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.
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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!

Race Report: Sharon Triathlon 2017

Sharon Triathlon – August 13, 2017

Zabeth’s Race Report:

The Sharon Triathlon is one of my favorite sprints put on by Max Performance.  The pond is usually calm, and the ride and run are quite flat and fast.  For an August race, this one is also a great choice as the bike and run courses go around the pond and are mostly shaded and breezy.

It’s an interesting sprint in that the swim is a full ½ mile, the bike is 12.3 miles and the run is longer than usual at 4.4 miles, favoring those who are happiest running.

There is one more unusual aspect of the Sharon Tri – there has been an Aquabike division for the last couple of years.

Another perk Max Performance provides at this race is a tent with post-race massages: sign-up as soon as you finish as it’s first-come-first-served!

I chose to race the Aquabike this year due to running injuries and enjoyed being able to go as fast as possible during my ride without having to save energy for the run.  I was quite pleased to come in 3rd in my division even though I had a slow swim split.

Sharon Perl Olshvang and her daughter Riley Perl both raced the triathlon.  Congratulations Riley for earning 3rd place in the under 19 division. We’d love to have you join Team Envision this year!

I highly recommend the Sharon Triathlon and hope more of us register for it in 2018.  It’s a great event.

Race Report: Mass State Triathlon 2017

Mass State Triathlon – July 9, 2017

Fran’s Race Report:

The 2017 Mass State triathlon took place on July 9th, at Lake Dennison in Winchendon, Massachusetts.  It’s a race that has a reputation of always taking place on the hottest day of the summer, but I think we got lucky this year because the temperature never got above 80 degrees.  This was my second Olympic distance triathlon and definitely my best race this year.

My training for this race perhaps wasn’t the greatest.  I ended up not following a formal training plan, and instead made up my own regimen as I went along that used some of the principals from the plan I’d used to train for my first Olympic distance race.  In the end, I may have done more training than a formal plan would have called for, but it was definitely less structured.  Another hiccup in the training was that I ended up having to travel for work for several days about a week and a half before the race, which disrupted my final training plans.  While traveling, I tried to tell myself that I was probably supposed to be tapering anyway, and then I did a last long workout when I got back before doing the real taper.  Perhaps the trip even helped in the end, especially because I was working outdoors in Florida, and just about any weather feels cool and refreshing after that.

The swim had the usual waves with mass starts.  I’d consider my swimming good but not spectacular, but I made some big improvements this year just by doing a better job of making sure my goggles didn’t fog up.  It’s amazing how much faster you can finish the swim course when you can actually see the buoys and aren’t constantly getting off track.

The bike course had some scenic sections, some bumpy sections, some parts with newly paved road, and one slightly dicey part that goes through a town center.  The race organizers assured the athletes that the bad patches of road would be fixed by next summer.  There are a few hills, especially in the middle of the course, but it’s fairly flat at the beginning and the end, which I think helped me because I could get used to being on a bike at the beginning and then prepare for the run at the end without also having to worry about anything too technical.  I thought there were also a surprising number of people pulled over with flat tires on the bike course.  There were also at least a couple crashes, one of which happened a short distance behind me that I heard but didn’t see. Fortunately, I made it back to transition without getting into any mishaps myself.

After a short bout of jelly legs coming off the bike, I ended up having a really good run.  This is most likely for two reasons.  First, the course is an out and back, so whenever I got to an uphill I could tell myself that I would get to run back down it later.  Second, I’d done the run leg as part of a relay with Z and Edith my first year on Team Envision.  It definitely helped to be able to tell myself that no matter how tired I might feel, I’d done that run before and I could do it again.  That’s made me wonder if I ought to try and do the run course in isolation before other future races, maybe it would help when the temptation to walk gets strong.

My official time was 3:13:44.9.  It’s not a spectacular time by any definition, but I achieved both of my main goals for the race: to finish in under 3 hours 15 minutes, and run the entire run course.  I’m looking forward to doing this race again next year and improving even more.