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What It Takes To Be Race Ready

What It Takes To Be Race Ready

Time to talk about being race ready.  We spend a good portion of our time dedicated to triathlon training, often with a plan to race.  We all have different reasons for racing, but regardless of level of expertise everyone has goals of some sort.  What steps you take during training; both physically and mentally will determine the outcome, for the most part.  There are always some unknowns going in; water conditions, terrain, temperature, how well you sleep the night before.  So let’s take into account some of those uncertainties and really plan for a race that supports your goals. 

Compleat Fitness Williamsburg Running Club- A goal oriented running group

Whether your goal is improved fitness, to run your first 5k, improve your running pace, or expand your distance and endurance, this program is for you.  Yes there is a social component to this group and you will enjoy the benefits of support from your peers, but the emphasis of this program is on setting and meeting goals.

This group is coached by Carla Weier, an RRCA certified running coach.  My additional qualifications include Certified Personal Trainer and Holistic Nutrition Counselor.  My experience in all of these areas is applied to my running program, which is why this group is unlike any other running program available in the area.

Prior to joing the program you will complete an application.  This is followed by a phone consultation so that I clearly understand your goals, abilities, current level of commitment, and we can discuss any concerns you many have moving forward in the program.


  • A fun group environment to run with two days a week for a period of 8 weeks.
  • Each run includes a warm up and cool down with stability, strength, and power training exercises where appropriate.
  • A written program to safely progress you to your goals.  Each week you will have a running calendar with training goals for the week.  The programs will be varied depending on your experience level.
  • Educational information during our weekly sessions and via email on topics related to running including but not limited to injury prevention, nutrition during running, strength training, setting realistic goals, heart rate training, and importance of a balanced diet.
  • A complimentary physical assessment including body fat analysis and analysis of muscle imbalances.  I can then create a personalized strength and flexibility program to improve these imbalances so that your feel better through both daily activities and running. *

* Additional fee applies to create and distribute a unique flexibility and strength program.

Call 917-292-2069 or email me to get started.


  • Private and semi private personal training services in your home gym.
  • Private running coaching for those who have longer distance goals or prefer a more personal approach.
  • Private nutrition counseling programs.
  • I offer a distance learning program to meet the needs of people who do not have the time and/or resources to work regularly with me but would like some personal instruction and regular feedback on training regimens.
  • VO2 max testing.  Using a treadmill we determine what your target HR training zones are.
  • Consultation on selecting an appropriate HR monitor, how to get started using your monitor and setting appropriate zones.  This process begins by completing a VO2 test.  I am experienced with Polar systems and Garmin systems.
  • Cleanse your way to better health with the Isagenix Cleansing Program.  Purchase of the program includes private nutritional cleanse coaching from me.
  • Referral Rewards program.  When you refer someone to one of my programs I reward you with a personalized gift.

First Tri of the Season- Pat Griskus Olympic Tri

It’s my first tri of the year and although its not an A priority race I did this same race last year so I have some major expectations. I want to improve my swim by 5 minutes, maintain my transition times from last year, bike about 1 mph faster, and maintain my run pace from last year.  I would love to get close to a 2:38 finish, which would put me fairly close to last years 3 rd place for my age group.  Last year I placed 6 out of 12 in my age group and 128 out of 256.

I'll talk about the race experience first and then pre race set up and nutrition.


The water temperature is about 70 degrees and I think for the first time I feel comfortable and ready for the swim. I tried a new technique using plastic shopping bags to get my wetsuit on and with this technique my shoulders feel much more free.  I could spare about 5 pounds and it would fit better overall.  This is only my 3rd race in this suit and last year I was a little lighter.  Today I weigh 120 for the record.  I had about 3 minutes for a warm up swim before announcements. Triton teammates Audra and Loren found me and was nice to have someone to talk to before starting the race, definitely helped to settle nerves because I'm not all in my head.  I lined up for the shore entry to the left and one row back.  I'm getting more comfortable taking a more aggressive start position but don't want to be in the middle of the pack.

The route is one circle of a fairly clear lake. There are 5 buoys that and not uniformly placed and must swim clockwise around them. The best way to sight will be to breathe on the right, which is a little less comfortable for me than my left.  My main concern is drifting to the right so will be sure to sight often.  There are 4 waves and all the women are in my wave, which is third.  I like this, as while on the rest of the course it’s easier to assess my position within the women category.

The swim start was not too aggressive or chaotic.  I was very controlled and held close to the pack up to the first buoy.  It is quite bright as the sun is coming up and after the second buoy have a hard time seeing the next one.  At this point I'm still in a fairly close group and can see a line of swimmers to follow.  By the fourth buoy the fourth wave has caught up with me.  Not worried about this but try to position myself to follow them and draft.  This didn't work. They were way too fast and I'm getting frustrated with the sighting as my blue cps women are now rather dispersed and the sun is in my eyes.  I know from the fourth to the exit I did terribly in swimming a straight line.  After downloading my Garmin I see from the GPS that I did fairly fell, better than I thought.  I wanted to finish the swim in 34 minutes and my clock on Garmin said 35:17.  Running to transition I am happy it is over and totally fine with my time since it is almost 5 minutes faster than last year.

Transition 1 didn't go so well.  My ankle chip was coming loose and I had to adjust that.  I sat down to take off wetsuit and struggled a lot with getting my feet through.  I think I'm going to experiment with sitting at waters edge for these easy exits and take advantage of a wet environment.  Also going to try standing but holding on to something like the fence that always encloses a transition area.  The only equipment new today is wearing gloves and that took a bit longer than I expected because of wet hands.  Felt good getting on the bike, but it took 2:42 whereas last year I did it in 1:52. Bummed about this.


From last year I recall being tired of hills, just wanting a little room to cruise on a flat section for awhile. What I didn't remember was spending so much time out of the saddle.  Because of road conditions they shortened the route this year by about 2 miles so unadjusted my time goal. I wanted to ride about 18 mph, as opposed to last years 17.18 average.  My Garmin is capable of giving me all the info I need except cadence.  I managed to loose my cadence sensor in the process of a tune up and my replacement is in the mail.  Since last year I upgraded my transition bars to aero bars, new wheels and tires, and a hands free water source.  With those tools alone I felt it reasonable to improve at least a little.  I was wrong.

I played some of the descents a bit slower than last year.  Some roads were so bumpy my teeth were clattering and the last thing I want is an accident or blow out.  When I wasn't cruising down a hill, most with tight turns, I was climbing.  When climbing I spent at least 20 percent out of the saddle, not something I've been doing in training and frankly have not had the opportunity to ride any hills this steep this year.  The adjustment from the bike tech made this morning saved my life.  I talk about that later.

Passing was no problem on this course.  Riders were very safe and there was little traffic on the nutty portions of the course.  Sitting here later in the day my hands hurt.  Toward the end I started having trouble shifting with my left hand.  Not a relaxing ride, lots of tension in my body.  Don't know how much of that is due to stress of climbing or the descents.  Thinking if I want to place anytime soon in need a flat or rolling course.  This is not my specialty.  Per my Garmin, this 22.79 mile bike was finished in 1:22 at a lousy 16.6 mph.  But surprisingly I improved greatly in my placement during the bike, so not sure how to take that news.

