Results Rehash – Road Trippin’

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With a small break in the local racing schedule, last weekend the soldiers of SSSMST went far and wide in search of competition. They found some!

John Willse PR’ed his 6th Ironman at Lake Placid, NY in an impressive display of discipline and Ironman experience. Despite not feeling top notch for much of the day, he stuck to his guns and waited for his body to come around en route to an excellent run leg while everyone around him were seemingly falling apart. Funny thing about Ironman racing; it’s so ridiculously long that you have the better part of the race to shake it out and still come through strong. Nice finish John – perfect preparation for Leadville in a couple of weeks right……right?

Leah Halloran, Bruce Macdonald, Andy Cornwell, and Anthony Davila crossed into PA for an Xterra race. Despite it being her first Xterra and 3rd triathlon ever, Leah won the overall female division by over 5 minutes, while Andy and Bruce just missed the top 10. Nacho experienced some bike troubles, but still put together a respectable race and was reported saying “that was sweet, mang!”

Brian Stern attended the Steelhead  70.3 and turned in a new PR; earning himself a slot to the Clearwater 70.3 World Championships. Racing what seems to be his favorite distance, he turned in a great performance wire to wire and went comfortably under 4:30.

Holding down the home fort, “Krollahan” (Anne Callahan and Kevin Krol) had a dig at a fun little running relay at Wendy Park winning the 80+ AG (combined age). Nice one guys!

No doubt some out of state triathletes are wondering who, exactly, are those people in the green and blue.

Read through for some long (but good) race reports.

Willse at Lake Placid –

This was my 6th Ironman attempt, and 3rd @ Lake Placid, which is far and away one of my favorite places in the country. The crowds this year were really incredible, due in no small part to the large number of racers in this years event —  2611! Those are starters, not entrants.

As you can imagine, with so many people in the vent, a mass start, and a fairly tight starting area, the swim was not as fluid as I had hoped, and certainly not as smooth as in 2007, when I went 1:01, and PR’d my swim then. I felt just “ok” in the water, swallowed more of Mirror Lake than I wanted to, but just tried to stay smooth. No big deal, 1:05ish on swim. My goal was 1:00-1:05, so it was onto the bike.

For those that have done, or will be doing LP. It is about a 300 yard run from the Lake to the speed skating oval for T1, longer than many T1 distances. BUT, you run a gauntlet that is absolute insanity coming from the crowds, who are 10-15 people deep on both sides, the whole way! Awesome.

My whole goal in this race was to put a decent run together at the end of the race. Therefore, it required major discipline not to go “red” during the bike. I can honestly say that I was thinking about the run even during most of the swim, and certainly, the bike. I knew on the first climb out of town (1st 7-8 miles is basically a long climb) I did not feel very good. Abdominal cramps, and my legs did not feel very “live.” No matter, just stay steady, hydrate, and pump the calories per the plan. Hit 48 mph on the 1st decent into Keene, and settled in from miles 10-35. At mile 40, there is a tough climb of about 7 miles, I felt I had to start working a bit too hard, so dialed it back.

Normally I would relish this type of climb, as it plays to my strength…but I didn’t have a hell of a lot of that (strength)today  in my legs….and it was WAY early. Shit! Eat more, hydrate, stay steady, don’t hammer…..repeat, repeat. The long climb back into town @ end of each loop is a 12 mile climb up 7 around Whiteface Mntn. This is tough in still air. But today, we had steady 15-20 mph headwinds, with 25-30mph gusts the whole way from mi. 46-56. Working hard, in midst of 1st loop and going 14mph….time for another Clif bar??

“I wonder if Traci & the boys are having fun @ the pool…I wonder how the Huntington Tri went back home…how will I feel on the run if I feel like shit now.? Damn. Settle in, eat, hydrate, stay steady….” Just a few of my random thoughts at this point.  Much of the same for 2nd loop of bike. Lots of tough headwinds, felt marginal, but stayed off the throttle and focused on the run. I had been 5:25, and 5:33 in my 2 previous IMLP’s, but I knew I was way off of that, I just didn’t look at my watch to find out just how much off.

For every IM I have done. I’ve never looked at a watch during the race, other than the swim clock @ exit.  This changes on the run this time…..
I arrive back in town @ end of bike. Now the race starts, for real. I dismount, to find myself being supported by 2 strings of partially cooked linguini. But I trot it out to T2, and start to feel pretty good. I change shoes, socks, and throw my visor on. Here we go.

