dog). I got up early on Saturday to do a quick warm up and eat a huge QT2 prescribed breakfast. Unfortunately, I don’t know the area all that well and wound up at Friendly’s….not a good choice. I was originally going to drive the course, but after mishap after mishap (too small and numerous to describe), I decided to go back to the hotel and skip the drive. Fortunately, my wife, who wasn’t coming down to RI until later in the day, talked some sense into me and got me back into my rhythm. I drove the course…which I’m happy I did. I woke up around 3:45 on race morning, as the race starts at 6am (not 7). We got down to Narraganset and could see that the water was really churning. So much so that the swim start was delayed for about 30 minutes so the race officials could reposition the buoys. You could tell that people were nervous about the swim, since most don’t swim in these types of conditions. My swimming has been one of the things that has really suffered since Kona….I just haven’t been in the pool. But, since I grew up on the ocean and was an ocean lifeguard for 11 years, conditions like this don’t worry me. When they finally lined us up in the coral, I was ready to go and picked my line. The gun went off. It was a beach start, which was to my benefit, as I was one of the early leaders. However, it was impossible to see in the water. The buoys were all over the place. I was just trying to follow guys in my wave. I kept finding myself way to the right. This swim was really one of the only times that I really swam blindly. I had no idea which way I was going. But, I managed to make it back to the beach with a fairly decent time. Wetsuit off and onto the bike. The first 5-6 miles of the bike are along the water with the wind at our backs. I was cranking along…doing 27-28 mph. Before the turn off the water, Chris Thomas (eventual AG and overall amateur winner) blew by me like I was standing still (he was in the wave behind me…as they split the 35-39 AG). Oh well….nothing I can do. The bike was very challenging. There were a few tough climbs…but a lot of rolling hills. I could tell that I just didn’t have the bike miles in me for this distance. I was struggling by mile 30. Since I was in the 6th wave, I was able to pass a lot of people, while only getting passed by a few. I’m fortunate to be a pretty good runner. This allows me to not worry too much if someone passes me on the bike. I figure that I have the ability to catch them on the run. I came into transition feeling like I had just ridden 112 miles (not 56). But, as is my MO, I took off a blazing out of transition before I settled into a good pace. About ¾ of a mile in, I hit the “hill” for the first time. It was definitely tough. But, I was feeling pretty good. I was actually surprised when I got passed on the run during the first lap. Then I realized that it was Derek Treadwell, who’s a pro and a former Olympic qualifier at the 1500 and had the fastest run split of the day. I was reeling in guys in my AG. But, since the AG was split, I had no idea what was happening behind me…or who was really in front of me (other than Martin). The second loop was much like the first, steady and consistent. I tried to put everything I had into the last mile. In retrospect, I probably should have pushed a little earlier, as I still had some legs left. The finish line at RI is great. One of the best non-ironman finished I’ve been at. I came in at 4:22 and change. I was happy with my effort. Following the race, I decided to sign up for IMLP, which I did. Then, I headed down to the results to see where I finished. I wound up 5th in the 35-39 AG. I decided to see if I could get lucky and get one of the 2 Kona slots up for grabs. The awards went 5 deep, so we were going to stay anyway. As they called our names for the awards, 2 of the guys didn’t show up, and the overall winner didn’t take his slot. So I sat back down and looked at Jenn and said “wanna go back to Kona?”, since it was pretty much a forgone conclusion that I had the slot if I wanted it. We both really wanted to go back…but we just didn’t think it would be this year. So, when they eventually did the Kona rolldown, I took the spot. I’m not in a position to turn these down…yet! So, the landscape of my 2009 season has changed dramatically. Now I have to train for an ironman. Although RI 70.3 still has some logistics and other aspect to clean up…this is a good race. I would definitely do it again.
This weekend also marked another Tent Series Race...this time at Old Colony (sorry that the tent wasn't set up....but many thanks to Dave Mak for trying!!!). It was a podium day for BTT at Old Colony, led by Jason Soules who placed 1st in his AG and 11th OA. Carolyn Cullings and Elaine Metcalf both finished 2nd in their respective AGs. And, Shaun Brady had a solid day and increased his tent series points. Great job everyone.
