Sunday, June 21, 2009

Breaking the Sound Barrier: The 2009 Patriot Half Race Report

Well I finally did it I busted down that wall and got a sub 5 hour half. Part of it is due to a shorter than normal swim and a blazing fast run split, imbupart to an error on the bike.

I risked life and limb driving through Providence and then South Shore Mass, via Fall River put my bank book in the red, but I made there and back. I crashed at the camp the night before the race and took advantage of staying on site to get a swim and ride in. The only draw back to staying at the camp: No internet and no TV, so I was rocking to my i-pod before I passed out a 10:30. I woke up at 1:00am to shut my light off and then woke up for good at 5am. I showered threw on my sun screen then my War on ALS tats and made my way to my car. Since Dunkin Donuts was only a mile down the road I hopped on the bike for a quick warm up, something didn't seem right as my rear brake was rubbing. Got my self my traditional pre Patriot breakfast an iced coffee and Crossiant and rode back. I grabbed my gear and as I was getting ready to walk over to transition one of the guys who stayed with me at the camp asked for some pins, he forgot his race belt so I lent him my spare and then made my way to the mechanic. Apparently the rear wheel was little skewed so she tightened the spokes and The Stomper was ready to rock. John Hirsch was there and ready to rock the elite wave as were 7 other men and 5 women. I bumped in to Claire BadassMofo at the water's edge before entering the swim corral. Several jokes about being rounded up like sheep and one cattle prod reference was made. As we were sent over the mat to await the swim start.

The Swim:I think we're a little short.

Last year I had the day's fastest swim split so I was hoping to repeat the performance. When the gun went off I cut through the group to the inside, sadly I went a little to far to the inside, as I was about 10 meters left of the lead two (Ray and John) I got close to John's feet at the third Bouy but sighted too far inside on the return leg. The managed to open up about 30-40 seconds on me. I hit the beach and as I ran into transition on of the volunteers warned me to watch the turn into transition. I saw on guy on the ground in pain (Ray), figure he had cramped up on the run up, so I ran past slipped out of my wetsuit and got on the bike as a sea of explatives came from transition. Apparently Ray and John both tore into T-1 sided by side and slipped on the grass. John managed to hit dirt Ray got a foot full of metal fence post and would require some stitches. Hence the sea of explatives.
Looking at the splits I'd have to conclude that the swim was a little short as I pulled a 19:56. Now I'm fast but I usually average a 26, but whatever, measuring a swim course isn't an exact science, some years it's long some years it's short...doesn't really take away from the overall enjoyment.

The Bike: Hmm maybe if you put it in a higher gear.

I got out on to the bike course in second overall. I seemed like it was going to be a good day as I was pedaling almost effortlessly, then the first place woman got around me like I was standing still and then the third place man. As we got to the down hills where I normally make up alot of time I got passed by Craig from Tri Sports. Then another rider and another. I looked at my speedometer I was planing on holding back the first loop but I was only hitting 28mph on a down hill last year I was going 30-35mph. I choked it up to nutrition so I choked down a gu, I got passed by the third place woman and she opened a gap on me, then I got caught by 2 age groupers. I wolfed down a milky way bar figuring I really needed sugar, followed by another gu. As I looked at my split as I passed the camp I was only averaging 19mph....what was wrong with me. I put my head down to try to get more areo then noticed I was in the little ring on the front. It was my Aha moment...I kicked it into the big ring and pushed the big gears, I needed to make up time if I wanted a 2:45 bike split, and a chance to break 5 hours. I managed to gain back some time catching and passing the third place woman by the 45 mile mark, but the damage was already done. I watched 2:45 pass on my bike computer at about mile 56 with 2 miles left to the camp. As I got ready to pull into T-2 I slid my feet out of my shoes to do my dismount unfortunately my right shoe unclipped and nearly hit the asphalt. So I scouped it up and rode the last quarter mile with my barefoot on the pedal and my shoe in my hand. My sexy dismount was spoiled again.
Bike Split 2:53:54 I managed to get my average up to 20.1mph which means my second loop had to be in the mid 21mph range. Claire said later she can cross another item off her bucket list as she pulled a win this round Speed Racer.

Run: If you bike like a bitch you better run like a rockstar.

I was livid and determined to break 5 hours on this day. My bike had sucked but as I threw on my shoes and spun my race belt around I tried to talk myself down to eath and focus on my "second strength." " Alright Bobby you're a good runner, knuckle down run a 1:40 and make this sub-5 thing happen." I passed the third place woman like she was standing still and asked for a time check on tenth overall. The course marshall thought I was asking for bib 10 and told me the leaders were at mile 4. The aid stations all had flat coke this year and for this my gut was thankful. I managed to pick off some of the faster cyclists as I went went along sadly I was getting caught by some faster ruunner types. One young guy from Team Psycho went by. And then I was in no man's land for a mile as I looked ahead there were acouple of runners who looked to be slowing up. I got passed by another "Psycho" and Dave from Granite State Tri Club. I managed to keep up with Dave and ask what pace he was trying to hold "7:00-7:15" So I decided to stick with him for a while.We were able to havee a somewhat labored conversation as we checked splits at aid stations and began to reel in some runners. About mile 7 a 25 year old came around...Dave and I had held 6:30's for the past two aid stations and I figured maybe I could afford to kick up the pace for a little bit. I held with the 25 year old for about quarter mile. We hit a slight hill and he checked out and I looked back and shouted some encouragement to Dave, he was about 200 meters back. I hit mile 8 and began to reel in some more runners. By mile 9 I had caught the second place woman "Next Woman is about 20 minutes back." I told her "Not really much I can do about it now. But keep going you're flying." She said as she hobbled along. Mile 10 I hit the next aid station and was catching a few more runners. By the last hill at mile 11 There was only one person in sight but he was too far ahead to catch in only 2 miles. The last two miles were kinda uneventful, except for getting passed in the final stretch by a member of team Aquaphor. I crossed the line shouting "Freedom" Part of the Blazeman Warrior thing. and looked at my watch. I pulled a 1:38:21 Half Marathon only 1 minute slower than my best Straight Half Marathon. My overall time was 4:55:23. Good enough for 53rd overall and 5th out of 8 elites. I finally broke the 5 hour barrier. Now if I can have a miistake free bike in Providence I might...just might have a shot at that Kona slot. But overall it was a good day.



Runner Leana said...

Nice job!!! Congrats on breaking the 5 hour mark.

Bullet said...

Rock on Rockstar! Incredible race. You are my running hero.

Anonymous said...

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Cyber Stalker said...

Boy, you are really getting fast. Keep up the great work.MJ

Charisa said...

Sounds like an AWESOME day! Congrats! Can't wait to track you at Rhode Island :)

LG said...

Way to dig in and have a great run to achieve your goal!!

MaineSport said...

Very nice work. Since you didn't mention the weather, I assume it was fine. We drove from ME to RI on Sunday, generally in the rain. Great running.