Sunday, September 25, 2011

Town of Huntington Sprint Triathlon---Race Report

September 25, 2011--

4:30 a.m. wake up call for my last triathlon of the 2011 season, a sprint distance at Crab Meadow Beach in Northport, Long Island.  A lot of progress has been made this summer through hours and hours of training, and knowing that this was my last race of the season, I told myself I wanted to leave everything I had out on the course.  I know that in my last post I said I wanted to finish under 1:30:00; well I did, and then some.

A triangular out, over, and back 750 meter swim course.  The swim has always been somewhere I have felt very comfortable, and this race was no different.  Shortly after the race start, I found my groove and was moving at a really nice pace.  I do not think that I inflicted any serious damage to any of the other racers today, but definitely had the occasional foot tap or grab.  Feeling really good about my time and the race I exited the water and headed into T1.
Swim Time: 12:17    1:29 / 100yds
T1: 2:16
A really nice bike course just short of 10 miles.  It started with a short uphill which I powered through, then flattened out and had some rolling hills otherwise.  Some of the uphill climbs were steep, but they were not very long, so I just grit my teeth and muscled through them resting the legs a little on the downhills.  One thing I definitely want to change for next year is to get into some bike shoes instead of using the running shoes on the bike.  I have heard nothing but good things about bike shoes, and by the end of the bike course today, the running shoes were already waterlogged with sweat.  It would have been so nice to put on a pair of dry and light shoes after getting off the bike.
Bike Time: 33:19    17.6 MPH
The run has definitely been weak for me in the past.  I had put it in my mind this morning before the race, that no matter what I was just going to give the run everything I had, and try to finish this race and my 2011 tri season on a high note.  The first half of the run course was very tough.  It shared its first road with the bike course, so we had that same uphill to start off.  Then we turned onto another road which had a very steep hill to climb.  We had driven the course yesterday, so I knew that at the end of this uphill, the course leveled off and then eventually would turn around and be all downhill from there to the finish.  The uphill kinda sucked, but I told myself just get through it and work hard to the finish.  Coming back down this big hill, I actually was passing a few people, which I am not accustomed to on a run course (usually I am being passed).  As I passed the 2 mile mark, I turned up the burners a little and started cruising toward the finish, and at the 3 mile mark, I went into overdrive and powered to the finish.  It was the hardest I have even run in a tri, and it was well worth the results.
Run Time: 27:08     8:13 Min/Mi
Overall Time: 1:15:58

I could not have been much happier with today's race.  I worked my butt off, and it more than paid off.  I still think that I have a lot of work to do, and know I have a lot of room for improvement.  For now, I have a half marathon in three weeks, a 10k the week after, and am contemplating running a marathon in DC in March.  

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Town of Huntington Sprint Tri Preview

Okay, I know it's been awhile since the last post, but not much going on right now.  After this post, and the post race post, I am going to have weekly posts on how operation 23 by twenty-four is going.

Tomorrow is the Town of Huntington Sprint Triathlon, the last tri I am signed up for for 2011, which will likely mean I will leave everything I have out there on the course.  The race is held at Crab Meadow Beach in Northport, and is a Sprint Distance.  The swim and bike legs are shorter than the swim and bike of my earlier sprint, but the run is 3.3 miles .2 more than the other one.  

I drove the course today after picking up my race packet.  There are a few decent up hills, on the bike course, but comparable down hills as well, so not very worried about that.  My biggest worry about the race is that most of the first half of the run is up hill.  I hate running up hill.  

Goals for the race:  I am shooting for a time under 1:30:00.  I think I will spend about 15 minutes in the water, 35 minutes on the bike and 30-40 minutes running...Giving me a grand total of 1:20:00-1:30:00 without including transition times. So we'll see how that goes.

For now, off to bed to get my few minutes of restless sleep I have come to expect the night before a race.  I will post results and a race report tomorrow afternoon.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Mighty Hamptons Race Report

Sept. 11, 2011--

Looking back, when I was younger, I could have envisioned myself doing an olympic triathlon someday.  However, I never thought I would be doing my first on the tenth anniversary of one of the most deadly attacks of terrorism in history.  I was sitting in Biology class in 8th grade ten years ago on this day.  Today, ten years later, I ran my first olympic distance tri.

