The Patriot Half – Race Report

I have to say that the day ended a lot better than it started. My friend Mike stops at the house at 4:15 am to pick me up. We load up the car and I put my bike on the back. We are ready to roll. We start heading down 95 and Mike looks in the rear view and says “What is going on with the bikes?” I look bike and my bike is flying along behind the car!!! Mike slows down and pulls over. Bad news, race wheel tire is shredded.

The bike rack has rubber straps that hold the bike in place while driving. The problem is that when you have race wheels that have a large surface area the wind catches them and lifts the bike up. When the bike gets lifted up the rubber straps can then come undone as I have learned from personal experience and doing a little search on the net. Fortunately we had some bungy cords and were able to strap the bike back on and be on our way again without having to worry about the flying up.

We finally get down to the race venue at just about 6 am. First thing I have to do is change out my wheels. Luckily I had brought along my other wheels. My thought there was that someone was going to need them and I didn’t feel like changing tires and tubes so I was just going to give them the whole wheel. Turns out it was me that needed them!! It took all of about 10 minutes to get the other wheels on and adjust the brakes. One thing that I did forget about though was that the cassette that I had on these wheels is setup for a hilly course and not the flat course we were riding. There were a few times I missed those in between gears that my 11-25 cassette has, as opposed to the 11-28. So, the bike is finally all squared away and we are setup in transition. Hopefully that would be the end of the problems for the day.

The Swim

The swim is a counter clockwise swim that works out nice as the sun is never an issue. The water temperature was reported to be 68 degrees, not bad at all with the wetsuit on. There was a little bit of a wind blowing in at us though and that caused the first leg of the swim to be a litte tough with the choppy water. I quickly moved out in front of the other 93 people in my wave and caught up to the wave that went off before me. I think I even saw Julie and Janet during the swim. Jan, on other hand, was far too fast and I wouldn’t have seen her even if she started in my wave. The swim took me 32:24, my goal was 30 minutes flat.

SWIM NOTE: My friend Mike K. tied for 3rd overall in the swim and probably would have won it outright if he started in an early wave and didn’t have to swim through 8 waves of yahoos….

The Bike

The bike ride for me was pretty much the same as last year as far as time. According to my Garmin I was at 20.5 mph for both loops of the bike. The first loop I was 20.6 and the second 20.5, probably a little less since the average was 20.5. I had hoped to go at least 21 mph, but without the Zipp wheels I probably lost about .5 mph. I’m ok with the ride, it was a bit more windy than last year but I was able to ride just a little bit faster and certainly did not push nearly as hard as last year. My goal, which I know was a stretch was to bike the course in 2:33:25, and I did it in 2:44:47. So I was way off on that. Still a lot of work to do on the bike. While my overall biking fitness has improved a lot from last year I still need to get stronger on the bike. A lot stronger.

BIKE NOTE: Didn’t see it happen, but Coach Bri went down pretty hard on the bike with about 18 miles to go. This probably has something to do with Mike and his bike rack. I’m not sure of the connection but there must be one!! Coach Bri is a little sore, but doing ok and his bike is already ready for the next ride.

The Run

Part of not killing myself on the bike was wanting to be able to run this year. I increased my fitness enough on the bike over the last year that I was able to put in the same bike time but still had legs left to run this year. My goal for the race was 1:47:00 or 8:10 pace. This is the only goal that I managed to accomplish I did the run in 1:45:59 for an 8:05 pace. My total time was 5:07:53, a new personal record. I had hoped to break 5 hours, but I can see I still have some work to do to get there. I felt my nutrtion was pretty good and I didn’t have any cramping problems. Even though I didn’t cramp I still feel like I need to hydrate better.

The rest of the Sunday morning crew

The rest of training crew, with the exception of Coach Bri, had pretty good days as well.

Heidi M. doing her first ever half ironman distance event had what I thought was by far one of the most impressive times of the day at 5:14:22. Heidi pulled this off with barely any bike training and only a few open water swims. We expect her to quit her day job and turn pro soon!

