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Overcoming the challenges of a post-pandemic Half Distance Triathlon

Dr. Saviet tells his experience after his latest Half Distance Triathlon race held in East Freetown, Massachusetts, after rec

Overcoming the challenges of a post-pandemic Half Distance Triathlon


I recently completed another half ironman distance triathlon. This time was the Patriot Half in East Freetown, MA. For the uninitiated, that is a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike ride and a half marathon (13.1 mile) run. An excellent event run by excellent people.

I finished the race in 4:38:32, which resulted in the 15th place within the Elite Men Division and 37th overall position.

The last one I did was three years ago and training was much different then. Last time was pre-pandemic so I was able to train with more people in indoor bike bike classes (shout out to Central Mass PT's Mike Roberts for "fight club"). Last time I didn't have a toddler at home so I could train without worrying about a tiny human's schedule affecting me and I was also 3 years younger. 

This time, I got a new, much better bike and a wireless Smart Trainer to ride all winter. I myself was also smarter at training than I was last time. I also have done a race like this before so I learned some lessons from it. 

Race summary

That boiled out to a race that can be summarized as: swim - pretty meh, about what I would expect given that I'm not an awesome swimmer and didn't do much to get better there. Bike - I had a great bike leg, but probably biked a bit too hard. Run - a humbling experience that I haven't had in many years.

I am not the runner I used to be, but I'm still pretty good. I was fairly gassed coming off the bike and was able to hang tough for about 8 miles. Then the wheels came off. I was "sad Benny".

In the lead up to the race, I smartly back off from running training about 8 weeks out from the race because my calf had been acting up. This was to ensure I made it to the starting line. So my long runs didn't get where I wanted them to be. I paid for that in the race when that lack of mileage caught up with me.

I had to do combinations of run and power walk (~4mins ::1 min, aiming to walk uphills just to finish). Pure survival mode. At the end of the run, I had still averaged under 7 minutes/mile for the run but 5 miles is a long way to go when you aren't feeling good, getting repassed by people you went by earlier in the run.


Family support

It's definitely a different type of accomplishment this time. My time converts to a personal best (the bike course was a bit short). More importantly, my family came to the race and that was a tangible manifestation of the support I received, particularly from my wife, to allow me to train.

Trying to work full-time, train hard and be a good parent/spouse is a difficult balance and came with a constant feeling of chaos. So this race comes with feelings of accomplishment for the Personal Record, humility to overcome a tough race in what I see as my strongest discipline with running and, frankly, relief that it's over for myself and my family!

I'm sure I'll do another when the time is right. Hopefully that won't be 3 years from now! 

Keep moving,


Read more: Calf Injuries: Heal Faster With Shockwave Therapy


Dr. Benjamin Saviet is a Podiatrist at Central Massachusetts Podiatry, in Worcester and Westborough. He is a board certified rearfoot and ankle surgeon, runner and triathlete. As a former Division 1 runner, he understands how important activities are to his patients. His most important goal when treating all patients is to get them back the activities they love as quickly and safely as possible.

Dr. Benjamin Saviet

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