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Pumpkinman Half Iron Triathlon - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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South Berwick, Maine
United States
Pumpkinman Triathlon
50F / 10C
Total Time = 6h 22m 57s
Overall Rank = 167/234
Age Group = M45-49
Age Group Rank = 23/25
Pre-race routine:

Set up transition area, head down to the water.
Event warmup:

There was a ton of fog on the pond and very poor visibility. Small beach area was extremely crowded and they wouldn't let people go very far in the water. It was just too crowded, so I didn't get in any swim warm-up. Since it was wetsuit legal, I figured I'd be OK without any warm-up. I chatted with a few other people as we waited for the fog to lift/burn off. The race started about 30 minutes late.
  • 40m 20s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 55s / 100 yards

The course kinda sucked. If we had just gone clockwise instead of counterclockwise, the sun never would have been a factor. But you spent nearly half of the race being blinded by the sun, which made it very difficult to find the buoys. Add the fact that you were literally crossing paths with Olympic event swimmers and it was an extremely poor design.

To make matters worse, I ran head first into the kayak of a volunteer who seemed completely lost as to what he should be doing out there. Instead of looking for oncoming swimmers, he was turned the opposite way looking at swimmers who were past him and heading to the next buoy. I was pretty much locked straight on to the next buoy, so I'm not sure why he was so far out into a lane where swimmers would be on target, but there he was!
What would you do differently?:

The only real problem on the swim that was under my control was that I got water in my goggles. This didn't happen the previous week, so I'm not sure what happened there. Otherwise, all other obstacles were outside of my control: the course design, the sun, crossing swim routes, wayward kayaks!
Transition 1
  • 06m 12s

I had some trouble getting clipped in at the mounting line. Not sure what was going on, maybe I was just rushing too much. I also had a little trouble getting out of my wetsuit. Still, this T1 time seems extremely long. It didn't feel like it at the time. But at one point in T1 I looked at my watch and it was already 4:00! Having said that, I looked at the results and I see lots of people with T1 times in the 5, 6, 7+ minute range. I might have been on the slow side, but certainly not the slowest!
What would you do differently?:

I wore arm sleeves for the bike, but I really struggled getting them on. I should have at least practiced doing that before attempting it during the race. If I would have worked out a technique for that, I bet I could have saved at least 30 seconds, maybe a minute, in T1. Everything else seemed to go OK.
  • 3h 19m 40s
  • 56 miles
  • 16.83 mile/hr

I would love to have tried this course on fresher legs. But I don't feel like I was fully recovered from the 56 miles of racing from the previous weekend. I started out maybe a little too fast, finishing the first 16 miles at about 17 mph average pace. But I kept my focus on managing my effort and nutrition well enough to get through the bike without cramping. Based on my bike computer measuring the course at 55.2, my time of 3:19:40 works out to almost exactly 16.6 mph average pace. I'm happy with that under the circumstances.
What would you do differently?:

I'm not sure I could have done much differently. Maybe I could have gone a little easier over the first 16 miles, but I don't think it would have amounted to much of a difference. I'm happy with my time and even happier that I didn't get any cramps!
Transition 2
  • 04m 17s

T2 felt alright. I had just a brief moment of difficulty finding my spot in transition. Otherwise, it went well enough. I did spend maybe 30 seconds to send a text to my wife to let her know I was off the bike and heading out on the run. But judging by the other T2 times I see in the results, I was more towards the middle of the pack in terms of T2 time.
What would you do differently?:

If I had remembered to start the live tracking on my cell phone in T1, then I wouldn't have needed to send a text to my wife. So my T1 would have been a little longer, but my T2 might have been almost a minute faster. Otherwise, things went pretty smooth.
  • 2h 12m 31s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 10m 07s  min/mile

I started off at what I thought was a fairly easy pace, but when I turned in times of 8:45 and 8:38 for the first 2 miles I was shocked. I decided to run by feel rather than trying to stick to a specific pace based on my watch. When I got to mile 7, I was averaging about 9:15/mile and I really felt like I had a special day brewing on the run. But my pace was starting to slow and mile 8 was done in 8:48, then mile 9 in 10:22. That also about when I started to feel some pain in the front of my knee just below the knee cap. It seemed to only happen on uphills, so when it hit I would slow to a walk. Mile 10 was similar at 10:29. Around Mile 11 I started to get cramps in my left calf. I had to stop 4 or 5 times to stretch out the cramps. My last 3 miles went 10:50, 11:01, 11:48.

