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Race Report - 2018 Wrentham Duathlon

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Race Report - 2018 Wrentham Duathlon

For me, the first race of the season carries the same anticipation and weight as the last. As I venture out of my dark dim basement, looking for this “sunshine” that so many once spoke of, this first race allows me to gauge my fitness level in the real world.


Like most of North America, this winter has been a mess. We here in New England were hammered by 4 nor’easters over 3 weeks in late Feb. and March, one of which also happened to morph into a bomb cyclone. Basically what that meant for us on the East Coast, was that we had snow, and sleet, and a shit ton of it at that. One of the not-so-fun effects of all that snow and junk laying waste to our racing grounds, is all the cracked pavement, potholes, and debris strewn about.

Early last Sunday morning I lined up with my fellow triathletes for the 2018 Wrentham Duathlon. Buzzing at the starting line, we listened to the National Anthem while mostly searching the park for a flag to face. The race director then jumped on his horn and jokingly asked who’d been outside riding recently? Not many hands went up. The area had just thawed from another glorious spring snowstorm a few days before. Jokes aside, the race director then proceeded to warn us of the dangers we might face on the road. Particularly how after the last storm hit, the town plowed away the snow and then seemingly decided to dump what remaining salt and sand they had left over from the winter season. Watch the corners. Also, he cautioned, watch out for the potholes and cracks in the road on the final descent and turn back into the park.

Finally the ‘horn/gun’ sounded and everyone blasted off down the road. No really, this group was fast and itching to go. I self seeded myself towards the back of the pack, allowing these speed ninjas the space to jostle their way to the front. Taking a moment to look down at my watch, I was shocked to find myself running a 7min mile. I shut that shit down quick. While this Dad bod and its limits may still be an enigma to me, I absolutely know I can’t sustain a 7min mile. I pulled back, settled into a comfortable pace and still found myself running faster than expected. Up and around, off we went.

 Wrentham Duathlon - Run 1

Wrentham Duathlon - Run 1

Run 1 - 2.96 Miles

Time: 25:43 - Mile 1 8:24, Mile 2 8:37, Mile 3 9:05

The Crackerbarrel Fairgrounds in Wrentham, MA (not far off from Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots), hosted the transition area, tucked between some baseball stands, the main road, and a parking area. While the transition is perfectly situated next to you cars and the oh-so-holy port-o-potties, the path into the transition is about a 200ish yard run (or bike) across a unkempt soggy field.

During T1, I was not entirely worried about my time. I fueled up, geared up, and hopped on my new old 2011 Felt B12 tri-bike - which prior to this race I had only rode outside once; in a Tucson Target parking lot at the time I brought it. So as I clipped in without the security of my Kurt Kinetic trainer, I was nervous. Luckily the bike is a beaut and through spending time on it in the basement, I had found that sweet spot of mild comfort on top of a bike.

The single loop bike route through the towns of Wrentham, Franklin, and Norflok, covers just enough varied terrain to keep you amused. Bike support and water stations were not provided, so I brought my tire/tube kit and all the drinks to be drank.

The course rode as expected, hills for days the first half followed by descents and turns through the last half. While I pushed through climbing the hills, I was pretty reserved coming down off them. The roads were chewed up through many sections, and the parts that weren’t were covered with shadows from overhanging trees. The course was also open to traffic and with my Plymouth crash still fresh, even after 18+ months, I had no desire to eat it on my new old bike during this race. The bike felt great, my brakes worked even better.

 Wrentham Duathlon - Bike Course  

Wrentham Duathlon - Bike Course  

 

Bike - 10.76 Miles

Time: 40:24

Elevation Gain: 528ft

Elevation Loss: 522ft

Average Speed: 16mph

Max Speed: 29.3mph

 

Coming up to the transition area across the field was pretty sketchy, but I made it across the mat without eating it trying to get my clips out in front of the DJ. Win.

I took my time as before, sucked a GU, laced up, and took off with a few people in my sights.

  Wrentham Duathlon - Run 2

 Wrentham Duathlon - Run 2

Feeling pretty worn while waiting for my GU to kick in, I didn’t even bother looking at my watch. I was tired, and again I didn’t feel like going home with a new injury. I picked a few people off, glanced down at my watch and was pleasantly surprised by my pace. The 2nd loop was a mile less than the first, and it was nice to be able to run past familiar scenery.

I coasted up to a guy who kept pace with me and we chatted about how chopped up the bike course was. He informed me how a distracted driver pulling onto the course from a shopping area almost smoked him. He asked if I wanted to push to the end. I glanced over my shoulder, and with no one behind us I asked his age group. Not being in the same group, I wished him luck and he sprinted off. Soon after the final bend came into view and I could clearly see the finish off in the distance. Pushing myself, I finished strong.

Run 2 - 1.94 Miles

Time: 16:47 - Mile 1 8:43, Mile 2 8:24

2018 Race Season – Race 1 – Done
The real highlight of the race came after it was all over, when I realized that for the first time ever I had placed. My time of 01:26:37 was good enough for 3rd Place in the Male 35-39 age group. That time also happened to beat my 2017 (01:30:28) time. Hooooray for progress. Go TUSA!!!

