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Race Result

Racer: Reid Kiser
Race: Timberman Half Ironman
Date: Sunday, August 19, 2007
Location: Guilford, NH
Race Type: Triathlon - Half Ironman
Age Group: Male 30 - 34
Time: 5:13:53
Overall Place: 276 / 1492
Age Group Place: 36 / 163
Comment: Tour de New England

Race Report:

Time Recaps:
Swim - 38:11 (overall rank 574 - 1:57/100m - 35 minutes was the goal)
T1 - 2:30 (wetsuit strippers total weight = 120 lbs)
Bike - 2:39:21 (overall rank 150 - 21.1 mph - 2:3? was the goal or avg 22 mph if possible - how Desiree Ficker did what she did is amazing)
T2 - 1:41 (put on socks, but forgot sunglasses)
Run - 1:52:07 (overall rank 496 - 8:34 min/mile - 1:45 was the goal or 8:00 pace)

This was the 'A' race and end of the Tri season for me. Once again, this race was a vacation for us. We drove up to Southern Mass/Cape Cod on Wednesday and spent some time with my boss and his wife as part of the pre-race taper. The PowerBall was up to $140+ million, so we decide to play a few quick picks. I wouldn't be here writing this right now if we had won, but we would have still raced. Mary Beth and I had a great time with Mike (my boss) and Karen on Thursday and found a bar on the Cape that served fresh squeezed fruit and Vodka/Gin drinks(that's healthy, right?). We opted for a little relaxation. We finished the night up with my favorite pub in Sandwich, the BBC (British Brewing Co.). The Sandwich Police were out, so we ordered some incredible pizzas at the bar to get some heavy nutrition. Honestly, I took advantage of my first real taper of the year which led to a 5lb gain in weight in two weeks. Was I worried? Sure, but it's funny how we obsess about such things. I try to remember to live life, hey, I'm not going to win and I already have a job so be it.

On paper the goal was to break 5 hours, but anything better than the last is considered progress. After driving the bike course, I knew at 2:30 bike would be a push. I needed to nail the swim and live up to my capability on the run to smack this goal.

Pre-pre Race:
We arrive at Lake Winnepasaukee on Friday at 1 p.m., the conditions at that point and time are ideal. I am hungry, but opt for a 20 minute swim in the lake to check things out. Funny thing about this location is that you can stand up for a ways out in the lake before "having" to swim. The water is extremely clear and the perfect temp (74). I know Sunday will be a good day. After swimming and a late lunch we head to packet pickup. I am hoping they have aero helmets at the expo, but they don't. That was the only thing I felt I needed for the bike of the race. I'd put in the miles with Dave, Kevin and Shawn this summer and new this was going to be a proving ground for my fitness. I have come a long ways in the pool with swimming and honestly have neglected running (minus the solid track workouts with Scott Baldwin and Shawn). There will be a difference in my performance in both swimming and running in 2008, but I have no dissapointments in either for 2007. While I am off course with this report, I have to say Kevin Kunkel has got me hooked on Ironmantalk podcasts now that I finally bought an ipod. I am a chronic imsomniac, and hearing Bevan and John talk at 2:30 a.m. puts me at ease and aslepp by 3 a.m.. I used this on several anxious nights during the trip. I digress.

We were very furtunate in that we had friends to stay with at the lake (John and Tricia - my boss's boss). We were able to relax with great comfort food, great conversation and the ability to spend time enjoying the lake outside of triathlon. John and Trish lived less than 30 minutes from the start which was key, considering you had to get there at 4:30 a.m. for a parking spot.

We arrive at 4:30 and there's 40 cars in front of us, but we get a nice parking spot along the finishing chute. We turn the car off and go to sleep like everyone else. I wake up at 5:30 with all the other car doors shutting, so go set up shop at the transition. I am slotted between two french canadians who I think may have been mocking me or just talking their own trash as they quickly switched languages after I arrive (I make this presumption based on tone and body language). Let's just say, their bikes weren't there when I came to T2 and they were nowhere to be seen at T3. I walk out of transition at 6:15 and pay my respects to Simon, Desiree and Kate. There were some other recognizables, but I couldn't name them at the time. Plus, I was here to race and not to see and was in my own place. It was an anxious place of doubt and questions of if I was ready for this, have I lost my drive in the waning months of summer. I just wanted the day to be over.

