Thursday, September 15, 2011

Patriot Half IM

Five Members of STC competed in the Patriots Half IM in Williamsburg, VA. It was a day full of struggles and courage. Congratulations to everyone that raced, and remember that a fast time is not what makes you a winner. Race reports are below.

Results can be found - Here.

Larry Bowers - 6th Men 50-55 - Time 5:55:59

Well, first, this a painful email/race report to write.  Been wanting to avoid the topic until I looked at the race results just now (I did not want to know what my swim and ride was).

Anyway, thanks to Ashley for the big ole hug at the end of a bazaar odyssey.  And thanks for Rob for saying, you should have just taken the darn second place medal, grabbed your bike and left.

Not a happy camper is my “calm” reaction.  A few stronger words was my initial reaction.

I did a 5:09 last year (with ole trusty, my aluminum road bike of 21,000 miles).  So my target this year was a really low 5 hr, and just maybe luck out with sub 5 hrs (long shot) … and try to place in my age category.

Well, my worst fears were confirmed about 10 minutes ago when I checked the race results.  I sort of placed first in my age class in the swim (it felt very good and I recall passing folks for the first time on a swim … yeah!), and I sort of placed first in my age class on the bike (the new TT bike felt like a missile … I did nothing but pass people the entire ride … it felt great and I recall telling myself to back off it about mile 30 or 35 to conserve fuel for the run).  And then comes the segment I am the strongest on.  The ole run.  That is my baby (not real fast, but solid … been running since I was 13).  And then stuff just sort of unraveled.

My goal was to run about what I ran last year (about 1:38 to 1:40) and get to the free bar b q at the end of this half Ironman.  Simple eh?  I knew the trail/route (so I thought), I consumed A LOT more electrolytes well before the run then last year.  I even consumed power bars and gels on the bike segment (did not do that last year … only did that during the run last year).  I was ready.  So, I recall seeing Ashley and Rob on the run, but not Bobby.  Things were falling into place, I know the drill.   I completed my first lap and followed the darn course markers and race officials’ directions leading to the turnaround point which is near and parallel the finish line.  Like last year.  Right?  Well, WRONG Larry.  On the last turn to what I expected was the turnaround point, I am directed into the final kick lane for the FINISH LINE and then I start shaking my head and everyone yells keep going, you are the number two overall winner (at age 50 and 4:34 hr … I don’t quite think so).  They tried to give me a medal, a handshake, take my timing chip, get my foto, etc and all I kept saying was that I did NOT finish your dad gum running course.  Where the heck is your turn around point??????  Dumb founded was everyone’s reaction.  So, I sort of spoke with the race officials, many of them, asked them what I can do now (they had no clue)?  I demanded my chip back.  Walked around, spoke with a few more people and then slowly walked back to the course area.  A long and slow and dejected walk may I add.  I still could not find the turnaround point and no one could tell me.  Finally, some race official said “H ___, the turn around point is wayyyyyyyyy up there!”  So I walk up there and still don’t see any signage or direction but I know the loop area restarts somewhere wayyyyyyyy up there.  So I thought I would just watch the rest of the race and cheer the rest of the team in as they finished up the second loop.  Then the reality of all this sets in and I get just a bit PO’d.  Screw this, I am going back into the stupid race!  I thought I would get tossed out though because I entered the race from the roadway going the wrong direction with my race number and everything.  Like injecting  a new runner mid-course or something.  They may have questioned or yelled at me, I don’t recall.  This unhappy camper was gonna slog through this stupid second lap, come heck or high water.  Well other than missing the sign for the first turn around sign (mistake NO. ONE), here is where I make mistake NO. TWO.  After 4.5 hrs of intense exercise (like completing 90% of a half Ironman), never hang out, never walk around for 40 minutes, etc. and then reenter a race without some type of warm up/stretching/strategy.   I got about half way into second run loop and bang bang … cramps are exploding with my calves (not the hamstring like last year … but lower and lot more frequent).  And they got worse and worse even though I had a mere 5 miles to run.  I should have just stopped, permanently.  And walked back to the finish line I was intimately familiar with by now.  But the PO’d factor overrode my common sense.  So, I would run 200 yards, stop, stretch, repeat … for at least 5 miles.  Holy cow, everybody and their mother and grandparents slowly passed me … then I would catch a few and then stop for my ritual stretch and they would re pass me.  I saw some really really odd shapes on my calves.  100% involuntary movement, 100% spasmodic (pulsating) or lockup … and yeah, it hurt like heck.  And that ends my story.  Needless to say, I did NOT finish first in my age class on the run.