My watch measured the course at 13.3, but even at 13.1 my average pace was 10:07. I was extremely pleased with my finishing time of 2:12:31. Again, who knows what I could have done without the 56 miles from the previous weekend. But if you told me before the race that I'd run 2:12:31, I would have say "yeah, baby"!
What would you do differently?:

Maybe I could have tried to forcibly slow my pace early on and then I could have avoided the issues that caused me to slow over the last 4 miles or so. But changing my gait to force a slower pace might have caused more problems, so I don't feel bad about that decision. The only thing I would change is breaking the cardinal sin of trying something new on race day. At one of the aid stations that had some cola. I had never taken cola during training, but grabbed a cup in the race. It did NOT agree with my stomach. I don't think it slowed me down at all, but it didn't feel good. Don't do that again!
Post race
Warm down:

Grabbed a Gatorade and walked around a little to look for some of my tri club teammates.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I don't want to sound like I'm making excuses because I am thrilled with my time, but it would have been nice if I had done this race on schedule with my taper. Having attempted to race Lake George the weekend before took a toll on my legs. I honestly feel like I might have been 5-7 minutes faster if not for the 56 miles of riding at Lake George. But under the circumstance, I am super excited about my time.

Event comments:

The swim course design was horrible, in my opinion. Why have us swim directly into the sun?! You can choose the course direction. If we had just gone counter clockwise, the sun never would have been a factor. I spent at least 1/3 of the race blinded by the sun and having no idea where the buoys were. On top of that, the decision to put us on the same swim course as the Olympic race was a bad decision. As I was swimming the 2nd loop, I had Olympic swimmers crossing directly in front of me at a 90 degree angle. I had to stop to avoid running into them. It was just a really bad design.

The run course was confusing and could have used a little better direction from the volunteers, but I managed to navigate it without getting off course. The biggest issue was at about 7.5 miles. Some racers were coming in and needed to head for the finish. Other racers needed to pull a 180 and head back for another loop. But no volunteers were yelling directions or directing traffic. I eventually saw some writing spray painted on the ground, but this could have been managed better by the volunteers.

Overall, it was an enjoyable race. The turkey dinner after the race was great! I liked the finisher t-shirt and the race medal. It turned out to be a beautiful day and the course was scenic. I think the race could be improved with better courses on the swim and run. But if I ever do another half iron distance race, I would consider this race again.

Last updated: 2017-09-11 12:00 AM
00:40:20 | 2112 yards | 01m 55s / 100yards
Age Group: 18/25
Overall: 143/234
Performance: Average
Suit: Yes
Course: It was a 0.6 mile triangular course, so half iron participants did two loops. To confuse matters, while the half iron swim was going on, they also released some Olympic swim waves! This made for some confusion and difficult navigation since some Oly swimmers had to cut across the path of oncoming half swimmers. Bad course design. Plus, they had us swimming directly into the sun! It was almost impossible to sight nearly half the course, just making matters worse. You had to make a best guess as to where you were going and just hope it was right. Another flaw in the course design.
Start type: Run Plus: Waves
Water temp: 69F / 21C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Good
Time: 06:12
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Below average
03:19:40 | 56 miles | 16.83 mile/hr
Age Group: 25/25
Overall: 194/234
Performance: Good
Wind: Some with gusts
Course: Bike course was nearly two loops, with some extra distance here and there to get up to the full distance. The course map on MapMyRun said it was only 54.75 miles. My bike computer measured it at 55.2. So take that average pace with a grain of salt. Relatively easy course for a New England race. There were some hills, even some longer ones you had to grind up. But nothing severely steep like I've encountered in other races. The roads were smooth at times and other times it was like riding over cobble stones! I spent a lot of time in fear of getting a pinch flat since I was hitting so many hard bumps!
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 04:17
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Average
Shoe and helmet removal Good
02:12:31 | 13.1 miles | 10m 07s  min/mile
Age Group: 21/25
Overall: 151/234
Performance: Good
Course: Uh, ..., not sure? That had to be the strangest run course I've ever seen! In about a quarter mile stretch, I saw mile markers for 3, 7, and 8! I joked with someone that I felt like I was running in circles. The truth of the matter is that I actually was! There were lots of volunteers to help guide you, but they couldn't know how many times you had done the loop and they weren't really shouting directions. I had to ask more than one time which way to go. It was very confusing, but I got through it without getting off course.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? No
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2017-09-11 5:29 PM

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North Grafton, Massachusetts
Subject: Pumpkinman Half Iron Triathlon
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