Sunday, November 2, 2003

NOVA Duathlon

So on November 2nd I ran the 7th annual NOVA Duathlon. The weather was perfect as a storm earlier in the week brought incredibly warm weather but alot of rain. This was my last race of the season and 2 month since my last race so I had to try hard to stay motivated. As with all of these, I apologize for the length I have waaaaay too much to say.

The Skinny:
Results can be seen here

The race was a 2.3 Mile Trail Run - 8.3 Mile Mountain Bike - 2.2 Mile Trail Run

I finished in 1:26:11 which shockingly was good enough for 2nd in 25-29, and 11th overall. Needless to say I was completley thrilled.

Pre Race:
Before the start of the race we were told this would be the last NOVA Duathlon at Wakefield park. Partially because people want to b3 able to walk their dogs in the park and not have bikes ride by them and partially because some of the course was vandalized between the saturday setup and the sunday race.

Run 1:
I ran with my friend John Julius (who just did his first marathon, MMC, in less than 4 hours...nice). The race started like all others that I have done with a lot of commotion, hooting and hollering. Oh wait that was just me, I guess that is why every race sounds the same. Started out the run with a really fast pace, at least for me, trying to keep up with John and those at the front of the pack. Somehow kept it going and felt strong, I was trying to not listen to my breathing which seemed a little heavy. John gets in front of me by this time and I am just trying to keep him close. As usual, yelling up to him trying to make it amusing.

Exited 14th. 1st transition was pretty fast. I really like putting my bike close to the exit of the transition area. Makes for a real quick getaway once you are set to go. Not too many people to avoid. I also started wearing my gloves on the run for one less thing to put on and worry about. All in all I liked that strategy. Anyone else have good advice?

It was a 3 loop race. They seemed to have you go up every hill on the Wakefield side of the park, I dont ever really remember going downhill at all...I that possible? The first lap was murder. The first time up the steep the powerline hill killed me for while. Not only did I fall off but I wasted my 2nd 3rd and 4th wind. I told myself that it had to get better, not really sure if I believed it. There was a bunch of mud and some of the mud puddles were pretty deep. For some reason I dont think that was mud I was smelling either...eww.

By the second lap I was hurting seriously. In my small chainring nearly all of the time. Some of the hills I was sure I could have walked up faster...but for me that wasn't the point. This was a bike race and and I was gunna ride those hills if it killed me. It almost did.

At this point I thought I was having the most awful race, I had been huffing and puffing on the bike. I felt like I was way in the back of the pack. I just wanted to finish strong and keep pushing myself as hard as I could. Trying to motivate myself I thought of everyone that had ever doubted me and basically finishing strong was how I would prove to them they were sooo wrong...ok, ok I was delirious at the time..but somehow I got my 35th wind and this one stuck. I was tired as hell, my head was hot, and my legs were burning, but I was still able to attack when I saw someone in front of me so I felt I should just go for it..I mean the offseason is across that finish line right?

When I got to the transition area and I only saw 10 or so bikes I thought something was wrong. This could not be? but who am I to argue so I threw on my shoes as fast as I could in case it was a dream. Exited the bike 12th. In passing I asked a spectator how many in front of me and he said about 10 or 11...maybe I wasn't dreaming....but damn are my leges tired.

Run 2:
My legs never fully got off the bike for the whole run. I had to just keep pushing, I past one guy right in the beginning offered some words of encouragement and kept running as if someone was chasing me...turns out quite a few people were. There were 2 painful hills on the run, one about 1/2 way through and one that leads up the finish line. The first hill I was defintely walking up although my body was making exaggerated running motions, but I assure you the pace was no faster than a walk.