The LP run starts out on a steady decline, so you usually don’t know exactly how you feel until you get about ½ mile into the run. I hit this point and suddenly feel the BEST I have felt all day. Nice! Now, I think, just roll with this, go easy easy easy the first 6 miles, and evaluate when you start the 1st return leg. Well, I am still feeling good. No food yet, other than some water and thermolytes through 6 miles. Stomach feels great. I decide to hit the Coke at mile 6. I get a nice boost, and it’s water, Coke, and salt pills the whole way. At mile 10, I pass RYAN SUTTER of the “Bachelorette” fame, and tell him “nice work, see you in Leadville (he is also doing LT100mtb)!”

Just into the 2nd loop I inadvertently hear someone say “it’s 4 o’clock.” O.K. I now know I need to set my timer. Because if I don’t finish within the next 2 hours, I don’t go under 11 hrs, which was my personal goal. Timer is started. I need to finish before it clicks off 2 hours.

Then I heard the quote of the day: at around mile 18, I am passing to fit-looking triathletes, who’s race now was reduced to a leisurely walk. I pass them, but first hear them both congratulating eachother on how good their BIKE SPLTS were! What? It is an Ironman, and you’re now walking the marathon….Case study for pacing, I guess…Back into town, see George Vale on Mirror Lake drive, high 5, and still feeling good.  Last loop on the run. Coke is my best friend, and the miles are clicking away. I feel I want to go harder, but don’t want to go “Chris Legh” at mile 24….

Finally, I make the torturous last climb back into town. I have not walked a single step during this marathon (except through aid stations). This is a first for me at the IM distance. I must have passed 20 people in a 100 foot section amidst the crazy screaming crowds going up the steepest sections of this hill in town. I am the only one running up the hill. Now, I can’t resist, I look down at my watch/timer….it smiles at me, showing 1hr 31min!  Sub-11hr is in the bag, and an IM PR as well! I’m stoked. I am jacked up on caffeine, and nothing left but the last mile. It is an out & back along Mirror Lake drive. I high five Vale again, and tell him to have a beer ready for me (I meant after the race).

I make the turn…see Michael Phelps on a front lawn looking at me and cheering for me (his sister was racing). Kind of cool…Adrenaline carries me down toward the skating oval, I see Vale, with a cup of beer in his hand! He hands it to me and says, great race man, here’s some fine lake Placid Pale Ale. Enjoy!! I simply said, well, I may puke, but my party has begun. I throw down a few gulps, cruise into the oval (one of the best IM finish settings ever) and cross the line in 10hr 47min.

A new PR, feeling good, and nothing better in the world to look over and see my wife, Traci, and my two boys Matthew & Ryan there on the other side of the finish. If I died right there, I’d have died a happy man.

The Ironman finish line never loses its thrill. I consider myself fortunate once again to cross it……

Stern at Clearwater –

Long version of race report  2010 STEELHEAD 70.3
Benton Harbor…what can you say, it makes Cleveland look like an even greater city. St. Joseph is the place to stay for Steelhead and we again lodged in the ghetto at a Motel 6 in Benton Harbor (do not wait to find housing for this race or, you will be sorry). So, our dogs get boarded at the “Petz Carlton” and their stay costs more and is nicer then the motel.

On to the expo to pick up the packet and after thirty minute of waiting, my arm has a blue band affixed with my race number. Then we search for Mickey Rzymek, Cleveland’s only true race director extraordinaire . We find him and he ushers us around and sets us up yet again (what a great guy who takes care of his own).

Wake up to light rain and head out into the dark morning, coffee, and some food then on the road. Half way to the race, I think, my goggles are still at the motel. Turn back and start again. We park and warm up in the dark with a short run and get soaked but the air is warm. I ‘m totally relaxed and worry that I’m too relaxed. My wife says that she is worried for me (sympathy worrying – this happens when you’ve been together for 17 years). Get to the swim start, swim a bit and feel the adrenalin pump through my body, along with the jamming tunes. My wave hits the water and I immediately push my pace and find some fast legs to follow. The water is perfect, almost too warm, and looked like a sheet of glass being pelted by rain. I keep throwing in little surges and reminded myself that all those yards of swimming masters are finally paying off. Exit the water and drop to the sand and peel my wetsuit (lose a bit of time for the official swim but worth not running in a crowd like a penguin). Swim split – 32:48.

