Thursday, August 26, 2010

Timberman 2010 - What a weekend!

This post will mark my first full year of blogging about triathlon.  My first ever race report was Timberman 2009.  I took the time to read over that report before starting this one.  Funny how lots of great memories from that race flooded back.

I headed up to Gilford, NH on Friday afternoon.  This was the last day of Pingree camp and I was eager to get out after lunch and get up to the race prior to the late afternoon traffic that was sure to come.  The ride up was pretty good except for a little slowdown due to some construction south of Manchester. 

I got a big scare when I was almost up to Gilford in a town called Alton.  I headed down a long hill in the car and looked in my rearview mirror only to see a police SUV pull over on the other side of the road and then quickly make a U-turn and head my way.  I had to have been speeding and my pulse rate started to race.  He pulled in behind me and then flashed the lights for me to pull over.  He came up to the car and informed me I was doing 57 MPH in a 40 MPH zone, asked for my license and registration.  I did not argue and handed them to him.  He went back to the vehicle and I sat there for about 5 minutes expecting a pretty hefty fine.  Not a great way to start the weekend.  When he came back to the car he handed them back and said he was letting me go with a warning.  What a lucky break.  Maybe he checked my record and saw no other tickets in my past, or maybe it was the bike on the back carrier.  Either way I assured him I would be careful and headed into Gilford. 

I arrived at Gunstock Resort for the Expo where I would pick up my race packet.  First thing to make note of was the weather.  It was gorgeous!  Last year it rained most of Friday and during the morning of the race on Saturday.  The forecast was for a beautiful 2 days.  I immediately went to the registration tent.  WTC purchased this race from Keith Jordan and registration was a lot more regimented.  There was a "gauntlet" to go through in order to get my race numbers, swim cap, t-shirt, timing chip and wrist band (I am still wearing it 3 days after the race).

I made a point of searching out Maria Spesia.  She works for IRONMAN with Athlete Affairs.  She has been my contact regarding WTC adding dwarfism to their list for inclusion as a classification for their physically challenged division.  At this point they do not include dwarfism.  I wanted to take the opportunity to meet her face to face so in the future as I continue to lobby WTC, she will have a face to put with the emails I will continue to send to her.

After checking in I toured the IRONMAN clothing tent.  I refuse to buy any IRONMAN branded clothing until I complete my first 1/2 or FULL IRONMAN.  That might mean I will never own anything, but I refuse to jinx myself.  I have heard stories of people getting the M-DOT tattoo after completing a 1/2 Ironman race.  I feel it's just bad "MOJO".  Kind of like professional hockey players refusing to touch the Stanley Cup until the win it themselves. 

I looked around the Expo and spent some time talking with the Hoyt's.  Dick and Rick were to be racing in the sprint again.  I had a nice chat with them and with Kathy Boyer as well.   I ran into a few team-mates from Team Comp who arrived as well to register.  Andrea, Colleen and Deb were to be racing in their first triathlon.  Most of the team were to be staying at a hotel in Laconia called "1848".  I was lucky enough again to stay at the Stephens's lake house in Meredith.   If you can take the time to read my report from last year's race, my stay there was a lot more stressful due to me locking myself out on race morning at about 4AM.  This year all went well and I was very lucky to be staying there again.  Jon Mangsen, one of my team mates stayed there as well with me.  He was going to do the 70.3 on Sunday.

I decided to stick around and attend the first timers meeting with Andrea in the hopes of helping her relax a bit about her upcoming first triathlon.  I had also purchased a ticket to the dinner that night in the hopes of getting a chance to meet Chrissie Wellington, current WORLD CHAMPION TRIATHLETE at the Ironman distance.  In fact, she has never lost a single Ironman distance race in her career.  The dinner was to run from 6 to 8pm.  I was hoping it would not run too late, since I did not want to get to the house in total darkness.  The meal started on time and was not as well attended as last year.  I sat a table with 2 other couples.  We had a nice time while eating, meeting each other and talking about races we had done.

Chrissie and I.  I was STAR-STRUCK.
Chrissie arrived along with Tim O'Donnell (another professional triathlete).  They both had some dinner and then started to talk at about 6:45pm.  Their talks were pretty brief and when they were done, I quickly walked up to meet Chrissie.  I was the first one to approach her and to my surprise she said, "HI John, it's nice to finally meet you."  I was totally surprised she called me by name.  I had emailed her and she had replied months ago and it was great she had remembered who I was. We chatted for a few minutes about triathlon and she told me how she appreciated what I was doing to help inspire others, including herself.  WOW is all I have to say.  She autographed a magazine cover I had and took a couple of pics with me.  My own camera's batteries had died and Elizabeth (another triathlete), who I had just met, offered to take the pics and email them to me.  Chrissie lived up to everything I had heard about her being so gracious and willing to talk to athletes.

