Tuesday, September 14, 2010

FIRM Half Ironman Race Report

Where to begin...   yesterday was such an amazing day that was part of an amazing weekend that was part of an amazing summer.  This has been an amazing journey for me from runner to triathlete and I've loved every single minute of it.  Especially as I've come to meet so many fabulous athletes and friends through Tri-Newengland who were all so giving of their time, advice, and friendship.  Without their knowledge and support theres no way I would have stood at the swim start with as much confidence as I felt or crossed that finish line as strongly.  So thank you so much to all of you!  I might just be able to count on two hands the number of workouts I did alone this summer when I was home, and I train six and sometimes seven days a week.  So thats tells you what a great community of triathletes there are in Rhode Island.  But I'm digressing....   and in the first paragraph as usual.  Onto the race stuff!

Oh and one last thanks to Cass, Kellie, Diane, and Jen for taking such great pics and videos and allowing me to use them here on my blog.  Thanks guys!


The day before the race was pretty hectic for me.  I've been burried in work and have been fairly stressed about all of that and it wasn't until Friday at 5pm that I allowed myself to shut that out for the weekend.  Once 5pm on Friday hit if felt like the whole weekend was on fast forward.  And yet every moment of it was awesome!  But it all went by so quickly!  I desperately wanted it all to slow down.  Saturday got away from me in a hurry and was just moving way too fast.  So I had to refocus and recenter a little and change my plans around and calm down and get my act together for the race in the best way I know how.  So sadly I missed out on the Tri-Newenglad carb loading lunch, but it meant that I was able to get everything done in time and get to bed before it got too late.  I'm usually way more organized than that but the week just went by too quickly.  Saturday also included a trip to Narragansett for packet pickup and the prerace meeting which included some interesting tidbits and the comedy of Fred Bartlett describing the course.  Speaking of which he and his team of volunteers worked very hard to get the course ready for all of us and to put on a very safe fun and friendly race.  So kudos should go out to him and his team of volunteers as well as FIRM racing for doing such a great job!  It was truly appreciated!  As well as packet pickup and the pre race meeting I also went for a quick ten minute ride on the bike to make sure my calf that had been tight all week was going to behave and be ok and to do something to burn off a little nervous energy.

I got to bed on Saturday night by 10pm or so.  Not as early as I wanted to but it wouldn't have mattered if I'd gone to bed at 8pm.  Sleep was hard to come by.  So I spent much of the night going through my race plan in my head over and over again and going through how each transition would go again and again until I fell asleep. 

Race Day Pre-Race:

The alarms started going off at 3am.  Fortunately ten minutes before that the coffee pot started brewing.  I went through my morning routine much faster than I thought.  I was up, showered, bike loaded and ready to go by 3:45am.  I hadn't planned on leaving that early but all I wanted to do was sit down.  And I knew if I sat down I was going to fall asleep.  So instead I got in the car and started driving.  Turned on Radiohead's "In Rainbows" album and cranked it with the windows down and headed south.  I arrived at the parking lot of the race by 4:40am.  Yep.  That early.  OMG Its FREEZING!!!
Oops.  I planned on arriving at 5am.  I used the time to prep my bike shoes and get those set, lubed, clipped into the pedals and rubber banded in place.  Around that time a gentleman also in the parking lot walked over to me and started asking me about the swim.  He said "so I've only swam in the ocean once and that was a calm day, have you swam before here?  do you know what its like?".  The first thing that popped into my mind was how rough its been the last couple of swims I've done at the beach.  But I figured that wasn't going to help him any so I just said "Nah...  should be nice and calm today, I wouldn't worry about it, you'll be fine".  Never has such a lie been told.  At 5am I rolled my bike and gear into transition and started setting up.  Yes...  I will fully admit I was the first one in transition.  I like getting setup early so I know its done and I can focus on trying to relax and get my day going.  By 5:10am I was pretty much setup in transition just in time for Joe to walk over and make fun of me for being ready already.  Good stuff!  All of the good humour and fun in transition that morning from my fellow tri-newenglanders was awesome.  It kept it light and really helped me to relax a bit.  I headed over to get bodymarked and once that was done I was pretty much good to go except for putting on my wetsuit, but I had 40 minutes or so before I had to worry about that.  I don't remember too much about the next 40 minutes.  I remember it being really dark and a bit ominous in transition.  I remember being really cold and I remember a hug from just the right person at just the right time that made me feel like everything was going to be ok and I was going to have an awesome day.  Everyone is trying to get ready for a long race and it was pretty quiet in there at times.  Kind of a fun feeling to be a part of.  You can almost feel the energy in there of a bunch of tapered crazed athletes ready to have at it. 