Also racing this weekend were Dave Mak at the Powwow and Pete Jensen at the Lowell Mill City Internation Triathlon (who scored a podium finish in his AG and 14th OA). Way to go guys!
July 18-19. This week saw Jay Higginbottom take on the Urban Epic Sprint in Maine and Madame Prez (Meredith) place as 3rd Overall female at the Good Will Running 10k. Ali Winslow continued racking up the AG awards with a 3rd place in the elite division and 4th overall placing at the Falmouth Sprint. And, despite going off course, Matt Pokress finished 2nd in his AG and 7th Overall at the Appleman Triathlon.
Okay...so I'm trying to catch up with all the race results and reports. This post will include weeks June 27th through July 5th.
June 27-28. This weekend saw a bunch of shorter course races, including Cohassett and Holliston. We had a huge BTT turnout at Cohassett (tent series next year?) with 7 members racing, and 4 podium finishes. BTT was led by Jamie Strain (1st AG, 4th OA), Ali Winslow (3rd AG, 71st OA), Nancy Arena (3rd AG, 109 OA), and Lauren Cullings (3rd OA, 112 OA)....is it me or is Lauren making a strong case for ROY (rookie of the year)? Better step it up newbies!!!! Chris Lawton and Mark "who's your daddy" Pelletier represented the Blue and Green in Holliston, with Chris taking 3rd in his AG and 17th OA. Also competing this weekend were Scott Stavely (placing 2nd in his AG) at the North Country Triathlon and Stephen Wall (placing 1st in his AG) at the Vermont Sun Triathlon. Many podium finishes....great job!!!
July 4-5. Not as many races to report this weekend....but some impressive results nonetheless, with Mat "dude where's my bike" Davenport placing 7th overall at the Fingerlakes Fifty (yes...that's 50 miles....of running). Joe Kurtz representing BTT up at the Killington International Triathlon, as he preps for LP. Joe took 3rd in his AG and 8th overall at the very small, but extremely competitive race. And, Pat Dwyer finished 4th overall at the Minuteman Classic 5 mile run.
BTT Powerbar Swim Clinic.A big thanks goes out to Jen Scalise-Marinofsky and Joe Kurtz for organizing and hosting the Powerbar Swim Clinic at Walden Pond. We had a great turnout....of BTTers and friends of BTT.
Lastly, after recieving some tough love in the last blog post, Rookie Mike Williams posted his results on the BTT website....so we can finally publish his race report!
Escape from Alcatraz should be on the top of everyone’s list. It’s more of an adventure or destination race versus a PR opportunity. This was definitely the coolest Tri I’ve ever done. 1.5 mile (or so) swim in from Alcatraz after jumping off a ferry. 18 mile bike through hills (and descents) of Presidio. 8 mile run including a 400-step sand ladder on Baker Beach.
It’s a difficult race to get into – I’ve tried the lottery for the past couple years without any luck. I snagged a totally last minute entry through a friend of mine that lives out there. It came with the obligation to “host” a couple elite athletes that thankfully she helped coordinate!
Here are my tips for making the most of it: 1. Take time on the swim to soak in the views. I stopped a few times just to look back at Alcatraz, Golden Gate and then take in the SF skyline. I probably could have taken a more aggressive route with the currents and had a faster swim time, but not worth the risk of “missing” the exit point. 2. Rent a bike out there. The course is very hilly. I felt great climbing, but got smoked on the downhills (and also witnessed a couple wipe-outs). You don’t have many flats to earn time back so just soak up the surprise views that are unveiled every few minutes. 3. Run hard! I found myself lolly-gagging around on the run for the first 4 miles before realizing I only had 4 miles left. Crush the sand ladder with all you have and don’t worry about burning all your matches. You only have 3 or so miles left after it.
Shout out to teammate Jay Higginbottom who was in SF for the weekend and led BTT cheering on the finish line stretch – was a great boost of adrenaline for the last hundred yards! So, yeah, I caved and bought the “official” photos. Couldn’t resist the Golden Gate bridge.
“This was my best effort at impersonating the NBC version of Pat Dwyer’s “Kona 2008” pose. I figured that’s as close as I can get to being mistaken for PFD.”
