Archive for the ‘race report’ Category

Syracuse 70.3 Race Report by Caroline Godfrey

June 28, 2013 Leave a comment

My week leading up to this race was mentally challenging.  Having panicked in the swim at the Independence Tri 3 weeks before was still weighing on me, even though I had since built up some confidence in the open water.  Having come to the realization that I do much better in races where I don’t put pressure on myself, the strategy now was to relax and enjoy the race.  This was a breakthrough, and this race was to be an experiment to see if it worked.  Also, the purpose of this race was to test out my nutrition and fitness on a similar course to Lake Placid.  Like a mantra, I kept repeating to myself, “It’s just reconnaissance.”  On Friday evening, I spent my nervous energy babying my bike, literally with baby wipes, lubing the chain, and planning my nutrition and where I could keep it in order to be as aero and comfortable as possible.

I drove up to Jamseville Beach on Saturday with Rob and Cindy, who were also racing.  We got there just in time to pick up our packets, attend the mandatory pre-race meeting, and check our bikes in.  We checked out the lake, and it was full of weeds which the race management was trying to clear out.  The water temp was a perfect 70 degrees, and I started to feel more confident.  We left Jamesville Beach and headed to Syracuse to check in to the hotel, have some dinner, and go to sleep.  My pre-race dinner was a shared veggie flatbread, veggie/feta pita sandwich, and a glass of Malbec…and lots of water to counteract the dehydrating effects.  For some reason a  Greek/Lebanese-style meal is like comfort food for me before a race – I had done the same before the New Orleans marathon, and it worked.  I slept fairly well that night, as well as I normally sleep, waking up 3 times, and tossing and turning.  Knowing that I usually train on less sleep made me feel very prepared when I woke up at 4:30.

We left the hotel at 5:15 and made it to the parking lot at 5:45, leaving us an hour to set up before transition was closed, plenty of time.  The air temp was already 70 degrees and climbing fast.  I did something which I don’t normally do, which is a 5 minute warm-up swim.  I made sure to swim through the areas with the most weeds in order to desensitize myself to the feeling.  It was a good decision.   I got to the start 10 minutes before my wave started, and that was perfect timing.  I was as ready as I would ever be.

I had decided, in order to avoid the crowd and a panic attack, I would swim the long way around the buoys.  I was confident that I could swim more than twice the distance without tiring, so that was ok with me.  I did eventually get closer to the buoys and got caught up in traffic, but by that time, I was very warmed up.  I swallowed some water at one point and felt a panic attack coming on, but I was able to get it under control by focusing on long strokes and gliding through the water.  I also had my ankle grabbed twice by someone, which angered me, made me kick really hard to scare them off, and got my heart rate and breathing rate up.  I actively managed that by recalling my 25/25 sprints /active recovery, which I did as part of training.  It proved useful in getting my heart rate back down without panicking.  By the end of the swim, I had swum (according to my Garmin 910) over 1.3 miles in just under 47 minutes.  I did have some help getting my wetsuit off before crossing into transition, which added a few seconds to my split (47:06); still it was a PR, woohoo!    I was 58 out of 95 coming out of the water, which was predictable.  It isn’t my strongest sport.

I took my time in transition, 3:59 to be precise, making sure I had my nutrition on me and everything I needed.  I decided I did not need socks, which worked out great.  I had prepared myself for this hilly bike course.  Perhaps I was over prepared, because I had so much anxiety about how tough the initial 12 mile climb out of Jamesville would be that I really held back a lot.   Everything I read about the course stressed how important it was to hold back on that initial climb.  In fact, I pretty much held back the entire course, thinking I needed to avoid a penalty and avoid tiring myself out.  I could have pushed a bit harder and been fine.  I felt like I could have held that speed for a full ironman.  I ate 2.5 honey stinger wafers and a gel, I drank 2 full bottles of sports drink, I rode through the aid stations and did the old switcheroo, tossing my trash and used water bottle directly into the bin, grabbing replacements on the fly.  I totally felt like a pro!  I fearlessly rode the downhills in aero position, hitting almost 42 mph.  My God, how I love those hills!  I finished the bike in 2:59.  I know I could have gone at least .5 to 1 mph faster.  Next time.  Just the bike course makes me want to do this race again next year to see how fast I can really go.