I spent some time visiting with friends and chit chatting for a while.  A lot of people asked me if I was ok.  Apparently I'm told I was a bit wired!  I think its safe to say I was pretty excited and full of nervous energy.  I was also freezing and bouncing around a lot to try and stay warm.  I even went as far as to put my wetsuit on fairly early to try and warm up.  At 6:30am a large group of tri-newenglanders suited up in our wetsuits and started the "march of the penguins" walk down the beach in our wetsuits to the swim start almost a mile away from transition.
I don't know if I'll be able to describe what an amazing feeling that was.  The sun was rising in front of us and there were triathletes in wetsuits all the way up and down the beach walking to the start.  The energy was awesome.  I had about a million thoughts rushing through my head and the fact that the race was about to start in less than half an hour was a pretty intense sensation.  I had fun moving between different groups of friends on the walk down and chatting with everyone.  It was fun to see how different people handle the moments before a race.  Some openly excited and wired (that would be me), some looking nervous, some laughing, some contemplative, some intently focused.  We all seemed to have our own way of getting ready.  When we made it to the swim start area many of us took the opportunity to walk into the water and go for a very brief warmup swim.  I was amazed how warm the water felt considering how cold the air felt.  I was FREEZING in transition all morning so I was happy to stand in the warm water for a bit.  While out in the water I had this amazing moment of realization.  As I stood there I could see the sun rising on one side of me with its rays poking through the clouds in the most picturesque of fashions.  And then turning into shore all you could see was the faces of hundreds of athletes lining the beach in wetsuits and as far as you could see back to transition there were people still walking towards us.  Its a moment in time I'll never forget and a highlight of the day for me.

I walked back onto the beach and a few minutes later the first wave of elites went out.....

(Note:  The results and splits shown below don't quite match the FIRM website as I have removed the Aquabike totals from these to compare apples to apples as it were)

The Swim:  36:10  239th/280 Overall 24th/32 in Males 35-39 Age Group (Goal Time was 40 Minutes, but I wasn't expecting the current to be as strong and help out so much!)

I watched the elites go out and the first thing that I noticed was how they rounded the buoy.  I knew that the current was with us this morning and would be flowing in the direction of the course but I didn't realize how strong it was.  Many of the swimmers that started in line with the buoy had to swim against the current to round it as they had gotten swept to the wrong side of it by the current on their way towards it.  Mental note... start further to the left.

Wave 2 goes off...   holy crap I have to start this thing in 8 minutes!  I think at that point I ended up next to Kevan.  He and I think alike in some ways and we were both full of excitement and totally pumped up.  Seeing him and all of my friends at the start made my first race so much easier.  If I had been all alone there I would have been a mess!  So after a few silly moments of fun between us all we all started to get serious.

Wave 3 goes off...   Uh oh!  Were next!

We started to line up to the left of the swim area as we had all seen the current drag people too far right before the buoy.  I never looked behind me.  I didn't want to know how many people were in my wave.  I just kept looking at the buoy and did my best to grasp the enormity of what was about to happen.  Your standing there waiting for the countdown thinking stuff like....   Sure I have to swim 1.2 miles...  but then I have to bike 56 and then run a half marathon?  Am I fricking insane?  And then someone yells "30 Seconds" in a megaphone and you think..  "Oh F@#$!!!" 

