Toughman was my race to see how far I have gotten, if anywhere :-), with coaching (the 9th place at REV3 Olympic (2:38), 4th place at Kic IT (2:24), 19th at IMAN 70.3 in RI (5:22) , and going to Age Group Nationals Olympic were all flukes. I have learned a lot, I can talk a good game in training discussions, but can I walk the talk.
Up at 3:15am - Align exercises (Egoscue) for 30 min, Active stretch for 25 min, Protein/carb chocolate shake and Oatmeal and in the car with buddy at 4:15am. Got to race site by 5am.. set up transition and ready to go by 6am..
The water was a little murky (ok no murky - brown, muddy, ugly) but peaceful. As per coach Cliff I warmed up with my flippers on ( I got a couple of interesting looks to say the least :-)) and got a pretty good stretch in.. I was about ready to go but all of a sudden by goggles started to leak - yikes! Luckily I am a compulsive hedger and always carry 1 or 2 extra pairs in my bag.. I ran back to the transition area and got another pair. I did notice there were still 3 guys in transition just getting their bikes ready. I thought "If these guys beat me because of the extra 3 hours of sleep they got I am not going to be happy".
My game plan for the swim was smooth and strong the whole way.. using my newly minted Cliff's "endless pool video approved stroke" which yielded me a 13 sec improvement in the pool for 100s (142 down to 129).
According to plan it went smooth with some interesting directions being given by kayakers. There was a buoy straight behind a kayaker from my line of site, and he kept yelling "you are off course!" .. I was able to, in mid-stroke yell "look behind you, and then in the water saying "dehhhh".. he yielded and moved..
I thought I was flying I caught the wave before me, and the wave before them.. but ended up with a 37.55 (maybe it was a 1.5 mile course?).. they must have added the time it took for the "Maxim girls" to remove my wetsuit to my time :-)
T1 was fast and smooth no waste time, shoes on pedals, and flew out of there..
The Bike started well, shoes on in 30 sec, ready to rock .. Check the Garmin for HR and keep it between 147-150bpm… YIKES: it was at 166bpm. I remember thinking this is not good.. so I figured I would get over the hills and settle in.. I was able to get it down to 158 for the first 4-5 miles.. but wondered if I had hurt myself for the run.. At mile 15 things settled in and I was able to bring the HR down to a manageable 153-155.
Per Cliff the game plan was to test my fitness on the 2nd half of the bike.. The way I felt at mile 30, I was really hoping Cliff knew what he was talking about - but at that moment it would have been convenient to have someone to blame for blowing up really badly ! .. To my surprise I was able to maintain a steady effort of 155bpm with my legs saying "chill dude" all the way to the end of the bike: 2:43 pretty good..
T2 was fast and smooth..
The Run started according to plan - fast leg turn over waking up the run legs. HR in check at 151bpm.. I spent about 15 minutes trying to remember what the game plan was - I normally write it on my forearm for quick reference but it had washed away. Then I remembered that if I can't remember anything I NEED CARBS!. so I started taking-in my first of 5 chocolate GUs. with water from the transition folks (boy, they had a lot of support volunteers)
I membered Cliff saying "don’t even think of racing till mile 6" - that strategy is tough for me because of the hills in Toughman. Cliff saw me at mile 3 flying!! It was downhill - I have been blessed with good downhill survival skills: I work/walk/9-10-11pace uphills and let my legs go downhill 5:45-6-7 pace.. perfect for Toughman until mile 9 when my quads started seizing (my HR was at 165 = LT + 5, since mile 8) , my Hamstrings started almost cramping and I thought "How am I supposed to RELEASE THE HOUNDS, per Cliff" - I started looking around for the Hounds but found none :-). Back to survival skills..
As everyone started slowing down at mile 9 I remembered the downhill forest path and that I had about 1 mile to recover my legs and HR (it was at 165) before reaching it, with the goal of fly down it and making up some time, so I started to walk up the last steep hill (the same one I was running up at 12:40 pace) for 2 minutes.. My legs came back online (sort off) and I was able to fly down the forest path (7:30s) passing a bunch of people until I got to the end of the downhill and then got re-passed by half of them on the 2 mile uphill.. :-(
I wanted to make sure I pushed all the way to the end with nothing left in the tank. As Cliff said "You are a lot fitter than you think you are" so I started picking up my pace 10-9-8 and eventually hooked up with another runner "Lenny from Westchester" and we settled in together at 7:55 for the straight road before the downhill into the park road.. I figured with 1.3 miles left I could limp home if I blew up and I blame Cliff :-) , so I let my legs go on the downhill going into the underpass (7:55-7-6:30) which gave me momentum into the park. I was able to accelerate all the way into the finish chute (my ultimate goal) at 8-7:30 pace.. Cool to see my son Hunter at the finish line and Coach Cliff in the same area.. 5:16 PR
Funny note: After finishing the race and getting some water, I raced over to the recover tents (I am a little obsessed about recovery at 45) - I started with the Chiropractor, then Massage, then Electrical Stem).. The Chiropractor without looking at me asked for my name, then he looked up and said "CLIFF COACHES YOU? sit down I'll sort you out, btw: what does he have you doing " - I thought that was pretty funny…