Me and Andy (Defending Timbeman 70.3 Champion
When I walked away (on a cloud) I noticed Andy Potts (reigning Timberman champion) another amazing pro triathlete quietly eating in the back of the room.  I approached him and he was also nice enough to give me an autograph and Elizabeth took pics of two of us as well.  I left the dinner and immediately phone Sue to tell her what had just happended.  I have to admit I felt like a babbling idiot.  So star struck for sure.

I headed off to the house in Meredith and got there just before dark.  I dropped off my gear and then headed back to the "1848" to meet up with a few team mates prior to getting some rest before the early morning wake up for the race.  I headed back to the house around 9:30PM and got my gear all ready.  Placed my race number (372) on my bike, helmet, and race belt.  Jonathan and Erin showed up a bit later and then I turned in for the night around midnight. 

I feel asleep pretty fast and was awoken by my 3:20AM alarm.  I got up quickly and got ready.  Had a bagel with PB and a bottle of V8.  I had my usual homemade "smoothie" already pre-made and would drink that on the way to park.  I loaded up the car and with no drama with the locks to the house, I proceeded to drive to Ellacoya State Park.  I arrived around 4:50AM and got a parking spot on the access road using my handicapped parking pass.  Funny thing, where they had me park, I had to lift my bike and gear over a small railing about 2 feet high and then jump over it.  So much for being handi-capped.  I know a number of you are thinking, why use the pass?  I don't feel it's a cop-out and I only try to use it, when I feel it's necessary.  Well, with over 1000 athletes converging on the park, I might as well park as close as I can without inconveniencing anyone else. 

I proceeded in to get body-marked and found my spot in transition.  It was a great spot.  Right on the outside edge only about 10 rows from BIKE IN and BIKE OUT.  I would only have to run my bike a short distance before and after dismouting.  I put my gear down, racked my bike, and kept hydrating with water.  I drink at least 2 full bottles and stop and hour before race start.  Then the trips to the porta-potties start.  I have pretty much worked out a system that gets me fully hydrated and ready for the start. 

I walked out and down to the water and then walked back to my bike taking the same path I would take out of the water and to my bike during the race.  I also then checked out where "RUN OUT" was so I knew where I would have to go after the bike portion and T2.

I then went back to my gear and set everything up.  A race official came by and told me my bike was racked the wrong way.  I was sure she was wrong but went along with her suggestion.  The athlete who was to be next to my bike showed up about 15 minutes later to tell me my bike needed to be turned around.  I told him I agreed, but was told by an official to place it the way it was.  Not worthy worrying about, so my race prep continued.

Kathy, Colleen, Me, and Deb
It was great to see most of the 70.3 Comp racers around prior to the race to lend support and encouragement.  I also met up with a few of the other Compers who were doing the sprint as well. 

Rob and Maggie.  Not a GREAT pose, but I had to include it.
I also noticed a couple of people I remembered from last year.  I made a point of searching out Robert and Maggie who worked at the massage tent.  I have kept in touch with them throughout the year and was so excited to meet up with them again.  I would end up spending most of my day on Sunday around their tent as I took pictures of the 70.3 race.

One final check of my transition area and I got ready for the swim.  I made my way down to the water around 6:40AM and got in the water.  The air was pretty chilly and the water actually felt quite warm in comparison.  I had forgotten my earplugs back in transition and the water temp seemed fine to go without them.  I swam around a bit in the SHALLOW water and was ready to start.  It is amazing how the nerves and apprehension that I faced before many races seems to be gone.  I was eager and ready to begin. 

As the race was about to start all 1100 of us got out of the water and were ready to start.  After the anthem the 9 waves of up were ready to go.  I was to be in the 3rd wave (ORANGE CAPS!!!) with 40-44 year old and 50-54 year old men.  With the in-water start we got to wade in to water about 5 feet deep so I gently treaded water until the horn sounded.

