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NYRR Team Championships 2010 Race Report

August 9, 2010 Leave a comment

Thank goodness for muscle memory!  That’s what I had to use for this race, because it sure wasn’t my training log.  I’ve been averaging 10-20 for the last 3 months, mostly in the low to mid teens.  I have been supplementing with 20-30 miles of cycling, but I am by no means “fit”.  Not an excuse, just a fact.  I had no notions of grandeur for this race.  I was excited to be healthy enough to compete and would do my best and be happy with it.

I’ve been nursing a sore right achilles that just won’t heal.  Strained it in my very short jaunt in my Vibram’s.  So I’ve been taking it realitively easy lately.  Running about 4 times per week but nothing longer than 4-5 miles.

Club Championships are always 5 miles in Central Park and it is guys at 8am, women at 9am, which is nice.  It makes the race less congested and for the women, lets the winner actually win.  The race is also restricted to club memers, i.e. not open to the general public.

I arrived at Central Park 103rd St about 45 min before the 8am start.  Got my number and checked my bag in.  A saw a few teammates by the corral and said Hi, then started off on my warmup.  I like to warm up alone, gather my thoughts, and not have to feel pressured to go a certain speed or distance with the group.  I ended up going about 10 minutes easy and then did a couple quicker strides, then some stretching and it was time to head over to the start.

The corrals are seeded by speed.  The speed is determined by each runner’s fastest race in the previous year.  Mine was the Wall Street 5k where I averaged 5:44 pace.  Usually that puts me in the 1st corral, but they spaced it out a little more in this race and the cut off was 5:27  pace for the first corral.  Something to shoot for next year, although this year I’ve only done 4 NYRR races and by best pace so far is 6:15…

I wasn’t able to find the rest of my fellow Brooklyn Road Runners at the start, but once the race started I saw them working their way to the front in the first 800 meters.

My goal in this race was to 1. Finish 🙂  2. Take it easy in the first half of the race  3. Have fun.  I wasn’t sure what kind of shape I was in.  I ran a 21 minute 5k last weekend at the end of a triathlon, so I was hoping for 6:30 pace at best.

The weather was a huge improvement from what it had been recently.  Weather at race time was 70* with 53% humidity.

My first mile was 6:36, right on the money, the first mile is always pretty quick from the adrenaline of the start.  I settled in, took inventory of my body.  Achilles was a little tight, but loosening up, and my knee was feeling more sore than usual.  At least the problems were on opposite legs, so my hobble was evened out.  I’m kidding of course.  If your soreness/injury causes you to change or alter your stride then you shouldn’t be running.  Rest until you can run with out any limp or hitch in your stride.

2nd mile was a bit quicker, 6:26, felt good but didn’t want to get carried away.  I hadn’t done any long runs for a few weeks and 5 miles would be my longest.  I wanted to save some energy for the the last couple so I could actually hold my pace at the end.

3rd mile, I was starting to feel the fatigue creeping in.  Ran a 6:45.

4th mile, big hill, 6:59 mile.  Ouch.  Time to push the last mile

5th and final mile I cranked out a 6:28

Overall place was 352nd, time 33:17  (6:39 ave.)

I finished, I took it easy in the first 1/2 to allow a nice last mile, and I did have fun.  Goals accomplished.  Now I need to go to work on increasing my mileage, lose a little more “vacation” weight, and incorporate some tempo and speed into my training.  I want to run a trail 1/2 marathon in October.  That will require getting weekly mileage up to at least 30/wk and some long runs of 90-110 minutes.

