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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. 

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.


Strangely after the race i didn't crash like i usually do.  We had a long drive home from NJ and David seemed more tired than I was.  Ate quite a bit of food at the post race party and then ordered in some Thai Curry for dinner, but didn't over eat and wasn't terrible hungry.  Looking forward to allowing myself to eat carbs as much as i want for the next few days. On Monday I awoke to feeling similar to when you have the flu.  My chest is still congested and my body aches, but nothing in particular is sore.  Well my calves are tight and that's a new one for me.  Between clients did some foam rolling and stretching.  Throughout the day i just took it easy and did take a nap in the afternoon.  Tuesday was much like Monday except my chest feels better, but i'm still lethargic.  For the first time following a race i don't feel motivated to do anything.  Usually whenether my body feels great or not I have a mental urge to do some exercise, but not this time around.  I don't know how much of this is due to the race but feel it's a combination of the race and still having this cold.  Did more stretching and foam rolling on Tuesday as well.

On Wednesday i was still feeling lethargic, but muscles all feel fine.  By mid day i got the urge to run and decided to just get out for an easy jog.  I coughed a lot at the beginning of the run and although i wasn't thinking about pace at all was surprised how slow it was.  That's a good clue to stop and go home and rest some more.  Only ran 2.5 miles and pace was 10:12.

Thursday i continued to rest my body, still not even feeling like doing any weight training and i've been eating whatever i want which is not a good thing.  For instance, board between clients, went to have coffee and a muffin even though i had brought my Isalean shake with me as well as a banana.  Hope tomorrow i'm feeling up for the task of running again.  Put my energy into setting up my next race.  Signed up for the Paris marathon 4/11/2010.  David already has his airline tickets so decided now was the time for me to take some action.  Also started working on my training program.  It will be a 26 week program with a nice long base period.  Looking forward to having more time to train (never had a plan this long) and therefore i can put in a longer sharpening phase.  Last year the sharpening phase was real short and I feel I worked too hard because of the shorter period.  This program will also be more forgiving if i need to take a day off because of weather or travel.

Friday im feeling like it's ok to run.  Not coughing much today and my body doesn't feel achy anymore.  From my house i jogged easy to the bridge.  I took the hills real slow and the flats and downhills probably a little too fast for my first real post race run, but it felt good.  Didn't cough during the run but did hack a bid after.  Averaged about a 9:20mm fter a 10 min warm up which is about where i should be for an easy run on hills.

Saturday is my first long run since the race on Sunday.  I warmed up 10 minutes at 10mm to the bridge.  The main set was 57 minutes over the bridge, up the west side and back over the brige and down court street.  Miles for the main set were 6.35 and my pace average was 9:00, exactly where it should be for my marathon goals.  I stopped at the hardware shop for an o ring for my water pack and finished with a cool down all down hill for a little over a mile.  Everything feels good although it felt like more effort than i would normally predict for an easy long run covering only 8.5 miles.  I'm still congested, but itns' not apparent at rest.  Was coughing a bit during the run.

I've been looking forward to sunday for a while.  I met this great guy in the bike shop who invited me out on long bike rides with him.  I don't know a lot of courses and was getting bored with the 9W rides i did during tri training all summer.  And i don't like having to drive over the bridge and take away from training time by commuting.

Anthony lives in Brooklyn as well and we met on a corner at 9:15am and planned for a 3 hour ride.  As he described the route on the phone i got the feeling that this was going to be longer than three hours.  If i needed to turn back at an hour and a half i could, but it was a really nice day and decided to go along with his plan.

We ended up in long island, ending at point lookout which is almost to Jones beach.  We started on 4th ave, rode over the path running along bay ridge, past coney island and along the belt parkway in the Jamaica Bay area.  All this was familiar.   We passed one bridge and took the second to the broad challel??  Continued out to the rockaways, passing atlantic beach, long beach, lido beach and ended at point lookout.  It was a nice sunny day but a cool breeze.  I wore just the right amount of clothing.  The ride out felt easy and we cruised at about 17mph even with all the traffic lights.  We stopped for some food.  I had an egg sandwich while Anthony indulged in his regular treat for that route, apple pie ala mode.  As we headed back the wind had picked up.  I didn't feel like there was wind at out back when we went out, but there was a stiff wind returning home.  We took a different bridge back over the channel and followed ocean parkway back into Brooklyn.  On the way back my left knee started to hurt quite a bit.  I did some drafting as i was getting tired around the 4 h our mark and was not expecting this wind.  Total time was 5:33min.  I didn't look at my monitor at all during the ride, just went with the flow and that was the whole point of this ride.  My cadence was about 72 on the flats, hr av 124, av speed 13.33 and total distance a whopping 74 miles.  Yikes.  Thoroughly enjoyed my shower that afternoon and then started cooking dinner.  Iced my knee that night as well.

