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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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Ironman Coeur d'Alene:  2nd in age group, 7th overall!!

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Ironman Coeur d'Alene: 2nd in age group, 7th overall!!

Let this sink in for a second.

John, our TUSA Ambassador, steps up to the start line of Ironman Coeur d'Alene at 6am this morning.  9h51m40s later, John emerges from the run with a second place age group finish, seventh place overall, besting 973 other athletes on the day.

I am absolutely floored.  John, our collective hats are off to you.

It's why I love this team.  Because here we have athletes from all walks of life.  Misfits, parents, contenders and podium finishers, through all walks of life, of all abilities.  The Angry Unicorn stands for all.

Here's the breakdown of John's race (unofficial at the moment):

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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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Where does it hurt, and why?

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Where does it hurt, and why?

Digging deep into the archives (we do have those, and they're great) I touched on that topic in my blog about Butt Running.  In that case, pain in my calves was a result of weak glutes.  Once I identified the problem and took corrective measures, my calf pain subsided....

 

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5 Tips From My First 3 Triathlons (Unrated Version)

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5 Tips From My First 3 Triathlons (Unrated Version)

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With three 70.3 IRONMAN triathlons under my belt, I feel I've learnt a lot. This knowledge includes a lot about myself, about nutrition, about swimming, about running, about biking.

In this post however, I'd like to focus on 5 Topics in particular that I've been asked a lot about over the last year or so and that, well, I think provide for some entertaining reading and writing.

I've also asked Trevor to provide his particular insights into the Tips and Advice, to offer a more holistic view.

So here we go:

Tip 1: Avoid anything "new" during race week

This is meant to be a catch all, but I really cannot stress this enough. From what you eat, to the activities you typically do, avoid doing anything your body isn't use to. This is not the time to shock the body with new experiences, foods, drinks, etc. As you'll see below, there are a number of reasons for this. This leads me to Number 2 ....

Brandon's Advice: Be boring. Eat boring food. Consume boring drinks, in quantities not out of the ordinary. Sleep the same amounts. Simply, don't change things up too much from your regular routine. Now is certainly not the time to throw in a random game of pick up basketball for shits and giggles. Nor is it the time to put your stomach under distress by trying new foods or foods your not used to. You don't need all that training and prep work being wasted on some unwanted GI issues.

Trevor's Advice: I agree that this is good advice per se, but I’m not usually very good at following it.  I do new things sometimes because I get bored, or I get lazy, or I panic and forget things last minute.  Tammy ran a marathon in new shoes not that long ago.  Brandon did Ironman Calgary 70.3 in new bike shoes when his broke. I raced Victoria 70.3 with new headgear and did a sprint triathlon with a brand new wetsuit. So I would say that use this is a guiding principle, but only to the point where it doesn’t cause you extra stress.  If, for example, your race destination doesn’t have the right kind of bagels, just get other bagels that are close and don’t stress it.  I do totally agree though that you should avoid new and different athletic activity.  By a week out your body is like a tuned up guitar string.  Pluck it right and you get perfect tune, pluck it wrong and it snaps and hits you in the eye and just like that you find yourself on the waitlist for an eye transplant.  No one wants that.

Tip 2: Sex - go for it, but keep in mind Tip 1

We've all got needs. Of this there is no doubt. When it comes to sex, I have to recommend balance, but it really depends on the person. Some people like to have some built up sexual tension to add a little drive to their race. Others might find that it takes away from performance by keeping them tight and wound up. It really is up to you. Based on some quick research, there really is no evidence that the typical approach taken by sports teams of abstinence before big games does anything to improve or hamper performance.

Brandon's Advice: Go for it. I'm definitely not going to abstain, in fact, I'd prefer to have sex at least a few days before a race. My only caveat - race week is not the time to be getting experimental. In fact, I'd strongly encourage asking your partner to "do most of the work", it would be an awfully embarrassing story to miss your race because of a sex injury or twisting or pulling a muscle ..... trust me.

Trevor's Advice: I’ve…..uhhh….never had sex (Hi Mom).  But if I were to have done that shameful thing, I like Brandon’s advice about letting your partner “do most of the work”.  Lol.  That’s amazing advice.  In conclusion, just be a bottom.