Transition 2 went smoothly at 1:35.  Usually I go sock less and pay the price.  Today I put socks on and didn't loose any time for it.  Actually did T2 faster than last year even though position at racks was worse.


I have resigned myself at this point to just have a good run.  No chance of catching up now.   Last year I came in first for my age group in the run in 45:17. I don't anticipate doing much better.  It’s a two loop course. The first mile is fast, I averaged 7:00 then it gets harder.  There was a long low-grade hill that turns quite steep.  Many walked that hill and I felt good to se that even though my pace was terribly I was passing people.   I don't particularly like two loop courses; I  do better with the unexpected.  Did second loop harder.  Finished in 45:13 at a 7:41 pace, which was 4 seconds faster than last year.  Noticed reviewing Garmin data that the run course was short of 10 k by about .3 miles.  As usual, although I felt I worked the hills strong on the bike I still had pretty strength left for my run leg.


Friday afternoon I drove up to Connecticut for the Saturday race.  Driving on my own with Kramer and David will take the train after work.  I settled in and chatted with Doug and Kathy for awhile (my in-laws) then took a short ride on my bike.  Last week I had gotten a full tune up and asked for a new chain which required replacing the cogs as well.  Fine, not in my budget but needs to be done.  Had one trials ride in Prospect Park and ride went well in some ways and poorly in others. In some gears it didn’t hold, would slip out of gear.  Not and ideal situation going into a race, so took bike back to shop and hoped he figured out the problem.  Now in Connecticut I'm riding much more challenging terrain and gearing is really off.  Worse than before I made any of these changes with the chain and such.  Any steep hills results in gears slipping and even derailed at one point.  I'm bummed and a bit freaked.  Need to get to race early for quick tune up by local bike shop.

Ate dinner around 7 pm.  Had a favorite I sometimes pick up at fairway.   Baked salmon stuffed with crab.  I had this with a side dish of pasta salad and broccoli raab.  For dessert had a bowl of chocolate ice cream.  I was in bed by 9:50 with alarm set for 4:20

I usually don't sleep well race nights but tonight was pretty sound.  Love sleeping in the country with the windows open.  Got a solid 6 ½ hours of sleep, which is fairly typical for me on race nights.

Woke up with little to do. My race equipment and clothes for the AM were ready before bed.  My bike was set up with bento box and all my race goals written in masking tape on aero bars.  Woke up and hit the pot of coffee for David and I. Set up my breakfast.  Half cup rolled oats soaked overnight in yogurt with an added scoop of Isagenix isalean shake.  Also packed post race meal and snack.  I never like what they offer post race and like to have my own food on hand.  In this case I packed Pad Thai, an apple and some snacks for David.  We headed out by 5:00 with dog in tow and drank coffee and ate in the car for the one-hour drive.

After getting through race registration and body marking headed straight to bike shop tent.  They were great.  Felt confident leaving that I would make it through the bike leg without too much frustration.  I'm getting much faster with set up and had David helped with my wetsuit.  Didn't drink much water this morning but drank a lot yesterday and feel well hydrated.  Had about 1 hour upon arrival to get myself organized and it was just enough time.  I was a bit rushed but not stressed.

During race I felt well nourished, no digestion problems.  Always feel the need to pee after the swim but it slowly subsides.  During bike had a gel about 10 minutes in and then 40 minutes later.  Feel this year need to do more for liquid calories.  This race was fine but felt during run didn't want gels but that was all I had been training with so had one around mile 2.

Final age group results 40-44


Finished 5 out of 16

Swim 36:33. 11/16

T1 2:42

Bike 1:23. 4/16

T2 1:35

Run 45:12. 3/16

No surprises here.  Did a bit better on bike than expected.  MUST improve swim but its not all about pool time.  My open water lake skills where I have to sight are terrible.  In a river I am much better and don't know what in can do about this as there is basically no opportunity to swim in lakes.

When comparing my results to the top three I actually did really well.  Their swims were all at least 4 minutes faster.  They all had T 1 times less than 2 minutes.  On the bike I feel I actually rode pretty strong.  Looking at the top three I was only off by between 1 and 4 minutes.  The first place did her T2 in 26 seconds.  Did she run in her bike shoes?  As for the run I finished only 1:40 behind the front runner.

This was a regional champ race so I qualified for national championships by finishing in top 33%.  Happy with that standing but have no interest in going to Alabama.

What I would do differently is work more steep hills during training on the bike for this race, even if that means using my trainer.  I worked a bit on bike to run transitions and it paid off, but feel I should be able to work at a higher HR for the run and that tells me my tank was running a bit low so need to work on nutrition at race intensity.   Need to get to the pool a minimum of 2 days weekly and the 3rd day should be an open water swim.  Also while doing the open water swim work on transition out of wetsuit.  My T times could improve.  I have a good, fluid system but it’s not good enough.

Comparison of 2010 to 2009

Finish 5/16  vs.   6/12

Swim 11/16 at 39.13min/mile vs. 9/12

T1 this year a bit worse

Bike 3/16 vs.  8/11 at 16.59mph and Av HR of 165 as planned.

T2 was on par

Run 3/16 vs. 1/11 at 7:41mm and Av HR of 181.  One would think I could do better than this.  I ran Paris Marathon 2 months ago at 8:07 pace and ave hr of 178bpm.

Race Etiquette

Regardless of the size or importance of a particular race, safety and manners matter. Whether you are training in a heavily congested area, racing a small local road race, or a big city marathon these rules should be followed.

General Rules for Running in an Event

  • Follow the rules of the race outlined on the race entry form! All runners have a collective responsibility to keep the event safe. Races generally discourage running with dogs, headphones, cell phones, and jogging strollers.
  • Pre-register even if same day registration is offered. This will help ease the registration process for everyone involved.
  • Arrive early for the event, especially if you are picking up your number on race day. Check your registration information carefully, especially if you are racing with a club, for an award, or prize money.
  • Use the facilities before the race start to lessen the need once on course, and help keep the facilities clean for the person in line after you.  Plan to do this well in advance, as the lines get longer the closer it gets to race start.  Also facities near the race corrals are usually the longest.
  • Pin your race number on the front of your shirt/shorts. This is where it is most visible for photographers and race officials.  Using a race belt is a great option if you don't want holes in your clothing.  The key is to have your number on your front.
  • Line up according to how fast you plan to run or walk the event. Slower runners and walkers should move to the back of the race pack. Just because you arrived early does not mean you should be at the front of the starting line.
  • Pay attention to the pre-race instructions. This is not the time to be blaring your favorite song on your personal music device, which really should be locked in your car or at home.