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.

Pre Half-Iron Race training

My first Half-Iron, the NJ Bassman, is Sunday of this weekend.  so this is my training plan leading up to that race.  My week will consist of 6-7 hours of training.   Since my peak week did not turn out as I had hoped and i now have a cold i have to take each day as it comes but this is my plan.  Bike 4 hours, Run 2 hours, Swim 1 hour and an hour of light weight training and shoulder therapy which i am not counting.  I don't know that i will be able to get in the swim.  If the congestions doesn't go away by Friday i'm going to have to give that idea up. Monday I rode my bike in the Poconos while we were visiting my parents.  David and i set out for an easy exploratory ride.  We rarely ride together because my training pace is always faster than his, but my goal is just to get some exercise since I took off Saturday and Sunday.  Where the roads were good they were hilly and I kept a pretty slow pace and high cadence.  The areas that were flat were highly trafficked and the pavement was not as smooth, also lots of stop and go.  Frankly was fine with an easy ride exploring a new area.  If this were a real training ride i would have been annoyed.  The ride did help with my energy level and broke up some of the mucus, so for today's purposes, a good ride.  Rode 1 hr 20 min at 16mph and hr average was and easy 136bpm.

Tuesday was a nice easy run.  The temperature was perfect for a run but there was a lot of wind.  This will be a totally flat run with not stopping.  I ran from John street, down to battery park and up the west side bike path.  On the way out I ran about 9:20 pace and on the way back 9:10.  My goal was to keep my HR below 160bpm and average of around 150 which worked well.  Still very congested and some coughing.  Later that day i went to the bike shop for my new wheels.  Will discuss that in a separate post when i have something to report.  But... i'm really excited about these wheels.  Basically did a lot of research and found that the budget i  had in mind was not going to be much of an upgrade from my current set if i bought new.   I found someone who was happy to unload a new pair of Rolf Prima Vigor SL's with only 50 miles on them, plus a new 10 speed cassette and new continental 4000 race tires for a song.

Wednesday was my first ride on my new wheels.  My congestion is a bit better today and energy is a bit better too after doing a partial cleanse day yesterday.  I went out about 10:30 after having an IsaLean shake for breakfast.  It was very windy and i'm not sure these conditions gave me the test of speed that I wanted for my first trial with the new wheels.    I rode and  easy 12  min to park then did 5 laps.  First was easy, 2,3,4 were pretty hard but not time trial hard.  Best of those was 17.3mph, lap of 11:38 and HR betw 150-159 av, cadence about 75.  Compared to last set of moderate difficult laps which was on sept 18 (friday following DC race) where my best lap was 17.6mph and 11:21 per lap, hr 151 and cadence 75.    A little disappointed, but it was really windy today.  I did feel a much smoother ride which i think is in part the race tires.   The ride was not bumpy at all and didn't feel the cross wind as much as i did with the other wheels.   The gearing tune up was noticable.  I didn't take the big hill very hard, but felt it was a fairly good effort and was surprised that i was a bit slower than that last ride.  Will plan to do the same ride on Friday.  Also need to keep in mind that I have a cold, but that didn't seem like a deterrent today except that my heart rate was more elevated than without congestion.  Taking lots of vitamin C, about 3000mg a day, and drinking 3-4 cups of tea per day.

It's Thursday morning and I'm finished with morning clients and i'm disappointed that its too cold out for the short sleeve shirt i have on.  It feels like the mornings of NYC marathon which is a month away.  Dont like that it's october 1st and feel like i need to be wearing tights, not shorts.  Physically i'm feeling about the same as yesterday with lots of nasal congestions.  Prior to my run i put in a short 35 minute training session of supsesets.  2 back exercises, followed by two shoulder and 2 more back.  All in the rep range of 15-20 and light to moderate effort and everythig feels good, even my left shoulder.  Want to keep this run under 45 minutes as i still have one more bike before race day and maybe a swim.  Body feels tired, not sore, just tired.  Took the run easy, HR mostly 150 bpm or so until i approched the hill going up chambers street.   On my way home from the gym I stopped by a health food store and bought eucalyptus essential oil to rub under my nose and inhale to clean up sinuses and an herbal tea to help with congestion.  Going to take a nap later also.  Have a client this evening at the track and will not be running with her today.

