Archive for March, 2010

Duathlon Splits for Prospect Park Duathlon 3/20/10

March 22, 2010 Leave a comment

Here’s the Link…


Got my splits, kind of.  several athletes didn’t get recorded during the first run, but that’s OK because I timed it on my watch.  Looking at the splits, a couple things jump out at me…

1.  I am currently very slow on the transitions AND could have moved up a couple places if I was faster.

2.  My 2nd run leg was good.  20th best 2nd run leg in the group, so I had energy left

Went for a run today, 4 miles.  Felt good.  Knee was pain free, but felt a little funny.

I am surprisingly not sore from the duathlon, except for a little inner thigh soreness from the bike.

Very rainy today.  Wanted to bike, but not on wet road, so the bike will have to wait.

Joined the Brooklyn Tri Club.  They offer swimming with a coach at 6am, near my house, so that will be helpful.


An Amazing Start To My (finally) Outdoor Multisport Adventures, Race Report Prospect Park Duathlon

March 22, 2010 1 comment

The wait is over!  After completing 3 indoor triathlons, I finally got to race OUTSIDE.  I am happy on so many levels.  The indoor races were fun, but I didn’t really feel like a TRUE multisport athlete, and I got tired explain to everyone what an indoor triathlon is 🙂

So…where to start.  Think about this, I could probably break this up into several different posts…How to Buy a Bike, Completing your first Multisport event, Prospect Park Duathlon Race Report, etc, etc,  I’ll try to fit it all into this one, with more to follow

(note)  Total hits for this blog will soon reach 10,000.  I would like to thank all the readers for inspiring me to keep writing.

I decided to do this duathlon after I was denied entry into the NYC Half Marathon.  The indoor triathlons were my first venture into the world of swimming competitively and if there is one word I would use to describe myself it is competitive.  So to do something competitively that I have never done before is a little out of my comfort zone.  This duathlon would be my first attempt at a competitive cycling race.  The good thing about being out of my comfort zone is that it fuels me to prepare.  I didn’t really have much time to prepare physically with actual riding, but I did do enough time trials to give myself confidence not to embarrass myself.

I looked at last years results of the duathlon and checked out the bike splits of the leaders, which I expect to be at any competition (maybe that is naive, but that is just my mentality).  The splits were broken down into 5k #1 split, bike split (which included both transition times), and the 5k #2 split.  Now, I wasn’t worried about the 5k splits, I can run.  The bike splits varied greatly.  The overall leaders were at 23 minutes!!  That is untouchable at this point.  The be in the top 3rd of the race required being sub 40 minutes for the 14 mile ride plus transition.  OK, we have a starting point.  I took my mountain bike out to the park to see how fast I can go.

Now this is a nice mountain bike.  It’s a 1998 Gary Fisher, pretty light for aluminum, and I have clip pedals on it, my only concern was the shocks, they don’t have a lock option, so they absorb a lot of my energy, especially when climbing.  Nevertheless, I took it out for a spin.  The Prospect Park loop is where the race is held and it is where I train when running, so I am very familiar with it.  There are almost no flat parts of this loop.  One big up hill of about 800 meters, one big downhill and the rest rolling. In my time trial in February I managed 14:45 on my first loop, then really pushing 14 flat on the second loop.  The results a week later were about the same.  I am not impressed.  Could I be this slow on the bike?!!?  I check Google and investigate…..and I find that riding a mountain bike vs a road bike, you lose 20% of power.  Whew!!  It’s not JUST me. A 56 minute bike leg would not be a good thing for me.  OK, so now the mission begins…FIND A ROAD BIKE TO RIDE.

I scoured craigslist for a deal, but couldn’t bring myself to buy a used bike, plus there was usually travel involved to get there.  For now I would borrow a bike.  My friend had a road bike, so I picked it up, put some air in the tires and tried it out in yet another time trial.  I really appreciate the friend for allowing me to use the bike, but this bike was old school.  I think it may have been made of cast iron 🙂  It was very heavy.  It was actually 2 lbs heavier than my 29 lb mountain bike.  I took it out to the park to test it out.  I haven’t been on a road bike in about 15 years.  First lap–12 minutes…Nice!  Second lap 11:30.  That was about my max.  The bike would do the trick, but I was concerned about a few things.  One, the gear shifters were on the front of the handlebars, second the pedals were “regular” platform pedals, no clips, and third, I was frankly a little nervous about racing such an old bike.  Nevertheless, that was the plan.

