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Race Result

Racer: Jeff Wolfe
Race: Timberman Half Ironman
Date: Sunday, August 21, 2005
Location: Guilford, NH
Race Type: Triathlon - Half Ironman
Age Group: Male 40 - 44
Time: 6:55:03
Overall Place: 1025 / 1202
Age Group Place: 119 / 132

Race Report:

Swim 0:39:37
T1 0:05:00
Bike 3:17:44
T2 0:03:21
Run 2:49:24

This was my second shot at ˝ Ironman Triathlon. I did the Duke Liver Center ˝ Ironman two years ago. In that race, I freaked out on the swim and never really recovered. My time then was 7 hours and 6 minutes. Since then, I have done several shorter triathlons but earlier this year I decided with my training partner to try the ˝ Ironman again. We chose the Timberman race since it was rated as the best long course triathlon in the U.S.

My only real goal going into this race was to beat my time from 2 years ago but I thought I could finish in around 6 hours. I was confident I could be out of the water and on my bike within 45 minutes. Finish the bike and be running by 4 hours and then run a 2 hour ˝ marathon. I was pretty comfortable with each of these separately but now came the challenge of putting them together.


New Hampshire is a long drive from Reston. We left on Thursday and dropped my kids at my parents’ house in Connecticut. On Friday, I went for a short swim and then we drove up to New Hampshire, checked into our hotel and headed up to the park where packet pickup started at 5:00. Timberman is a complete triathlon weekend with a sprint tri Saturday morning, a kid’s triathlon Saturday afternoon and then the ˝ Ironman on Sunday. Along with that, there was an expo and 3 dinners. I met another RAT, Stuart Brandt in line. Packet pickup was pretty wild. I had never been to a triathlon this big. We got lots of stuff from the race including t-shirt, hat, Triathlete magazine, water bottle, shoe laces, sun tan lotion, etc. It was the heaviest entrance bag ever. At the end of the race we also got a medal, another water bottle and a towel.

I went for a 3 mile run on Saturday. It was overcast all day with lots of rain. We drove the bike course. Some of the hills looked pretty tough. We had to rack our bikes the day before the race (another first for me) so I found a trash bag to try and keep it dry. Each bike had an assigned spot so this was pretty easy. Went to the pre-race dinner and attended the pre-race meeting. Nothing spectacular here.

Couldn’t sleep much on Saturday night and finally got out of bed at 4:00 AM. Ate some PBJ and had some Gatorade and headed to the race start around 5:00. Guess what. It was still raining. Got set up and put on my wet suit and waited. I was in wave #6 and was scheduled 26 minutes after the elite wave. Unfortunately, the elite wave was 20 minutes late starting so we all waited around a long time. My training partner was in wave #2 and he headed out 20 minutes ahead of me. I thought if all went well, I should catch him on the run.


This was my 3rd triathlon of the year but the first one I used a wet suit for. Two years ago, I really freaked out on the swim and it took me over an hour. I worked on my swim by myself a lot over the last two years. I swam the Reston 2 mile swim back in May – not fast but I finished. My triathlon times had me swimming around 35 min/mile pace so I was hoping for a 41 or 42 minute swim. The lake felt great. It was a little choppy on the outer leg but all felt good. I got out of the water in 39:37 – my fastest swim ever.


Nothing special here except it took me a few extra minutes to get my wet suit off. Lack of practice. I was on my bike within my goal of 45 minutes so off I went.


I think the first 12 miles of the bike course were the hardest I have ever biked in a race. Almost all uphill with two really tough climbs. Once we got onto the major road, the bike course eased up a bit and I was able to rest in my aero bars. I set my watch to beep at me every 15 minutes to make sure I was eating and drinking. About 20 miles into the race, I started to see lots of people with flat tires. My goal was to finish the bike in less than 3 hours and 15 minutes. I was at 1:10 for 20 miles.. right on pace. There were several water stops on the bike and I exchanged one empty bottle of accelerade for Gatorade at the ˝ way point. On the way back, it was my turn. My first flat tire in a race. I was around mile 30. I stayed calm, changed the tire, got some help from a support crew with a floor pump and I was back on my bike in less than 10 minutes. I got passed a lot while I fixed the flat but I was right back in it and seemed to be going ok. Now I got to pass people. At 40 miles, I was right at 2:20 so I was still on pace, even with a flat. The hardest hill of the day came around mile 42 or so but once over the hill you had a screaming down hill. Most of the last 10 miles were downhill. My bike time was 3:17. Pretty close to my target even with the flat. I was still on track.


T2 also was easy. Took a quick bathroom break and I was out in a little over 3 minutes. I was running by 4 hours and 5 minutes into my race.


Unfortunately, here is where the picture turns ugly. I have been battling plantar fascitis over the summer. I was doing my “Pain Free” exercises every morning and running only 4 days a week (long run between 10 and 12 miles, track workout (up to 4 mile repeats at 7 minute pace), brick run of 3 or 4 miles after a 20 mile bike ride and one other run). First mile was right over 9 minutes but I felt like I was working really hard. I ran Lums Pond the weekend before and averaged 7:40 for the 5K. I usually average less than 8 minutes per mile in a tri. I thought the 9 minute per mile would be a piece of cake. Boy was I wrong. It was probably noon when I started running and it was now very hot. My second mile was a 9:30 and then I did it. I started to walk. From there on in, it was a walk/jog. I couldn’t will my legs to run. I felt like a million people passed me. It took me 2 hours and 49 minutes to finish the run. I know I could do better but it was not meant to be. This is my 2nd ˝ Ironman and the 2nd time I crashed and burned during the run.


The good news. I still set a PR by 10 minutes and this course was 2 miles longer on the bike than the first one. I am excited about my swim. I woke up the day after Timberman and ran for 40 minutes. I do not think fitness was my problem.

Some things I may need to differently.

• I need more calories. I was very weak after the race and it took me until later in the evening to get my strength back. I ate 1 cliff bar and 1 gel and drank 2 bottles of accelerade on the bike. I guess I need more. It didn’t affect me until I started running. I couldn’t eat on the run so it was water and pepsi.

• I have to do some longer workouts and bricks. I probably only did 5 bike rides longer than 50 miles with my longest around 65. My longest brick workout was a 50 mile bike ride and a 3 mile run. I think I need to workout for more than 6 hours in training since I am going to exercise for 6 hours during the race.

• I need to run in the heat of the day. I usually ran early in the morning but if I am going to do a ˝ marathon after a 56 mile bike ride, at best case I will not start running until the heat of the day.

Sorry I cannot be at RATMAN this weekend but it is my in-laws 50th wedding anniversary so we are heading to VA Beach. Hope to see some of you at the Reston Tri.