I got into this race through the lottery system. I signed up with a case of the F’ it’s for 10 bucks and sure enough I got it. It was the final travel race of the summer and what better way to end a racing tour with the Big Apple. I got to see some friends and see NYC from the outside for once and not from inside a bar. Life Time Tri is the company that put it on and they really do know how to hold organized races. I have not had a bad experience yet that has been a Life Time Tri. From the moment I went through the 45 minute course/race overview to leaving the transition area after the race everything was very organized. So without adieu here is the race report.
Pre-Race: 3AM Wake Up Call – WTF?
Yup this race starts early with the first wave at 5:50! We had busses from the hotel to the transition area which made getting through the city easy. We had to drop everything off the day before so transition setup was easy this time around. Had a chat with an official because the bike next to me racked their bike wrong and it sucks to be them, they got a 4 minute penalty before even starting the race. We had a nice mile walk up to the swim start on pavement that wasn’t even swept so it was not a fun walk barefoot. At time time it was about 5AM and it sure didn’t look like much of a current unless you looked at the wakes coming off of the boats. I was getting really excited for this 15 minute swim time. I was in the red transition so we had to wait till all the yellow transition people were completely finished before starting. Finally as the waves lined up in their corrals it was time to start. I’m used to only like 10 people in Clydesdale here there was 41 of us! I really have some people to race.
Swim: 15:12 4th out of 41
I was literally the last person in the water. They had us going every 20 seconds in groups of 10. We weren’t allowed to dive which really sucked but I can understand why. Some people are just not bright and dive straight down instead of shallow and out. Once in the water it had a salty funky taste and yeah I couldn’t see past my hand. I tried not to focus on it too much and just swam. I wanted that 15 minute swim. Not only did I weave my through the other swimmers but I swam over several swimmers just floating there. I’m not sorry for swimming over anyone doing the breast stroke or floating down stream anymore. This is a race and if you’re a slower swimmer stay out of the middle! There was a small exit ramp that made getting out of the water suck because there was a lot of people there so I wasted probably 20-30 seconds waiting for people to get up the ramp. Next up was to get out of the wetsuit for an almost 1 mile run into transition.
Bike: 1:38 6th out of 41
The bike course was challenging and had some rollers. But what made it difficult was the rain. I had never raced in the rain before, in fact I don’t even ride in the rain. Again with so many other races I spent a lot of time flying by slower people and yelling “On your left”. There were a few sections of road that were just horrible in terms of creases in the asphalt and pot holes. In fact I lost my entire water bottle cage 4 miles into my race from all the damn bumps and vibrations. So long electrolytes and carbs. There were some technical turns that I really slowed down more than I should have but that’s after the fact because there were a lot of people who crashed their bikes for not slowing down. I kept a 19.6 MPH average and felt absolutely great through the entire bike. In fact I probably should have pushed harder but I really didn’t know my legs would be on the run. Finally getting into transition I’m ready to hop of the bike in the middle of the dismount and this guy makes a complete stop in the middle sideways on his bike. I crash into him and he proceeds to tell me I’m the one at fault for him completely blocking the bike in. F that guy and he needs to learn to keep the right or to the left if he’s going to completely stop. Then he needs to learn to never turn his bike so he’s blocking the bike in from other racers coming in.
Run: 1:04 23rd out of 41
Well this run again had no flats at all. Not to mention it starts with a steep climb out of the river park that was congested with walkers. The best part of this run was the spectators. The entire street of 72nd St was lined on both sides giving us high 5’s and cheering everyone on. It was really energizing and it really didn’t seem like it was a close mile run into Central Park. The course winded through the northern part of Central Park along the road. Again there were people lining both sides of the street and I was having an awesome time. while holding a pretty good pace at 10:06 for me. It wasn’t until mile 4.5 or 5 that having not having any electrolytes or carbs outside of the gu packets (of which I lost 2 out of my tri kit) started to catch up to me. I could feel some cramping in the quads and hamstrings and I had to do a little bit of walking but not a whole lot as the sun was starting to heat things up and really bring that humidity out. Was able to run through the finishing shoot and I eased up right before the line to let the challenged athlete soak up some spotlight time crossing the finish line. As I was running it in I saw my friend Nick’s wife Lindsey cheering me on.
