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EnduraSport Half - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Pomona, New York
United States
51F / 11C
Total Time = 5h 21m 51s
Overall Rank = 3/139
Age Group = M35-39
Age Group Rank = 1/
Pre-race routine:

Drove up to the course on Friday afternoon. Lucked out as the precipitation from the nor'easter was sitting farther east, so it was cool (about 60F) but dry. Hopped on the bike and rode a loop of the course. Pedaled easy and coasted on the flats and descents while trying to ride steady race power up the climbs. Finished the loop feeling good in about 48min. The ride provided me with some confidence about my pacing, estimated finish time and the layout of the course.

Stayed about 30min away with my sister and her boyfriend at my friends' house. Woke around 5:30 and had my pre-race breakfast (2 Ensure Plus, a Clif bar, glass of OJ and coffee). Sipped on about 24oz of Gatorade on the drive to Harriman.

Weather reports called for cool temps (mid-upper 50s) with a chance of showers later in the day. Not great, but maybe not so bad if things held out until we were well into the bike.
Event warmup:

Let's see. Jogged about 200 yards to the bathroom with rollinbones. Then swam for a couple minutes in the water. How much warm-up can you really do for a 5+ hour race?
  • 30m 14s
  • 1931 meters
  • 01m 34s / 100 meters

Pre-race, everyone seemed to be worried about the water temps. Turned out to be right at 60F and I was fine with a full wetsuit and regular swim cap. Feet were a little numbed, but overall this would be as warm as I'd get for the next several hours.

Everything went pretty well on the swim. There were several people swimming around my pace, so I had some feet to follow for good chunks of time. Had a little jostling around the buoys but nothing too bad except the first one when someone hit my head and pushed down. As we finished the first lap, I checked my watch and saw I was well under 15:00...damn!

Second lap was more of the same. I felt very comfortable for the most part and was out of the water in under 29:00 (rest of the time was a long jog up the beach and across the parking lot into transition). The bad news was that as I got out of the water I realized it was raining. And pretty steady at that. Damn!
What would you do differently?:

Maybe swim slower so I could stay warm longer. ;-)

j/k. Nothing really.
Transition 1
  • 01m 56s

Struggled a bit getting my wetsuit off my ankles, but wasn't real worried about time in transition today. My mind was trying to focus on what to wear for the bike.

I had brought plastic bags, but left my stuff out for the swim since I hadn't expected rain yet (note to self: you are not a weatherman. be prepared.) Put on an already wet long sleeve full zip jersey which I figured would be warmer than arm warmers (good call) and easier to put on as well (questionable). My gloves were sitting on my towel, but already wet so I decided to leave them (stupid). I had knee and leg warmers in my bag but figured my legs would be OK (only slightly less stupid).
What would you do differently?:

Not really concerned about my time here, but decision-making could have been better. Wear the gloves and the leg warmers.
  • 3h 07m 6s
  • 57 miles
  • 18.28 mile/hr

Out on the bike, I was immediately cold but figured I would warm up some as I went. Another wrong guess on my part.

A couple riders passed me and I passed a few over the first part of the lap, but things strung out pretty quickly. My first time down the Tiorati descent was when I really admitted how cold it was and started praying for this "shower" to blow past and maybe some spots of sun to warm things. The climb which immediately followed did not warm me as I had expected, but otherwise I felt good physically. Lap 1 was done in @48min.

About half-way around lap 2 I began to think about bailing. The rain was not easing and was biting. The wind was chilling. I could not shift into my big ring at times because my hands would numb. So I would have to blow on them and then try to shift again. I passed only a few people on this lap (probably people farther back on the swim or in the second wave). There was one rider who I traded places with for some time (actually started in loop 1). He would catch and pass me on the hills and I would return the favor on flats/descents. He clearly had me beat on power/weight, but I was bigger so clearly more raw power. We joked about how much we were dreading the upcoming descent. (It wasn't really a joke.) But the descent was a bit better than the first time (or at least I was ready for it now) so I didn't think I was going to bail yet. On the climb this time, a rider sprinted up to me from behind and asked what lap we were on. "I'm on my second.", I replied. When I looked over at him, I realized he was trembling from head to toe--this while riding uphill. "I'm done. I'm done.", he kept repeating. I saw him stop at the top of the hill--no idea if he regrouped or indeed called it a day. At least I knew now I was doing better in the cold than some others. Lap 2 was done in @47min.

