Race Report: Patriot Half Ironman
Date: June 18, 2011
Reporter/Racer: Kristi Paradis
My day started at 4 am. Dog walked, first cup o’ joe consumed all by 4:25 am. PB n’ J consumed en route to Freetown. I arrived with plenty of time to check in and organize. And do a nice warm-up. The race started 30 minutes late so I also had plenty of time to relax, hang-out, and worry. I did not feel nearly as anxious as I usually do before a triathlon. Maybe it was that Patriot is not my big race of the season. Maybe that I’ve nearly done these distances in a workout or at least in a 12 hour period. Maybe it because it was my fourth 70.3 and my confidence has been elevated.
Some banter with folks in transition and with the announcement we were all booted out and corralled to the swim start. The sun was starting to come out amongst the dark storm clouds when we lined up in the water. The swim course was an out and back in Long Pond. The water was warm (70’s) and calm. I took my normal place in the back right. This year I got into my rhythm fairly quickly. No panic attack. No heart palpitations. This meant that I passed a lot of swimmers, not only from my wave but from a few slower folks in the waves before mine. I did do the breast stroke on occasion, but it was more to give myself a break from freestyle vs needing it. I managed surges and felt good when I left the water.
I ran into T1, suited up and hopped on Speedy. My quads felt a little tight for the first few miles..perhaps from yesterdays workout. Yes, yes I trained yesterday, but don’t forget I’m doing a 140.6 in just 6 weeks! The bike course was a two loop 28 mile course. I held back on the first lap and quickly got into a rhythm. I raced back and fourth with a few guys during the whole bike leg. It always motivates me to go back n’ forth with folks on the run and bike. It is also entertaining, especially if the other person recognizes the game. Often their is some banter involved. Just before the start of the second loop the bike course overlapped with a funeral. I came thru just as the event personnel realized what was happening so I was not told to get left. I had to completely stop and squeeze between cars of funeral go-ers. This got me out of my good pedaling for a bit. Eventually I found it and moved through the second lap. I pushed a little harder on the second lap and I believe I had negative split times. The course brought us past gorgeous views of the ocean, alpaca/llama farm (there were baby alpaca!!!) and a various chickens! It was a fast n’ flat course. It did lack any good descents so I pedaling the entire time! I was able to “chick” a number of men…8-15! woo hooo I felt mentally strong on the bike leg. I finished certain that I could have kept going, though probably not at that pace.
At this point the sun was shinning and the air temperature was quickly rising. T2 was fast and I was off in my Newtons. I ran the first 4 miles at a quick pace, averaging 8:06-8:12. Mistake. After this I started slowing down. My average paced dropped during the whole 13.1 miles, but I finished with an average of 8:50 min/mile. Not too shabby. The course was a nice rolling up n’ down with some good flats. I tried to pick up the pace in the last 3 miles, as was my plan, but I had nagging abdominal cramp that did not allow me to sustain a faster pace. I was to run faster for a bit, then slow down. There were aid stations at every mile which was a fantastic mental aid. I started drinking cola at mile 6 mostly for the change of fuel and the caffeine!! When I turned came thru the last intersection and saw the grounds ahead I picked up the pace up until the final turn. At this point I got a HUGE cramp in my left obligues and could not do my final sprint down the shoot. I kept running, though and finished standing and smiling. This was the first half that I ran the entire 13.1 without stopping. I felt mentally strong during the whole leg.
After chatting with a friend and chugging a Muscle Milk I called family and friends, ate some food and cheered on finishers. I was tired so decided to head back to Boston without checking the times or staying for the awards. This morning I woke up to various messages congratulating me on a second place age group finish. Holy crap! I knew I had a good race, but truly did not think I was a contender for placing. I finished feeling that I did my best, raced strong, and hard.
Today I feel pretty darn good. I have some aches and stiffness, and am a bit tired. Overall great. Most importantly am feeling more confident about Vineman. And, WOW I placed second in my age group. On a post race high training begins again tomorrow.