Great job everyone! Lot's to report next post, including IM Switzerland and IM Rhode Island 70.3! Also, a big shout out to those racing IMUSA...Lake Placid: Joe Kurtz, Mike Williams, Amy Robinson, Janice Biederman, Meghan Kilroy and Evan Israelson (sorry if I missed anyone)!!!!! Good luck guys!
Many, many results to talk about this edition, now that we're in the thick of the race season. Let's break it down by weekend:
June 13-14- This weekend brought us one of FIRM's bigger races of the season...the Ashland Lions Metro West Triathlon. Madame President, Meredith MacSwan Harjes, led BTT on a very cold and wet day finishing 2nd in her division and 60th overall. Elaine Metcalf also had a solid performance, finishing 3rd in her division and 105th overall. Ed Galante travelled the furthest to race on this weekend....all the way to Key West. Ed competed in the 2 person relay division in the 6 mile race. Way to go Ed. And, Scott Stavely and Molly McAuliffe Smith competed in the Hyannis Sprint 1 Triathlon, with Scott winning his AG and finishing 8th overall. Also, Jess Douglass competed in the Run For Love 5K and Jeff Aronis ran the Lake Placid 1/2 marathon...and during the week, Nicole Kimborowicz competed in the Reggae Ramble.
June 20-21- A couple of big events this weekend....the Harpoon B2B Ride, Patriot Half Ironman and the Mt. Washington Road Race. Since there's too much to report on....I'll just give a big shout out to all those who rode the B2B...and an even bigger shout out to those who volunteered. Lauren Cullings did an amazing job as volunteer coordinator. Although we only had one BTTer competing in the Patriot Half, Jamie Strain went down to the South Shore and kicked some arse....taking 1st in his age group and finishing 2nd overall amateur. Great job Jamie! However, biggest kudos go to Mr. Jeffrey Aronis....for riding the Mt. Washington Road Race. Jeff gives his take on his day:
I have had my eye on this race for a while. It is a lottery entry and if you have the determination, and you get denied three years in a row, they give you an entry. That is how I finally got in. I was planning on running last year, however life got in the way and I was unable to run. Luckily (or un-luckily depending on how you look at it) I was able to defer until this year. The timing wasn’t perfect (it fell during my last heavy week of IM Swiss training) but I wasn’t going to pass up the chance to “run” the rockpile. A few years back I participated in the Mt. Washington Bicycle Hill Climb, so I had an idea of what the road held. 7.6 miles, over 5,000 feet of climbing, dirt sections, wind, rain; basically, an Achilles nightmare. But at least this time I would be on two feet and not balancing on a bike on a 15% grade riding into 60 mph gusts. Logistics. Once you get picked, the website offers all the information you need as far as getting ready for, getting to, and getting down the mountain (getting up is up to you). The base of the mountain is race central, providing parking, organization of cars going to the top (if you want to run down, you can) and the main tent, with number pick-up, pre-race videos of past races (and a real time view of the world record for a car driving up the access road; just under 7 minutes) and the location of the post race lunch. I was surprised to see so many team tents set up in the field near the main tent (possible BTT tent series race next year???) The website requests that all cars heading to the top be in line by 9 am. But they hold the road open until 9:30. The race starts slightly back from the first (and only, haha) climb of the day, and a loud cannon shot (the first 100 yards or so are actually down hill) sent us on our way. With over 900 participants, it is a self seeding type of race, but your mile pacing is very different. The winner this year came in just under an hour (which got him an extra $500), which equates to 7:54 miles (which is FLYING by this race standards). Race day started cloudy and slightly humid. Clouds hung over most of the surrounding mountains and I started to have flash backs of the bike climb those years ago (see my old race report on the BTT website). Along with the initial weather, another similarity in both races was how quickly everyone seems to go into oxygen debt. There are no breaks on this climb, so the only way to settle down your heart rate was to walk. But even that was strenuous. At times walkers kept even pace with runners. And throughout the race, as you took walk breaks, runners would slowly trot by you, only to stop a few yards ahead. And once you started running again, you would pass them at the same slow pace. The first half of the race is within the tree line. You do get some good views of the surrounding valleys not long into the race. But this year we were into the clouds within the first 2 miles. Visibility dropped to about 20 – 30 