During lap 3, I dropped the other half rider who I had traded spots with for good. But now the mini riders were on the course and they seemed to be clustered together more and often riding wide which meant a lot of "on your left" calls. Had to hit the brakes down Tiorati this time for this reason. I was pissed, not because I lost time in the race but because that meant I was going to be on the bike longer. I really couldn't wait to get off the bike anymore. There was a group of guys blasting music part way up the hill and I came up to them as "runnin' with the Devil" was playing. Got me to up my cadence and power for a minute and I thanked them (but then realized I probably didn't want to be wasting energy at this stage of the race). Lap 3 was done in @46min.

The final lap I argued with myself about whether to manage my pace for the run or use some of my energy to get off the bike faster. It was a see-saw battle and I'm not sure which voice won. I did learn I could pee on the bike on my final descent on Tiorati. Blessed warmth! I think I smiled for the only time on a downhill all day. Held steady the last climb and headed off the course into transition. Never so happy to get off the bike in all my life! Lap 4 was done in about 46min.

I drank 1 bottle each lap (Gatorade lap 1 and Accelerade lap 2-4). Finished 7 of 8 gels (getting my flasks in and out of my jersey pocket without dropping them was a feat to be proud of today).
What would you do differently?:

Ride a bit easier. My effort level was perfect for a faster course where I get off the bike under 2:45. The extra 20min or so at that effort level however would cost me later.
Transition 2
  • 02m 20s

Didn't bother to take my feet out of my shoes and came to pretty much a complete stop to dismount. I didn't care. I was off the bike! But where the heck were all the other bikes? I couldn't see many in transition.

Managed to get my helmet off (which I learned many could not on their own), but couldn't empty my jersey pockets for the life of me. No idea why this was so important (really, how much were some extra gels and a couple empty flasks going to weigh me down on the run?). But I wouldn't leave until I managed to get everything out of them.

Got my shoes on my stumps--my feet were completely numb explaining why I never felt them bother me on the bike. Grabbed my hat and race belt and was off.
What would you do differently?:

Leave the crap in my pockets.
  • 1h 40m 16s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 07m 39s  min/mile

There were quite a few mini runners out with me. Most slower, but a couple faster. And one half runner went by me in the first mile at a good clip. No way I would catch him today and he was out of sight shortly after mile 2. By mile 2, I also felt the soles of my feet again. Felt like there was gravel in my shoe, but decided after 2 miles I could just leave it there (turns out there wasn't anything--this was just the numbness leaving my feet).

We turned onto a paved trail in the woods and then the mini turn-around came and went. I quickly realized I was completely alone. The course turned onto a fire road trail and I was at least able to pass the time by watching my footing to make sure I didn't slip/trip on rocks or land too deeply in mud. Came back out to the road after mile 5 and there was an aid station there. Asked the volunteer how many were out ahead of me. "You're in third.", he says. My brain was having a hard time processing this piece of information. Third? Third place? Oh yeah, also learned my toes were all still there around this point. Nice to know.

It seemed a long way out to the turn-around. I saw the 2 runners out ahead on their way back--they were well out ahead. OK. Can I really take third? How far back are others? At the turn-around I saw I had maybe 1/4 mile on the next runner. By now I knew the last few miles were going to be really tough. They are largely uphill and I was running a bit too fast after biking a bit too hard. I held pace until mile 9. Then the wheels came off.

For the next 4 miles I would run/walk at no set interval. Tried to save the running for the downhills and walk the uphills where at all possible (my running pace uphill now was not far off of a walk). By the big hill at mile 10 I had conceded 3rd--just not enough left in my tank to fight. But still hadn't been caught. Where the heck is he?

I'd keep checking now and then over the next couple miles. He was closing, but not quickly. And I still had some good clearance by the time I hit mile 12. If I could just run hard for 7 minutes or so (but I couldn't) He finally caught me in the last 1/2 mile and told me at times I was pulling away from him as I walked (at least my "strategy" worked to some degree).

Amazingly, I "only" slowed to about a 9:00 pace over the last 4 miles and nearly made my 1:40 run time goal (but, of course, had been on pace to break 1:35 through 9).
What would you do differently?:

Run a little easier for the first 9 miles.
Post race
Warm down:

"Warm-down"? Ha! This was when I needed a warm-up.