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World Championships:  Here John Comes!! (Race Report: Anything is Possible)

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World Championships: Here John Comes!! (Race Report: Anything is Possible)

Early morning race start of 6am had me up at 3 AM for breakfast and coffee. I had my typical breakfast that I have had before every big training day. 3 picky bars, cup of coffee with a little cream, then sipped on 50g of tailwind nutrition in 24oz of water before leaving at 4:14 to the race. Going into this race through the entire week I believe I did an excellent job of hydratingIwas constantly making sure I was getting in at a minimum 5x 24oz bottles of water throughout the day. This set me up for a warm race day.

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2017 IRONMAN 70.3 Mont Tremblant Race Report

2017 IRONMAN 70.3 Mont Tremblant Race Report

My week leading up to my race was full of nerves, deadlines, and wrapping up loose ends. Wherever you look in the triathlon world, it is universally recommended that you sleep as much as you can prior to your race. The benefits are not only for your body, but your mind as well. I failed completely at this. Prior to leaving Thursday, I had yet to accumulate more than 4-5 hours of sleep a night...

2017 Ironman Victoria 70.3: John's Race Report

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2017 Ironman Victoria 70.3: John's Race Report

Let me first say that this race report is a very blunt way I look at racing. I write these reports the day of or the day after racing. I generally am never that happy with my races, I always want more out of myself and this can be seen in this report. Usually a few days later I can cool off a bit and think about all the good things that did happen and how I can improve for next time. You might look at this and think I am a bit hard on myself, but that is who I am and that is what drives me to be better at what I do every day.

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2017 IRONMAN Victoria 70.3: Brandon's Race Report

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2017 IRONMAN Victoria 70.3: Brandon's Race Report

Race Report Time!!!

With my third Victoria IRONMAN 70.3 in the bag, I've got to start out by giving a shout out to all the volunteers and race organizers for another beautiful event this year. The weather was perfect, the organization was perfect - minus a mixed up with double registering me :), all handle easily and professionally however. Great job all around.

This race was an interesting one for me. It happened all pretty quick from registration to race-day was only three weeks. 

Overall, I'm happy with this race. I had realistic expectations coming in and knew this would always be a "c" level race. It was meant as prep and that is what it was.

Here is a three year look at my Victoria 70.3 Races (note 2016's swim was 1500 meters)

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Pre-Race 24hrs

I left Calgary at 07:25, arriving in Victoria at 08:10. With the initial fears of my bike not showing up, I got into my rental car and headed to the start to register and put my bike together.

It was a rough registration and warm up. My xlab strap for my water bottle ripped during bike assembly. Luckily I was able to somewhat fix it. I went for a quick warm up to make sure the bike was running smoothly and it was in perfect order - thanks Jeremy for pre-race help in tuning it up.

Next up, registration. Took longer than I thought it would given that there were two Brandon Holterman's registered. Quickly resolved. However, as I was waiting I realized that I had booked too late to get my fancy All World Athlete swim cap. Seriously? Come on Ironman, you can't keep a few extra camps around for late comers??? Kind of bush league. Nonetheless, I was registered.

At this point I realized I forgot my bento box for the bike. Kiss another $40 dollars good bye. Good thing you can buy anything at the expo. Off to a warm up swim.

This was great because I got to meet our TUSA Ambassador John for the first time. Not great, because he dusted me in the swim and it really sunk in how fucking fast this guy is. Annnnnddddddd......what would the swim be without another mishap - I ripped my wetsuit trying to get it over my massive calves, oh the pains of having beautiful calf muscles. No worries, it was still usable.

All was well, but I had enough of the venue. I was racked, warmed up and it was time to relax. 

I met Trevor and we went in for a good meal and a walk around Sidney. Then off to bed. 5 am would come very quick.

The Course

To give you a lay of the land, below is the course. The swim was moved back to Elk Lake this year - THANK YOU ORGANIZERS. The bike course isn't fast, lots of twists and turns but a gorgeous ride and the run is fantastic, dirt trails and lots and lots of tree cover.  A great race all around for anyone considering it.

The Swim

It actually feels weird to write this, but I think the swim was the strongest part of my game on this day.  Compared to previous years I was much faster and more consistent.

I got to the race start extremely early, especially for me.  This left me lots of time to get warmed up, get ready, have a good little swim and get comfortable. It is something I think I may try to do more :)

The organization this year for swim start was fantastic too. Easy to get into the right seating and group of people. I picked a perfect spot and came out exactly where I seated myself in between the 35-40 min signs. 

As for the swim, I just felt strong the whole way through. There was a little bit of zig zagging and the occasional person trying to crawl over you, but for the most part I was able to tuck myself behind someone and get a nice clean area to swim in. Drafting. It really is an amazing thing.

This might have been the first race in the water where I didn't panic about not finishing or mentally debate why the hell I was doing this. Some definite growth in that aspect.

