Monday, September 13, 2010

Pumpkinman & IMWI Wrap Up

This past weekend was my last trip out into "the field" for a while. Due to the fact that I decided to sit this season out, Michelle and I have been touring all around New England (and Europe!) supporting my athletes whenever possible. Although sitting on the sidelines can be trying at times (I envy the fact that they get to brawl while I feel like a slug sitting on the curb!) it's been a great thrill to watch my crew in action this year, and this past weekend was no exception.

Ironman triathlete/RD Kat Donatello has proven that you don't have to have the numbers "70.3" attached to your venue in order to make it a smashing success. Let's be honest: Triathlon is very much an industry these days; the fact that I am a full time coach is a testament to that fact. Races are a huge part of the triathlon industry, and the WTC (Ironman) is fast becoming a monopoly of sorts. As both coach and athlete, I don't think that's necessarily a good thing, so I'm very happy to support homegrown, down to Earth events such as Pumpkinman.

At the end of the day, a race should be much more than a race - it should be an experience, and if you're anything like me, I don't find stressful experiences to be all that much fun. Pumpkinman is about as stress-less as it gets: An easy drive to and from the venue, a smaller/more manageable field (400+/- athletes on race day), a quiet course, great volunteer and spectator support and arguably THE BEST post race meal (full Thanksgiving dinner!) and awards (cash and great prizes) in the entire NE region.

We owe it all to Kat's vision and her year round dedication to producing one of the best events in the country. Although it's a shame that more people don't know about this race, maybe that's a good thing! :)

Onto the action: I had athletes competing in the sprint (Saturday) and Half Iron (Sunday). For people like Keri Boyle (pictured below, gearing up for her first race as an elite!) a former mid packer turned elite level age group athlete, and John Babcock (another elite) the sprint race served as a tune up for Syracuse 70.3 1 week later. Both Keri and John went on to have great days; Keri took 3rd place in the elite race and John placed 4th in one of the most hotly contested sprint races in NE this year (I will note that all 3 guys that beat John were/are licensed pros!). Donna Furse, on the comeback from a foot injury, managed to win her AG while former body builder turned triathlete Kelli McDonough capped what's been an OUTSTANDING first season of triathlon by turning in yet another solid performance.

Although I was unable to make the race on Saturday, I couldn't be happier with the crew! The bar had been set for Sunday.

Michelle and I made the early morning hike up to S. Berwick, Maine and arrived just in time to watch the elite wave leave shore. Leading the way for team JRM was none-other than the up and coming Nate "Dawg" Buttrick - fresh off a 4:17/AG win at Timberman 3 weeks prior. I knew this day would be a good one for Nate Dawg. In only his 2nd year of triathlon (and what I consider to be his first real year of training!) he's emerged as one of the best long course triathletes in the region. The scary thing is that the kid isn't even close to his potential yet. Along with John Babcock and a couple of other young bucks I coach, Nate is one of those guys that I'll have to watch out for when I return to racing next year! I still have a few tricks up my sleeves though, so I'm confident I'll be able to keep these guys in line.

But I digress...

Nate (pictured below/on his way towards the finish), was joined by Craig Lewin, Greg Guarriello, Melissa Moeckel and Dr. Margot Robinson (aqua bike). All 5 athletes were capable of laying it down yesterday and all 5 athletes did just that. Melissa set a HUGE PR for the distance (2+ hours?!), Greg (seen running behind Nate in the pic below) overcame his work induced lack of training to chalk up a great result and Nate, Craig and Margot all landed on the podium.

For Nate, yesterday's race proved that Timberman was no fluke; his 4:10/2nd place overall finish clearly solidifies his standing as one of the best long course athletes in New England.

Margot powered her way to 2nd place overall in the aqua bike division and showed that she's in good form and ready for her final 2 Ironman length AB races this Fall.

As for Craig, despite being on the comeback trail after 2 years of no racing thanks to a broken knee (hit by a car), yesterday's race was another big step in the right direction. He managed to pick up the M25 - 29 AG win in the process. Craig is still a ways off of top form, but it's coming back and we're getting close to being back to where we left off pre-accident.

I'm still awaiting word from Danielle and Maris out at IMWI but I watched the 2 best friends cross the finish line together last night on Ironman Live. Pretty cool! I'm anxious to hear what they have to say about their respective races.

That's it for now. Next race: Syracuse 70.3! I'll be tracking the action from afar this time around though.

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