Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Few Final Tri Thoughts

I feel a little like Jerry Springer with his "Final Thoughts" or whatever it was he did at the end of his shows. Over a week removed from the event, I thought I'd weigh in on a couple thoughts and lessons learned in the Tri, perhaps to help some who may be looking to do one.  Overall, I had a lot of fun. I didn't shatter any records, nor did I even finish in the "average" time (which was 1:53, by the way, off by 7 minutes, darn!), but I had a lot of fun.  The biggest difference I found between something like this and say, a half-marathon, was just the sheer "logistics" involved, especially one that is out of town. With a normal run race, its your race outfit, shoes and yourself. That's it. Not so with a Tri, I must have double and triple checked that I had everything I needed, no matter how big (the bike) or small (goggles). Some things are more "forgivable" than others, if forgotten, but thankfully, my "anal-ness" paid off and I didn't forget anything. The other part would be dropping off the bike the day before, which obviously is not required of a run race.

With a race like the DC Tri where there's both Olympic and Sprint distances, that meant a really long delay between when transition closes and the start of your wave. For me, it was nearly 1.5 hours, and almost 2.5 hours from when I first arrived at transition. I could have still been sleeping! Though this time allowed me to use the port-a-potty 5 or so times (yes, FIVE), I also forgot to have some water with me. BIG lesson learned here. Have some drinking water (preferably in a disposable bottle, since you'll be discarding it before entering the water) with you when they close transition. I was REALLY thirsty while waiting for my wave. I was tempted to pick up some of the bottles that people left when leaving for their wave!

Don't let the craziness of the swim faze you. I certainly did, more in that I was annoyed that I had to keep breaking rhythm when I was interrupted, either by someone running into me or vice versa. Just weather through it, remember your training and all will be fine. I mean you go into it knowing that there will be a lot of contact and such, but theres really nothing that can prepare you for something like that. Another thing worth mentioning, SITE MORE THAN YOU THINK YOU SHOULD. In water that murky, it is impossible to swim in a straight line and you never know when you'll swim pass the buoy you're supposed to turn at (guilty, as charged).

No major issues with the bike and run, I actually enjoyed those 2 sections.  As I mentioned in my previous post, my only thing with the bike was the whole deal with "blocking" or "drafting". I was REALLY paranoid about it, since it did come with penalties for either violation.

So, going forward, I haven't done anything since the Tri. I'm looking to do Yoga X at least once in the next week (it'd be nice if it were twice), get a short run in to shake the rust off, and to do Chest & Back- either in part or in full- to regain some strength. And I hope to get some kind of regular workout schedule (based on P90X, of course) established for the next 2 months or so, before I go into full Half-marathon training mode (Las Vegas Half in Dec!). I'm also now debating whether I want to do the Sprint distance again next year, or attempt the Olympic distance. I guess that all depends on how hard I train! 'Till next time!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

DC Tri Recap!

800m swim? Check. 20k bike? Check. 7.5k run? CHECK! Completed my first (sprint) Triathlon and what an experience it was. Even now, two days removed, it feels sort of surreal. (and just as a warning, this will be a rather lengthy post....)

The day started at 3:50am, as I conveniently awoke before my alarm went off, which was set for 4am. Got up, downed about 20oz of water, ate a banana, got dressed, did a last minute check of all my gear, and it was out there door. The hotel was thankfully right across the street from the shuttle, so I was on the shuttle headed to transition right around 4:30am. I arrived at transition just before 5am, and there was already quite the hustle and bustle going on, with people getting body marked, picking up timing chips, doing last minute tuning to their bikes and setting up their gear. I arrived at my rack location (which fortunately was on the end, near the aisle, which made transitioning that much easier) also find out that the person who was supposed to rack next to me was a no show. I'm now going to spoiled for future Tri's, since not only do I have an end spot, I had double the room for all my stuff. I carefully lay out my gear, ensuring things are placed in the order I would need them. This took a whole 5 minutes. It's now a little after 5am, and I have nothing left to do. Transition closes at 5:55am, and the first Olympic distance wave goes at 6am. I wasn't set to go until 7am, at the earliest, not to mention I was in the second to last wave. So I spent probably the next 15 to 20 minutes just staring at my stuff, trying to visualize both transitions, the order I would do them in, and how. It's now 5:55am, transition is closed, and at least another hour for me to wait. So, I just popped a squat and waited until they called my wave. Onto each section, after the jump....

Thursday, June 16, 2011

This is it!! (and JPMCC Recap)

Last night I ran the annual JP Morgan Corporate Challenge and I was fully intent on giving a more detailed recap, but I think all I'll say is: It was hot. It was CROWDED. And I should have worn a different shirt. If I get into more detail, I fear I'll start whining too much about all the walkers that somehow started in front of me, thus being in my way when I had to go around them. I finished the 3.5 miles in 34:12 at a 9:46 pace. Expected better, but decent given the conditions. Now onto more important matters....

