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Pumpkinman Half Iron Triathlon - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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South Berwick, Maine
United States
Pumpkinman Triathlon
65F / 18C
Total Time = 6h 56m 45s
Overall Rank = 372/411
Age Group = W45-49
Age Group Rank = 17/18
Pre-race routine:

I signed up for Pumpkinman the first time last year, promptly hurt my foot (initially it was diagnosed as a stress fracture and later as a cuboid bone out of alignment) and had to cancel my plans for participating. After completing the Patriot HIM mid-June - I had such a feeling of accomplishment as well as a feeling that I could sincerely improve that I signed up for Pumpkinman within a week. The summer went on, we went on vacation for a week, the kids participated in summer camp and my motivation slowly ebbed away from me. I didn't follow a strict plan - because I was (in theory) already trained...I knew I could complete the distance, I just needed to improve my time a bit.

This lack of motivation lead to me dropping workout (primarily swim), and just kind of going through the motions. I didn't really give a hoot. About two weeks ago, I told my husband if I hadn't already 1) paid for the flippin' race and 2) DNS from last year, I wouldn't even go.

My family had other obligations the weekend of the race, so I talked one of my good friends into being my sherpa for the weekend. As luck would have it, another good friend from California was riding his bike across North America (he started in Seattle mid July and is coming to our small town in Maine by mid Sept) would be very close to the race at the right time, so he said he would join up with us.

The week before the race, there were all sorts of terrible weather predictions - 80% chance of rain and thunderstorms, parts of Hurricaine Issac coming through the area, 25 mph winds, etc. I obsessively checked the weather about 8 times a day until Saturday morning, when the forecast settled down a bit (30% chance of rain on Sunday - but Saturday night the hurricane would hit).

Sally and I headed out of Camden around 2pm on Saturday with a goal to getting to check-in Saturday before 6pm. Once we got to Spring Hill (the locale of the race), we called Robert who biked over to meet us. I got my schwag (pretty nice!) and we loaded Robert's bike onto the car and headed to the hotel.

We went out for dinner in Portsmouth with Sally, her twin sister and Robert at the Portsmouth Brewery - very good pre-race food, and lots of laughs. The whole time, we were trying to talk Robert into staying at the hotel with us because of the hurricane - he was at a campsite with his tent - to no avail. We drove Robert back to the campsite after supper and then headed back to bed.

Tossed and turned all night until 5:10a...I figured the race meeting started at 6:45, I was in the last wave which was scheduled to go out at 7:28, it would take about 30 minutes to get to the race site from the hotel, this should give me plenty of time, right? Errr...not exactly. We left the hotel around 5:40 (after finding out the fridge was set to "iceberg" and my applesauce, water and espresso drink were FROZEN), and I choked down my food and stressed. We got to the race site at 6:15...crap - now I have about 25 minutes to get ready...but wait, I still had to wait in an incredibaly long, slow moving line to get my chip. WTF? Finally, at 6:30, I got to go set up my transition area...definitely did not like how this was starting out. As I was getting things very quickly unloaded, Robert showed up. I realized that I 1) had to be on the beach at 6:45, 2) needed to use the facilities and 3) needed to get my wetsuit on....holy carp! One of my rack mates said that there were portalets near the water start, so I threw my stuff on the ground kind of in T1/T2 order and sprinted off to the water holding my wetsuit.

I found the portalets - that was a great call - much shorter line than for the ones up near transition, the only bad part was I had no shoes and had to go in barefoot. Blech! Got the key business of the day done and dashed to the race meeting.

It is a fairly low key race, so they let family and friends stand with participants while waiting for the waves to go a result, Robert stood with me and a couple of other women from my area that were also participating (Maureen - who is a FANTASTIC swimmer/biker - she came in second in her AG last year for Lobsterman's aquabike and Mara who has MS and is still rocking - very inspirational to hang with them before the race).
Event warmup:

Once I managed to get the wetsuit in position (really - that's a warm-up in itself), Maureen zipped me up, got the neck adjusted and I fiddled with getting the chip under the leg so I didn't kick it off halfway through. I did some arm circles to get used to the pull on my shoulders from the wetsuit, some hops to keep warm and just tried to take the day in.
  • 46m 9s
  • 2112 yards
  • 02m 11s / 100 yards

