Race Triathlon

Appleman Triathlon – Race Report

I recently did the Appleman Sprint Triathlon in Littleton, MA. This was the first time I had ever done this event and it is in it’s ninth year. The race is very popular and sells out usually before I think about signing up. This year though, one of the residents is a friend of mine and asked me to come out and do it with him. Ted is a selectman in the town, so it was good for him to get out and support the local race. There was another politician in the race as well, some guy named Scott Brown. This is the second weekend in a row that I have been racing with the US Senator for Massachussetts. I think he is stalking me!!

The Swim

The swim was a half mile clock-wise swim. I thought the water temp was well over 78 degrees, but with F.I.R.M. racing I guess wetsuits are always legal. I made the decision that I wasn’t going to wear my wetsuit, the water was just way too warm. Doing that I was giving up some time to everyone wearing it, but it just seemed like I would over heat in it. My stratgey for the swim was to start out in front and race hard for the first buoy and then relax the rest of the way in. It really wasn’t that great of a strategy, the water was too warm to push hard in the swim. Also by starting in the front I had idiots that thought they were just going to jump on me and swim over me, that never works. Unfortunately when they attempted it I think they ripped of my timing chip. More to come on the timing chip. No official time for the swim, but according to my Garmin split it was 14:47. Pretty slow.

The Bike

The bike course is ten miles and not technical, but does have some short little hills in that keep you honest.  I felt like I was riding pretty well and passing quite a few people on the bike. I had no idea how many of my age group were in front of me though. I managed to average 21.3 mph, one of my fastest bike splits for a race.

The Run

The run course was not what I had expected. Kelly had mentioned that it was a trail run. I figured that meant it was on a gravel or dirt road. Oh no! This was like climbing a mountain, hopping over rocks and roots trail run. The run was tough and it was hot. At least for me it was.  My split for the run was 23:34. Just under 8 minute miles, most times I would be upset with this time, but considering all the climbing and hills I was ok with it.

Timing Chip

I never realized once during the race that my timing chip was gone. It had to have come off in the water, because I didn’t have a split for the swim. I crossed the finish line and they asked to remove my chip and I put my foot out and it was gone!! At the finish line there is a guy who is recording everyone that crosses so you do get an official time. Of course I go try to find my time and my name doesn’t appear anywhere on the results sheet. I end up having to go to race officials and  giving them my time off of my watch. I even was able to give them the splits. I guess the guy at the finish line doesn’t report in his results until the last racer has finished and that is why I didn’t see my name.


I was 29th overall in the race and 3rd in my age group.  It’s nice that I’m finally finishing up near the top of my age group. Hopefully I can keep improving and start finishing higher up overall as well.


Nubble Light Challege – Race Report

The Nubble light Challenge is a open water swim in the ocean off of the coast of Maine. It starts on Long Sands beach and ends on Short Sands beach going around the peninsula through “The Gut” where the Nubble Light house sits. Total distance is estimated at about 2.4 miles and the water temperatures vary between mid 50s and low 60s.

This years race started at 9am so that the tide would be high enough for us to swim between the light house and main land without running aground. Mike and I arrived at the race around 7:15 and headed down to the beach to sign in and get ready. That took all of about 10 minutes so we had plenty of time to stand around and contemplate just how cold the water was and wonder if I was actually going to make it.

Some of the guys we know from Stiles were there getting ready as well. Chuck was opting for no wetsuit. My thought was good for you, I would be committing suicide attempting it without a wetsuit. I think only a total of 13 people opted for the non-wetsuit category of the 140 something people that entered.

About 10 minutes before the race started Mike and I headed down into the water. Just in time for them to announce, “All Swimmers out of the water”, so they could brief us on rules and safety. I managed to get in up to my waist. My feet immediately hurt and I thought to myself this is Stiles October water. They were reporting temps of between 60-62, it felt colder, yes, I’m a wimp. The rules that were announced were, stay to right of buoys and swim between Light House and Main land. DO NOT swim around like that guy Joe something did the first year.