Our Brooklyn Road Runner team was 17th out of 42 teams.  But the highlight was our 40+ and 50+ teams that were 6th and 5th respectively.  Nice job guys.  Here are the official BRRC results

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NYRR Sprint Triathlon Pics

August 4, 2010 3 comments

Thankfully, none from the pool 🙂

On the Bike with the new aerobars

Finish

The Transition Area

pictures courtesy of Brightroom photography

NYRR Sprint Triathlon 2010 Race Report

August 1, 2010 2 comments

My first official outdoor tri.  Well, semi-outdoor, the swim was in a pool, but this is the first time I would be swimming and then getting on an actual bike and not a stationary bike (a la Jack Rabbit Indoor Tri Series).  The 2nd Annual NYRR Sprint Triathlon 400m swim, 13mi bike, 5k run (although not exactly a sprint, a true sprint has 750m swim or often 500m, 400m was enough for me).  Types of Triathlons Link

But let me start from the beginning.  The VERY EARLY beginning.  My alarm went off at 3:30 AM, and after only 4.5 hours of sleep I felt surprisingly fresh.  I did get good sleep all week and have been getting up at 6 AM most days ever since I returned from Poland.  I have a love-hate relationship with waking up early.

The reason for me waking up before the Manhattan Nightclubs closed is that I needed to make it the Mets Stadium in Flushing Queens by 5:30/6ish to check in.  AND this destination required 2 trains and about 40 subway stops.  The 4 train was more crowded than I had anticipated.  A mix of late-night party goers on their drunken train ride home and others apparently on their way to work at some job I wouldn’t want.  Strange train events of note…a guy gave a random couple of girls a nutrition bar after they said they were hungry (not homeless, just hammered), she tried a nibble, but didn’t like it, so a different random guy asked for it and ate it.  Then a crazy girl from the other end of the train came down and started ranting and raving about why Brooklyn is the best and she is real and represent Brooklyn.  She tried to pick a fight with the original nutrition bar recipient girls, and then got off at the next stop.  Just your regular NYC madness at 4AM 🙂

Once I arrived at Grand Central and the 7 train platform, the triathletes had started to accumulate, which made for a crowded train ride.

Arrived at the race start with plenty of time to spare.  On the walk over actually met a girl from Gross Point who also went to U of M (I was wearing my UM Cross Country shirt)  small world.  She was also doing her first Tri.

The check in was fairly straightforward.  Everyone got their race number written on both shoulders and their age written on their calf  with some sort of black grease pen.  Then I found my bike rack and got my transition area ready.  Looking around a quickly realized I forget to bring flip flops to walk around in.  Not a big deal, I just kept my running shoe on until we need to go to the pool.   Got a 10 minute jog in at about 6 AM, then just stretched and quadruple checked and rearranged my gear.  Side note:  Even though the “MC” kept announce the proper way to rack your bike only about 25% of the people actually did it correctly.  The spot next to me was vacant, so I didn’t care.

The start finally rolled around and 600 of the triathletes and tri-relay competitors made their way to the pool.  It was a 400 meter swim and everyone had to start 1 by 1 at 10 second intervals, the fastest seeds going first.  This is really the only way to do it since the swim “course” was an 8 length zig-zag of the 50 meter pool.  This would be my 1st time swimming in a 50 meter pool.

Note to self:  If you plan on doing more triathlons, it would be a good idea to actually practice swimming…I mean to go to the pool and swim laps, but I always end up going for a run or bike.  Swimming is what I’m least good at, so I neglect it.

I seeded myself in the 8 minute group.  In my last training swim (the only one in the last 4 months 😦   ) I had been averaging about 45 seconds for 40 meters, my YMCA pool is 20 meters.  So I figured even slow, I could do 50 meters in 1 minute.  So my liberal goal was to do the 400 meters in 8:40.  If I was only so fortunate.  The seeding groups went from 6 minutes to 13+ in 1 minute increments. As I approached the front of the line, I tried to breathe deep and relax.  I really wanted to take the swim easy since it’s my weakest leg and the shortest percentage of the race.  I don’t know what happened.  Maybe it was the 50 meter pool, maybe the fact that I felt pressure to go fast since there were people right behind me, maybe because I don’t spend enough time in the pool.  Probably all 3.  By about 150 meters I was so short of breath.  Like, really short of breath.  I started to panic and I think I was actually hyperventilating a bit.  I just couldn’t catch my breath.  I felt like I needed to breath every stroke.  I tried to do the breast stroke for a little and keep my head out of water.  It was awful.  Not fun.  I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.  At 200 meters I actually just stopped at the wall and waited until my breathing was back to near normal, then started again.  It took nearly 2 minutes, but felt like an hour as swimmers streamed by me.  Finally my breathing became closer to normal, I started swimming again, much better, relaxed, easy strokes.  The thought of quitting entered my mind during this panic, but only briefly.  I really wanted to tell the story of my first tri, and I wouldn’t be able to if I quit.  Besides, I don’t quit things.  I can do these last 4×50 meters, I thought to myself, just take them 50 meters at a time.  I’ll just have to rest a little at each end.  OK, finished them, barely.  Almost 13 minutes, not the plan, but I’m still in the race.  I’m sure the lifeguards were breathing a little easier when I left the pool too 🙂