Started out and felt great - gliding, pull felt good, didn't feel like my breathing was restricted (which I sometimes feel in the wetsuit). I was sighting pretty well to the first turn buoy, felt like I was keeping up pretty well (still in the midst of a lot of the pink caps from my wave) and not getting bounced around from contact. After the turn, I noticed I was swimming really wide to the right side of the buoys and had to focus pretty hard on moving back into a closer line to the next turn buoy. At this point, I tried to focus on form, keeping a steady pace, breathing with my head down and kicking to keep my feet high. I felt okay, but not as clearly gliding as at the beginning. Final turn buoy was packed with people and a bunch of reeds/ferns growing up from the bottom of the pond...blech. Sighted to the first lap indicator and though about checking my watch and then decided I wouldn't because really - what could I do at that point?

The second lap, I decided to just keep swimming. It was slow going, but 1) I knew I could do it and 2) it was just something to get through. I don't know if I will ever be a fast swimmer - and at this point, I don't think I will...but I would like to feel like it is easier.

Finally got around the final turn buoy and headed for the exit....whew! Checked my watch and saw 46....crap. I had hoped to come out around 40. Pulled the wetsuit off my arms, pulling the goggles/cap and earplugs in the arm and started the long climb up the hill out of transition.
What would you do differently?:

If I continue with triathlons, I'm going to have to seriously think about investing in a sleeveless wetsuit. I really don't like the pull on my shoulders and I don't feel like I can sense the water as well with the sleeves...none of the races I'm doing now need a full-sleeved, so it may help with that whole feeling constricted/can't breathe sensation I can get sometimes.
Transition 1
  • 05m 11s

Included the horrendous run up the hill from the steep and right after the swim...felt really discombobulated - couldn't seem to get organized. Tucked two gels in the legs of my shorts, which fell out at I was running to the timing pad, had to circle back and get them - ended up stuffing everything down my shirt. Sunglasses were so fogged up, I couldn't see and I forgot to spray sunscreen on my shoulders. Just generally FUBAR.

At this point, I started the Garmin 910xt (which I was using as the bike and run computer) and headed out. It was a little cold and I questioned whether or not I should wear my arm warmers or not, which I decided against.
What would you do differently?:

Get to the race earlier so I can set up transition a little better. I should also walk through a complete transition (putting on sunscreen, loading up the clothes with nutrition, etc) several times before the actual event.
  • 3h 36m 4s
  • 56 miles
  • 15.55 mile/hr

The roads were challenging on portions of the ride - very, very bumpy. None of the hills were too bad, and the long downhill on fresh pavement was FUN! Lots and lots of great volunteers, lots of police controlling traffic - very safe and well marked.

Because I was in the last wave, and one of the last folks out of the flippin' water, I decided that I would focus on passing people because really - who was going to pass me? I also kept telling myself, "Race your race" "Stay inside the box" and all the other platitudes to keep me from pushing too hard on the bike. The first lap seemed pretty slow (and looking at the lap times, it was slow by the standards set by the rest of the folks), and by the time I started the second loop the really quick guys that were leading the race lapped me. I was passed a few times by folks that got out of the water after me, and I would remind myself to stay inside the box. That's okay (I was thinking), I'm feeling good. For the rest of the second loop, I stayed consistent and actually started passing people. Yea me!

About 40 miles in, my lower back started to ache (that hasn't happened to me before) and my toes were going numb (which has happened before). I tried to wiggle my toes as much as possible to get the blood flowing to my toes, but my back didn't feel bad enough to take any action.

I finally pulled into transition at 3:26 - just a few minutes ahead of where I thought I would be (I was guessing around 3:30 to 3:40). Robert was right there taking pictures and cheering me on. Very nice to see a familiar face!
What would you do differently?:

Not much - felt pretty darn good.
Transition 2
  • 02m 19s

Again - just really scattered - took me a while to decide to keep biking socks on instead of changing into running socks (which, I should have), decided to not take the time to tape my cuboid pad on (again - I should have), forgot to grab emergency preparations, and forgot sunscreen. I need to completely practice transitions.
  • 2h 36m 59s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 11m 59s  min/mile

Started out feeling really, really good. Had a nice quick first mile, found a place to pee (thank goodness!) and was starting to think that things were going to really work out okay...I had every intention of running the entire course (with the exception of the aide stations, 'cause I can't figure out how to run and drink without covering myself with fluid)...then mile 4 hit and my back completely cramped up - so bad, I had to stop and stretch for a bit. About this time, we had started on repeat one of the out and back - so there were lots of people - including Maureen (she looked great) and Mara (who saw me trying to stretch out my back). I kept plugging along, but was getting slower and slower and needed to stop and walk more and more. My foot was really starting to hurt - to the point that I would need to stop to walk for my back, and starting to run again would make my foot feel like it was about to break. Not good.

