Race Recap: Timberman Triathlon (Part 1)

26 Aug

Not everyone loves race recaps. I completely understand that. So here is the short version for those who wish they cared but truly don’t: There were some obstacles and issues that I encountered but I finished. Shortly afterwards (2 days later) I learned that I was DQed – disqualified – due to a timing chip issue which meant some of my race splits weren’t recorded and some were recorded at places other than the timing mat. Not sure how that happened. My results are now blanked out on the Timberman website but can still be seen at Athlinks and other race-result websites.  Although the DQ was a disappointment and very frustrating, it was also completely out of my control, so I’m taking everyone’s advice to heart (that I know and my friends and family know that I finished) and not worrying about the officially-scary-looking DQ next to my name.

Preparation could have gone better for this race, I won’t lie. And that’s not an excuse.  After my PR in July at the Old Port Half Marathon and my sprint triathlon 5K run PR a week later, I suddenly lost all desire to run. Add that to my lack of motivation to swim for the entire month of July (when you are on a jury trial far away from your swimming pool, and you’re not the most keen swimmer to begin with, that happens) and my frustration at how slowly I bike, and it wasn’t the greatest training season ever.  Also, I was starting to set PRs at Crossfit in my 1 rep maxes and I was finding it fun – so fun that it was hard to focus on the cardio required for this triathlon.

Also, and maybe this was just my issue because I followed a very bare bones training plan, I succumbed to a lot of stressful guilt about training.  It’s hard enough to juggle work, exercise, social life, sleep, chores, etc.  Now I found myself juggling swimming, running and biking.  I had a really good week swimming and biking, felt guilty about my less than stellar running. Next week, I had a great swimming and running week, felt guilty about my lack of biking.  And so on. Ironic that those of us who exercise don’t sit around feeling guilty about not exercising but we can still fall into a trap of guilt over not doing enough exercise.

Enter: Random encounter at the gym with a girl wearing a triathlon t-shirt. We start talking and realize we are both doing Timberman, both about the same biking speed, and we both have some long bike rides ahead of us. It was one of the best random encounters I’ve had. Having a training partner made all the difference.  We rode 50 miles around Arlington and Concord one week, we biked 40+ miles of the Timberman course the next week, we got in a nice swim at Walden Pond + biking brick during our taper.  I would not have entered the Timberman as prepared if it were not for her.  Best summer surprise.

Week Before the Taper
This went surprisingly well. I didn’t experience any of the anxiety and stress and nervous energy that I usually do.  That might be because I was busy in a 4 1/2 hour job interview and working on my handstand push-ups and preparing for my busy season at work and trying to figure out how to pack for 4 days camping and a half Ironman.

Thursday night, I got to my parents house after a fun date with my Dad and some car trouble, went to bed, woke up unable to move my neck.  Shooting pain in my upper back, shoulders and neck.  No idea where it came from although I had spent a significant number of hours holding heavy babies on Tues, Wed, and Thur. And I spent a month sitting in an uncomfortable jury chair. And my sports masseuse is convinced that the stress of the summer finally caught up to me during the taper (which doesn’t entirely surprise me – you are most susceptible to colds and other illness during the taper weeks – and it is often when I go home to NH that my body relaxes and gets sick).

But I muscled through it with some pain reliever. Spent part of Friday testing out my wet suit at a friend’s lake and playing with her kids. I was shocked that I actually liked the wet suit. The one I had tested before was more expensive, rated better, and I hated it. Hated it. Felt so confined in it that I was ready to DNS (Did Not Start) the triathlon solely because of the wet suit. This one I like. It’s about as flattering as a wetsuit can be, it fits perfectly without being too tight or too loose and I don’t even notice it once I’m swimming.

Packet Pickup
There were two fun parts of packet pickup: being with my Mom and meeting up with my friend A and finally meeting her husband.  The packet pickup went smoothly, dropping off my bike was easy and a little scary (this is really happening…) and the race info session was helpful. 

There were a few not so fun parts of packet pickup: like how incredibly fit and lean and intimidating everyone looked.  I knew going into this that I would not do well in the swim and the bike.  I had read the race results from the previous years and knew that this was not an “average person” event but the cream of the crop of triathlon racing.  That didn’t discourage me so much as prepare me for the inevitable – being passed a lot on the bike. I had no idea how I would fare on the run because I hadn’t been running a lot (other than weekend long runs and a lot of short sprints at Crossfit) and I certainly hadn’t been doing many bricks (I think I followed up a bike ride with a run once…or maybe twice).  My philosophy was: don’t drown, don’t bonk on the biking, you can muscle thru the run.