Ten seconds.... 


And then we were off and running into the surf to get to a depth we could start swimming in.  A lot of people ran out there really hard.  Its not easy running in the water.  So I sort of fast walked it.  I figured whats the point of exhausting myself in the first ten seconds!  But it wasn't much later I was off and swimming.  Ok... relax...   find the buoy, relax, find the buoy, relax, find the buoy, relax....    Over and over and over in my head.  And then there was the buoy.  I started way to the left and I just barely rounded the buoy before I would have drifted to the wrong side of it with the current.  This was going to be a FAST swim.

Once around the buoy I started to head towards the towers in the distance and start to look for the guide buoys.  Umm....  hello?  Guide Buoys?  Are you out there?  I think I saw one during the entire swim.  And that was only for a fleeting second when I was on the top of a swell and just saw a flash of bright red.  Other than that I only ever saw the big first turn buoy and the last turn buoy.  That was it.  So I was pretty much on my own to make it down the beach the entire swim.  In retrospect I wish I'd taken this tack from the beginning.  I wasted a lot of time and speed in the water looking for those damn buoys.  I knew better too.  I've done that swim at least a dozen times now with no buoys so I don't know why I was so interested in them now.  I think the fact that I quickly seemed to lose sight of all the other swimmers didn't help.  We spread out fast.  Once we got about a third of the way into the swim the chop seemed to really increase and the current was pushing waves (and me) diagonally towards the finish and the beach at the same time.  I kept realizing that I was too close to the shore and I was fighting my way back out as well as onward.  I should have been swimming further out.  Somewhere halway through the swim I crashed into someone and looked right at them.  Hi Kevan!  I'm pretty sure we both smiled and then kept swimming.  It was pretty funny. 

The rest of the swim got more and more frustrating navigationally.  At this point I finally smartened up and sighted for the towers.  I was getting closer and closer to the sea wall and I still couldn't see the last big buoy I HAD to round.  The other buoys are just to guide you.  I didn't see that buoy till I was 50-75' from it.  Which in the ocean is damn close.  Luckily I was lined up pretty good.  I had no idea if I was too far out or too far in as I approached it.  I rounded that buoy and then started to look for what were called the "gateway" buoys.  Which were 4 buoys set up to make a lane you swim through towards the swim exit.  Out of the 4 of them I knew were there I could see exactly NONE.  I also couldn't make out the inflatable arch on the beach that marks the swim exit.  So I just swam towards sand and hoped for the best.  At that point a friendly kayaker came over and directed me further to the right which I was very gratefull for!  And then finally I was out of the damn water!

Run down the beach and into transtion and towards the wetsuit strippers...  pay special attention to the music choice here.
Out of the wetsuit and into...

T1: 1:39

Running into transition I was going through my usual list of stuff in my brain.  Arm Warmers, Socks, Glasses, Helmet and GO!  And thats pretty much what I did.  I knew the arm warmers weren't going to be fun to put on with soaking wet arms but I also knew without them I would be so cold on the bike I'd lose more than the thirty seconds it would take me to get them on.  So I fought with them for a bit, then the socks, glasses, helment and then I was off and running.
Onto the bike with my shoes already clipped into the pedals and I was off and going in no time.  Getting my feet in the shoes went nice and easy as always. 69.1 miles to go.

Bike:  2:59  126th/280, 20th/32 (goal time was sub 3 hours)