The week before the race I started visiting local bike shops to look around, get sized, and just become more familiar with bikes in general.  What to look for, good components, etc.  And also did a lot of researching on the internet, of brands, reviews, and specials.  I knew I would eventually get a bike and I wanted to be prepared.

During all of this searching, I kind of got swept up in the thought of a brand new shiny bike.  That, coupled with my unending competitive drive forced me to the bike store on Friday morning in search of a bike to buy before my Saturday morning race.  I know, a little crazy, but let’s see what happens.  I was reccomendded R & A cycling store from a “facebook peep”, so I looked them up online.  They had 3 stars on Yelp, and a good website with some really good “closeout” deals of older model bikes at a discount.  It seems that every bike store in brooklyn has awful reviews from people that were ripped off, treated badly, rude service, etc.  I visited a few and all were really good experiences.  But, now that I think about it, I didn’t post any reviews of my good experiences…maybe I should.  Anyhow, I got there, told Phil my price range and he showed me a couple bikes, a specialized and a giant, but they didn’t have my size, a 56cm.  So we looked around a bit more, and I saw so many unbelievable bikes I began to wish I had an unlimited budget.

I knew some of the closeout bikes from the website and inquired, but Phil said the entry level closeouts tend to move pretty quickly, especially at this time of year.  Finally he pulled down a nice blue bike with a name I had never seen before, Pinarello.  Well, it had carbon fork, carbon rear stays, Ultegra components throughout.  It was an ‘o6 and another employee mentioned that it was a great bike for the money, and it was on sale.  I sat on it, pedaled backwards a little, the size was perfect.  They don’t do test rides at this store, so I wasn’t able to actually ride it before, but I liked it.  So, not to make a decision on the spot, I said I needed to run home and I would be back in an hour.  It’s 11AM, I have to leave for work at 1:30PM, so I run home, check the internet for the reviews…it’s a really good bike especially with the upgraded components.  That bike was actually a closeout online and the price they offered was the same, so they were at least being honest, which I find is unusual for salespeople.  So I decided.  Get it.  I ran back to the store and said I’ll take it.  Boom, got pedals, shoes, got fitted on it, all in enough time to get back home and get dressed to take it for a spin.  Time trial time.(bike weighs 19 lbs)

Race Day!

The shoes took some getting used to, and I’m still not really used to them yet.  They are a bit different than my mountain bike clips, but are also much easier to unclip so that’s nice.  I actually fell over on my mountain bike a few weeks ago when I forgot that my feet were clipped in and I stopped. Oops.  That’s one way to learn 🙂

I got it to the park and wanted to do one loop before race day, which was only 20 hours away!  The bike felt amazing.  The shifting was weird since it was on the brake levers.  I’d never had that before, all my old 10 speeds from the 80’s had the old school shifting on the lower tube.

I got around the loop in 10:10 without pushing too hard.  OK, I guess I’m ready, I told myself.  3 miles on the bike seems like enough before race day 🙂

I was so pumped up for the race!  It started at 8:30, but it was right down the street, so I got to “sleep in” until 6:30.  Working the night before for 10 hours on my feet until 11pm probably wasn’t ideal for fresh legs, but that’s life.

I was nervous, but excited.  It would be my first bike race ever and my first multisport race ever.  I was hoping the transitions would go smoothly.  I had never practiced it.

When I arrived at the start area, it was awesome.  Bikes everywhere, people checking in, riders setting up in the transition area.  Really cool.  All the duathletes got a chip to track their times, but it was in an ankle band that reminded me of what a person on parole would wear on house arrest.

I took my bike to the rack area for transition and hung it by the seat and looked around at what everyone else was doing and just followed along.  There were some other people there that had mountain bikes and I felt happy that I was not one of them, my new road bike was 10 times easier to ride up the hill than my mountain bike.