Everyone, (including myself) always says not to do anything new in a race that you have not practiced in training. Well, sometimes you need to not listen to logic. I decided that my second bottle needed more caffeine and added half a shot of 5hr energy to my Perpetuem. I rolled out of T1 and rocked the bike only getting passed by a few riders the entire time (79th out of the water to 11th   in age group at T2). My fueling was right on until I started to consume my highly caffeinated beverage (which I might add was a very tasty mix of berry flavor 5hr and Moca Perpeteum).  So….half a bottle and twenty minutes later my stomach starts to sing. I begin to spray my new found drink out onto the road at 23 mph. I spend mile 33-34 empting the remaining mix onto the tarmac and resume racing hard. I stop eating gel and only take in Gatorade and water. Enter T2 and it looks like a ghost town in my division, slip on my running gear and hit the road looking to PR. Bike split – 2:24:13  23.3 mph avg.

Then, finally the run, my favorite part of triathlon, and strongest event. I knock out three quick miles (6:11, 6:12, 6:10) before settling in to a comfortable pain. The miles are flying past,  going four to five and then just concentrating on the next and so on. I get to the mile nine and see 3:59:xx on the watch and think I could run 7 minute pace and PR. Well, I push and finish with two strong miles (6:12, 6:20) on my way to a new Personal Record of 4:25:37. I remember rolling down the finishing straight and hearing my wife scream, “you can PR” and my smile grows ear to ear. My finish is good enough for 40th overall including pros and 23rd amateur out of 1822 but only second in 40-44 AG. I earn a spot to Clear Water, but decline. I really enjoy the half distance triathlon, it is just far enough to push your body to its mental and physical limits without too much destruction from a bad race. When it is good it is really good.

Leah –

We headed out to PA on Saturday afternoon for Xterra Appalachia and got there in time to pre-ride the mountain bike loop.  The course was awesome- lots of ups, downs, turns, a few bridges and a river crossing.  About half-way through Nacho destroyed his tire and couldn’t continue. Andy, Jason and I went on and ended up getting lost and had to back track on the first part of the course.  After over 2 hours of riding we finally got back…..very hungry and very dirty.  We camped out which was really fun until the the karaoke didn’t stop, the baby cried at 4:30, Bruce’s alarm went off at 5:20, Sammy barked his head off at 6 and it started raining at 6:30.  Not a good start to race day.  Things were looking much better after a cup of cowboy coffee!  Onto the race….the environment was awesome.  The people were so laid back and everyone seemed really relaxed.  The swim was nice and smooth.  I still seem to swim diagonally quite a bit, which is really frustrating.  My first transition seemed really long….Andy was right, it’s hard to put gloves on with wet hands.  A minute into the mountain bike I dropped my shot blocks and already had a back track.  The mountain bike was great.  Everyone was super friendly and very encouraging.  There was even a gatorade stop- where I actually stopped and drank for awhile.  I didn’t see anyone on the team until the end when I saw Nacho with his 17th flat of the weekend.  So, I gave him some air and he came flying by me a minute later.  After over 1 and 1/2 hours I was finally done and onto the run.  The run went great….nothing unusual just trails.  I will definitely do this race again.  I loved it.  Only next year, I’m staying in a cabin!

Andy –

Xterra races are fun.

Chip Meek actually concocted this idea, and then bailed out for a Pro-Am MTB race, but Leah and Jason Halloran, Bruce, Nacho, Jessica and myself all headed to Yellow Creek State Park for the Xterra.  We decided to camp in a nearby campground, making for an incredible traveling junkshow as six people and all the necessary gear (and quite a bit of un-necessary gear) for camping AND racing trundled on down the road.

We showed up on Saturday afternoon, got all registered up and then jumped on bikes to pre-ride the course.  The course is hard, but the singletrack was very fun.  Dinner was at a pub in Indiana, PA, where main street was closed for a British car show and dancing, which you should ask Bruce, Leah, and Jess about sometime.  Then we went back to the tents and crashed for the night.

Pennsylvania has hills.  The early morning lake swim was the only flat part about this whole race.

