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Bassman Half Ironman


Strangely after the race i didn't crash like i usually do.  We had a long drive home from NJ and David seemed more tired than I was.  Ate quite a bit of food at the post race party and then ordered in some Thai Curry for dinner, but didn't over eat and wasn't terrible hungry.  Looking forward to allowing myself to eat carbs as much as i want for the next few days. On Monday I awoke to feeling similar to when you have the flu.  My chest is still congested and my body aches, but nothing in particular is sore.  Well my calves are tight and that's a new one for me.  Between clients did some foam rolling and stretching.  Throughout the day i just took it easy and did take a nap in the afternoon.  Tuesday was much like Monday except my chest feels better, but i'm still lethargic.  For the first time following a race i don't feel motivated to do anything.  Usually whenether my body feels great or not I have a mental urge to do some exercise, but not this time around.  I don't know how much of this is due to the race but feel it's a combination of the race and still having this cold.  Did more stretching and foam rolling on Tuesday as well.

On Wednesday i was still feeling lethargic, but muscles all feel fine.  By mid day i got the urge to run and decided to just get out for an easy jog.  I coughed a lot at the beginning of the run and although i wasn't thinking about pace at all was surprised how slow it was.  That's a good clue to stop and go home and rest some more.  Only ran 2.5 miles and pace was 10:12.

Thursday i continued to rest my body, still not even feeling like doing any weight training and i've been eating whatever i want which is not a good thing.  For instance, board between clients, went to have coffee and a muffin even though i had brought my Isalean shake with me as well as a banana.  Hope tomorrow i'm feeling up for the task of running again.  Put my energy into setting up my next race.  Signed up for the Paris marathon 4/11/2010.  David already has his airline tickets so decided now was the time for me to take some action.  Also started working on my training program.  It will be a 26 week program with a nice long base period.  Looking forward to having more time to train (never had a plan this long) and therefore i can put in a longer sharpening phase.  Last year the sharpening phase was real short and I feel I worked too hard because of the shorter period.  This program will also be more forgiving if i need to take a day off because of weather or travel.

Friday im feeling like it's ok to run.  Not coughing much today and my body doesn't feel achy anymore.  From my house i jogged easy to the bridge.  I took the hills real slow and the flats and downhills probably a little too fast for my first real post race run, but it felt good.  Didn't cough during the run but did hack a bid after.  Averaged about a 9:20mm fter a 10 min warm up which is about where i should be for an easy run on hills.

Saturday is my first long run since the race on Sunday.  I warmed up 10 minutes at 10mm to the bridge.  The main set was 57 minutes over the bridge, up the west side and back over the brige and down court street.  Miles for the main set were 6.35 and my pace average was 9:00, exactly where it should be for my marathon goals.  I stopped at the hardware shop for an o ring for my water pack and finished with a cool down all down hill for a little over a mile.  Everything feels good although it felt like more effort than i would normally predict for an easy long run covering only 8.5 miles.  I'm still congested, but itns' not apparent at rest.  Was coughing a bit during the run.

I've been looking forward to sunday for a while.  I met this great guy in the bike shop who invited me out on long bike rides with him.  I don't know a lot of courses and was getting bored with the 9W rides i did during tri training all summer.  And i don't like having to drive over the bridge and take away from training time by commuting.

Anthony lives in Brooklyn as well and we met on a corner at 9:15am and planned for a 3 hour ride.  As he described the route on the phone i got the feeling that this was going to be longer than three hours.  If i needed to turn back at an hour and a half i could, but it was a really nice day and decided to go along with his plan.