Brandon's Advice: I'd also add, make it up after race time. Nobody needs to be selfish here.

Tip 3: Get over it, Peeing in your wetsuit is smart and strategic

It really is amazing how many times I get asked about how or when I go to the bathroom over the course of a race. It is not unexpected. The races are long and biology is biology. The answer is pretty easy. There are plenty of porta potties sprinkled all over the bike and run courses. I've used them before. It is easy. It just costs you time. Want to save time. Learn to pee yourself.

Brandon's Advice: Get over it and learn to be comfortable peeing yourself in particular. My typical routine is usually - use a bathroom before you put your wetsuit on - if possible. If not, pee in your wetsuit. In fact, I particularly try to pee right as I'm leaving the water at the end of the swim. This empties the tank as I prepare for the long ride. Strategic. I know.  As for biking and running - my rule is simple, if I'm on track to best or match my goal time, I'll have no issue peeing on the fly. If not, i'll salvage the 1-2 mins and use the bathroom.

Trevor's Advice: I’m actually peeing as I write this.  So yeah, pee wherever and whenever you can.  I tell you the discomfort of letting it go in your race kit is far less that the discomfort of of having to hold it until you can find a stop.  Especially on the bike with that little seat smashing into all the go-pee areas.  Plus, one piece trisuits are impossible to strip off in a porta-potty.  You’re most likely to pull a muscle and there are no guarantees you won’t pee all over yourself anyways.  Just grab an extra water bottle at the aid station and hose yourself off.  No one will be none the wiser.  Although for “number 2” I would suggest you avoid doing that in your suit if at all possible….

Tip 4: You'll never avoid saddle sores or occasional scrotal numbness

Yes, saddle sores and scrotal numbness are a thing. What are saddle sores? Well those nasty little irritations you get between your thighs and on your ass for riding on a bike seat for hours on end. An especially uncomfortable problem when using a stationary bike, where you are literally sitting all the time. And scrotal numbness, well its when you private parts go numb and tingly. Plain and simple.

Brandon's Advice: There are a number of ways to prevent this from happening. A few recommendations: get a good seat - you'll never find a perfect one, but some are definitely better than others. Use some sort of chaffing cream. There are ton out there, but seriously I just use Vaseline. It is cheap and effective. And lastly, try sit up every hour or so when on your trainer. Relieve some of the pressure, give your body a rest. Minor relieve, but it will help. Word to the wise - NEVER EVER let someone see you apply Vaseline to your undercarriage as it is the least sexy act ever, although it is a sure way to make Tip Number 2 irrelevant.

Trevor's Advice: I’m actually battling a particularly nasty saddle sore myself right now.  I’ve never had one before.  It really sucks.  If it gets bad, days off, epsom salt baths and polysporin are my go tos.  As for scrotal numbness, this is a terrifying but very real effect of hours on a bikeseat.  Sometimes you have to just muscle through, sometimes you have to stand up, sometimes you have to bash it around until it comes back to life.  I would caution against ever “getting used to it” though.  If it’s happening more than just rarely, get a new seat or maybe switch the “tuck” direction (I’m a lefty most days myself).

Tip 5: You can trust a fart after 30 km ..... but seriously, be careful.

I'm sure you've heard the adage "don't trust a fart after XX km". No? Well it's a thing. And while there is certainly some truth to that I'm sure, I'm guessing you can actually trust a fart after 30 km, but I'd seriously just be careful.

Brandon's Advice: I've luckily not have to deal with  this particular issue. My approach has been to have a little cup of coffee very early in the morning and hopefully empty the tank prior to race start. I also avoid excessive fibre intake in the days leading up to a race. If push came to shove - there is no way I'm shitting my pants to save a couple minutes. That's an easy one.

Trevor's Advice:  I am no pro.  There is no reason for me to shit my pants.  If in doubt slow down immediately and pucker up until you can find a rest stop; don’t tempt fate.  If you can’t find a rest stop, well, you’re your own best guide at that point.  But yes “GI” issues are very real.  They are hugely inconvenient.  They are absolutely embarrassing.  And they are a reminder that in the great sport of triathlon there are just some things that you have to deal with on the fly; you can’t plan for it all.

Happy Training!!

 

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