I didn’t clip my shoes in the pedals ahead of time since I had never practiced getting into my shoes on the bike before.  Down the road of multisport, I will perfect my transition time, but for now I would relax and take my time.

We all gathered for final race instructions.  Apparently the big storm last week blew a bunch of trees down on the running course, so the race directors had to make changes to the 5k course, thus making it hillier and harder.  I also discovered that this race was a “points” race for the triathlon clubs competing for the Gotham Cup, or something.

The race instructions for the run course were crazy, I stopped listening after he said “around the big meadow, past the waterfall, take your 3rd right, go past dog beach, then loop the ball field, take another right….”  blah blah blah.  Good thing the course was well marked!

We lined up and started our 1st run of 5k.  I got out fast but controlled.  I wanted to have a solid run and get to the bike early so there would not be as much commotion.  We were quickly strung out almost single file as we went up the first big hill before mile 1.  I didn’t actually see the mile marker until the 2nd run leg, so I don’t know my splits.  I was just trying to push conservatively.  I passed a couple people by 1.5 miles and was focused on energy management, not wanting to crash during the 2nd run. I had no idea how I would feel after the bike.

My fiance and friends were in the park cheering me on.  That was awesome.  A little home crowd support.  My fiance yelled out that I was in 19th place in the middle of my run.  I was happy with that.  I wanted to be top 50 at the finish and I knew I would get passed by quite a few people on the bike.

Run Leg 1

I finished up the run in about 20:28 and headed into the bike transition area. I ran in 2XU half tights and pulled on my bike shorts over them,  I slipped off my shoes, got my bike shoes on, helmet, gloves, ate a couple gels and I was off. It took me about 1:34 which seems fast to me, I’m happy with that. Hopped on the bike, got clipped in.  Here we go…

OK, I know one guy passed me in the transition area, so I’m in about 20th.  I get riding and I feel good.  There are TONS of people in the park today though.  So it is a little hectic.  The weather is amazing, about 65 degrees and sunny.  The first nice day of spring on the weekend.  I’m cranking pretty good, keeping pace with a Tri-Fit team guy in front of me.  I am expecting a wave of riders to go flying by me, but it doesn’t happen. I do get passed by a few guys on the first loop.  Some of them just ease by at a slightly faster pace and some FLY by.  It’s crazy how fast these guys pass me.  It definitely gives me hope for a much faster bike leg in my future races.

The first loop time is 10 minutes and change.  That includes getting out of transition and up to the loop, so I’m right on pace.  The second loop, I push a little more.  I’m more aggressive on the down hill and push the uphill a little harder.  I’m getting more comfortable on my bike.  I come through 2 loops with another 10+ split.  I didn’t press lap on my watch so they are estimates.  And I don’t have a bike computer or heart rate monitor yet so some data is missing.

3rd lap I’m starting to feel it a little and more and more athletes are entering the bike stage so the loop is getting more congested.  I’m finding that my strength seems to be the downhills since I am passing a lot more people on the down than the ups or flats.  That is actually true also in my running.

On the Bike!

OK, final lap.  This is farther than I have ever rode before.  I did 3 loops a couple times on my mountain bike, but 4 loops is uncharted territory.  I’m surprised my heartrate is up there and I’m breathing hard.  I know I must be working because that doesn’t happen easily on a bike for me.  Finally…4th lap is done!  I coast into transition, make sure to unclip one shoe as I approach 🙂  and I dismount my bike.  WOW!  That was unexpected!  I get off my bike and walk it into the rack area and my legs are done, gone.  My legs feel like they did in the last 2 miles of the marathon!!  The transition official says “Stings a little doesn’t it! (chuckle, chuckle)”  A little is an understatement.  I take off my bike shorts, helmet, gloves, get a quick drink of water.  Now shoes… my legs are dead and my hands are shaking and I’m trying to get my running shoes back on which is a struggle.  Finally I’m done.  Total bike time with 2nd transition is 43:29.  Now I hobble into the 2nd running leg.

