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Garmin 310xt

NYC Marathon 2011- Still the best marathon ever!

RACE WEEK I had a good week going into the marathon. Was really focused on the marathon itself and tapered quite well.  Monday I ran 6.6miles 9mm pace over the Williamsburg and Manhattan bridges.  Tuesday I did an easy spin for 30 min indoors.  Wednesday was 6 miles flat with some marathon pace intervals.  Thursday off.  Friday did 3 miles and a massage, which was a great call. Saturday ran 2.3 miles.  I was anxious and nervous until Friday and then settled into a good mindset on Saturday once I started packing up my gear.

Saturday was indoors all day feeling really good.  Went out for a 6pm dinner, pasta but not too much food.  Can’t remember what I had for desert but know I had something.  Was in bed by 10pm with wake up time of 4:45 plus an extra hour of sleep for daylight savings.  That would give me almost 8 hours.  I slept well the first 5 then tossed a lot the rest of the night.


The ultimate goal is to run 3:30 or better which requires an 8:00 pace. This was my goal in Rome and Paris and I really feel by race morning, that with these perfect conditions  I can do this.  The weather is sunny, high of 53 and no wind.  My body feels great, my equipment and clothing feel good, and I’ve been training for a 8mm pace and think its totally doable.  The secondary goal is to have fun.

I changed some settings on my Garmin so on the first page I have current pace, current HR, average pace, and current time.  The wrist band I am wearing will guide me with the current time so I don’t have to rely so much on the GPS working properly.  My HR goal is 176 average, although I expect that to go up the last 3 miles.  I’m not using the garmin mileage except to check on it occasionally.  I’m using the lap button at each mile marker to get a sense of my average pace per mile, although not totally accurate, think will be more accurate than using the garmin’s preset mile splits.

I have 8 scoops of my Infinit Nutrition amongst two flasks attached to my trim wallet.  That is about 800 calories.  I also have 2 gels for back up and can pick up gel at the 21 mile or thereabout if I need it.  I plan to stop every 2 miles for water, carry a flask in my hand at all times so can have a little nutrition at a time throughout.  Start taking nutrition at mile 3 and finish first flask by 13-mile mark.

I know the course pretty well.  No substantial hills until 12.5.  I’m taking the first half on average 10 seconds per mile faster then my planned 8mm so I’m looking for a 7:50 pace.  That means look for down hills and pick up pace there, not to run a consistent 7:50 for the first half.


Woke up with plenty of time to have coffee and gather up my things.  David drove me to the ferry which took at max 25 minutes.  Approaching ferry terminal getting nervous.  Working on drinking my 32 oz of water with want more energy electrolytes and not hungry at all.  Took the 6am ferry, should be eating around 6:30 for a 3 hour lead time but I’m in transit and feel I wont digest the food well so will wait until I get there.  The bus took longer than I remembered.


Once I got to marathon village I looked for the robin hood tent where I have an invite to hang out from a friend racing with them.  This was the only good part about the morning. The rest of the village is cold and damp (probably 45 degrees out and no wind) and the tent is heated.  Ate right away (probably 7:15 by not) but slowly and chewed all my food well.  My regular race formula, which was cherry yogurt soaked overnight in ¾ cup rolled oats, topped with frozen berries.  Still not hungry but totally hit the spot.  Spent about 15 minutes on the foam roller and surprised at how good everything feels.  Got all the gear together, placed on my 3:30 goal bracelet which I will use to pace myself as opposed to the mileage on my garmin which can go through spots of inaccuracy.  Used the flushing porta pottie before I left at 8:10 to find my green area to congregate.  Also had a banana around this time too.

Found the green area, this village is huge and confusing but signs are everywhere to help you out.  I’m alone, none of my friends are here.  They are all on the 7am ferry and start later than I do.  Put on my disposable pants along with a long sleeve shirt and disposable jacket too.  I love these.  Bought them at the expo, they are light-weight, warmer than a sweatshirt and waterproof which is ideal for sitting on the wet ground.  I also have gardening gloves ($2.99) to throw away en route.  Handed over my bag and heading to the coral but stop for the bathroom again.  Feeling rushed and hearing announcements that the first wave should be lining up.  I made it to this corral area which is new to me.  Now we are in another fenced off area just for the #17 starting group.  There are porta potties here too which I wasn’t expecting.  Its still 1:10 min before race start and I’m not liking this standing business.  I find a small patch of ground to sit on amongst everyone else.  People are not really talking to each other and I’m just wanting this thing to get started so I turn on some tunes.