Set in Sag Harbor, NY, the Mighty Hamptons Olympic Distance tri celebrated it's 30th annual race this morning.  The .9 mile swim took place in Noyack Bay, the 24 mile bike leg and the 10k run were nice routes through Sag Harbor.  

The last two weeks my level of nervousness had increased exponentially.  Between hurricane Irene and the last week pounding Long Island with rain, I hadn't been able to get out to do much of any training.  I attempted two long brick sessions before the hurricane but flatted out about half way into my bike both times.  I took that as a potential sign of bad things to come.

Before the race I did set some time goals for myself.  During my training, I had been able to do the swim distance in just around 30 minutes, the bike distance in and hour and a half to an hour and forty minutes, and the run in just over an hour.  So I had said I would have been happy with a finish faster than three and a half hours, but ideally I wanted to be closer to that three hour mark.

Swim - .9 Mile 

The swim was a water start.  We swam about a half mile down parallel to the beach, turned around and swam the same distance back.  The waves weren't too big, but toward the end of the swim, the water began to  get more and more crowded, and then the elbows really started flying.  I am pretty sure at one point I caught someone in the face with an elbow, but these are the risks triathletes take entering these races.  I know at several times I was hit or kicked, so I guess in the end it all evened out.  In the end,  got out of the water feeling strong, and headed to transition to get onto the bike.
Swim Time: 30:31  1:51/100 yds
T1 time: 2:59

Bike - 23.8 Miles

This bike course was great! It was very scenic, and had, in my opinion, a perfect balance of up and down hills.  I felt really strong on the bike (it could have been from my almost two full weeks of rest before the race) but I definitely felt like i was really moving.  Unlike trirock, this course was so well marked.  On the streets, there were orange arrows in every intersection we crossed to direct us as well as white signs and police/volunteers at all of the turns to direct us where to go.  One other thing I really liked were the signs which read "slow, turn in 25 yards".  It made me feel as though I had ridden this course several times before.  I never was worried of being lost or not knowing which way to turn.  Overall, a great bike leg, with an average speed about 2 mph faster than I had been maintaining in my training.
Bike Time: 1:19:38  18 mph
T2 Time:  1:33

Run - 10k

The run has always been the weakest aspect of my tri game.  I will compliment myself, and say that I have gotten much stronger running, and can now run several miles without stopping, I just am not very fast.  I am moving in the right direction thought, so as far as I am concerned it is a work in progress.  This run course was a very nice, relatively flat course which wound through a small residential area.  Many people came out of their houses to cheer on the runners as they went by, which I thought was really cool.  While I was running these were some of the thoughts that were running through my mind...
"Okay, this is just two 5ks"
"Two miles down, just have to do what I already did two more times"
"Halfway there, just keep going"
"5k left"
"2 miles left"
"1 mile left, time to turn it on"
"I can see the finish line"
Run Time: 1:09:27  11:12/mile
Overall Time: 3:04:05

I had my personal photographer with me (AKA my girlfriend Amy) and when she did manage to get some good pictures of me when she wasn't taking pictures of dogs.  Here are some of the good ones...

Not sure whose dog this is, or why I needed fifty pictures of it, but yes it is cute!

Exiting the water after the swim...I am in the blue cap

T1...both transition shots she got looked the same, so decided to just put one up.  I am in tie foreground

Post race...really lovin my new Oakey Fast Jackets!
Best part of racing for me...T-Shirts and medals 
(Really pumped to have a long sleeve shirt for the upcoming cold)

A few closing thoughts and remarks......

I am not sure if it is written anywhere else in the blog, but I am an aspiring math teacher...have all the certifications and degrees...just waiting for a job opening.  But, as a math person, I could not be more excited about my finishing time.  3,4,5 is one of the special right triangles, and my time of 3:04:05 was perfect to me!  I am happy with my time, but there is definitely work to be done.  I think in the winter months, I will certainly be focusing a lot on my run.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Runyon 5K @ Yankee Stadium

August 9, 2011--

I have always been a HUGE Yankee fan, so running a 5k contained entirely in the new Yankee Stadium was an incredible experience.  The race started on the first floor concourse where we ran two laps and then headed down into the under workings of the stadium and came out on the warning track of the field!  We took two laps  around the warning track where I stopped to take pictures...