yards, but that didn’t really matter. It was at this point you start to question whether this race was such a good idea. One thing I tried to concentrate on was making sure I wasn’t running on my toes. Running up hill for this long can really do a number on your calves. I had done a fair amount of running training for IM, but no long hill specific training. So I didn’t want to take the chance of a calf strain. I hit the half way point in just over 50 minutes and my legs still felt pretty fresh. But the next section, where the road turns to dirt, really started taking a toll on my quads. This section averages 15% grade and I began walking a little more and tried to really land on my whole foot, using the upper leg muscles to push me forward. We were still in the clouds but luckily there was no wind or rain (definitely not normal for this place). As we pushed through the later miles, I began to notice something I have never seen before this high on the mountain; my shadow. As we approached the last mile we broke out of the clouds and emerged to a blue sky. Although only the tops of a few peaks were visible, we could see the tops of the clouds for miles. It made for an amazing view as we finished up the last few switchbacks (and the last one is a brutal 22% grade). We got to hang out at the top for 30 minutes or so, until the road opened up to cars to drive back down (first cars can go down at noon). Back at base, we searched out the girl selling “The Driver of This Car Ran Mt. Washington” bumper stickers and I slapped mine on before we left. Overall, this race is very well organized, the volunteers were great (many on the race course at the water stops along the way), and the venue is unlike anything in the world. It is very unlikely you will have a 7.6 mile “PR” here, but the satisfaction of getting through the race is reward enough. Hopefully the weather will co-operate in August when I tackle the bicycle climb for a second time (and I hopefully get that other bumper sticker).
And, lastly, how could we forget the dominant BTT showing up at Webster Lake, on another cold and rainy day...with Matt Pokress leading with way with an age group win and a 6th place overall. Not to be outdone, Lauren Cullings and Jess Douglass followed Matt with a 2nd and 3rd place, respectively in their age groups. Way to go guys!
Also, I recieved a really nice race report from rookie, Mike Williams...who spent a good amount of time with his article. However, Mike forgot to do one very important thing....enter his results on the BTT website. So, the question is....did he really race?:) I guess we'll have to wait and see if his results get posted....so I can share his report with you! Sorry Mike. I have to dish out some tough love once in a while....
Well, it's been a couple of weeks since the last W.I.R., and we have many results to report! Rookie Steven Wall has been on a tear the last few weeks, competing in the Essex County Velo TT Series on May 27th and June 10th, which is held in Hamilton (is that even considered part of MA?). Steven also took the podium at Ludlow (FIRM) with a 3rd place AG finish. The younger of the Haynes Sisters, Regina O'Toole, continued her post-Kona stealth mode by winning the Spring Fling Triathlon in Tyngsboro (again...is that really considered MA?). Krista Schepanovsky (ed. note: I swear I have to look at the spelling of her name at least 3 times before I get it right!) took her long distance running skills to Pineland Farms again for a short 50 mile jaunt. Rumor has it that during her 9+ hour run, she saw a wild Woody squatting in the woods....but it may have been dehydration setting in! And, Jay Higginbottom and Nicole Kimborowicz ran the Get Your Ya Yas Out on the Charlesriver. Lastly, Brian Quigley finished first overall (Cat4) at the Connecticut Stage Race (ed. note: Geeze Bri....with all that road riding, you'd think your handling skills would be picture perfect;)
Now, onto Mooseman....our first big ("enhanced") tent race of the year. First of all, thanks to all that participated. It was a fun weekend. It also was a precursor to Timberman, which I fully expect to be an even bigger showing.
We had a huge turnout for the Olympic Distance Race. 17 BTTers in all (too many to mention). I believe we had 6 podium finished (although not everyone that reached the podium has posted their results!!!!). Pat Dwyer (me), Jorge Martinez, Rachel Saks, Trish Weston, Janice Biederman and Laurie Damianos. Rumor has it that Jorge (aka Speedy Gonzalez) is doing a reverse acclimatization, so he can get used to the cold temps of NH. That way he won't lose huge chunks of time putting on his winter jacket in transition next time. We also had a first place relay with DJ Brip Kearney, Quigley, and Noah Manacas....despite Quigley crashing. Brian, inquiring minds want to know how you run into the back of someone on the bike?