The first thirty minutes of the bike course were pretty damn cold.  Being soaking wet and out in 50 degree temps pedalling at speed was not warm.  But I tried very hard not to focus on it.  I just wanted to have a good solid ride and stay within my goal pace.  I wore a regular watch for the entire race with a clock running on it.  When I was on the bike and going I looked at the time.  It was less than 40 minutes!  Holy crap that was a fast swim!  So I knew I had a few minutes in the bank to reach my secret goal time of 5:24 which was what I had decided was my absolute best case race.  So I smiled about that and enjoyed that thought for a couple of minutes as I was rounding the first turnaround and heading towards the meat of the course.  I got a gel and some fluids down right off the bat and settled into my groove.  The problem with being a slow swimmer in the last wave to start is that essentially everyone is out in front of you on the course.  Pretty much the entire day all I did after the swim was pass people nonstop.  Which is good for morale I suppose except I knew it was because I was starting at the back of the entire pack.  When I hit T1 there were maybe 20 bikes in it still.  So 280 people were out in front of me.  So I just focused on picking them off one by one at my steady goal pace.  I tried not to accelerate to pass people I just passed people not going my pace and avoided drafting ALWAYS.  Somewhere right around mile 10 maybe Luis passed me.  Immediately I started repeating in my head...   Don't chase him, hold your pace, don't chase him, hold your pace, don't chase him, hold your pace.  I knew my race plan and I planned on sticking to it, and pride and ego was not about to get in the way.  So I let him go.  Only he didn't really go.  In the end he was about six bike lengths in front of me and stayed there.  In fact he was also riding my perfect pace.  So we stayed together like that with the gap widening and shortening off and on through the first 37 miles of the course.  A few times I'd ride up and pass him when he was taking a drink and we'd say hello and then once he was settled again I'd let him pass me back and we'd ride on like that.  The whole time the two of us were constantly picking people off one by one by one.  I think I got passed on the bike (not counting Luis) exactly once.  All the fast guys were in front of me apparently. 

I managed my pacing awesomely!  I kept an eye on Luis but I also kept a sharp eye on my bike computer.  I wanted a 19 average and nothing more as my only goal on the bike was to finish it in three hours or less.  Coming into the KFR loop my average was up to 19.4 or so I think.  Coming out of there it was right around the same mark which was perfect!  So I'd managed my pacing well on the technical hilly bits and averaged out right where I wanted to be.  I was pretty chuffed with that.  In the five or so miles left out of KFR to the turnaround at mile 37 I suddenly started realizing something.  I was going awfully fast.  And my legs weren't as tired as they should be for the pace I was riding.  Uh oh.  The wind is going the wrong way.  This could potentially really suck.

I hit the turnaround at mile 37.  Right at this point Luis took off.  I let him go.  and then....Yep.  There it was.  A headwind right in my face for the next 19 miles.  Crap!  In all the times I've ridden this course its always been a headwind on the way out, tailwind on the way in which is awesome as your into the wind when you are feeling strongest.  But today of course it had to be different.  Those miles were the hardest of the day for me of any of the disciplines.  I was tired... I was aching in both legs in my inner thighs and I just didn't feel comfortable any more.  My lower back started to hurt for the first time.  Its never hurt on the bike before.  So I had to sit up a few times.  Which into the wind was of course slowing me down some so I tried to keep that to a minimum.  I rode on the hoods for a little bit and then got back into aero and sucked it up.  Thats when the one guy passed me.  When I was having my pity party at mile 40 or so.  This was also the weakest mentally I was all day.  I had been really strong all day until then.  Those next ten miles were awful.  I had all these negative thoughts about the pain in my legs, and how bad the run was going to be and I wasn't going to meet my goal time and I was going to let myself and everyone else down.  It got pretty ugly inside my head as I slugged away into the headwind.  Thats not like me as mentally in endurance races I'm usually like a rock. 

At mile 50 or so I snapped out of it.  Mostly as I looked at my stopwatch.  I spent the next mile doing some math.  Looks like I'll hit T2 at around or less than 3:40:00 into the race.  (I actually hit around 3:36:00) Which means if I run a two hour half mary it will still put me decidedly sub six hours.  And if I run strong I've got a shot at my 5:24 goal!  That picked me up and I managed to get my head on straight again and pick up the pace a little.  I was VERY happy to see the Wakefield exit sign on the highway.  Sweet!  Almost to T2!

I rode down Narragansett ave feeling really nervous about the run but excited to get off the damn bike!  I almost forgot to get my feet out of the shoes in time as I was thinking about the run but I did that and had a picture perfect running dismout complete with me politely yelling "make a hole!" as I went right between two other people dismounting much more slowly.  What was also great about finally getting off the bike was seeing and hearing the Tri-Newenglanders cheering at the dismount line!  That was awesome and really helped to perk me up.