About half hour before start they move us along to the actual race start on the Verrizano bridge ramp.  I’m confused because before I was on the upper deck and now we are on the lower deck.  I didn’t realize there was a group that ran down here.  I find a place along the wall to hang out.  I take off the pants which are kind of restrictive and do a bunch of dynamic warm ups for upper and lower body for about 15 minutes.  I turn off my phone because my battery is draining and I’ll never make it through without tunes.


We started about 5 min late, which is going to cause some confusion with my friends on the route who are trying to follow me.  I know I started out too fast but everyone was too fast.  Many were passing me and I just held back a bit.  Because I’m on the lower portion of the bridge my Garmin is not picking up satellite and without the sun I cant see my HR either.  Just going with my gut and having fun.  Wish I were on the top level, much better view.

Throughout the whole race I was happy with the group of runners around me.  We were definitely assigned well, the pace was consistent, there were very few dodgers and very few people dropping back.  Nobody running in groups.  There were a few handicapped running with leaders, which was tricky at points.  This was the BEST paced group run I have ever experienced.  I noticed in my corral that a lot of people around me were international runners. Absolutely no rediculous costumes.

Miles 1-8 were fun and felt great.  Mostly flat if not downhill.  Average pace was about 7:40 so I was building up some extra minutes to use later.  My HR was high, in the mid 180’s, yikes, need to reel that one in.  But my breathing was not labored so I didn’t freak about it, took it as adrenaline.  Started my nutrition at mile 3 as planned with water.  This was probably the most crowded part of the route.  Had to pull over around mile 4 to tie my shoe.  Sun feels good and temp is great.  Got rid of the gloves around mile 5.

Mile 8-13 were still good although I was now 3 min over my goal and decided to taper back a bit and be mindful and get it into cruise control.  Now my average is more like 7:50 so I’m still adding to the bank and my HR is dropping from between lower 180’s to upper 170’s.  Temp still feels great and happy to see David along with other friends between 11 and 13.  Running through my neighborhood was a good spot, smelled something fresh baked and reminded me of the pizza I was going to be enjoying post race.  I’m doing well with my nutrition.  I’m stopping for water more than planned because I’m concerned I’m not getting enough in each cup.  Because the flask is in one hand I have only the other free to grab water.  Kind of wishing I had a third hand.

Pulasky bridge was a bit of a reality check.  I know there are plenty of other bridges ahead and I slowed quite a bit, everybody did.  So it’s not like I’m worried at this point because I’m not falling back, but I’m recapping all the hills ahead and know my average pace per mile is going to drop at every bridge/hill and there are at least 5 more.

Long Island City was not very memorable.  More turns than I remembered and my body felt real hot for a short while there but I knew the Queensboro bridge was coming up and we would be shaded and likely windy and cool.  I stuck to a pace that was consistent with the people around me.  In the shade with my sunglasses I cannot read my Garmin.  Picked up the pace more than others on the down side of the briged although it is quite steep so I didn’t over stride and was cautious.  Mile 15 was 9:02 ave pace (I never saw this till after the race) and 16 was 8:42.  I didn’t realize I slowed that much.  It was quite cold and a nasty cross wind, in my mind I felt I should go with the flow of traffic considering I could not read my Garmin.

First Avenue felt pretty good.  I should have been more focused on running a straight path.  Looking at my time I see I’m still ahead about 3 minutes.  Now I can’t see the seconds though so its easy to slip (the frame is not large enough to show seconds and I didn’t realize that).  First Ave were miles 17-19 and average pace there was about 7:48, so making up for time lost on the last two bridges.

Although the Willis bridge is short, it is pretty steep, and we got a bit bunched up there.  This is also the point in the race (20 mile mark) where I started to feel pain.  My HR is still really high at 181 bpm average for the race and pretty consistent average mile to mile.  I feel I’m getting enough nutrition, but maybe could have used more at this point.  I do know that my stomach felt good, I didn’t feel slushy from too much water, wasn’t thirsty, and wasn’t hungry, so maybe this is just what it feels like to run really hard even when your well fueled.  Regardless I didn’t like how it felt and the Bronx is barren, lots of turns, and not much to look forward too.