I started to the left of the pack but a number of men seemed determined to be near the back of the pack.  This was my plan but I was not going to fight over it.  I proceeded to swim toward the first buoy and it surprisingly came early.  I swam on the feet of another swimmer for a while and when I looked up, he was gone.  As I neared the next buoy I looked at my watch and it said 4:50, which meant the next wave would start soon.  I had been worried about being swam over top of, but in the end, it really didn't happen.  I almost missed the last buoy and started to turn early.  When I looked up I had a clear path to the beach with no other swimmers in sight.  Something had to be wrong.  When I looked to the left I saw them heading for the last buoy.  I turned in that direction and felt good.  I could see a number of swimmers passing me from a previous wave, but again, not the "washing machine" I expected.  I made to turn at the last buoy and headed in.  I could hear the crowd getting louder and see the water getting shallower.  The general rule of thumb is to keep swimming until your arms drag the bottom.  Since my arms are shorter, I tend to swim closer to the shore.  Many nervous triathletes love to walk as early as possible, but it is much slower.  Near the end of the swim, I found myself swimming around walking racers.  I swam right up and then stood up and RAN.

Nothing felt better than looking back and seeing 100's of people still behind me in later waves.  When I crossed the pad and press th lap key, I saw the first good news.  I was in at 13:37.  I was aiming for 17:00, so I had a great boost.  I jogged in and got to my bike.  Being close to the fence, I could hear a number of people cheering my name as I got undressed and then ready for the bike.  A bit of struggle getting my shoes on, nothing I can't fix, and I was on my bike.  My transition was slower than I had hoped (2:30) at 4:25.  I miscalculated that the run to my bike was much longer than expected, but I also fumbled around a bit.

When I got on my bike, I loved the fact that the lane was lined with cheering fans.  Having my name printed on my race number, probably helped a lot with that.  I got into a low gear making sure to not go out to fast with a big hill to conquer first.  The ride up went well and the biggest hill was done with my breathing and pulse rate at comfortable rates.  The ride is pretty much a 7.9 mile ride up and back with most of the ride out being uphill, thereby giving a nice ride back.  I got out there in pretty good time and watched all the riders heading back in make quick work of the downhill ride.

There were lots of cheering people and different points on the ride out and plenty at the turn-around.  Of course,  the "devil" was there cheering us on as we headed back in.  I got a real boost going back as I saw 100's of riders behind me, still heading out.  Even though many were gaining on me, emotionally it was a real boost, as last year I was one of the last riders to get in. 

Coming in to transition after a GREAT bike leg.
I got into my aero position a number of times and watched my speed climb to more than 35 MPH a couple of times.  Heather passed me and looked strong giving me a boost seeing a team mate.  At the last turn before heading down to the park, Tim and Alice were at the corner to cheer and of course, it was another great boost for moral.

The last downhill before the park is a no passing zone, which I entered with no one in front, so I could take it fast.  I did she Jen out cheering and Kurt was at the corner.  I took it pretty fast but was in control the whole way in.  Lots of fans lined the lane and with lots of racers still on the course, the buzz I was feeling was electric.  I got to the dismount line and got off with no problems.  I crossed the line and looked at my time.  At 1:04:58 I had taken a ton of time of last year's bike split of 1:16:15.  I got into transition and this time worked faster to get out on the run.  I managed to job all the way out and crossed the mat with a T2 time of 3:45.  Even with the longer run out, it was still a bit slower than expected.

Now prior to the race I had written some initials on my arm for motivation as well as a time to hit.  The intials were SODV.  The S for Sue and the O for Owen.  The DV was for Don Vescio, a team mate of ours who was severly injured in a bike accident in a triathlon last weekend.  The time I had written down was 1:33:30.  If I went out on the run at that time or under, all I needed as to run 15 min/miles and I would finish under 2:20 which was my target time. Well, was I excited when my watch read 1:26:45.  I had been going SO STRONG.  All I had to do was stay strong and I would break 2:20 for sure.

Heading out on the run.
The run was great.  Of course, knowing ahead of time it is mostly uphill going out and then downhill coming back in, helps.  I did experience some slight leg pain early on the run, but a shot of some gel and some thoughts about the pain Don had probably been feeling helped me realize mine was probably minor compared to his.  My mind wandered and the pain quickly subsided.  I would end up negative splitting the 3.1 mile run with no problem.  Lots of people on the road.  With Andrea and Christen from Team Comp passing me and both of them giving me high fives as they headed back in. Heather also was there for a high five on her way back in ahead of already from passing me on the ride.