I find solace in the fact that everyone seems to be hobbling.  I’m struggling, but I’m still passing people.  I pass about 3 people as I go up the first hill before mile 1.  I see the mile marker and come through in 7:30.  At this point I don’t really care about pace.  My legs finally feel semi-normal again and I start to push a little more since I can see 2 more guys in front of me that may be catchable if I keep pushing.  The 2nd hill comes at about 2.25 miles and it is a turn-around loop, so you can see coming back as you go up.  As I go up, my quads start to ache.  I can feel them wanting to cramp but they hold off.  As I come down the hill, I know there is only a few more minutes of running left.  I catch the 2nd guy about 4oo meteres before the finish line and come through the 2nd run in 21:51.  The overall results are posted now, but the split breakdown is not.

I finished 34th overall and 5th in my age. Official time 1:27:22, (the winner was 1:10:22)  Overall,  not bad for a first timer.  I am curious to see how I ranked in the 2nd run.  My bike will get better, so I’m excited about competing in this new event.  Bring on the swimming!!


Run 1– 20:28

T1 –1:34



Run 2–21:51

Final Time–1:27:22

Splits/Results Link

More Pictures Link

Jack Rabbit Indoor Triathlon Championships Race Report 3/14/10

March 17, 2010 3 comments


After I was told by the doctor that my meniscus was torn, my first thought was…I’m going to miss the indoor championships!  I had qualified and I didn’t want to miss this new found sport that I instantly loved.  THEN, I got the go ahead to resume normal activity…It’s ON.  Championships here I come.  I arrived, but I arrived in very average shape.  Well, maybe that’s an overstatement, I should say poor running shape since I had pretty much stopped running for 4 weeks and substituted swimming, weight lifting and biking with some sporadic running here and there.

I ran a 5k last weekend to test my fitness and satiate my competition thirst.  It went OK, 19:23, not my best, but not my worst.  A solid performance, especially this early in the season after winter.

I arrived at Asphalt Green Gym at 4pm.  This triathlon was an afternoon competition, I picked the 5pm-6pm slot just to be able to relax, sleep, and take my time getting there.

Left the house at about 3pm, got there at 4pm and had plenty of time for the tour, and to get a warm up run in before my swim.

The pool was by far the coldest pool I have been in thus far.  Our triathlon had 2 lanes for our use and there were 4 people in my heat, myself included, so we had to split the lanes.  The guy I split with was about 6’4, 25o lbs, somehow in my previous 2 indoor tri’s, I ended up in my own lane, solo.  So, this was a first.  I did a down and back to warm up, felt pretty good.  I wanted to get 22 or 23 laps.  My first tri in a 25yd pool, I managed 18.5 which got rounded up to 19.

The whistle sounded and we were off.  I was keeping pace pretty good for a few laps, then everyone spread out.  I kept breathing in water when this guy would pass me, it was like a steamship with the waves.  I didn’t feel like I got into a groove at all.  I managed 20 full laps, no rounding, so that was OK, but I survived and I was really looking forward to the bike.

My goal on the bike was 19 miles.  My previous 2 attempts had been 18.2 and 18.4.  I seemed to always start slow and build into it.  But this time, I wanted to be quick out of the gate and really get on pace for 19.  I knew I had to hit about 3.17mi. every 5 minutes.  I considered wearing my cycling shoes with clips, but I hadn’t practiced in them and didn’t want to introduce anything new on race day.  Good thing.  One guy in my heat wore them and 30 seconds into the ride his shoe slipped out and he couldn’t get it clipped back in, so they had to restart him and all that drama.

I had my ipod all programmed with good fast tempo music. I was ready.  I hit my 5 minute pace right on, and even picked it up a little at 10 minutes.  At the halfway I was 9.6!!  That’s a 19.2 miles if I hold it.  I had only remembered seeing a 19.1 as a top ride in my 2 previous indoors, so I felt like 19 would put me in the mix for a high score, then I could go get it on the run.  I kept up the pace and when my “good” songs would play, I cranked it up 🙂  I finished with a PR of 19.47.  Very pleased with it.  The weird thing with the biking is I sweat a lot, but don’t really breathe that hard.  My heart rate gets up there, but it doesn’t seem that difficult….until I get off the bike and can barely walk.