Aside from the 15-17 miles of Queensborough bridge I am still running all miles better than 8mm until now.  20 was 8:17, 21 was 8:08 and 22 and 23 I picked it up again.  Those were the 5th avenue miles in Harlem where the sun was in my face, I wanted to see my friends and family but just had to push on and stay really focused.  Also there were two songs that came up on my play list during this time that were not motivating me but didn’t want to take the time to pull it out of my pouch and fuss with it.  Good call on that.  Had a falling out with a guy at a water station who came up from behind to pass me, then cut in front of me at a water table just to stop dead in his tracks where I almost fell on top of him.  ASSHOLE.  I’m starting to worry a bit about finishing in 3:30 now because central park is getting close and I have some hills to address.

I remember seeing the 22 mile marker and thinking I only had 3 miles to go.  Somehow I missed something and I lost my nerve a bit when I realized I had 4.2 miles left.  The 5th ave portion along Central Park was terrible.  I could see all the runners in front of me but I couldn’t even focus on the crowd.  I just kept my chin up and trudged up that long hill.  Even though I ran this portion of the course about 5 weeks ago, I don’t recall this being such a long hill.  Today this hill felt worse than heartbreak hill in Boston,  Ran 8:32 for mile 24 which is the 5th ave portion to around the entry point into CP.  Mile 25 is when my quads really hurt and I was concerned about pushing though the pain.  Felt like they had grown by 1/3 their size and were big water balloons ready to burst off the bone.  Not a good feeling.  I had seen an injured runner around the 22 mile mark and It always gives me a reality check when I see someone in that much pain.  So the CP portion I didn’t push too hard and mile 25 was 8:22 pace.  This is all what I’m expecting, but not looking at the total running time on my Garmin any longer.  My wrist band which would tell me whether I am on target is twisted in such a way that I cant see the 24-26 mile times and it doesn’t really matter at this point anyway.  I can’t run any faster,  We leave CP for a flat portion of 59th street and I’m doing OK again.  I’m not feeling emotional as usual when finishing the last mile.  Its sunny, the crowd is a blur to me, I hate that some people are passing me now because its usually me who’s passing others and me finishing strong…not today.  I’m just holding on.  Miles 25-26.2 were run at 8:00.  I crossed the finish, pressed stop and was not surprised to see I missed my goal time.  It read 3:31:25.

As is typical at all marathons we all feel like complete shit.  The only sounds are the voices of the volunteers asking us to move along and congratulating us.  I think this is the first time in recent memory where I looked around at a crowd of people and nobody is looking at, or talking on a cell phone.  We are all toast.  Quickly getting cold.  I cried a bit, not sure why.  I’m not un-happy, I am in pain, I am glad its over.  Woman next to me is sniffling too.  Mostly guys, who are not crying.  I turn my tunes off.  And the texts are coming in from my family and friends.  That made break into a smile and really felt accomplished with what I had done.  This course was much harder than I had remembered.


I really don’t know how I lost a whole 1:25 when I was so far ahead of myself for 3/4 of the race and I didn’t fall apart once.  No stopping.  No digestive problems.  Even now analyzing the averages per mile I don’t understand how I ran 18 miles sub 8mm and the other 8 were not terrible 8:04; 9:02; 8:42; 8:17; 8:08; 8:32; 8:22; and 8.  My garmin said I ran 26.51 miles at an average of 7:58.5mm.  SO THERE..Once I saw that I actually ran further than my planned 26.2 I made a concession, gave myself a break and acknowledged that although I did not meet my goal of 3:30 I did run at the required sub 8 mm pace that I had been training for.   it makes sense with all the turns and the weaving along the wide avenues that I would run further then 26.2 but didn't put that into my plan.  Also amazed that I ran at an average HR of 181 BPM and my goal was 176 BPM.  My last marathon was Paris where I ran an average 176 and I really have not trained any of my workouts leading up to the marathon in the 180 range.  All my MP tempo work was 171-176.