As much as I overestimated how difficult the bike course would be for me, I completely underestimated the difficulty of the run course.  It was by far the most difficult, hilly run course I have ever experienced.  By the time I made it to the run, the temperature was 90 degrees – 15 degrees hotter than normal for this race.  I have never seen so many people walking.  There were sections where 100% of the athletes were walking, like all of the uphills.  Even on the flats (well, false flats, since there were no flats), I felt like I was among very few who were actually running.  I did not eat on the run, but I knew how important it was to stay cool and hydrated.  I stopped at every aid station, stuffed ice in my shirt/bra, poured ice over my head, poured water over my head, drank one cup of water and one cup of sports drink, and grabbed cold sponges and squeezed them on my head.  I also stopped to get soaked by every hose and sprinkler I saw.  All of this took time, but it was completely necessary.   When I was running, I kept a good pace, between 7:30 and 8:30, but averaging that out with the stopping and the walking, my average was 10 min/mile.  I finished the 13.1 in 2:11, with plenty left in the tank, no cramping, no dehydration and feeling very good.  10 women in my AG did not finish the run, and the run splits across the board were slow, so 2:11 felt successful to me.

I didn’t know how I did, when I finished.  I knew my time was about 6:05, not a PR, but anyone would be crazy to expect a PR in this race.  I didn’t know my rank, but I didn’t check, since I wanted to see Cindy and Rob finish.  I grabbed a turkey sandwich and waited at the finish line.  Cindy came in 15 minutes or so after me, and after a huge sweaty hug, we decided to wait for Rob.  We waited almost an hour, and I started to worry that maybe he got dehydrated and was in the medical tent.  Watching the finishers was fun though, cheering them on, and seeing the looks of relief, elation, or hard sprinting to the finish.  A severe thunderstorm started rolling in before Rob, and the race director announced that athletes should get their stuff out of transition and find shelter.  I lost Cindy in the fury, but I saw Rob running to the transition area as I was running out with my gear.  I told him to meet me at the car, but I needed to get by checked bag first which had the keys.  I didn’t make it to the car.  I had to wait in the tent with the checked bags until the thunderstorm passed.  I’m guessing Cindy and Rob had to do the same.  There was a break in the weather, and the 3 of us separately made a run for the parking lot.  I had some trouble finding the car, which was a bit stressful.  We got changed into dry clothes, and decided to go back to the ironman village, since there was massive traffic in the parking area.  That’s when we looked up our results.  I saw that I came in 13th out of 95 in my AG (my rank has since moved to 12th out of 85, since 10 didn’t finish the run).  There were 3 slots open in my AG for Vegas, so we decided to stick around for the roll down, especially since a lot of people were leaving because of the weather.  After waiting a while, we asked when it would be, and we were told that they decided to email the roll down.  There went my chances for Vegas…not that it was my goal, but it would have been cool to join Cindy and Claire.

Lessons learned?  It looks like Worlds is in reach for me.  I just need to find a good 70.3 with a hilly bike course and a flat run.  However, coming into a race relaxed, with no expectations, is the key to a good performance for me.   I also learned how to manage my nutrition on the bike.  I know this is more of a story than a report, but that’s what it was for me – an adventure.