After the hill I looked back over my shoulder and saw someone gaining on me. I was determined not to let him pass me. Keep pushing. Every few hundred meters I would look back over my shoulder and see him a bit closer. Keep pushing. At this point I thought my legs were not even part of my body, maybe they were remote controlled. In the clearing before the final hill he was not 10 feet behind me. All sorts of thought are in my head. NO way can I shake him now, in fact chances are real good he'll pass me, I was sure he would. We hit the last hill and I give it everything I've got. I hear him right on my heels but I can't look anymore I just put my head down and try sprinting up the rest of the hill but my legs wont go any faster. Keep pushing. Finally I see the finish line and glance over my shoulder and realize that I put about 30 feet between us by the top of the hill and I cross the finish line not sure if I will be able to stand much longer.

After about 5 minutes I regained my ability to walk and talk and breath at the same time and start congratulating finshers and cheering bike-to-run transitioners. The weather was great, the race was great, fun course, and really nice people. The post race euphoria is excellent though and one of the more addictive parts of the whole process for me.

This was my second Triathlantic race that I have done and all in all I think they do a good job organizing these races, collecting split times, marking the course etc. Oh and the post race tuna salad is great :-)

thanks for enduring.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

Schiff Scout Triathlon

Hey everyone...

Not sure who is interested, but I really enjoy reading other peoples race reports so I figured I would try to write my own. I did the Schiff Scout Triathlon, part of the XTerra point series races. For those that dont know, the XTerra races are off road, they involve swim, mountain biking, and trail running. I had done some mountain biking racing, this year and the Cedarfest Duathlon in July, but this was my first triathlon even. Hot damn it was fun....I feel the tingle of addiction...

To cut to the chase, the race was individual or relay. It was sprint distance, .5 mile swim, 10 mile mountain bike, 3 mile trail run. The race was in Wading River, Long Island on Sunday 8/25. I was supposed to run it with my brother-in-law, but he backed out at the last minute...LOOOOONG story.

They did not do splits (much to my dismay) but here are the vital statistics.
1:36:5235th of 135 overall3rd of 18 in my age group (25-29)

After a cold front and thunderstorms rolled through on Friday night, the weekend was spectacular. Race day was moderate temperatures, and NO HUMITIDITY, I could not believe it and was very happy, as the day seemed too perfect to be true.

The Swim (~18 minutes)

The swim was in a lake, 2 triangular counter-clockwise loops, between loops you have to get out of the water andrun for about 30 feet on the beach before getting back in. Water was 77 degrees, The previous day at registration the temp was 79 and they were not going to allow wetsuits of the temp was over 78...thank god it dropped into the high 50s/low 60s that night, so we made it. I am in serious need of a wetsuit because I am not a swimmer, in fact I just started swimming in April, not even able to finish 25M without thinking I was going to drown. The race was ~800M so I felt intimidated, I had swam 800M in a pool once but I was confident the race day adrenaline would kick in. My pool 800 was in 23 minutes so that was my goal.

Going down to the water form the transition area (about 100 yards of rocks and pavement) I saw a small group of people setting up their towels and shoes/sandals only down by the water. So instead of running all the way up in bare feet, you put your shoes on down there and run up the hill, no worries about cuts, stubbing toes, etc. I decided that is what I need to do too...great decision.

So I wade into the water to get a few strokes in before the send off, and I stillg et amazed at how much better of a swimmer I am with a wetsuit...(now if only I could learn balance like this without it ;-)) SO after a group photo they send us off. Not wanting to get trampled I started out on the outside. Keeping my head down focusing on good form and not wanting to tire myself out becuase aolot of race remains...then i remember that I have to actually get to a buoy, so I look up only to see tha I am WAAAAYYYYY of course...ok, so I switch my stroke up to look for the buoy every 5 strokes or so...note to everyone..practice this before race day as I am sure it will make you life much easier.

Somehow I get the buoy and around and back with not much trouble expect that I am way behind everyone else. Everyone now and then someones swims over me or hits me, but all in all pretty smooth (I am sure it was because everyone else was in front of me) At one point I decided to follow the guy in front of me...he MUST know where he is going...after about 50M I realize that he is way of course was a comedy of erros buyt what can I expect for my first competitive swim ever...

