When my 98 year old roommate, Phil, was discharged before me, I hit my lowest point. If the man who needed fluid sucked out of his lungs for the last three nights was in better shape than me, just how bad was it? It was a rhetorical question. Mostly.
It was the hubris the brought me down. Fresh off winning my age group at the Rev3 Poconos Olympic event, I thought I’d wrap my season by putting that AG winning fitness to good use and lower my half marathon PR, or even get under that 90 minute mark, at the Newport Half Marathon. Knock off a a dozen or so miles at 6:50 pace and duck in under the wire. That was the plan. The race did not going according to plan.
My final ‘A’ race triathlon of 2014 was at Rev3 Poconos. The Poconos area is not unfamiliar to triathlons, and on paper does appear to have all the elements a race could want, but it does seem to be a bit cursed. Ironman has tried repeatedly to put on events here only to have logistics or acts of God (a hurricane) scuttle their efforts. They pulled the plug last year. Rev3 stepped in and gave it go this year with a half and an Olympic event. Like all debut races, not everything went perfectly and there are areas for improvement, but it has all the elements to be a successful race venue for Rev3 in the future. I’d race it again.
In conversations with other athletes or just people around town, the swim is by far the biggest thing detering more people from giving triathlon a try. Which is a shame, as one, most people my age learned to swim as a child and could easily pick it up again and two, it’s the shortest and generally least stressful part of the race.
The alarm went off at 4 a.m. and I had a few moments of wrestling with the part of myself that, rather sanely, wanted to remain sleeping. When I signed up for the Triple Crown series I assumed all the races would be early in the morning, as most are in the US. I was thinking 7:30 maybe 8. I was not thinking 6:30. Silly me. Not only was the Jamestown race that early, it also involved remote parking and shuttle buses to the start. A month later when I look back at this race, I remember three things: the hills, the scenery, and the logistics. Let’s start with that last one.
The subtitle for this one could really be called the one where I almost pooped my pants on the run, but we will get to that in a moment. The Cranberry Olympic triathlon is part of a weekend of multi-sport racing in Lakeville, MA, a scenic town about an hour southeast of Boston. It’s run by Sun Multisports, a smaller, local outfit whose races I’ve done in the past and always found well run and well organized. After the surprise podium in July at the Hock Sprint triathlon, I was eager to see if the training gains would translate to the longer olympic distance and improve on my Quassy experience from May.
All I wanted was a fast training day. Putting in all the zone 2 work and bike drills had left me feeling slow on my runs. I was a can of soda left out in the sun and turned flat. With a few weeks before the Jamestown Half Marathon, I was looking for a local race that wouldn’t disrupt our weekend schedule and where I could go fast, or at least try to. Some athletes can self-motivate and find that speed in daily workouts, for me, I just need the racing environment and the competitiveness to really hit that top gear.