Long time no talk…

Posted by on September 28, 2010 in Training

It’s just one of those things where you are so well-intentioned but fail to deliver simply because it will require so much catching up.  I’m speaking of course about my neglect of this blog.  It’s not like I have sophisticated tracking tools that reveal the demands of the masses to read more about my vain stories of training and racing; it’s just that I like to keep this current so that I can update friends/family about my goings-on when we can’t (or don’t want to) chat about them live or in person.  I’ve been wanting to get back into posting and though past statements said that I would do so much more often, this initial effort is hopefully the spark that ignites the writing engine once more.  In fact, I’m fairly certain that this will become a very useful tool for me in the next 9 months as I prepare for the next steps in my relationship and Ironman Germany.  More about these things later.  For now, I’ll write a season recap.

At this point, I’ve done ten triathlons in 2010.  It all started with the Miami Triathlon in March, then was followed by a ski-bike-run triathlon called the Pine Hill Arms Triathlon in upstate NY.  The Miami race went surprisingly well, not solely because I kicked my best buddy’s butt this time (he still has a higher winning percentage), but because I was able to put together a solid 10k run effort despite working fairly hard on the bike.  It was an omen of things to come.  In the ski-bike-run event, I managed to finish 5th overall and got onto the podium.  I was very pleased with the bike effort and it revealed that all of the hill training I had done both outside and on the indoor trainer had paid off; the course was 10 miles of treacherous downhills (sandy, salty, etc.) and steep uphills.

The day after the ski-bike-run event, I ran a half-marathon in NYC which took athletes around Central Park, then down 7th Avenue through Times Square before shifting to the West Drive down to Battery Park.  It was a good effort and despite being on tired legs, I managed to come to within a minute of my previous fastest effort at this distance.  By all accounts, I felt like the training was going very well.  A couple of biathlons (run-bike-run) later, I headed to San Francisco with my girlfriend Roya to take on the famed Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon.  The notoriously difficult course was fun to take on and at no point did I feel as if I had been overwhelmed.  I am definitely going to race that again.  A week later, I did the Spring Couples Relay (one party runs, one party bikes, both parties row) and thanks to a great teammate, we managed to win our age group with a 5th place overall finish.  That was my second podium, and it was evident that I was beginning to peak.

In early June, I was scheduled to race in the Eagleman half-Ironman triathlon in Cambridge, Maryland.  Unfortunately, on June 5th, I was in a small accident and suffered a badly injured back.  It was limited to muscle trauma, but I was bedridden for a week and a half.  I managed to get onto a bike nine days later but found that running and swimming were impossible at that point.  After some time, I got back into the swing of things, but my speed and intensity were lost.  It was as if I had to begin my training season anew.  I took that kind of approach, which breeds doing things longer and at a lower intensity, and it seemed to work.  Three weeks after the accident, I managed to compete in the Philadelphia Triathlon.  I wasn’t nearly as fast as prior years on the bike or either run leg (it was converted to a run-bike-run event after a swimmer went missing in the Schuykill River the day before), but I was grateful to just be out there.

On July 18th, I raced in the NYC Triathlon for the 7th time and though I had visions of grandeur thanks to a much-improved swim and bike, the run proved to be my achilles heel as I ran far slower than I had wanted.  It was indeed frustrating, but again, I was grateful to even participate.  And to do so in my home town is always a thrill that I cherish.  A few weeks later, I raced the Central Park Triathlon for the 10th time and thanks to a great swim and strong bike, I managed to get onto the podium with a third place age group finish.  I was thrilled, especially with Mom, Dad, and my girlfriend Roya there to see me receive my plaque.

Throughout the summer, I had been co-coaching a bunch of newbie triathletes who signed up with Zogsports.com to do their first triathlon or duathlon.  The event they had designated was the Harriman Triathlon in Harriman State Park, NY, and I decided to compete as well.  It was one week after the Central Park Triathlon and after a good performance there, I felt as if I’d have a chance at getting one more podium.  I put in a fair effort on the swim, attacked the bike course which is notoriously VERY hilly, and ran my fastest ever 5k run with a pace of 7:05 per mile.  It wasn’t enough for the podium (I was fifth), but I did beat my good buddy Craig for the first time ever… and by a whopping seven and a half minutes.  That felt good.

Six days later, I ran a 5k race in Harlem.  In this same race last year, I ran it in a pace of 7:08 per mile which had been my fastest time ever.  With a new record set in the Harriman Triathlon, I wasn’t sure if going faster was possible, but sure enough, I wound up running at a 6:58 per mile pace!  Of course, my confidence was sky high thanks to these recent run efforts coming on the heels of feeling very strong on the bike.

