Race Report: Harvest Triathlon

Race: Harvest Triathlon (Sprint Tri)
Race Date: June 8, 2019
Authored by: NJ Savickas

I’m sort of new to Triathlon with the Title 9 being the only race I’d done for two years prior to joining Team Envision.  Last year at the TE spring pot luck the question was whose racing and what race. I heard about the Harvest and thought to do the Sprint.  The bonus was Team Envision had a strong show of attendance complete with the TE tent, so finally I would know someone at a race.

It was a perfect spring day as I drove to Wareham.  I had trained hard swimming and was excited about the swim which is 1/3 a mile.  A few of the ladies from TE were doing Olympic length and there was an air of excitement as we laid out our gear in transition.  Being something of a rookie and a self-professed hack I was a bit anxious about the race. I had entered as a beginner and would be the last wave in the Sprint. Normally this is good spot.  I found out the elite men doing the Olympic distance would be setting off after the Sprint. I’d heard about the competitive waves swimming over people and I was getting nervous.

Zabeth came by to offer some support and I expressed my concerns.  Meghan who does the swim clinics for Max Performance was one of the transition people and the two of them assured me I‘d be fine the race would allow enough time for my wave to gain some distance.   Meghan mentioned “just swim fast”.  

I worried for naught as the race organizers offered plenty of time to get past the first turn before unleashing the competitive wave.  The swim was fantastic the Sprint went to the first buoy then turned and wound its way back via one more buoy. The Olympic is unique, it goes straight out and around and island then heads back

The swim exit was close to transition and the bike started off along a closed lane going through the downtown area.  Police were plentiful at the lights and corners and offered a sense of security to the racers from the busy traffic. The ride just under 14 miles wound its way through some backroads that were sleepy and quiet in a wooded area behind the Ocean Spray Cranberry plant.  The tranquility was nice and before I knew it I was back at transition. The 5K run was nice and again went through a wooded area which was not too hilly and rolled along. It was an awesome race and one that is on my calendar to repeat next season, for sure.

Race Report: Pumpkinman Half-Iron Aquabike

Race date: September 8, 2019
Authored by: Liz Smith-Freedman

Pumpkinman is a weekend event in South Berwick, Maine, less than 2 hours from Boston. On Saturday the venue hosts a sprint tri and on Sunday the Olympic and Half are held simultaneously. Several team members have participated in this race before and it’s gotten mixed reviews. I found it a mostly positive experience.

Because this is a small, mostly local race, the vibe is very friendly and supportive. Even those guys with shaved heads and M dot tattoos were pretty chill. The swim takes place in Spring Hill Pond on the premise. The course for the half is a triangle and the course for the Olympic was a triangle within the larger triangle. Swimmers swam their respective triangles twice. I found that set up rather confusing, especially since for the first and forth leg of the swim was directly into the sun and difficult to see. But the water was a perfect temperature and there were no weeds (my pet peeve.) They also had wetsuit strippers, which were a nice touch.

After the swim and the strippers, participants ran up a short, steep hill to transition. The bike course for the half was a double loop through well paved country roads. The race promotes the bike course as the most scenic in New England, as it takes the riders past quiet farms and woodlands. There was support along the course; however, one Gatorade and water stop was halfway up a steep hill, which wasn’t too well thought out. There were rolling hills, but nothing too steep. Contrary to advertising, the course is just short of 56 miles – 53.3. Afterwards there was a Thanksgiving style meal with turkey, gravy, stuffing, etc. with pumpkin spiced Maine beer. 

This was my first aqua bike, so with the shorter course and no half marathon at the end, it felt like cheating. On my way home, after the lovely meal, I felt a sense of guilt passing runners on multiple loops of the 13.1 course. But it was a beautiful day and I was without the complete exhaustion from a 70.3, so I drove home happy and satisfied.