Finishing up: I’ll do it again.
I had a lot of fun and aside from some of the race mishaps I really enjoyed it. I will do this race again but probably not till after 2016. I love New York and I loved having the chance to race here as my summer travelling wraps up. I highly recommend this race at least once to every triathlete.
Well I’m halfway through my season of travelling for races and man it got here fast. Strangely enough this felt like my hometown race. My family from my mom’s side live in Minneapolis and while only a few of them made it out to the race. Everyone made it to the BBQ we had later that day, and that’s really what made this trip for me. I rarely get to race with my family watching so it was extra important that I had a smile on my face and that I got over that finish line not looking like death.
This race was unique for me and I had a lot of small challenges to overcome. First was the weather. It was rainy every day I was there except for the day after the race and then it was awesome. During the race it was muggy and humid, and the course had a lot of mud. The Twin Cities have been getting rained on so there were lots of flooded area’s around town and the ground was completely soaked. Second was that I rented a road bike. I didn’t have time to really get some saddle time before the race thanks to the rain. So during the race I couldn’t really feel my butt past mile 13 or 14. I also couldn’t really get into any aero position which means I was catching wind like a sail! The other stuff wasn’t as important because I was mainly there to just have fun.
No wetsuit this time While the water was warm I didn’t feel the need for a wetsuit and went about swimming without one. The water was warm so I took advantage of it. The start was a time trial start so they had us in pairs going into the water every 3-5 seconds rather than 1 big wave. The entry was a beach start which was cool because I didn’t have to wait behind everyone else wadding through the water. I got plenty of good leaps in and off I went. During the leaps I passed 4 people just inching out. I didn’t even get a swim buddy that I could draft off of in this race and there was a lot of jostling of elbows and kicks that where way off. I will say this swimming in fresh water for a change is nice. I don’t have salt crust on the face during the bike.
It’s been over a year since I had to ride a road bike during a triathlon so I knew it was going to be an experience. The course was very scenic and it went through parts of Minneapolis I didn’t know even existed. Seems the road crew didn’t either cause there were potholes, creases, and horrible divots through the entire ride. I couldn’t seem to pickup much speed either cause after mile 13 or so I could no longer feel but butt. The only reason it was still there was that every single bump I hit I could feel it. I couldn’t even get into the aero position for the ride which felt really weird to me. Of course spectators love to cross the street as bikes are going through and I almost hit a few of them but ended up in the oncoming lane of traffic to avoid them. I’m lucky I didn’t get in a serious accident with other athletes.
Well this was a 2 loop course around the lake I just swam in. It was filled with water from the rains and mud from the soaked grass. It was pretty humid and muggy out so it felt like I was running through a lake. Not to mention it was hot without the sun even being out. Thankfully I had a lot of fun and looking back it wasn’t all that bad. There was another guy going across the finish with me and we both looked at each other and said lets smile and sprint it through. So we did complete with smiles and a hi five afterwards.
Well I might do this race again next year or the Maple Grove Triathlon. It was nice to see family and had fun exploring the trails that Minneapolis has to offer. Till next year.
It really got here before I knew it, and I would by full of it if I didn’t say that I’m a bit terrified. Let’s be honest though, when you embark on the stuff you truly want to accomplish it is supposed to be terrifying. That’s what makes the accomplishment that much sweeter. I’m 2 weeks late in starting this blog post due to things coming up and trying to stick to training as much as possible.
The last 3 weeks have been a whirlwind of training, traveling, racing, and helping others reach their goals. I’m writing this as I get ready to head to Minnesota this week for a race out there. I have family out there so I’ll be able to stay with them and I’ll have a car as well to travel around. The upside to Minneapolis is that it’s super bike friendly so I plan to do a LOT of cycling. I’m excited for my family to be able to get out there and watch me race and I’m excited to see them. I grew up on the west coast for the most part and missed a lot of my family growing up and now as we’ve all gotten older we just don’t get time to spend together much.