It's Friday afternoon and time for my last pre race training session.  i'm really congested and didn't realize it until i got on the bike.  Just going to do 4 laps of the park today.  Stopped during the 2nd lap of PPark to get some tissue and then it was better.  Took the first 2 laps easy and 3rd lap was a trial.  On that lap did 11:06/ 18.1 mph at 73 cadence and HR av 161.  That's what i was looking for!  This was my best lap ever, compared to 17.6mph/11:21min.  So i got what i wanted before my race.  Big problem is that i am really sick and sniffeling through a 3hr bike ride followig a swim where i'm going to feel like im drowning in my own fluids wont' be fun.  But at least i know what i'm capable of on the bike and can just focus on relaxing on the swim.

A Week in Review

This is supposed to be a peak week for the last race of the year, my Half-ironman.  Last week i felt good during recovery and didn't plan my training advance.  This week was pretty planned out with the goal of 14 hours of training.  As the week progressed i felt this was too much volume and i'm not sure if i needed more recovery from the race or if i was building up to catch a cold or what.  So aside from the indoor trainer ride on Tuesday, here is how the rest of the week panned out. On Wednesday i did only twenty minutes of TRX work and some abs followed by Hill repeats run.  This is the same series of hill repeats that i had done before the DC race.  Started with a nice 23 min warm up then went to the Brooklyn side of the Brooklyn Bridge.  Completed 8x1 min repeats with 2 min rest inbetween.  My HR got up to about 178-181 for each repeat.  My best pac was 7:43 and worst was 8:13.  Didn't work these hills as hard as some of those from prior training.  Total mileage was 5.96.  Went out that night to a concert and didn't get as much sleep as usual.

On Thursday i did some moderate weight training.  Mostly 10 -15 reps focusing on Back (3 exercises) and shoulders (2 exercises).  This was followed by a run.  I did 10 miles averaging 8:38min mile.  Started with a 10 minute warm up the set out for 1hr and 15 min at half marathon race pace.  My HR was a bit higher than i feel I can manage for a race.  had to rest briefly a few times to drink and gel.  It was unseasonably hot, otherwise a good run.  Feeling that the hard work from the hills yesterday left me less than recovered for today though.  Average pace for the 1:15 was 8:23 and HR was 172.  This run was a good indicator for what i think i can run for the race.  I need to keep my HR for the race around 169.  Wait, the day isn't over, i still have to get in a swim.  Since the riverbank pool is closed for cleaning my o=nly option at the moment is to swim with my team.  Unfortunately that means swimming from 8-9:30pm in the city.  I've never had to do this before and i hate the idea of swimming so late in the day.  I went to Baruch for the team swim and much of the workout was freestyle.  I was in a lane with some swimmers who were a bit faster than usual for my lane so the coach set the intervals at a more challenging time than i was used to.  I kept up ok but was frustrated that i got behind as the workout progressed and the intervals became shorter.  Overall i swam about 1.25 miles and i hoped to swim at least 1.5 that day.  I liket the last 12 intervals which were 25 yards really hard (a breath every 4-6 strokes) followed by 25 yards at 50% effort.  It was later than my usual bedtime when i got home and took about an hour to unwind and get ready for bed.  Again i slept less than usual.

Friday is long run day.  Plan was for 2 hours in prospect park at an easy pace.  I started with a 21 min warm up to the park and everything was feeling good.  In the park i did 44 minutes at an easy 9:21 pace and hr at 150 (about 79%) but legs felt real heavy.  Although i was planning for 2 hours I decided to cut the run much shorter than planned.  I have off on Saturday and Sunday i want to get in a good long bike ride, so decided to add the extra time missed on the run onto the bike ride.  My not so long run was 1:25 at 9:28pace.  Note i rarn three days in a row, totally not the norm for me.  Thinking back i should have done the bike ride on thursday or Friday instead of waiting fot the weekend, but since we were headinig to the country for the weekend i wanted to enjoy ther ride there instead of the typical park rides that my body has gotten so accustomed to.

Saturday i woke up with a sore throat.  Somehow i wasn't surprised.  When i cut the run short on Friday i knew something was not right with my body.