Now - the high that I was riding after the bike (which at the time, I thought was a good experience with a respectable time) was starting to wear off because I was being passed right and left, I was already at the back of the pack due to the wave start and I hurt.

The turn for the final out and back was very close to the finish - so close, you could hear people's name being announced as they crossed the line...the devil in my head told me it would be so easy to just go straight at the branch and not head back out...but I sucked it up and went back out.

After passing the final turn-off there is a horrendous hill you have to climb up to get to the final run to the finish. I almost lost it there...I walked up and at the top a friend from town (who had run a race nearby and decided she would come by to see me) yelled out to me! Whoo! I was so surprised to see her there, I almost broke down in tears (it was about a quarter of a mile from the finish, so I'm sure that had *something* to do with it). She ran a bit with me, and then peeled off when I started down the final chute (which - by the way is down the hill we had to run up after the swim, it's on rutty grass after running a half marathon...which had me thinking I was going to do a header at any moment). Sally was there, Robert was there and a few other people...I crossed the line and immediately tried to stretch my back out. The catchers suggested I go to the massage tent - what a good idea!

I headed over to the massage tent, they were no longer accepting names. This is one thing that drives me nutty about being slow. There aren't many people at the finish line, there is usually limited food/drink, the awards ceremony is either in progress or over, and I can't take advantage of post-race really bums me out.
What would you do differently?:

Honestly - I don't know. I know the old adage, "There is no good bike followed by a crap run" but I think that is what happened here. I think my running sucks. I think I have tried to improve my running and just ended up getting more and more hurt. I don't know what to do at this point.
Post race
Warm down:

Sally went to get the car, I packed up my stuff in transition, we loaded Robert's bike onto the car and headed to his hotel in Ogunquit (about 10 miles down the road). We dropped him off (he was going to spend one night in a real bed and then head up to Camden the next day - arriving in the middle of the week) and headed home. I made Sally stop a couple of times on the way so I could get out and walk a bit...but over all felt okay. My foot really hurt (and still does), but there is apparently nothing I can do.

After I got home and got showered/unpacked I fell apart. I am so frustrated with my performance. I have been doing triathlon for four summers (training for 3.5 years) and I am still consistently in the back of the pack. I train consistently. Really consistently. I work hard, I get the mileage in and still I am at the bottom of my age group, I am at the back of the pack.

I don't want to win. I just want to be in the middle. And I can't. I know that starting this "late in life" after 40 years of inactivity is a limiting factor, but I feel like the image of myself I have (as a triathlete) doesn't match up with the reality (a fat, slow plodder). I always thought that with hard work and discipline, I would be able to improve - but I'm not. I am so disheartened right now that I am seriously considering walking away from triathlon completely. I got so much joy out of my accomplishments, but am feeling so frustrated by my poor performance that I am lower than I have been in years. And I don't know how to improve. I don't know how to get better.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Genetics and some mental defect that I am still struggling to figure out.

Event comments:

All and all a well run race...I do just wish there was a little consideration for the strugglers/plodders that take a while to finish a course.