The bike course is a doozy.  There are some very technical bits, but the hardest feature has to be the two hills half-way through.  Garmin says the first one is a quarter mile AVERAGING 22.5% grade.  The second one is a half mile, AVERAGING 10.8% and peaking at 24%.  I guess that’s not too uncommon for MTB, but I’m not afraid to admit my inner chainring got plenty of use.  Fortunately there are nice, swooshy, singletrack descents, so my outer chainring got plenty of use, too.

I passed Bruce about half way, right at the base of the first hill.  About 3 minutes later, I heard him swear as he dropped his chain.

Terrified of him catching me on the run, I was really pushing it, and eeked out in front of him by a minute or two, for first AG and 11th overall.

It was a thrill to see Leah cross in first, in her first XTerra ever, and only her third triathlon ever.  Showoff.

Huge thanks to Jason and Jessica for managing the shitshow and cheering while we raced.  Hoping to go back next year!

Bruuuuce –

Let’s start by saying I don’t camp, and the idea of a night in a tent with Nacho is not tops on my list.  Add to it his sore back and his begging me to rub it, followed by the quote “I know it looks gay, but we’re friends”.  The uncomfortable moment aside, hanging out with Nach, Andy, Leah, Jason, and Jess was great, including a dance off with Leah and Jess on the streets of Indiana to the Cupid shuffle.
On to the race, short swim, long brutal bike, and a shortened but difficult run.  Andy caught me way to early on the bike, so I knew there was no catching him on the run.  Everyone raced well, Jason and Jes lended great support in the transitions, a great weekend.

Krol –

Anne and I decided to do this race on a whim, not knowing what sort of competition would be there, but also mostly because it seemed wacky enough for us.  It really was a fun atmosphere, and being a Friday night, just an overall different feel.
I haven’t done a race this short…..maybe ever – 3km cross country as part of a two-person relay.  And I sure as hell haven’t run all out like this in a very long time.
We met up with Anne’s brother Mike and his teammate – cousin-in-law and female “ringer” Cheryl Spring (ran XC and track at Penn State).  We thought for sure they would be a shoe-in to take the Co-Ed division title and some cash.  Pre race we did a loop of the course – pretty roly-poly, with a little bit of flat at the end.  But it included everything on Whiskey Island – beach, stones, dirt, Coast Guard Station.  Was really hoping that someone would require a pre-race beer seeing that the bar was open and it was hot.  Quick strategy session to decide who would run first, and we decided to have Anne run first.  A lot of the Co-ed’s ended up having the women run first, but there were some really fast chics out there!  There were one or two stacked male teams, but the majority of comepetition ended up being in the Co-Ed.

Anne got us going with a nice steady effort, about 15 mins into the relay transition.  It seemed like a pretty good place to be as I only remember maybe 10 or 12 teams handing off before us.  I shot out for the second half at as much of a dead sprint as I could. Spent the first 1.5k pretty much passing people.  Second half of the run I was in no mans land – no one left within run-down distance.
Ended up finishing in pretty good shape, although we didn’t stick around to find out the standings.  Turns out we finished at the top of our division – the 80-year-old and over Co-ed!  And somewhere, there’s a bottle of whiskey with our name on it.

lahan –

A very groovy race put on by Cleveland Plays Racing.  My brother Mike called me on Friday afternoon about the race he was doing that evening with Cheryl Spring his wife’s cousin.  Cheryl is a recent graduate AND ran for Penn State and is SUPER FLY FAST!!! She happends to be doing a CCF nursing rotation this summer living with my brother and his wife in Lakewood…Mike’s training kicks ass this season and NOW I know why!!!  Cheryl’s in the house AND running Mike’s butt at the LHS track! I mentioned the Sunset Relay event to Krol and he jumps on it thinking A.  He can get out of work on time.  B. I may want to join him. C. There is CASH for the winners and bottles of Whiskey…we cannot pass this UP!  So we arrive at Wendy Park and receive 2 sweet pint glasses compliments of Second Sole and take a warm up run around the course.  I see Rachel Zubricky back from week one of Cross Country Camp hoping to cash in on a little prize money!  The course has a little bit of everything sand, beach debris, stones, hills, dirt and a quick trip to the old Coast Guard Station.  We entered the co-ed category and they add your ages up to determine under 80 years and under or 80+.  Rachael Z. and partner Adam placed 3rd.  Brother Mike and Cheryl placed 4th and Krolio and Annie placed 1st in the 80+ AG…Age does have advantages!!  We proceeded to Melt for dinner and beers…I recommend this race for next year!!

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