Monday, June 30, 2008

FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH- WEST VIRGINIA STYLE


Fabulous time spent in lovely West Virginia for the Spirit of Morgantown Half Ironman and Olympic races. Note lonely runner above (Blush)


About the Fountain of Youth I spoke of on the last post. Looked at the hfpracing site before leaving for the 3.5 hour ride there and I noticed..They had this old bird, registered in....dahh dahh... the 35-39 year age group. A mistake perhaps???Hummm...or was it a little teaser to me that things were going to be very interesting in the hills of West Virginia. Could I pull this off?? , I mean if I was really 35 ..not 55, then I had to erase everything in my life from 1953- to 1973. Good..No Dick Nixon, no Watergate, no Vietnam. Bad... no Beatles coming to America..no Browns NFL championship in 64'. Good, no getting my head dunked in a toilet in 7th grade in 1966. Bad...,no JFK, Bobby , or Martin Luther King Jr. The possibilities were endless.


Patrick and I drove to the city and checked into the race expo to get our stuff. (Memo to HFP...expo???? really...) It was there that I reluctantly ended the whole "I'm 35 years old charade". However, even though they corrected my age , they still gave me a number that put me in with the 35-39 age group. So I racked my bike with the "kids" in the garage. and hung out a little with TriEric and his wife Aimee. We only met in person Saturday. Great guy and man, can the dude swim-ride-and run. Patrick and I met Karen Ruth, and Eddie Police for a bite in the Boathouse Bistro, which is right above the swim section of the course. Gorgeous setting. Karen's friend Jennifer joined us and regaled us with tales of the Triple T weekend competition from late May in Portsmouth. Karen and Eddie are multiple Ironman finishers. Karen is recovering from a bike crash-shouler injury.

Race morning , the garage was buzzing at 6am with the first wave of the Half Iron swimset for 7:30.

Met up again with Aimee and Eric for a pic...(J.T--Aimee--Eric--Patrick). Met a few other Cleveland Tri Club members and readied for the swim portion. They shut off the Dam on the river and suspend the current for a few hours. Very Cool. My wave, 50 plus and teams was the last of the Half's to go at 7:54am.

I stationed myself up front and started strong. I noticed other white swim caps with me for awhile..but I was moving very well. Next thing I know, I am catching caps in the group ahead of me. Then they started the first wave of the Olympic at 8am, and as we had to got out a little further for the 1.2 miles, the Olympic guys almost magically appeared with us as we were coming back towards the Boathouse. It wasn't that congested. Things thinned out. I had a strong stroke the whole swim. Stayed on line.. Finished in 38 minutes. Gave me a good bit of adrenaline. Next, a roughly 300 yard jog up the incline to the River path and to the garage.

Got out on the bike and, having done the race in 07, felt pretty comfortable with it. We had heavy humidity and early in the bike, we got a good downpour, but nothing that troubled me..in fact it was refreshing. First 10 miles are not demanding, but towards the middle of each of the two laps we did there is some climbing, but nothing that busts you. My nutrition plan was to ingest a Hammer Gel every 50 minutes. I had two big bottles of gatorade on the bike and I took water from each aid station. After the turnaround on lap one, there is a long, gradual, somewhat demanding climb, followed by a dip and then a little more intense but short climb. After that, you are home free. You can really get going,..but just watch out for the road imperfections. They can rise up and bite you if not careful. I heard several racers took spills. Finished the two laps and averaged just under 17 miles an hour. (Note to self..bike improvement or race times will not change much). We had mostly cloud cover and some rains, but the weather was not adverse at all. Things were fine.

Got on the run path, which takes you south along the river to a point of about 2 miles...some of which is on a dirt-cinder path and shaded. I loved that part of the run, but its too short. You turn back, run past the swim area, the garage and the real cool amphitheatre by the river which is where the race ends, but you keep heading north along the river to 6th street. Thats where the famous Devils Hill is. Its 3 seperate inclines..the steepest about 18 degrees. You walk it. You curse it. You just get past it. There is an aid station at the top, but your not done. you turn right theres another incline, but not as bad. Through the city, there are some rolling ups and downs but nothing is as bad as the Devils Hill, complete with a kid dressed as the Devil.
Nutrition was fine. Never taken as many Gels as I did Sunday and even took 2 salt pills. Felt good, but the legs were starting to get trashed. Early on, I was going about 10:30 per mile and started to realize the goal of 6:15 was in jeopardy. Then, I began to think that last years time of 6:50 would be possible. While I had several walking segments, I started playing games in my head. Count to 100 and run strong. Run easy for a count of 25...Repeat. I met up with a young woman, who was really suffering. She was in tears and she was in big time pain. She did not want to give up. I encouraged her awhile and then I moved along ahead.
Patrick had finished his Olympic Race in a fantastic 2:43 good enough for 46th place out of about 180 or so. Wow. Unreal.


He had the cam and took some shots as I ran past the start finish area on each lap.
By the time, I got to Devils Hill on lap 2, I was leaking oil. Did I have enough to get in under 6:50..my time in 2007??. Note to HFP. Keep the nice senior citizen ladies at the last aid station on the run. They are wonderful. A treat to see. I asked them each lap. "Which one of you wants to be my girlfriend"?? Haha. Plus, their water is "ice water" Yeahh baby!!!!


