Timberman 70.3

Timberman 70.3

There were 900 athletes ready to take on the 95+ degree heat with not a cloud in the sky. Kevin Young (He just turned 50 last week and loves his new age group) Sharon Mikaelian, Wayne Stocker and Myself are doing the Half Ironman.

Kelly is doing the Sprint race, Sara, Sandy and Dawn are doing a relay team for the Half Iron (they have wagered on beating the pulp out of me).

The swim went well for me (I came out of the water in around 140th place). I know the bike course is going to be hilly and tough. So I am going to try something new (Eating on the bike). Of course this is supposed to be a normal thing to do during a half-Iron. If you don’t eat, your run will be ugly (found this out at Firmman last year, my first Half iron).

So I pack an Orange Luna Bar and I mounted a Gu Flask to my aero bars. No better time to try something new than race day (Riigghhhttt). About mile 15 on the bike I take a hit from the Gu flask and stick it back in the holder. Wow! that was easy. A few miles later I notice that I have these sweat balls all down my fore arm. A few more miles later I notice that the sweat balls haven’t moved and are in the exact same position on my arm. Now I have just figured out that they ain’t sweat balls, they are Gu balls (Note to self: Close Gu cap completely next time). The Gu was soft from the heat, and was leaking onto my handlebars, my bike and on me. At about mile 40 I remember that I was going to eat my bar at mile 25, Opps! So I unwrap the Orange Bliss Luna Bar. Oh great! Liquid Lunch. Its hot and sitting in my back pocket, and I never have had this flavor. Note to self: Orange Bliss is not good in the heat. Hey, give me a break. It’s my 2nd Half-Iron and I still have a lot to learn. With a few miles to go I climb the last few hills and I start to cramp a little. I’m thinking that I didn’t hammer that bad, so I look at the computer and check the average speed and it reads 22.5. Ok, so that explains the cramps.

Black hat to look cooler, but would have been warmer. Or the White hat which would have been Cooler in the Sun, but not as cool looking (Tri geeks are all about the look). I went with the white one

I get to transition, throw on my New Balance team shoes (with socks this time). So far I did something right. The run starts out good. I grab water and Gatoraid at every aid station. The run is tough because there isn’t to many shaded areas and it is close to noon. I grab a Carb Boom gel from an aid station, suck it down and almost puke! It was some kind of Apple flavor, Yuk. Why can’t they have real food, like Hot Dogs? Or even Hot Dog Flavored Gu. The run continues good and I’m running about 7:30 pace, which is working well without overheating. I finish the first loop of the run. I get to see Kelly and Sara cheering (They are done racing) and Dawn & Sharon are heading out onto the Run. Now I find out the second and final loop goes up a different and bigger hill. I’m halfway up the hill and I see the sign saying “Heartbreak Hill”. I look at it and say “This hill is nothing. Lesson 273, Don’t get cocky during the run. My hamstring becomes as hard as a rock. I stop for a second and then walk to calm it down. Ok, back to running and I feel great again. I see Wayne up the road and that takes my mind off doing stupid hill repeats. I pass by him and give him some quick words and he looks good (Wayne is smart Ironman and I’m stupid Sprint Boy). I see Kevin finishing the bike and he’s looking much happier than I am. He yells to me, I mumble back. I see Sara at around mile 11 and she yells “the white hat is all you” (We had a discussion the night before about which hat to wear for the race. Black hat to look cooler, but would have been warmer. Or the White hat which would have been Cooler in the Sun, but not as cool looking (Tri geeks are all about the look). I went with the white one (good move #2).

At this point I’m passing people and I’m not being passed. Then this guy passes me and I ask him how old he is. He says “36”. Crap! So I pick it up on the next hill around mile 12 and on the descend my hamstring locks up big time. I have to stop dead in the middle of the road and not move. It’s one of those 30 second lockups that you can’t do a thing about. Lesson #273: Don’t get cocky during the run. Now it hurts to walk. so I just have to let it calm down. I come down the finish stretch doing some sort of limp run. I can’t let everyone see me walking (It’s a stupid guy thing). I finish at 4:49 which I can’t complain about at the hottest Triathlon I have ever done and with all the errors I had made.

I guess I have until Ironman next July to get my game plan worked out.

Thanks for reading ……….. Jim Sullivan 

cooling off post race