Sunday i had head congestion, sore throat is gone, and a bit of a cough.  David and i are up in the Pocono's region of PA visiting my parents.  We drove Saturday and will return Monday.  We bought the bikes intending to ride on Sunday for a good 2 1/2 hours but not only was my body not cooperating, but we had rain all day on Sunday.

My intended peak weak was a bit of a disaster.  My ride on the trainer was awesome, the rarce pace run was valuable and the rest of it was pretty useless.  If i were to schedule the week again i would have done the following:  Monday- ride on the trainer.  Tuesday  race pace run.  Wed off.  Thursday  2-2.5 hour ride in prospect park and swim with team in the evening.  Friday easy 6 mile run if i felt like it (note sleep patterns).  Saturday off or 6 mile run if didn't do it on Friday.  Sunday long run 1.5-2 hours.

I should have cut out the hill run and rode long on my bike during the week and I should not have run three days in a row.  I should have kept the long run, but saved it for the weekend instead of dragging the bikes out of town. And should have planned for only 9 hours for the week.

Killer Hill Session on Indoor Trainer

It's a great day for a short one hour trainer session and i've put together a workout that really required attention to cadence and heart rate. It's also a peak training week so i wanted to add in a hill session because next week is prep for race week.  I chose a program that would require me to monitor my Garmin closely partially to see if i have the screens set up in a way thats easy to view a interval workout.  In the end i did change the set up on my intercal screen to incluse av cadence, av hr, av speed, and time per interval.  Teh more i use the Garmin 310xt the more i like it.  The download file showed the av/max hr, speed and cadence for each interval. Started with a 10 minute warm up and then the plan is to follow a progression of intervals set at increasingly difficult cadences while maintaining a relatively high HR.  My heart rate goal for the intervals was 153-157bpm or 8-12 beats below lactate threshold.  This is a three part workout.

For the first part i started with a 5 min interval at 60-65cadence followed by a 10 min interval at 50-55reps, followed by an easy 5 minute recovery at about 80rpm and hr av of 139bpm.

The next set is 6x 2-3  minutes at 40-50rpm with a minute rest in-between.  For the rest period my HR dropped only to 145 or so as i retained a fairly low cadence and did not want to take too much time to regain the resistance and pace needed to bring my HR back up to sub lactate level.

The last set i threw in at the last minute.  There was no rest after the last 2 min interval and i reduced the resistance throughout the following progression while keeping my HR at sub lactate level.  2 min at 57rpm, 2 min at 66rpm, 2 min at 79 rpm followed by a 5 min cool down.

This workout kept me interested the whole time.  The next time i will take the second set and add a minute to each interval but keep the rest period at 1 minute.  Great 1 hour session for improving strength and climbing position.  I remained in the aero position thought the workout.

DC Nations Tri- Recovery Week

This week i just took everything as it came and didn't plan a thing.  Overall i trained  only 8hrs 45 minutes and every workout felt good. Monday, the day after the race, was a beautiful fall day.  I had a light client load and just couldn't help but go for a run.  I ran with no plan at all.  Ended up running along the promenade in Brooklyn Heights, into Borough Hall park and then about a third of the way up the bridge before i turned around.  Kept my pace slow at 9.25mm average and low HR throughout.  Don't know when the last time i went for a run less than 45 minutes.  Spent a good 15 minutes stretching after.

On Tuesday i had some time between clients and put in just 20 minutes of weights.  Focused on back and shoulders.  In the evening i rode my bike to prospect park for 3 laps.  I had to meet a client for a training run so went early to get in a short ride.  Total time was one hour.  During the ride i witnessed a cycling accident.  Another cyclist stopped first to assist and then i stopped.  The guy rode right into another cyclist who was intersecting the road and did not look before he crossed.  The injured rider landed on his shoulder and hit his head.  Wasn't wearing a helmet.  When I arrived the other cyclist was asking if he could call an ambulance for him.  He responded negatively.  I stuck around to make sure he was coherent and didn't need immediate First Aid.  After about 5  minutes he started to feel the pain and listened more to our suggestion to get help.  I asked how his shoulder felt as he was becoming aware that the multiple scrapes and slight head injury were not the problem, but that his shoulder was.  I asked if he would show me his shoulder.  He had a bump, just like mine after my accident but not as severe.  Looked to me like he had separated his shoulder.  At that point i really encouraged him to at least allow an ambulance to come and check him out.  That he didn't have to necessarily go to a hospital (i found out that he didn't have insurance) but if the medics suggested it he should not ignore this injury.  I told him a bit about my cycling accident and resulting separated shoulder.  Didn't want to freak him out but could see in his eyes he just didn't want to deal with what was happening.  I really felt for him and understood what was going on in his mind.  Once he agreed to an ambulance i left.  The police had arrived and i had done all i could plus i was late for meeting my client.  Wish i had thought to give him my business card because i know he's going to want someone to talk to once his diagnoses is made.

