When I first signed up for Mooseman back in February, I was REALLY worried that I wouldn’t be well enough prepared and I would end up making a huge mistake and dying out on the race course. I had only done one sprint triathlon last summer, and that was really flat.
Then, I started hearing all of the rumors about how hilly the bike course was, and how cold the swim was, and I was constantly reevaluating my decision to lay down the money and commit to the race.
After 3 months of early morning workouts, long weekend bike rides, cold winter runs along the shore on Swampscott, boring hours spent on the bike trainer, biking to work to squeeze in a few extra miles… I was really feeling myself getting stronger and stronger. I think the turning point was when I saw some pictures online of the dreaded “Devil Hill” just 5 miles in to the Mooseman bike course and instead of feeling that deep pit of dread in my stomach, I was actually excited to conquer it and face the challenge.
Come Race Weekend:
I took Friday off of work so that I could get up to the hotel, pick up my race packet, check out the bike course and have time to settle in and organize everything for the early morning race the next day. Just driving the course was a little testing on my nerves, but it was good to get out there be able to visualize myself on the course.
Saturday morning, I woke up showered, had two muffins, a glass of OJ, and a half-bottle of gatorade and did a final check on all my race gear before packing up and heading to the race site. As I set my my transition area and pulled on my wetsuit, my heart was thumping out of my chest. I had done all I could to prepare, how it was all about execution.
It was time to toe the line at the swim start in the first heat. I could feel all the hundreds of spectators and racers lined up behind me cheering us all on, and ready for that first gun to go off. I was PUMPED! The gun goes off. I run forward and dive into the frigid 60 degree water, sticking to the middle of the pack, just trying to dodge as many rogue elbows and off-course swimmers as possible and settle into a nice groove and not spend too much energy. I could have done a better job of drafting, and leapfrogging for position, but I was more concerned with maintaining a good pace and saving my energy for the next two legs of the race. Swim Time – 28:39
I feel pretty fast through T1. I flopped on my butt, let a couple of wetsuit strippers pull it off of my feet, threw on my bike shoes, helmet, glasses and race belt and ran toward the road. I was feeling good, just spinning the wheels to get some blood back in my legs when, SNAP. My race belt and number fall off and go flying behind me. I’m not sure what the rules are about racing without a number, but I kinda freaked out about being DQ’d (even though I had my number on my bike, helmet, shoulder and hand) and made a quick pitstop to spin around and pick it up, and almost fell over in the process. Another racer whizzed by me and yelled out “take a breath man!” He was right, I had lost my focus and I needed to get back in the zone. I tossed my number in the pocket of my tri shorts, and jumped back on the bike.
The hills were rough, there were almost no flat sections where you could just get in the zone and pump out a few fast miles. My derailer was also all messed up, hopping in and out of gear, and actually scaring me a few times up hills, thinking I was going to jerk forward and fall on my face. I eventually had to make a quick pit stop, do a quick adjust, and keep on rolling. I was able to take in a GU and a water bottle bottle of Nuun on the bike.
I failed to pass a single person on the bike, but I blamed that on being in the first wave, and tried to not let it bother me, as I still was making good time according to my bike computer. Bike Time: 1:31:11 (17.9 mph)
Again, I made it through T2 pretty easily and was feeling really good. I pulled the race belt out of my pocket, which popped off of my waist again in just about the same place as it did on the bike, but grabbed it again and kept pushing forward. As I reached mile 1, I was passing a few people, but really starting to feel the pain. Then, I bonked. I realized how little calories and water I had taken in on the bike and started downing the two GUs I had stored in the pocket of my tri top and took Gatorade and water to make some on-road Nuun to try and get some energy back in my legs. I run/walked the first three miles, and was getting burnt up by the sun, pouring water in my head at each mile marker.
At mile 4, I started to feel some energy back in my body, and was happy to see that the GU/Nuun/Gatorade was doing its job and hearing the music playing off in the distance and the cheers and celebrations going on at the finish line helped push me forward. I was burnt out and made one final sprint toward the finish, and was PSYCHED to see the clock at just over 3 hours. Run time: 59:06
Overall: It was a really awesome race and I was really happy with my performance. I clearly need to manage my nutrition a little better on the bike and the run, and make sure I go though one more gear check on race morning, but I didn’t let any of the little glitches bother me too much and kept pushing on to the finish line. It was a really great race, gorgeous venue, and I got to run into Chris, Kim, John and his family! Hopefully I’ll be running into them and a few other triathletes at some other races this year. Final Time: 3:03:18
Next big race? Firm Half?
Oh and all of these pics, and the rest on my Flickr page, are all courtesy of my own personal race photographer/girlfriend who did a kick-ass job of spotting me out of the crowd and getting some nice pics of a great weekend. Thanks Sam!