Finally after much telling myself I won't drown, I'll be fine, Stay Striaght, the water tastes fine...I finally get out of the water and I look at theclock...18 minutes..I am so pumped... way head of my goal time...only problem is out of nearly 150 I am probably 90-100th or so out of the water...much ground to make up, thank god the bike is my strong suit.

SO I get out of the water and I proceed to take off wetsuit, dry off, clean feet and such. I filled a gatorade bottle with lake water to wash my feet off. Everything is smooth, the guy next to me is struggling to get the sand off his feet and sees me with water cleaning them off , so I lean over and say, "You want some water?" He proceeds to take the gatorade bottle and drinks 1/2 of was hysterical (for me) I felt a bit bad for him, but life goes on....I will remember that forever...I did nto tell him it was lake water...what could be done at that point..

Thanks to my family for gathering my stuff while I ran off to get on the bike....and for yelling for me everytime i was even in the vicinity of them...please dont underestimate the effect anyone being there in support of you and screaming for you will do you to your motivation, energy, was wonderful

The Bike (~50 minutes)

The course was two 5 miles loops, mostly flat (it IS Long Island after all).I had a great bike ride...pushing big chainrings most of the way. I dont know about anyone else but I am a yapper. I talk to people when I am near them, I try to motivate, encourage, inform, etc....sometimes I just scream because I am so really gets me going. IF people out there hate someone like be because they want to race in peace and quiet I am truly sorry...I have absoutely no control over myself..and I love it....but I digress...

The bike was great, I had a GU before the bike and drank nearly a full camelbak of water on the trail. I felt strong all the way, motivated by all the people out of the water in front of me, and I was trying to catch anyone I could....I feel like I passed all of them (obviously not all) but I passed a good amount of people (maybe 40 or so) and was pleased that no one passed me...there weren't that many behind me to begin with anyway though..;-) Everything went well, no flats, no drivetrain problems, no falls, no doubt...

Heading into T2 I still felt good...or at least as good as a bowl of Jello could feel.

The Run (~28 minutes)

The run was a single 3 mile loop around the lake that included a section called the "roller coaster"...I'll get to that in a minute. By the time I got off the bike I guess I had raced myself into the middle of the pack because there were alot of people around..which was good for me because it allowed me to keep talking and trying to push everyone instead of listening to my breathign thinking about how tired my legs were or that distant stomach cramp that felt like it wanted to come for a visit.

It was a typical trail run, some ups some downs...and then comes the roller coaster...the cruel, cruel joke. It was a section of 5 hills (up and down) each had a pitch somewhere greater than 45 degrees and were around 100-200 feet long each. At times I was runnign up them so slow I though I was going backwards...but the sounds of the feet behind me kept me going...dont think...your legs dont hurt...dont fall....focus on the finish line...only 2 more miles...THank you to Justin Martinich, he was a conversation buddy for a while on the roller coaster and kept my mind off of how on fire my body felt...

After another mile was a series of logs that had to be jumped, hopped, climbed over..depending on how your legs felt..there were a few casualties, but luckily I was not one of them. Then I came upon the a fella that basically defines the determination it takes to be a he was in the woods, alone...vomiting repeatedly, and everytime the convulsions stopped he would try to walk/run, trying to get to the finish line...willing himself to finish (and he did!!!!!) Not taking no for an answer even from his body...partially disgusting, partially inspiring...

I turn the corner toward the finish line and there are 100 people or so cheering for the finishers...I can't believe I am actually finishing this sign up for your first tri and you think you just want to finish, you are not sure how, and certainly unsure how it will want t oprove somethign to yourself...maybe you want to prove something to others (not me, but who knows)..well crossing that finish line was close to the best feeling I have ever had in my life. I am not married, I have not had any children, so I am sure those can be pretty moving experiences...but, for me, this was the realization of a dream I that had be brewing in my mind for 9 months tangibly and brewing for years prior...

I was thrilled with my placement, my finish time, how I felt, everything, but it was simply the fact that i finished the was the single best feeling in this flood of a thousand emotions...

Great, just what I need...another addiction....