Rob was right, “It happens, you pulled a Jimmy (went the wrong way), don’t get mad, go get even.”  And again, thanks for all the kind words Ashley.  Despite a possible timing glitch (did you fully loop around the last sign on the course and trigger the timer?), you kicked a lot of buttocks and pulled STC out of the pits.  Go girl!

Jerry Berman - 42nd Men 40-45 - 6:15:21

That was a long day!  I'm glad I'm not the only angry one.

The swim was fun and I couldn't have been more pleased with myself for
cruising it and jumping out of the water ready to race.  I had every
intention of cruising the bike too.  Somehow, that plan went out the
window at mile 5.  Reassured by my comfortable pace, I even had a long
talk with a guy from California riding next to me.  I was enjoying
it.  We even laughed when the USAT officials drove by on motorcycle
and seemingly busted the pack of riders in front of us.  Apparently,
riding two abreast will buy you a four minute penalty as
well...Whatever!  Three bottles of Ironman fluid down and most of a
Cliff bar in my belly, I high fived the volunteers as I jogged onto
the run course looking for a place to unload some fluid...mission
accomplished at the first water stop.  I did some quick math in my
head, banked on a two hour jog with some walking water stops, and
planned for a 5:45 finish....well under my six hour goal.  I was still
smiling.  Miles 3 and 4 were mildly unpleasant.  All the rest were
awful.  Four hours of post race GI distress really capped off a
terrific day!

Larry - You're  a stud for running twice
Ashley - You passed me going the wrong way at about 11.5 miles into my
run.  My vision was blurry,  I couldn't speak, and I thought
"hmmmm...that's odd"
Bob - Thanks for the home stretch motivation, driving me home, and
watching me puke in my car

Be thankful if you trained without injury, showed up for race day, and
didn't drown or get hit by a car.  Not everyone is that lucky.
Rob Riek - 26th Men - 40-44 - Time 5:54:40
OK I'm,  finally able to weigh in with my race day woes. I think the whole team learned some painful lessons out there.  I learned that a 1/2 IM can be done 6 days after a 1/2 marathon. However, I could not do it respectably- it was a long and painful experience!!  I'll have to blame Ashley for encouraging me to gut it out.  All I could think about at that point was where I could walk off the course and hang out with Amy, Ben and the kids.
As for my breakdown of the race, the swim seemed long.  Like Bobby, I felt fresh after the swim. I felt I swam well but I was in the water a long time for me.  I think the swim was a little long? Anyway, I'm now behind schedule for my sub 5 plan.  Of course, the bike was 58 which makes that plan even harder!! I new I didn't have my normal power in the legs but they didn't really fall apart until mile 40 but I still cruised in with a respectable (although not nearly as fast as the time Larry put down) bike split.  Within the first few steps of the run I realized that my stomach wasn't right and a good run split wasn't happening. During the first mile I wasn't sure I would make it to the second mile.  Stopped at mile 1 to stretch that same VMO cramp Bobby had and had my hamstring seize up and I almost fell over.  Think I scared a couple of volunteers. It let go after about 10 seconds and I walked a few steps and then started the 1/2 IM death march/shuffle. It took me 19:30 to get through the first 2 miles so I knew it was going to be a long, painful experience.  Took me 2:21 to get through the run course.  Thought I could run 1:40, not even close!! I won't attempt that race plan ever again.
Bobby, thanks for cheering us on at the end of the race. I know you are disappointed but your run split was still pretty good. The run after 56 or 112 is much different than a shorter race for sure, although it doesn't seem to affect Larry that much.  Larry and Ashley, great splits on the swim and bike!  The course was not that well marked or run by the officials.  Seems like Jerry and I the most physiological challenges out there.  Not a stellar day for the team for sure!
Bobby Smits - 8th - Men 35-39 - Time 5:13:19
Alright, here's my deal.  The night before I was packing my stuff and sitting there smiling.  My 14 y/o says, 'What are you grinning about?'  I reply, "I am excited to race, I can't wait for the run!"

