Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Pumpkinman Half Ironman

By Noah Manacas

Hi all, I started to write this up for my coach but got a little carried away so figured I would share it with everyone.  I was really not sure how this race would go, having just finished Timberman a few weeks earlier.   I felt ready except for a nagging knee issue that popped up on a 5k effort run coach Vic gave me 4 days after Timberman.  I really had not run more than 20 minutes at a time after that to try and heal it but I had no idea how if would feel to race on.

Swim: 33:58 [1:36.5 /100 yd]
Start was rough, didn't have time to properly warm up, sighting was tough due to sun & fog.  Put myself mid/right about 3 rows back... in hindsight, maybe that was unnecessarily aggressive considering that I was not warmed up!  2 loop course, first loop was tough all the way around fighting for position.  Right goggle leaked, cleared it once right at start.  Second loop much better, got into a good rhythm.  Was looking for Laurie D. doing a relay swim as I was sure she would swim over me... not that I would have recognized her among the 500 other swimmers trying to drown me.  Run to T1 was up a STEEP hill to transition... timed hill climb challenge... interesting, but decided not to race
up that hill, kinda pointless for the my overall race I figured.  Props to Jess D. who gets fastest BTT'er up the hill (and yes, she also beat me like a piñata in the swim for her relay!)

Bike 2:34:37 (my Garmin had distance of 54.56 mi. giving an avg. of 21.2mph)
Felt good starting out the bike, noticed right away that my HR strap was not transmitting and after fiddling with it a bit, just decided to use RPE.  Not that I had another choice... but I didn't want to waste time trying to maybe reset the computer or stop and mess with it!  So I figured if I have a good race, great... even better since I've never raced by RPE.  If I don't, and completely blow up... then I have an excuse!  I very quickly caught up (or he caught me, I forget) with Will Bruce who I know had a very similar time at Timberman and we are generally pretty similar pace.  That was good news so I thought if I pretty much stick with him I won't over pace... maybe... still wanted to beat him though (duh!)...  was gonna save that for the end.  

There were two or three people in my AG in the pack also and I was trying to keep them in sight.  This all worked out great and was fun until around mile 40 when I decided I'd better take advantage of one of the downhills to try this peeing on the bike thing.  It worked this time... but I also lost Will and the other AG'rs.  Tried to catch them after that but I knew they were only a minute or two ahead so I didn't blow myself up chasing them... this is where I kinda wished I had the HR!  Was looking at my watts and they were around the 200-220 range (used 3s averaging).  This did not tell me much as my powertap is brand new and I've never trained with it or done an FTP test.  

My plan was to use my goal HR during a flat section at the beginning of the race to see where my Watts were and then stick to that on the climbs.  So much for that!  The course was rolling so I went mainly by feel, trying to remember what Timberman and my Z3 effort intervals during training felt like.  When I came into Transition, Brenda yelled that Will was just ahead of me, so that was good news... see if I can catch him
on the run.

Run 1:40:35 (My Garmin had a distance of 13.29 giving a pace of 7:33)
Legs felt pretty heavy right off the bike and running out of T2... thought I maybe pushed it bit too hard on the bike, I don't remember my legs feeling like that after Tman.  That went away almost immediately though after about 2 minutes or less... the first .5 to 1 mile was a decent downhill so pace was very fast but I kept it under control.  Was basically shooting for 7:30's for first 5k. My knee felt fine for first 20 minutes and then that low grade pain started just like during training... since this was a race, I figured things are supposed to hurt so F*&% it!  

Kept pushing through and the pain did not get much above a 3 or 4 so after 6 miles I was comfortable that it should not affect my race... at least I was not going to let it.  Just told myself, "shut up knee, do what I tell you" (name that cyclist!).  Was shooting for a 7:00 pace but felt that if I could keep it between 7-7:30 I would be happy with things... I think I could have taken a few seconds off it but figured I'm on the way to a decent PR and I have another race next weekend (Duxbury Sprint) and maybe BAA Half if I don't give away my number, so no reason to completely blow myself out on the run. Paced with one of the pro females  for most of the run step for step, that was fun.  I figured I was not placing since I never caught up to those two or three guys so I maybe I'm helping her get her spot, since she was drafting me most of the time!  

Later at awards I found out she took 3rd!   I had couple of AG'rs in sight for the first 5k (not sure if it was the same guys ahead of me on the bike but thought at least one of them was).   I stuck to my pace though so I didn't catch them... thinking if I still feel good after 5k then I'll go after them. In the last 3ish miles the knee pain dulled to pretty much nothing more than I would feel after that amount of racing so I was happy and just kept it steady to the finish line.  No sprint down the steep grassy slope for me thank you, my work is done!!

So overall I'm happy that I was able to pace the race by RPE on the bike and pace/RPE on the run and still PR, I don't think I could have done much better with HR.  I'm thinking I could have skipped peeing on bike this time and stuck with the guys I was trying to beat.  I ended up having to stop anyway at the beginning of the run for another pee so maybe I could have just done that but I don't know it would have made much of a difference.  My nutrition and hydration I think was spot on... same as T-man and as soon as I felt hungry I looked and the time and it was in fact time to eat.

Will's official time reflects that he was 3 minutes behind me but in reality he beat me by 1:36 and I'll give it to him... so now we are sort of even, since I beat him by 6 seconds at Timberman!  At some point early on when he was a little ahead of me I saw the bike marshals ride up along and stay next to him for a while.  From what I could see he didn’t appear do be drafting but things got a bit bunched up at the base of a hill and apparently they gave him a drafting penalty.  Totally undeserved in my opinion!

The race turned out to be incredibly fun and the post race turkey dinner was amazing, BTT closed down the beer tent, making sure to uphold our reputation, and stuck around to cheer for the last finisher, which was nice!  Surprisingly, no BTT'ers podium... I'll try to make sure that doesn’t happen next year... though Esprit in Montreal is the same weekend and looks like a lot of fun.

So to sum it all up, yesterday I peed on myself twice... and got a medal and a
turkey dinner for it.  I'm ready for a break now!

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