I greated lots of others and was amazed how fast I hit the turn-around after passing the 1 mile mark.  I was really happy to run most of the way back in.  With the way back mostly downhill and the sound of the PA announcer bouncing off the water, I kept going with the running and only a little walking.
Andrea and I wearing our hardware.
There were lots at the turn into the park and the finish was just a few yards away.  I headed down the chute and tried to sprint in.  Crossing the line at 2:09:34, I blew away my target time and destroyed my time from last year.
Rob making it hurt, REAL GOOD!
I got some food and relaxed a bit.  Meeting up with team-mates and waiting for Deb and Colleen to finish made for a perfect day.  Capping it off with some nice massage and stretching from Robert made it all feel real good.

All I had left for the weekend was Sunday which turned out to be a great day.  I ended up getting lots of great pics of the pros, but more importantly, my team mates.  I set up near BIKE IN and OUT and RUN OUT and got some many great shots. 
Seth and Jay looking strong on lap 1.
Even had the chance to wish Chrissie luck before her race and she even made a point of coming over to see me after her race for one final hug and good-bye.  What a SUPERSTAR she is.

Chrissie coming in from the bike.
Chrissie going out on the run.
Andy and Chrissie after both finished 1st and broke their own course records.
Nancy always smiling and running strong.

Roz on the run.  Not bad after donating a kidney to her
dad 3 months ago.
But really, the SUPERSTAR this weekend for me has to be Rox Puleo.  On May 11th, she donated one of her kidneys to her ailing father and then managed to recover enough to complete this 70.3 just about 3 months later.  What devotion, strength and character she exhibits.  Agian, another reason to support the fact the I believe COMPREHENSIVE RACING is the best team of athletes, supporters and friends around.

Friday, August 20, 2010

This Morning !!!

This is the last day of Pingree Camp!  I have been working here each summer for the past six years.  Since I teach at Pingree full-time, it makes for a long year, not having a "traditional" teacher's summer.  Very few teacher's do lie around all summer relaxing, and most take classes or teach summer school.  I do sometimes grit my teeth when the faculty return from the summer and say things like, " feels like I never left".  That's what it has felt like for me for six years.  Now I keep saying to myself that no one has forced me to do this. 

So it is with great pleasure that I have been replaced with a full-time person in charge of the Auxiliary Program.  I can go back to concentrating on teaching and coaching for 12 months out of the year.  I will have to find something for next year to fill the financial void.  I do have some ideas, so I am confident all will work out in the $ department.  I am also excited about putting all of my efforts into the classroom and the varsity swim team here at Pingree.

Anyway, back to the original reason for this post.  As is customary on Friday's during camp, Owen and I visit McDonald's for breakfast prior to camp.  It is a reward for Owen having a good week at camp.  He enjoys it and so do I. 

Anyway this morning we were approached by a mature gentleman (73 years old) who mentioned that he had read the article about me that was in the Salem News 2 weeks ago.  He mentioned he liked the article and then wanted to show me something.  It was an owner's manual for a bike he had just purchased.  He told me that reading that article inspired him to try a triathlon.  He wants to prepare and train and enter a sprint distance triathlon next year.  He said he liked the message he seemed to get from the article, that the only limits that matter are the ones you put on yourself.

WOW, what a great motivator for me as well, as I head up to Timberman this weekend.  It's amazing how your actions in life, though totally unintended, can affect others.

My time for last year's race was 2:36:25.  I have great aspirations of finishing in 2:15:00.  That is a BIG goal, but I took the time to go through each stage of the race and I am determined if the weather holds out as planned (sunny and not too breezy) I can DO IT.  Last year's race was raining for most of the bike and I lost a lot of time fumbling in transition.  Here's hoping, and I know in my heart, if I don't do it, it won't be for lack of trying and preparation.   

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Race Report - Witch City Triathlon

This race marks my first full year in triathlon. Though it was my second race back in 2009, it was my first full triathlon, as my first race in Lowell at the Mill City Triathlon was an aquabike race. That involved only the swim and bike, with no run.

After a full year of training and preparation I was ready to beat my time last year. I finished last year in 2:12:23. I was hoping to finish in a sub 2 hour time.

With the race being in our town, it would be great not having to get up so early to prepare, pack, and drive. I awoke at 4:10AM and went through the usual routine of morning meal (protein smoothie, bagel with PB, and 2 bottles of water. I packed up the car and prepared for the 5 minute drive over to Forest River Park. The forecast called for a sunny day, but I noticed the roads were wet, and then it actually started to rain. There was only a brief shower on my way over, and when I got there I saw Bil Legault who stated there was actually an intense downpour just before 5AM. With that all over, I checked in, got body marked and prepared to set up my transition area.