We ended up in long island, ending at point lookout which is almost to Jones beach.  We started on 4th ave, rode over the path running along bay ridge, past coney island and along the belt parkway in the Jamaica Bay area.  All this was familiar.   We passed one bridge and took the second to the broad challel??  Continued out to the rockaways, passing atlantic beach, long beach, lido beach and ended at point lookout.  It was a nice sunny day but a cool breeze.  I wore just the right amount of clothing.  The ride out felt easy and we cruised at about 17mph even with all the traffic lights.  We stopped for some food.  I had an egg sandwich while Anthony indulged in his regular treat for that route, apple pie ala mode.  As we headed back the wind had picked up.  I didn't feel like there was wind at out back when we went out, but there was a stiff wind returning home.  We took a different bridge back over the channel and followed ocean parkway back into Brooklyn.  On the way back my left knee started to hurt quite a bit.  I did some drafting as i was getting tired around the 4 h our mark and was not expecting this wind.  Total time was 5:33min.  I didn't look at my monitor at all during the ride, just went with the flow and that was the whole point of this ride.  My cadence was about 72 on the flats, hr av 124, av speed 13.33 and total distance a whopping 74 miles.  Yikes.  Thoroughly enjoyed my shower that afternoon and then started cooking dinner.  Iced my knee that night as well.

Bassman Half Ironman 2009 Race Day

SET UP AND BRIEFING My first half Ironman and Triathlon number 8.  As predicted the race is going to start late.  Before the half there is a sprint and a duathlon as well.  Other that that little detour everything is running smoothly this morning.  There was plenty of time to set up.  Transition is easy to access but small and a bit over crowded.  It’s on sand, which sucks as that will slow down transitions.  After setting everything up I went for a short swim.  Breathing isn’t easy, but if I remain relaxed I think everything will be fine.  I practiced coughing and clearing my nose and throat while either doing breast stroke or treading water.  So the situation is not ideal but I’m sure I can get through it.  I spent about 20 minutes doing various stretches and had David assist me with some upper body stretches.

The race will start at 9am not 8.  There was a very thorough orientation.  Only surprise here was that the run has lots of turns, signs to look out for and much of it is on trails, not roads.  I don’t run on trails so not sure how that’s going to go.  I think there are under 150 people here (a little more than last year) and a younger crowd than any other course I’ve done.

I’m really counting on my Garmin 310xt to give me all the data I need on each leg of the race to get me through.  This is the second time I’m using it in a race and the first time in DC did not go well but I’ve had more time to get to know the settings and feel I’m in good shape today.

SWIM 1.2 miles

Every time I show up for a race the swim course looks like it’s much longer than I’ve prepared for.  Today’s course is a clockwise loop of an entire lake done twice.  There are three waves.  Young men, older men, and all women each set 3 minutes apart.  We start standing in the water and I’m feeling ready.

The first 5 minutes are always the scary part. I noticed that as long is I kept my exhale forceful that my congestion did not effect the swim but if I started to breath more shallowly I felt worse. Also I felt the cold of the water in my chest but after about 10 minutes my body warmed up and I didn’t feel that uncomfortable.   Now I have my breathing down, I’m more relaxed and I stopped worrying about all the women who are in front of me.  This is my race, I want to breathe without coughing, focus on long strokes, and sight my lines regularly of the 5 buoys that make up the circle.  The water is clean, probably 65 degrees, with lots of sea plants.  I get the sense that it’s very shallow and often swipe a plant with my hand. Once through the first lap I’m feeling like this is no problem.  As is usually the case, I find myself passing people on the second loop.  These are mostly people with poor form and fast strokes.  I know my form has improved but want to be more powerful in the water but today is not the day to think about that.  It is reassuring to know as I’m passing these people that at least I’m more economical with my energy and stroke than many others on the course today.  Finish 44:40 (goal 47-50min)


First step is to sit on the grass at the waters edge and take off my wetsuit.   I want to avoid sitting on the sand in transition and thought this through before hand.  Have to take the watch off first and as I did so I looked at my time.  I’m really happy and get side tracked a little and fumble with the watch.   Had some trouble stripping the wetsuit from my calves and got a cramp in my calf.  Didn’t last long.  Ran to my bike, found it easily, sat down, toweled off my feet, put on shoes (no socks), helmet, sunglasses, grabbed extra hankie and ran out of transition.  Didn’t check my time but thought it was slower than I wanted but not by much.  Finish 4:34 (goal 2-4 min)

BIKE  56 miles

So I’m thinking I will be able to ride about 20mph as long as my breathing doesn’t get labored.  Well I’m wrong.  Even though my plan was to start with a HR of 153 and build to an average of 155 I find within 5 minutes that I’ve skyrocketed to 160 and my average speed is only 16mph.  It’s a bit slow getting out of the park and since I know the route I know I will be able to get my speed up once I get on the main road.

