Triathlon #91 in the Books

Posted by on May 9, 2012 in Training

Last weekend, I raced and completed the Bassman Sprint Triathlon.  It was indeed a short race, with a mere 500 meter swim, a 12 mile bike segment, and a 5k run in beautiful Bass River State Park, NJ.  I raced well, or as hard as I could, and have few regrets except for maybe pushing harder on the bike.  I settled in behind some young guy who was riding very hard, and while I wasn’t drafting, I was using the guy as my rabbit to follow.  Ultimately, I made the decision that passing him would be very difficult and that I should settle for just following his lead.  There were times though when I felt as if he was letting off the gas, and in those times, I tried passing him only to find him shift gears and put out a much harder effort.  I didn’t mind too much so long as we were both going hard… but in retrospect, there were sections were I could have really maximized the effort, and I didn’t.  So, maybe I would have saved 2 minutes in total, if that.  Not a big deal, and those two minutes wouldn’t have gotten me onto the podium.  In fact, I was 8th in my age group, the most populous one of course, and 37th overall.  Yes, there were some fast triathletes out there.

At this same event, there was a half-Ironman distance triathlon in which many of my friends/teammates competed.  With the course presenting athletes with fast and flat conditions, and with perfect weather (no wind, no strong sun, not hot or cold, etc.), nearly everyone had a banner day.

In any event, this event marked triathlon finish #91.  I make it a point to say “finish” versus “race” since I have two races in my career where I entered and paid the race fee, but failed to show up at the start line, both times due to illness.  And, I like to bring attention to the fact that of the 91 triathlon start lines I’ve toed, I crossed 91 finish lines.  Guess it really speaks to a very lucky streak of good health.  It was also race finish #190 if you include running events, duathlons, swim meets, etc.  Frankly, I’m beginning to shake my head in disbelief at that number being as big as it is.

Last week, I was in Houston with my family (Roya’s family to be specific; I don’t want to call them in-laws though; they are too loving and wonderful to merely be in-laws even if the term is technically accurate).  I decided that while there, I’d run a 10k race in Houston proper.  Anyone who knows Houston knows it’s flat, hot, and humid for many months out of the year.  A week ago Saturday was no exception.  I typically suffer in such conditions, but figured it would be a good training event.  So, I took my salt pills, hydrated well before the race, observed my pre-race rituals like the pasta dinner the night before, etc.  Roya’s father had never been to an endurance event before, so this was a big treat for him to see his son compete.

In warming up before the race, and with only running about 5 minutes, I knew immediately that I was in store for a rough experience.  I had cardio problems, the legs didn’t feel right, and my mind was focused on all of these negatives.  Nonetheless, once the gun went off, I ran well.  My first two mile splits were competitive (for me), but once we turned onto a street near the three mile marker, the wheels came off the bus.  Just the mere 90 degree turn was all it took for me to lose the pace and begin a series of increasingly slower miles (called positive splits).  I even had to walk a couple of times at the water stations (for no more than 30 seconds each, but that’s significant).  I kept checking my GPS watch to see exactly how many tenths of a mile until the next mile marker, and until the finish.  I was obsessed with this checking because I was so uncomfortable.  Finally, I made the final turn and headed towards the finish line with a good finishing kick, good enough that is for Roya’s dad to beam with pride.  In the end, my time wasn’t that horrible (I think it was a 7:56 pace), but it was not what I would have been capable of in different weather.  It’s okay though; I’ll take it and emotionally, I’ll put a little asterisk next to it.  That was race #189.

Thereafter in Houston, I went for a few more runs.  The day after the race, we headed to Galveston with Roya’s brother’s fiancee’s parents and five of our collective dogs to relax, go surf fishing for catfish, etc.  I brought my run gear with me and decided to run on the beach for a little while… which turned into a five mile run at an easy pace.  My legs were surprisingly fit, and I really enjoyed the light pace, the smell of the sand and water, and the long stretches of empty beach.  The weather was cool, though still humid, but I managed to get through it well.  Later that week, I ran twice in Roya’s neighborhood along flat roads with so-so scenery.  The weather was hot both times, even with one of the runs in the morning.  On the longer of the two runs, an eight miler, I had a very hard time initially and had to walk several times.  But, I managed to finish strong (which meant not stopping every mile).  What I disliked most was that my latter miles were a bit slower than earlier miles yet with a steadily increased heart rate.  So, I tried to run easier but my body dedicated more resources to deal with the heat and humidity.  Clearly, Houston is not the place for me.

I have no races this weekend for a change, but the following weekend, I’ll race two races in two days.  On Saturday the 19th, I’ll be racing the Spring Couples Relay which is an event where a male and female team competes with one of them running 2 miles, the other cycling 12 miles, and both parties getting into a row boat and going around the pond in Central Park in a row boat (think a flat-bottomed, cumbersome metal boat with heavy oak oars).  I’ll be doing the cycling and the rowing, with my awesome teammate Carin Klarsfeld running the 2 miles.  We’ve partnered before and did well, so I expect great things this year too.  The next day, I’m racing the Harriman Triathlon in Harriman State Park (about 45 minutes NW of NYC).  I’ve raced this event a half-dozen times and love the difficulty of the terrain, which includes many hills on the bike and run.

Two weeks later, I’m racing the Eagleman Triathlon which is a half-Ironman event in Maryland.  This is a big deal to me and a big race in what is otherwise considered to be a short course season.  I raced this event in 2007 and did well until the 9 mile marker on the run where poor nutrition caused me to bonk, or run out of energy entirely.  This year, I intend to focus on nutrition quite a bit more and if there will be a failure, it won’t be for a lack of energy consumed.  More to come on that later.

So, the beat goes on, my training frequency is still less than I want it to be, but I feel good and seem to have numbers that support that improvement is happening.  Just wish it could happen faster, with less training, and with a magic pill!




2 Comments on Triathlon #91 in the Books

By George Reagan on May 10, 2012 at 4:32 pm

Great write up on the event. Good job…91 is incredible…hopefully you’ll include us as another one of your future events. Good luck this season!!!

By gg on May 10, 2012 at 5:32 pm

Indeed George, I will race Bassman again. Wonderful job organizing and thanks for the warm sentiments.

Write a Comment on Triathlon #91 in the Books


Follow comments by subscribing to the Triathlon #91 in the Books Comments RSS feed.


Read more posts by