Race Etiquette on Course

  • If you drop something as the race starts, don’t stop and pick it up! Wait until almost everyone has crossed the starting line then retrieve it.
  • Don’t drop clothing on the course after you warm-up. If you must shed layers of clothing, tie them around your waist or place them on the side of the road where no one will trip over them. If you drop it; don’t expect to get it back.
  • Run or walk no more than two abreast.
  • Do not block runners coming up behind you by swerving needlessly back and forth across the course.
  • If you are walking in a group, stay to the back of the pack and follow the two abreast rule.
  • Bodily functions are a fact of life during a race. If you need to spit, blow your nose or throw-up, move to the side of the road and do it there. If nature calls, check for a port-a-potty, an open business, a kind neighbor along the course, or as a last resort, a discreet clump of bushes before relieving yourself.  Again, follow the rules from the race entry form.  In some races you will be disqualified if you relieve yourself anywhere other than a port-a-potty.
  • Move to the side if someone behind you says, “Excuse me” or “on your right/left”. The person behind you is giving you a heads up before passing. It’s proper race etiquette to let that person pass you without blocking their effort.
  • If someone in front of you is wearing headphones, and they are blocking, gently touch their elbow or shoulder as you pass to alert them to your presence.
  • If you need to tie your shoe or stop for any reason (phone call, nose blow, etc) move to the side of the road and step off the course.
  • Pay attention to your surroundings. The course may or may not be closed to traffic. It is your responsibility to watch for oncoming traffic!
  • Yield the right of way to all police and emergency vehicles. Yield the course to wheel chair athletes, you can change direction or stop more quickly then they can, especially on a downhill.
  • Don’t cheat! Don’t cut the course or run with someone else’s number.
  • Enjoy your race!

Aid Station Etiquette

  • When approaching an aid station to hydrate or re-fuel,  move in and grab your fluid/nutritional needs from the volunteers or the aid tables then continue forward away from the volunteers or aid table.  Do not stop in front of the tables.
  • If you need to stop at an aid station step to the side of the road and proceed to the aid station, but do not block others from accessing the aid tables or volunteers handing out fluids.
  • Throw your used cup to the far right or left side away from the course and as close to an aid station as possible.
  • Say thank you to the volunteers manning the aid station!
  • If you see someone in distress on the course, report their number to the aid station and try to recall the approximate mile maker where you saw them.

Finish Line Etiquette

  • If you neglected to leave your personal music device at home,  now would be the most important time to remove your headphones.
  • Follow the instructions of the race officials at the finish.
  • If a friend or family member is running the last stretch with you and isn’t in the race, he/she should move off the course before the finish chute starts.
  • Once you have crossed the finish line, keep moving forward until the end of the finish chute.  If the event is not electronically timed,  stay in finishing order so the finish line volunteers can remove the pull tags from your number for scoring.
  • If the event is electronically timed,  be sure to return the timing tag/chip before leaving the finishers chute.
  • Exit the chute and wait for friends or family in a central location.
  • Enjoy the post-race refreshments, but remember it is not an all you can eat buffet for you and your family.
  • Stay around for the awards ceremony to cheer on the overall winners along with the age group winners.  Running is one of the few sports where the participants get to mingle closely with the event winners.
  • Be proud of your accomplishment!

Remember no event is perfect and people work hard to make them safe and enjoyable.  Primarily volunteers staff most events, but there is always a race director or race committee that is responsible for an event.  If you have ideas for improving an event or concerns you would like to address, share them with the race director or race committee in a positive and productive manner.


Week 10 was my highest volume week to date and I learned some things I should have noticed about my schedule and modified it for this week.  Monday following this week I was feeling a bit off.  My running is slowing and i'm not happy about the pain in my low back.  It went away by Tuesday, but these are some of the things that I added that week and I'll suggest what I should have done differently. I ran 62 miles this week, my highest volume for the training period so far.  Two weeks prior I ran 60.  I added speed work with the fartleks and I added a race at a pace I have not been training for.  The race should have been viewed as a priority run and I shold have adjusted the schedule to allow full recover for race day.  The purpose of the rece was to gague whether I am on target for a 8:00 marathon.  But that being said I should have done one of the following: Eliminate the speed training on Monday; give myself a full day of rest on Friday and therefore cut my total miles for the week by 6miles; Skip running in the snow on Sunday (the day after a race) and run on a treadmill instead at 6 miles instead of 10: and should have skipped the indoor bike training for the week.

I mention all of this because there were too many new variables to that week.  I know I could have raced better and would not have felt any back pain ( note I've never experiend low back pain from running) the day following the race if i had modified the training to have only 2 hard training days, 3 really easy days, and only one moderate day.  Instead I had 3 hard, two moderate, and 1 easy.  The good news is that as i'm writing this on Tuesday following another fartlek run and my back pain is gone, but i'm still running about 10-20% slower than I would like.

Ted Corbit 15K Race

Its the Ted Corbit 15k race today in Central Park.  I have not done a road race since probably spring, and have not run in central park since July, so today will be interesting.  It's the last race of the year, and this is a new distance for me.  My goal is to run a 7:25 mm average pace. I slept well last night about 6.5 hours. Dinner night before was low in carbs and high in protein, red meat and fish. Had dessert before bed. Woke up feeling good. Had coffee and my typical oatmeal, yogurt, protein blend in the car on the way to pick up race number (about 1 1/2 hrs before race start). Thankfully david drove me to NYRR building to pick up my stuff. Jogged a bit (about 2 miles) and added some short pick ups. It's a cld morning in Central Park, 27 degrees ant 6mph winds. Supposed to get a big snow storm today. First mile or so was slow, wasn't placed in a good corral, but by mile 2 was feeling my pace and thought I would be able to maintain it. Ran counter clockwise, skipping Harlem hill and did a full circle of park. At mile 5 I had a gel and think I should have done this about 10 min earlier based upon how my body felt immediately after the gel. Second loop cut across 72nd street and after that there was really only one more big hill. I picked up the pace for the last 2 miles but looking at my average pace I was disappointed that I never caught up to the 7:25 pace I wanted to achieve. Based on my marathon goal of 8:00 i should be able to run a 15k at 7:25. Now Paris is flat and CP is a very challening course, so maybe i'm being to hard on myself, but disappointed that my av pace was 7:34. My HR was really high, and think that is part of the reason I had a hard time holding a faster pace. MY HR average was 180 and I maxed out on some of the hills at 189bpm. If i cut out the first mile of the race where my pace was averaging 8:14 because I had to work through the crowd, my av pace for the race would have been 7:32, not such a big deal as I thought. It was really the big hills that slowed me down. Wonder how I would have fared on a flatter course or a course I'm used to running. The official road runner results were time 1:12:06, pace 7:45, distance 9.3 miles. My Garmin said I ran 9.52 miles so I used that data as my analysis. I ran most of the race along the right side because it's less banked there and is easier to pass, but clearly this makes for a longer race than the official distance. For women 40-44 I placed 18 out of 156 which is the top 11.5%. For all women I placed 140 out of 1750 which put me at the top 8%, and overall I placed 662 out of 3467 which is top 19%. So overall I was really happy with the results. Only thing I would have done differently is run miles 2-4 a bit slower, have a gel between 3 and 4 (about 45 min in) and another at 6 to 7.  Also I used the hammer gels and i do better at high intensity races with the power bar gels.