Race Report: Ironman Maine 70.3 2018

Ironman Maine 70.3 – August 26, 2018

Catherine’s Race Report:

Pre-race & Event Venue
Got up to the event on Friday to prep for the event.  Stayed at a motel right downtown, and while the convenience factor of being able to walk to all race venues was good, the location was fairly loud due to the amusement park, bars, and kids.  Would suggest staying further away from downtown if you choose to do this race.  On Saturday did a bike + run easy, short brick to shake out the bike and the legs which was good to resolve any bike travel issues.  Also did a swim in the afternoon.  Would suggest doing a test swim in the morning, the afternoon water conditions were not at all the same!  Went into race day excited, but typically jittery.
Race morning
Ate my oats and blueberries while getting ready, and headed off to transition and set up.  Had very little room, this was a much bigger race than I was used to, but seemed ok getting everything in place.  Long-ish walk over to swim start.  Husband walked with me and I handed off my transition bag and flip-flops to him before getting onto the beach.
Swim – 35:48
Swim was self-seeded waves of 6 people at a time by estimated swim finish.  I seeded myself in the 35 – 37 min wave thinking I’d be a bit slower in the ocean, and that seemed to be pretty good.  On start had to run down the beach, then walk/wade out into the water a good 50 yards or so before it was reasonable to dive and start swimming.  Felt like an eternity, but everyone was in the same boat so tried not to rush it.  Swim went really well, water temperature was great this year. Came out of the water no issue and ran up to the wetsuit strippers.  BEST. THING. EVER!  First experience with that, and loved the simplicity of it.  Then had a little bit of a haul down the road to transition, but it went by quickly.
T1 – 6:42 (I think this counts the run over to transition)
Note that the exit is out of the back for the bike – I started going the wrong way as I thought it would be where we had been walking in and out of transition since yesterday.  Forgot to throw the extra pack of clif gel blocks into my back pocket so only had what I could fit into my bento which is fairly minimal.  Hoped that I could get non-caffeinated blocks on the way once I realized this.  Finally got my garmin edge set up properly pre-race so I wasn’t messing with it for the first 10 minutes of the race ride this time.
Bike – 3:01:51
The course is hilly with various stretches of flatter spinning.  First half flew by, and felt like I was doing a good job of keeping it consistent & easy given the hills.  Was eating and drinking a lot.  Second half, I realized I had miscalculated a couple of things:  I had two water bottle holders, with two bottles full.  I had no place to take on water bottles from aid stations, and I was going to go through the 3 before I was off the bike.  Started to try to moderate on the third bottle of water so I could get in at least one more salt tab before the run started.  Should have left one holder empty since they didn’t have bottle swaps, they only had poland spring bottles.  Also ran out of fuel.  Aid stations had fuel but I was nervous to eat some of it.  Managed to get and eat a clif bar.  As far as power/speed, felt great throughout.  Second half I made a few game-day decisions on some flats and hills to power through a bit stronger since I was feeling like I wasn’t working very hard out there.  In the end this was probably my biggest mistake of the day as these likely contributed to a terrible run.
T2 – 3:11
Many of the bikes around me were already back, and there was no room for my bike.  Had to move some other bikes around on the bar to fit into my spot.  Saw husband and his family screaming me on, went over to give some high fives on my way out which was energizing and fun for both parties.
Run – 2:34:50
Wow.  This run nearly broke me, I’ve never experienced anything like this in a race before.  Started off on the run and felt rough, but not as bad as I’ve felt off of my old road bike so thought I was doing ok.  Kept looking at my watch and it was saying numbers like 10:50, 11:15, etc, so thought I was on track for where I should be for the first few miles before I picked up to a 10:00ish pace.  Note that Old Orchard Beach doesn’t have the greatest reception.  My Garmin seamed to do fine on the bike, but my iWatch didn’t seem to do that well.  Ends up I was running 9:30s off the bike. I had decided that I would walk through the water stops so I could get enough water in me, especially given the shortage at the end of the bike.  Around mile 4 or 5, I started to feel my hips and legs really just aching, my back was really painful, and running was feeling overly challenging even though the course really wasn’t that bad. Ran/walk stretches then ensued between mile 6 – mile 12.  My back eventually eased up on the pain a bit, but my hips, knees, and legs were screaming at this point.  This physical state left me in a pretty bad mental state, and I found myself struggling even to do simple miles left math. When I finally got to mile marker 12, I just went with a mantra of “I have a mile in me” and jogged the whole way to the finish.  In this race you pass transition about 1/4 of a mile from the finish which is a nice reminder that you’re nearly there.  Have a love/hate relationship with running, but can usually find some flow during the race that wasn’t there this time!
Final thoughts and lessons learned
  • Ironman Maine 70.3 is an extremely well supported, well executed race.  Support staff, police, race directors were all fantastic, well prepared, and had a great attitude towards the race.  If you’re looking for a very well organized race, this is it.  Everyone in the town supported the road closures and race beyond expectations.  My only suggestion if you are not into the kid scene is to find a location to stay away from downtown.  There were plenty of ways to have a buddy drop you at transition rather than relying on walking.
  • I need some power goals on the bike.  I’m not disciplined enough race day, and I race harder than I train every time.  I need to train harder, race easier, and need some numbers to orient this.  “By feel” is clearly too subjective for me to do this well enough.
  • CORE WORK.  I think my back was killing me because my core wasn’t strong enough for the speed I was pulling on that bike ride.  Winter goal: LOTS of core work.
  • The apple watch has got to go.  Time for a Garmin!  I felt totally mislead on the run looking at my numbers after the fact.