After that it was time to start, off goes Mike and the first wave. I’m in the next wave and the only person I know is Chuck. I know he is faster than me but he is not wearing a wetsuit so I figure I could probably keep up. Hmm, maybe I’ll let him pace me… Well, race starts, Chuck runs into the ocean and stops, he has problems with his ankle strap with the chip. Well, there goes that plan, so I just head out into the swell. Water doesn’t feel too bad and the more I swim the more comfortable I feel. There are kayakers all around us so I don’t really bother to sight much. It took me a while to get used to the rolling ocean, there wasn’t any chop so I was able to breath either side without a problem. The first 3rd of the race out toward the Nubble Light went pretty smoothly.

The next 3rd of the race? Well, that was the point in the race when I thought to myself, “Why am I doing this?” Heading between the Light House and land I needed to do a lot more sighting and was a bit rougher. I was ok with that, but then the water started getting really cold. Ice cream headache cold to be exact. I was glad at that point that I had gone with two caps. My feet and hand both went numb. I took a few breaths to my left and there is some guy swimming without a wetsuit. You know he was cold.. Hey, wait a minute!! It’s Chuck! Great, my pacer caught up with me, so I started swimming next to him for a while. Then poor Chuck had more ankle strap issues, but he was my general area for a while as we went finished up going through the Gut.

The next 3rd of the race was just heading into the beach to the finish. At this point I was ready to be done. I was cold and the excitement of doing the ocean swim had worn off. I could finally see the beach, still a long way off, but still, the finish was in sight. Chuck passed me at this point and I was kind of disgusted with myself. I’m in a wetsuit and I can’t even keep up with a guy not in one. WTF!!!!  I felt like I was swimming pretty sloppy at this point, so I tried to relax and just concentrate on form. When I did that, it actually helped and I caught back up with him. Of course, he probably had more ankle strap issues, but in my mind I was swimming better. Whatever it takes to get to the finish! Finally make it into shore. Kelly and the kids are there along with our friend Julie cheering me to finish. Mike is there as well of course, because he finished 11 minutes ahead of me. Yes, that’s right ELEVEN minutes. I need a swim coach! Congrats Mike on a great swim!

When I signed up I had hoped to do the swim in 1:05. I figured I had done the Ironman swim in 1:04 of the same distance. However, swimming in the ocean and swimming in a lake are very different experiences. I’m looking forward to going back next year and improving my time.

My GPS from race:


Race Triathlon

Mill City Triathlon – Race Report

This past weekend I did my first Olympic distance triathlon in almost 10 years. Not sure why I haven’t done more of them, I have done plenty of sprints and a couple of half Ironman distance events.

This was the first time I have ever done a triathlon where a sitting US Senator was also competing. Yup, that’s right US Senator Scott Brown was competing in the Sprint Tri. I had a chance to speak with Senator Brown after the race, he was very approachable and friendly. While I didn’t talk politics with him it was fun chatting about the race.

The Swim

The swim was in the Merrimac River. I’ve only done one other triathlon with a river swim and that was in the Hudson River. The current in the Merrimac was much less forceful than that of the Hudson. The reported water temp was 76 degrees and wetsuits were considered legal for this race. The water felt much warmer than 76 and I felt like I was over heating. I wish that this had either been a non-wetsuit event or that I had a sleeveless wetsuit. My swim was ok, I was 12th overall out of the water, not sure where I placed in my age group out of the swim. My friend Mike whooped me by almost 5 minutes. I really need to work on my swim, that is way too much time to give up on one leg.

The Bike

The bike was a pretty fast and flat course, 2 loops of about 12.5 miles. This was the first race that I averaged over 21 mph. My Garmin reported that I averaged 21.7 mph, so I was pretty happy with my ride. My legs felt good throughout the ride and I never felt like I was pushing too hard. Even on the slight inclines I kept my power numbers under control. The back half of the loop was very fast, it seemed like the last 4 miles in I was cruising around 24/25 mph, the averages were a little bit lower when I looked, but still was a lot of fun riding like that.

The Run

The run course was very hot with very little shade. I started out running at 7:45 pace and it felt like I was running a 9 minute pace. The first 2 miles had zero shade. The 3rd mile at least had some shade and part of the 4th. Then it was back to the hot sun. I did manage negative splits on the run with the last being at 7:05. My run has steadily improved this year and it is nice to actually feel like I’m running when I get off of the bike.

Next up, Nubble Light Challenge!!!!