Took my time at T1 after being suffocated in the water.  Ate a couple Clif Shot Bloks and some water, pulled on my Brooklyn Tri Club shirt for its debut, pulled on my bike shorts (swam in swim shorts and pulled bike shorts over, might have cost a few seconds, but I’d never swam in my bike shorts and decided its probably not a great idea to try it for the first time in a race).  Got my shoes on, helmet, glasses, (no gloves, only 13 miles) and started to run  my bike to the mounting area, about 60-70 meters away.  I felt good, the swim was over, forget about it.  Make up some time on the bike, was my mindset.

The bike course was 2 loops of 6.5 miles.  Very flat but pretty technical.  A few 90 degree turns and a couple 180 degree turns.  The road was in good condition in most places but there were some spots that were very bumpy from potholes which demanded full constant attention, since it was my first time on course.  I used my aerobars sporadically, I didn’t really feel comfortable being in them too long because I’m not used to them yet and the technical nature of the course.  I could definitely tell the increased speed in the aero-position, about 1.5 mph, but it was a slightly different muscle group, and it was hard to hold for extended period of time.

I enjoyed the bike loop.  It was longer, more spacious and much less crowded than the Prospect Park loop where I train.  When I came around for the 2nd loop I focused on picking up the pace a little more.  My average speed was 18.0 mph for the 13 mile course.

Off the bike and into T2, bike shorts off, running shoes on, hat, race number belt…and I jet out.  I am used to the semi-sluggish feeling of running after being on the bike, but I know now that it passes quickly.  I immediately start passing people which pumps me up with much needed energy.  I come through 1 mile at 7:07.  Not bad.  I’d like to be a little faster, so I pick it up, feeling less sluggish now and finding a bit of a groove.  I am enjoying seeing people’s age on their calf as I pass them, and especially when I pass the younger guys.  Even though nobody has any idea how they are doing in the race placing since it is staggered, it’s still fun to pass people.

Mile 2 split is 6:41.  NICE.  That’s more like it.  Got a couple cups of water to dump on my head, which felt great.  I say “Good Job” to everyone I pass, as I continue to steadily go by chunks of racers.

3rd mile split:  6:35.  Feeling tired, but happy to have vindicated my poor swim with a solid run.  Come around to the finishing line I’m glad I didn’t quit during the swim.  I will be doing more triathlons next year, hopefully an Olympic distance, and some swim coaching for sure.

Final time (unofficial) 1:20:09

It was a very well run race and I will do it again next year.

Official Results

Total Entrants: Men – 371    Women – 264    Total – 635 (I think some of these are relay people, there were 19 relay teams) 434 Finishers in the individual race

Swim  12:47 (316th)

T1    2:45 (160th)

Bike  42:11 (94th)

T2   1:25 (90th)

Run   21:03 (21st)

Final  1:20:09 (71st/435)

17th/57 in 35-39 Age Group

Well, those stats make me feel better about the blow-up in the pool…live and learn.