 My brother Justin and I at the foul pole in right field.

 My brother Justin, and I in front of the Yankee's dugout.

Me in front of the door to the Yankee's bullpen. (I had Enter Sandman playin on the iPod...awesome moment)

 Amy and I post race.

After the warning track came the harder portions of the race, climbing and descending stairs to the other concourses.  It was a lot of fun, but definitely not something you practice as a runner.

We certainly didn't win this race, and well never planned to.  We had a great time, and enjoyed the experience.  Maybe next year I will run more competitively.

TriRock NY

August 25, 2011 --

Okay, I may or may not have signed up for this race only about two weeks before it, but I had spent the entire summer training for the two triathlons I have coming up in September, and I felt I was well prepared for this tri. I had never done a triathlon before, so I really had no idea what to expect, or what my time might be. 

TriRock New York was a .5 mile lake swim, a 15 mile bike, and a 5k trail run.  Going into the race, I had never swam in a lake, or in any type of open water...and had never done a trail run, so the race was going to basically be a completely new experience for me.  In my training, I had normally kept a speed of 15 mph on the bike and a pace of 11 min/mile running, so I had believed I could finish the bike in 1 hour, run in about 33-35 minutes, and swim in about 15 minutes...Giving an optimall goal time of 1:45:00, but I knew that I would be upset if I finished in over 2 hours.

Swim -- As I said, the swim was a half mile out and back lake swim.  The water was a nice 74 degrees, and felt really warm as we warmed up.  The warm up swim was my first inI got sight into the fact that lakes have plants in them, and you sometimes swim right through those plants. As we lined up to get started, my heart began to race...I had no idea what to expect and was anxious to get started.  I lined up off to the side and near the back of my wave hoping not to get trampled, and I didn't (little victory).  Only at one time did I find myself drifting off a nice straight path, but overall felt the swim went very well.

Swim Time:  15:43  1:47/100 yds
T1 Time: 2:45

Bike -- This was probably the toughest bike course I have ever ridden.  It started with a pretty steep uphill climb which was followed by a crazy downhill.  The course was set on the roads of Harriman State Park, and I happened to notice several road signs warning cars of the steepness of the hill, yet here I was riding a bike down it.  At top speed, my bike's computer read over 51 mph, which if you have never ridden a bike that fast, it can be very scary.  Here is where the course got difficult...At the bottom of this hill, there is a little rotary where you made a 180 degree turn around and headed straight back up that insane hill.  It was a pretty miserable climb.  Some of the other racers were walking their bikes up the hill, and actually moving faster than some of the people trying to ride their bikes up.  Overall, the bike course was really tough, but a lot of fun flying down that hill at over 50 mph.

Bike Time:  1:04:44  13.9 mph
T2 Time: 1:22

Run -- Getting off the bike, my legs were pretty tired.  I had never experienced hills like those I had just climbed.  The run was an out and back trail run, and like the bike course, started out uphill.  It was definitely tough, and I did find myself walking some of the hills.  I got my legs back under me after about a mile, and began running at my regular pace.  I wound up finishing the run with a pace just below my goal pace, but for my first triathlon I was not going to complain.  I crossed the finish line, and was overcome with joy.  It is a great feeling crossing that finish line and receiving the finisher's medal.

Run Time: 35:09  11:20/mile
Overall Time: 1:59:33

Okay, so I didn't meet my 1:45:00 goal, but I did break the 2 hour mark, and had a great time.  I can't wait for my next tri!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Binghamton Bridge Half Marathon Race Report

May 15, 2011 -- Okay, to be fair, today's date is September 5, 2011, and this race was now almost 4 months ago...but I will do my best to remember as if it were yesterday.