My training for the most part has been on track however I don’t feel like I’m where I should be. Part of that is because of my break for the month of June. I think my run for the most part suffered the biggest set back and I need to get it back. However when I look at the numbers though it’s my aerobic endurance that is gone. Training for short course racing is all about speed and power over the short course instead of a steady pace. So what does that mean for me? More longer runs and bikes at a steady Z2 pace to get that endurance built up again. What does it mean for my short course races coming up? Well it means that I’m going to look at them as training and keep myself at a solid pace.
Also got to see my friend Rhonda complete her 2nd triathlon the weekend of my ITU Race. She has come a long way and it’s pretty cool to see the effect that I have had on her. From believing that she could do her first triathlon before October to now looking at training for her 3rd triathlon in September. I’ve found it’s very rewarding personally to watch people accomplish what they once thought they couldn’t.
This was the first triathlon I’ve done outside of California. I knew ahead of time it was going to be hot and humid. It didn’t disappointment in that regard either. I don’t even want to look at the official time because of how bad my run was so I’m not. But let’s just say this race was full of surprises from the time I stepped foot outside my hotel to walk to transition.
Race morning went off without a hitch. Woke up got ready and packed my stuff into my transition bag. Now my wave didn’t start till 8:55AM and transition closed at 6AM. So I didn’t bother eating anything now I just finished getting ready and went to transition to get my stuff all setup. First step outside and it’s pouring rain. I don’t mean San Diego rain where it’s small drops and more of a haze of small drops either. I am talking true mid-western drops. In the back of my mind I already knew what was coming.. the rest of my day was going to be rough. So by the time I ended up in transition I was soaked. So wet course, 3 hours to kill, and the heat/humidity was picking up.
The water wasn’t as cold as it was made out to be but then again I swim in the Pacific Ocean. The water didn’t taste bad either… ha ha ha. The horn went off and almost immediately I was passing people and found some nice feet to draft off of. The pace wasn’t fast (for me) and I certainly wasn’t struggling to keep up with him so since this wasn’t a race I was going to place at I just took the swim easy does it and instead I focused on my stroke. Make sure my breathing was done right with my head down. I used it as a training swim… literally. I think I did the catch up drill at one point. I had one other person drafting off me as I felt their hands on my feet a times but it didn’t bother me since I was drafting off someone else. Since it was in the harbor they had this ramp we climbed up on to get out of the water. The guy in front of me could hardly stand upright so I held him up as we got going to transition and he thanked me for it as some other people were laughing. The guy behind me also thanked me for the draft…lol Got to love race day. Little did I know it would be a half mile run through T1!
I felt at home on my tri bike again and we flew through that fast and flat course. I was concerned at this point cause the sun was out in full force. I had some salt sticks along with some NUUN for hydration through the bike. As we approached the river to my delight we went onto lower Wacker Dr. which is completely covered so no sun.. YAY! Of course at this point my GPS on my Garmin didn’t work so I had no concept of speed, just power. I kept my power between 170-220 for most of it with a cadence of 90+. We had 4 loops of the bike course, and man I could have done that bike course ALL DAY LONG. I mean I have never been so happy on the bike just flying with what I thought was very little effort. Sadly though at the last lap all I could think about was the heat at humidity of the run and how am I going to stay hydrated. I had 1 bottle of NUUN left from the bike and some more salt sticks, figured the rest would be from water along the run course.
At this point it was basically 10:30 and the sun was out in full force and the moisture was in the air. My first mile felt pretty good I had a good pace going for my Z2 and then around mile 1.5-1.75 I started to get a bit dizzy and hot so I slowed it down and drank some water and threw some water over me from the aid station. Sadly that’s all they had so no sponges this time around like Oceanside (might have to bring some for Minneapolis). Then it just got progressively worse for me. I just couldn’t muster the energy to move past a walk without my HR jumping and getting a bit more dizzy. I suffered through the next 2 laps which at this point my teammate Forrest caught up with me and he was having some GI issue’s so we finished off the race together which was a good moral booster for me. There was no leg cramping like I had at Bass Lake which I felt was a win.