In September, Roya and I drove to Washington, DC for the Nation’s Triathlon.  Race day wound up being a miserable mess weather-wise, but the race went on.  My day started early, around 4 a.m., and didn’t improve much.  I had to park a good mile and change from the race venue, and after arriving at Transition, I realized that I had left my swim cap and a few other critical items in the car.  Roya was sleeping in the car and agreed to meet me halfway (I was already running late).  The swim itself took me forever, so I was determined to make up some time on the bike.  I got 1.5 miles into the very wet bike course before crashing.  I found that I had to go much slower than other athletes because my front wheel seemed to be ready to slide out from under me.  Eventually, I wound up skidding around a bend and thanks to some fortunate bike-handling, I managed to hit a curb and fall onto some grass.  I wasn’t hurt and more importantly, the bike wasn’t damaged (what can I say; I love my bike!).  Turns out that the front rim had some minor damage which caused a flat, which in turn caused the crash.  I figured that my race was over, so I walked back to transition.  Once there, it occurred to me that I had spare rims in my car and perhaps Roya could retrieve a front one for me.  I found a stranger whose phone I borrowed and called Roya.  She agreed to get the rim, but after waiting for quite a while, I decided to borrow someone else’s phone and see where Roya was.  She was more than halfway back from the car when we realized that she had grabbed the rear rim, not the front one.  We both sighed, and she went back for the right one.  An hour later, she arrived.  I had been standing near the bike exit of the Transition area shivering in the cold rain and wind, but I was grateful to be able to start the bike course again.

Once on the road, I decided to give it a major effort.  After a few miles, I warmed back up since that hour delay made me stiff.  Though the roads were wet, I was very aggressive.  As I checked my various metrics, I realized that I was on a torrid pace.  At that rate, I was bound to destroy my previous time record for a 40k (24.8 mile) bike course.  All was going well until mile 18.  There, as several athletes and I ascended a small hill, I prepared myself for a ninety degree right turn.  As I crested the hill, I made my turn thinking that the athlete to the direct right of me would do so concurrently.  She didn’t, so I essentially cut her off and she crashed into the back of my bike.  I came to a stop without crashing fortunately, but with an immediate reaction of frustration and bewilderment.  Just then, as I surveyed the scene, I realized that the course didn’t turn right at all; it went straight.  I, in fact, was the one who had made the mistake!  I felt awful as I saw this poor young girl on the road, dirty, wet, already bleeding from a cut, and obviously confused and dazed.  EMTs happened to be stationed right there and they immediately tended to her.  Though I tried to apologize profusely, she was out of it and likely didn’t hear me.  The EMTs told me that the situation was under control and that I should just go on.  I did so though it weighed very heavily on my mind that I had done something so terrible to an innocent girl.

In the end, I wound up with a personal record of 1:07:19 for the bike course despite the brief setback.  That’s a net time and doesn’t include the hour delay or the initial 1.5 miles that preceded things.  I also ran the 10k at a 7:44 per mile pace which was very pleasing.  I did however have this awful feeling of not knowing what happened to that young girl.  So, the next day, I wrote an e-mail to the race organizers and asked that they convey to the girl my version of what happened and how incredibly regretful I was about being the cause.  They forwarded the note to her and within a day, she wrote me a very sweet note thanking me for my compassion.  She went on to say that despite the accident, she beat her goal of three hours and that the camaraderie and concern I demonstrated after the fact made the experience one that she cherishes.  That note relieved me of some significant guilt.

The Nation’s Triathlon actually was the start of five triathlons in five weekends.  Why, you ask?  Because I want to get to 100 triathlons in the career as soon as I can.  As of this writing, I’ve done 77 and with two more left this season, I’ll finish the 2010 season with 79 on the career.  I should be able to get in 21 more triathlon finishes in the next two years with the goal of getting to 100 by the end of the 2012 season.

Following the Nation’s Triathlon, I did the War At The Shore Triathlon in Long Branch, NJ.  It featured a rather short 600 yard swim, a 20 mile bike, and a 5 mile run.  I did fairly well, by my standards, and again beat my good buddy Craig, this time by five and a half minutes.  Then, last week, I competed in the Westchester Triathlon, an Olympic distance event, in Rye, NY.  I felt a bit sluggish throughout the event and my times certainly reflect that.  I finished in the top 40% of my age group, but that’s not very impressive in my book.  Fatigue, it appears, seems to be taking a toll on me.  I should mention that I also play on two football teams (with games on the days that precede these races) and a soccer team.  I know that conventional wisdom would dictate limiting my sports activities, but I can’t compel myself to quit.  I just love playing.

Last night, I injured my right leg just below the knee in a soccer match and I am limping today.  It doesn’t appear to be joint-oriented, so I’ll assume a wait-and-see attitude in advance of the Red Bank Triathlon in NJ this coming Sunday.  The following Sunday features the Cedar Beach Triathlon in Suffolk County, NY, my last of this 2010 season.  I’m sure Roya will be thrilled with me not getting up at 4:30 a.m. every Sunday!

Okay, that’s the season recap.  The next posts will obviously be shorter.  In them, I will touch a bit more on the relationship with Roya and our plans together, as well as Ironman Germany.  I’ll also include photos from all of these vents.  Re IM Germany, I signed up with my tri team and will be competing in Frankfurt on July 24, 2011.  It’ll be my third Ironman on my third continent.  Naturally, I’m super excited!

Glad to be back.  Drop me a line or leave a comment if you want.  I really don’t have any idea if anyone even reads this crap.

Write a Comment on Long time no talk…


Follow comments by subscribing to the Long time no talk… Comments RSS feed.


Read more posts by