Got my medal and space blanket and hustled over to transition to grab some of my stuff. Brought it back to the car and got out of as much wet gear as I could and into some dry clothes (quite an ordeal as I was cramping whenever I squatted to pick something up or bent over to pull things off/on). Then went to get some food and wait for others to come in.

Picked up my award (and my sister's--2nd OA female and 1st AGer) and then shared a cold beer with Mark & Matt.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I rode the bike pretty much to plan, but in hindsight my plan was a bit too aggressive given how long it takes to do this course. Then I went a bit too fast early in the run. Result was something around a 9:00 pace over those last 4 miles of the run.

Still, that probably only cost me something like 3-5min net so I was pleased with the overall effort.

Event comments:

RD & volunteers did a great job in nasty conditions. The course is very tough, but fair. I'd like to think I'd be willing to give it a shot again, but perhaps the "mini" would be a better option next time.

Last updated: 2006-11-20 12:00 AM
00:30:14 | 1931 meters | 01m 34s / 100meters
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 15/139
Performance: Good
Suit: Full wetsuit
Course: Lake swim with triangular clockwise course. 2 loops. Probably about 100m short per loop by my estimate.
Start type: Run Plus: Waves
Water temp: 60F / 16C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time: 01:56
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Below average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
03:07:06 | 57 miles | 18.28 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 6/139
Performance: Good
AP: 246, NP: 265, IF 0.85, TSS: 224.1, Work: 2747, VI: 1.08, HR: 147
Wind: Some
Course: 4 loop course with 1,500 ft. elevation gain/loss each lap.
Road: Rough Wet Cadence: 78
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 02:20
Overall: Below average
Riding w/ feet on shoes Bad
Jumping off bike Bad
Running with bike Below average
Racking bike Average
Shoe and helmet removal Below average
01:40:16 | 13.1 miles | 07m 39s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 16/139
Performance: Below average
Course: Out and back course on paved and dirt/grass roads. Run has 1,200 ft. of elevation gain/loss (most of the climbing on the return leg).
Keeping cool Average Drinking Not enough
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? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2007-05-21 2:49 PM

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Not a Coach
Media, PA
Subject: EnduraSport Half

2007-05-21 3:12 PM
in reply to: #810271

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New City, New York
Subject: RE: EnduraSport Half

You've been the model of consistency in your training and in ordinary conditions I would have expected a great race from you. These were not normal conditions and your effort here was nothing short of remarkable.  You were right in your blog, it was a battle of attrition. Clearly you prevailed.

Stay the course and I'm sure IMLP  will be  everything  you're hoping for.

And for the record I'm still calling you 3rd overall because there is no way in hell the "winner" did 4 laps in 2:30.

Agree, next time we race together  in the sun (and I bring the beer)!!! Always a pleasure John.

2007-05-21 3:24 PM
in reply to: #810271

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Frisco, Texas
Subject: RE: EnduraSport Half

Congratulations on taking your AG!  That's great.  Nice run in terrible conditions.


2007-05-21 5:51 PM
in reply to: #810271

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Subject: RE: EnduraSport Half

Impressive determination in difficult conditions and the result amazing!

You rocked it...congrats on winning your AG and being!


2007-05-21 6:07 PM
in reply to: #810271

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Rochester Hills, Michigan
Gold member
Subject: RE: EnduraSport Half

Johnny, you're the rock.  First, that's a phenomenal swim time. Kudos for kicking it hard on the swim.  And...

Amazing performance over a brutal course.  What you didn't have in speed on the run, you had in toughness.  Outstanding work, bro. Much more satisfying than a flat, fast, warm course. Of course I'm sure it didn't feel that way at the time.    Congratulations!!!

2007-05-21 6:40 PM
in reply to: #810271

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Reston VA
Subject: RE: EnduraSport Half

Great race report and incredible race!

Those conditions did sound pretty darn epic and you did a great job not letting the conditions beat you!

I expect nothing but the best from you at IMLP! Its going to be so fun watching you lap me on the course (hopefully the run and not the bike LOL).

2007-05-21 6:45 PM
in reply to: #810271

No excuses!
Subject: RE: EnduraSport Half
Great job considering the conditions, IMLP will be your day!!
2007-05-21 7:20 PM
in reply to: #810271

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Boston, MA
Subject: RE: EnduraSport Half

awesome race my friend! In particular with the tough conditions, I would have DNS for sure


2007-05-21 8:25 PM
in reply to: #810808

South Jersey
Subject: RE: EnduraSport Half

Quote of the day: "Blessed warmth!" Ha...I LOVE it !