Mike K. had a personal best of 5:24:46 and beat me in the bike leg. Now we know why my bike fell off the car!! All part of his master plan!

Jan D. also had a personal best of 5:35:11 and improved her time by half an hour. Improving both her bike and run times significantly.

Julie V. while about a minute slower overall at 5:40:17 improved her run this year by over 10 minutes. Now if we could just get her to swim a little more and stop hanging out in transition…..

Janet B. took first place in her age group while setting a personal record of 5:42:11 at the half ironman distance.

Brian B. needs to keep the rubber side down!!!!


You don’t want that!

As I mentioned last week, I’ve been trying to lose weight for the upcoming season. Unfortunately things got a little bit out of control this past week when I got the stomach bug that my son managed to pick up from school. That’s a quick way to drop some serious pounds quick. Last Monday I posted that I weighed in at 162, this week the weight loss continued and I was 161. However, the last couple of days I was as low as 158. Clearly a large part of that was just being “empty” from being so sick, but also a bit dehydrated too. They always say to drink plenty of fluids, but that is easier said than done. Now that the stomach is feeling better hopefully I can continue the slower weight loss descent.


I bought some fins last week to try out in the pool and finally got to use them this morning. I was actually able to keep up when we did the kick sets today. Usually I do about half the distance everyone else is doing. Looking forward to using them more and building up my kicking strength. I should be able to hit the pool 3 times this week since the Prep will not be at the Y Wednesday morning.


I did have a few good rides on the CompuTrainer, but after being sick it was a tough weekend. I attempted to do Thursdays session on Saturday morning. That was ok and I made it through, but my heart rate was way higher than normal, topping out around 170-172. Usually for that ride it is 160-162. That left me pretty much wasted for the Sunday long ride, where I managed to eek out a mere 1 hour and 50 minutes. I’m hoping tomorrow will be a better morning. It is the last week of this 4 week build up and the hardest of the sessions I will have to do.

Also need to start picking up the running now. Great Bay half is 2 months away and I’m barely running 10 miles a week, if that!

Weight: 161


Textile free swim

Headed down to the pond this morning for what was probably my last open water swim of the season. Water temp was still 64, but Glacier George needs to get a new thermometer before I will believe that reading, and air temp was 47.

Since it was probably my last day and I knew the rest of the guys were not going to do a full crossing I didn’t bother bring the wetsuit. We did the October “L” as it is known by the pond Scummers. Out to Rohr’s dock over to the Haunted house, back to Rhor’s dock and in to the beach. I felt fine until we got out of the water, that’s when you realize just how cold you are because you shiver so much it’s hard getting your clothes back on. Just another crazy morning at the pond!!

I guess it’s possible we could be back, but there is rain in the forcast….

Cycling Swimming

Great weather for mid October

Sunday turned out to be a beauty of a day. Started out a little chilly on the bike in the morning, but by 8:30 it was noticeably warmer. The group took our usually ride up to Newburyport and this time we came back 1A. I don’t think I have done that ride in over a year and it was a nice change of scenery. Leaf peeping isn’t quite at it’s peak here yet, but it was still a great day for a ride. I managed to get 50 miles in and felt pretty good considering I haven’t been on the bike since the Century ride a few weeks back.

Ride Data

This morning a group of us headed down to the pond for the official “Closing Day”, although we will probably keep going since the water isn’t that cold yet and the weather is holding up. Mike K. and I did a double, water temp was 64 degrees. We think that Glacier George’s thermometer is broken as it has been reading 64 degrees for a week now!! Hopefully we will be back again on Wednesday for at least a full crossing.



