So began the year 2008. Let me just say out front that the person I have to thank the most for allowing me this personal growth and perhaps some selfish interest is my wonderful and beautiful wife Marnie. Without her sacrifice and constantly going out of her way to allow me to train and race, and her consistent support none of this would have be attainable. And although she was not able to make it to many races she is and was always supportive of my efforts. Thank you and I love you. Well, on to 2008. As I said in the last post 2008 began with a couple of running races. The first being the Rocky Coast Road Race here in Boothbay Harbor. It is a 10k (6.2 miles) and this was the second year I had done it. I finished with a 42:39 improving on my previous years time by about a minute and a half. I finished 5th overall out of 59 finishers and 4th overall men and 2nd in the male 40-49 age group class. Next it was off to the Sugarloaf Marathon. I was very nervous and had never run 26.2 miles in any training or running races. It was a beautiful day in late May and although running with a knee brace felt good about my level of fitness at this point. The race is mostly downhill through the Carabassett Valley with a little uphill from mile 8 to 11 before dropping into a mostly downhill for the last 14 miles. About mile 17 or 18 the legs really begin burning and slowing. However, I finished and for the most part felt great about my first marathon length run. I now knew that I could at least finish a run of that length. I still have doubts that I could do it following the 112 mile bike and the 2.4 mile swim. I finished with a 3:33:01. This was 11th place in the 40-44 age group out of 21 and 60th overall out of 185 starters. Just within the top third. Not bad for a first timer.
A couple of weeks later it was on to my first triathlon of the year in Bath. The Bath Y Tri was a first year triathlon and I think about six of us that had been in the triathlon class at the Boothbay YMCA made it to the event. It was a great morning. This was a sprint distance race with a 525 yard pool swim an 11.5 mile bike and a 3.1 mile or 5K run. I finished 5th overall out of 134 participants. My best showing of the year. I had a 1:09:26 finish with a 9:02 minute swim, 34:13 minute bike and a 22:10 minute run. This was a great race as we had a good showing from the Boothbay contingent. Hopefully next year we will show strong again. My family all came out for this one so it was extra rewarding for me to have them at the finish line.
Next came the BLT or Belgrade Lakes Triathlon. This was my first Olympic distance Triathlon. This is the distance they do in the Olympics and consists of a 1.5k (.9 mile) Swim, a 40km bike (24.9 miles) and a 10k run (6.2 miles). This was probably one of my favorite venues with the sun coming up over Great Pond for the swim and a steamy bike and run with the sun drying out the rain and hails storm from the night before. The transition area was quite muddy and there were trees limbs in the roads from the winds and rain. However, I loved the area and camp Runoia where it was held. I finished 15th Overall out of 156 that started with a time of 2:14:00. I was fourth out of 14 in the 40 - 44 age group. My time was 17:08:05 for the swim, 1:15:44:09 for the bike and 41:06:08 for the run. This was a great race for the second race of my 2008 season.
Then it was off to my biggest race of the year the Amica 70.3 Ironman in Providence Rhode Island. I was lucky enough to see a .moe show in Hyannis on my way down. This race was on the 70.3 Ironman brand and one of the handful of races where you can qualify for the 70,3 World Championship in Clearwater Florida. Although I was not going for qualification I had trained all year for this first of two Half Ironmans. Although logistically this race left a bit to be desired it was a beautiful venue. The logistics were as such that there were two transition areas one at Roger Wheeler Beach State park about 60 miles south of Providence where the swim was and the swim to bike transition was held and then the bike to run was in downtown providence on the capital grounds. Needless to say most of Saturday was spent traveling to the beach, doing a practice swim, this was my first ocean swim for a triathlon, and it was nice to have a strategy for the breaking waves in your face before hand, and setting up the bike transition, getting bike ready and doing a short ride before heading back to Providence to set up the run transition. Then it was time to carbo-load at a great Italian restaurant on Federal Hill and get to bed so as to get up for the 4:00 am shuttle back to the beach. As previously stated the venue was beautiful the ocean swim at the beach with plenty of spectators, the bike going through the costal scenic towns of Narragannsett, Wickford, and wound its way through many scenic small towns with rolling hills and some flats. The run was mostly through the east side of Providene around Brown University and RISI. There was one very steep hill which we had to navigate twice as the run was a two looper. I finished this race in 5:03:56 and was elated at my time. I felt worked but great as I sprinted with another age grouper across the finish line. With 1227 starters and many of these professionals and elite athletes, I finished 198th overall and 31st out of 100 in my age group. For those of you who don't know a half ironman consists of a 1.2 mile swim a 56 mile bike and a 13.1 mile run. My time broken down for this was 34:11 for the swim, 2:34:58 for the bike and 1:49:27 for the run with about 4 minutes total transition time. In my opinion the biggest race of my life was a huge success and left me wanting more.
Then I realized that my race season was really only about half over. I cannot complain about a top 1/3rd finish for my first Half Ironman.
As this post is beginning to get a bit long winded I will just post my results for the rest of the races of the year without so much elaboration.
Zone Urban Epic - Portland Maine - Olympic Distance Triathlon
1.5 k (.9 mile) Swim, 40k (25 mile bike) 10k (6.2 mile) Run
36th out of 221 Overall
7th of 28 40-44 age group
40:57 Swim (river current sucked me past bouys and I had to swim against current to get to bouys to finish swim so very long swim, most had problems with this)
40:56 Run with another 6:31 for Transition 1 Run
Total Race Time 2:43:31
This race had its own special reward as it was the first race that Fiona ran across the finish line much to the pleasure of the spectators and her proud father.
Maine State Sprint Triathlon 8/3/2008 - Sprint Distance Triathlon - Bethel Maine
1K Swim, 25K Bike, 5K Run
18th Overall out of 164 Starters
5th of 19 in 40-44 age group
Swim 21:43:4 (terrible swim time)
Bike 44:20 (good bike time)
Run 23:17 (muddy trail run)
1:29:20 Finishing Time
Pumpkinman Triathlon Festival - 9/7/2008 South Berwick, Maine
Half Ironman (Maines First)
1.2 Mile Swim, 56 Mile Bike, 13.1 Mile Run
35th place out of 170 total
5th of 24 40-44 age group
Last Race of 2008
The Lobsterman Triathlon - 9/13/2008 - Olympic Distance Triathlon
1.5K Swim, 40K bike, 10K Run
80th out of 450 total
12th of 40 in 40-44 age group
Being only six days off from my half iron I was probably still in recovery mode but this was a scenic race with free beer and lobster bake after the race. Very scenic venue and nice well produced race with many from all over New England participating. A great way to finish the racing season.
Well as anyone can tell by reading this post 2008 was a real breakout year as far as my triathlon and athletic accomplishments. I stayed roughly around 20 pounds lighter than I have been for much of my adult life and was definitely in the best shape of my life. However, racing is not cheap and although I enjoy the competition some of the most memorable times are watching others cross the finish line that you would think could never finish by looking at them. They are the true inspirations. The ones that are in their seventies or severely overweight that make the effort to go out and do the best that they can.
I want to thank all who made my efforts worth while and have allowed me the opportunity to pursue this somewhat selfish venture. I now have the bug after this year of racing and although I doubt that 2009 will see as many races my addiction to adrenaline and exercising will keep me doing what I love, swimming, biking and running. Stay tuned for the 2009 update.