For the Half, we had 9 BTTers competing in the full and 4 competing in the Aquabike. In a very competitive race, we had many solid finishing times (many who will go on to kick some arse at LP). However, our lone podium finish was Matt Pokress...who just seems to have a knack for those NH hills. On a side note, Quigley came back the day after his crash to have a solid half (congrats Bri). Also, Joe Kurtz...who had the top overall swim in the half, crashed during the bike. Now, we hope that this was just bad luck...and had nothing to do with lingering aftermath from his other crash in NH during training weekend! BTW, there's no truth the rumor that he's intentionally crashing so he can justify a new bike purchase (sorry Vautour!). Speaking of Mark Vautour....it was great to see our Landry's rep out on the half course. He had a solid race. Meghan Kilroy, who will be doing her first ironman in LP in a month gives us her take on the day (as for the picture....we're not sure what she's doing since you're not supposed to mount or dismount in the transition area!):
This was my first time up at Mooseman and I will definitely be back. It was well run with tons of aid stations, a great course, the temperature this year was ideal for racing and there were tons of BTTers and friends up there. My only regret is that I didn't get up there until Saturday afternoon and missed cheering for everyone racing the olympic distance; in the future I'll definitely make a whole weekend of it. My 'A' race this year is Lake Placid so Mooseman was a training race for me, and my second ever half iron. Earlier in the year, given the volume of training I was doing, I was sure I would definitely improve on my 1/2 iron time, but I started having knee pain in early May (a chronic problem). The doctors suggested no long runs, so I hadn't run longer than 6 since May 3rd. I'd also had only two 56+ mile rides since that date with pain at the end of both rides. So my confidence level going into the race was low, and in my mind this race would tell me whether or not Placid was still an option.The swim: The water was cold as the racers from the day before had warned me, but cold early morning Walden swims were enough to prepare for it. I doubt I'll ever get used to the mess of the mass start but I survived a blow to the head and someone using my shoulder to propel herself forward (which as common as it is I think is against the rules?) and it was all good after that.T1: Brief moment of panic as I was certain my shorts had come off with my wetsuit. Luckily I was wrong since nudity results in a time penalty! ;) Then the paparazzi (Ed) came by all excited that I had improved on my swim and distracted me enough that I actually started to mount my bike in the transition area (see attached photo). I gave him a hard time for chatting me up in transition, but starting the bike (at the actual mount point) with his words of encouragement was really helpful.The bike: My goal here was to avoid pain and save my legs for my first long run in a while. The course has got some hills. So I popped it into the granny ring on the hills, let people pass me, kept my cadence up throughout the course and didn't worry about time. It worked - no pain. My other goal was to try "The Pee", but I'll spare you the details. It was great seeing so many BTTers on the course and Alex from our sponsor Marathon Physical Therapy was there as well.T2: The paparazzi had now grown to include Scott Kleekamp. Some comedy here, but no flubs.The run: This started with a stop at the porta john, my first ever stop during a race since I actually drank during this one, and I have to say I preferred that over my attempt at "The Pee". The run, like the bike, is not flat. It was really helpful hearing volunteers and spectators cheering us on. Around the 6 mile mark I started to feel some knee pain, but I think it was in my head since I hadn't been running past that distance, because shortly after that is when I came upon a SLEW of BTTers shouting my name on both sides of the road and forgot all about it and finished the second half so I could get to the enhanced BTT tent setup to celebrate!Weeks earlier when I was limping in and out of the pool with my pull buoy, I wouldn't have believed I'd be sprinting past the BTT tent at Mooseman hearing the announcer say, 'now here's a strong finish...Meghan Kilroy of Newton, Massachusetts!' I'm hoping this means that hearing 'You are an Ironman!' at the end of my next race isn't as impossible as it seems either!
We also had 2 relay team in the half. Our teams went first and second overall. There was much smack talk between "Team Galante" (Ed Galante, Scott Kleecamp, and Lauren Cullings) and the "Boston Triathlon Team" (Rachel Saks-Aronis, Cort Cramer and Pat Dwyer), but in the end, Team BTT (aka the Dream Team) put the smack talk to rest and opened up a vat of whoop ass on everyone....winning by over 30 minutes, in what may be a Mooseman record of 4:09. Pictures from the weekend (compliments of Grace Felos) can be found HERE.