Awesome race, way to hang tough and post excellent swim, bike, and run times. And, given the conditions and how numb you were and all the decision making that was required, your transitions were pretty good too. You truly are inspirational.

Last Thursday, you almost had me convinced to give this race a go next year, but now I am thinking maybe not .

Congrats on the hardware! You're going to do awesome at LP!!!!

2007-05-21 8:25 PM
in reply to: #810808

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Philadelphia, south of New York and north of DC
Subject: RE: EnduraSport Half

Damn, John... that sounds brutal...

and your sister takes 1st AG NS 2 OA...  amazing pair, you two... 

2007-05-21 9:34 PM
in reply to: #810271

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Subject: RE: EnduraSport Half
Good job JK! Half's are hard enough under ideal conditions, much less in a blizzard. Maybe you should move somewhere warmer!

2007-05-22 8:30 AM
in reply to: #810271

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Centreville, MD
Subject: RE: EnduraSport Half
Congratulations!  I was getting cold just reading your report.  Way to hang tough.
2007-05-22 9:37 AM
in reply to: #810271

Subject: ...
This user's post has been ignored.
2007-05-22 10:54 AM
in reply to: #810271

Cycling Guru
Fulton, MD
Subject: RE: EnduraSport Half

A 5:21 swim!!  Holy crap dude, you are a beast!!

Oh, wait, some of that was a ride and a run???

Way to suck it up and survive!  Epic race and a great result from all the training you've been logging.  Take a short break and re-focus for the big dance in July.

Congrats on the finish and the AG win!

2007-05-22 12:10 PM
in reply to: #810271

Subject: RE: EnduraSport Half
Nice race John. Way to stick it out in the cold wet conditions. Your better than I am...I am not so sure I would have been such a good sport with the cold...
2007-05-22 12:21 PM
in reply to: #811903

South Deerfield, MA
Subject: RE: EnduraSport Half
Congrats on the win!

I was there with you. I will eventually put up my race report!

Hopefully IMLP will have better weather. I do not think I could to a full IM in that nasty weather!

2007-05-22 4:29 PM
in reply to: #810271

Extreme Veteran
"the wave", iowa
Subject: RE: EnduraSport Half
nice job jk! if you look in the "who's racing" post, i knew you were going to do well. thanks for not making me a liar
2007-05-22 5:59 PM
in reply to: #810271

Broomfield, Colorado
Subject: RE: EnduraSport Half

STUD!  Freakin hilarious the T1 comments...."you are not a weatherman."  LOL! 

Great race JK!

2007-05-23 9:07 AM
in reply to: #810271

Wisconsin near the Twin Cities metro
Subject: RE: EnduraSport Half
Whoa...great result !!!!  Sounded like pretty tough conditions (reminds me of a little ride and run I had in crappy weather last September !).  Congrats!!!!!!!
2007-05-23 12:34 PM
in reply to: #810271

Subject: RE: EnduraSport Half
Awesome race and cool (no pun intended) RR! You showed just unbelievably fantastic drive and determination in the cruelest of conditions. And the "pulling away while I walked" line was classic!

Great job on the hardware!

2007-05-23 2:56 PM
in reply to: #810271

Subject: RE: EnduraSport Half

All that powerlifting you've been doing paid off!

Great job out there. LP will be a great day for you.

2007-05-23 6:31 PM
in reply to: #810271

Subject: RE: EnduraSport Half

Whew, I sure hope it's not that cold at either Mooseman or Timberman.  Nice going, toughing it out.  Man, you sure are a fast swimmer, that's the kind of speed I need!


2007-05-24 9:16 AM
in reply to: #810271

Extreme Veteran
Southeast, PA
Subject: RE: EnduraSport Half
Incredible race. After a day like that, I don't think there is ANYTHING that can get in your way. Congrats.
2007-05-25 5:02 PM
in reply to: #810271

Middletown, DE
Subject: RE: EnduraSport Half
John... great job despite the conditions. 
2007-06-26 4:03 PM
in reply to: #810271

Extreme Veteran
Home port
Subject: RE: EnduraSport Half
You're my hero!!  Damn, I even more impressed now. 
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