Sunday, July 29, 2007

September: Half Iron or Not Half Iron, part I: which one?

At the beginning of the year I was thinking that, come September, I'd either do a half-iron or even do Chesapeake Man, which is the full iron distance tri. Going the full distance was never 'likely' – I think I put it at around 10% chance. I'm now sure I’m not going to do it. Partly because I'm way too busy. Well, mostly because I'm way too busy. But the Chesapeake Man run course doesn't help things.

For me, doing an ironman means doing Chesapeake Man. (Partly because I can't stand the way ironman is becoming a brand, which Chesapeake isn't a part of, but that's another topic). Mostly, because it's the only one near here, and it's relatively small. I'm never going to do one of the 'official' ones that have 2000 people and where I'd have to fly there. But they've changed the run course this year, so that it's 3 out-and-backs. Just doesn't do it for me.

But that seems to be what's happening these days. There's a half-iron in "Philadelphia" – I think it's actually in Quakertown – in September. Timing is good, location is good. The course isn't - a 2-loop swim, 3-loop bike, and 2 out-and-back run.

There's two extremes for a triathlon. I'd love to someday do a point-to-point ironman. Finish the race 140 miles from where I started. That's tough, logistically, which is why everything is usually done in loops. But it's what I think would be coolest.

At the other extreme is the indoor stationary tri: an endless pool, a stationary bike (or trainer, rollers, spin-bike, etc), and the treadmill. I plan to never do anything remotely like that.

I can see doing 2 loops on the bike. That's what my first tri was like (in Vermont). Devilman had a 2 loop bike, and maybe a 3 loop swim. Philly had a 2-loop bike. So, a 2-loop bike is a strike-against, but not a deal breaker. Similarly, an out-and-back run isn't as good as a loop, but not a deal breaker. Anthracite is an out and back. I'm ok with that, although I'd prefer a loop.

But when you start getting into triple loops, double out-and-backs, etc., that's too much.

So, no quakertown tri. No Pine Barrens half-iron tri, not just because of the 2-loop bike, but because there is no Pine Barrens half-iron, as I discovered last year. (46 mile bike + 11 mile run + dishonest RD ≠ half-iron tri!).

The most tempting venue is the savageman half-iron. It's a super hilly bike course, looks beautiful. But it's around 4-5 hours away. Same with the one by Williamsburg (which I could have sworn was closer, but it isn't). That's just too much driving.

This leaves the following two possibilities:

-Delaware Diamondman. Probably the best option. It's September 9, and relatively close to Philly. It was the one I was signed up for in 05, but didn’t do because I blew out my knee. It seems like a good course, although flat and with a ¼ mile run from the swim to T1. The bike is an out-and-back, though, which is a definite strike against.

I'd also miss the first Eagles game of the season (1pm, at Green Bay). Not happy about that, but last year I arranged things so that I could see the Eagles play and they wound up having a horrendous game.

-The Bassman half-iron. October 7, in New Jersey.

This seems crazy. Outdoor swim in October? In Jersey? But it's relatively nearby. It's during the Eagles' bye week. They say the swim is nice.

So far, I've had mixed results racing in Jersey. The two tris I did there – Devilman and Pine Barrens – I won't do again. The marathon went great, though.

So, really, it seems like there are 2 options.

Delaware or Jersey.

Now, I just need to decide if I want to do another one. That'll be part two.

1 comment:

Helen said...

For the half-ironman in Delaware, September 9th is only 5 weeks away, which gives you very little time to prepare for the race with all the frisbee going on this month. I doubt that the Eagles game would be an issue because you're going to finish before 1 pm :)