Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Hellgate Takes the Tin: 70.3 Miles Later

Five Hellgaters crossed the finish line of the 2007 Tupper Lake Tinman Triathlon which consists of a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, & 13.1 mile run.

Eamonn and Josh made the 6 hour drive up through the Adirondacks to compete in their first Tinman, while Janine, Joel, and Raul (and his friend Nicholas, honorary Hellgater) returned to remind Tupper Lake just what these Queens residents could do! Standing on the side lines for moral support were Salena, Nazly, and Jessica.

Eamonn is known for his determination and dig deep strength as well for his enjoyment of beer, but did his stamina and grit get him through the 70.3 miles of his first Tinman Tri?
"Having arrived the day before the event to pick up our numbers, Josh and I stared at the swim course and noticed that we couldn't see the turnaround point. This made me a little bit nervous, and I was wondering what the hell I had signed up for.

The morning of the race, the strategy was simply not to drown, and then take the race from there. So after 50 minutes of splashing and a lot of drinking of lake water, the first event was complete. The bike course was described as “rolling hills”; this was a bit of an understatement since we were in the Adirondack Mountains!!! Over 3 hours later, at a reasonable pace of 18 mph, the bike course was complete. The run was a challenging course and having spent 4 hours already at the swim and bike, a PR was not going to be in the cards! But I was able to maintain an even pace of 9 minutes per mile (with frequent breaks at each water station). At 1 hour and 57 minutes and some seconds, the Tinman was complete.

Overall the experience, although very challenging, was a good one. Special thanks have to go out to our teammates and our supporters for the cheering through a very tough day." – Eamonn

Now, just why would someone take on a Tinman having NEVER competed triathlon before?

"With 4 marathons under my belt I really wanted a big athletic challenge before our first baby is born this autumn -- and Tinman was just that!

All through my training I was pretty intimidated by the prospect of racing 70.3 miles. When I first saw the swim course my fears were absolutely confirmed.

Having the support, training companionship and advise of the other Hellgater's was invaluable. Tinman was one of the hardest and most rewarding experiences of my life." – Josh

Please check out Josh’s blog for his more in depth race report! So, the first timers came in at 6:04 and 5:45; not too shabby! Could the course get the better of the Tupper Lake veterans? Could they get to the course? Janine’s race report sums it up nicely!

"The ride up Tupper Lake was a crawl, and 8 hours later it was a total nightmare. Joel was doing 80mph in a 40mph zone. We barely made it to the carboload dinner and picking up our race packets. After I got my blood circulating in my legs after the drive, we relaxed to eat dinner. After chilling for a bit at the expo, it was about 9pm. We decided it's time to check into the motel. Back in the car for a 20 minute drive!

We arrived at Long Lake Motel. I went to the front desk to get the key. Joel said you go check out the room and I'll start unloading the car. Well, I came back to Joel and found Jessica, Eamonn, Josh, and Salena along side him. I was fit to be tide with the room accommodations and made it known in front of everyone. I stormed to the front desk; there were no other rooms, so we had no choice but to stay in this shack. My night's sleep was a horror, but thank God for Jared's philopshy (get a good night’s sleep 2 nights before a race because the night before you will not sleep). He was right, and the night was LONG!!

At the sound of the alarm, we got ready, and we were on our way to Tupper Lake. The morning had a nice chill which felt great. My thought was "Yes! I won't be running in 90 degrees this year!" We arrived and went to get body marked and our chips put on. We went back to the car to get our bikes, and then we headed to the transition area. I had a great spot, and poor Joel was in the old man's land. I met my neighbors, Coleen and Tish. They were very chatty which was fine since it relaxed me. They asked me "what is my time today?" I told them "I'm going to enjoy the race, and I want to feel good." (My inner soul had one set time and that was a 6:30, but no pressure.)

I was waiting in my corral with Raul to start the swim. I did feel butterflies but felt pretty relaxed for the most part. We were next to enter the lake, and as I turned the corner, there's Nazly. It was so amazing to see her, then I saw Jessica and Salena further down. I felt great and no sign of anxiety. The horn went off and there I went... I started nice and slow and then hammered away. My poor shoulders did NOT like it very much, but I told them I have a race to do. The navigation going out was great, and I hit every buoy, but when we turned around the sun was glaring. It was very hard to navigate, but I said all I have to do is follow the people in front (hoping they were going the right way). I saw the end and said "Yeah! Finally." I exited out of the lake and made my way to my bike.

I zipped out of my wetsuit and made my way to start my bike. The thought entered "Oh boy, I'll be out here for 3:30 hours or so. I better make the best of it! Visualize that I am on a nice long bike ride with my friends!" I made sure I fueled every hour by eating a cliff bar (thanks, Bex!). Some of these hills were never-ending, but I thought positive all the way through. I approached the end of my bike ride and saw Jessica on her bike cheering and then saw Nazly at the transitiion area. As I got off the saddle I couldn't believe the pain; it's indescribable, but she said "Hey! You are a runner; this is where you got it, girl!" Thanks, Nazly; I'm glad you had faith in me, but the thought of running 13.1 miles did not register well yet.

So I start the run and to my surprise I felt decent but did experience a nagging numbness in my foot. At the first mile I had to stop because the pain in my foot was unbearable. I stopped several other times to loosen my laces and massage my foot to get circulation flowing. I finally decided that I have to put the numbness on a back burner and run this race, so that is what I did. I was passing everyone a long the way. It's like they were running in place! There was not one person that passed me. The mile markers were few and far between. I hit mile 2, then 5, and at one point I had to ask what mile mark I was at. Then I saw mile 6; the next mile marker was 8 then mile marker 9, but after 9 I never saw another mile marker! Then to see Jess directing us, I was very surprised to see her. I asked one volunteer what mile again, and she said I'm finishing mile 11. That mile 11 felt long then at the next water station I asked what mile only to hear that I have one more mile left! Not that I would have been able to gauge my pace after biking 56 miles, but the unknown helped me mentally.

I looked at my watch to see the time and that I had one more mile left, I cranked it up a bit. Realization was beginning to set in. I was so excited to see by my watch that I was going to finish around 6:20! And that I did (exactly 6:20:34)!

As I approached the finish line, I hear the cheers from Joel a
nd my teammates. It was such a great feeling and what a sigh of relief. I made my way to Joel & my teammates, and we all were hugging each other. I kept on screaming “I shaved off 40 minutes from last year!” YES! YES! YES! I still can't believe it!" – Janine
Joel finished up with an amazing time of 5:35:53 and Raul rounded out the Hellgate finishers with a solid time of 7:07:13! (By the way Raul looked so refreshed after the race! It goes to show what great shape he’s in!) for more see the Tinman results:

Now, will the fabulous 5 return next year and with more recruits?


david santos said...

Thanks for you work and have a good day

Suzanne said...

You guys and gal ROCK!! Congratulations on great performances. I really enjoyed reading your race reports.

Anonymous said...

It was a nice wkend overall, Meeting & hanging out w/ the group was xtra nice, sharing stories, laughing, drinking wine....& BEERS GReat job team Hellgate! and yes "I....WE'LL B BACK" Raul

Jessica said...

Raul, if you wanted to write up your race story please send it to me or josh or jared and we can post it!!