Thursday, January 12, 2012

FirmMan Race Report

F.I.R.M. Man Triathlon – 9/11/11 – Ironman distance
Race start 7:00 a.m.

Transition opens 5:00 to 6:30.

Weather was in the 70s and breezy. Wind picked up overnight the night before the race.
Hotel I am in is within walking distance of race, but since I was checking out in the am before the race, decided to drive my car close to race – so all of my stuff was close by for after race.

Two days prior to race very upset stomach – usual nerves.
Had just watched my friends racing weekend before at Big George and the grimaces and smiles to go along with that made me nervous for my own race.

Friday – drove to Narragansett. Three hr. drive – I’m a bit of a lead foot.
Mid afternoon arrived – beautiful weather – sunny, and water is calm. Drove around a bit, checked out race site, and checked into my hotel. I then drove a bit North of race site and found a nice place to park and got the bike out for a short shakedown ride. Less than 2 miles – just checking gears, etc. Get the “niggles” out. Then got back to car and ran for a short distance on a nice soft trail – somewhat rocky – but round rocks very common in the area and some sand. The run and bike really helped calm my nerves – remind myself that I am ready to do this race. Feeling good.

For dinner went to the Coast Guard House – the place has been there forever – thru a hurricane – maybe a few – restaurant – with bar upstairs on the deck. Beautiful night so I sat upstairs at the bar. Ordered fish tacos – they repeated on me the next day. They also overcooked the fish – so I complained (which I never do) and they comped the meal and drink. Good I had all of Saturday to eliminate the remnants of burnt fish. Chatted for a bit with a group who were going to play at a private party down the road – musical group – jazz. Very nice – one woman and three guys.

Saturday was Packet pick up – got there right at opening – 10:00 – they were setting up for dinner that night – pasta - $12. decided not to sign up for that. Small crowd –
Met friends Paul and Mark, and Mike for lunch in Jamestown for lunch. We had sandwiches looking out at the water – Paul and Mark are from Salem, MA. We met last year on the Block Island Ferry. So we did a bit of catching up – had lunch and then went our separate ways. Lots of fun and laughs - good company. Again, good for my nerves.

Went back to hotel – set up my stuff – got my transition bag all ready, prepped bike, etc. Laid out my clothes for the next day and packed all that I could for the morning. Saturday night we went to Aunt Carrie’s – someplace I’ve been going since I was a kid – restaurant known for clam cakes and chowder – homemade cinnamon bread and homemade pies. We ended up getting take out and ate in my room – that was fun. More relaxing – there was a long wait for food otherwise.

Race Day – woke at 2:19, 3:30 and got up at 4:00 a.m. Packed up the room – brought everything out to the car – and then checked out. Drove to transition. I was maybe the third person setting up. Got my bike racked, my stuff set up and got body marked. Went back to the car and napped – I was tired still. I was worried about sleeping thru start of race, but no go. The sun wasn’t even up yet – so as soon as there was light in the sky I woke up.

By now 6:00 – more people started showing up and milling around. The wind had picked up overnight so you could really hear the surf – that was nerve wracking. Cheryl called me – and reminded me that I know how to swim in waves and I would be fine. “You can do this” which was my motto anyway. My own mantra. I put my wet suit on – and Mike showed up – took some pics – it is a long walk down the beach to start – so he was able to walk with me. That also helped – we laughed a lot along the way – chatting with others. While lining up I recognized a guy – Trevor – (kid) from my X-bike class back home. Turns out he has moved to Hartford, CT but came out for this race. He was a swim instructor at the Cicotti. Water temp is 70degrees. Not bad at all.

We didn’t get in the water right at 7:00 – did a little memorial moment of silence for 9/11 etc. then the first swimmers got it. The waves looked intimidating – one guy actually got into the surf and then turned around and walked out. I was in the second wave – a lot of people walked out part of the way – so I did that – which actually was good gave me a chance to get used to the water, waves and get my breathing under control. Then started to swim thru the surf. By the time I rounded the first buoy – took a right turn to swim along the shore – I had calmed down and gotten into a pretty good rhythm. At first I had trouble sighting – the buoys would disappear with every roll of the waves. A guy on a surf board told me to sight using the condos on the shore – it worked! Thanks to the volunteers. I would swim sighting on the condos and then all of a sudden a buoy would be next to me. Some of the waves were pretty good ones – you would go to take a breath and all of a sudden be almost airborne when being tossed. Weird. Once another swimmer ran into me – actually a couple of times, made me mad since it was such a small field and large swimming area – Pushed my way away from this person. As I was coming in toward the beach I started getting hit by waves coming from behind. Now getting into breaking surf. One snuck up on me and crashed down on me – and I kicked really hard to get out of it – and got a wicked cramp in my calf. It went away, but would resurface later in day on bike and over next couple of days.