Father’s Day 5 Mile Race Report 6/20/10

June 21, 2010 Leave a comment

I failed to provide a race report of my last race, the Healthy Kidney 10k (5/15/10).  Here it is in a nutshell…It was a club race, so I wanted to help the team.  I hadn’t been training very intensely, about 15 miles/week.  All of the training being medium pace runs, not workouts.  I had also been doing a bit of cycling, about 30 miles/week.  My goal was to do my best, hopefully break 40 minutes, but not racing a 10k distance since December, I didn’t really know what to expect.  During the warm up my “meniscus” knee was hurting.  It was a pain that I was familiar with, as my knee acted up from time to time “pre MRI”.  The pain is fairly intense and lasts for a couple days, but then goes away as quickly as it appears.  Maybe something inside get out of place or off track.  Anyhow, it was doing this “thing” during my warmup and I was questioning my ability to compete.  I started the race and seriously comtemplated dropping out in the first mile, but the pain dissipated and I was able to finish with splits of 6:17/6:16/6:11/6:52/6:16/6:20/1:23.  Very pleased with the result, especially since I was very near my time of a year ago with much less training this time around.

The Father’s Day 5 Mile was again a club race in which the times of the top 5 runners of each club are added to determine the club rank and points for this race.  A couple key players for Brooklyn were unavailable, so I knew I would be counted on to perform well.  My training leading up to this race has increased slightly.  I increased my longest week to 20 and had a couple lengthy bike rides of 22 and 32 miles.  I’ve been hitting the weights once a week as well to keep overall fitness in check.

The forecast was hot and humid.  I was hoping a forecasted overnight storm would reduce the humidity but, as usual, the weatherman was wrong.  No rain, humidity stayed.  It was pushing 80* at the starting line with 80% humidity.  The other issue was my ankle.  I must have tweeked it at work the night before or something.  I don’t know, but there was a sharp pain on the inside of my right ankle bone.  It lasted for maybe 20-30 strides then seemed to go away, as if to loosen up.  But, then after stopping to stretch and running again, it was back, and then went away.  Strange.  Of course I was still going to run.

I realize that to get faster and more fit, I need to increase my mileage and start doing some workout, so I ran a 20 minute tempo on the Thursday prior to the race, I also lifted lightly on Friday, Saturday I rested.  The 20 min. tempo went well, I was 6:24/6:38 for the first 2 miles and then had no marker for the last part, but maintained pace.  I was confident going into the race.

Knowing it would be hot, I started hydrating the night before and took an sodium-electrolyte tablet in the morning.  I continued to hydrate up to the start.  A funny thing happened on my warmup.  After I got my number and checked my bag, I headed out for a 10 minute warmup, 5 minutes out, turn around and come back, which would leave me 20 minutes to stretch and get to the start line.  I still don’t know where I missed a turn but I must have let my mind wander and I started looking around saw that no one warming up had numbers on.  It was just recreational runner out for a Sunday jog.  I found a race official and asked where the start was, and she said “the other side of the park”.  Maybe I have magical transporting powers that I’m unaware of 🙂  I still had 12 minutes until the start, but I felt panicked none the less.  I ended up running more and faster than I had planned and was sweating like a fountain in the start corral.  I made it with plenty of time to spare.

The starting horn sounded and 5200 runners were on their way.  A guy to my immediate left went down hard in the first 200 meters when someone clipped his ankle.  It sounded painful and was glad it wasn’t me.  I always make a point to run “big” in the beggining of these crowded races.  A lot of runners of so anxious and reckless to speed through the crowd at the start, I keep my elbows out and run almost as if I’m on ice, knowing the possibility is there for being jostled off balance.

This 5 mile course differs from the Central Park 10k course in that they cut out 1 big hill, the rest of the course is the same, constant rolling hills.  I was out in 6:23, felt comfortable, the next mile was 6:15, maybe a little quick for the heat, but a majority was downhill.  My third mile was 6:32, going back up some hills and starting to feel the heat effect a bit more.  My focus in the last to miles was to continue to be engaged with the runners around me and run with and pass them.  Sometimes my mind wanders in the middle of races and my pace suffers.  My final 2 miles were 6:32 and 6:31.  And although the pace was slower than my 10k last month I think I was more competitive for the conditions.  Ended up 217th, 3rd on the club.

