Last weekend I competed in the Timberman 70.3 triathlon in Gilford New Hampshire. This is like a hometown race for me because it is only 90 minutes away. The race director Keith Jordan always does a great job organizing this race and the volunteers and spectators are great. It also had one of the most competitive mens pro field in on the 70.3 circuit. My goal for the race was to swim hard, bike hard to put me in a good overall position to use my run to be with the leaders
On race morning the temperature was already pretty warm and the air was very humid. It was going to be a very hot and humid race. I started in the front row on the swim and my goal was to stay on the feet of some of the top guys. When the race started I did a good job of staying on their feet for the first 400 yards. Normally after about 100 yards I am swimming by myself so this was a big step for me. What I wasn’t prepared for was the constant contact with swimming in a group. At about 600yds there was a group of about 10 and I was in about 3rd in the group. I stayed with this group until about 300 yards to go when I lost the feet of the swimmer in front of me and began to prepare to exit the water. I exited the water with a time of 27:40 and was the 12 male pro out of the water. Not to bad.
I got on the bike and was with a group of about 4 riders. My goal was to try and average 285 watts on the bike. For the first 30 minutes my quads were really sore and felt tired. I kept pushing because normally I have plenty left at the end of the bike. After the first 30 minutes I started to feel much better and was cruising along. At the turn around I was feeling great although my watts were a bit lower than I had hoped, 270 so I decided to pick it up. I had just over 1 hour left on the bike. After pushing at about 290 watts for 5 minutes, I started to feel tired. So I decided to back off the pace a bit and try and settle back in at my goal watts. For the next 30 minutes I averaged 280 watts. At about mile 40 Janda Ricci-Munn came by me and I tried to keep him in sight. At this point I decided not to focus on my powermeter, but focus on keeping Janda in sight. During this last 16 miles the temperature really started to rise and I was starting to get very hot out on the bike. The sweat was dripping of my face and elbows. I had also gone through all of my nutrition on the bike after about 90 minutes so I didn’t have much in the way of calories for the last 45 minutes of the bike. I did grab a Gatorade at one of the last aid stations, but the lid was not put on properly so every time I took a drink it spilled all of me and my bike. I finished the bike in 2:17:18. Not a bad time, but the course was very fast since most of the roads were just paved.
My goal was to begin the run at about 2:45-47, so that I could run 1:15-16. This would give me a finishing time of around 4:00-4:03 which I knew would put me right in the mix with the top guys. I came out of T2 just over 2:48 so I was a bit slower than I wanted but still feeling pretty good. I lost some time to Janda in T2 so I had to push hard the first mile to catch back up to his shoulder. I caught him at the 1 mile marker and tried to settle down into a comfortable pace. My first mile was in 5:50 which was a bit slower than I thought since I was working so hard. I figured it must have been slow because it was a bit long and was mostly up hill. I was still having a tough time settling into a comfortable rhythm but I figured it was because I was running 5:30-5:45 pace. When I got to the 2 mile mark I checked my watch and I was running 6:00 min/mile pace. Not a good sign. I am still holding out hope that between miles 2 and 3 I regain my running legs and am able to snap out of the pace I am running. Unfortunately my next mile is even slower. At this point I realized that my running legs are not going to come around. Also I strained my right calf last weekend and that was started to get really tight and on the verge of seizing up. I was only able to land on my heel and push off with my heel. Adding to my misery my left achilles which had been sore for the past month was really starting to ache. By mile 4 my goal was to just try and finish without injuring myself so bad that I end my season. I finished the run with a time of 1:23:44. I was the 8th placed Pro with a time of 4:11:49.
Overall it was one of my most disappointing races as a pro triathlete. People had said that I might not feel 100% because of what Lake Placid Ironman took out of my legs and they were right!