Montauk Lighthouse Sprint Triathlon

Posted by on July 20, 2009 in Training

Talk about another great day!  No, I didn’t come anywhere close to the podium either with my results, but yesterday was a big day for a lot of reasons.  Let’s dig into it:

– Trying to be frugal, I decided to avoid peak hotel rate season and left NYC at 3:30 a.m. to drive out.  Trying to go to sleep at 10 p.m. wound up being impossible, so total sleep equated to 2 hours and change.  Not ideal before a race.  Oh well.

– Made it to Montauk just before 6 a.m. and drove straight to T2.  This event featured two different locations for transitions, so I left my sneakers and run hat at T2 before driving to T1 which is near the swim start.

– Got the T1 area set up rather quickly.  I’m really proud to have so much experience to be able to set up my area so fast.  As a minimalist and with such experience, all I have to do is set up the bike.  I no longer use a bucket of water to rinse my feet, I no longer wear socks, and I don’t have to leave any extraneous “what if I need it” stuff.  Makes for a much easier and lower stressed pre-race experience.

– I started my “career” in multisport on Long Island and as such, I had so many friends at this event.  Chatting with everyone including my old swim coach was so enjoyable, but it wound up leading to my demise.  No one rushed folks out of the transition area, so I leisurely strolled to the swim start and chatted up other folks before someone said, “Hey mister, looks like your swim wave just left.”  Rather than freak out which probably should have been the right reaction, I kinda shrugged and waded in before generally getting into a swim direction to meet up with that group.  I figure that I was about 2 minutes and change late.  Oops!  I felt so blasé about my lateness probably because I knew this was more of a training race for me than anything else.  You can guarantee that next week at the NYC Tri, that won’t be the case!

– The current was definitely not in our collective favor, and there was some choppiness to it.  I didn’t really mind but found that my progress was slooooowwww!  A little ways past the halfway point, I found a good rhythm and felt like I was swimming hard and with good technique.  As I translate that to the NYC Tri, I’m encouraged since that event also features a point-to-point swim along a fairly narrow corridor.  Since I’ve already done this event five times, and with the confidence that I got from yesterday’s latter-half portion of the swim, I’m hoping to engage that effort fairly early on next week and get a better swim time than in years past.

– T1 was fast.  It has been all season.  I was in the top 4%.  I wasn’t in turbo mode and had I been, I could have maybe saved 6-8 seconds.  Doing so would have put me in the top 2%.  No big deal.

– I had planned all along on hitting the bike course hard.  As soon as I got rolling, I had the fire within me and cycled hard.  I passed so many frickin people and it felt great!  It felt like I could go hard all day!  At one point, my friend Bobby passed me but not convincingly, so I decided to ride up and be near enough to use him as a rabbit, but not near enough to benefit from any draft.  Some other guy passed me and got right up behind Bobby, a clear violation.  It is simply cheating.  I wanted to say something, but it wasn’t my wheel he was riding.  A few times, Bobby put on the gas and so did the other guy.  The two of them battling it out helped me; all I needed to do was stay within 30 or so feet.  It was great motivation and while I felt like I was riding hard, I wasn’t hitting a maximum threshold that would have longer term effects, e.g. the rest of the bike course (which was hilly) or the run.  Eventually, I scaled back a bit to get some nutrition (gel) and water and when we got to the one climb which was steep but short, two other guys went screaming past me.  As expected, they couldn’t sustain the effort and I found great pride in passing them with confidence about halfway up.  I had a fast cadence, and just to make a point (not sure to whom really), I clicked to a couple of harder gears, got up out of the saddle, and really cranked up the speed.  My legs felt a little twinge, but since the climb was short, I wasn’t worried.  Eventually, I finished with the 23rd best bike time out of around 500 people.  It was also my personal record for this race and according to my stats, I averaged 23.04 mph!  That’s pretty good for me.

– T2 wasn’t as fast as it could have been.  I wanted to make sure that my feet were totally clear of sand from the beach just before T1.

– Once on the run, I found that my stride length was very short and my rate of breathing very high.  I was making decent progress, but I was definitely tired from the bike effort.  At the one mile mark, my pace was around 8:30, so I wasn’t thrilled.  At the halfway point, the course went uphill and I was worried that it would hurt me but to my great surprise, I powered up and once at the top, I found some good rhythm.  The second mile split was just under 8 minutes, and I knew that I’d get the last mile to be much faster.  Sure enough, I was around 7:20 in the last mile and it felt like I was gliding.  The last portion up the hill to the finish line by the lighthouse was a piece of cake and I felt fantastic.

– I didn’t finish that high overall but was in the top 25%.  If you take away the swim, I was in the top 12%.  But, this sport is called Triathlon and therefore, one cannot remove the swim component.

So here we are, 6 days away from the most important race of this, my ninth season of multisport.  I rested a lot in recent weeks, put in some time building more core strength, and did very focused types of workouts that were either low intensity long-ish distances, or very short high intensity efforts.  I made sure to only do 2 or so workouts per discipline per week and followed a very good diet free of high sugar foods and full of fruits and veggies.  Drinking has been to a minimum, water consumption ridiculously high, and sleeping has been plentiful.  The neck issue is nearly a non-issue and following yesterday’s experience on the bike and run, confidence is sky high.  The lack of fatigue in my leg muscles was readily apparent yesterday, so all I have to do is maintain this state for another week.  I can’t wait til race day!

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