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Pumpkinman Half Iron Triathlon - Triathlon

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South Berwick, Maine
United States
Pumpkinman Triathlon
60F / 16C
Total Time = 5h 34m 40s
Overall Rank = 196/
Age Group = M50-54
Age Group Rank = 15/
Pre-race routine:

Spent the night before at Jonathan's house, which was probably the highlight of the weekend. Awesome time to see him in his natural habitat. We had a wonderful stir fry and watched little college football and visited. We all commented that this race had a weird feeling like there wasn't even a race coming up the next day.

On race day, I woke up a good hour later than I usually would since we were so close to the venue, Even so I didn't sleep particularly well, but that's par for the course. Normal breakfast - bagel with honey, my Reliv concoction, a bar, and stopped for coffee on the way to the site.

Event warmup:

Static stretching, a few squats, not much really. I figure a half is long enough. I also didn't put my wetsuit on until about 15 minutes before my wave went off.

  • 38m 51s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 50s / 100 yards

Goal: Swim: Go as easy as possible and just maintain good swimming form. I expected this would get me at about 36-38 minutes if all went well.

For the swim, I started toward the middle inside of my wave. I really went out easy at the start to be as sure as possible to avoid the panic or whatever happened at Rev3. It worked, as I swam very comfortably out to the first buoy and turned left. At that point I was in the midst of the crowd and it was very physical, just due to the number of people all together from not only my wave but the other waves on their second loop. I decided to swim a little outside the main group, so I pushed a little to the right and had nice clean water. There were no feet to draft, but there was also no contact. It was very easy swimming and my breathing was very comfortable. The remainder of the first loop was just cruise control with the focus on steady breathing and easy pace.
On the second loop the crowds were largely gone as the earlier waves had exited. I took a much more direct course by following the turn buoys, though that meant going inside some of the directional buoys which seemed to be quite offline to me. On the backside of the second loop, my upper legs started to tighten up, so I tried to “stretch” them out as best as possible and use them by kicking a lot more to see if getting some more blood in them would help. They continued to threaten to cramp up, but I just swam to the finish and hoped for the best. When I reached the shore and stood up, my legs really tightened up and required a few moments of stretching to alleviate the cramps. Overall I was happy with the swim, though my time was 38:51 I was totally relaxed and felt like I didn't use very much energy on the swim, so I had plenty left for the bike and run, leg cramps notwithstanding.

Transition 1
  • 02m 47s

After the swim there is a short but very steep hill up to T1. The hill run is actually a timed event to try to make it interesting that you’re climbing a big hill before you even start the race! I sort of walk/jogged and made my way up this hill to the transition area hoping my legs would loosen up but not wanting to overdo anything to stress them given the tightness.

Once into the transition area, there was someone in my row getting medical attention and a golf cart was there waiting to take him away. We weren't allowed into our row for a short time, maybe a minute, while they got him situated. You can see the affected athletes looking at T1 times for our age group as there are about 5 of us with about a minute more than everyone else. This transition was actually pretty smooth for me,

While we waited I opted for socks which I put on from the "back side" of the row, and also took my wetsuit off which was easier with the sleeveless version. Once I was allowed in the row, the rest of the change went smoothly.

What would you do differently?:

Not much given I really didn't want to hammer up the hill given my leg cramps. If everything felt good out of the water I'd push the hill harder.

  • 2h 39m 2s
  • 56 miles
  • 21.13 mile/hr

Goal: Accumulate less than 175 TSS for the bike. For my expected time, that would mean about 77-78% FTP (200-205 watts) with little fluctuation for uphills and downhills. This should leave me with plenty of energy for a good run. Most plans call for anything under 180 being fine, so this number seemed pretty conservative. I’ve had 2 very successful races this year which ended with the bike, so I did not want to fall in love with a bike split today.

I started the bike riding my target watts of 200-205, which felt very comfortable though still requires focus. I was hoping that the cramps would subside with the riding motion, which is essentially what happened at Rev3 two weeks ago. The course is pretty flat and the hills are not steep, but more of the gradual/false flat type, so keeping the power relatively steady is easier than on courses like Timberman. After 10 miles, the cramps weren't going away, but at least they weren't getting worse. I decided to lower the watts to 195 and see if that helped. At mile 20, the cramps were again not getting worse but they were still present. Oh well, looks like I was gonna have to deal with it. So I kept the watts around 190-195 to be safe, so well below what I had planned originally. At that point the wind started picking up, so I really focused on staying aero and really keeping my body and head out of the wind.

From there to the end I just kept riding along at the new effort level which felt very comfortable and I tried not to ride too hard up any hills so as not to spike the power numbers. There were a few times I had to push harder to complete passes (once you start to pass you have to finish) but otherwise I really didn't have any power spikes. My final bike time was 2:39:02. I had hoped to at least break 2:45, so that time was fine and actually surprised me given what felt like a very easy effort. My TSS was well under budget at 161. I really worked hard on staying aero and setting the bike up to be aero, and I think it really helped.