BRRC team results

You can find the finishing video of all runners here, courtesy of ABC-7

You can see me at 11:42-12:01 of the first video, finishing with the 3rd overall female.

Next race is NYRR Sprint Triathlon on August 1st.  Maybe a tune up race before then, we’ll see.

Mother’s Day Duathlon Race Report, 5/9/10 Prospect Park Brooklyn

May 18, 2010 Leave a comment

I’d been looking forward to this race since it would be the exact course I raced back in April.  Now I would be able to compare and chart improvement.

Unfortunately the forecast was for 20-30 mph winds and about 50 degrees.  But hey, I just competed in 45 degree rain and wind so I am a seasoned vet 🙂  Kidding of course, this is my 3rd duathlon competition ever.

Another reason I was excited about this race is it is in my own backyard, literally.  Only a 2 minute bike ride to the start.

Now, I’m not sure if I didn’t set my alarm or I unconciously turned it off when it rang at 6:30 AM.  I jolted awake at 7:33 AM as I was dreaming about missing my race…luckily this dream didn’t come true 🙂

I gathered all the gear I had laid out the previous day and headed out.  The race was scheduled to start at 8:30, so I still had some time to get there, check in, and warm up.  But I don’t like to feel rushed, although over my years in NY I have become accustomed to adjusting to unforeseen tardiness to races.  Some due to my own fault, but most due to inner-city transportation issues.

In one race back in ’07 I woke up late.  Very late.  But I decided to try to make it to the race.  I made it.  Barely.  I actually crossed the Start line as the last of the walkers were crossing.  I guess passing all the people got my adreniline pumping more than usual.  Not sure what place I actually crossed in, but my chip time clocked me at 31st out of 3000+.  Gotta love that chip timing 🙂

Back to the Duathlon….My main goal was to give a more intense effort all the way through.  In my first dualthon I was a bit tentative since I did not know what to expect, I felt I needed to conserve energy.  With 2 duathlons under my belt, I realized that running hard in the first run doesn’t really hurt the bike since they are different muscles and with the downhill on the bike loop there is some recovery time.  The toughest part of my first duathlon was the 2nd run and adjusting the legs back to running after the bike.  In the Bronx Duathlon the 2nd run was definitely smoother.

It was a smaller turnout than the last Prospect Park race and the weather wasn’t as nice.  The plus side is that there were a lot less people in the park, which means less obstacles to navigate around.

I got to the check in, received my ankle chip and set my bike up in transition, then got in a quick running warmup.  The run course was very well marked with signage, so the detailed verbal description of the 20 turns of the course was terribly unnecessary.

I got out good in the run.  The leaders quickly put distance on me and I settled into 5th/6th place.  Since there were only about 110 people in the race, large gaps opened up quickly and I was by myself through most of the run.  Very different from the 5000 person NYRR road races in Central park.

I finished up the 1st 5k in 20 minutes flat.  I was on a faster pace through 2 miles but the last big hill got to me.

I realized my transitions were noticably slower than the competitors I finished around in my first race, so I wanted to focus on ways to stream line my transition time.  One thing was to run in just bike shorts like I did in the Bronx race.  That would eliminate pulling on bike shorts over my run shorts.  Also I didn’t worry about zipping my gloves (I should get velcro gloves)  They are weightlifting gloves, but they work for now.  I also made an effort to flex and stretch my fingers before getting to T1.  It amazing how difficult it is for my fingers to provide dexterity after a hard run.

Made it out of T1 in 48 seconds

The bike leg was interesting.  In my 1st duathlon I got rocked on the bike and passed by about 20 people.  This time I felt like I held my own.  I was only passed by 1 guy on the first loop, then over the next 3 loops about 8 more people passed me.

It was super windy so I think it affected my speed.  I was at about 10 1/2 to 11 minutes per loop, which was discouraging since I had just rode a 9:30 in practice the week before.  I’m still learning how to push myself on the bike like I do so easily on the run.  Practice, practice, practice.

There was a nice turnout of Brooklyn Tri Club members who were cheering the team.  It was nice to have support out there.

