NJ Devilman Triathlon

Posted by on May 9, 2011 in Training

Most of us in the triathlon community are used to seeing races of fairly standard distances, and by all means, when I describe to the layperson what a triathlon is, I invariably have to make the distinction between the Sprint, Olympic, Half-Ironman, and Ironman events as they seem to make up the lion’s share of races out there.  There is the Ultraman Triathlon which more-or-less doubles the distance of the Ironman, but it’s not well-covered, well-known, or well-attended.  And the Sprint moniker to shorter races isn’t standardized much either; many of them feature swims that vary between a quarter mile to three-quarters of a mile, from a 6 mile bike to a 20 mile bike, and a 2 mile run to a 5 mile run.

All of this notwithstanding, there is no rule that states that a race organizer has to comply to any set of distances aside from perhaps those events run by the Ironman corporation or other large event companies.  The NJ Devilman is run by a smaller, local race organization and it seems as if their idea was to put on a race that is truly different in terms of lengths than any others in the local area.  This past weekend, they held a sprint distance and a “Half Lite” distance triathlon simultaneously.  The latter was measured to be a 0.8 mile swim (a third of the Ironman swim), a 40 mile bike (just over a third of the Ironman bike), and an 8.8 mile run (again, a third of the Ironman run).  My Terrier Tri team was there with larger numbers, so it was destined to be a fun day full of hard efforts and camaraderie.  And, it marked the debut of our new Terrier uniforms!

The swim, for me, was easy.  It was two 0.4 mile loops around buoys and I had no stamina issues despite not having been in the pool for a couple of weeks.  I swam at a pace of a 30 minute mile, and at that comfortable rate, I could have easily completed 2.4 miles.   T1 was again stellar; looks like I was 6th overall in that segment.  The bike featured two loops of 20 miles on an out-and-back course.  During the first leg on the way out, I couldn’t believe how easy it felt and the kind of speed I was maintaining.  Once I made the turn-around, my suspicions of being wind-aided were verified as the headwinds came out to greet me.  I didn’t have great power, to my surprise, and didn’t perform that well or consistently.  At the start of the second loop, a fast teammate of mine named Dan passed me, so I decided to follow him but far enough behind him so that it wouldn’t be considered drafting, a strict no-no.  We rode that leg very well and at the turn-around, I bid adieu as he and another fast dude hammered into the wind.  I did as well as I could but still found myself unhappy with the overall performance.  I also worked hard to take in a lot of calories as that’s the practice to employ for an Ironman, and after all, these races to me are just prep for the big days in Germany and Kona.

I headed into the run feeling strong and with good form and pace, but by the first mile marker, I developed an abdominal cramp that would not go away.  My pace dropped, and more importantly, my nutritional plan changed as I could no longer take in gels or fluids.  I felt as if I was running at a grandma’s pace for most of the course on the way out, but at the turn-around, I got a sudden kick.  The cramp was gone and my pace quickened.  I felt as if I could finally employ some power and indeed, my mile splits showed it.  But, like a loyal dog, the cramp returned and so did the slogging pace.  Add to that a fair amount of energy depletion and I was not in a good way.  With a mile left to go, I chatted briefly with another competitor  and watched him slowly pull away from me.  But, with a half-mile left to go, I noticed that the distance wasn’t increasing.  He was only maybe 20-30 seconds in front of me, so I picked up the pace as best I could while gritting my teeth through the stomach pain.  With a quarter mile to go, I pulled up alongside him and he said, “Great job.  Keep up the strong effort.”  See, it’s just another reason why I love this sport… the camaraderie.  In what other competitive sport do competitors cheer the person who will beat them?  Amazing.  I thanked him and pressed on, eventually passing one other guy en route to a strong finish line effort.  When I crossed, I was toast.  My body was unhappy and it let me know.  I bent over with hands on knees, panted a bit to recover from the cardiovascular effort, and eventually tried massaging my torso.  Within a few moments, teammates and coaches came over to me and chatting with them made me forget about the cramp… and that was a good thing!

Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay and cheer on other teammates, nor celebrate that we had the first place female, the second and third placed males, and various other age group winners.  With a wedding in Montauk at 6:30 pm, I needed to make the 150 mile drive from south NJ (near Cape May) to NYC, then another 150 mile drive to the eastern end of Long Island.  The first leg of the drive was easy and I made great time.  I got home, showered, changed, and got Roya into the car all within 20 minutes.  From there, the drive to Montauk was most uneventful and fast.  But with about 40 miles to go, the car suddenly bucked and began to slow down quickly.  All power was gone and I was coasting with little control.  I managed to get to the shoulder and popped the hood, but I’m no mechanic and other than verifying that there seemed to be fluids in the various reservoirs (I checked the windshield wiper fluid too becuase I thought that it would be funny to be absolutely thorough!), I had no idea what was going on.  So, the call went out to AAA and amazingly, a flatbed showed up within 15 minutes.  We then developed a plan to have him drive us to our hotel in Montauk, then have the car towed to a Subaru dealership on Sunday (there’s one near me in the Bronx).  Despite this huge snafu, we wound up at the reception at exactly the same time as the rest of the guests.  Incredible!

The next morning, Roya had to be in the city for work and our original plan was to leave Montauk early and drive straight there.  But with no wheels, she was forced to take a 6:33 a.m. train.  With only four hours of sleep after partying at the wedding, she got up and made the short trip across the street to the train station.  How lucky that we were so close!  A few hours later, she arrived in the city and went to work.  I had still had to manage getting the car taken to the Bronx.  AAA notified me that they couldn’t take the car to a closed service location given that it was Sunday, so they offered to have the tow company hold onto the car overnight and bring it Monday morning, thus alleviating my need to be with the car.  Perfect!  After they picked up the car, I made my way to the morning-after brunch for the wedding guests where friends just happened to have an extra spot in their car to drive me to the city.  Perfect again!  You can’t make this stuff up.

Thereafter, we had Mother’s Day dinner plans in the city, so I asked Mom and Dad to come in two separate cars, one of them being Dad’s spare car.  That eliminated my need to rent a car which I need to drive to work a couple of times a week.  I love it when a plan comes together.

In any event, the race on Saturday was triathlon #83 en route to my goal of 100, and event #168 overall.  The big goals remain IM Germany and IM Kona, so the weeks ahead are daunting indeed.  This Sunday, I’ll be riding with many teammates from Penn Station to Montauk, 145 miles, as part of the Montauk Century ride.  I’ve never ridden that distance before, and expecting that it’ll take 10 hours with stops, I’ve never ridden that long either.  I’m sure it’ll have wondrously good effects on the legs in the big picture, but with disastrous short-term effects in the form of fatigue and achiness… but c’est la vie.  The following weekend, I’m running the Brooklyn half-marathon and hope to run it well.  In all likelihood, I might run a bit more afterwards to make it 18-20 miles.  We’ll see.  Then, Memorial Day weekend, I’ll be headed up to Lake Placid for an Ironman training camp run by a different NYC triathlon club.  Hate to be disloyal, but the training will be invaluable.  Finally, all of June will be dedicated to long distance training in all disciplines since most of July will be tapering for the first big day on July 24th in Frankfurt.  Of course, there’s also the little matter of my wedding on July 3rd and all the particulars that are associated therein!  We’ll see how the priorities flesh things out.  Think Roya will be upset if I have my heart rate monitor on under my suit at the altar?

This is it.  The final two month stretch.  Nothing but hard work ahead.  It’s going to pay off, I know it… and that’s why I’m okay with it.  The ultimate goal is to hear, as I approach and cross the finish line, “Gregg Gordon; YOU are an Ironman!”

Write a Comment on NJ Devilman Triathlon


Follow comments by subscribing to the NJ Devilman Triathlon Comments RSS feed.


Read more posts by