What would you do differently?:

Not too much I may have drank a little too much water. I've been tracking my water loss through sweat rate and it's very high, so I probably drank more water on this ride than I typically do. It didn't really seem to cause much of an issue, but I just felt a little bloated about mile 35 so I backed off. I did finish 550 calories of liquid nutrition and a 100 calorie gel, so that's 650 calories in a 2:40 ride (243/hour) which is almost exactly what I had trained for.

Transition 2
  • 04m 23s

T2 was slow because I had to go to the bathroom (number 2) and there was someone in the only port-a-pottie in transition who seemed to take forever. I tried to keep flexing/stretching my legs and such, but they were still really tight and not loosening up at all. T2 was actually only 4:23, so it wasn't that long, but it probably would have under 2:00 if no bathroom break. I also forgot my race belt with my number, so I had to run back and get it. My spot wasn't far form the exit so that was a minor annoyance. Anyway, on to the run.

What would you do differently?:

Run out of transition and use the port a potties which were used before the race. They were a little off the course, but there would have been no waiting! Not sure why I had to go, this has never happened before during a race. Maybe ate too much the day before, but the stir fry was really good!

  • 2h 07m 49s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 09m 46s  min/mile

Start easier than expected pace for the first three miles, then spend 6 miles at target pace, then last 5k give whatever I have left. I was hoping to go under 2:00, which means 9:05 miles. I know the first two miles is downhill, so even with a low effort the first three miles would be under 9.

The run started fine, but my legs were already cramped and during the first mile I really wondered if there was any way I would be able to finish 13.1 feeling so bad at the start. But I had the pickle juice and was hoping for the best. With a goal of 2:00, I knew I had to average 9:05 to get it done. The first almost 2 miles is net downhill with no uphills at all, so it's a great way to start. I shuffled along at about 8:50 those first few miles and felt fine, or at least no worse. I decided to take a small shot of pickle juice at the aid stations as well as water or coke as I felt like it. I then did 3 pretty "fast" miles at more like 8:45 (these were faster since there were uphills as well) and still felt ok. My pace then slowed to about 9:05 for the next 4-5 miles with the same strategy, some miles faster and some slower mostly due to the hills. But the pickle juice then ran out. At somewhere around mile 10.5 my legs completely locked up where they had been cramping. I stopped but couldn't stretch or massage them out of it. I decided to start waddling and see if they would co-operate, but they never really changed. I walked most of the last 2.5 miles, with some short running/shuffling mixed in. I got to the top of the hill before the finish chute and stopped again and stretched and massaged them enough to make a good showing running through the chute at least. Run time was 2:07:49. Slow and missed the goal, but I was really happy with my mental toughness to run through the feeling for 10.5+ miles and then just get through it to the end.

What would you do differently?:

Not cramp on the swim. I think this run was excellent given how I started. I really didn't think I'd be able to get through 13.1 based on how the cramps felt at the start. But the pickle juice, or the placebo effect, really kept the cramps at bay until almost the end. Maybe if I had enough pickle juice to get through the whole thing I'd have been able to hit the goal.

Post race
Warm down:

Lie down and eat a banana and a bagel. Legs were done.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I have no idea what is causing these cramps on the swim or why they won't go away, but I'll get it figured out. It may be just related to the lack of swimming all summer and therefore my legs aren't used to being in that position for that length of time. The sprint at Timberman went very well obviously, but it's very short (8:30).

Event comments:

Love this race. The only complaints are the swim setup, but with the small lake and 2 loop swim there's not a lot to be done. Maybe shorter gaps between waves would help, but not sure as they second loop of the early waves would probably still overlap.

Post race food is second to no other race. It's a full on home made buffet Thanksgiving dinner on real plates with real silverware, and homemade apple crisp and whoopie pies for dessert.

Last updated: 2013-04-26 12:00 AM
00:38:51 | 2112 yards | 01m 50s / 100yards
Age Group: 24/
Overall: 0/
Suit: Sleeveless TYR
Course: The swim is a counter clockwise 2 loop triangular course in a fairly small pond. You swim out to the first turn buoy, turn left and swim along the length of the pond, then turn left and come back to the start area and repeat the loop. There were 8 waves going off at 5 minute intervals, and I was in the last wave. This meant that when I started there would be my wave as well as other waves doing their second loop.
Start type: Wade Plus:
Water temp: 72F / 22C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Below average
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Good
Time: 02:47
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed:
02:39:02 | 56 miles | 21.13 mile/hr
Age Group: 8/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
NP: 197 TSS: 161 IF: .790 VI: 1.04
Wind: Strong with gusts
Course: 2 loop course with some rolling hills. Several near 180 turns. Pavement is either gorgeous newly paved road or some short areas of rough pavement. Winds were very light for the first half and very strong with gusts for the second half. The course is generally overall uphill for the first 60% and then generally overall downhill the last 40%.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 89
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Too much
Time: 04:23
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
02:07:49 | 13.1 miles | 09m 46s  min/mile
Age Group: 20/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Below average
Course: Rolling course with non-threatening hills from a steepness point of view, but very little of the run is flat. You are either going up or down almost the entire run. There is a 2 loop part in which you do the middle ~5 miles twice. Temps were very nice and low humidity.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2013-09-10 10:45 AM

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Subject: Pumpkinman Half Iron Triathlon

2013-09-10 1:45 PM
in reply to: #4851790

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Midcoast Maine
Subject: RE: Pumpkinman Half Iron Triathlon
Nicely done Warren! Sorry to hear about the cramps - but you still had a great ride. The run course is no joke - and to bust out a 2:07 on crampy legs shows some serious mental fortitude.