Categories: race report

Race Reports from Eagleman 70.3

June 16, 2013 Leave a comment
Hi Coach,
I wrote a race report from Sunday.  It helped me think about the race.  What I did well, what I need to improve on.  I’m excited for Vegas!!!
Eagleman Race Report-2013
Pre race Dinner-spaghetti (lots) with white bread and some broccoli.  I went to a house and ate with Jim Hutchison…he made a delicious dinner.  I salted it to death.  I also stole some salt stick pills from him.  I forgot mine at home.  It was great to eat dinner with a group and talk about the race.  All of our strategies and pre race rituals.  We are a crazy AAA type group, that’s for sure.
Sleep-I got upgraded to a suite at the Hyatt.  It was bigger than my house…seriously.  I had a glorious King size bed that was so comfy.  I had no trouble falling asleep and getting a good 6.5 hours in.  I set my alarm for 3:30am to give myself plenty of time in the bathroom.
Race Morning– I got there right at 5am when transition opened.  I pumped my tires, filled my bottles, walked the ins and outs.  Got in the zone.  Then I waited.  There was 2 hours until my start.  I listened to music.  I drank Gatorade.  I ate a banana.  I went to the bathroom.  I sat in the shade.  My wave was at 8:35.  At 8:00 I had major ants in my pants.  I couldn’t wait to start.  At 8:05 I went over to the swim area and put my wetsuit on.  I stood in the shade and drank some water.  I ate a Cliff gel right before the swim start.  I also took a salt pill and 2 Advils.
Swim-38:25 Goal time: 32:00. At 8:30 the wave before mine started and we all got in the water.  I looked at the buoys and thought about my path.  I knew the current would be strong because of all the rain.  My swim was about 6 mins slower than I wanted.  But, from the talk after the race, the swim was about 200 m long and the current was ridiculous.  People said they were 6-8 minutes slower than usual.  I thought I was moving slow, but I didn’t let myself look at my watch.  LESSON: I learned to sight more often.  It’s worth it so I would stay closer to the buoys. 
T1-When I got out and saw that I was 6 mins slow, boy was that tough.  At that point, I didn’t know about other people’s slow swim times.  I just thought I was a limp jellyfish.  It was a little tough to overcome. LESSON:  I need to figure out a better strategy for my gu’s.  I had 4 taped on my bike and 3 to go in my pocket.  It takes too much time to fool with my pockets.
It was also super muddy from all the rain.  With me being in the last wave there were so many people tramping the ground before me.  I was a mess.  All the girls in my group had to go through the same thing though.
Bike-Real time (minus 4 min penalty): 2:34:44. Goal time 2:35 So much fun!  I was cruising along and having a blast going fast.  I love love love my new bike.  I had my bike bladder thingy filled with water ~18oz, one 24oz Gatorade extra strength on my down tube, one 18oz smaller bottle on the back with more extra power Gatorade, one chewey bar (just in case I need solid food), and 7 Cliff gu’s.  I also took an extra Gatorade at the last water stop at about mile 40.  Additionally, I took 5ish salt pills.  I really can’t remember exactly.  I do remember I took one as soon as I felt a headache coming on.  That’s typically the sign that I’m about to bonk.
I didn’t really start slow.  I wanted to make up time so I just jumped on and went for it.  I wound up leap frogging with a bunch of girls in my AG and some 25-29 M (they started 5 mins before me).  At around mile 40 I got the dreaded penalty.  I was being so careful to not draft.  It was tough because there were so many people on the course at that point.  The aid stations were nuts.  I’m glad I had most of my own stuff.  I saw someone crash when the person in front stopped suddenly to get water.  They really need to do something about having the completers and the competers going at the same time.  I saw several near crashes too.
Anyway, on to the penalty…I got a 4 min penalty for not completing the pass.  It was either slow down, run over the water bottle in my way, swerve into the girl I was passing or swerve into the motor scooter.  I’m ok with my decision.  The last thing I want is to get hurt.  I spent about 5 miles having a pity party.  Then one of the guys I passed a few times came by me and told me to get my head back in the game and hammer it home.  That’s exactly what I needed.  So, I spend the last 10 miles with the hammer down.
Penalty Tent-I tried to think about this as an adventure.  WWCD (What Would Coach Do).  I drank Gatorade.  I ate my chewy bar.  I peed my pants.  I waited with baited breath to run into transition.  After 4 slow mins I was out of the tent and into T2
T2-Again muddy.  Again slower people in my way.  Walking…sitting in the middle of the aisles!  LESSON: Get a race belt with a fanny pack.  I spend too much time shoving things into my pockets.  I brought 4 Cliff gels.
Run-1:51:09. Goal time 1:46. LESSON: I had time to make up so I started way too fast.  Never again.  I started at sub 8’s.  Race me did not make the best decision because I started to slow waaay down after the halfway point.  My garmin wound up dying at mile 11 so I have no idea how the last two miles were.  In the end, I should have held back the first few miles like the race plan called for.
It was also super hot.  It was about 90*.  So at each aid station I tried to get water and ice for cooling.  However there were people there thinking they were on a Sunday stroll and literally were stopping and hovering all over the place.  There were several times I couldn’t get water.  It was just too crowded and I needed to keep moving.  I’m sure I spent at least 2 minutes total at the aid stations just trying to get past people and get some sort of nutrition.  I took my gels at miles 3, 6, 8, and 11.  At the non gel aid stations I got Gatorade.
I gave it literally everything I had.  The last 3 miles were pure torture and I loved every minute of it.  I had blisters on the bottoms of my feet.  I think from a combination of water and mud.  My muscles were on fire.  My lungs were burning.  My brain was so tired and angry.  I just kept pushing. My dad was at mile 12.  He said that he’s never seen me looked so tough and in pain.  I literally just gritted my teeth and thought about all the times I woke up early and all of the times I didn’t eat a cookie I wanted and all of the times I pushed through pain in workouts.  I also thought of all the fun times.  The fun rides and runs with my friends.  It all helped me push through the pain.  At mile 11ish I had to stop and take off my right sock.  My blister popped and my sock was filled with blood and pus.  It felt a little better with the sock off.  I kept the left sock on though…ain’t nobody got time for that!
I heard someone yell that I was at the last turn.  I pushed more.  I saw the finish line and I was in total race mode.  Just get there as fast as possible.  I crossed the finish line and fell into the arms of a volunteer.  I couldn’t stand up on my own.  She led me to a chair where I sat for a while.  Then Jim came over to help me and I started crying.  I knew what my time was and I didn’t think I would get into Las Vegas.  I was mad at the penalty and I was mad at the people jamming up the aid stations.  After a brief pity party (and some post race nutrition) I was ok with the whole race.  I tried my hardest and I was happy with it. 
World Championships-I was on my way out.  I knew my times and I knew I was in 6th place.  So, I didn’t think I would get a spot.  However, my friend Suzanne told me I was crazy.  She was 7th in her AG and was staying.  She said there are sometimes roll down spots.  So, I stayed.  When I heard them call my name I ran and hugged everyone.  I cried, I jumped up and down, I made a huge scene.  I couldn’t fill out the paperwork because I was shaking so much.  I had my mom fill it out for me and I just signed my name.  I still can’t believe I made it to the World Freaking Championships!!
Claire Cunningham
Categories: race report