This is a fantastic biking course.  It’s either country road with very limited traffic, or main road with a large shoulder and little traffic.  Minor intersections had a volunteer and major intersections had police to stop traffic.  It was a really safe route, not technical at all and virtually no hills to speak of.

The course is two loops which got boring but at least I learned a bit from the first loop.  It was easy to pass people, traffic was minimal and although my HR was higher than I wanted at 161 bpm (as opposed to 155 planned) I felt really comfortable on the bike and with my speed.  Through the first half I was averaging 19.3mph and my goal was to be between 19 and 20mph.  My plan was also to increase the speed for the second half but based on my HR I don’t think that is going to happen.

At the turn around there was a bottle exchange, which went smoothly.  I was down to ¼ tank on my never reach and a volunteer took a bottle of water and dumped it into my tank.  Took maybe 30 seconds.  Rethinking my race plan I think I should have added want more energy to my water from the beginning and then added it again for the refill.  I think I didn’t get enough non-food calories during the race.  The race offered Heed, which I don’t like and I’ve found for cycling alone that I don’t need an electrolyte replacement.  Seems needs change under race circumstances.

I consumed food and gels a bit more frequently than planned throughout the bike.  I would have a Power Gel or Hammer Gel at 30 min then half of a Pure Bar 15 min later.  I continued this pattern for the whole ride and increased frequency a bit at the end.  By the end I had eaten 2 bars and 4 gels.  That’s about 480 calories and about 150 carbohydrates.  I learned when I reviewed my race data that I burned 1423 calories during this ride.

Another problem came up about an hour into the ride, which was that I had to go to the bathroom.  I wasn’t terribly uncomfortable so I thought about this and decided that if my goal was to finish under 6 hours (which looks attainable) and I wait until 3 hrs into the race to pee that should take care of bathroom stops for the rest of the race.  So about 3 hours into the race on a side road with more coverage I pulled over.  Side note here is that men really have an advantage here.  Guys just pull over, turn their backs to traffic, pee, and are back on the bike in 30 seconds.  I on the other hand, have to scurry off into the bushes and take about 2 min to take care of business.

When I get back on my bike my average speed for the entire ride (now about 38 miles in) has dropped to 16.8 just because I had to take the time to pee.  So I pick up the pace again and finish the last loop focusing my eyes on my average speed working that number back up.  As for cadence I was really confused from the beginning.  Even from the start my monitor said my cadence average was 118, which is really messed up.  Every so often I would count my strokes and probably averaged about 75rpm.  Finish 3:00:53   18.9mph  161 Av HR (goal  2:54-3:00  )


I dumped my bike, helmet and glasses quickly.  Got rid of the trash in my pockets including 2 thoroughly used hankies.   Sat down to take off shoes, wiped off excess sand, put on socks, sneakers, added gels and fresh hankie to pockets, put on a visor and speed out the gate. Leaving T2 I see David and Kramer and David asks how I’m feeling and I give a big smile.  My legs feel great, my swim was a bit faster than I expected, my bike was just a hair short and now I’m going into my favorite leg.  Finish 1:52  (goal 1-3 min).

RUN 13.2

It’s a bit warmer  than I expected and I’m thinking about the last long distance race I’ve had in the heat and can’t remember when I had one.  It’s probably only 72 degrees but feels hotter.  All my marathons have been in early spring or fall and I have not run a half marathon in two years.  About 3 miles into the 13.2 miles I start to get worried.