Monday- Before my run I had time for 45 minutes of weight training.  Started with some band therapy for my shoulder and then moved onto weights for chest, back and shoulders. Worked easy to moderate with reps between 12 and 20. Want to work back again tomorrow and keep up on the therapy for the next month and see how my shoulder responds. Finished with 5 miin or so of abs with the bosu. This week I'm starting on some interval training, beginning with simple Fartlek intervals during my middle distance run.  This week it's a 12 mile run and I'm startting from John street, going down to battery park and up the west side. The first 2.5 miles are a warm up for the 7 miles of intervals to follow. The intervals were fartlek intervals, no specific speed set, just 1 min hard followed by 4 minutes easy. Think I did 13 sets of this. At the 6 mile mark i stopped briefly to have a gel and turned around. The first half was a bit faster then the second. Found myself slowing quite a bit during the recovery for the last 3 intervals. My average HR for the whole run was 159 which was lower than I expected. The inverval speeds were for the most part between 7mm and 7:30mm. A bit slower than I had hoped. I have not done intervals in so long, I should not be surprised I was that slow. Just hope I will perform well for the 15k race this weekend where I need to run better than a 7:30 for the whole race. Overall was a very fast run for a 12mile training run. Average pace was 8:49 for the whole 12 miles, including warm up and cool down.

Tuesday- This is supposed to be an off day wut have time for weights and will swim in the evening.  It was a good training session at John street. Stayed focused and got a lot accomplished. Moved between legs, chest and back. Did some combo exercises as well. Ended with front squat to OHP with 45# BB which i have not done in a real long time. Felt good. The chest work was light, Back moderate and legs moderate. Have worked up to 115# for the squats.

Today is my first swim at Roosevelt pool with the Tritons. I have not been in the pool for at least 5 weeks, not good, so was glad to hear that the schedule for this time of year is to focus on drills.  Les did a lot of drills with us, some of which were new to me.  We followed drills with a few 100yard swims. I focused on following through with my stroke and not flexing my wrist so much. Useful training, but not a workout. The pool was freezing but love the lockers and showers.

Wednesday- Today's plan is an easy run over the brooklyn bridge and back. Nice crisp day. About 32 degrees out. Need to remember that i don't need long underwear under my leggings unless it's well below freezing. Glutes and hamstrings are sore from yesterday's squats, lunges, dead lifts and leg extensions. Big surprise there. Otherwise the run was good. Average HR was 156 and pace including the warm up was 9:00. Hit the hill coming back fairly hard and worked HR up to 182.

About 6 hours after my run I did an indoor trainer workout. Was planning on doing this intensive interval session but changed my mind as I thought about doing weights tomorrow followed by a 18 mile run.  Warmed up 10 min then did 15 minutes of short intervals at high cadence. 15s hard, 30s rest, 30s hard, 60s rest for 15 minutes. Heart rate for intervals got up to 177bpm which is well into zonce 5c. Then did free form. Went with my music and changed cadence and gears acccordingly holding a range a bit higher than race pace for most of the ride (158-169bpm). I did this for 20 minutes then cooled down for 5min. Was nice to do a bike set that was not so structured. 45 minutes total.

Thursday- I had planned on doing a good set of weight training in the morning before my run but my legs are not feeling recovered from the workout two days ago. I had an Isalean shake about half hour before the run, did about 10 minutes of abdominal work and then set out for my multi boro run. Warmed up 1 mile to the brooklyn bridge, crossed town on Chambers and ran up the hudson river park until I hit about the 4 mile mark. Felt good, and warmed up by 3 miles but it feels a lot colder out than it is. The wind throughout this run felt like it was against me the whole time. Temp was about 30 but wind was at 17mph. Headed back over the bridge and ran through downtown brooklyn and weaved my way to prospect park. Had a gel around 6 miles. Took the park loop clockwise, still feeling good, but HR seems a bit higher than it should be. At this point my average pace is about 9:20mm. Continuing clockwise, had another gel around 12 miles, stopped for a bathroom break and to refill water around 13 miles. I turned around at that point and as soon as I did my HR monitor want nuts. Said my HR was 197 and up to 202 when in reality it was probably about 155. That was crazy and it continued for the rest of the run, just random readings from time to time that were totally off. Around mile 15 my legs started to get a bit sore, felt like I was going faster than I was. Took the last hill out of the park hard, to finish off well and then it was pretty much down hill the rest of the way home. I cooled down for 1 mile, walked a bit before heading in and stretched for about 15 inutes. The main set of 16 miles was at 9:26 pace (goal was 9:36) and my Average HR was 160 (was probably actually 158 or 159 due to error in readings).

Friday- I had a break after clients to make some calls, I had an apple and then went down to the basement for a short run and weight training session. I'm supposed to do 6 miles today, but because the 15k race is tomorrow I want to do less. Have not been on a treadmill in months so thought that would be an easy way to get in both weights and run. Ran 3 miles at 2% incline. Again my HR monitor was indicating a higher HR at some points, but not out of control like yesterday. Average pace as 8:52 and AV HR 159. Did some foam rolling and good leg stretches.

After the run I ws not feeling like doing weights but got into it after about 10 minutes. Just focused on Back and shoulders. Over 30 minutes I did Lat PD wg, SA DB rows, Arnold shoulder press, DB lateral raises, Cable reverse fly kneeling, and DB should flexion, in that order. I threw in some incline pushups along the way as well being mindful of ROM. Went fairly heavy today compared to other workouts this week. Reps were 10-15 but really pushed to finish the last couple of reps on most exercises.

Good saturday Race Morning! Its the Ted Corbit 15k race today in Central Park.  Slept well last night about 6.5 hours. Dinner night before was low in carbs and high in protein, red meat and fish. Had dessert before bed. Woke up feeling good. Had coffee and my typical oatmeal, yogurt, protein blend in the car on the way to pick up race number (about 1 1/2 hrs before race start). Thankfully david drove me to NYRR building to pick up my stuff. Jogged a bit (about 2 miles) and added some short pick ups. It's a cld morning in Central Park, 27 degrees ant 6mph winds. Supposed to get a big snow storm today. First mile or so was slow, wasn't placed in a good corral, but by mile 2 was feeling my pace and thought I would be able to maintain it. Ran counter clockwise, skipping Harlem hill and full circle of park. At mile 5 I had a gel and think I should have done this about 10 min earlier based upon how my body felt immediately after the gel. Second loop cut across 72nd street and after that there was really only one more big hill. I picked up the pace for the last 2 miles but looking at my average pace I was disappointed that I never caught up to the 7:25 pace I wanted to achieve. Based on my marathon goal of 8:00 i should be able to run a 15k at 7:25. Now Paris is flat and CP is a very challening course, so maybe i'm being to hard on myself, but disappointed that my av pace was 7:34. My HR was really high, and think that is part of the reason I had a hard time holding a faster pace. MY HR average was 180 and I maxed out on some of the hills at 189bpm. If i cut out the first mile of the race where my pace was averaging 8:14 because I had to work through the crowd, my av pace for the race would have been 7:32, not such a big deal as I thought. It was really the big hills that slowed me down. Wonder how I would have fared on a flatter course or a course I'm used to running. The official road runner results were time 1:12:06, pace 7:45, distance 9.3 miles. My Garmin said I ran 9.52 miles so I used that data as my analysis. I ran most of the race along the right side because it's less banked there and is easier to pass, but clearly this makes for a longer race than the official distance. For women 40-44 I placed 18 out of 156 which is the top 11.5%. For all women I placed 140 out of 1750 which put me at the top 8%, and overall I placed 662 out of 3467 which is top 19%. So overall I was really happy with the results. Only thing I would have done differently is run miles 2-4 a bit slower, have a gel between 3 and 4 (about 45 min in) and another at 6 to 7.