Race Report from Josh Wagner 1st Place AG Finish at Escape from Fort Delaware

Pre race:

Started changing meals for increased carb intake on Friday at lunch. Pizza. Dinner: pancakes. Saturday breakfast: egg whites on a bagel (2). Lunch:French toast. Dinner: pasta with olive oil, onion salt and garlic salt. Also some bread with olive oil and a bit of salt. Drank water consistently along with water mixed with cran-grape juice. 1/3 juice 2/3 water.

In bed at 8:00 asleep by 9:00. Woke up at 2:30am. 3 packets oatmeal one banana. 4:00 bagel with peanut butter and banana. 4:30 check in. 5:30 finished prepping TA. Ate another bagel and banana between now and start along with water and electrolyte drink. Took E-caps just before start.

The Race:

So they ferried us from the dock to an island where we all sat for roughly 75 minutes. The wind made the already cold temperatures (50’s) feel freezing. By the time he race started, the water actually felt warm at 66 degrees.

The waves from the wind made sighting extremely difficult. I’d guess I had to stop and tread water at least a dozen times to get my bearings. It didn’t help that my goggles constantly fogged. Need to get a better pair of open water goggles. The buoys weren’t staying in place making difficult sighting nigh impossible. At one point I looked up at a kayaker and shrugged. He pointed me in the right direction.

I did not panic during the swim and I did not tire. It was just frustrating to have to keep adjusting every couple of strokes because the current or the wind turned me the wrong way. By the time I got out of the water I was sure I was the last one out. I was shocked when I got in the TA and saw so many bikes.

Got in and out of the TA without issue. Made myself eat the honey stinger chews within the first few miles. Felt very good on the bike but I rationed my effort per your advice. Had a slight intermittent knee irritation on left side that came and went after about mile ten. Speed was on target. Power on target. What surprised me was my average cadence was 80 when I’ve never tested even close to that high.