Here are the limiting factors.  I don’t run on trails and about 50% of this course is sand, small gravel, or wooded debris.  My cold is keeping my lungs from expanding fully, which means I have to take more frequent breaths to keep up my pace and my HR is higher than it should be.  My stomach is talking to me, not feeling nauseous but I’m burping and that never happens.  Don’t think I can take more gels at least not for a while.  There are aid stations, but they are attended by only 2 people and I have to really slow down to get water.  Some aid stations have food and I’m looking at what’s there because I don’t want any more gels but know I need to eat something and I’m going to have to experiment with new food here because I don’t eat food during training runs.  The course has lots of turns, some very sharp and lots of signs indicating course direction so I would consider this a technical course.  All things I can deal with but feel my pace goal is way off considering all these variables.  I’m having to think about and address problems that have never come up for me during a triathlon or road race and it’s stressing me out a bit.

I’m at the 6 mile mark and what’s going well is that my legs feel fine, I’ve found a comfortable pace and my HR is holding at 174 bpm (92% max) and speed at 8:30.  I’m having trouble wrapping my head around the fact that I thought my HR would be around 169 and pace around 8:25 and I don’t feel I can push the pace.  My lungs don’t feel good and I’m partially afraid of pushing it too hard because of the cold I have.  Last thing I want is to finish the race well but get severely sick.  I think I had a gel at this point.  And another problem has arisen, I have to go to the bathroom again and this time a toilet would be a preferable option.  I’ve never had this happen during a race and hadn’t planned for it.  I’m wondering if I can make it another 45 minutes but its getting really uncomfortable.  Much of the trail is through the campgrounds and I sight a bathroom and run in quickly.

The last half I find myself slowing a bit.  I think it’s mental more than anything but seriously cant get a good breath.  On the up side there isn’t anyone passing me and I’m making up some lost time from my bathroom stop but hate that every time I look at my monitor is shows a slower average pace than I ever expected.  At an aid station I saw some gum drops and that looked like a good idea so I sucked on 4 of those over a mile or so.  The last two miles were not a problem.  At that point I knew I could hold my pace.   There is a turn to approach the last 100 meters or so and as I turn that corner I saw David and Kramer waiting for me.  I hope the photographer got a picture of this because this is one photo I would buy and would bring me joy every time I looked at it.  I pick up the pace to finish and Kramer and David ran next to me to the finish line.  The crowd loved it and it was just what I needed to end the race feeling triumphant.  Finish 1:58:45  pace 8:47  Hr average 174  (goal 1:50 at 8:20 pace)

FINAL TIME  5:51:26  within my goal range of 5:34 and 5:54.  Placed 2nd in my age group out of 5 finishers.  The first place competitor in my age group finished in 5:30:29.


I’m going to have to rethink my nutrition for race days of this distance.  My calorie consumption on the bike was 480 calories and I burned 1430 calories leaving me with a deficit of 950 going into the run.  During the run I burned 1350 calories and was only able to stomach less than 200.   I’m probably going to need to find a liquid carbohydrate that I can use as a supplement on the bike and reduce some of the gel consumption so that my stomach does not get uneasy and so that I don’t have to go to the bathroom as frequently.  I’ve held back in this area because during training the want more energy added to water on long rides has been fine, but it’s not enough calories for the long distances.

Because this was not a priority race and I had an A priority race only three weeks prior I did not spend any time doing long bike run brick workouts and will definitely add those next year.

This was only the second year for this race and there were very few online comments or reviews from competitors so was hard to plan a race strategy.  Next year I will select a half Ironman that is more recognized and plan it as an A priority race.  I already started looking at some local options and the top three would be Rhode Island, New Hampshire, or Syracuse depending on which part of the season I feel I can be ready for.

