Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend and Race Preview

May 29, 2012 --

Okay...so here's a quick recap of the holiday weekend.

Friday night after work I headed up to Larchmont to spend the weekend at Amy's.  Friday night we to La Herradura with our friends Steve and Marisela and then went back to Amy's to watch the Ranger Game (They lost, I cried, still not completely over it...that's all on that subject).

Saturday we went to Steve's for an early Memorial Day BBQ.  A few friends from college and a few of Steve's cousins were there and a great time was had by all.  The BBQ reminded me of a sixth grade dance with all the boys sitting at one table and all the girls at another.  We ate, drank, and reminisced about our college days...simply amazing!

Sunday, we headed back to my house early in the morning and I had an 8 mile run planned.  By the time we got back to my house, it was almost noon and the temperature was a scorching 80+.  The sun was bright, and my 8 miles quickly turned into 6.  It was a hard 6 miles after a weekend of not worrying about what I was putting into my body, but fought through it and got those tough 6 under my belt.  Sunday night I engorged myself on some of the most delicious Chinese dumplings  have ever eaten.  I haven't eaten like I did on Sunday in a very long time.

Monday was a long ride day.  I got up early and hit the road.  I rode the six miles up to the Long Island Expressway and got onto the service road.  I rode another 9-10 miles out east to Rt 107 where I turned around and headed back.  The whole ride was just over 30 miles and took 1:37:40.  I was pretty happy with my pace and my time considering I had never surpassed 28 miles on the bike, and the longest I had rode this year was only 20 miles.  Monday afternoon/evening was spent at a graduation party for my friend Joe's younger sister Jessica.  A lot of fun there as well.

Okay so now let me talk about the race I have coming up.  Very excited, and I have to say this now I will be so disappointed if we don't get to swim Sunday.  I think I am very well prepared and equally excited to be racing again this season.  This will be my fourth race of many this season, and like many of the others, the goal is to podium.  I have never been one of those people who is satisfied with 'just finishing.'  Last year being my first year in the sport, I was not as concerned with not finishing on the podium, but now that I have that year of experience under my belt, I want to be up there in the top.  I will post again after I pick up my packed on Thursday.

That's all for now!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

COX Providence Half Marathon Race Report

May 15, 2012 --

Okay so LAST weekend was my double race weekend.  I obviously needed a week and a half to unwind, or I have been incredibly busy with baseball games and watching the New York Rangers (who are playing awesome by the way)...you can choose whichever you'd like.

So as many of you have read, last Saturday was my first triathlon of the 2012 season which ended up turning into a duathlon.

Also, keep in mind that I chose not to reveal my race goals before the race because I was not sure how I would fare because of the race the previous day.  My previous PR before this race was 2:45:31...

Okay so where was I... Oh right, I had just finished TriRock NY at Harriman State Park.

I wrapped things up at Harriman, packed up my transition bag, threw my bike in the car (I really need a car rack for my bike) and headed out.  Amy and I drove back to her uncle's house in Larchmont to drop off my bike so I wouldn't have to keep it in my car for the weekend in Rhode Island.

After a short conversation with Amy's Aunt and Uncle, we hit the road and began our short journey to the Ocean State.  This was the second race I have run in Rhode Island and I have to tell you, I have really liked everything about the state.  Amy and I were staying in the Courtyard Marriott in downtown Providence for the night, so we checked in, dropped off our gear in the room and headed over to the race expo which was help at the Providence Convention Center.

As we were walking to the convention center, which was only three blocks away, we were passing a lot and I mean A LOT of young girls in cheer leading uniforms.  I was a little surprised to see so much "spirit" but this feeling was nothing compared to what I encountered as we entered the convention center. There were by my guess THOUSANDS of cheerleaders at the convention center for some national competition.  The building was so loud and full of energy.  We picked up our packets and got the hell out of there as fast as we could!! Haha

We ate at Dave and Buster's in the mall, and went back to the hotel for the night.  Amy's inner little old lady showed through when she went into the hallway at 10:15 to yell at some rambunctious little whipper snappers to quiet down!  In reality i think she was just really nervous about the race, but I like the other story better.

