Mooseman Triathlon Weekend

This past weekend I was up in New Hampshire and for the second consecutive year competing at the Mooseman Triathlon.  There are two races on this weekend, an International (Olympic) distance on Saturday and a 70.3 on Sunday.  I traveled up with my girlfriend and support crew for Saturday, Kenna, and starting Saturday afternoon, she turns into my star athlete and I take the role of coach.  It is a long drive up to NH, but we took our time at a couple stops, and made it just at the check in time for our lodge.   It is a great place to stay, and I'd tell you what it is, but I'm not sure I want to share.

From there it was on to race check in and a pre-race ride and swim. It was a beautiful day when we arrived and the lake was perfect glass for the swim.  It was significantly warmer than last year, when it hurt to put your face in the water. This year after a few minutes I was quite comfortable in my wetsuit. The swim and ride were good to stretch out and open up the muscles after a long car ride and I felt pretty good for the race the next day.

On the way back to the lodge, the skies started to cloud up and foreshadowed the day to come.  It was a nice relaxing night at the lodge and one of my other athletes and his family arrived that would be racing on Sunday. I met Scott here last year, and I have been coaching him for the past year through his first Ironman at Lake Placid and his return assault this year. Through coaching and the time spent at the lodge it feels good to have Scott and his family there and share the experience with good friends. That is part of what racing triathlon is all about.  Others staying at the lodge doing the triathlon or just there hiking are always nice to talk to. After dinner, it was time for the finishing pre-race prep and off to bed.

I got up Saturday and didn't have to look out the window.  The forecasted 100% chance of rain was here. To me that is OK, I can deal with the conditions and I can use them to my advantage. Once I made it to transition the rain was really coming down. I set up my gear and proceeded down to the swim start. All of my stuff was already soaked at this point and I noticed a hole right near my bike marked with an orange cone.  The perfect place for water to build up.  I got a good swim warm up and was ready for the race to start.

Off we went and I felt pretty good. The day before my wet-suit had opened up in my warm up swim and it felt like I was swimming with a wet T-shirt on. Before the swim started we made sure that it was zipped up and it felt good in the swim warm up. However, part-way through the swim it felt like the same thing was happening during the race. What do I do now.  I can't stop, I can't reach the zipper. I don't even know if it is really open, maybe it's just in my head. So, I kept going. It definitely felt like there was extra water in my suit, and when I came out of the water my arms were filled up like water balloons. There was one guy out of the water ahead of me, and I had no idea who he was or how he rode, so I was a bit nervous.

Headed out on the bike and the rain was coming down. Pouring. Once I got up to speed it stung as it would when you're going downhill over 30mph. I wore my glasses, and only had my dark lenses with me so it had the effect of looking even more sinister out. I was riding hard and I really wanted to catch that guy. The first few miles of the course have a lot of turns and I couldn't see the rider ahead. I just kept pushing keeping the cadence high up the hills and using the downhill to gain speed. Finally around a corner we came to the first big steep uphill of the race and I could see the lead car flashing up ahead. Now I could see them and it was time to go. I played that game around a number of corners and hills for next 5 miles. Finally on probably the longest, but not steepest hill of the race I made up the final ground. He was just ahead as I crested the hill, and I hammered the downhill to make the pass stick. From that point the adrenaline from the pass and the rain stinging like nails kept me riding hard.  A few of the down hills were a little sketchy in the rain, but I stayed hard on the pace and kept it right on my limits. As I came to the last few miles the time was creeping up and I remembered that the ride is a little long here 27.2 instead of the normal 24.85 miles.  The last few miles the cold of the rain and wind started to set in and it got hard to hold the brakes and shift my gears.  As I came into transition I reached down to take of my shoes but couldn't feel my feet, and my hands didn't want to work to get my shoes out. I had to slow way down to give myself time to get out of my shoes.

My awesome transition spot.

Into transition and time to put on my running shoes. Same issue in transition. It's hard to get your hands and feet to cooperate when you can't feel them. Not to mention the pond that I was now putting my shoes on in. Finally in and now off on the run. My legs, minus my feet felt pretty good and my turn over was high. I went to work now on the run. Within the first few miles my legs were tight and had a slight hint of cramping but that went away as they loosened up.  I hit the turn around and came back. Timed myself to the next athlete and had a good lead, but I was going uphill when I saw him and him coming down, so he clearly seemed to be going faster. There was no room to let up and I drove to the finish. By this point I was regaining feeling in my feet and just pushing as hard as I could. Finally made it with less than a mile to go and was restraining myself from looking back. Just before I turned into the park for the finishing straight I looked back just to see, and couldn't see anyone close. I still pushed hard across the line.  I was happy with the result, and glad to be done racing in the rain.  I bettered my time from last year by about 3 minutes with worse conditions across all three disciplines. A good day and I brought home another maple syrup trophy, which is still a dilemma.  Do I crack it open for some victory pancakes or save it for the cool trophy that it is?

Start of the 70.3!

The next day was even better. The weather cleared and rain held of for the 70.3. We all rode down in the morning together (Kenna, Scott, and I) and I got to coach. Kenna had a great swim and was off on the bike well ahead of her competitors even swimming through many of the pro women who had started 6 minutes ahead of her. Scott came out looking strong a few minutes behind in his wave and they were off on the bike. I calculated times for both coming off the bike of where I thought they should be and both came in just ahead of my 'fast' predictions, so I was thrilled.  Kenna was still in first place amateur off the bike.  All the work she put in over the winter is paying off. Scott came out of T2 like a man on fire showing that his running legs are here to stay.  I did the same calculating where I'd hoped they'd be on their first of two laps by on the run and both were right on looking strong. Kenna continued on and just barely got beat out by a flying fast runner in the last lap of the run, finishing second place amateur overall for the second time in two weeks!  Scott crushed the run averaging 6:35 his fastest 13.1 ever. It was a great result for my athletes and a good end to a great weekend!

Watching the 70.3 made me think about racing long again, and I'll be there to compete in the 70.3 someday. I continue to work on my speed and I know I'll be able to drive the legs just 'a little bit farther.'


Thanks to my coach Brett Petersen, as I maintain consistent in my training I see consistent results. Congrats to my two athletes who competed this weekend Kenna and Scott. You both make a very proud coach.  I'm looking forward to seeing all of my athletes race in the coming weeks! More Ironman's 70.3's and PR's to come.

Train smart, train hard, and have fun!