Overall I’m really happy with my accomplishment.  It was more difficult than I thought it would be and the mental and physical fatigue has been greater than following marathons.  It’s three days from the event, my cold is better but still coughing and my body aches a little all over.   I don’t actually feel sore, but my calves are quite tight and I feel the kind of fatigue you feel when you have the flu but more mild.  I have almost no desire to work out or train and this has never happened to me before.  Even after a difficult race, I emotionally desire to at least get in an easy run, but this time around I just want and need to recover.  Also a note about my weight.  I did not weigh myself on race day but the day prior I weighed 116.  On the morning following the race I was down to 113.5.  I forced myself to eat high carbohydrate meals on Monday (think my cold was really the only thing holding me back) and was back to 116 again on Tuesday.

Bassman Half Ironman Pre Race Day and Goals

PRE RACE DAY Saturday I woke up still feeling congested mostly in my chest but better with my nose.  Unfortunately now David is feeling lousy.  Cleaned up the apartment to prepare for an open house on Sunday.  Had an Isalean shake around 9am and we were on the road by 10am.

Drove to a friends house in Manasquan NJ because it’s an hour closer to the race than Brooklyn.  Figured spend the day in a beach town, chill and get up at 4:15 for a race was better than driving from Brooklyn.  David was up for the adventure and we had Richard’s beach house to ourselves.

Once we got there we walked to a sports bar nearby where David could watch the Michigan/MSU football game.  I read most of the time but caught some of the game while I ate.  Had a blackened grouper sandwich (no top bun) and a green salad.  Also, two pints of beer.

After all that excitement we both needed a nap so slept for an hour.  Set out to find a Kmart so I could buy hankies.  Tissues are not going to do the trick for the race tomorrow and must have something to blow my nose especially during the bike.

Took care of that business and set out for a good meal.  Found a cute place, seafood and steaks.  I ordered penne pasta with vodka sauce and shrimp.  Penne ala vodka is my favorite pasta dish and I only eat it maybe once a year.  I ate the 4 jumbo shrimp and half the pasta along with 2 glasses of wine.  We split a brownie ala mode for dessert.

I already have my bike prepped and my goals on paper but need to set out my clothes for tomorrow.  I wrote specific speed, time, and HR goals on masking tape and placed it on the bike aero bars.  Also did the same for my run and attached that to a packet of gels.   Set out my clothing and warm up clothes for tomorrow, took some more Robitussin and went to bed at 9pm as planned.

A note about water and fluids today.  I’ve been carrying around a bottle of purified water throughout the day and sipping throughout.  I drank at least 100 oz of water, which is what I would normally consume on a day that I trained at least an hour.  Also the alcohol consumption is pretty normal for me.  Although the beers during the day were not a good idea, nor is that normal, I just couldn’t sit at a sports bar, watch a football game and not drink beer.  I have no idea when I last sat and watched a whole football game, never the less in a sports bar.  The wine is typical for pre race evening.  Either wine, beer or cocktails but limit them to two.

Gong to bed did not work well.  David’s cold was effecting his breathing and I couldn’t sleep in the same room with him.  My sinuses are a bit clearer, but chest is still congested so decided to try something new.  I placed a drop or two of eucalyptus oil on a piece of tissue and placed it in one nostril.  Moved to another bedroom and slept on my back all night with that tissue up my nose.  I never sleep well before a race and last night was pretty typical.  Kept getting up to look at my phone and make sure I didn’t miss the alarm.  Got about 6 ½ hours of sleep and felt surprisingly good in the morning.


I really think the eucalyptus trick worked.  My chest feels clearer, my nose is dry, and I don’t wheeze when I breathe.  Yes my cold had gotten that bad that when I took a deep breath I could feel my lungs rattle.  This makes me feel much better about the day ahead.

David didn’t want to wake up so I kept things moving.  Made an Isalean shake and drank that right away and pulled everything together for the race.  Took a bit to get the car packed as we are not coming back to the house after the race.  Also pulled out my breakfast for later that I pre made yesterday.  My traditional race morning meal that has worked well for every race in the last 2 years.  1/2 cup oatmeal, ½ cup yogurt and a little water soaked over night (rolled oats, uncooked) plus a smashed up banana.