I try to shake my legs out and stretch to get some energy back in my legs.  We have a solid 5 minutes plus of transition.  Even a little extra because we wait for the guy who had to restart, so we get an extra couple minutes.

My goal in the run is 3.5 miles in 20 minutes.  I ran a 3.44 in my first one and a 3.21 in my second, but the second one included a 7 minute run, then a restart after the treadmills shut down.  3.5 was ambitious, but that’s me.  I needed to average a 10.4 pace on the treadmill computer.

We got started and worked it up to 9.0 right off the bat and felt OK.  My plan was to get up to 10.0 as quick as possible in the first mile, then inch up to 10.5 in the 2nd mile and finish fast in the upper 10s, to average it out to a 10.4.  Well, things don’t always go as planned.  By the time I got the treadmill up to 10.0 (6 minute pace), I was hurting.  My legs were absolutely dead.  Probably due to lack of long runs and partly due to going all out on the bike.  I eased it back a touch to 9.7.  This was not helping.  I was actually concerned about flying off the back of the treadmill and onto the floor.  I just couldn’t get my legs to go.  I ended up easing all the way back to 8.5 and battled a side ache which I haven’t had in a LONG time.  Maybe all the water and Endurox I drank to try to stay hydrated.  I don’t know.  But I cranked it back up to 9.0 for the last 90 seconds. In my mind all I could think was “I can’t believe I’m blowing it on the run!”  That IS my specialty.  Well, I finished with a 3.11, my lowest mileage yet.  1st one was a stellar 3.44, then a 3.22, now this.  I gave it everything I had, so I wasn’t too disappointed.  In looking back, I realized that I will really look forward to doing a “real” triathlon outside, where I can see and compete against real people and not just the clock.  That way I will know where I am at, relative to other people.

When the results were emailed the next day, my biggest fear became reality….dead last in the swim :O

Only by a lap, but I still earned the dreaded “1 point”  ugggh!  I need some coaching!  I know I am a better swimmer than I am showing.  I bet I can add 3 or 4 laps if I just got 2 or 3 tips on how to improve.  Soon enough…I will be joining Brooklyn Tri Club and start doing their swim classes.  To be fair to myself, there were 3 guys with 21 laps, so I don’t feel SO bad.  If I had swam 3 more laps it would have only moved me up 1 place in the standings.

My bike, while not the best, ranked 3rd, someone cranked out a 19.99, impressive.  My “awful” performance in the run, still got me the 3rd best in running.  But with that swim score hanging over my head, I finished 8th overall.  Not bad if I do say so myself, for my 3rd ever tri, and in the championships to boot.

Championship Results

I will be competing in my first outdoor multisport event this Saturday in Prospect Park Duathalon.

5k run, 14mi bike, 5k run

Should be interesting. This time transitions count 🙂

PS…Knee felt great, no problems

Coogan’s 5K Race Report and Race Commute Stories

March 7, 2010 2 comments

Feels good to be back 🙂  My first real race since December.  I feel like I am in decent shape, but not great shape.  At least not great running shape.  All this cross training during my knee issue and training for the indoor triathlons has kept me in pretty good shape.  And at a pretty good weight.  Actually my new job leaves little time to eat.  Imagine that, a chef that doesn’t eat.  I eat, just not that often.  Plus it is an open kitchen (meaning the guests can see you), so I can’t just whip together a sandwich and chow down.

Back to the race…I woke up at 6:50 AM.  Ate 1/2 a banana, threw some last minute things in my back and was out the door by 7:10 AM.  The race started at 9AM but the subway trip to get there is a brutal one.  As I was starting the subway trek I was thinking back to different “crazy commutes” that I have subjected myself to for a race.

I think the coolest place I’ve driven to a race was recently was when I was living in Philly, I drove out to Stone Harbor, NJ, which is on the shore.  It was an early start to my day to get out there, but it was a beautiful day and course, plus I got to hang out with some friends at the beach after.

Once I drove from Philly to Reading PA in a blizzard in February, only to find out they canceled the race that they advertise “never cancel”.  Needless to say me and several hundred people were a little upset.  We should have formed an informal bandit race since we were all there anyway 🙂

Since the subway system is so unpredictable in NY especially on the weekends and I like to be at a race 1 hour early to warmup and mentally prepare, I have had some pretty early mornings.