Sunday- First real snow of the year (about a foot) and I tried two new things, compression socks and yacktrax. Really slow going up to prospect park but the main drive had been plowed but not salted. The yacktrax were great and my legs feel fine even after the race yesterday. Noticed throughout later in the day that I have some isolated pain in my lower back on the right side. Turned around after 5 miles, was enjoying having warm water in my pack to sip on. Not terribly cold but the wind was pretty bad. Lots of people out sledding but only about 12 runners in the whole park and no cyclists (a first for the season). Felt sluggish by around the 6 mile mark and took it real slow for the rest of the way. Even in the park, which was 5.65 miles of my run I only ran at 9:25 mm and HR was a little high at 160. Totals were 10 miles, AV hr 160 ave pace 9:50mm.  This was supposed to be a 6 mile run, but because I ran only 3 or my planned 6 on friday I felt OK with tagging on 3 miles.  See my afterthought notes.

Bassman Half Ironman 2009 Race Day

SET UP AND BRIEFING My first half Ironman and Triathlon number 8.  As predicted the race is going to start late.  Before the half there is a sprint and a duathlon as well.  Other that that little detour everything is running smoothly this morning.  There was plenty of time to set up.  Transition is easy to access but small and a bit over crowded.  It’s on sand, which sucks as that will slow down transitions.  After setting everything up I went for a short swim.  Breathing isn’t easy, but if I remain relaxed I think everything will be fine.  I practiced coughing and clearing my nose and throat while either doing breast stroke or treading water.  So the situation is not ideal but I’m sure I can get through it.  I spent about 20 minutes doing various stretches and had David assist me with some upper body stretches.

The race will start at 9am not 8.  There was a very thorough orientation.  Only surprise here was that the run has lots of turns, signs to look out for and much of it is on trails, not roads.  I don’t run on trails so not sure how that’s going to go.  I think there are under 150 people here (a little more than last year) and a younger crowd than any other course I’ve done.

I’m really counting on my Garmin 310xt to give me all the data I need on each leg of the race to get me through.  This is the second time I’m using it in a race and the first time in DC did not go well but I’ve had more time to get to know the settings and feel I’m in good shape today.

SWIM 1.2 miles

Every time I show up for a race the swim course looks like it’s much longer than I’ve prepared for.  Today’s course is a clockwise loop of an entire lake done twice.  There are three waves.  Young men, older men, and all women each set 3 minutes apart.  We start standing in the water and I’m feeling ready.

The first 5 minutes are always the scary part. I noticed that as long is I kept my exhale forceful that my congestion did not effect the swim but if I started to breath more shallowly I felt worse. Also I felt the cold of the water in my chest but after about 10 minutes my body warmed up and I didn’t feel that uncomfortable.   Now I have my breathing down, I’m more relaxed and I stopped worrying about all the women who are in front of me.  This is my race, I want to breathe without coughing, focus on long strokes, and sight my lines regularly of the 5 buoys that make up the circle.  The water is clean, probably 65 degrees, with lots of sea plants.  I get the sense that it’s very shallow and often swipe a plant with my hand. Once through the first lap I’m feeling like this is no problem.  As is usually the case, I find myself passing people on the second loop.  These are mostly people with poor form and fast strokes.  I know my form has improved but want to be more powerful in the water but today is not the day to think about that.  It is reassuring to know as I’m passing these people that at least I’m more economical with my energy and stroke than many others on the course today.  Finish 44:40 (goal 47-50min)


First step is to sit on the grass at the waters edge and take off my wetsuit.   I want to avoid sitting on the sand in transition and thought this through before hand.  Have to take the watch off first and as I did so I looked at my time.  I’m really happy and get side tracked a little and fumble with the watch.   Had some trouble stripping the wetsuit from my calves and got a cramp in my calf.  Didn’t last long.  Ran to my bike, found it easily, sat down, toweled off my feet, put on shoes (no socks), helmet, sunglasses, grabbed extra hankie and ran out of transition.  Didn’t check my time but thought it was slower than I wanted but not by much.  Finish 4:34 (goal 2-4 min)

BIKE  56 miles

So I’m thinking I will be able to ride about 20mph as long as my breathing doesn’t get labored.  Well I’m wrong.  Even though my plan was to start with a HR of 153 and build to an average of 155 I find within 5 minutes that I’ve skyrocketed to 160 and my average speed is only 16mph.  It’s a bit slow getting out of the park and since I know the route I know I will be able to get my speed up once I get on the main road.

This is a fantastic biking course.  It’s either country road with very limited traffic, or main road with a large shoulder and little traffic.  Minor intersections had a volunteer and major intersections had police to stop traffic.  It was a really safe route, not technical at all and virtually no hills to speak of.

The course is two loops which got boring but at least I learned a bit from the first loop.  It was easy to pass people, traffic was minimal and although my HR was higher than I wanted at 161 bpm (as opposed to 155 planned) I felt really comfortable on the bike and with my speed.  Through the first half I was averaging 19.3mph and my goal was to be between 19 and 20mph.  My plan was also to increase the speed for the second half but based on my HR I don’t think that is going to happen.

At the turn around there was a bottle exchange, which went smoothly.  I was down to ¼ tank on my never reach and a volunteer took a bottle of water and dumped it into my tank.  Took maybe 30 seconds.  Rethinking my race plan I think I should have added want more energy to my water from the beginning and then added it again for the refill.  I think I didn’t get enough non-food calories during the race.  The race offered Heed, which I don’t like and I’ve found for cycling alone that I don’t need an electrolyte replacement.  Seems needs change under race circumstances.

I consumed food and gels a bit more frequently than planned throughout the bike.  I would have a Power Gel or Hammer Gel at 30 min then half of a Pure Bar 15 min later.  I continued this pattern for the whole ride and increased frequency a bit at the end.  By the end I had eaten 2 bars and 4 gels.  That’s about 480 calories and about 150 carbohydrates.  I learned when I reviewed my race data that I burned 1423 calories during this ride.

Another problem came up about an hour into the ride, which was that I had to go to the bathroom.  I wasn’t terribly uncomfortable so I thought about this and decided that if my goal was to finish under 6 hours (which looks attainable) and I wait until 3 hrs into the race to pee that should take care of bathroom stops for the rest of the race.  So about 3 hours into the race on a side road with more coverage I pulled over.  Side note here is that men really have an advantage here.  Guys just pull over, turn their backs to traffic, pee, and are back on the bike in 30 seconds.  I on the other hand, have to scurry off into the bushes and take about 2 min to take care of business.

