Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Timberman: The good, the bad, and the ugly

Now that I've had a couple of days to celebrate learn how to walk again following my successful completion of Timberman 70.3, I've been doing sort of a post mortem on both how I did and the experience of participating in the race as a whole. I'm going to break this down as best I can in a minute, but first I want to take a quick second to update you as to my current status:

 I think art is my true calling
In the above picture, you see 2 drawings of me. On the left is me normally. On the right is me right now. Everything inside the red line hurts. The soreness and associated other ailments have subsided over the past couple of days, but I'm still at least 2 days from feeling like a human being rather than a test subject for torture devices. As an example; I don't have feet, I have blisters on the bottom of my ankles.

Also, I've been eating like someone who just got out of prison. While the initial motivation to begin competing in triathlons was to further my weight loss, I have come to understand it's natural to be ravenous following a race like this, and that it's best to go with the flow for a couple of days. I have gained about 8 pounds since race morning, but I've read that once you start eating normally (so, today) and your body recovers from the race experience, weight loss resumes in earnest. So I'm looking forward to that.

I'll have more on my plans for the future tomorrow, but today I'm going to focus on the recent past that was Timberman Weekend.

The good:
Yeah! It's 5:00 somewhere. Oh, that's supposed to be PM?
  • The Lake Winniepesaukee region. This part of New Hampshire is absolutely breathtaking. Definitely a place we'll return to, regardless of racing. The mountains, the trees, the lakes, the houses and all of the beautiful blue skies (except during the run, of course). 
  • The participants. Such phenomenal, courageous, amazing people. From the folks who kept asking about the blog (seriously, you people acted more excited to meet me than I was to meet you, which is completely untrue), to the people I didn't know who kept encouraging me when they passed me as I walked up a hill, or just plain walked on the run course. I feel honored to have been among you for that race. Special shout out to Henry, who has the courage of 10 men for pushing through 9 1/2 hours to finish that race. 
  • The volunteers. I thought about what helped me the most in getting through this race, and while a ton of things are right up there, nothing was more physically beneficial than the "snowballs" provided at the aide station manned by the junior hockey team. There's simply no way I could have run that last mile if I hadn't been doing my best to cool down with the ice they provided.
  • The race organizers. 2500 people in a single race is a gigantic undertaking and frankly they made it seem like it wasn't hard at all. We've done a few races this season and volunteered at another. This was the only race of the season I attended that actually started on time. Transition was well organized, the packet pickup was beautifully engineered, and the on site festival was simple but nice.
  • The fans. If I hadn't been running, I would have stuck around until the pros finished, and then scuttled off to do some relaxing in the water or have a few drinks at Patrick's. The fans we saw were die hards, including the guy (pictured above) who parked next to us when we pulled in the lot at 4 AM. He opened his first Bud Light at 4:05 AM, and was fun to talk to up until it was time to hit transition. 
  • My Run. I never EVER expected to put this segment of my race on the "Good" list, but seriously, a negative split in a half-marathon at the end of 9 hours racing is an accomplishment I can really hang my hat on.
The Bad:
Chest hair is making a comeback, right?
  • My swim. So yeah, 1.2 miles in 1:02 isn't that bad, but it should have been at least 5 minutes shorter. I took a bad line to start the race, and then I kept going left, which is really weird. I never swim like that, and the fact that it happened when I was swimming out and in tells me it wasn't caused by the water. I'll have to work on that for next race for sure.
  • Selection at the Timberman shop. Technically, it wasn't the selection so much as the stock levels. We arrived on the first day, just a few hours after the race festival opened. And by the time we got there, a majority of the stock for the best items were already gone. Let me rephrase; the stock for the best items for people bigger than size XL was already gone. The people who run events like this (in this case WTC) need to realize that the Clydesdale set is a growing (see what I did there?) part of their customer base and need to stock appropriately. There were some awesome cycling jerseys that were down only to XL, and a specific T-shirt that there was only a single shirt left in any size. 
  • The rain during the run. As much as my effort went into the good, the rain during the run was definitely bad. It rained hard enough to make it uncomfortable and fill my shoes with water, but not enough to pull any humidity out of the air. It just made the run generally feel worse.
  • Missing out on dinner with the Beginner Triathletes. When we got to the restaurant, they told us there was no way they'd be able to seat the whole party, and if they did it would be a long wait. So Rach and I went elsewhere because we were starving. Turns out, they seated everyone and a great time was had by all. Except Rach and I who weren't there.
  • The Race photographer. They left before the race ended. This is not the first time this has happened, but I seriously wanted an official picture of me crossing the finish line and with my medal, and I didn't get one. They sent out an email asking for feedback about the race pictures,  and I shared this with them, and will be sharing it with the race organizers as well.
The Ugly:
  • I believe I mentioned my blisters once already. 

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