2014: Copperman Triathlon

While I wouldn’t need more than the fingers in my two hands to count the number of Copperman Triathlons I have been a part of as a spectator or as occasional volunteer, there aren’t enough digits to count how many times I wanted to be part of it as a participant — at least since its 2012 edition.

Far too many of my friends have put on a great show year in and year out making it a habit to stand on the podium with bling around their neck (or sometimes, have had to skip the post-race festivities to attend their dear sister’s wedding or celebrating their lady saying YES to a certain question atop the Brockway Mountain) while I watched and/or photographed them from in and/or around the transition area.

With the event being only a week or so away, and with me being not good enough yet to do a solo and no team needing wanting a slow runner, 2014 edition of Copperman seemed to be heading in a no different direction than previous years: my awesome friends would put on awesome show, and I would end up watching and/or photographing them from in and/or around the transition area.

And then Christmas came in July: Ray Sharp posted a note to the Keweenaw Running Group indicating that someone was looking for a runner, and that they didn’t mind not making the podium. Knowing that I hadn’t banked enough base miles, that there were plenty good runners who would smoke me, and that this would make 2014 different than previous years, this was a more than acceptable offer and I got in.

Summary of training activities
## Activity Date and Time Details
Device, Distance, Time, Pace, Speed
HR, Cadence, Ground Contact Time, Vertical Oscillation, Stride Length
01 Downtown ? SDC Run 2014-07-23 17:37:00 Garmin Forerunner 405CX, 1.55 mi, 0:16:32, 10:39 min/mile, 5.60 mph
166 bpm, 158 spm
02 KRG Run #10 2014-07-23 18:01:00 Garmin Forerunner 405CX, 4.20 mi, 0:57:22, 13:39 min/mile, 4.40 mph
164 bpm, 146 spm
03 SDC ? Downtown Run 2014-07-23 19:04:00 Garmin Forerunner 405CX, 1.56 mi, 0:15:54, 10:13 min/mile, 5.90 mph
163 bpm, 158 spm
04 KRG Morning Run #1 2014-07-24 06:06:00 Garmin Forerunner 405CX, 3.60 mi, 0:38:58, 10:50 min/mile, 5.50 mph
159 bpm, 164 spm
05 CMX ? Boston Loop Run 2014-07-26 12:01:00 Garmin Forerunner 405CX, 6.55 mi, 1:09:54, 10:40 min/mile, 5.60 mph
172 bpm, 158 spm
06 Downtown ? SDC Run/Walk 2014-07-30 17:28:00 Garmin Forerunner 620, 1.58 mi, 0:18:46, 11:51 min/mile, 5.10 mph
156 bpm, 138 spm, 9.1 cm, 335 ms, 0.98 m
07 KRG Run #11 2014-07-30 18:03:00 Garmin Forerunner 620, 4.74 mi, 0:53:52, 11:21 min/mile, 5.30 mph
166 bpm, 153 spm, 10.1 cm, 284 ms, 0.93 m
08 SDC ? Downtown Run I 2014-07-30 19:03:00 Garmin Forerunner 620, 0.72 mi, 0:07:05, 9:50 min/mile, 6.10 mph
157 bpm, 158 spm, 9.8 cm, 267 ms, 1.04 m
09 SDC ? Downtown Run II 2014-07-30 19:13:00 Garmin Forerunner 620, 0.72 mi, 0:06:58, 9:36 min/mile, 6.20 mph
170 bpm, 158 spm, 10.1 cm, 278 ms, 1.06 m
10 Copper Man Course Check Run 2014-08-01 18:02:00 Garmin Forerunner 620, 5.04 mi, 0:51:32, 10:14 min/mile, 5.86 mph
165 bpm, 159 spm, 9.0 cm, 266 ms, 0.99 m

Albeit consistently short on sleep, the week following rather successful Hancock Canal Run Half Marathon provided some rest, and time to further heal the left ankle. The usual yummy pre-race meal at the Rodeo Mexican Kitchen was followed by an escape out of the grasp of civilization a few hours ahead of schedule on Friday. Signing of the necessary waiver was followed by being taken to school by the Tervo and Fredrickson families: the amount of attention to detail they (and the race director) paid to ensure as smooth an event as possible, and the kindness with which they taught the said lessons were quite the valuable experiences.

I had planned to run the course to build some kinesthetic memory but Mrs. Fredrickson sent me off with a fair warning: it’s uphill both ways. Though I had run most of the course (from downtown Copper Harbor to end of US41 and back) about a year ago, I couldn’t recall it being so challenging: the long gradual hills, the slopes that didn’t seem like slopes while going down but seemed awfully long the other way, and a 0.60 or so mile dirt road past the end of US41 that never seemed to end.

As bad as it seemed at the time of doing it, there were distinct advantages: opportunity to see the accurate mile markers and other motivational signs race organizers had put on, an indication about approximately where I might not feel so good, and even some idea as to when I can start the final push towards the finish line.

Dinner with the Fredricksons, dear friend Christine and my favorite Minnesotans (Mark, James, Michael, Joanie, Jen, and more) in Mariner North followed by a brief hang out in Brickside Brewery with the owners, Caroline and aforementioned Minnesotans were followed by a full night of sleep in the cozy confines of the Engstrom Cabin.

5:30 am on race day came, as it has been for many days in a row now, a bit too early. Had I paid attention to the start time of the race, I might have been able to sleep in an additional hour. Getting to the start/finish/transition area by brought along a plethora of friendly faces — some that I hadn’t seen in quite a while — and more insight into all the minute things that go a long way in making an event memorable for participants. The experience from a team triathlon a year or so ago came in quite handy, especially in reminding me what not to do: unnecessarily be anxious about proceedings that I have no control over, not cheer enough for fellow participants, not hydrate/electrolyte well, shove food down my throat minutes before I was due to run.