Less than 3 days remain until the Tri! I head out for DC tomorrow afternoon, so the anxiety is starting to creep in! (not like it hasn't been, as I numbingly stare at the course map that I printed and pinned to my cube wall all day long). I did some last minute stuff for the bike, like take off the kickstand (for some weight reduction, haha), and install my second bottle cage and prepared my emergency kit. I should also probably do a couple "dry" runs of the transitions some time. I keep trying to go over it in my head, and though I feel like its not much of an issue, I should really rehearse it to know what order I'm putting things on or taking them off, and how to lay it out on race morning. Main concern at this point is the bib and when/how I should pin it on. If I just relax and take my time, I should be okay. Dont' want to be like a rabid dog in transition....

So thats it. I'll be back probably Monday or Tuesday with a full report of the Tri. This should be exciting, wish me luck!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My LAST Swim Workout!

This past Sunday, I did my final tune up for the swim before the Tri. Its good knowing I can sustain 800m, because at this point, thats all I'm looking to do. Should take me in the neighborhood of 25 minutes, which judging by last year's results, is pretty darn slow! But its okay, its my first Tri. Hopefully I'll be able to get behind some other "slower" swimmers and draft them to make it a bit easier.

Last night I ran the entire 6 mile loop in CP. And since it was cooler and low humidity, I did it rather comfortably, which thankfully was a confidence booster. Its amazing what the heat and humidity will do to me, and not only physically, but man, what a shot to the ego it is. Anyway, finished the 6 miles with a 9:44 pace, and a total time of just under 59 minutes, which actually, is the fastest I've done that route. So its a great second to last training run before the Tri. Tomorrow's JP Morgan Corporate Challenge will serve as my final tune up. And hopefully, I'll have time on Thur for a quick ride, if not, then the ride from the convention center down to transition will have to serve as my final ride.

So at this point, I'm actually kind of anxious and want to get to the Tri already! And perhaps the biggest concern on my mind now is that I hope I dont get a some kind of flat on the bike. I've been studying the course pretty diligently, last thing I'd want is to end up off course. Not sure it'd be that easy to do, but, you never know. The bike course is rather confusing. At least from the map.  I picked up some last minute stuff to make my "emergency" kit for the bike. Just need to familiarize myself with how to change the tube, if by chance some does happen. Otherwise, I think I'm set. Still can't believe its finally here!

I'll probably be back for a quick recap of the JPM CC, and then that'll be it. Wish me luck!

Monday, June 13, 2011

DC Tri Sprint Course

800m Swim

20K(12M) Bike

7.5k (4.66M) Run

Monday, June 6, 2011

Celebrate Israel Recap (with a BIG PR!)

Sunday (June 5) I ran the inaugural Celebrate Israel 4M race, a familiar 4-miler through Central Park.  Since I didn't have too much trouble driving in for the last couple races, I did so again for this one. This turned out to be a rough one, since I failed to realize there was a parade to Celebrate Israel as well, which shut down a bunch of streets near where I had been parking, which was also near the start of the race. After circling a bit and running into a handful of detours due to the parade, I decided to just garage it, and took the $25 hit.

I get to the start line around 8:30am, do my  usual warm ups and stretches and down a pack of Gu energy gel at around 8:45. Honestly, for a 4-miler, I probably didn't need one, but it has been working well for me in the previous races so I figured, why mess with a good thing?

After "enjoying" both the Israeli national anthem and the Star Spangled Banner, the starting horn finally goes off.  Though a smaller field this time, it was still a little more than 5 minutes to get to the start line.  A good start, legs felt good and strong, and I fall into what feels like my normal pace. Get to the mile 1 marker (which happened to sync up very well with Nike+), I realize I'm going at a pretty good pace, and Nike+ confirmed it saying I just did the first mile in 9:10. Whoa! My usual pace is never that fast, let along the first mile! But I'm confident at this point, and it still feels good, so I just plug along. A little after the 2 marker, I started to feel the faster pace start to catch up a bit. This part of the course also contains a couple rolling hills, so I backed off a little. Saw the mile 3 marker, and knew the end was near. It was also a bit of downhill. So I got back to what my pace was, and when I saw the turn onto 72nd, I kicked it up and finished strong. My time turned out to be 37:19, at a 9:20 pace! That was a pretty sizable PR! My best 4-miler was the NYRR-4, in which I finished in 38:48 at a 9:42 pace.  About a 1.5 minute improvement! Of course it was raining buckets that day, but still, I was very satisfied with my finish.

Onward from here, the Tri is in LESS THAN TWO WEEKS!  Still deciding how/when I should taper, or if I even really need it, since I haven't really been training THAT intensely. May try to get 2 swims and 2 runs in again this week (though the weather may be something to contend with this week). And try to do an extended training session (aka- run/bike/run) on Sunday (my only available day). Then 1 easy swim, bike and run the week of the 13th.  I will probably just use the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge as my easy run. Should be an exciting next 2 weeks!