Race Report: Steelhead 70.3 2018

Steelhead 70.3 – August 2018

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Nathalie’s Race Report:

Why do a report on a race you DNF? I guess because it was a learning experience that may be worth sharing… I did not train consistently this year and hopefully I will retain the lessons.

My husband and I like to destination race and discover different venues. So we headed to Benton Harbor, Michigan: we flew to Chicago with our bikes and it was a couple of hours drive from there.

The swim was a bit challenging. Although it is a lake, it is a BIG lake and the waves can be a bit rough. The temp was just above wetsuit legal, I am not a confident enough swimmer to go into choppy water without a wetsuit for that distance, so I elected to join the last, wetsuits-only, wave of swimmers.  And I am glad I did as I passed a number of athletes who struggled and stopped to hug buoys along the way.  It was a long 1.2 miles in 56mn…

The bike was rolling hills, a bit of a blurr now that I try to recall, rather scenic, 3h34 for the 56 miles is not unusual for me.

The run, usually my preferred leg, was my demise. It was getting hot, but I have raced successfully in hotter conditions. I thought I was going to make it ok and maintain 11 mn mile, but at mile 5.5 I started hyper-ventilating and it went out of control. I was not able to manage my breathing, had to walk, and was forcibly (and noisily) gulping air, which alarmed fellow runners and spectators. I was on the verge of panicking and realized that I was not going to recover and finish. And this is the part that is new to me: I never had to rely on the support system of the race. As I went through several bouts of hyperventilating and crying, the spectators, volunteers, police officers, medics all in turn attended to me, guided my breathing, reassured and comforted me. They were amazingly empathetic and kind, and I am so appreciative and grateful to all these strangers who were helping me in a moment of distress.

All is well, this was not a lasting injury and I learned that I can’t just fake it and rely on general decent condition to go into distance racing. I need to prepare adequately, and resume a path of more consistent training. This will be possible with the fun camaraderie and strength of my fellow Team Envision members and coaches. And I am looking forward to it!

Race Report: Mass State 2018

Mass State – July 8, 2018

Laurie’s Race Report:

Dawn.  52 degrees.  Brr! What happened to that heatwave? Not to worry, it warmed up by the time we got going.