When I get back on my bike my average speed for the entire ride (now about 38 miles in) has dropped to 16.8 just because I had to take the time to pee.  So I pick up the pace again and finish the last loop focusing my eyes on my average speed working that number back up.  As for cadence I was really confused from the beginning.  Even from the start my monitor said my cadence average was 118, which is really messed up.  Every so often I would count my strokes and probably averaged about 75rpm.  Finish 3:00:53   18.9mph  161 Av HR (goal  2:54-3:00  )


I dumped my bike, helmet and glasses quickly.  Got rid of the trash in my pockets including 2 thoroughly used hankies.   Sat down to take off shoes, wiped off excess sand, put on socks, sneakers, added gels and fresh hankie to pockets, put on a visor and speed out the gate. Leaving T2 I see David and Kramer and David asks how I’m feeling and I give a big smile.  My legs feel great, my swim was a bit faster than I expected, my bike was just a hair short and now I’m going into my favorite leg.  Finish 1:52  (goal 1-3 min).

RUN 13.2

It’s a bit warmer  than I expected and I’m thinking about the last long distance race I’ve had in the heat and can’t remember when I had one.  It’s probably only 72 degrees but feels hotter.  All my marathons have been in early spring or fall and I have not run a half marathon in two years.  About 3 miles into the 13.2 miles I start to get worried.

Here are the limiting factors.  I don’t run on trails and about 50% of this course is sand, small gravel, or wooded debris.  My cold is keeping my lungs from expanding fully, which means I have to take more frequent breaths to keep up my pace and my HR is higher than it should be.  My stomach is talking to me, not feeling nauseous but I’m burping and that never happens.  Don’t think I can take more gels at least not for a while.  There are aid stations, but they are attended by only 2 people and I have to really slow down to get water.  Some aid stations have food and I’m looking at what’s there because I don’t want any more gels but know I need to eat something and I’m going to have to experiment with new food here because I don’t eat food during training runs.  The course has lots of turns, some very sharp and lots of signs indicating course direction so I would consider this a technical course.  All things I can deal with but feel my pace goal is way off considering all these variables.  I’m having to think about and address problems that have never come up for me during a triathlon or road race and it’s stressing me out a bit.

I’m at the 6 mile mark and what’s going well is that my legs feel fine, I’ve found a comfortable pace and my HR is holding at 174 bpm (92% max) and speed at 8:30.  I’m having trouble wrapping my head around the fact that I thought my HR would be around 169 and pace around 8:25 and I don’t feel I can push the pace.  My lungs don’t feel good and I’m partially afraid of pushing it too hard because of the cold I have.  Last thing I want is to finish the race well but get severely sick.  I think I had a gel at this point.  And another problem has arisen, I have to go to the bathroom again and this time a toilet would be a preferable option.  I’ve never had this happen during a race and hadn’t planned for it.  I’m wondering if I can make it another 45 minutes but its getting really uncomfortable.  Much of the trail is through the campgrounds and I sight a bathroom and run in quickly.

The last half I find myself slowing a bit.  I think it’s mental more than anything but seriously cant get a good breath.  On the up side there isn’t anyone passing me and I’m making up some lost time from my bathroom stop but hate that every time I look at my monitor is shows a slower average pace than I ever expected.  At an aid station I saw some gum drops and that looked like a good idea so I sucked on 4 of those over a mile or so.  The last two miles were not a problem.  At that point I knew I could hold my pace.   There is a turn to approach the last 100 meters or so and as I turn that corner I saw David and Kramer waiting for me.  I hope the photographer got a picture of this because this is one photo I would buy and would bring me joy every time I looked at it.  I pick up the pace to finish and Kramer and David ran next to me to the finish line.  The crowd loved it and it was just what I needed to end the race feeling triumphant.  Finish 1:58:45  pace 8:47  Hr average 174  (goal 1:50 at 8:20 pace)

FINAL TIME  5:51:26  within my goal range of 5:34 and 5:54.  Placed 2nd in my age group out of 5 finishers.  The first place competitor in my age group finished in 5:30:29.


I’m going to have to rethink my nutrition for race days of this distance.  My calorie consumption on the bike was 480 calories and I burned 1430 calories leaving me with a deficit of 950 going into the run.  During the run I burned 1350 calories and was only able to stomach less than 200.   I’m probably going to need to find a liquid carbohydrate that I can use as a supplement on the bike and reduce some of the gel consumption so that my stomach does not get uneasy and so that I don’t have to go to the bathroom as frequently.  I’ve held back in this area because during training the want more energy added to water on long rides has been fine, but it’s not enough calories for the long distances.

Because this was not a priority race and I had an A priority race only three weeks prior I did not spend any time doing long bike run brick workouts and will definitely add those next year.

This was only the second year for this race and there were very few online comments or reviews from competitors so was hard to plan a race strategy.  Next year I will select a half Ironman that is more recognized and plan it as an A priority race.  I already started looking at some local options and the top three would be Rhode Island, New Hampshire, or Syracuse depending on which part of the season I feel I can be ready for.

Overall I’m really happy with my accomplishment.  It was more difficult than I thought it would be and the mental and physical fatigue has been greater than following marathons.  It’s three days from the event, my cold is better but still coughing and my body aches a little all over.   I don’t actually feel sore, but my calves are quite tight and I feel the kind of fatigue you feel when you have the flu but more mild.  I have almost no desire to work out or train and this has never happened to me before.  Even after a difficult race, I emotionally desire to at least get in an easy run, but this time around I just want and need to recover.  Also a note about my weight.  I did not weigh myself on race day but the day prior I weighed 116.  On the morning following the race I was down to 113.5.  I forced myself to eat high carbohydrate meals on Monday (think my cold was really the only thing holding me back) and was back to 116 again on Tuesday.

Bassman Half Ironman Pre Race Day and Goals

PRE RACE DAY Saturday I woke up still feeling congested mostly in my chest but better with my nose.  Unfortunately now David is feeling lousy.  Cleaned up the apartment to prepare for an open house on Sunday.  Had an Isalean shake around 9am and we were on the road by 10am.

Drove to a friends house in Manasquan NJ because it’s an hour closer to the race than Brooklyn.  Figured spend the day in a beach town, chill and get up at 4:15 for a race was better than driving from Brooklyn.  David was up for the adventure and we had Richard’s beach house to ourselves.

Once we got there we walked to a sports bar nearby where David could watch the Michigan/MSU football game.  I read most of the time but caught some of the game while I ate.  Had a blackened grouper sandwich (no top bun) and a green salad.  Also, two pints of beer.

After all that excitement we both needed a nap so slept for an hour.  Set out to find a Kmart so I could buy hankies.  Tissues are not going to do the trick for the race tomorrow and must have something to blow my nose especially during the bike.

Took care of that business and set out for a good meal.  Found a cute place, seafood and steaks.  I ordered penne pasta with vodka sauce and shrimp.  Penne ala vodka is my favorite pasta dish and I only eat it maybe once a year.  I ate the 4 jumbo shrimp and half the pasta along with 2 glasses of wine.  We split a brownie ala mode for dessert.