The cross country races they have at Van Courtland Park are great but the subway you have to take runs “local” which means it stops at every stop possible (as opposed to the “express” which stops to popular stops).  It literally takes me 1.5 hours to get to Van Courtland from Brooklyn…run a 20 minute race and then repeat the trip.  At least its not driving, so it is a little more relaxing.

The Nike NYC 1/2 Marathon back in 07 was a crazy one.  The race started at 7am, if I remember correctly, so, I wanted to be there by 6AM, but since I am crazy and paranoid 🙂 and didn’t know what the NY subway system had in store for me, I ended up leaving my house at 4AM.  Well, as “luck” would have it, I got the station and immediately a train arrived.  And not the train I thought I would get, a better train that took my straight to the race, no transfer needed.  I arrived at the race at 4:45AM, so early they thought I was a volunteer that was there to set up the course.  Nice.  I tried to catch a nap on a park bench but to no avail.  I ended up running my best race in NY with a 1:23:05 half marathon.

I have since learned to just take a taxi to early races. They usually cost about 25 bucks and that is usually split with Nate, so it is well worth the money to save the stress and get a few extra minutes of precious sleep.

OK.  The race.  It was a far commute.  With 1 transfer.  The transfer is always the wildcard.  I caught the first train, no problem.  Then it got to 96th st where we had to transfer.  I say we because I was sharing the train with several hundred other runners.  I always get a chuckle looking at the non-runners on the train in the early AM who are either going to work, church, or coming back from Saturday night partying.  I know they think us runners are insane.

At least 8 trains came and left the 96th st station, none of which were the one that “we” needed.  The “we” has now grown to at least 500 people.  FINALLY, after about 25 minutes, which seemed like 25 years, the train comes (this is cutting into my warm up time)  and of course…it’s packed.  We all manage to squeeze in, like sardines and we are off.  But now, every stop, 3 normal people get off the train, and 25 runners get on.  Ridiculous.  I’m not as bothered by some other, it’s just a fact of life in NY, deal with it.

I always have to pick up my number and chip on race day since I don’t work a schedule that allows me time to go pick up my number during the week.  Not a big deal, but I always need a few extra minutes to get my number, shirt, etc.  Not a big deal when races are in Central Park, but the check in for this race is at the Armory Indoor Track, which always seems to be chaotic.  And even more so today because they are hosting a High School Track championship.  Surprisingly, I got in and out relatively quickly.

Time:  8:30AM.  Nice.  I check my bag and get into my race outfit.  Due to the great weather, I am able to warm up without “warmups”  about 45*F at start time.  So I get about a mile warm up in, stretch, do strides and I’m good to go.  Knee feels good.  Let’s see what happens.

I was in the front corral, but choose not to worm my way to the front part of it since I wouldn’t be hammering out.   I figured if I start a little back, I will pass some people and it will feel better than being passed 🙂

That was a bit of a mistake…my first mile was slower than I wanted it to be and it was REALLY hard to find a groove with it being so crowded.  The course itself is an out and back loop with 2 good sized hills going out, and obviously, the reverse coming back.  It’s a tough course.

Mile 1–6:34

Not too bad, but I would have liked to be 6:20

Since it is an out and back there was a volunteer every 25 meters telling us to stay to the right (since the leaders would be coming down the other side soon).  It made for a very crowded 2nd mile.  I slid outside when I could to get some open space and started to find a little rhythm and I was passing a ton of people.

Mile 2–6:09

Feeling good.  It was a club points race, so I was very aware of the other clubs that were in front of me and tried to focus on catching them.

One more hill to go, then downhill and flat to the finish.  I was feeling the burn, but made it up pretty smooth.

Mile 3–6:06

.1– :33

Finished 306th out of 5600.  3rd on my team.

Final time 19:23.  I really don’t like seeing the 19, but surprisingly I ran 20 seconds faster than last year.  So I’m happy with that.  I haven’t been training at all and I finished the race feeling good and healthy.  All good things.

AND, I found some other Brooklyn Road Runners after that gave me a ride home.  One less smelly runner on the subway 🙂

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