Philadelphia and Montauk Lighthouse Triathlons

Posted by on July 13, 2009 in Training

Been a while since I’ve posted, mostly because of a busy summer, but I’ll cover some quick elements from the Philadelphia Olympic Distance Triathlon and the upcoming Montauk Lighthouse Sprint Triathlon.


– I had expectations of doing better than in previous years, but I didn’t expect to do as well as I did.  This was my fourth time doing the race (in the 5 years they’ve hosted it), and the third time doing the Olympic distance (first time was the sprint distance).  I was faster by six minutes and thirty seconds, a HUGE margin for an Olympic, and is now my PR (personal record).

– I was faster in the swim, partly due to the current.  In previous years, I never really felt the current and frankly, didn’t feel it this year either… but I’m sure it had to exist.  I know I was stronger this year taking fewer breast stroke and navigation breaks, so maybe the improvement is for multiple reasons.  I’m not complaining!

– With my tremendous T1 success this season, I expected improvement and found it, but only by 13 seconds.  Faster is faster though!

– I worked hard on the bike on the first loop and found great form on each climb.  I definitely pushed on those climbs and put forth a good effort on the straights, but on the second loop, purposely held back.  I began to lower the intensity with about a quarter of the bike leg left to go but still improved my bike time by 47 seconds.  That was very pleasing.

– Once in T2, I made a wrong term and had to re-trace my steps to the tune of an extra 40 seconds.  So, I was slower in this category much to my chagrin.

– On the run, my expectation was to take on the flat course with a strong first mile effort.  It was not meant to be.  My first mile was 8:24 against a goal of 7:45 or 7:50.  The second mile was identical.  The third, fourth, and fifth miles were all around 8:45 because I had to walk through the aid stations to get water poured on my head.  It was not prohibitively hot, but I was overheating nonetheless.  I was so upset about the poor run splits and felt helpless that the desire to run fast couldn’t be translated into performance.  Eventually, I got the last mile down to sub 8 and finished strong.  The overall run time, to my great surprise, was 62 seconds faster despite the crappy performance.  In a sense, I’m set up to do even better next year in this leg because the bar is still set pretty low!


– I’ve been running moderately and with a general lower level of intensity.  I feel good but not nearly as strong as I did back in April/May.  Comments that perhaps I had overtrained seem to be true, thus the diminished efforts as of late.  The run at Montauk is only 3.1 miles (5k), and finishes with a sloping-to-steep uphill, so I am excited at the prospect of taking advantage of all my hill training.  Thank you Harlem Hill!

– I’ve scaled a bit back on the bike as well.  I’ve felt strong as heck in my solo rides, although a group ride with friends a week and change ago didn’t show it.  It was only 25-30 miles, but featured 10+ climbs, some of which were looooooong!  In a recent ride, I took an easy approach to the Alpine Hill within Palisades Park, but still felt strong and came within a few seconds of my PR on that hill.  I’m looking forward to the Montauk course since it suits me so well, and since I’ve done it so many times before in training and racing.  This week, I’ll only cycle once or twice, and only on my road bike since I’m having the tri bike serviced in advance of both the Montauk and NYC Triathlons.  I might wear my yellow Tour De France jersey too!

– Swimming has been virtually non-existent.  I didn’t get my ID card updated in time and have to wait a few days before I can get into the pool, so I’m a bit nervous about this.  I hope the tons of sessions and yardage covered will still be with me.  I’ve been doing a fair amount of upper body strength conditioning outside the pool and hope that it’ll help on race day.

– The only real bad part about the Montauk race is that I’ll have to get up around 3 a.m. on Sunday morning.  I didn’t get a hotel/motel room and like last year, figured that I’d be better off sleeping in my own bed rather than stay on a friend’s couch on Long Island.  I’ll get up early Saturday to ensure that I’m tired that night, then have a bunch of caffeine while I drive out.

All of this is really in preparation for the big day in NYC on July 26th.  I don’t believe that I’ll be peaking the way I would have liked and this will be great food for thought for subsequent seasons.  I didn’t plan my peak correctly and will be in different modes on the bike and run.  I’d like to destroy the bike course this year, but don’t want to sacrifice my legs on the run.  I have lost a few pounds, on purpose, with the hopes that it might help the sensation of “heavy legs” decrease somewhat.  I can only hope for the best and try to execute a smart race-day strategy.


So, that’s the update.  The space between postings was not planned.  Life has thrown some curve balls at me in recent days, but like any good batter, you keep your eye on the ball and do the best you can.  I can’t guarantee that I’ll be voted onto the All-Star team of life managers, but I’ll always sleep well knowing that I’ve been honest with myself and others.  A recent posting of mine on Facebook was really in response to one of my best friend’s postings, but it was as follows:

Life doesn’t have to be complicated. Always be ethical, always be humane, and always have love in your heart. Happiness will become inevitable and unavoidable.

I keep bumping into this happiness.  Mom, Dad, my brother, my closest friends (also “brothers” to me), and others buoy me beyond description simply because of how lucky I believe I am to have them in my life.  I refuse to ever take for granted these and other great fortunes.

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