I made sure to stretch out at the end of my bike leg so I would be a little more limber getting off the bike and into the 2nd run.

I got to T2 and had a pretty speedy transition.  Gloves, helmet and shoes off, slid running shoes on, and on my way.  42 seconds.

I caught a couple people right off the bat, then saw nobody ahead of me.  The field was small and the leaders were so far up, I ended up running solo for almost the whole 2nd 5k.  It was tough to keep pushing,  but I wanted to beat my previous time.  I ended up with a 21:20.

Finished 12th overall, 4th in my age.  One place out of the awards 😦

Eyes on the Prize(s)

It was an overall exciting day and always motivating to compete.

Just signed up for the NY Sprint Triathlon in Flushing Meadows on Aug. 1st.  Time to get back in the pool…

RESULTS

Bronx Biathlon 4/25/10 Race Report

April 26, 2010 5 comments

Haven’t blogged in a while….but I will be adding more soon 🙂

Completed the Bronx Biathlon, the longest running Biathlon in the country apparently. 26th annual.  (and no, there was no skiing or target shooting:)  not sure why they call it biathlon vs duathlon)

REALLY tough race. Starting with waking up at 4:45 AM after going to bed at 1:15 AM after a late night at work…

Took my bike on the subway for the first time ever. Thankfully the subway wasn’t very crowded at 5AM, but surprisingly there were a good number of people on it. (where are they going!?)
The other tough part is it was 45 degrees and forecast to rain all day. Of all the times for the weather forecast to be correct, today was the day. It rained all morning and was cold. The race was in Pelham Bay, right near the water, great scenery, but colder than it was inland.  I seriously considered not going when my alarm went off after my 3hr “nap”, but I paid for the race already, I love to race, and I wanted to test my skills in rain.  Besides I thrive in races where conditions are less than ideal.

The subway ride was unusually easy.  Once I arrived at the stop, I needed to bike 3 miles to the race start.  I found it fairly easily which is also unusual for me, being that I am a bit directionally challenged 🙂  Needless to say I was soaked by the time I arrived from my short ride over.  I brought dry clothes in a garbage bag inside my backpack for after, but I was hoping my warmup pants would be wearable for after…no luck.

There were puddles around the bike corral 4 inches deep, so there was no point in even trying to stay dry, just splash around and enjoy it.

I decided to do the whole race in my NYC Marathon jacket to maintain some warmth.  I realized that it would probably be too warm during the run, but would really help me stay warm on the bike, plus it was water repellent.  Great move.

Arrival

I did a quick mile warmup jog out the the waterfront of Pelham Bay and then went back to my bike to make final preparations to my area.  I got my bike shoes, hat, gel, and gloves out and put them under a garbage bag and headed to the start line.

They made the announcement that 109 people had showed up.  Pretty impressive.  Some people actually registered that day.  Even more impressive.  We waited at the start line for about 10 minutes while the police secured the course.  I stepped up the the front of the group (because no one else was).  Finally the starter counted us down and we were off and running.  I actually led for about 400 meters, there was a lead vehicle (a guy on a bike) showing us where to go, so that was good, but I didn’t really want to lead solo, a couple guys joined me at about 800 meters and then passed me.  I felt pretty good running.  I felt I could push a little harder than my last duathlon since I knew the bike leg would not be any more difficult if I did run hard.  The run was a little short of a 5k, I think they measured it at 2.8 miles.  I ended up coming into the T1 in 4th place, close to the leaders.  I was pleased with that.  17:08 was the leader, 2nd 17:12, 3rd 17:14, and me at 17:21.

Start line

First Leg Run

My run to bike transition was faster than last time, although I didn’t practice it at all.  I did however buy some bungee laces for my running shoes and I ran in my bike shorts, so that saved some time.  Last race I had to tie my shoes and pull my bike shorts on over my running tights.  I pulled my bike gloves on over my running gloves, grabbed my gel, put my skull cap and helmet on and I was off for the 20 mile bike.  T1 time 1:00 flat.