I was happy about my starting coral #17 because it was a great group of runners.  We all belonged there and were courteous.  Because of that the pacing went well and I’ve never experienced that in a marathon.  I finished all my nutrition.  My first 400 calories were finished at the 13 mile and the other 400 calories I was working on until the 23 mile mark.  I liked carrying the flask in my hand because it helped me to take small amounts more frequently so I didn’t always need water.  I think I could have used more nutrition though.  Next marathon I  need a belt that allows for bigger flasks.  My fluid consumption was perfect.  I noticed when I got home that my urine was a good color.  I was cautious to drink early and frequently.  Probably stopped at 2/3 of the tables which line the route every mile.  Also thinking maybe I should carry some of my own so not as reliant on race water.  Vary hard to tell how much you are ingesting.  I would have preferred to take 2 cups at a time but was holding on to my flask with one hand. Also don’t like thinking about the action of making that stop for water, much better to be able to just cruise right by and not stress over the slippery areas, which cup to grab, and which runner is likely to cut you off.  I didn’t want to get too wet, especially in the early phases of the race so I probably slowed a lot more than I would  if I had two cups at a time.

I felt very comfortable in my race clothes.  New shorts, tank, hair band, new sunglasses and absolutely loved my new yourbud headphones, which were comfortable and never slipped out of place.  I think my garman was set up well in terms of capturing the most important information on the first page but wish I had seconds for my race time once I passed the hour mark.

I’m very happy that my body felt so good throughout except the last 6 miles of general fatigue.  IT band fine, hamstring insertion/origin good, ankles and feet good, no joint pain at all.  I felt very “balanced”.  Definitely will get a massage before my next marathon.

Sleep could have been better.  5 hours plus 3 restless is not so good.  Also wonder if some of my fatigue had to do with iron loss from my cycle.  Should I have been more thoughtful about iron intake the week before?

Food pre race and days going in were good.  I didn’t follow a carb load diet but did consume less protein and more carbohydrates the 3 days prior.  My appetite during my taper week was manageable and I didn’t restrict calories but was careful to not over eat.  My weight overall should have been less.  I weighed about 5 pounds more than my “comfortable” weight and that was annoying, but I trained with that weight on my frame so I don’t think my performance would have been any different had I lost weight in the last month.


Picking up my gear at the UPS truck was a breeze.  Had I finished 15 minutes later it would have been a madhouse.  I brought my black, flat Merrill shoes and clean socks to slip into and it felt good for my feet to get out of my sneakers.  Oh, my shoes felt a bit loose at the start of the race.  I wore my most thin socks and was a little worried that my heel was slipping in the beginning.  Also thought my feet would swell shortly and it would all work out.  Well it all worked out.  I didn’t have to walk far to get my gear, maybe 15 minutes (78th street between CPW and Columbus) and I was meeting David at 77th and Columbus so that all worked very well.   We walked very gingerly to the subway.  I had to walk down the stairs sideways one step at a time.  My quads are shot.  I was offered a seat on the train and questioned taking it.  Felt good to sit but the rest of the day I could not get out of a seated position without using my hands to assist me.

Of course when I got home and all I wanted was a bath my mom had to call and chat.  So I took time out to do that and then soaked with the bubble mat for about 15 min.  Tub is much better than the pins and needles feeling of water with a shower.  Took a hour nap, cleaned up, and had some friends over to celebrate with Pizza.  I ate 4 slices without an ounce of guilt.

That’s it.  Marathon # 6, 2nd NYC marathon and my 6th personal best race.  Every race I’ve gotten faster, every race I’ve learned more to take to the next one.  Writing these recaps is definitely a required component to achieving my goals.  Next marathon will be Barcelona, Spain.  March 25th 2012.  So I have about 3 weeks off including a aptly timed scuba diving vacation to the Turks and Caicos then back into training.  Should be interesting.

First Tri of the Season- Pat Griskus Olympic Tri

It’s my first tri of the year and although its not an A priority race I did this same race last year so I have some major expectations. I want to improve my swim by 5 minutes, maintain my transition times from last year, bike about 1 mph faster, and maintain my run pace from last year.  I would love to get close to a 2:38 finish, which would put me fairly close to last years 3 rd place for my age group.  Last year I placed 6 out of 12 in my age group and 128 out of 256.

I'll talk about the race experience first and then pre race set up and nutrition.


The water temperature is about 70 degrees and I think for the first time I feel comfortable and ready for the swim. I tried a new technique using plastic shopping bags to get my wetsuit on and with this technique my shoulders feel much more free.  I could spare about 5 pounds and it would fit better overall.  This is only my 3rd race in this suit and last year I was a little lighter.  Today I weigh 120 for the record.  I had about 3 minutes for a warm up swim before announcements. Triton teammates Audra and Loren found me and was nice to have someone to talk to before starting the race, definitely helped to settle nerves because I'm not all in my head.  I lined up for the shore entry to the left and one row back.  I'm getting more comfortable taking a more aggressive start position but don't want to be in the middle of the pack.