T2: (there are no T2 times listed for some reason for anyone.  Not sure why. I'd guess about a minute as I had to fight to get the arm warmers off around my watches.  Both of them snagged as I was wearing a stopwatch on one arm and my garmin on the other.  (I wanted a backup in case one failed and I have to run with pace info or I slow WAY down)

T2 was much faster and better than T1 for me.  Racked the bike, off with the helmet, on with the shoes, grab my pile of gak in my hat and started running.

Run: (Times will be listed at the end...   or there's no suspense!)

I came running out through the inflatable arch and onto Route 1a.  Saw club member Jon cheering as I exited which was great and then headed off.  About thirty seconds into the run I look down at my Garmin.  Holy crap I'm running 6:30's!  I need to slow down!  Nah!!!!  So I went with it.  I figured I'd slow down after the first mile.  I'll let my legs do what they want for now and see what happens a mile later.  A few seconds after that I passed Luis who must have exited transition just in front of me.  I was flying on the run.  I ran the first mile in 7:06 and I felt AWESOME!  When I realized how good I felt and how fast I was running a big ol smile started to show up.  I was going to crush this thing!  I looked at my stopwatch and started to do math and then stopped myself.  Nope...   you are only one mile in.  Lets do the finish time math at the halfway point and take stock of how I feel and then you can get happy.

Mile 2...  7:20.  Ok I'm still cooking pretty good but now were slowing down.  So maybe I'll end up with an average pace closer to 8 minute miles once I settle in.  Lets see how mile three goes and then reevaluate my pacing plan.  I got a gel down and started to alternate water and gatorade at each aid station.  I decided not to  use my fuel belt in the end and I'm glad I didn't have it on as I didn't miss the extra weight and the aid stations were everywhere which was awesome.  At this point I started to pass other Tri-Newenglanders one by one who were out ahead of me.  So it was fun to see people and say hello and offer encouragement and get some in return too.  But more on that later.

Mile 3...  ok so this is the one where we see how my legs feel and what pace I'm starting to settle into.  Seven minuts even!  Holy crap I'm cooking!  This is going to be a GREAT day if I can keep this up!  I see Chris S at the aid station there and say hello and then take off into the first out and back section of the course.  These are great as you get to see lots of people so I started to look for the faster Tri-NE guys coming towards me.  I didn't see Sean but I did see Kevan.  I yelled out "I'm Coming For Your Ass! You better RUN!" or something silly.  We had a good laugh and he was looking really strong.  In reality he was at least a mile or two in front of me and no way I was going to catch him at the pace he looked to be running.  I passed several other Tri-Newenglanders in this section and then got to seem them again on the back portion of this leg of the run.  I did a good job lying on the out and backs.  I got asked by friends several times how much further the turnaround was.  Even if it was two miles out I always said "Its Close!  Your almost there!"  I mean really...  is there any other answer to that questions?

Mile 4 7:11 Woot!

Mile 5 7:39 (hmmm...  am I starting to slow down or was that just the hill?)

Mile 6 7:41  Ok now its time to reevaluate.  My average pace at this point was still around 7:20 which was awesome and I was trying to hold it sub 7:30 but my last two miles were slowing down.  So I thought of some stuff Kevan had said to me in training about pain and suffering being temporary and I sucked it up and did my best to pick up the pace despite my legs starting to feel a little heavier than they did at the start of the run. 

As an aside for a minute much like the bike I did nothing but pass people on the run.  Everyone seemed to be settling into a comfortable pace while I was hammering away and picking people off left and right.  What was a huge surprise to me was how encouraging people I didn't know were to me.  When I would pass people at speed just about everyone said stuff like "Nice Run!  Looking Strong!" or "Damn Kid!  You Go!" or other such bits of fun.  I thought that was awesome.  Clearly my plan of even pacing on the bike was paying dividends here as I was cleaning up along the course and loving every minute of it.