At end of swim there was about a foot of seaweed to swim thru near shore. Really couldn’t swim in it so stood up and waded thru and out of it. That was uncomfortable – was worried about getting tangled but it wasn’t really that bad.

Swim 49:04
T1 – 3:40 - could do better in T1 – they had wet suit strippers, so really it was just that it took me time to get my food loaded into my pockets, etc. Still had a lot of seaweed on me – but that would eventually dry and fall off I hope.

Bike start was good - flat – so it was a nice way to get started and get used to gears and take in some food and water. I had mixed NUUN in my bottles with Gatorade and water – and had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches – on flat bread. There was a short loop out and back on the start of the bike – then you make the short climb out of Narragansett – a steep hill – to get over Entrance to Rte 1. At the start of Route 1 they had scored the pavement – many people had flats here – very rough road. Thankfully didn’t happen to me. Smooth road after that – not a ton of volunteers at each intersection – but most had at least one person. Where there were traffic lights there were police helping – that was good. Very busy hightway. Wide shoulder. Around mile 18 – we head into hilly section of ride – 18 – maybe 30 – not sure exactly – but very hilly – smooth road and well marked – some steep climbs – but that’s all we trained on all summer so I was good to go.

Water bottle exchange at mile 22 and then again at 37. Took one bottle at first exchange – and GU. Volunteer stations on the bike were excellent – bananas, water, heed, GU – very well stocked and volunteers were great! At mile 37 actually stopped and stood up for a minute – felt good on my back. Took water and more Heed – and a packet of GU. My fueling seemed to go OK until I got into the 45-50 mile range when I just got sick of eating and actually threw away half a power bar – just couldn’t stomach anything else.

Toward end of bike was more rough road – a couple of miles of it – so I really slowed down – worried about getting a flat. Really didn’t want that to happen near end of bike. Felt good otherwise.

Felt the cramp in my right calf a little on bike – but nothing debilitating.

Bike 4:08:57
T2 – 2:48

On to the run. Weather was perfect – no humidity –
Feet and legs were a little numb getting off of the bike – started run OK though – just all of a sudden felt nauseous from eating. I think everything was just sitting in my stomach – not yet absorbed. That went on for the first mile – but thankfully kept it all down. Lots of runners are going by me opposite direction finishing. I’m definitely back of the pack, but it was OK – I felt good about what I had done so far. Again, run was very well supported with traffic control and volunteers. They had water, Gatorade, pretzels and bananas – and GU also. At first I didn’t want to eat – so just took water and Gatorade. Ran thru very pretty neighborhoods - the route was very scenic. Off of 1A – passed a lake – pretty – not too hilly, but varied terrain so it wasn’t boring. Mike found me around mile 6 – parked and ran with me the rest of the race. My back was sore from the bike and started to bother me a little more on the run – felt I was hunching over. Tried to run a little straighter and run more to middle of road – it was slightly sloped at edges.

I did eat a couple of pretzels along the way – felt like a chipmunk – I would chew a little and then run – had to wash it all down with water and Gatorade. There was a young girl (probably 25 or so) behind me for a while, and then we traded places a couple of times. It turns out she was running with her cousin – who would ask each time we passed if I was OK. Very nice. We kept cheering each other on. Then I got it in my head that I didn’t want to be passed anymore by this “kid”. LOL….so got motivated to finish strong. Mike would remind me if she got closer – start pecking off last 5 miles. “I can do this” starts in my head and Mike reminds me at each mile what is left. 4 miles – you can run that on your lunch hour. 3 miles – less than a 5K race left. 2 miles – quick walk with the dogs. Last mile – which is right where he wrote “GO SMB” on the highway – great! Passing my tree – bright yellow sun painted on it. “I can do this”. One small little incline – then downhill to the beach. I reach the beach – hit the soft sand and took my shoes off – handed them to Mike. Someone yells to me to move down where the hard pack sand is – great idea! Get to there can run – people start cheering – actually stand up and clap as I’m coming down the beach – two teenagers jumping up and down cheering – this is the best part of finishing this race! Awesome!

Run 2:47:51 – not bad – for me.

My final time is 7:52:21 –

The “kid” who was behind me comes thru – I stopped and cheered her on and we hugged at the end. It was great!

I’d like to do my next HIM faster – but am very happy with accomplishing this.

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