Don’t Call it a Come Back

I’ve been here for years.

After my 140.6 in North Carolina last November I’ve been pretty much radio silent. This is because I’ve concentrated on the things that were put on hold during my training. I’ve spent a lot of time taking care of my now 9 month pregnant wife, concentrating on work & being fat and happy.

CYCLE ONSIE I was all set to start training for my 5th (or is it 6th?) Harpoon B2B ride in May. The plan was for it to be my first fathers day gift… Baby P was going to be at the finish with Katie wearing her cycling onesie. It’s been a little colder then usual this year, so I’d been spending most of my time on the trainer. I got back from a work trip to SF where I got to do a sunrise run on the Golden Gate Bridge along with getting a decent ride around town with Greg. When I got back from the trip I was supposed to turn around and be down in CT the following week for work. Unfortunatly while home I accidentally kicked a laundry basket while walking by it and hit it just right (or wrong) and ended up breaking the proximal phalanx of my big toe. I’ve been in an aircast for almost three weeks, which probably means I’m out for the B2B this year.

The boots getting the boot! Regular shoes this week, bike shoes next week!I got the good news this morning that I can transition out of the boot and wear regular shoes for the remainder of the week. Next week I’m allowed back on the bike! I can’t wait to strap my Sidi’s back on and chew up some pavement. I’m not supposed to run for anouther 4-6 week and can’t race till early August. Guess I’ll have to look at what races are still open that I can jump into…

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Beach2Battleship Run

After getting off the 6 hour, 112 mile bike ride I made my way into the Wilmington Convention Center to get into my Newtons and run a marathon. The full stats are here.

Once i’d switched into run gear I made my way out to the course. While heading over the timing mats one of the volunteers was cheering people on and asked something about how we’re feeling. I remember responding that “My next hobby is going to be stamp collecting” it got a big laugh from him and I was off on the run.

The first part of the run included a little ‘spur’ for the full so the half and full could share the same turnaround point and finish line. I got to see Katie & Cindy 2 more times thanks to that. Mentally I used it as my check to see how the legs were going to fair on the run, I refused to walk that portion of the run and kept moving forward. I turned onto the board walk and just chugged along till the first real turn on the course. It was a slight uphill and I made the decision that I’d just walk up the hill. This was too make sure that I’d conserve energy early on, I still had 25 miles to ‘run’.

It took me about 5 miles to settle into a decent rhythm for the run. I decided to use a run-walk approach to the last leg. I would run for a mile or two, then walk for a quarter mile. As I stated before, my goal was to remain ‘comfortable’ on the run. That translated into an average pace of 10:42 min/mi, not a fast pave by anyones measure, but after 116.4 miles it was the pace that my body decided was ‘right’. During the run I had no idea how I was doing, I played leap frog with a couple people for a while, where i’d pass them then they’d pass me.

I was worried about the toll that the course was going to take on me mentally, covering the same ground 4 times seemed like it was going to me a drain on my head. Having done the Baystate course, the loop played havoc with my mental state. I was pleasantly surprised that the mental drudgery that Baystate layed down on me didn’t occur on the Beach2Battleship. I believe it’s because I didn’t know the course as well as I know Baystate (which is one of my training loops). The first out and back on the Beach2Battleship was a ‘learning the course’ run, and the second loop was the ‘just get to this point, now this point, now this point..’ run. The only part of the course that was mentally tough was the “Bermuda triangle” There was a section of the course that was a 2 left turns in a neighbor hood, that you ran 4 times… in the same direction. This was the only hard point on the run, I had a nice chat in that section of the run with another 140.6 virgin, the big difference was that this was the furthest he’d ever ridden or run IN HIS LIFE! He’d never done a marathon or a 114 mile ride before (he had trained, just never ‘did the distance’).

I had begun the run with my fuel belt loaded up with 2 bottles of GU Roctane, 2 bottles of water, some gu’s and salt pills. I ended up living off the course since the aid stops were plentiful enough that I never was in need of my belt. I luckily only ran half the marathon with it since I ditched it with Katie, Cindy & Pat after the first loop. Dropping the 32 oz of fluid from my waist gave me some renewed energy. I remember when I made the turn around that Katie asked me how I felt, the answer was “tired, but good”. For nutrition I was in somewhat of a survival mode, I knew I needed to keep calories coming in along with salt and sugar… bonking during the run was my worst fear. Beach2Battleship does an awesome job stocking the water/food stops, and I was fully utilizing them. I had never seen Chicken Broth at an event, it’s a genius move (not as good as pickles.. but a close second)! Most stops had small stoves or coffee pots that they were warming the broth in, it wasn’t cold but a little warmth went a long way! About half way through I switched up from drinking straight water to drinking a 50/50 mixture of water and pepsi.. along with chicken broth. Under normal conditions it probably wouldn’t be the most intelligent nutrition plan, but it worked awesome for me and somehow I felt better from mile 13 to 26 then I did from 0 to 13. I attribute some of that to dropping the Fuel Belt and the euphoria of knowing I was in the final stretch of my first iron distance!

