August 18, 2013
It was tough to get a read on this course. Although the overwhelming consensus was that Timberman 70.3 was a beautiful race, I was left with a gulping uncertainty in regards to the bike course. Hilly, but beautiful was all I could get. ‘How hilly?’ was all I could think. And even with a relatively hilly Rhode Island 70.3 and Louisville full Ironman under my belt, I still couldn’t help but question myself…there would only be one way to find out.
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1.2 miles in crystal clear Lake Winnipesaukee. Who knew a lake could be so clear–It was like swimming in a glass of water.
I rushed to join my swim wave just minutes before the start. The port-a-potty lines at the swim start were loooong, but I had (repeat had) to go. My heart palpitated with anxiety and my mind unraveled as I scurried to my join my wave. As I stood in the water for a couple of minutes before the horn, I tried to reel myself back in. I gazed at the surreal landscape of the mountains over the lake. I visualized the race I wanted to have. I reminded myself of the hard training days I endured to get to this point.
As I started to swim out, I was happy to see my wave was not all that crowded. However, swimming (for me at least) requires a calm rhythm. My muscles were in on that strategy, but my insides were not. Still wound up from my rushed pre-race routine, I found myself having to actually stop for a few seconds. Tread water. Look for the nearest kayak…NO! That’s ridiculous! Regroup. ‘Get yourself together!’ A little mental slap in the face was all I needed. It didn’t take too long and for the rest of the swim I was able to focus and swim with confidence. I sighted well once I turned the first buoy and didn’t have the sun in my eyes. I came out of the water feeling strong.
Swim Time- 39:58
Thank you to the fantastic wetsuit strippers! One less thing to worry about!
T1 Time- 2:15
Ok, here it is. The moment we’ve all been waiting for. The bike leg of a triathlon is going to be about 50% of your race, so it needs to be good. I’ve been working hard this season and have seen improvements in my short course races, so I hoped the same would be evident here.
I mounted by bike with my shoes pre-clipped in. Decided not to put my feet in with the crowds in the mounting area. I instead opted to make the right turn out of the park and do it there. Turns out that when you make that right turn you actually start climbing. So with my feet still on top of my shoes, I put my bike in a super easy gear and pedaled up the incline with a fast cadence. Immediately after that small climb I got my feet in—didn’t want to be stuck in that situation again.
The first 5 miles were great. I was careful to save my legs on the early rollers, knowing that a big climb was looming and I had a long day ahead of me. As expected, I buckled down for the big climb at about mile 10. I didn’t waste any time switching to my easiest gear and literally just kept pedaling. It seemed to go on and on, but sure enough, I made it to the top!
But what goes up…
The downhills for me were the worst part of the course. With the wind in my face, I grasped my handlebars for dear life. 40 something mph was all I was willing to go. My eyes feverishly surveyed the ground to avoid any hazards that might send me to my death. At the same time, I also had to avoid people who decided to take it slower than me, and I had to brace myself for the guys hammering it at 50 plus mph. Little scary, but I apparently survived.
The middle chunk of the bike was out and back on a highway—good stretches to push 20 plus mph. The end of the bike takes you back in the same way you came…
Nutrition- Heed, water, Chomps.
Bike Time- 3:05 / 18.15 mph
Interested in Ironman Louisville? Check out my race report!
Having my feet already out of my shoes made for an easy jog to my spot. Rack it up. Toss the helmet and Chomps. Slip on Newtons. Grab race belt and headband. Out.
T2 Time- 2:13
It would all come down to the run. I knew to break 6 hours I would have to start the run by the 4 hour mark on my running time. That would give me the time to run a 2 hour half marathon and reach my overall goal. Really though, my run goal was to break 2 hours. I got off my bike at about 3:45 which left me in a good position (so I didn’t feel too bad about my bathroom stop at mile 3). I intended to start the run with 9 minute miles and negative split from there, but my legs felt crazy good and I just had to go with it. I started around an 8:30ish pace and was never too far from that. The hills on the run suited me well and I felt strong the entire 13.1 miles. I ended up averaging 8:20 per mile.
Run Time- 1 hour 49 minutes
Total Time- 5:38
My goal was to break 6 hours, so I am thrilled with my final time. I am proud of my performance in each individual discipline and owe it all to our training this season. There is nothing I would have done differently! It was also a great race for my husband Lance who PR’d his Half IM time going 5:20, and my brother Jon’s first Half with a time of 6:16.
Congratulations to all the Timberman 2013 finishers! If you have any questions about my experience, or the course, feel free to comment here or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Jon Oldenburger says
My name is Jon Oldenburger and I recently read your race report on the Timberman half Ironman you did back in 2013. I’ve been training for my first half ironman this past year, and its come to the point where I have to decide which event I want to race in. Currently I am looking at the Timberman in New Hampshire or the Steelhead in Michigan. I read that someone on your team made the Timberman their first half ironman, and I was wondering if it is a course that you would recommend for someone doing their first half ironman. Overall, I don’t have a lot of experience with triathlons, as I’ve only done a few sprint triathlons a few years ago back in high school. However, I will be doing some shorter distance tris in June to warm up for whichever one I do in August.
Michelle Homan says
Hi John! I don’t know much about Steelhead, but As you read, Timberman was great. Logistically and the course. The bike has some challenging hills, but if you are comfortable with that it should be fine. Timberman was also driving distance for my family, which impacted our decision. Our team member did not have extensive tri experience at the time either and he did great. I’m sure whichever you choose, you will enjoy as long as you put on the appropriate training! Best of luck!
great report! Thanks and congrats on being a Fit Mom! I’m doing Timberman for the first time this year, was wondering if you had any lodging/travel to start advice? I’m going with wife and 5 year old but looks like most lodging in the area doesn’t provide transportation and I can’t seem to see any taxi available. Kind of stuck because I can’t have my wife drop me off and leave the little one alone! Any suggestions would be great, thanks!
Michelle Homan says
We drove from Long Island and were lucky enough to have my parents with us so we did not have to worry about our then 2 year old that day. We rented a condo about 15 minutes away from the race site, so race morning we drove, got there early, and parked in the park…from there we were good to go! My parents, sister-in-law, and daughter I believe parked at the ski area where packet pick up was and they were bused to the race site for spectating. Not sure if that is still the way it goes, but everything worked seamlessly for us. If you need more info about where we stayed, I’d be more than happy to look it up for you! We stayed Wednesday to Wednesday with the race in between and it was great!
Stephanie Riis says
Hi there…saw your comment about how clear the lake is…this is my first half iron and i am extremely intimidated by the swim and am thinking clear would really help with my claustrophobic feeling…how clear? Lol
Michelle Homan says
Like swimming in a glass of water! Just stay calm and enjoy the beautiful view!