I already have my bike prepped and my goals on paper but need to set out my clothes for tomorrow.  I wrote specific speed, time, and HR goals on masking tape and placed it on the bike aero bars.  Also did the same for my run and attached that to a packet of gels.   Set out my clothing and warm up clothes for tomorrow, took some more Robitussin and went to bed at 9pm as planned.

A note about water and fluids today.  I’ve been carrying around a bottle of purified water throughout the day and sipping throughout.  I drank at least 100 oz of water, which is what I would normally consume on a day that I trained at least an hour.  Also the alcohol consumption is pretty normal for me.  Although the beers during the day were not a good idea, nor is that normal, I just couldn’t sit at a sports bar, watch a football game and not drink beer.  I have no idea when I last sat and watched a whole football game, never the less in a sports bar.  The wine is typical for pre race evening.  Either wine, beer or cocktails but limit them to two.

Gong to bed did not work well.  David’s cold was effecting his breathing and I couldn’t sleep in the same room with him.  My sinuses are a bit clearer, but chest is still congested so decided to try something new.  I placed a drop or two of eucalyptus oil on a piece of tissue and placed it in one nostril.  Moved to another bedroom and slept on my back all night with that tissue up my nose.  I never sleep well before a race and last night was pretty typical.  Kept getting up to look at my phone and make sure I didn’t miss the alarm.  Got about 6 ½ hours of sleep and felt surprisingly good in the morning.


I really think the eucalyptus trick worked.  My chest feels clearer, my nose is dry, and I don’t wheeze when I breathe.  Yes my cold had gotten that bad that when I took a deep breath I could feel my lungs rattle.  This makes me feel much better about the day ahead.

David didn’t want to wake up so I kept things moving.  Made an Isalean shake and drank that right away and pulled everything together for the race.  Took a bit to get the car packed as we are not coming back to the house after the race.  Also pulled out my breakfast for later that I pre made yesterday.  My traditional race morning meal that has worked well for every race in the last 2 years.  1/2 cup oatmeal, ½ cup yogurt and a little water soaked over night (rolled oats, uncooked) plus a smashed up banana.

By 5am David, Kramer and I were all in the car and ready.  David is pretty grouchy but feeling better than yesterday.  We stop for coffee, a must on race mornings.  It’s the only thing I can consume that will guarantee that I eliminate before a race.  It’s really foggy but very mild out.  Pretty sure I’ll be able to race in shorts and sleeveless shirt, nothing additional will be needed.

The race is supposed to start at 8 and I want to be there not later than 6:15.  I had my breakfast at 5am as I always plan for the last meal 2 hours before the race start.  When we got off highway there was lots of race traffic leading to the park and knew at that point the race was not going to start on time.


These goals were set when I was healthy so since then I adapted the goals to allow some extra time since I’m feeling less than healthy today.


My last long easy swim was on 9/2 a whole month ago.  That was 48:27.  Some of my better days were as fast as 44 min for 1.2 miles.  So am going down the middle and hoping the time off from working out my shoulder plus the benefit of the wetsuit will bring me to a pace of about 39 min/mile.  With my congestion I must admit I’m not felling confident about this swim and should get in a practice on race morning to test out the breathing.


The Transition is really close to the swim exit and if I don’t have to put on any additional clothing due to the cold I’m pretty sure I can get this done in 2 minutes.  If I have to think about what to put on that will slow me down.  If the AM temps are mid 60s then I will wear pull on sleeves and if it is colder than I will add a long sleeve top.  For the bike transition remember to have time goals up to this point on the bike as well as av speed, av cadence, hr goal ranges taped to the bike.  Also plan on 1 gel every 45 minutes and a half bar on each hour or so (put that on the bike as well).  Put two bars opened in my bento box and 4 gels opened in the bento box.  Fill up the water tank of the bike ¾ way and hope to not need any extra at the half way refill.


I’m basing this mostly on the trial ride Richard and I did in august.  We rode at 17mph the first lap and 18 the second lap and we really were not pushing it.   HR ave was 142.  Now I have new wheels, which should automatically increase my speed by about 1mph for such a flat course.  So if I go 19 mph I will finish the 58 miles in 3 hours, and if I average 20mph I will finish at 2:54.  My HR at NYC olympic distance tri this year was 167 (really high even for that race) and 159 the year before which felt really easy.  Based on my training zones I should be safe if I start slower HR, build through the middle and then slow a bit before the run again.  HR goals are 153-163 bpm with 155 being a good safe average goal.  With my cold I will need to have two hankies.  One in my hand at all times and a second in my shirt pocket as back up.


Again the transition area is small so just need to change shoes and maybe take off a top or jacket.  Make sure gels are in my shoes for the run.  On one gel pack indicate your pace and HR goals because you don’t want to loose it here.  This is what you’ve been waiting for.  Will want 4 gels for the run to be safe.  Start drinking electrolyte drink right away and assess how much water is left on the bike.  Pray that you still don’t need to pee.

RUN 1:50 best/1:55 worst

Since my training going into this has been to focus on my bike and swim legs so I’ve not spent much time on the run as it’s always been my easiest leg.  I have done about 5 runs at 13-15 miles as well as a lot of tempo and hill workouts.  It seems logical that I should be able to hold a pace slightly faster than my marathon pace of 8:25 in which case I would finish in 1:50 if I run 8:20.  If I slow to an 8:40 pace I will finish in 1:55.  Work on an average hr of 169 (my HR at Rome marathon was 172) and progress to 172 after half way if think I’m behind and feel I can push it a bit.  Start a bit slow and build.  Make sure to have a gel or food every 30-40 min.

Final numbers are a best-case scenario of finishing at 5:34 and worst scenario of 5:54.  If I finish in 5:54 I will have beat the best times from last years top 3 in my age group so looks like I could place well for this race.

DC Nations Triathlon- My Race Day

Today is my 8th triathlon of all time (third season) and I’m feeling like I’m getting much more comfortable with being prepared on race day. Had one cup of coffee and brought a large bottle of water to drink throughout the morning.  I had my usual pre race meal.  Overnight I soaked ½ cup rolled oats in water and added that in the morning to a mixture of vanilla yogurt, plus one scoop of isalean vanilla shake and ½ cup of granola.  It’s super satisfying and should hold me over for the race.  I ate at 5:30 and my race start is 8:30. I used the shuttle service at the Hilton where the expo was to get me to the race.  The shuttle pick up was right across the street from the Churchill where we were staying.  No waiting, and got to transition by 5:50.

Found Richard and Jimmy and made sure they were organized and didn’t need anything from me then I went to my rack to set up.  I don’t like my placement at all and think my transition time is going to be at least a minute longer than I had planned for.  I was really organized this time and had very little to do in the morning to set up.  Some new things for me are that I’m using the never reach water system and I filled it half way with water the day before.  I have one extra bottle of water filled with want more energy sports drink.  I’m using my bento box to hold gels and a bar.  I opened up three gels and opened up the bar so it would be faster for the ride.  I’m also using my new Garmin 310xt and will talk more about that later.