The route is one circle of a fairly clear lake. There are 5 buoys that and not uniformly placed and must swim clockwise around them. The best way to sight will be to breathe on the right, which is a little less comfortable for me than my left.  My main concern is drifting to the right so will be sure to sight often.  There are 4 waves and all the women are in my wave, which is third.  I like this, as while on the rest of the course it’s easier to assess my position within the women category.

The swim start was not too aggressive or chaotic.  I was very controlled and held close to the pack up to the first buoy.  It is quite bright as the sun is coming up and after the second buoy have a hard time seeing the next one.  At this point I'm still in a fairly close group and can see a line of swimmers to follow.  By the fourth buoy the fourth wave has caught up with me.  Not worried about this but try to position myself to follow them and draft.  This didn't work. They were way too fast and I'm getting frustrated with the sighting as my blue cps women are now rather dispersed and the sun is in my eyes.  I know from the fourth to the exit I did terribly in swimming a straight line.  After downloading my Garmin I see from the GPS that I did fairly fell, better than I thought.  I wanted to finish the swim in 34 minutes and my clock on Garmin said 35:17.  Running to transition I am happy it is over and totally fine with my time since it is almost 5 minutes faster than last year.

Transition 1 didn't go so well.  My ankle chip was coming loose and I had to adjust that.  I sat down to take off wetsuit and struggled a lot with getting my feet through.  I think I'm going to experiment with sitting at waters edge for these easy exits and take advantage of a wet environment.  Also going to try standing but holding on to something like the fence that always encloses a transition area.  The only equipment new today is wearing gloves and that took a bit longer than I expected because of wet hands.  Felt good getting on the bike, but it took 2:42 whereas last year I did it in 1:52. Bummed about this.


From last year I recall being tired of hills, just wanting a little room to cruise on a flat section for awhile. What I didn't remember was spending so much time out of the saddle.  Because of road conditions they shortened the route this year by about 2 miles so unadjusted my time goal. I wanted to ride about 18 mph, as opposed to last years 17.18 average.  My Garmin is capable of giving me all the info I need except cadence.  I managed to loose my cadence sensor in the process of a tune up and my replacement is in the mail.  Since last year I upgraded my transition bars to aero bars, new wheels and tires, and a hands free water source.  With those tools alone I felt it reasonable to improve at least a little.  I was wrong.

I played some of the descents a bit slower than last year.  Some roads were so bumpy my teeth were clattering and the last thing I want is an accident or blow out.  When I wasn't cruising down a hill, most with tight turns, I was climbing.  When climbing I spent at least 20 percent out of the saddle, not something I've been doing in training and frankly have not had the opportunity to ride any hills this steep this year.  The adjustment from the bike tech made this morning saved my life.  I talk about that later.

Passing was no problem on this course.  Riders were very safe and there was little traffic on the nutty portions of the course.  Sitting here later in the day my hands hurt.  Toward the end I started having trouble shifting with my left hand.  Not a relaxing ride, lots of tension in my body.  Don't know how much of that is due to stress of climbing or the descents.  Thinking if I want to place anytime soon in need a flat or rolling course.  This is not my specialty.  Per my Garmin, this 22.79 mile bike was finished in 1:22 at a lousy 16.6 mph.  But surprisingly I improved greatly in my placement during the bike, so not sure how to take that news.

Transition 2 went smoothly at 1:35.  Usually I go sock less and pay the price.  Today I put socks on and didn't loose any time for it.  Actually did T2 faster than last year even though position at racks was worse.


I have resigned myself at this point to just have a good run.  No chance of catching up now.   Last year I came in first for my age group in the run in 45:17. I don't anticipate doing much better.  It’s a two loop course. The first mile is fast, I averaged 7:00 then it gets harder.  There was a long low-grade hill that turns quite steep.  Many walked that hill and I felt good to se that even though my pace was terribly I was passing people.   I don't particularly like two loop courses; I  do better with the unexpected.  Did second loop harder.  Finished in 45:13 at a 7:41 pace, which was 4 seconds faster than last year.  Noticed reviewing Garmin data that the run course was short of 10 k by about .3 miles.  As usual, although I felt I worked the hills strong on the bike I still had pretty strength left for my run leg.


