Flat As A Pancake sprint triathlon was added to my race calendar to experience racing in open water and served as a tune-up to the NYC Triathlon in mid July.
Training for the last month sucked. Plain and simple. I have more time than I did working a full-time job, but it seems the stresses of being jobless (left to try to start a business) and continuous setbacks from shin splints derailed my training volume. Stress kills! Swimming on the other hand, has been fairly consistent and progressive.
Here are some volume numbers for you, from last 30 days:
- Ran 5 times, 14 miles total. (The plan was to run 100 miles)
- Biked 12 times, 238 miles total. (The plan was to bike 400 miles)
- Swim – no data as I don’t record this.
Two weeks leading up to the Tri, I had some lackluster and disheartening training performances.
On Sun 5/30 – the plan was to check my pace averaging 140 BPM (MAF Test). It was 10:22/mile. Two months ago, before my shin splints came back, I was averaging 9:23/mile at 140 BPM. Obviously, I lost my running economy. See here: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/36594227
On Tues 6/1 – I planned to ride 1 hour indoors, and quit after only 12 minutes as it felt like 12 hours. See here: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/36594220
On Wed 6/9 – after my 400 meter swim, I ran to the parking lot to bike 12 miles hoping to average at least 20 mph. I quit after 12 minutes again, only traveling 3.8 miles. I gave it all I had on a flat course and could only muster 19 mph. See here: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/36594160
So why is this worth mentioning? It’s not to excuse my weak performance today. In fact, I thought I had a fantastic race despite the training leading up to today!
My 400 meter pool time trial is 10:22. I figured in open water, with a wetsuit, in race conditions I can finish within 11 minutes. Boy was I wrong! This year, the current was against us, and if you compare same athlete result from this year to last year, everyone was approximately 2,3, 4 minutes slower. Luckily, to my advantage there were no waves. In my first open-water race, I decided to stay towards the back and close to the shore. I was hoping to catch good feet and draft, but there was no one around! Everyone was already speeding along and I tried to follow.
Open water swimming was more a mental/inexperience problem than physical. I ran into a few:
1) I felt like I wasn’t moving. I stopped 4-5x throughout the race to check if I was moving forward. I was, albeit very slowly.
2) I stopped every time someone brushed against me. I know this is normal in open water races, and you’re supposed to continue along but for some reason my reaction was to stop.
3) It was monotonous. When you can’t see anything while under water, it’s hard to stay focused with the task at hand. In a pool, you have the wall to kick off to break the monotony. In open water, you keep going and going and going. Feels endless.
SWIM TIME – 16:33 (4:06/100m). Ranked 361/577.
Swimming is my weakness of the three disciplines and I just learned how to swim earlier this year. Obviously, I need more practice and experience. In due time…
The course was a flat out and back loop – 3 times. It was pothole galore. Potholes were marked with orange circles and you had to constantly pay attention to the road else you risk a flat or crash. Other than that, it was rather uneventful. I focused on keeping the cadence high and smooth as I still had a 5K to run. At one point, I almost crashed as a soccer ball came rolling by but managed to avoid it. Unfortunately, my girlfriend saw a horrific crash where a woman face planted and the EMS were saying she broke her neck. Speedy recovery to her…
Anyways, it felt great awesome to catch up to the faster swimmers. Throughout the entire race, no more than 10 guys passed me. I predicted I would average 19.5 mph but to much surprise, I officially averaged 21.2 mph.
There’s always someone on a bike course that’s of similar speed. I was going back and forth with #536 – Trisha Hanson. This made the race more fun than usual. She would pass me on the slight inclines but I would pass her on the slight declines. (I really need to do more hill training).
I didn’t lead by much as she finished the bike course in 34:17 (21.0 mph)
Interestingly enough, on the slight inclines (out course) I was averaging 18-19 mph and the slight decline (back course) I was going 23-24 mph. See garmin details here: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/36594143
BIKE TIME – 34:01 (21.2 mph) , Ranked 67th/577
Based on my prior duathlons, I always cramp after getting off the bike but luckily my nutrition this time around was perfectly dialed in – thanks to Infinit Nutrition.
As I ran the first mile, I felt very good settling into a nice rhythm. Often times with a heart rate monitor, I find myself constantly glancing at the watch and when my heart rate hits 185, I ease off. I had no idea what my pace was as I decided not to bring my heart rate monitor and instead run organically by feel / perceived effort.
Shortly after mile 1, guess who caught up? #536 came along so I used her as a pace setter and stayed with her throughout the run. I suffered like a dog. My heart rate, if I had to guess was probably in the upper 180′s. At one point, I thought I was going to throw up but as I approached a water station — volunteers asked if I wanted to get splashed and I said YES! After getting splashed like mad, it helped cool me down and we continued on the boardwalk.
About a quarter mile left, I sprinted with everything I had and barely edged out a fellow athlete.
So after my heroic sprint, here I am:
Eventually, I got over it.
Here’s my friend Arland (pro triathlete, came in 6th), Me, and friend Alex Paul (came in 80th on his first open water tri – badass)
Now it’s time to go home, packing up:
By the way, awesome racing with #536, she was 52nd overall and 6th in the women division!
RUN TIME – 22:37 (7:18/mile), 123rd/577 Overall.
I’m VERY happy with my final result and have a better understanding of how to approach my olympic triathlon in mid-july.
I came in 116th overall out of 577 triathletes with a time of 1:15:51
For full results, click here.
As always, I asked my father what he thought of my result. And he said “You needa mo power, power, power.”
Parents are usually always right.
Joe Patanella, the Race Director, really knows how to put on a great race. You can see his other races at: http://www.greenbrookracing.com
The food was mediocre (at least they had food), race was very beginner-friendly, gave out prizes (I won a hat), timely, and posted the results live.
Great first race, many more to come!