July 28, 2008

Lessons Learned in T1

Volunteering at Ironman Lake Placid was an experience I will never forget. When the first athlete to finish the swim, Pro Francisco Pontano, came into the men's transition tent it was a lesson in speed and what to do right during transition. He was in and out in what seemed like 40 seconds. (Of course his T1 time was recorded as over 3 minutes because it starts somehwere between exiting the water and getting out on the bike). But the actual time he spent getting ready was incredible. I know that I tend to linger in transition especially in my two Ironman races. My thought process is that it's a long day so I might as well take my time. Of course there is no money on the line either so that might be a reason for staying longer.

What I learned from Francisco is that I need to go through my transition in mind prior to the race and envision what I am going to do. I need to only do what I need to do. Keep it simple. I also need to improve on some of my functions. For instance, one example of this is that I tend to put my race top on in T1. Since my body is wet, it tends to get stuck on my shoulders. The answer to this is to either put it on under the wetsuit or use one that has a full zipper down the front. That way I can just stick my arms in with less friction. It can also be helpful to write down what you are going to do in T1 and then follow through on race day. Don't drift from your designated plan.

If you use visualization before entering T1, I think it can really save you minutes on your overall race time. I am going to practice this in my next race. Whenever that is.

July 24, 2008

Ironman Lake Placid 2008

Some friends and I travelled up to Lake Placid for race weekend last Friday to watch this year's race and then sign up for the 2009 race. Little did we know that we would end up volunteering in the Men's transition tent for T1. We also didn't realize how much fun we would have doing it! I would suggest it to anyone who has raced Ironman before to see what it looks like from the volunteer's side. I would also highly suggest it to anyone who is thinking about doing Ironman for the first time. IM LP 2008 was also the first time many of us watched a Tri race as a spectator. Besides the fact that it was a torrential downpour the entire day, we had a ton of fun. In fact, we can't wait to do it again. Maybe in 2010 to sign up for 2011!

Congratulations to all the finishers on Sunday. It took courage, strength, mental toughness and guts to finish that race. To keep moving when that rain was telling you all to quit. You are all Ironmen!

July 03, 2008

Eagleman 2009

When I first signed up for the Eagleman 70.3, seven years ago, registration opened sometime in October or November. I believe there were still slots available in the February-March timeframe. Man, has this sport changed. Less than 1 month after the 2008 race was over, registration has opened for 2009. As of yesterday morning there were only 800 slots left! There is no time to ponder anymore. You are either in or you are out. What's it going to be? There is no in-between anymore. Given the way this year has gone for me, I'm not sure if I'll be there next year. I need my time to ponder.