Friday afternoon I drove up to Connecticut for the Saturday race.  Driving on my own with Kramer and David will take the train after work.  I settled in and chatted with Doug and Kathy for awhile (my in-laws) then took a short ride on my bike.  Last week I had gotten a full tune up and asked for a new chain which required replacing the cogs as well.  Fine, not in my budget but needs to be done.  Had one trials ride in Prospect Park and ride went well in some ways and poorly in others. In some gears it didn’t hold, would slip out of gear.  Not and ideal situation going into a race, so took bike back to shop and hoped he figured out the problem.  Now in Connecticut I'm riding much more challenging terrain and gearing is really off.  Worse than before I made any of these changes with the chain and such.  Any steep hills results in gears slipping and even derailed at one point.  I'm bummed and a bit freaked.  Need to get to race early for quick tune up by local bike shop.

Ate dinner around 7 pm.  Had a favorite I sometimes pick up at fairway.   Baked salmon stuffed with crab.  I had this with a side dish of pasta salad and broccoli raab.  For dessert had a bowl of chocolate ice cream.  I was in bed by 9:50 with alarm set for 4:20

I usually don't sleep well race nights but tonight was pretty sound.  Love sleeping in the country with the windows open.  Got a solid 6 ½ hours of sleep, which is fairly typical for me on race nights.

Woke up with little to do. My race equipment and clothes for the AM were ready before bed.  My bike was set up with bento box and all my race goals written in masking tape on aero bars.  Woke up and hit the pot of coffee for David and I. Set up my breakfast.  Half cup rolled oats soaked overnight in yogurt with an added scoop of Isagenix isalean shake.  Also packed post race meal and snack.  I never like what they offer post race and like to have my own food on hand.  In this case I packed Pad Thai, an apple and some snacks for David.  We headed out by 5:00 with dog in tow and drank coffee and ate in the car for the one-hour drive.

After getting through race registration and body marking headed straight to bike shop tent.  They were great.  Felt confident leaving that I would make it through the bike leg without too much frustration.  I'm getting much faster with set up and had David helped with my wetsuit.  Didn't drink much water this morning but drank a lot yesterday and feel well hydrated.  Had about 1 hour upon arrival to get myself organized and it was just enough time.  I was a bit rushed but not stressed.

During race I felt well nourished, no digestion problems.  Always feel the need to pee after the swim but it slowly subsides.  During bike had a gel about 10 minutes in and then 40 minutes later.  Feel this year need to do more for liquid calories.  This race was fine but felt during run didn't want gels but that was all I had been training with so had one around mile 2.

Final age group results 40-44


Finished 5 out of 16

Swim 36:33. 11/16

T1 2:42

Bike 1:23. 4/16

T2 1:35

Run 45:12. 3/16

No surprises here.  Did a bit better on bike than expected.  MUST improve swim but its not all about pool time.  My open water lake skills where I have to sight are terrible.  In a river I am much better and don't know what in can do about this as there is basically no opportunity to swim in lakes.

When comparing my results to the top three I actually did really well.  Their swims were all at least 4 minutes faster.  They all had T 1 times less than 2 minutes.  On the bike I feel I actually rode pretty strong.  Looking at the top three I was only off by between 1 and 4 minutes.  The first place did her T2 in 26 seconds.  Did she run in her bike shoes?  As for the run I finished only 1:40 behind the front runner.

This was a regional champ race so I qualified for national championships by finishing in top 33%.  Happy with that standing but have no interest in going to Alabama.

What I would do differently is work more steep hills during training on the bike for this race, even if that means using my trainer.  I worked a bit on bike to run transitions and it paid off, but feel I should be able to work at a higher HR for the run and that tells me my tank was running a bit low so need to work on nutrition at race intensity.   Need to get to the pool a minimum of 2 days weekly and the 3rd day should be an open water swim.  Also while doing the open water swim work on transition out of wetsuit.  My T times could improve.  I have a good, fluid system but it’s not good enough.

Comparison of 2010 to 2009

Finish 5/16  vs.   6/12

Swim 11/16 at 39.13min/mile vs. 9/12

T1 this year a bit worse

Bike 3/16 vs.  8/11 at 16.59mph and Av HR of 165 as planned.

T2 was on par

Run 3/16 vs. 1/11 at 7:41mm and Av HR of 181.  One would think I could do better than this.  I ran Paris Marathon 2 months ago at 8:07 pace and ave hr of 178bpm.

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.