This is a good story of taking a "no worries" aproach. Mary Beth had to deal with sever chop and very cold weather on Saturday. I was a little worried the night before that I was going to have to deal with 20 mph winds and 40 degrees on Sunday. It was a little nippy on Sunday morning but the wind was down for the swim. We headed over to the start and the start was delayed 20 minutes. The Pro's and Elites had to sit in the water for 20 minutes waiting for the timers to work out some issue. I really didn't care that this meant I wouldn't go off until 8 a.m. (it would be warmer, right?). Only problem, was the gut was saying it needed another visit to the lou. I tried to brush this off and went for a warm up swim at 7:30. Coming out of the water, I realized there would be an impending disaster if I didn't strip the wetsuit off and see a man about a horse. I got in the line for 2 port-o-lets at 7:40. The line was 20 people or so including spectators. Not to complain, but on the prior day I jeopardized my prostate's health by not using these while I waited for the competitors to use the toilet. Anyway, at 7:55 I get into the john. By 7:57 I am running down the beach and cross the timing mat to register my chip. At 7:58 I am trying to put on my wetsuit top while wet and I can't get the sleeves up. I think of panic, but remember to relax so I don't futz up and just try get the thing on calmly and correctly. 7:59 and 30 seconds, I put my goggles on but am in the back of everyone. I decide to forgo any etiquette and just start running over to the front left of the group and get in front of those who don't look like they'll be in the front of the pack. 8:00 - GO, GO, GO, GO, GO - I head out on the left front on a clockwise course and all is well and decide I need to draft. I head back to the pack and find some feet, but keep running into slow swimmers. I battle this for the first 500 meters and give up at the turn buoy. Now I am off to the left swimming my own swim, but drifting out to the kayaks. This was the best swim in a wetsuit I have had, but I only beat my Hawaii time by 30 seconds. I am sure I swam 1.5 miles. I make the final turn and sight only to see a blow up dingy in front of me and I wonder what the heck this is doing in the middle of the pack. I then recall that Team Hoyt is here (they are more amazing and inspirational to see than any pro). I finish my swim in a sea of rainbow colored swim caps. Not that I was fast, but starting in one of the last groups gave me the opportunity to catch people. This was also the first time I came out of the water with a majority of the folks I started with. I exit the water and run down the beach to T1

T1 - I get to the wetsuit strippers and as expected they are busy. I try to find a guy that looks strong and head to him. As I get there he instructs to 10 year old to help me with my suit. Three tugs and some calf cramps later they get the wetsuit off. No worries, I wanted to experience and learn from this. I run to the bike, slap on some sunscreen on my shoulders, strap on my shoes, helmet and glasses and go.

The race announcer mentioned at the swim start that weather conditions are looking good for the day, but the wind will pick up just in time for the return on the bike. Oh great, thanks just what I want to hear. I rocked out with aero wheels and disc and was ready to go (no aero helmet - I am already 2 minutes in the hole ;-) ). Being a mid-pack swimmer, I was like Ja Ja out there passing what had to be 900 people. I found the course to be somewhat challenging, but not intimidating. Others may disagree. There are a few good climbs, but I live for climbing a big hill with only 23 teeth in the aero position. The Marsh Hill Monster was a great climb and I planned accordingly and took it conservatively but strong. The ride out to the turnaround was congested (honestly - unless you are in the first wave "drafting" by the 10x3 meter rule is inevitible, I spend more energy being paranoid about not drafting). There were several blocking violations going on in front of me, so I was glad to see that enforced eventhough they were probably due to a lack of understanding by the offenders. We all need to know the rules and races need to be set up to account for crowding (in an ideal world).

Back to getting on topic, a guy behind me compliments my form and pace and comments how tough it will be coming back. I start looking for wind indicators and find some flags that indicate we are going into the wind on the way out. Not sure if that was a fluke, because at the turn the wind was solidly in my face. I hunkered down and even split the bike and actually a hair faster on the return given a few 40+ mph descents on the big climbs earlier. I topped out at 44.9mph in the aero postion on some rough roads going downhill. I was too scared to move to the bull horns once I got to speed, so just rode it out and listened to the wind humming. You get bolder on the downs riding with Kevin Kunkel.

The weather was cool and I only ended up going through two bottles of Gatorade Endurance and didn't carry Endurolytes for the bike. I didn't fill up on water a few times with 4 Accel gels and a small Clif bar (total of 500 cal on bike). I probably could have used one more bottle of Gatorade for good measure.