This was the first time we decided to spend a little more money on a hotel room at a place which was very close to the starting line.  The starting line was actually less than a block away from the front steps of the hotel.  We finally got to sleep in at a race which was a beautiful feeling.  At 7, we woke up and got dressed, strolled down to the lobby where we grabbed breakfast (plain bagel toasted with peanut butter for me) and then went back up to the room.  We finally made our way down to race at 7:45 for an 8:00 start.  Being able to use the bathroom in the comfort of our hotel room and not having to deal with the accommodations of a port-a-potty was incredible, I highly recommend trying to get a hotel near the race start!

We got out to the start line and stretched a little to keep the pre race jitters away.  I had done a full stretch up in the room, so just needed to keep moving until the gun went off.  Amy and I lined up together and awaited the starters pistol.  I had thought about trying to move up toward the beginning of the pack.  The race was using a single start time as opposed to a wave start, but there were some markers for different paces.  Every :30 between 8:00 and 12:00 were marked out, but it was just too hard to get through the pack up to the 8:30 marker.

Needless to say after the gun went off, I had to do a fair bit of dodging and weaving through some traffic, but after the first mile, I found myself with a group of people who were running at a pace similar to mine and stayed with them the remainder of the race.

The course map and elevation chart made it seem like I would be facing some hills, but it did not prepare me for the hills I encountered during the race.  I am in some ways surprised that I faced these hills so well, but with all of my run training over the winter paired with my weight loss and strength building, I am not as surprised now looking back on the race.

I really pushed myself hard this race, and maybe could have gone a bit harder, but I was definitely a little sore and tired from the duathlon the day before.  As the race wound through the streets of Providence and the surrounding towns, I definitely felt more fatigue than normal because of my duathlon, but I decided I was not going to let myself succumb to this fatigue and mentally pushed through it.

This was the first time I had run an entire half marathon on race day.  I had several training runs longer than 13.1 during my marathon training, but I never had been able to string 13.1 miles together for an actual race.  So that was one of my goals for this race.

My goal for this race was to run under 2:11.  Like I said earlier, my previous best was 2:45:31, and I knew that 2:11 was a 10 min/mi pace.  Going into the race, I knew I could easily hit this goal, so I also had more of a reach goal.  My reach goal was to run a sub 2 hour half and break 1:55:00.  In some of my training runs I was able to hold pace to go sub 2 for between 6 and 8 miles and thought it could be possible to break that two hour barrier.  I had heard a lot of stories of people who trained and trained but couldn't break two hours, and thought it would be a real challenge.  

Here are my mile splits (Gotta say I LOVE having a Garmin Watch so I can track my paces and my progress):

Mile 1: 8:31
Mile 2: 8:17
Mile 3: 8:36

Mile 4: 8:35
Mile 5: 8:33
Mile 6: 8:28
Mile 7: 8:15
Mile 8: 8:35
Mile 9: 8:45
Mile 10: 8:24
Mile 11: 8:59
Mile 12: 8:53
Mile 13: 9:19
Last .1: 8:39 pace

Official finish time: 1:54:16  avg pace 8:43 min/mi

A new PR by over 50 minutes!

So there it is! I apologize for the wordiness of this post, and the lack of pictures.  Amy was also running with me in this race, so she was not able to be my personal race photographer.  Next post will hopefully have more photographs!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

TriRock NY Race Recap

May 5, 2012 --

Hello all!!! I am sorry for keeping everyone waiting for this post, but I have had a busy few days.  Saturday I spent driving to Rhode Island, Sunday I ran a half marathon and drove back home to Long Island.  Monday I had baseball practice and was watching the Ranger Game! Tuesday I had a baseball game, and here I am today.  Practice cancelled due to rain, workouts taken care of before and right after work so I have a few minutes before the Ranger game starts tonight! So here goes...

And so triathlon season is upon us; well, kinda.  This past Saturday was TriRock New York a sprint triathlon in Harriman State Park in Stony Point, NY.  The park is about an hour away from my house, so with an 8 am scheduled start time, Amy and I decided to wake up at 5 and hit the road no later than 5:30.

We stopped quickly at Dunkin Donuts, because no one should be up before 6 without a coffee.  Sad story here, the coffee was absolutely disgusting.  Disgusting to the point that we couldn't even force it down just for the sake of caffeine.  The bagel I got however, was awesome!