I believe I kept it high to ration my effort throughout the bike. I was not passed by anyone on the bike and passed many people. Felt comfortable the whole ride save the occasional knee irritation.


Immediately felt stomach irritation on the run. Not sure what it was. I don’t think I ate or drank too much ( unless river water counts) but the discomfort was enough to bother me the entire run. Despite that, I was able to pass probably 6-8 people and maintain a good pace.

I did not wear my garmin during the swim as removing the watch to get the wetsuit off would have slowed me down and it wasn’t fitting under the suit. I did use my bike garmin (new purchase) for the ride and I staged the watch in the TA with my run stuff and strapped it on while running.

My legs felt a bit crampy toward the end of the run but I was able to push through it and not lose speed.

Categories: race report

Ironman Training Update, Comments from Lake Placid and NE Maryland Tri “Adventure”

August 20, 2011 Leave a comment

Ironman Training Update  and Volume Tips:
Now that the short distance season is over for me my focus now changes to the ironman distance triathlons. This is what I truely enjoy. The challenge of nutrition, rest and taper, high volume sessions and nursing minor injuries along the way.

I am ready for the Louisville Ironman on August 28th. Ready means I have completed my long swim of 90 min(3x’s), the long bike of 100 miles (5x’s) and well….the runnning is a different story. Regarding the running I have completed a long run of 2.5 hrs and have decided to use the marathon portion of this IM to prepare me for the next IM distance tri I am doing in Sept. the Chesapeakeman at the same location as the Eagleman 70.3 but twice the distance. The “chessyman” I am considering my “A” race.

I have been avg 10-14 hrs per week w/ the breakdown approximately 1-2 hrs of swimming 2x’s/week, 4-8 hrs of cycling per week 2-4 x’s/wk and 2-4 hrs of running per week 2-4x’s. Some of you may consider that volume as low but it has worked for me in the past and I find it helps keep my injury rate down.

Bill did the following for Lake Placid:

“I put in 10 to 17 hours per week of cardio including swimming, riding and running plus 4 hours Yoga/core per week for the 20 weeks prior to the event (14-1/2 hours average including Yoga/core). I also did 5 months of base training, @ 9 hours per week cardio during the fall and winter before I started on the 20 week training program.”

Comment from Lake Placid

“If I had to pick one thing I’d have to say the thousands of spectators along the route cheering us on was the most interesting experience. I thoroughly enjoyed almost everything about it. Now I have a better understanding of what to expect for next year and I hope to push the pace a little harder.”

A Report from the NE Maryland Tri Turned “Adventure”

Hello everyone,

Hope you all had a safe and dry training/racing weekend. I wanted to write you all about my experience at this years NE Maryland triathlon.

I raced the Olympic last year and took third in my division so I decided I’d have to do this race again this year to keep the streak going. Well, this race turned out to be the most interesting and frustrating race so far for me. As most of you know it rained it’s ass off the past two days. I contemplated just staying home and putting long distance in on the trainer and treadmill. As is turns out I couldn’t because my girlfriends entire family had already planned on coming to support me so I had to follow through.

The drive down: On the way down to the race we hit pockets of rain that went from a slight drizzle to a torrential downpour. We kept joking as we drove past cars that had bikes strapped to the back of them that we weren’t the only crazies going to the race. As we continued to get closer the the exit for Rising Sun we noticed a lot of lightning. In the early morning sky it wasn’t hard to see the flashes as they lit of the sky. I was beginning to think the race was cancelled.

Waiting around in Transition: After I picked up my packet I had to quickly get into transition and set up. I rushed around and got everything together only to find out the race was delayed by 30 minutes. They were deciding on whether to have the swim or a bike/run that would start in a TT fashion. While standing around in transition is proceeded to rain and rain and rain some more. During this period of downpour the race directors found out that portions of the bike course were washed out and every attempt they had taken to clear the debris failed. So, the bike course was shortened to an 11 mile out and back. They also decided that the swim would be on but that since so much debris was being swept into the river that each race, sprint and Olympic, would swim the 750m course. This was a relief for me since I had some anxiety about the swim. During my last race I had a near death experience. The scrum of the swim left me coughing up water and being dunked while trying to catch my breath. Very very scary for me.