Mile 7 7:46...  still not great.  But at least I'm more than halway at this point!  Thats good!  So I start to mentally prepare myself for slowing down towards running 8's by the end of the run.  Thats still within my goal pace range so nothing to be worried about.

Mile 8 7:49..   CRAP!  I'm slowing down way too quickly.  SUCK IT UP!  Find energy you didn't know you had!  Suck down that last gel and get your ass moving!  NOW  you can bitch and moan and cry after the finish line.  GET YOUR ASS MOVING!

Mile 9...  7:22.  Ok thats much better.  Keep it up!  My average pace is still sub 7:30 so life is still good.

Mile 10...  7:33  NICE!  Now were holding right where I want to be.  Only three miles to go!  I look at my stopwatch.  Holy crap!  It doesn't say 5 hours yet!  Ok time for quick math...   WHOA!  Don't start celebrating yet but if you can keep it together you'll go sub 5:20!!!!   I'm AHEAD of my I had a perfect day finish goal!  NICE!

Mile 11..  7:54  Ok not super fast but who cares!  Only two miles to go and I'm still on track for sub 5:20!

Mile 12..  7:09!!!!  Ok now I'm really excited to finish this thing!  I blow past two guys in matching team jerseys who both shout out huge encouragement to me!  Something like WAY TO GO!  FINISH STRONG!  GO GET IT!  I had a smile the size of texas on my face.  When I knew I had only one mile to go I started to tear up.  I was so tired and so happy and so emotional I turned into a bit of a mess there for a second. 

Mile 13!  Last one!  I managed to get my head together and buck up for the last mile in.  I fought my way up that last little hill and rounded the turn where you can see the beach cabanas for the first time.  I'm so close!  I round the turn into the parking lot that takes you towards the last bit of the run onto the sand.  I joked with the volunteers..  "I don't wanna run on the sand!  You can't make me!" and thanked them as I passed.  In fact I thanked lots of volunteers and policeman along the way in the race.  We couldn't do this without them!

I round the corner and I'm onto the sand.  OMG what a cruel joke this crap is!  Ok down to the hard packed sand on the beach and pickup the pace.  Time to finish strong!  I gave that last mile everything I had.  Even on the sand.  I could hear the crowd gathered at the finish and see the arch finally!  YEAHHHH!!!!!  Fought my way throught the loose sand and up to the finish chute.  Heard some tri-ne'rs cheer and heard the now traditional yell from Kevan at me to finish strong and went for it.  There was a nasty hairpin turn in the finish chute and I barely held it together to round that without falling and then hammered my way through the arch with my arms in the air!!!!   That last mile was 7:54 even with a 1/4 to a 1/3 of it in the sand.  In the end my average pace for the run was 7:29's!  WOW!  I've NEVER run a half that fast before.  So yeah, thats a PR!!!

1:36:43 (I still can't beleive that!) 30th/280, 3rd/32.  Top 10 Percent!

I was so excited to finish the race I forgot to stop to let them get my timing chip and give me a medal.  I had to double back for it.  Oops!  From there I went to the finish chute to find my team mates, shared some great hugs and congrats with those that finished before me and hung out to cheer on those that finished behind me.

In the end my time was 5:14:15!!!!  WOW!  Thats ten minutes faster than my best case scenario prediction!  I can't beleive it!  That was good for 87th out of 280 and 11th out of 31 in my age group.  Not too shabby for my first half iron length triathlon!  I was so insanely excited and happy with that.  I have been on cloud 9 for two days now.  I worked really hard for this and I'm so excited that it all came together and paid off for me. 

Ok...  time for some lighter stuff....