Wednesday i did a light workout in my gym.  Worked with the trx, cables and free weights.  Mostly back but some shoulders and chest as well.  Spent a good 15 min on abs and started with some shoulder PT work.

Thursday i had time between clients again so did a circuit of back and shoulder work.  5 exercises and 3 sets.  Felt easy which was my plan for the week.  After my clients i went for a run downtown because i wanted to do a flat run.  Included some fartlek work but really felt easy although my average pace was a bit faster than i would have expected for such an easy run.  Pace was 8:52mm and my av hr was only 152.  Usually a flat run at 152bpm is more like a 9:10mm.  Based upon how my legs are feeling and resulting HR my body is recovering really well from the race.  Nice to see.

Friday i took my bike out to prospect park for some laps.  I wanted to use a Garmin feature called mark and lap.  At a given point at the top of the park i set this feature and the GPS is supposed to mark that spot so that each lap starts and finishes at that point and you don't have to manually pres a lap button.  Found that only half of the laps got marked.  Not sure what's up with that but will try this setting again.  I completed 7 laps.  Average HR was 145bpm, speed about 17, cadence about 72.  Cadence was actually faster.  Noticed that when i'm on a steep downhill and don't pedal that the 0 cadence gets averaged in for the ride.  Dont' really like that, but don't think there is a way to adjust that.  The last two laps i took significantly slower than the first 5 (was feeling fatigued).  Took the big hill at a 50-60rpm pace.  Took it easy going home.  Overall rode 1:46min over 27.84 miles.  spent a lot of time looking at the 4 screens i have set up on the garmin to see if i like the way i've programmed the data to appear.  Think it shows everything i want in a good pattern.  Easy to read as long as it's bright.

Saturday was my first run designed to test out a pace for my next race.  The half iron in two weeks ends with a 1/2 marathon.  I have not run a half marathon race in two years so don't have a good  history to judge a pace for this race.  My thought has been that i should be able to manage a pace similar to my last marathon after finishing a 56 mile bike ride.  This of course is dependant on HR as well, but the course is going to be really flat.  So i set out over the Brooklyn bridge to the flat terrain of the west side.  Set my garmin for a new program with a warm up and then two 30 min intervals.  Once i got to the west side and could run without traffic i set the first interval working a little slower 8:25pace  and planned to pick up the pace about 10 sec for the turn around.  After the 30 minutes i took a 30sec break, had a gel and turned around.  The second 30 minute was at 8:19 mm average.  My average HR was 162bpm for both directions (the first half was against the wind).   This was a good test.  For the half iron run i should be able to manage 13plus miles at around 168bpm no problem, so i'm thinking if i start a bit slower (maybe 8:30 pace) and can add a little speed after 3 miles or so and actually exceed my last marathon pace of 8:25.  The real question is how to stay motivated during all that without an Ipod.  I never run without it.  Something i guess i should practice next week.

Sunday i finally fit in a swim.  Since the Riverbank pool is closed for maintenance for the whole month my only training options is with TNYA, my masters swim team.  Often not a real productive workout but today was pretty good.  Trains were messed up.  It took me an hour and a half to get to the pool and changed so i missed the 15 min warm up.  Most of the workout was freestyle intervals.  My stroke was strong and long.  Felt real relaxed until about the last 10 minutes of the 1:05 workout.  Skipped the last set of butterfly intervals.  I don't do butterfly, plus i was freezing.  It's going to be impossible to get in any swims on my own before the half iron so will just focus on getting in a team swim one time each week.  Just can't pull off two swims a week because i won't get home before 10:30pm from the workouts on week days and i have to get up between 5 and 5:30 am to meet clients.  Would like to get in another weekend open water swim but will be out of town next weekend so can't swim with the Brighton swim club.  Today's strong swim made me feel confident that if i do stick to just two more quality swims before the race i'll be in good shape for the 1.2 mile swim.

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.