Sunday August 30th, was the first annual FIRMman Half Ironman
triathlon. The event was held at Fort Pond Lancaster, Ma. This is also the site
of FIRM's annual Montachusetts triathlon held in late July.
The course was a 1.2 mile swim in Fort Pond (bizzare layout). A 56 mile bike
course That consisted of a 1/2 mile ride to the bike loop; an 11 mile bike
loop (hilly) following rt 70 right onto rt 117, right onto Howard street, right
onto flurence st, left on to mechanic st ( this is where the bottle exchange
feed zone was located) and back to rt 70. This loop was done 5 times. At the end
of the last loop you headed back to Fort Pond. The run was a combination of the
bike and run courses of the Montachusetts triathlon with an out and back section
along rt 70, affectionately referred to as the lava field.
My goal for this race was to finish somewhere between five and five and a 1/2
hours. I managed to finish in 5:23:11. The swim was pretty much uneventful for
me although I found the course hard to navigate (40 minutes). I felt that a few more buoys
would have been nice, but then again that may of made it even more difficult
I wish I could say that the swim to bike transistion was unevenful for me, but
it was not. Upon exiting Fort Pond you have to run up the beach, climb a few
stairs, run on some more sand, jump up onto a cement slab and continue to your
bike. Well I didn't quite complete the jump onto the cement slab as I cought
my trailing foot on the edge of the slab and slid head first along the slab.
I managed to get a pretty sizable scrape on my hand and a ***ied up the big
toes on both of my feet, especiallly the one on my right foot. Luckly I was
wearing my wet suit or it could have been the end of my day.
I made it to the transisiton area without falling again and after putting on
my shirt,shoes,sunglasses and helmet headed out onto the bike course. One
minute out on the course and I realized I had fogotten my *** pack with my
powerbar supply. oh well, they have food out on the course (powerbars and
bananas) I'll grab something to eat there. For the first loop my toes were
aching from geting scraped up, but by the end of the first loop I wasn't
noticing them anymore. The bike course was fairly hilly and as the day
progressed became quite windy. It was a cross wind making me wish I didn't
have my J-disc on, but I survived. Overall the bike was uneventful for me
(2:51). I managed to eat 2 powerbars out on the course somewhat less than I was
planning to eat, but they were only giving out 1/2 a bar at a time. I also
drank 3 waterbottles, probably less than I should have drank. The only
complaint I have about the bike course was that there as an incredable amoung
of drafting. You would have imagined that with an 11 mile loop and 200 people
that everyone would have been spread out, but there where packs everywhere.
When I got back to the transistion area I racked my bike, removed my helmet and
removed my shoes to discover two incredably sore and ***y toes. Luckly I had
a jar a vasiline laying next to my running shoes so I greased up my toes put on
my shoes and began the run. At first my back was pretty stiff, but it loosened
up after about a half-mile. Mile 1 found me at my goal 7:00/mile pace. I also
found the first water stop. ( This water stop also doubles as the last water
stop.) By mile 3 I needed to make a pit stop so I pulled over. I began running
again, but my legs didn't quite feel the same again, but I continued on. I got
out to the out and back section along rt 70 about two minutes off my goal pace,
but I soon realized when I started running out there that It was very hot.
( no tree cover. The only portion of the run that was completly exposed. After
the turnaround I was looking forward to the water stop at Mile 9 only to find
out when I got there was no more water. Not good. At this time I decided it was
a good time to start walking a little. From here to the finish I alternated
walking for a minute at a time with running for 2,3, or 4 minutes at a time
depending on terrain (1:47). This got me to the finish line 59th overall.
I didn't feel very well at the end. I drank some Gaterade, and ate a couple
of cookies. I then bought a hamburger and three cokes and then about an hour or
so later a started to feel better. Fiske supplied gaterade, ice tea and cookies
to competitors as the finished. Unfortunaltley by the time the 90th person
finished the where out of cookies. I left shortly after the last person finished
so I don't know If they put out more food for the award ceremony.
The winning time for men was somewhere in the 4:23:00 range I don't remember his
name. The women who won was Cludia ??baum ( I won't even guess at how to spell
her name.) If you watched the Ironman on TV last year they did an up close and
personal on her. She's a nurse from New Jersey who works odd hours to try and
works her training in around work and family.