Stuff that didn't go right:  In some ways I'm lucky I finished as strongly as I did.  My nutrition plan on the bike did not go well.  I should have downed three bottles of gatorade endurance and 4 gels on the bike.  I got the gels down but fluid was incredibly hard to get down.  I was so cold and I felt like salt water was pouring out my nose the entire ride.  I just didn't want to drink anything.  I really had to force it down.  I didn't finish my first bottle till mile 37 and I knew it.  I kept trying to get more down but my stomach wanted none of it so I didn't push it.  In the end I only got a bottle and a half down so I was shy 225 calories.  Considering my plan was only to consume 850 calories on the bike thats down by a significant margin.  I did get two gels and a fair amount of gatorade and water down on the run so that was good.  But nutritionally I think I got a little lucky.  The potenital for a bonk was certainly there.

Thanks:   The first is that it would be foolish of me to celebrate this accomplishment without showing my great appreciation for my fellow Tri Newengland club members.  Everyone in my club has been so accepting and giving of their time, advice, and friendship to me.  It was so amazing to feel a part of that out on the course.  To see and hear everyone cheering for each other.  To know that those not racing in the club still came out to show their support.  To not be alone standing at the starting line made such a difference to me.  I spent half of the run looking for my friends instead of focusing on the suffering.  I spent the swim start sharing in the excitement and nervousness with everyone.  The time in transition in the morning seeing everyone took my mind off my fears and helped me focus.  They are just such an amazing group of talented and giving athletes and I just feel very fortunate to be a part of that.  So thanks all...   No way I finish this race as strong without all of you.

Ok...  I'll get flack for this...  but I am me.  And so I can't help but think about next year a little bit and what I can do better.  With some work this offseason and perhaps a new tri bike before next season I think I can shave ten minutes off that bike time.  So now were at 5:04.  My run is not going to get any better than that, so we'll have to look at the swim.  My swim was a trainwreck.  Clearly there is room for improvement there.  I can realistically shave 3-5 minutes off that time.  I'm a middle of the pack swimmer and in this race I was at the back of the pack as I just didn't have a great swim even for me.  With some work with a coach this winter I know I can improve that greatly.  So yes, in 2011 my longshot work my ass off for goal is to go sub 5.  Yep.  I said it.  Don't get me wrong though...   I'm so incredibly pleased with 5:14!!!  I love it!

Oh and one other thing....

Receiving this gift on the day of my race and putting it on my car that night was almost as good as crossing the finish line.  Best race day present EVER!  And one of my top 5 best gifts of all time.  I display it with great PRIDE!

And oh by the way....

By the end of 2011 there WILL be a 140.6 one right underneath it.  : )

And Nancy, if you're reading this...  you were right all along.  I think within a month of meeting me this summer Nancy said to me...  "no way you're going to wait three years to go for your first full Ironman.  I bet you'll try for it next year"  Yep.  You were right. 

And Kevan...   you were right too on that day in Barrington on the beach earlier this summer when you looked at me very seriously and said "Your so going to do the FIRM".

I can't say again how happy I am about all of this.  I thought finishing my first marathon felt good...  but crossing this finish line was even better.  Was it the distance and the effort and training required?  maybe...   I think in reality it was this time I didn't go it alone, I went in as part of a team.


  1. Nick,

    Congrats on your awesome finish!!!! I have to thank you for getting me hooked up with the Tri-NE crew. It truly made a world of difference having so many friendly faces out there and well wishes along the course.

    And...I think there must have been something in the water at that last water stop right before mile 12. I, too found myself feeling like I may shed a tear or two at that same place and heard myself say "there's no crying in triathlon...till Kona.


  2. "Oh there are many things I know, that you don't realize quite yet"...said the old wise Nancy. Hahaha!

  3. Thanks so much Mona! I'm so glad you found you way over to Tri-NE. Yeah that last mile was an emotional one!

  4. Nancy... since when are you old... or wise! HA! Seriously though... thanks for all the help and company on those long rides and runs this summer! Much appreciated!

  5. Dude...
    Finally got time to read all of this...Wow! Well done my friend. As always, can't wait to hear more in person, but wanted to say congrats!

  6. Thanks Will! Carefull what you wish for... get me going about that race and you'll never shut me up! See you in DC in a bit.