By 5am David, Kramer and I were all in the car and ready.  David is pretty grouchy but feeling better than yesterday.  We stop for coffee, a must on race mornings.  It’s the only thing I can consume that will guarantee that I eliminate before a race.  It’s really foggy but very mild out.  Pretty sure I’ll be able to race in shorts and sleeveless shirt, nothing additional will be needed.

The race is supposed to start at 8 and I want to be there not later than 6:15.  I had my breakfast at 5am as I always plan for the last meal 2 hours before the race start.  When we got off highway there was lots of race traffic leading to the park and knew at that point the race was not going to start on time.


These goals were set when I was healthy so since then I adapted the goals to allow some extra time since I’m feeling less than healthy today.


My last long easy swim was on 9/2 a whole month ago.  That was 48:27.  Some of my better days were as fast as 44 min for 1.2 miles.  So am going down the middle and hoping the time off from working out my shoulder plus the benefit of the wetsuit will bring me to a pace of about 39 min/mile.  With my congestion I must admit I’m not felling confident about this swim and should get in a practice on race morning to test out the breathing.


The Transition is really close to the swim exit and if I don’t have to put on any additional clothing due to the cold I’m pretty sure I can get this done in 2 minutes.  If I have to think about what to put on that will slow me down.  If the AM temps are mid 60s then I will wear pull on sleeves and if it is colder than I will add a long sleeve top.  For the bike transition remember to have time goals up to this point on the bike as well as av speed, av cadence, hr goal ranges taped to the bike.  Also plan on 1 gel every 45 minutes and a half bar on each hour or so (put that on the bike as well).  Put two bars opened in my bento box and 4 gels opened in the bento box.  Fill up the water tank of the bike ¾ way and hope to not need any extra at the half way refill.


I’m basing this mostly on the trial ride Richard and I did in august.  We rode at 17mph the first lap and 18 the second lap and we really were not pushing it.   HR ave was 142.  Now I have new wheels, which should automatically increase my speed by about 1mph for such a flat course.  So if I go 19 mph I will finish the 58 miles in 3 hours, and if I average 20mph I will finish at 2:54.  My HR at NYC olympic distance tri this year was 167 (really high even for that race) and 159 the year before which felt really easy.  Based on my training zones I should be safe if I start slower HR, build through the middle and then slow a bit before the run again.  HR goals are 153-163 bpm with 155 being a good safe average goal.  With my cold I will need to have two hankies.  One in my hand at all times and a second in my shirt pocket as back up.


Again the transition area is small so just need to change shoes and maybe take off a top or jacket.  Make sure gels are in my shoes for the run.  On one gel pack indicate your pace and HR goals because you don’t want to loose it here.  This is what you’ve been waiting for.  Will want 4 gels for the run to be safe.  Start drinking electrolyte drink right away and assess how much water is left on the bike.  Pray that you still don’t need to pee.

RUN 1:50 best/1:55 worst

Since my training going into this has been to focus on my bike and swim legs so I’ve not spent much time on the run as it’s always been my easiest leg.  I have done about 5 runs at 13-15 miles as well as a lot of tempo and hill workouts.  It seems logical that I should be able to hold a pace slightly faster than my marathon pace of 8:25 in which case I would finish in 1:50 if I run 8:20.  If I slow to an 8:40 pace I will finish in 1:55.  Work on an average hr of 169 (my HR at Rome marathon was 172) and progress to 172 after half way if think I’m behind and feel I can push it a bit.  Start a bit slow and build.  Make sure to have a gel or food every 30-40 min.

Final numbers are a best-case scenario of finishing at 5:34 and worst scenario of 5:54.  If I finish in 5:54 I will have beat the best times from last years top 3 in my age group so looks like I could place well for this race.