Another motivator was the little GPS tracker that was strapped to my waist. I knew that I had friends and family tracking my progress and that the ration of shit i’d get from them if I didn’t keep up a decent pace. I wasn’t about to let down all the people that were watching the little arrow move on the map. Another “secret weapon” I had with me to keep me moving was my Trans NH shirt, it served as a reminder that no matter how tired I was that i could push a little further and a little harder.

In the last few miles I was running with a  women who was keeping the same pace as I was. At that point we’re in a residential area with some not very well lit sidewalks. She made the comment about the darkness and how easy it would be to twist an ankle. We both agreed that at that point with less then a mile that even with a twisted ankle we’d limp to the finish! Coming down that final stretch on the boardwalk of the NC convention center is forever etched in my memory. Seeing the finishers arch and knowing that 12 hours prior I had entered the water with no idea what was in store for me. Hearing my name called as I completed the 140.6 miles was amazing. I remember holding my arms up and smiling at the camera, being blinded by the flash and being handed my medal, hat & mylar wrap. Katie, Cindy and Pat were waiting for me at the end of the finishers chute and I gave Katie a HUGE sweaty hug! We walked around a little bit so I didn’t lock up.

After I came across the finishing mat and I think I didn’t stop smiling till the next morning! I can’t wait to start training for the next one!

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Beach2Battleship Bike

114 miles on the bike was the least of my worries during the Beach2Battleship. My main concern was to keep myself in check during the bike and not “go fishing” to catch all the faster swimmers then me.

I came out of the water in 379th place over all for men (there were 415 total in the event). I got out of the water jogged over to the transition to switch into my cycling gear. At this point I had no idea how I was doing, I was just happy that I wasn’t last out of the water and getting onto the bike!

On the BikeI switched into my bibs and jersey in the transition tent and went off to get on the bike. Katie was waiting for me at my bike to cheer me on, I gave her a quick kiss and headed out onto the course. I had just got a new Garmin 910xt a few weeks prior since my trusty 305 had split in two during a training ride. I hadn’t quite mastered the multisport mode on the new watch, so I fumbled around a bit trying to get it to switch from Swim to Bike. About 2 miles in I got the watch switched over to bike mode and started to really ride. I ended up pushing a little too hard during the first 35 miles or so of the ride. Looking at my splits a few to many have 20mph as the average speed on them. Once I realized that I needed to settle down I tried to maintain an average speed of 18, I ended up with an average of 18.7 mph average moving speed for the ride, so I’m pretty happy with that, but honestly I should have pushed a little harder and gotten a 19! The full stats for the ride are here.

Around mile 50 we took a left hand turn down a road, and thats when the head wind started! We ended up riding into the wind for the last 50 miles of the ride, but that was okay given the lack of hills! I chatted with some people on the ride, but mainly focused on moving forward. At mile 75 or so my thighs started to get sore. This is to be expected after three or four hours of riding. They never got too bad while riding, just enough to remind me that they were there and being worked.

For nutrition on the ride I had water in my aero bottle, which was refilled every chance I got, whether it was empty or not. In total I was packing about a thousand calories on the bike this was in 2 bottles of Gu Roctance (240 calories each) & 5 Gu Packets (100 calories a packet). I ended up eating a couple bananas on the course and some a ton of pretzel sticks. According to Garmin I burned ~3000 calories on the ride. I doubt the pretzels and bananas made up the 2000 calorie difference, but it didn’t matter. I felt strong all the way through the ride.

Katie & Cindy were waiting for me by the chute to T2. I spotted Katie real easily since she was wearing the VT 100 on 100 shirt (it’s bright green). Katie was holding a poster board with some pics that friends and family supplied, which I will post soon. I dismounted my bike, handed it to a volunteer and headed to find my Bike 2 Run bag!

I finished the ride in 218th place, which means that I reeled in 161 fish on the ride!

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