It helps to know that someone else is doing this as well – someone else is signing up for what might be a great experience or a horrific one. And I figured if my neck was going to hurt and I was going to spend my days rubbing Bengay into it, I may as well do something more painful in a vain attempt to forget about my neck (it actually kinda worked).


Forcing myself to eat extra carbs – unsalted pretzels and hummus with an unhealthy dose of Goldfish crackers thrown in – and extra liquid –  Powerade Zero wasn’t as awful as it has been in the past. I typically get excited at the thought of eating extra carbs and lounging around….then the days before the race, I lose all my appetite and force myself to eat delicious things without even tasting them. This happens after the race, too.  Beforehand, I think “I can eat whatever I want after the race!” and spend many long runs imagining what I will indulge in.  Then, after the race, I lose my appetite and think “You have to make yourself eat” and I can’t.

Informing my parents of our 4:30 AM departure time wasn’t fun, either. Because nothing screams self-centeredness like “Want to come spend 8+ hours in the sun in a crowded venue cheering for me?” with the added incentive of “And we need to leave by 4:30 AM?”  I console myself at times like this with two thoughts: 1) my parents didn’t have to to do a lot of cheering for me in my childhood and no one is forcing them to now and 2) I will probably be blessed/cursed with children that expect the same out of me. Possibly even a husband who races.  Karma and all that.

I slept about 3 hours before the race which is normal for me. What isn’t normal is that I also slept 2-3 hours (because of my neck) on Thursday and Friday nights. I yawned the entire drive up to Gunstock on Sunday morning.  That may or may not have been an omen that this race wasn’t going to go as planned…thank goodness I hadn’t spent a lot of time making plans!



4 Responses to “Race Recap: Timberman Triathlon (Part 1)”

  1. tootallfritz August 26, 2013 at 9:40 am #

    I’m up for my second 70.3 of the season this coming weekend. I think I’ve swam once since my last one (on 7/21). This is not going to be pretty. 😦

    Sorry about the DQ! IM races are very tricky and the officials are very picky. I had a timing chip get stuck in my wetsuit one time and I didn’t have an entire bike split. I thought I lost the chip in the water. Told officials when I hit bike “in” and they freaked a bit. The found it in my wetsuit during transition, told them again and ran with it. Worked out for me but it was a non IM branded race.

    • ezelie August 26, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

      Good luck on the 70.3! At least the swim is the shortest and the first (the mantra I told myself when realizing I missed 3 weeks of swimming).

      I think I’m frustrated because they have my run start and finish and photos of me at the splits so there’s plenty of proof I didn’t cheat. I respect that they are picky but its not like I placed well or anything…the volunteers all told me it would be fine but you’re right, the IM branded races are tricky.

  2. David Sokol September 26, 2013 at 1:57 pm #

    I read your blog on the Arias trial. Thank you for posting my comment; typo
    and all.
    I am an attorney for 35 years and am presently working on the single most
    layered, complicated and I would say compelling case of my career. It
    involves the statutory rape of a ten year old, without any forensic proof
    under circumstances that are almost macabre. I have prepared a case summary
    that I want to share with you. Although I have changed the names in the
    summary-I still cannot publish it. My office is at Center Plaza.
    The only thing I can tell you now is that I have a mentally sophisticated
    27 year old daughter who is as offended by these types of allegations as
    anyone one knows and who helped me write the summary. She and some very
    serious “child advocates” are incredulous but she tells me that “the jury
    is going to hate me” over what I may have to do.
    I would like to share my thoughts with you.
    Thank you.

    David Sokol
    Attorney at Law
    One Center Plaza, Suite 240
    Boston, Massachusetts 02108


    • ezelie September 29, 2013 at 2:10 pm #

      Hi David,

      Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, the subject matter of that case isn’t something I am willing to read about. Due to some events in my past, I prefer to stay away from that particular issue. I have no background in law and only one experience on a criminal case as a juror (and hopefully never again) but I do believe that good jurors will look at the facts and evidence and not let the manner in which the facts or evidence are communicated keep them from making the right decision. Of course, not every case ends the way it should. And sometimes jurors know that the verdict should be guilty but cannot reach that decision legally from the amount of proof and a not guilty verdict must be given. The jury might hate you, but I would hope that their dislike of the case or your role in it, would not keep them from still making a good decision. After all, they have to live with the decision they make.

      God Bless,

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