So even though this was my fastest Olympic distance yet and my 3rd ever it taught me a lot about myself. I raced out of my element and out of my state. I knew it was going to be hard going into the race after having to basically take an entire month off of training due to fatigue and over training. I came to push my limits and I feel I did, it could have been worse. As the day went on I feel they really needed another possible aid station or modify the course so that it could have ran on the sidewalk under the shade of some large tree’s. Might come back next year and do the Chicago Triathlon.
Well this ultimately was a fun race. It was very scenic and very challenging for me. All I can really say is HILLS! So Bass Lake is located up by Yosemite National Park at roughly an 3,400 feet. Going into this race mentally I wasn’t prepared and I certainly wasn’t physically prepared either. I’ve been riding that fine line between fatigue and happiness. The show goes on though and in 3:02:00 I pulled out a first place finish by more than 20 minutes. The triathlon itself is a very small field and it’s a small locally put on race which made it feel relaxed and a good small town race. So here is the report for my second Olympic distance triathlon.
The Swim: 26:50
It was in Bass Lake and it consisted of 2 loops, I was not happy about having to get out of the water and then run all the way through the exit arch only to run back into the water. For once it was nice to not have the taste of salt water in the mouth and the water temp was so great I regret wearing the wetsuit. I was drafting behind another guy in my wave who started out strong but slowly lost his energy before the first turn around so this is where I ended up leading and not being able to find another draft partner but over all I felt like it was a solid swim at a decent pace. There was a 1/4 mile run up from the lake to the transition area so I stopped and completely got out of my wetsuit to run up. It was at this point I could start to tell that the gulp of lake water wasn’t going to go well.
The Bike: 1:23:51
Did I mention hills? So right off the start you climb uphill and it wasn’t an easy one. As I started to settle in I could start to feel my left hamstring tighten up but I kept a solid pace and tried not to put too much effort to keep speed going downhill cause I knew after mile 9 it was going to be an uphill battle…! Right around mile 10 I was switching gears and I dropped my chain which made me even more frustrated. Thankfully it took me about 30 seconds to get it back on but having to climb from a stop just sucked. The upside is that this course was extremely scenic going through the mountain side and on the lake. During the ride though I kept fighting back the fact that I had to pee and my stomach was not happy with the lake water and the mixing with my usual carb drink. Rounding the final turn thankfully was downhill but at this point it was just about enduring the hills of the run. Into and out of transition in about 1 minute.
The Run: 1:04:14
Running out of T2 I was looking for a place to take a leak but to my surprise there was nothing! This was a 2 loop run course as well, so I already wasn’t happy about having to run through things 2 times and endure the hills 2 times! By this time my left hammy was tight and I kept to a what seemed to be sluggish 10:30 mile and I kept thinking that this sucked and why am I not able to maintain a much faster pace, oh yeah HILLS! Around mile 2 a fellow triclubber who was just finishing up his race mentioned that he’s hurting with the hills so all I could do is just think… if I’m having this hard of a time the 2nd place guy has got to really be hurting! Every time I would start to settle into a pace I’d encounter another hill and during the 2nd lap my left hammy said enough and cramped right up. I walked it out and didn’t have to come to a stop but my pace slowed to about an 11:00 min/mile. Everyone on the course though was friendly and the Team Challenge people that I knew cheering me on helped out a LOT! Of course at mile 5 all I could think about was having to pee and after crossing the finish line with just over 3 hours I was a bit disappointed in myself.
Conclusion: 1st Place Clydes and the proud winner of a huge salt rock!
It was a very challenging race for me because I don’t really train hills. I absolutely hate them, and part of that is because it’s not easy getting 220lbs up hills. I kept comparing my performance this time around to my first Olympic distance at SD TriRock. I shouldn’t be, simply because TriRock is flat and fast so I probably would have had a much better time. I don’t think I’ll be back next year since I want to do Escape from Alcatraz. What I am taking away from this race though is that I need to really do more brick workouts after long bike sessions and get my legs used to it all.