The swim: the swim turned out to be ok. I came in at 16:23 which was not great but good for me since I was trying to stay out of the way of everyone. I never felt in trouble and kept saying to myself to stay “long” in the water. I was able to draft off some swimmers and before I could really think about the swim it was over for me. I got out of the water and ran the 150-200 yard dash to the transition area.

T1: nothing to write home about but with the dash and chaos of the muddy transition I had a 2:02 transition.

The BIKE: The bike is my strength. I’ve spent all season focusing on the bike. This is the area that I can make up the most time on my horrible swimming. I had a bit of trouble slipping my wet feet into my clipped in shoes but after I got that figured out I peddled as hard as I could for those 11 miles. The trouble with the short bike was that it wasn’t long enough for me to get any real time back on those folks that are better swimmers.

T2: Coming into T2 was just nuts. The entire path was a huge mud puddle and my feet were covered with mud when I entered into transition. I got myself together as quickly as possible and off I went. T2 was 1:10.

The Run: As I began to run I started to feel the sock on my right foot clumping up under the ball of my foot so I stopped for to straighten that out. I wore socks only for the fact that I know that I would get blisters on my feet with all the water. I can’t risk any foot injuries since I’m only 4 weeks out from Rev3 Cedar Point! The run was the only leg of the race that stayed the original distance. I followed the same course that the bike followed so we got to run up and down the same hills. I felt great the entire run. I was fortunate to have someone who ran the whole run with me. He kept a good pace and we both pushed each other. We ran together until the last turn when you enter the finishing shoot. He took off like a bat out of hell and I did everything I could to keep up. After we crossed the finish line and I looked at my watch I noticed my time was 50 mintues and some change. My goal was sub 50 but I’ll take it considering the hills. You see, being a bigger guy I’m not that much of a runner. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve improved my run tremendously with the help of my coach. It’s just that when I played football the last thing I wanted to do was run. This whole endurance game has made me realize limits I thought I would never consider tempting. Official run time, 50:13!

Overall I’d say I had a great experience. Though the race was shortened I still put out a good effort and as a result I took 2nd this year. I finally got the 3rd place monkey off my back! I’ll keep you all posted about how Rev3 Cedar Point went. I’m feeling very good about my conditioning and though my training has been good I know it could be better so I’m not hoping for any podium spot. Just finishing my first Ironman distance race will be good enough for me, this time 😉

Thanks for reading! If you need a training buddy during the next four weeks let me know.

Until next time…


Categories: race report, Training

Richard’s 1st Triathlon

Thought I would drop you a final on my first tri.

Unfortunately, while setting up my spot, I bent over and put my back out. Wasn’t crippling and I had an hour to try and walk it off which I was able to do to a point. Got it loosened enough to at least give it a try. (had my fears because if it went again while in deep water I would have been in big trouble. If you never had your back go, it can be very crippling)

Ultimately it survived. Did the swim in the 12 minute that I hoped. T1 though due to stiffness and limited movement was a laughable 3:20. Bike ride was also hampered by my back. Couldn’t get up out of the saddle on climbs due to pain. That came in at almost 38min which was 3-4 minutes slower than I hoped for. T2 wasn’t a whole lot better than T1. Back was VERY stiff after being on the bike. Just getting off was ugly. That transition took 2:13.

When I started to run the back was again in the way. Had to walk the first couple of hundred yds before it loosened enough to allow me to at least jog.  Running came in at almost 19min. which was again 2-3 minutes slower than I had hoped for. But… I did it. Glad I didn’t drop out before even trying as I had considered doing.

My final time was 1:14:16.

Not only that, I came in 161 out of 300. 3rd in my age group out of 5 people. Who would have thunk.

Now I have the bug. Maybe if my back hadn’t gotten in the way I could have knocked 7-8 minutes off that time and gotten 2nd.:) 1st was out of reach, that guy broke 1 hour.
Thanks for your suggestions. I used them all. Deb tells me that when I left T1 others in my area used the bucket too. Really is a good thing.


Categories: race report, triathlon