Bronx Biathlon Race Report

Posted by on April 27, 2008 in Racing, Training

Boy, the weather today was no picnic. It was about 50 degrees, drizzly, and overall gloomy. It wasn’t as bad as it was in 2002 when Fernando and I raced in 38 degree weather with monsoon-ish conditions. It was so cold that race volunteers had to help us take our helmets off after the bike leg because our fingers were of no use. In 2006, the weather was so bad that the race directors shortened the bike leg of the race. So, while it was bad today, it wasn’t awful.

I felt pretty good in the first 3 mile run and did it with about a 7:20 pace. Naturally, I felt good about that and didn’t feel as if I had over-extended myself which is always a concern in a run-bike-run event. I got into transition well and got out fairly quickly too. It was a windy day and heading north on the Hutchinson River Parkway required a strong effort given the headwind. On the southbound leg, I had pretty good speed and found it easy to maintain 28 mph. I felt like I was passing everyone in sight, picking them off one by one. The second loop of the bike leg wasn’t nearly as strong and I now perceive that I might have gone too hard in the first leg. The wind has a good way of humbling a person and today, I was indeed a mere mortal. I felt like I finished fairly strong and my numbers show an average speed of 21.2 mph. I would have liked to be 22+ but c’est la vie.

During the first run, I felt like I maybe should have gone to the bathroom one last time. It’s funny about how my body works; somehow it always knows when I have to race. I can go to the bathroom 4 times in less than 12 hours but somehow, 30 minutes before the race start, I have to go again. Almost always, I listen and empty myself out (sorry for the graphics here) which makes me feel light and fast. Today, I didn’t. I was busy talking to friends and all, and generally felt good enough that I didn’t think I needed to. I was wrong. On the first run, I felt some pangs of needing to pee and on the bike, I had hoped it would somehow disappear and absorb into my system. I also know that the body simply doesn’t work that way, but I was desperate.

Well, on the second run, I felt like I was carrying an unborn child in my abdomen. With every step, I could feel the sloshing. I tried to focus on having a smooth stride so that my prostate wouldn’t be so affected but it was to no avail. I could have easily made a quick detour to relieve myself but I was too worried about my time. In retrospect, I wonder if making a detour of about 30 seconds would have made me 30 or more seconds faster overall. In any event, I struggled through and know full well that I was only limited by this element and not by fatigue, weather, or anything else. My pace wound up being 7:45. I might have been at least a minute faster overall had I pushed myself, but again, c’est la vie.

So, what have I learned from today? Well, I need to remember to go to the bathroom even if I don’t necessarily feel like it. I also learned (again) that I should not fight so hard in the first loop of a bike course and instead work harder in the latter portion. Lastly, I learned that I still have a high pain/discomfort threshold for having the ability to survive despite the bladder issues today.

A couple of side notes: My buddy Steve McDarby placed third in his age group (which is now my age group). He not only beat me, but he did so by 7 or 8 minutes. I remember when he first started this sport and I could beat him regularly… and now he’s so frickin fast. These day, I can’t come close to beating him! I’m so proud of him and to boot, he’s a tremendously nice guy. The overall winner, Terry Kerrigan, who wins like every event he enters, made friends with Deborah and her father… and as it turns out, he’s doing IM Brazil in 4 weeks. We got to chat a bit and he was pretty cool. We might be on the same flight but either way, we’ll probably hang in Florianopolis. Funny story about Terry: a few years ago, Fernando saw him after a race and said, “Hey man, how’d you do today?” Terry’s response, “I won.” When Fern told me that story, we were both like, hmmm… nuff said. We were kinda put off but now after meeting him, I’m much more forgiving.

This coming week is back to long distance training. I’ve got very little on my social and work calendars, so I’ll be able to stay focused (I hope) and build up to the 112 mile bike on Sunday. I’m also slated to run a fast 16 miler on Saturday. I’ll probably do one more week of long distance swimming following next weekend but that week and both weeks thereafter, my biking and running will be shorter and with less intensity. Hard to believe that after next weekend, I’ll be in taper mode. It’s kinda cool to be in that phase of IM training but at the same time, I can’t help but question if I’ve done enough and wonder if I should try to do more. I think most IM triathletes go through this, but somehow, knowing this doesn’t make me feel any better.

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