Refreshing swim at the pond

I hadn’t been down to the pond in almost a week, so when George sent out an email to see who was in for this morning it sounded good to me. He had also mentioned that the water temp was 70 yesterday. That’s pretty warm, so I decided it was a no wetsuit morning. The water might be warm but the air is still chilly and it make quite a difference. This morning the official temp was 71. We didn’t chat long on the other side because it just gets too cold standing around. The water was like glass this morning, some of the leaves are starting to change and quite a few of the leaves were on the pond. Perfect fall morning for a swim.


New Swim Paddles

I bought a couple pairs of swim paddles last week. I’d never really used them before but my swim stroke seems to be kind of sloppy and I feel like my hand is sometimes slipping through the water and wasting effort.

Here is a link to the Paddles that I bought I actually bought two pair, a medium and a large pair. For right now I’m using the medium pair because I don’t want to put too much stress on my shoulder and get hurt.

The last two days I’ve been in the pool and doing alternating sets of 500 free and then 500 pull. I can definitely feel a big difference in my 500 free after doing the pull set with the paddles on. It will take some time but I think it will definitely improve my swim stroke.


Vacations are over

The vacations are over and it is time to get back to work, school (for the kids) and training. Over the last week we have been through 7 states and the District of Columbia. We went to the White House, saw the Washington Monument, went to the National Zoo and also stopped to see the Statue of Liberty.

Now all that fun stuff is over and it is back to training. For most of the vacation I didn’t do much of anything, a run here and a bike ride there. Pretty short stuff, but it was good, the body needs it’s rest too.

This morning it was back at the gym early. I was at the Danvers Y at 5 am and went for a short run. A run that needed to be shorter according to my IT Band. Had a lot of pain this morning, which was very disappointing. I thought the time off would have helped it but it seems to have made it worse. Back at the gym I went down to the weight room and did some light lifting and then some stretching to see if I can loosen it up. I will definitely do some more stretching tonight to try to really focus on getting this thing better now.

Also did a quick 2000 yards in the pool and tried out my new hand paddles. They worked pretty well and I think will help me with my form.


The week in review

This week has been a pretty tame week for training. Monday I headed to the gym and did some lifting. Mostly legs, as I want to increase my leg strength for biking. After lifting I went out for a short slow jog and it was definitely short and slow.

Tuesday and Thursday I was out on the bike. Tuseday morning I did my time trial route through Boxford and managed to hold onto 20.6 mph average. Not bad, but I had it up over 21 mph for the first 10 miles. Thursday morning I went out and rode with Jan. She took me on short steep hills through Topfield. Pretty easy ride, will have to pick up the effort on Thursday mornings.

Wednesday and Friday were swim and run days. Pretty much all swimming right now consists of a single crossing at Stiles and that likely won’t change until we head back indoors. I ran on Wednesday with Melinda and we did 7 miles at about 8:30 pace. I think she will need to pick that pace up if she is going to qualify for Boston. This morning I did another 5 miles at 7:30 pace. Wasn’t able to finish off the last mile with a negative split, so was a little disappointed in that. The first four miles were good though.

This weekend it looks like Hurricane Irene is going to ruin any plans I have of a bike ride. Maybe I will get out in the rain and run.

Ironman Lake Placid

10 Days to go

Single crossing this morning at the pond and a pretty easy pace. Then a short and quick 5 mile run. The run wasn’t that much fun, horse flies are out and I didn’t have my hat! Funny thing, seemed like they were worse on the way out than they were on the way back, maybe I just ran faster and they couldn’t keep up. Yeah, THAT’S what it was! I was so fast they couldn’t keep up. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.

I have my spare tubular stretching now so if there is a flat I will be able to get the new tire on. After seeing the gigantic hole in Julie’s tire on Sunday I really need to have a spare, maybe two!

Weight: 161.2


Ironman Lake Placid

Easy swim

Water temp was 79 this morning. The sunrise was pretty nice as usual and it seemed like a good morning for a slow single. Now if only Smolak Farm would open before 7am like the used to!

Putting the race wheels on tonight to get some more time in the saddle and get more of a feeel for them since I’ve only used them once so far.