Fantastic season, eh? What's next for you?
2013-09-10 7:38 PM
in reply to: #4851790

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Extreme Veteran
Sidney, Ohio
Subject: RE: Pumpkinman Half Iron Triathlon
man that is one tough effort Warren!  to have that much trouble with cramps and still finish strong, great job!
2013-09-11 4:10 AM
in reply to: mambos

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Subject: RE: Pumpkinman Half Iron Triathlon

Congratulations on a solid race, Warren!   Your times and splits are amazing given your cramping.  I've only cramped up a couple times over the years in training and was told it was because I wasn't well hydrated but I have no clue if that's correct.   You're just a great athlete and definitely have mental toughness to work through the leg pain.  Way to go!!

And it made me smile that you got to be with Jonathan the night before.  Maybe he spiked the stir fry with something so he could beat you?!?  



2013-09-11 12:07 PM
in reply to: #4851790

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New Hampshire
Subject: RE: Pumpkinman Half Iron Triathlon
Awesome race man. Way to push through the cramps and still throw down a great time.
2013-09-12 10:21 AM
in reply to: jonD81

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Mastic Beach, NY
Subject: RE: Pumpkinman Half Iron Triathlon
Warren great race especially given that you had the issues with the leg cramps. You had terrific swim and once again you killed it on the bike. It sounds like you weren't even giving it a full effort on the bike and you still throw down a great bike split. Most importantly you really toughed it out on the run with the leg cramps and still but up a great time. Way to go showing off that relentless determination!

2013-09-12 11:22 AM
in reply to: strikyr

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Austin, Texas
Subject: RE: Pumpkinman Half Iron Triathlon

Wow - with leg cramps to throw down that time is terrific, and it sounds like you raced a smart race all through.


Is this your last race for the season?


2013-09-12 11:55 AM
in reply to: mcmanusclan5

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Subject: RE: Pumpkinman Half Iron Triathlon
Originally posted by mcmanusclan5

Wow - with leg cramps to throw down that time is terrific, and it sounds like you raced a smart race all through.


Is this your last race for the season?


Thanks, and yes, that was my last planned race. My fall goal is to start a weight training program with my youngest son who really wants to do it but needs some motivation.

Originally posted by jswayland

Nicely done Warren! Sorry to hear about the cramps - but you still had a great ride. The run course is no joke - and to bust out a 2:07 on crampy legs shows some serious mental fortitude.

Fantastic season, eh? What's next for you?

This was another incredible season. First mutli sport win, another win in a relay at Timberman, and to win with my boys at Eastman was surreal again. Will we see you out there at Rev3 or Pumpkinman next year?
2013-09-12 12:06 PM
in reply to: wbayek

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Just South of Boston
Subject: RE: Pumpkinman Half Iron Triathlon
Cool report. I may do this race as a follow up to Timberman next year (Yes, I'm going back there, too!).

2013-09-13 7:33 PM
in reply to: #4851790

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Fort Wayne
Subject: RE: Pumpkinman Half Iron Triathlon

Suffering through the cramps makes for a very long day!  It's too bad you had to deal with that at your "A" race.  I would have to guess that Jonathon spiked your food and drink the night before in an effort to "beat the old man."

Taking the longer route on the swim has become your staple swim it sounds.  It may be the way to go unless you can swim like Jonathon and knock down some serious swim times and take a few more seconds of a killer swim.  I wonder if your feet were pointed more than normal or if they were pointed normally because of muscle memory and you didn't have the fitness to point that hard because of your lack of swim training.

Your bike is great!  To be able to pull off a very strong average and maintain such a low effort is remarkable!  I am not one to be able to control my effort as well as you.  Great control and discipline!

You were well on track to have had a very strong run and come in well under your goal until the cramps began in earnest.  That sucks!!  Being on track and then having to walk seems like it would have been a really tough mentally, congrats on having the mental toughness to stay in there and still finish strong.

2013-09-15 8:47 AM
in reply to: DirkP

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Extreme Veteran
Racine, Wisconsin
Subject: RE: Pumpkinman Half Iron Triathlon
Warren, congratulations on the mental toughness and a great time!! Pickle juice?? Have not heard of that one
Maybe your bloat on the bike was from your needed bathroom stop and then by not drinking enough water the cramping didn't go away?
I think you and an awesome race and definetly toughed it out congrats again !!

2013-09-17 11:22 AM
in reply to: Jo63

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Subject: RE: Pumpkinman Half Iron Triathlon
Congrats, that was an awesome race. Sorry about the cramping but you got it done. GREAT job!
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