Awesome Bagel!
As we neared the park, we began to encounter some fog, but I really thought nothing of this.  If I remember correctly, there was fog as we arrived to last year's triathlon at Harriman.  Anyway, we pull into the parking lot and unload the car.  There was a little bit of fog, but it didn't really seem too bad in the lot.  I walked my bike over to transition and began to set up.  I set up my regular transition and can remember thinking "Hmm I wonder which way the beach is from here"  After I finished setting up transition, I threw on my wetsuit and went to find Amy.

Amy and I were hanging around a few minutes before I went to take care of some pre race restroom appointments.  I think that races are one of the very few places you will ever find a line for the men's room.  I take care of business and am ready to get into the water to start my first tri of 2012.

Remember that thought of where the beach was, as I walked out of the bathroom, I finally got my answer.  I walked down a path and finally began to see sand.

This was my view of the water from about 200 yards away. Terrible fog cover.  So bad so that the race coordinators are making an announcement that they are going to push the start of the race back a half hour in hopes that the fog lifts, and they do not have to cancel the swim.  I turn to Amy and ask if I heard right...that they might CANCEL THE SWIM!  I was less than happy with the notion that the swim portion of this triathlon could potentially be cancelled.  Well long story short, after almost an hour of waiting in which hope was given and taken away as the fog rolled in and out, the swim leg of this race was cancelled, and I was now racing "DuRock New York."

At this point I am pretty upset.  I did not want to take of my brand new TYR Hurricane Cat 5 wetsuit
and put on my run gear.  I tell Amy, "Well there goes any shot I may have had at the podium today."  The swim is one of my strongest disciplines of the triathlon, and I usually have one of the better/best swim times in my age group...and one of the worst run times.  I just knew that adding an extra run leg would allow my competition to open up an even bigger gap on me when normally I would be ahead or neck and neck after the swim leg.

Now that I have expressed my sadness over the lack of swim...lets get to the recap!

Run 1- 1.2 Miles

Okay, so the race started in the same waves we would have been in had we done the swim and I was in wave 4.  The waves were sent off in three minute intervals, so some of the runners from wave 1 returned and were out of T1 before my wave even started.

Here's what we saw from the start line...a big group of runners heading into a foggy abyss, not knowing what was waiting on the other side.  The first run leg went by pretty quickly.  I stayed with the main pack of my wave, and finished the 1.2 miles just under 10 minutes with a pace of 7:41 min/mi.  One small hill up and one coming back down.  It was nice to have run this, because we would be repeating this same loop two more times for the second run leg.
Run 1 - 9:59 7:41 min/mi.
T1 - 1:22
Bike - 11 Miles
The bike leg was an 11 mile loop with some rolling hills.  Some of the hills were a little rougher than others, but nothing compared to the hills on last year's course.  My top speed was in the mid 30s on a down hill, and my minimum speed was around 12 MPH on one of the steeper uphills.  My bike performance has increased since last year.  I think a variety of factors has led to this increase.  Simple strength increase in my legs is certainly something that can be thanked.  Having to push less weight on the bike can also be thanked.  And I feel my conversion to bike shoes and clip less pedals has certainly helped.  
Bike - 37:09 18.8 MPH
T2 - 1:24
Run 2 - 3.1 Miles
Run 2 I knew was another two laps of the loop we had already run for the first run leg with a small addition about half way through the loop.  I got off the bike, and was ready to run.  Grabbed my hat and slipped my run shoes on and headed out on my way.  I felt pretty good running the whole time...which tells me I probably could have pushed myself a little harder.  (Things to keep in mind for my next Tri) I have to say in my past triathlons, I never walked, but I ran pretty slow and was passed by a lot of other people.  It was a great feeling to be on the other side of that situation on Saturday.  I was running hard and moving past several people on my run leg.  I have greatly improved my running abilities and speed over the winter which was exactly what I was hoping for!
Run 2 - 25:26 8:29 min/mi
Total - 1:15:22

Total - 1:15:22

Overall, very happy with my performance at DuRock NY.  I plan on being a force to be reckoned with this triathlon season!