Bungee laces!

side note:  the bike leg was 20 miles.  I rode 20 miles for the first time the Monday before my race just to make sure I could do it.

Knowing the forecast was for rain, I was a tad bit concerned about riding on wet pavement since I never have.  I mean, I’ve rode in rain before on my mountain bike, but the road bike is a very different animal, and I’m racing.  It turned out to be easier than I thought.  There was no slippage and the bike handled very well.  Another part of the race also had me worried…here is what the race director put in the race notes…

“CAUTION/SLOW DOWN! Hold handlebars with BOTH hands and use extreme caution when cycling across the draw bridge near the Orchard Beach exit. The metal grating becomes very slippery on wet or rainy days. You may elect to walk across the grating part of the bridge if weather conditions make the grating too slippery to ride. Under no circumstances may you pass another competitor on any part of the bridge!”

OK, ummmm, a little scary for a newbie to biking.  Anyway, they changed it on race day to “everyone MUST dismount their bike on the bridge”  this brought some grumbles from the veteran racers, but I was happy.  When I actually got the the bridge the first time and dismounted, it was actually difficult to even walk over with cycling shoes on.  It did end up being a good way to shake the legs out and warm up the feet a bit.  We had to go over the bridge 4 times.  Stopping and getting off the bike for a 30 meter jog didn’t help the Average MPH very much 🙂  I ended up with a 18.07 mph ave.  Max was 26.9 on a downhill after the bridge.

Bike Leg, cold and wet!

There were a lot of turn-around points on the bike, so I was able to see the leaders and count what place I was in.  I guess I lost count because I was getting passed by so many people, I thought I was in 40th or 50th.  But I actually finished the bike leg in 28th.  I passed no one.  I’m doing a cycling technique clinic this Sunday to learn some tips on how to get better.  Hope it helps.  I figure it can’t hurt.  Bike time was 1:06:24

Coming into T2 I stretched out on my bike to prepare for the run.  Stretched my calves, hamstrings and back as much as I could and tried to warm up my fingers to get them ready for grabbing shoes, etc.  I got off, got out of my shoes, slipped on my running shoes, pulled my bike gloves off, got my helmet off and pulled on a cap.  BOOM, 40 seconds flat.  Impressive for no practice.  Bungee laces were key.

My feet were like ice blocks!  My legs felt better than the last race’s 2nd run though.  The giant puddles actually felt good to splash in!  They were warming my feet up!  I caught 2 guys in the first 800 meters and that got me fired up.  I ended up catching 4 more and was closing in on a couple more but ran out of real estate.  I knew I was running decent, but wasn’t sure how fast my 2nd leg was since I didn’t press LAP on my watch.  So when the results were posted and I saw I ran a 17:44 for the 2nd leg I was shocked and pleased.  I didn’t feel that fast.  I posted the 5th fastest 2nd leg, with the top 4 finishing in the top 6 overall.  I finished in 22nd overall.  Gotta work on that bike leg 🙂

Finish

SEE THE RESULTS

Run 1–17:21

T1–1:00

Bike–1:06:24

T2–:40

Run 2–17:44

Final Time—1:43:11

22nd/103 finishers, 3rd in age group

I wasn’t looking forward to my trek home, but I made it.  I changed into a couple dry shirts before I left, but had to put the wet jacket back on.  My teeth were chattering uncontrollably by the time I reached home.  A hot shower never felt so good.  Later that day I went to the Brooklyn Tri Club Member meeting.  Fun.  Met some cool people, and even won a prize in the raffle.

Mother Day Duathlon is May 9th in Prospect Park.  We will see if I improved from the last one.

PS  I won my first age group award for a multi-sport, but alas, I didn’t actually receive it since you had to be present to get it.  3rd 35-39 Male.  Oh well, it was either award or hypothermia….

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!!

Finish!

Run 1– 20:28

T1 –1:34

Bike–41:49

T2–1:40

Run 2–21:51

Final Time–1:27:22

Splits/Results Link

More Pictures Link

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