I came out of the water feeling really good. Knew I had a good swim and was set up nice for the bike.

T1 was nothing special, I ran down to my bike, stripped off the wetsuit and got ready. Had a good time, but some indecision and hesitation cost some seconds. One of which was do I pee here or find an outhouse.

I peed in T1, don't think anyone saw, but I just couldn't hold it.

On to the bike.

The Bike

Ahhhhhhh, the bike. We all know how much I like the bike. However, this race I was just not feeling strong or comfortable on the bike. Upon reflection, the only reason is I just didn't have it that day.

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Never really got into a rhythm, never got comfortable.

I think this is partly a course thing. The course is a lot of rolling hills, lots of turns, lots of "jammed" up areas of people and a "No Passing" zone that seemed to go on forever, being stuck behind someone also not really feeling the bike. All and all it just didn't feel right. 

That being said I had a solid first half, but started to lose a little steam on the second-half - partly letting off in preparation for the run, partly just not having the conditioning for all the changing of speeds, etc etc. The conditioning was not helped with what is only describable as a WHOLE lot of cheating or breaking the rules going on. The amount of drafting and passing violations was incredible, something I've never seen in a race before. Huge groups of people, riding wheel-to-wheel, passing then dropping speed, then passing again.  In efforts to break away I definitely burnt up unnecessary energy. 

It was frustrating. It burnt up unnecessary energy. It slowed me down overall. Overall, I finished pretty strong, under 3 hours, can't really complain with that. 

I had a good, quick T2 and was off on the run, feeling really really good actually. 

The Run

The run is by far where I have the most trouble and have yet to be able to put together a consistent effort that I know I'm capable of.  That being said, I'm really happy with my run. I had no muscle issues. No cramping, no severe pain - a little hip pain in the last 2 km, but nothing debilitating.

I decided very early on that I would be happy with any time under 6 hours really. I got into a seriously good rhythm for me early on, clipping along at a good pace. Around km 9 ish, I decided to pull it back a little bit. The reason? I just didn't want to push it too hard. I knew this race wasn't my "A" race and I was just there to have fun, finish and benchmark a few things. So I pulled back and just ran km by km, taking in the aid stations. Using the porta-potties like a grown adult. It really was an enjoyable run.

On my last 100m, I was nearly taken out by a child who didn't quite understand what was going on and ran out on the course right in front of me. I recovered nicely, remaining upright and finished strong, with a smile on my face and my mind already figuring out how I was going to get to the airport on time!

The wrap

There is no better feeling then crossing the finish line. I finished the race, not in my best time, not as quickly as I would have liked to, but the fact of the matter is that I finished.

This isn't a sport that gives you anything. You get what you put into it. As I've discussed, my training hasn't been where I thought it would be at this time of the year when I set my goals. I haven't put in the hours I anticipated and honestly that's OK. But, you get what you put in and 5:43:34 is what I deserved.

I learnt a lot this race. I tried some new things that worked well and know where I need to improve.

I've got a tough next 6 weeks with Ironman Calgary 70.3 on July 23 and Ironman Canada 70.3 on July 30. It is buckle down time and I will be ready.

The journey continues.

 

 

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Matty Matty Mat Mat Mat: It's Game Time!!

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Matty Matty Mat Mat Mat: It's Game Time!!

As with all new comers, nerves, questions, panics, are all present.  So while we help Mat offline, we wanted to share some of Mat's tips online!  What race are you running in 6 days?  I have no doubt you feel all the jitters we all do.  Fun huh!?  Hopefully this gives you some help too!

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Brandon's Race Prediction: Victoria 70.3 2017

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Brandon's Race Prediction: Victoria 70.3 2017

Well it is that time of year again – RACE SEASON!!!

With the start of my race season descending upon me this Sunday with Victoria 70.3, I thought I best continue the tradition of throwing up a race prediction.

I wasn’t going to do this for a number of reasons, most of all I’m having a hard time gauging my preparedness

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Race Report: Beaver Freezer Sprint Triathlon

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Race Report: Beaver Freezer Sprint Triathlon

Race Information: 500 yard (450 meters) swim - 12.1 mile (19.47 km) bike ride - 3.1 mile (4.99 km) run

This might be the first time I felt like I was really racing. I usually race towards the front of my age group but never at the front of the race. So being at the front of this race made it a very different experience because I didn’t care about any numbers about pace or power. It was just go hard, and don’t blow up.

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Race Report!  The "Oh Thank God" Race

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Race Report! The "Oh Thank God" Race

I had my first trail race last Saturday.  I was rightfully terrified.  I had only managed a few runs in prep and couldn't go longer than 1.5kms (that's one and half, not 15) without pain.   Uphill was the worst, and the prospects of facing a large elevation trail race were daunting.

Enthusiastically, I had registered months ago for the 10k option.  On race day, I decided that was optimistic and bumped it down to 5km.  My friends Alex and Alex (they have thus far resisted being called "Alex squared" or "double A" ) took off on the 10k route, leaving me with my painful thoughts for another 20 minutes or so before the start of the 5k effort.

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