Last updated: 2012-06-19 12:00 AM
00:46:09 | 2112 yards | 02m 11s / 100yards
Age Group: 14/18
Overall: 335/411
Suit: Full Sleeved Nineteen
Course: Two loops around a triangle course counter-clockwise. In the last of 12 waves (we actually saw the first guy come out of the water two waves before ours started)
Start type: Run Plus: Waves
Water temp: 65F / 18C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting:
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Good
Time: 05:11
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed:
03:36:04 | 56 miles | 15.55 mile/hr
Age Group: 16/18
Overall: 368/411
1 18:31 5miles ave speed 16.5 2 19:36 5miles ave speed 15.3 3 19:40 5 miles ave speed 15.2 4 21:51 5 miles ave speed 13.7 5 15:58 5 miles ave speed 18.8 6 20:45 5 miles ave speed 14.5 7 17:13 5 miles ave speed 17.4 8 20:57 5 miles ave speed 14.3 9 17:07 5 miles ave speed 17.5 10 18.09 5 miles ave speed 16.5 11
Wind: Little
Course: Two loop lollipop. The stick of the lollipop and the first half of both loops on fairly bumpy road, second half of loops on fresh pavement - beautiful. The first half of the loops were either gradual hills or a little steeper rollers, the second half of the loops were downhill (combined with the fresh pavement) which meant you could really book it...truly a fun course.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks:
Time: 02:19
Overall: Below average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
02:36:59 | 13.1 miles | 11m 59s  min/mile
Age Group: 16/18
Overall: 373/411
Performance: Bad
1 9:48 2 10:05 3 10:49 4 12:43 5 12:02 6 12:00 7 11:11 8 12:23 9 12:38 10 13:09 11 12:37 12 11:55 13 13:35
Course: Right turn out of transition, quick 2 mile loop, back to transition and two out and backs that consisted of 2.5 steady uphill, turn around in a cul-de-sac (which had a lovely aid station) and back downhill to transition. I hadn't paid enough attention to the course to realize I would have to do the out and back twice until I saw some friends on their second trip out. That was a buzz-kill
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race? Ok
Course challenge
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

2012-09-10 6:57 PM

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Midcoast Maine
Subject: Pumpkinman Half Iron Triathlon

2012-09-11 12:03 PM
in reply to: #4404592

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Subject: RE: Pumpkinman Half Iron Triathlon
Great job Jennifer!!  You hanged tough when the mind battles of a lot of training and racing catch up to you towards the end of the season. 
2012-09-12 12:52 PM
in reply to: #4404592

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Subject: RE: Pumpkinman Half Iron Triathlon

Jennifer, good race.  You just finished another Half-freakin-ironman.  Two in one year, and you've only been at this a few years.  I think you need to step back and really assess how well you're doing.  13.1 after a 56 bike and a 1.2 mile swim is serious.  You sucked it up and got it done.  Good job.

2012-09-13 9:04 PM
in reply to: #4404592

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East Side of the Bay
Subject: RE: Pumpkinman Half Iron Triathlon

As a fellow back of the packer I know just how you feel.  It is especially tough when you are in the last wave or two to even get started.  Sometimes I worry that they will have taken down the finish line!  So- my advice is to try to put things in perspective.  What and who are you comparing yourself too?  You are much better off than the younger non-athletic you and you are light years ahead in fitness & health than the vast majority of your peers. 

You have completed 2 HIMs in one year!!  That is a lot to do and still keep up with all your other obligations.  I think you deserve lots of credit and are the type of racer I enjoy seeing in the Tri world.  Take a rest and keep it up kiddo!!

2012-09-26 2:39 PM
in reply to: #4404592

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Subject: RE: Pumpkinman Half Iron Triathlon

I didn't have as good of a race as Patriot either but you do realize the bike is over twice the ascents and the run nearly twice between the two races? The thing that hurt me as well is going staight back into training after Patriot with no real rest. I never really recovered and struggled with fatigue the entire rest of the season. These were my first two HIM's as well.

Great job.

2012-10-09 1:23 PM
in reply to: #4404592

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Subject: RE: Pumpkinman Half Iron Triathlon

Two half ironmans in one year??!!  I have only done one  Half Ironman ...EVER!!  Congratulations on pushing through and finishing!  :-)

You certainly sound frustrated in your race report.  I am glad to hear you didn't sell your bike and quit Tri-ing.   I agree you have to put things into perspective.  There are SO many people in this world who can't even complete a HALF MARATHON.  There are people who don't even know how to swim.  There are folks who can't ride 25 miles let alone 56!!  You are WAY past them.  You are lapping them ...10 times over.

Yesterday on my lunch run I ran past a guy in a wheel chair waiting at a bus stop.  I only saw that back of him since he was facing the opposite direction.  I almost felt guilty, but it made me appreciate that I CAN run.  There are people that CAN'T do what we do and that alone is enough for me to want to do it.  WE CAN!!  

Have a great day! Smile

2012-10-09 7:36 PM
in reply to: #4404592

Subject: ...
This user's post has been ignored.

Edited by Fred D 2012-10-09 7:40 PM
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