Yesterday was the Pumpkinman Half Iron triathlon in Maine. This was the first running of the race and actually the first ever half iron in the state of Maine. We decided to do this race early in the summer as a great half in preparation for Kona…about 5 weeks out. The race director (Kat Donatello) was nice enough to let us stay at her house for the race which was absolutely great given its just 15 minutes from the race site. We drove up to the race on Saturday afternoon, got registered and went to the pasta dinner. Let me just say this was probably the nicest pre race dinner I have ever seen with plenty of food alternatives, real silverware, and drinks all under a very large tent adjacent to the finish line area. On Saturday I was already getting pretty fired up at the dinner for a great race after seeing the venue….wide open space, beautiful lake, and a clean paved transition area.
The hurricane came through Saturday night and dumped a pretty significant amount of rain but then cleared out for a beautiful day on Sunday. Sunday began with the typical half iron breakfast and then off to the race site. Things were already a lot easier than a lot of the New England area races upon arrival….plenty of parking for more than what was required. Next step was the dreaded porta-poddy wait which had NO LINE. Before I knew it, transition was set up and we were standing at the water’s edge for the start of the race. I had a good start to the swim staying on Tim and Cait’s feet through half of the first loop. Soon after, I lost there feet due to some wiggly swimming on my part and finished the rest of the swim alone. It was a great swim for me though and I came out (after 2 loops) just a minute down on Tim and Cait. I’ve always liked two loop swims. In this case, you actually had to get out of the water and round a fence at the beach.
I took the bike out pretty hard to try and catch Tim early which workout well since I was able to see him ahead after about 10 miles. I soon thereafter caught him as he had some mechanical trouble on the side of the road. This was a great course with rolling hills and two loops. The roads were smooth and the volunteers were great. Every intersection was clearly called out which always helps for a safe ride. Following my pass of Tim, I spent the remainder ride alone with the lead vehicle.
I came into transition with just a 10 second lead on Chris Casey who I hadn’t realized was riding very well and taking time out of me throughout the ride. We headed out onto the run together with me realizing he had actually started 1 minute behind so was one minute ahead of me in total race time. I hit the first mile in about 5:52 which was right where I wanted to be. Based on my recent performance indicators, I thought I’d run in the 6:10-6:15 pace range. Based on that, I headed out the first miles 15 seconds faster than goal pace. Chris dropped back pretty quick and I stayed in the lead until about mile 6 when inevitably Tim caught me. I figured this would happen as I left transition with only about 2-3 minutes on him and figured I needed about 5-6 to beat him to the finish line. Following that pass, I kept it on cruise control for a second place finish behind Tim with an average pace of 6:15 on the Garmin. The best part about this race was that we (QT2) had the top 5 finishers across the line: Tim Snow, Me, Tim Tapply, Chris Casey, and Cait Snow. Cait won the female race by about 15 minutes and another one of our athletes Michelle Joaquin came in 3rd overall. My wife Chrissie came in 1st in her age group in just her 2nd half iron ever. What a day!
After doing a race like this (just 1 hour from Boston), I wonder why so many of the races we do are in population dense areas. It’s just so much nicer to have plenty of room to get around the venue with ample parking. Given this great experience, I plan to go back next year and will encourage our QT2 athletes to do the same. This is just a top notch race overall. The icing on the cake was an unbelievable Turkey dinner for all athletes following the race. And when I say turkey dinner, I mean all the fixings!