We had to leave transition at 7am, at the time of the first swim wave.  Jimmy goes in at 7:36, I’m in at 8:21 and Richard starts at 8:27.  They had us move just outside transition to a holding area where you could see people after the swim entering the bike transition and the beginning of the bike leg, but you could not see the swim start or course itself at all.  I had an idea of the course but wish that I could have seen the swim entry and full course before arriving at the start.  I couldn’t find Jimmy or Richard.  Spent a bit of time stretching and making sure I was comfortable in my wetsuit.  As well I went through 2 different trial sessions with my Garmin because I had not used the Auto multi sport mode before.  This mode is designed for races.  Once you hit start it will log your swim data, you press lap to finish that sport and it moves on to T1 and records you transition time and so forth.   Everything was working just fine.  I’m relaxed except I decide to go to the bathroom one more time.  The line for my wave starts as I’m wiggling back into my wetsuit and I jockey for a position in the middle of the corral.

As we approach the swim start we have only 3 minutes to jump in and find a position.  I wanted to be on the inside toward the front but there was no room and found myself more to the middle and a couple of rows back.  At the start I started my Garmen, or so I thought and found a comfortable race pace quite quickly.  Problem during the first ¼ was that I got stuck behind a wall of people who were spending too much time sighting and not enough time swimming and that slowed me down.  At the turn around the current was a bit heavier and then when we headed back we were swimming with the current and had the sun coming up in front of us.  There were no buoys to help keep us straight and I feel I swam too far to the outside.  Found a good clearing at this point and was in a grove but with no people around and the sun in my face it was hard to tell if I was swimming in a straight line.  I was getting a little flustered because I felt my swim time was going to be way behind my goal.  A couple of people in the wave after us started to pass about ¾ of the way through and I didn’t like that at all.  Finished the last ¼ strong and exited the water using the railing on the ramp.  As I crossed the first timing mat I hit lap on my Garmin and noticed that the swim didn’t get recorded at all and I had no idea what my swim time was.

T1 went OK.  Got my wetsuit off better than ever.  Sat down to do this and stayed seated to put on my shoes.  Now I spent about 2 minutes resetting the Garmin and getting it to the T1 menu.  I didn’t really know what to look for and messed this up as well but as I mounted my bike I thought all was figured out.

The start of the bike is flat and fast.  I look at my Garmin and it’s not showing my speed.  What’s up?  It’s now in T2 mode and I fuss with it again while riding quite slowly and start the timer all over again.  So once again I wasted some time getting this device to work for me.  Unlike most races the first ¼ was pretty open so was easy to get into a comfortable pace.  I was not able to drive the course before the race but was told it was pretty flat and it met my expectations.  There were only about 3 parts in the race where I was blocked from passing but didn’t let it bother me.  I did well in taking advantage of speed on the down hill portions and keeping a steady fast pace following with the little bit of climbing that was involved.  I monitored my Garmin focusing mostly on one screen that indicated my average speed, average cadence and average HR.  Due to the slow start I was a little behind on my speed goal.  The last 3 miles were a breeze and I picked up my cadence to make for an easier transition to the run.  During the bike I had one gel about 10 minutes in and another about 40 min later.  I drank a lot of water, which was one of my goals, to not go into the run thirsty, but didn’t drink any of the want more energy.

T2 went really well.  I found my spot easily and there were a lot of bikes in my division still on the course so I felt really good about that.  Sat down again to switch shoes, much more efficient than standing which was a new realization for me.  I pulled off a piece of the Pure bar still on my bike and ate that as I ran out of T2.  I still have 2 gels on me for the run if I need them but don’t think it will be needed.

I started the run maybe too fast.  At 7:00 m/mile I was way above my goal but my HR was good so I only slowed down a little.  There were aid stations at every mile and I took advantage of all of them.  I grabbed two cups at each, drank a little from one and poured the excess on my head.  The run was feeling fantastic.  My face was a little hot though as the sun was bright and I wished that I had a visor.  I was passing a lot of people, but all in age groups other than mine.  Most were age groups that started before me so I felt like I was doing quite well.  Again if my Garmin had worked from the beginning I would have had a better idea.  I had taken a piece of masking tape and written the goal times for each leg on it.  I affixed this to one of the gels in my shirt pocket.  That way during the run I could see if I was on target.  All I knew at this point was that the run was faster than planned and the bike a little slower.  During the last two miles of the run I visualized the last two miles of my favorite training run.  I imagined it as all downhill, from the top of the Brooklyn bridge all the way to my front door, which is all either downhill or flat.  I finished fast and completely under control unlike the guy who decided to go from a 10mm to a 6mm for the last 400 meters and fell down and almost caused a chain reaction.  Idiot!

I didn’t take any time to enjoy the finish moment.  There really wasn’t a big after party.  They offered us water, sports drink and a medal.  No food.  There were lines forming to pick up check in bags and to get back into transition so I got my ass in gear and headed back to my bike.  Once there I called David from my cell and he met me at transition so we could walk everything back to the car.  I spoke to Jimmy and he did great for his first tri and Richard was still on the course when I left.  I wanted to make a quick departure because check out for my hotel was in just over an hour and I wanted desperately to get in a shower before eating a meal and driving 4 ½ hours back to NYC.  I deducted from the finish time on the clock minus my planned start time that I finished in about 2:50, which was about 15 minutes behind my goal.

I did get in that much needed shower and had a nice lunch, not too much food, at a French restaurant.  I had been eying this ice cream shop all weekend so we stopped there after lunch to enjoy some creamy comfort food.  On the drive home I received the email that the results were in.  I was surprised.  Often they are not posted until the next day.  So here are the results.

There were 3933 finishers and 176 women in my age group division.  I finished in 2:43:27 (goal was 2:33-2:43), which placed me at 20 out of the 176.  My swim was 35:12  65 out of 176 (goal was 33:00).  My T1 was 4:25 and should have been about 2:25 without Garmin troubles.  My bike was 1:15 at 19.7mph finishing 24 out of 176 (my goal was 1:13 or 20mph which I would have definitely hit had I not had equipment problems).  My T2 was 2:41 about 30 sec slower than I planned but my rack position sucked.  My run was 45:43 at a 7:23 pace finishing 4 out of 176 (on target with my goal).  Overall was really happy with my race aside from the problems with my Garmin.  I’m unsure of my HR and cadence data as that got erased on accident when I synched it at home but I think for the bike I was at an average of 160bpm and cadence of 76.  On the run I’m pretty sure my HR was at 180 average.

Looks to me like I should compete in more duathlons if I want to place.  But really, the swim has always been the hardest for me.   In my first triathlon, which was a sprint, I came in second to last place on the swim, so I really have come a long way.  I know that there is no off-season for me and swimming.  I need to continue swimming one day a week in the off-season even if I am training for a marathon.  I have one more race left this year and I now know I will have to pick up the pace in the bike in order to make up for the swim.  I went into this run feeling really strong so feel I could have pushed the bike harder.  The next race is much smaller and I hope I will have less competitor traffic to deal with and will be able to maintain a higher speed on yet another flat course.  I would do this race again if I had a place to stay in DC and could avoid the hotel expenses.  I liked that it is a fairly flat course, well organized, and nice temperatures.  Now that I am familiar with the swim I know I could train better for an out and back.  Brighton Beach would be perfect for it.