I picked up MH (we live about a block from each other) and we headed out to Winchendon to meet up with Melaney for our relay for Mass State Tri.  We were joined by TE teammates Margaret and Fran (doing the full Olympic tri) and Cathy (aquabike):  a pretty nice team showing!
It was a beautiful, if chilly, morning with wispy mist rising off the water.  I was a little worried that the start would be delayed, but the mist dissipated pretty quickly and we were left with a bright, clear day. After a reading of 80 degrees on Saturday, the Sunday morning water temperature check said 77 so it was a wetsuit legal race (although I think they must have gone to great lengths to get that temperature – the water was warm).
Go time:
We were in wave 2 – relays are NEVER in such an early wave.  It was great!  I shot off and managed to swim one of my best times.  Maybe wetsuits aren’t so bad after all! 22:52 for the .9 mile swim.
Chip handoff – thanks to MH for making the transfer from my ankle to Melaney’s – and Melaney hit the road for a quick 22-mile ride at 19.2mph!  Wow!  She was back well ahead of when she told us to expect her.  Way to ride!
Quick T2 and MH pulled off a speedy 48:41 for the 10k run.  That’s a blazing 7:52/mile pace and a personal best!
Given all that, it was no surprise that we were 1st in the female relay division!  Yippee!
Since I was only swimming, I got to watch and cheer.  It was fun to see everybody going from swimming to biking to running (except aquabiking Cathy) to finishing!
It’s always uplifting to be with such strong athletes.
Fabulous work TE!

Race Report: Syracuse 70.3 2018

IRONMAN Syracuse 70.3 – June 17, 2018

 

Marie-Helene’s Race Report:

LOVED IT. Learned new things.


Swim: It was a smart start or rolling start. This was a first for me. It was a bit challenging because you are surrounded by people your speed, washing machine style. It would normally have made me panic, but I didn’t. I mastered my emotions, got kicked a bit, but I knew I had this. I meditated before getting in the water, which helped. I came out of the water, laughing and chatting with folks and screaming woot woot in the transition. I might have also screamed “I loved this sport”…lol

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Bike: A challenge! Very hilly. The first 13 miles were climbing, but I was expecting it. I’m glad I went to Mont-Tremblant 2 weeks before – I was ready. The first hill, my brake got stuck on my wheel and didn’t realize it until mid-way through. I was wondering why it was that hard! lol. I finished the hill anyway, pulled over, fixed my wheel and carried on! I did forget to put on sun screen before getting in the water, so I carried my sunscreen and stopped once to put it on. I waited because another triathlete needed sunscreen so I offered mine. I’m not that competitive, helping and chatting with this great crowd of folks trumps any performance objectives…

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Run: My favorite part that I always look forward to. It was 100f…pretty toasty and hilly. It didn’t stop me. I actually finished strong and laughing all the way through!

MH finishes Syracuse 70.3 with a smile

Next race, Mont-Tremblant full Ironman!

Race Report: Maine 70.3 at Old Orchard Beach 2017

Maine 70.3 at Old Orchard Beach – August 27, 2017

Nathalie’s Race Report:

There were 4 of us racing. We got rooms in a motel on the main street, very near the transition area, perfect spot! Very early morning we were off to setup in the dark and crossed path with fellow TE member Sara B. After setting up, we went back to the rooms to wait out the start and use private restrooms, what a luxury!

The start for the swim is near the Old Orchard’s pier, it is really a lovely spot. We walk to it from transition, so about half a mile. It is the first race I experience a rolling start, the line is long, but we are chatting and it goes fine. The swim course is point to point, the water is calm and not too cold (it was much colder the day before). In the water, I feel more crowded than with the traditional group start, and as a slow swimmer I get passed all the time… I am glad when I am done. The transition is a bit long from the beach to the bike, but they have put down carpets so it is not uncomfortable on our feet. And the suit strippers are there, I really like that…

The bike course is very pleasant, a lot of shade, not too much wind, and the rolling hills are really manageable: after mile 22 it is mostly downhill. I know the course because we came and did it two weeks before, that makes a big difference, and I am having a good time.

The run is an out-and-back, very flat, nice views, mostly shaded and good surface, particularly on the Eastern Trail. I was worried about the run because of plantar faciitis which has been quite painful for months, I just got a cortisone injection ten days before the race to up my chances of completing it. And indeed the run went well considering the circumstances, and I really liked the course.

My race goal is three fold: to enjoy the experience (yes!), to be under 7 hours (6h53mn) and less than one hour behind my husband (I failed that one as he finished in 5h41mn). But let’s be honest, here is the best part about the race: the lobster fest!