I’ve been running a lot more lately and I have to admit… I am no longer exhausted after running 6-9 miles. There was a time where even running 1 mile left me exhausted and I couldn’t even run the following day. It’s taken me many months to get to where I am at and it just doesn’t happen over night. I caught myself saying that I’m going to go run 6 miles after work… for fun! WTF? When did I start to believe that running wasn’t as bad as I thought it was? When did this raw hatred for running turn into not hate but not love?
After the Bass Lake Triathlon I’ll be returning to the pool on Monday/Wednesday nights along with swimming La Jolla Cove Friday mornings. I really killed myself with the swimming volume and it soaked a lot of the fun out of it so I’ve had to take a break. The Friday morning cove swims have been awesome and I’ve only done 2. I’m finding some of that enjoyment in swimming again as I get to look down at some of the wildlife and reflect on things during the week without having to worry about turning around every 25 yards.
The bike I’ve been doing a lot of power thresholds and intervals on the trainer according to my TriDot plan. I’ve quickly found that my training for the bike has been lacking and I need to really put some focus on it so I don’t fry my legs on the run for the long course. I’m actually a little excited about increasing the volume though for IMAZ.
As many people know already starting May 31st I have an Olympic distance triathlon every month with very little down time all the way through to my Ironman in November. Making it through it all will be hard and mentally challenging. I know it’s going to be hard, but at the same time it’s going to be exciting. Isn’t that what life is about anyways? Challenging ourselves, find our boundaries, push our limits? Some people are content with their lives not knowing what they are truly capable of and what they can actually accomplish. We always here that people are all the same and people are equal. The truth is that we are not equal, we are all different. Some people say that they can and some people say that they can’t, which one are you?
So 30 days from now I’ll be doing my first Olympic distance triathlon of the season up at Bass Lake. The course looks stunning compared to the city scape that I usually race in, and of course there will be some altitude. I’ll be racing Clydesdale for this race as my weight sits around 225-230 but that will depend on what my weight is come the 30th of May. I signed up for this race on a whim after looking at the course as part of my “1 race per month” goal. I am out to win Clydesdale as well that is my main goal for the race. This is a test for the ITU race in June to see where I truly need to improve. It will most likely still be my run, no surprise there. It will be a freshwater lake with a hilly bike and a somewhat hilly run. It’s just what I needed. It’s also going to be a small triathlon so I’m not expecting the usual glitz and glamour of a race that I normally see.
Now I said summer racing in my title because I fly to Chicago at the end of June for the ITU Triathlon. Then 2 weeks later I fly to Minneapolis for the Life Time Tri followed by the New York City Triathlon 3 weeks later in August. First week of September will be the San Diego Triathlon Classic. 2 weeks after that I’ll do the swim portion of the Tri-Rock San Diego. 3 weeks later the San Diego Triathlon Challenge, then the following weekend the Oceanside Life Time Tri. Then it’s 3 weeks till Ironman Arizona. We live once and I said last year that it would be fun to go out and see what it’s like to be a travelling triathlete and race like you’re on a racing circuit, 2014 is that year.
Every single person that has done a triathlon of any length can tell you that at some point they have heard from someone that they are crazy. I hear it on a weekly basis. I can’t stop but to think that is it really crazy? Is it crazy that I’m out doing what I set out to do? Is it crazy that I’m not doing what society dictates what I should be doing? In case your wondering society thinks that I should wake up every morning grab fast food breakfast on my way to work and then sit in my car in traffic while oogling over my latest technology gadget while on my way to happy hour to meet up with the guys before finally heading home and watching some TV before bed. All so that I can wake up every day and live to work. If people think that doing a triathlon is crazy then yes I’m crazy. I know I’m the type of person who wants to find out how far they can go, where are my limits and do I even have boundaries? Outside of physical limits the only thing that limits ourselves is our mind.
Oh this 15lbs of fat to lose… you are proving to be very difficult. Yes I know my diet has been sketchy lately and I have no excuse for it. Make no mistake you will vanish by the time my Ironman comes around.