I was pleased with my summer training.  Biked more than ever.  And my running, while not as far as for my marathon, was faster and fresher.  I could not wait to run, I was confident I would run well.  My goal 1:35, with a possibility to be quicker.  I figured if my open Shamrock time was 1:24, and my marathon splits were 1:29 and 1:31, and with my running feeling great I was ready.

The swim was just where I wanted.  I always wish for faster, but when I got out of the water, I felt fresh.  Ran 5 people down during the transition without effort.  Quick, light, easy.  Jumped on the bike, rode how I planned.  Looking at the other folks from the group, I really don't think I killed it.  Larry always put the hurt on me on Saturdays, so I figured he'd better me.  Figured if I could equal what Rob and Ashley would do that would be great for me.  Lost a water bottle on the start, but still took in 72 oz fluid, lots of lytes, and 800 cal.  Got off my bike, hustled through transition.  Got my garmin on, my hat, my race belt, my fluid bottle that I run with.  Took a 1/4 to get all that situated.  Once I was no longer distracted by that, I realized my VMO's (quads) were on the verge of cramping.  I was stunned.  By the half mile mark, I stopped to strech my quads, which made my hams cramp.  Figured, "fuck-it" see if you can run through it.  Running through it became a 13 mile process of slog jogging through it.  I could not believe it.  For what it is worth, I would have missed the turn around had the guy in front of me not turned.  I do not mean to be offensive with this, but somewhere in the forest, a 46 y/o woman with cellulite passed me.  To be fair to her, she actually flew past me.  I thought. "really".  Looked at my garmin, over 9 min pace.  Wow.  Finally getting ready to finish.  1/4 mile to go figure I will finish strong and pick it, and both hams cramp L>R.  Earlier in the week I saw Larry at the Y, he told me last year how he cramped, and punched his leg to help resolve it.  So I am cramped, trying to rub it out (no not rub one out....get your mind out of the gutter) and this guy passes me.  NOT OK.  So I think of Larry, and resort to the punching.  No shit, it totallly helps, I get it going and re pass that guy and finish.

I have not taken a pyschological beat down like that since my college track days.  Ashley you made an honest mistake.  Larry, I would have been in your boat, and likely not finished as you had. I am sorry neither of you could not truely evaulate your fitness.  I evaulated my fitness level and was truely disappointed with what I found.

But you know what that's ok.  it could be worse.....smits

Ashley Stanley
 I did start off with a great race.  Had a respectable swim and bike, thought I had completed the race of my life.  After I got home and looked at the overall results I realized that my run was completed in 1:30 which would have been 7min miles.  I thought my gains were from a great swim and bike and somewhat descent run maybe 7:30-7:40 pace.  I knew when I saw the break-down of time I knew something was very wrong.  I know it is outside of my athletic capabilities to run 7 min miles for 13.1.  I must have missed a turn on the second lap cutting out two miles of the course.  I emailed the race directer with all of the facts and am sure that I will end up with a big fat DQ.  So very disappointed.  I never would deliberately botch up a course and feel horrible that I took an award that was not mine!  I am officially the Bastard child of STC and the entire triathlon racing community.  Where I took two miles off my distance, poor Larry added two miles.  If the two of us could have traded our mistakes we would have had a pretty good race and both probably age-grouped.  At least Larry can take pride in saying he completed the course and then some!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ashley! I am glad to see that you made an honest mistake and didn't purposefully cheat. I was amazed when I was 4th place overall instead of 3rd in the results after the race, as I knew that there were only 2 girls ahead of me in the run, and when you accepted your award, I knew I had passed you on the run course! Good for you for reporting your mistake to the race officials.
    -Meghan Gebke