The day started off well, normal pre-dawn wakeup @ 3:30 with a shower and shave, some cereal and milk, then woke up my younger brother Sruli and drove over to pick up Yehuda at 4:20. The race was closer that we thought it would be, and we arrived at parking at 5:25. Packet pickup was supposed to close at 6 but with the amount of athletes the Sandy Hookers Tri Club attracted, that would be comparable to Rambo blasting his way to freedom in just under 2 hours. A feat only dreamed of in real life. As such, my wave took off @ 7:35, not 7:10. Not too bad of a delay.
I knew that Sammy was going to be there, but I had no way of finding him, nor did I know what he looked like (in fact, all I knew was that his slowtwitch login moniker was “TemoniPrince”. This seemed like something out of a craigslist-sale-gone-awry story. Luckily, Yehudah works out). Sammy found me and said sup before the race, we hung out a little then went for a little warmup swim. Sammy’s plan was to beat me out of the water then watch me fly on by during the bike.
The swim started out like any other swim – too many arms churning, too many legs kicking, too many kicks in the groin by the pile up that’s inevitably cause at the first buoy, as everyone tries to crowd around as close to the buoy as is possible. After that, things calmed down a bit and I had a chance to focus on my form. Unfortunately, I forgot to sight for about 2 minutes, and when I finally did, realized I was a bit off course. No problem, I’ll just readjust. And then I’ll do it again, and again, and again. The waves kept pushing me further off course. Until the turnaround when I swam right into the sun and FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY IT’S BLINDING! IT HURTS SO BAD! The whole way back was straight into the sun. The water was a murky turd-color, so I was left staring at little sun-flares at the bottom of the lagoon, where fish and crabs should have been.
To exit the water, there were three ladders with 6 volunteers – 3 holding the ladders, 3 unzipping wetsuits. I thought it would be a disaster, but when I exited, I only had to tread for about 3 seconds, not too bad. Plus, it’s nice to not have to find your own strap. Swim time: (Garmin) 31:50. (Online) 32:00 for 11th in my ag and 270th overall. This was my best non-NYC swim, and I attribute it to Coach Freddy Cheung of Yeshiva University’s swim classes. I know that it wasn’t very fast, but it’s fast enough to get me where I want to be at the moment.
T1 was solid. At 1:35, I was a full minute faster than the second fastest transition in my age group, and 1 second faster than the overall winner. As I ran in, I saw Sammy’s bike was still racked which meant that I had bested him in my worst discipline of the day. There was no chance of Sammy catching up to me anymore. Sorry, Prince.
Unfortunately, my disc wasn’t fully secured. Why? I don’t know. How? No clue. What I do know was that when I put the hammer down, the wheel span a quarter of a revolution, then stopped. It took me 3:30 to figure out the problem, address it, and finally fix it. In the madness, my left shoe disengaged from the bike, which I had to run back, put on, then finally get going. It was messy. It was real messy. Finally, I was off and going, and nothing could stop me.
I picked off cyclists like leftover pieces of steak stuck between your teeth from the night beforehand. I picked them out and then discarded their remains when I was done with them. I may have gone out a little too hot, at a speed hovering around 22 mph, but I’ll never know, seeing as how I ejected my only nutrition at mile 4. I knew it was going to be a long ride and an even longer run. The ride itself wasn’t too bad though – the roads were smooth for the most part. I met a rider (Eddie) who seemed to be pushing the same pace as me atop his Kuota, and so we swapped pacing roles for the better part of miles 10-24.
At ~mile 20, I decided it was time to have my gel, at about the same time as my handlebars decided to jerk downward. Tenderly, I pulled them back up, squeezing my gel everywhere…I lost my zone, looked down at my speedometer (12 mph! This is barely a hill!), spilled more gel, tried licking it off…and decided to just give up on the gel. I had about 1/8 of the pack in me, if that. I knew a bonk was coming on the run, all I could do was brace myself for the pain.
Bike time: I stopped my transition split as soon as I got moving on the bike (after I fixed the loose disc), so my Garmin’s time was 1:10, but the online results read 1:14:52 (there was also a long run out of transition, which makes up the discrepancy). 21 mph per my garmin, 20 MPH online for 3rd in my ag and 69th overall.
Coming into T2, my left shoe freed itself once again. I think it’s time for a new cleat…as I waited for the nice volunteer (Don’t move, I got it!) to slowly make his way over and toss it back to me, I had a chance to catch my breath before the run. Finally, the shoe came flying towards me, I bobbled it, picked it up, and ran into transition. Brian Shea (of Personal Best Nutrition) shouts out, as he points towards me (I’m sure it was me, who else would he be talking about?), “BEST DRESSED TRIATHLETE OF THE DAY!”. I may have had the second fastest T1, but I had the best dressed triathlete award in the bag. Nice.
T2 time: 1:00 flat. I had a pretty neat transition area. I’ve included a picture: My running sneakers on top, beneath them: my hat, a gel, my number. Simple.
I ran out and immediately stopped for a 15 second water break. I knew if I didn’t, there’d be no way for me to match my goal pace. I downed 3 cups of water, made sure to spill some all over me to cool me down and wash off the gel, then I was off. I started my garmin after the water break, so there’s a 15 second difference between the online results and my garmin’s results.
My goal was a 40:00 run, but I realized immediately that my legs weren’t there for that – I’d been expeirmenting with Vibram Five Fingers, Huaraches and other minimalist running shoes which left my feet blistered and kept my mileage hovering around ~20-25 miles/week. Therefore, I adjusted my goal to a 41:00 for the 10k.
I set out at a 6:45 for the first mile and I felt fine. So I took the second mile at a 6:36 and I felt fine.
Then we hit some trails. My third mile was a 7:15 and I was hurting. The course was an out and back which I knew meant we’d be coming back through the trails, but this time it’d be easier. Sometime during the third mile, I eased the pace to a 7:30 which gave me full recovery. When I found a runner running about a 6:50, I tagged on right behind him. He was training for Ironman Lake Placid (I think that’s what he said, I was a little out of it, bonking from the lack of nutrition in my body) and he wasn’t pacing too well. When he sped up to a 6:35, I had to drop off, but he never pulled away. We re-entered the trail, and I caught up to him once again. I guess running with the XC team taught me some good running tips for running trails.
He slowed down, I sped up, and we ran together the rest of the race. I introduced myself as Eli, and Mark overheard me. I’ve been following Mark’s blog for a little while now, and raced with him twice – it was cool to finally meet him. And beat him by 3 minutes 🙂 I took water at every aid station besides for two (the volunteers handed their cups to my boy…Ryan?…and completely missed me, cursing under their breath each time). Overall, the volunteers were great; very verbal, very visual, very…there. That’s what was most important. The cours was pretty twisty, but it was well marked by volunteers.
Last 3 miles: 6:52, 6:45, 6:38 (I think). Then I ran down the .2 at a 5:35 pace. Final time: (Garmin) 42:00 flat (Online) 42:15 which came out to a 6:48 pace for 3rd in my ag and 41st overall. There were many 3x:xx runners out there today, very fast day.
My total time, when all is said and done, was a 2:31:45 for 4th in my ag and 55th overall, 2 minutes faster than my previous personal best which I set in Connecticut at Mossman in 2010. Next olympic, I will go under 2:30 with the same fitness and less technicals. I may even reach 2:25 with a slightly less hilly course and better swimming fitness.
Next race? Quassy 70.3 in 2 weeks. Get some.