5.02 mi, 0:50:21, 10:04 min/mile, 5.97 mph, 167 bpm, 159 spm
Splits: 8:54, 10:05, 10:37, 10:51, 9:52
Garmin Forerunner 620, Garmin Foot Pod and WP GPX Maps plugin for WordPress

As with Two Wolverines and A Badger, it was my honor to be an honorary Wolverine for a day: Jane (24:42, 17/22) and Denny (1:26:43, 19/22) did well in their respective roles as the swimmer and the biker, and we had not too shabby transition times as well (0:51 for T1 and 1:07 for T2). Rising temperature and overhead Sun made running in shadows a luxury, but the strategically placed aid stations were of great help. Run from the night before helped a lot too, and so did some medical advice from dear friend Shannon about loosening my heart rate monitor belt prior to the run. Most of the run went as expected, and I chose to push from about a mile out of the finish line hoping for a 10:00 min/mile (or under) overall pace. Turned out I took 21 seconds too long (50:21, tied for 14/22), and taking into account the energy I had in me after crossing the said finish line, I probably should have started pushing from a quarter or a half mile more.

Personal goals for the event (in order of importance)
## Goal Result
01 Finish the race without bodily injuries to myself or to anyone around me Yes
02 Run at least 90% of the length of the course, irrespective of pace Yes
03 Use the aid stations to hydrate/electrolyte; use gu/gel appropriately Yes
04 Improve upon the current PR for this distance: 0:54:18 (5.55 mph, 10:55 min/mile) Yes; 0:50:21 (5.97 mph, 10:04 min/mile)
05 Finish under 0:50:00 (6:00 mph or faster; 10:00 min/mile or less) No; 0:50:21 (5.97 mph, 10:04 min/mile)

Post-run activities included a hearty meal from The Library Restaurant and Brew Pub, watching friends take the podium with bling around their neck, few choice beverages and a mouth watering risotto burger in Fitzgerald’s with Keweenaw Running Group, eating without any control (again) in Pelkie as part of the Hollerud-Stenvig-Swensrud Family Reunion on the Northern Tier and an epic race to cap the evening.

If my performance in just one of the three segments this year is any indication, attempts to realize the dream of being good enough to do it solo next year will need a LOT of training. And hopefully, banking more training miles with the Keweenaw Running Group, a better adherence to Rob Larson routine and incorporating a track workout of some sort along with biking and swimming will help.

Praise be to the Good Lord, and thanks be to

the organizers, sponsors, volunteers, law enforcement officials, timing folks, media folks, community members, and more for putting on a memorable event, and my good friends — the Abbotts (Kathy and Mike), the Blakes (Amy and Scott), the Boissevains (Margi and Paul), the Brewsters (Katie and Brian), the Bunkers (Kris and Kate), the Carlsons (Abby, Cassondra, Josh, and Justin), the Carmeans (Jess and Tim), the Chards (Amy and David), the Durochers (Bridget and John), the Engstroms (Christine and Jaime), the Fredricksons (Lynda and Dave), the Gracis (Kara and Sam), the Handlers (Christine, Rob, Shannon and Stephen), the Kramers (Mandy and Jim), the Lehtos (Tammi and Chris), the MacDonalds (Cynthia and Bruce), the MacInnes’ (Elizabeth and Scott), the Meyers’ (Jeanne, Ted and John), the Obermanns (Catherine and Tim), the Ontls (Kelly and Todd), the Oppligers (Shawn, Emily and Doug), the Pergers (Liz and Dr. Warren), the Rasners (Amanda and Donald), the Resslers (Dee and Tom), the Richards’ (Carrie and Dr. Bob), the Salos (Karen and Dan), the Smigowskis (Christina and Tim), the Stenvigs, the Stickelmyers, the Tervos, the Vendlinskis (Andi, Jim and Rick), the Vertins (Melissa and Joel), the Vizankos (Kelly and Steve), the Watrous’ (Liisa and Matt), the Weathers’ (Stacy and Bryant), the Wilmers’ (Kelly and Stephen), the Youngs (Amber, Christine and Michael), the Zerbsts (Kristen and Ron), team /var/run (Nancy Banfield, Josh Myles and Amy Blake), Keweenaw Running Group, Houghton Police Department, Adam Griffis, Dr. Alex Mayer, Amy Madsen, Ashley Ames, Ashley Miller, Dr. Bryan Suits, Caleb Wendel, Christopher Schwartz, Dr. Daniel Fuhrmann, Darcy Donnelly, Erin Kauppila, Greg Reed, Jeffrey Toorongian, Julie Ruotsala, Katie Temple, Kelly Wooten, Kelsae Eliszewski, Kim Green, Krista Kasuboski, Kristin Thompson, Laura Mlynski, Lauri Keteri-Smith, Leah Tollefson, Lena Widman, Louisa Raisbeck and Jesse Cleaver, Lynette Potvin and Matt Manders, Lynn Czarnecki Makela, Lynn Geisler, Mahesh Shastry, Marc Rea, Maria Janowiak, Marine Foucher, Mark Mehler, Matt Mlinar, Mary Webster, Michael Babcock, Mike LaMotte, Shreya Kumar and Randal Harrison, Ray Sharp, Rebecca Anderson, Ryan Towles, Riccardo Tortini, Robert Larson, Dr. Robert Weidman, Sam Roache, Sarah Bird and William Atkinson, Sarah Conner, Sarah Menassian, Sarah Stream, Scott Gibbs, Sue Peterson, Tony Schwenn, and more (in and outside of my community) — for the often unexpected, undeserved, unrewarded acts of constant encouragement, and offerings of constructive criticism, tested tips and tricks to improve myself as a runner.

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