Arriving early, I got a spot at the end of the rack, which allowed me a little extra space to lay out my gear. Getting ready I noticed I had not brought my race belt. The one benefit of a race close to home allowed me to call Sue and I asked her to look for it and bring it before the race started.

With the article just printed in the Salem News the day before, there were a number of positive comments from friends and others about it as I prepared to get ready for the race.

I was happy to see Kelley prior to the race. It has become a little bit of a custom that we get a hug from each other prior to a race. She has done so before each of my four races this year, and I also did one for her prior to IMLP. She showed up outside of transition and I was almost ready to go.

As I have mentioned before, Owen also has a very important prep he does for me prior to races. I take both of my pairs of shoes (bike and running) and Owen places his feet in them and gives me his "SPEED". I am sure not to wear them again until the race. I also get one specific ORANGE "silly band" to wear. Along with my watch, TRIONZ bracelet, BLAZEMAN bracelet, my wrists are getting pretty full.

I saw Sue and Owen coming down the hill and of course ran to see them for the 2 most important pre-race hugs. Sue also had my race belt!!

As has become my custom with about 20 minutes to go, I got on my wetsuit and went down to the water. The buoys were out and the course looked to be about the same as last year. I remember it looking so long one year ago. Are my eyes now just getting used to judging distances?

One step in the water and I was SHOCKED. The water was freezing! We had been swimming one week before at Nahant and the water was gorgeous. This was PAINFUL. I knew I had to get right under the water to get my body ready for the cold temps. Last year it was cold and that was one mistake I had made. I did not swim around and spent the first few minutes hyper-ventilating.

As I went under the water, my heart rate soared. I stayed in the water neck deep and then swam a few strokes. It got better as I moved around, but still hurt quite a bit. I would later find out the temp was in the low 50's.

They announced the race would be delayed 10-15 minutes as we waited for high tide. I stayed in as long as I could I waved up at Sue, Owen, Godfrey from church and Chris Muise. Chris is a Pingree parent who was nice enough to come to the race to shot some pics of me racing. Most of the pics here on this blog post are his handiwork.

There were two waves with men in the first wave and women, Clydesdales and relays in the second wave. My plan was to swim to the left outside and avoid the second wave. I would then stick to the course after the first buoy.

We paused for the anthem and then we were off. I let most of the men leave and then started swimming. The pain in my head from the cold water never subsided. It was kind of like an extreme ice cream headache, without the ice cream. Sue mentioned later it looked like I was heading out to sea. I did sight the buoy a few times, but there was a bit of a current as well. When I rounded the first buoy things seemed to get a bit better. I actually had thought about rolling on my back for a second or two, but luckily I got through that and kept going strong. After the turn I was passed by the second wave. No grabbing this time and most of the faster swimmers simply went by on the left and right. I could see a man in a green cap (same as me) on my left for a while and then a big surprise as I guy went by me in the wrong direction on his back. I yelled at him, but he didn't seem to hear.

I rounded the second buoy and looked up to sight the finish. I kept going strong and neared the shore. I stayed in the water as long as I could and then got out. I saw both Sue and Owen on the shore and started running out.

I then wiped out on a rock and proceeded to cut my foot. I didn't notice the blood until transition, but it wasn't too bad.

I ran onto the shore and quickly got a boost with a hand-slap from Owen and Sue. Not taking the time to look back, Sue told me later and I was able to confirm it, there were still 10-12 swimmers in the water. Last year, I was the last one out, by a long shot.

I ran over the mat and checked my time. It was 19:53, which was 1:33 faster than last year. I was hoping for a bit faster, but it was an improvement for sure.

I got to transition and quickly changed and grabbed my bike. Getting across the mat, my T1 time was 2:14, which was 1:37 faster than last year. OK, things were looking good now!!! Already more than 3 minutes faster than last year.

Out on the bike with the hopes of really making up some time from last year. With all the training and the bike upgrade I would be sure to cut some time off from last year, but would it be enough to break the 2 hour mark?

Hearing lots of people yelling my name and encouraging me sure helped as I got going pretty well. I tried to make sure not to blow my legs early. I took lots of small sips of water and got out onto Lafayette towards Marblehead. There is a nice downhill to prepare for the big hill into Marblehead. I kept my gearing low to try and avoid getting out of the saddle all the while keeping a pretty fast cadence. I passed two others on the hill and felt great. I took my gel bottle out of back pocket and took a squeeze of the gel. Trying to put it back in my shirt, I dropped it. Should I stop? I decided to go on without it, which in the end was fine. I knew I would need more gel (especially for the run) and remembered I had extra in transition and would get it when I was in T2.