I tried to run hard to the end of the race and beat the time, but I missed by a minute and change. 6 hours, 51 minutes..54 seconds. I was toast. However, I got age group hardware. Second place. Whee hee. (bloggers note: only 3 men in 55-59, but hey, I'll take it).
Enjoyed rehashing the race with many of the CTC members. I still have not met all of them. Rob Reddy was awesome. Eric Gibb ripped off a great race. His bride, Aimee, rocked!! I met Tim, (Walsh??) who, if I recall, had a 5:09. Jack Carney raced well, as did Charlie Mosbrook. Jack gets the award for Ironman. Right after the race, he drove to Florida. What the Hey!!! My swim buddy Eddie Police did a 6:07 and spent time in the medical tent.
Closing thoughts. Not sure if the nutritional plan had a huge effect or not. Will still experiment. Better biking will mean a huge difference, but I have to really get with it. More detailed plans and which races I will attack will follow on future posts.

And finally, yes Rainmaker, its possible that the Fountain of Youth is in West Virginia. Maybe its the ice water from the ladies, or the views from the tops of hills, or maybe its from the encouragement you get from your fellow racers , or the Chicken Penne Pasta I had on Saturday night. In this sport, the possibilities are endless.
Life's a Blast!!

25 comments:

TrainingtoTri said...

Nice job JT! Even if you didn't make your time goal, it still sounds like you make it through with a smile! Ice water! Now that sounds like a nice plus on a race course.

Wes said...

I loved it! I'm glad we don't have to erase the toilet bowl dunking incident!!

I'm imagining that the hills of West Viriginia are a serious challenge!!! Nice job, JT!! I think you gave the Devil his due ;-)

Marcy said...

SWEET JOB HOMIE!!! I bet all the ladies wanted to be your gf ;-) And look at you getting some bling!! Awesome!

IM Able said...

Great job out there!! I'm so bummed I couldn't be there this year :( but I'll definitely be back.

Tri to Be Funny said...

Awesome recap! Way to hang tough JT!!! So--do you get to report on yourself in your newscasts?!?

Formulaic said...

Great Recap! Way to pick up some hardware. Hey! Hardware is hardware.

You EARNED IT!

Charlie said...

Great job. Congrats on the hardware. It was a tough day out there.
Congrats to Patrick as well.

Anonymous said...

You may have found the Fountain of Youth in West Virgina, but I got a sex change. I am listed as a MALE in the age group!

Great job out there this weekend!

Mrs. TriEricTri

Rainmaker said...

Wow...awesome job! Takin' home the bacon...errr...hardware!

Congrats!

RunBubbaRun said...

NIce job JT,, Congrats on the AG award..

Way to finish it, hopefully you got some "digits" form the girls at the water station as well :).

Viv said...

Great report JT! You did wonderful! Congrats on the placing, I totally read the subtext of 3 in the AG as blah blah, you placed :-) Congrats to Patrick as well. All the ladies at the aids stations are going to be looking out for the HOT father & son team. I think you are right the foutain of youth was with the seniors at the ice water stop. Way to encourage a Viv out there on the course..LOL! You surely meant a lot to her. I bet all those seniors were jonesing to be the GF. hehehhe

Trishie said...

Great race report! Great race! Hey, I got second in an open water swim ... and there were two people in my age group. hardware is hardware! =D

UntPawGal02 said...

Nice job and a big congrats... esp on the hardware :)

Kevin said...

Great job. Sounds like a tough course. I think I might have had to take that dude in the devil costume out

triguyjt said...

kevins comment made me laugh and yes, I wanted to punch the kid out...but hey, he was actually hired to do this...however..

on my second lap, I did not see him. Come on mr. Devil costume wearing kid, wheres your guts..you could stay with us and we were doing all the heavy lifting!!!!!!!

wuss!!

Lisa - Slow & Steady said...

Missed the goal my such a tiny bit, hardware in the AG, ice water on the run...sounds like a good race experience to me!

Lily on the Road said...

Whoooottt!

Great Job JT!, way to go! Maybe those 'darlings with the ice water really do know the secret!!!

Good JOB!

ps. head dunking?? do tell.....

Marni said...

great recap...the pics make the post just perfect!!! YOu looked like you had a great time :)

Ryan Denner said...

podium finish!!! what what!!!!

Brian said...

excellent job. I know the halfs are brutal just to finish. next one you'll make it

beth said...

AWESOME JOB, mr. LADIES MAN!!!! gotta love a man that puts down an amazing race AND has time to flirt!

sounds like you had a blast and thats what its all about!

Jack said...

Hey JT great seeing you in WV. They did the opposite to me aging me a year. Maybe that explains why I also missed my time goal. Or could it just have been the heat, the drive and the fact I am not training as much as I should? No matter it was a tough day and we all slogged our way through including the feared and hated Devils Hill.
Great seeing you out there.

DaisyDuc said...

Way to tough it out JT! Way to nab that award and encourage others out on the course!

Donald said...

JT - outstanding job! Don't sweat the time goal. You clearly have a joy for the sport, and it comes out in this report, as well as almost every post you write. That's the important thing.

Keep having fun and living well, man.

Kim said...

way to kick those devil hill's asses!!! great job!

p.s. patrick...single?! hehehe!