This was the race that I signed me and Amy up for as her birthday present.  Looking back it was probably more of a gift for me because it inspired me to get into running and racing, but I think she enjoyed it too!  Amy and I arrived in Binghamton Saturday morning.  We left Long Island at 5:15 am, so I could get a quick round of golf in on Saturday (Amy was not pleased).  We decided to stay at my old apartment with my friend Jackie, in my old room.  It was nice to have a free place to stay, but in the future we think we might just opt for a hotel room anyway to make it feel like more of a mini vacation.  We ate a nice pasta and chicken dinner at our friend Matt's Apartment, and went back to Jackie's to get into bed early.

After a mostly sleepless night, 6:00 came around and the alarm sounded.  Amy and I got ourselves out of bed, headed to dunkin donuts...split a toasted bagel lightly buttered and made our way to the start line.  It was a chilly and rainy day, but still almost 900 people showed up to run the half.  At 7:15, we began to do some stretching, and were hit with the realization that we were severely under prepared for this race.  Now realizing we might be in for a long day, we waited for 7:30 and the gun to go off.

Our first mile went by smoothly, but the other 12.1 miles were not so easy.  I think we made it to around the 2 mile mark before we started walking.  I was definitely expecting to be able to run the entire 13.1 without stopping, but I had thought I would have gotten through about 5 or 6.  I can't say I was disappointed with the race (can't really say I was thrilled either), but without a doubt I would like to be more prepared for my future races.  Amy and I finsihed 874th and 875th respectively with times of 3:15:58 and 3:15:59.

Watch out Binghamton Bridge Run, I will be back, and redemption will be sweet!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

My Story

Many experienced bloggers, or avid blog followers will quickly realize that I have never done this before.  While I have read and followed some blogs, I have never written one of my own so hopefully I will begin to get my 'blog legs' and the posts will begin to flow, and hopefully they will be interesting!

I figured the best way to begin a new blog would be to divulge some personal info, and tell the world a little about the rookie racer.  

My name is Paul, and I am a twenty-three year old living on Long Island.  I received my bachelor's degree in mathematics from Binghamton University in May of 2009, and my master's degree in December of 2010 also from Binghamton.  I spent the end of the 2010-2011 school year as a substitute teacher, and plan to continue in that role for the upcoming school year.  I spent the summer teaching summer school math, and while it was a challenge, the experience I gained will prove invaluable in my teaching career.

Alright enough with the boring stuff, I know everyone is asking the same question...I thought this blog was a bout competing in races, why all this boring stuff about teaching! I apologize, but i thought to give some background information about my life may lend some insight into the stresses I face in my day to day life.  

Anyway, I was born a competitor.  I spent my younger years playing tee ball and soccer; played football, baseball, and wrestled throughout middle and high school; and now have gotten into racing.  

Rewind to August 2006...the beginning of my college years.  Going from a three sport athlete in high school to  a no sport athlete in college was in some ways traumatizing.  I didn't know what to do with all of my free time!  I soon decided to fill my free time eating instead of exercising and watching TV instead of studying.  Needless to say this was the may which lead directly to me becoming the heaviest I had ever been in my life, and so out of shape, I would get tired climbing the three flights of stairs to my college dorm room.  

Fast forward to May 2010...I visited my best friend at Quinnipiac University after his graduation and met my current girlfriend Amy.  One of the first things she told me was that she ran races, she even went out for a run one day while I was there, I think mostly to impress me, but that's okay, it worked!  Anyway, she then began to tell me that her family was all into racing and competition and even that her cousin was training for an Ironman.  Being naive I asked what an Ironman was, and she responded "I have no idea but part of it is running a marathon."  

Needless to say, Amy opened my eyes to the world of racing, and that year for her birthday being the best, or stupidest (still haven't decided) boyfriend ever, I signed the two of us up to run the inaguural bridge run half marathon in Binghamton.  I figured from that time, I had six moths to train I could try to get myself into shape for this race, and suffer through it.  Well, I hated it! (more to come about this hatred in later posts)  

Even thought I hated and suffered through the entire half marathon, something inside me flipped and I was hooked! Hooked on racing, and obsessed with getting into better shape, getting faster, beating myself.  I have been training hard ever since, and signed up for six more races since then.  

A big part of my motivation is to one day beat my girlfriend's family, but I can't let them know that yet because right now I don't think I'd have a chance.  

Guess that's all for now.  I will begin posting recaps of my past races and progress toward 'Operation 23 by Twenty-Four' soon