The ride itself was pretty uneventful after that and I made it out to the "neck" passing a couple of riders and being passed by a few. The ride included 3 laps around the neck, a ride I have done DOZENS of times. Knowing every up and down hill sure helped. I was able to use my recovery time very wisely and again passed a few more while being passed by others. Lots of other COMP team members passed me and we cheered each other on. Last year when I did this race, by the time I made my 3rd lap I was one of the last riders still on the neck. This time there were still a number of riders on the neck and I was able to pass a few more. When I got back on the causeway, my legs were feeling good, but something not so great was happening. For the first time, I was feeling some stiffness in my lower back. I tried to stretch it somewhat and was hoping it would not cause me too much worry on the run.

When I headed back towards Salem, all was going well. I had not checked my average speed at this point, but could tell from the total elapsed time, that all was going well. I got back to the spot where I dropped my gel bottle and could see it ( I picked it up after the race) and passed two more riders. Heading down the big hill I saw some of the runners heading out on the bike path. That meant there were about 1 mile into the 3 mile run. As I went up the hill, I saw KURT, our captain from TEAM COMP heading out on the run. He was doing 2/3 of a relay with Jen doing the bike portion.

There were lots of people around the transition now as I headed to the dismount zone. Got off the bike quickly and actually ran it in. My time for the bike portion was 50:50 which was much faster than last year's time of 54:29. Again, a few more minutes gained. T2 went really well and it sure did not hurt hearing Andrea yelling my name, encouraging me to keep going. I grabbed a couple of gels, got my shoes on and got running. Marty from Fit Werx had also finished and was giving me a "boost" as well. I would later find out my T2 time was also 2:14, the same as T1. This was again a gain as last year I really mucked around taking 3:36 to get out on the run.

I looked at my watch as I headed out on the run and had a total time of 1:15:11. I would need to run the 3 miles in under 45 minutes in order to break the 2 hour mark. My time for the run last year was 49:01. Needless to say, that was my first 3 mile run, ever, so I know I had the experience to beat that time. With my back hurting quite a bit, I didn't know how much I could "run". I knew I could break the time if I was feeling 100%, so I got going. I saw Bill from team COMP and he handed me some water. It helped, since I had just dropped a bottle about 100 feet back.

I passed lots of runners who were coming in and we exchanged lots of high fives. I saw Jim Logan and of course Kurt coming back. I never passed another runner, but I never really expect to do that. I got further along where the down hill starts and did some more running. My bag and legs were still sore, but I kept doing the best I could. As time went on, my back started to loosen up a bit.

I neared that water stop by the bridge, took a cup of water and walked a bit, then started to run again. More runners were coming back and some who had passed me were appearing quicker and quicker heading back in, so I knew I was near the turn around. When I got there, and headed back in it said my run time was about 22 minutes. I still had about 22.5 minutes to go to make it under 2 hours, except most of this was UPHILL. I took a gel and started to run. The pain and discomfort soon disappeared. Again, thinking about walking the streets of NYC last summer with Owen on my back helped. The two of them have been such a strong force helping me along the way. I know I thank Sue all of the time, but I worry she thinks they are just words.

Without the two of them, I know I would not be hear doing this. I continued to run more and walk less. As I neared the first crest of the hill I glanced at my watch. I had about 3/4 of a mile to go and there was about a 10 minute window now. As I continued on, I could see the corner. I actually knew if I kept running, I would actually be able to reach my goal.

I turned the corner and headed towards the park. The nice thing is, it's mostly downhill to the finish. Lots of people were at the corner into then park and many were there cheering. I got one more emotional boost when I could hear the P.A. announcer calling my name and I could see, Sue and Owen. I looked at the clock and it read 1:59:20 as I neared the finish line. I actually started sprinting.

My time crossing the line was 1:59:28. I could not believe I was able to do it. Hugging both Sue and Owen at the finish was a great way to cap off a super race. One full year now into triathlon and I am loving it more than ever.

Marty from Fitwerx in Peabody was nice enough to shoot a video of me crossing the line.

Now, TIMBERMAN SPRINT in Gilford, NH on August 20th. More than 1000 competitors and I am in the 3rd swim wave out of 9. This is going to be a mixer for sure.