T2 - Smooth dismount with a long run into transition. I put on socks for the longer distance, but in the process ditched my sunglassed inadvertently. Grabbed 2 gels and my canister of Endurlytes. Fortunately I did wear a hat. Overall, this was a good transition. In the background Simon Lessing is coming in for the win.

Now it's sunny and hot and I head out the chutes. Before Mile 1 there's a toilet, so I void some fluid. By Mile 2 I see Scott Baldwin, so I shout out a "GO BALDWIN!!!" I wish I could have said more, but the energy wasn't there. I don't remember if it was before or after I saw Scott that I saw Desiree on her way. We ran within 3 feet of each other in passing and I said "looking good". I wish I had the wit and energy to tell her that Shawn says "hello."

Back to my run, I really didn't want to be here. I know this was a nutrition issue in my head as I have this many times on long workouts where I am not fueled. I get to the next aid station and get my Gatorade and water. The hills weren't killers, but were sobering at times. By Mile 3 the slight cramps are coming, so it's time for Endurolytes. They work like a charm as always, I would have 3 of these bouts on the run. I make the turn with the game plan of first 5k is to find your running legs. 2nd and 3rd 5k is the challenge and unknown and the last 5k is to go for broke. I took a gel at 45 minutes and 1:15.

Prior to race, I decided to not pace by mile. I ignore my watch but monitor heart rate. I don't know my mile splits, but based on the race sites I found I was fairly consistent. I ran okay except for the 3rd 5k, I actually got a little bit light headed and spaced out, but got through it. Going back out on the second loop was tough and I just sat back too much and lost 3 minutes. By the final turn, I just didn't care anymore. I was still moving my feet and taking in cola to get my heart rate over 160bpm and find that push. I started conversing with others struggling at this point to help feed off of each other.

Finally, I get to Mile 11 and realize that sub-5 is gone unless I get in a car. However, I will be ecstatic to hit 5:15 and beat Hawaii by 15 minutes. The last two miles hurt, the last 200 meters hurt really bad but the crowds were cheering me on "GO RANDALL!" That's what my race number had written on it. I embraced it eventhough I go by Reid. I see Mary Beth in the final 100 meters and put it all out trying to break 5:15. Nothing beats crossing the finish line in an event that taxes you for 4+ hours. I beat my Hawaii time by 20 minutes and maintained a lower heart rate. My fitness may be better now, but Hawaii is still a tougher course mentally. I still consider my efforts at Timberman to be a huge success and learning experience.

Side note: As much as I regret being out there in the middle of the race, it's the final 30 seconds and hours afterwards that get you hooked. It's putting all your hard work together, suffering through the repetitive motions, pushing beyond your limits and realizing anything can be accomplished.

Post race:
I head straight for the ice bath and then to the lake to cool off. I am completely satisfied with the effort eventhough my swim time didn't represent my effort and pace and the run needs to be faster. It was good to see Scott out there and bumping into him at the pub after the race. Timberman is a well run and supported even in God's Country. We'll be back next year and bringing lots of friends. I definitely want to do the Sprint and 70.3 next time around.

A 5:13 was a good effort and now know that sub-5 is reachable. This is just Year 2 for me on a bike and in a pool. I've neglected running this year, but am now ready to focus more on getting my race speed to where it needs to be. Swimming has improved by leaps and bounds in the pool, now just need to work on body contact and finding a set of feet worth chasing. I am looking forward to next year and moving to the Ironman distance and taking on professional coaching and advice.

Post post-race:
We packed up and headed to Hanover and visited another friend and started the recovery. I showed Mary Beth around Dartmouth and my old stomping grounds in the Upper Valley. We picked up a case of Double Bag ale from the Long Trail brewery as a souvenir of our trip. The weather was crisp and the air was clean. I really do miss this part of the country, but remember unless you ski 2-3 a week in the winter the cold just isn't worth it for me.

We arrived home on Tuesday night for my birthday after a 9 hour drive. We bumped into Dave as we pulled in and ended up killing half the case with he and Karolina as we caught up on all details of the past race weekend. Once the bottle of Jameson came out, we knew it was better to call it a night. Now it's time to prepare for Ratman and the Savageman.

I guess I should turn on a podcast and get to sleep.