Monday, July 15, 2013

Race Report -- Mixed Bag

Thank you Max for the NYC Tri shout out!!  It was really a great day, especially given my limited training this Spring.   I placed in the top thirdish of my age group, and the top 11% for the bike.
As my NYC Tris go, though, it was a bit of a mixed bag.  I rode my fastest bike leg ever, and my slowest swim and run legs.   I'm not sure what I expected, given that my training sort of fell apart in early May, when I decided to try to let my left heel heal.  I've barely run since then, and my best friend has been a bucket of ice.  I did not expect much of the run, but given my new fancy bike, and some breakthroughs in the pool, I was hoping for a strong (for me) swim and a serious PR on the bike.

Unlike the bike the swim was a bit of a let down.  The swim in the NYC Tri is a strange animal.  The  Hudson is tidal, so the current varies depending on the relation between your start time and low tide.  Earlier starts get stronger current.   So you can really only compare your times to the folks in your wave.  Another peculiarity of the NYC Tri swim is that you can't do a warmup swim.  This is a big problem for me, as I take about ten minutes to get comfortable and warmed up with swimming in a wetsuit.    I have moved to a later age group start.  I used to be in the first wave of the 45-50s. Now I'm in the second wave of 50-55s.  The Clydesdales and the First Responders were inserted between, and with the new "time trial" start, everything went more slowly.  End result, expect less current.   The temperature was high, as was the humidity, so I put off zipping up the wetsuit as long as possible.  Then boom, jump in the water and start swimming.  I took off slowly, to get settled in.  Even though I've been skipping a breaths, and or breathing bilaterally in the pool, I found myself breathing on every stroke.  I also found myself veering a bit to the left, which took me out of the current, and then having to correct and swing back.   Then, too far to the right, and you got in to heavy traffic.  I was pleased, because I didn't freak out, or have to flip onto my back, but the swim was slow.  25 minutes, compared to 20ish in past years.  Or to compare with a flat water swim, I did Lobsterman in a little bit over 30 minutes, so I apparently was not adding a lot to the current, ugh!!

When I got to the bike, I was happy.  Max was right to label it the high point of  the day.  I pulled everything together in transition, and got out onto the road.  The new bike was great.  I was passing, and passing, and passing.  I did not have any trouble staying in aero for the full time. I was passed sometime in the first mile by some speed demon 35 year olds.  I let them go by, gave them space and took off after them. I stayed with them through the turnaround, and then lost them in traffic.  On the way back I backed off a bit, and set a nice even pace to transition.  Again, for comparison, my bike split in Lobsterman last year was 19.3 mph, yesterday I averaged 20.5.  I'm not in the same shape that I was last September, so the new bike gets some serious kudos.  I wanted to see if this was a PR, so I looked back to my 2009 and 2010 NYC Tri bike splits.  In 2009 I averaged 20.1.  This is pretty remarkable, given the equipment I was using. . . On the other hand, that year, I did much more tri-specific training.  I'd raced two sprints and two duos in the run up to NYC.  Still I'm impressed with my 2009 self.

The run was always going to be an ordeal.  I've barely run in two months, and my heel is still sore.  I ran in compression socks, which helped, and heck, how bad can a 10K be?  Well, it was hot. My legs were pooped from the ride.  I still managed to average a 9:30ish pace.  This seems ridiculously slow to me.  I usually run 8:30s in the back end of an olympic.  Last year at Lobsterman I ran 9s and was annoyed with myself afterwards.  This time, I'm really happy with the 9:30s I ran.   Everyone was dragging.  Even at that pace, I passed more people than passed me.  By mile 5, the heat had gotten to folks, and lots were walking.  I just kept my legs turning over, and slogged it in.

All in all, the day was a victory.  Two weeks ago, I didn't think I'd be able to do the race at all.  I did set a PR on one leg, and even though it was my slowest NYC Tri, ever, it was also my first race of the Tri season, and there's room and time for improvement.


  1. Congrats for even surviving on a brutal day, let alone PR-ing on one leg (this is a double entendre but I didn't even intend for it to be). My pace has been all over the place since the humidity has gotten bad. And by all over the place I mean unbelievably slow.

  2. I'm definitely impressed. If you consider swim times are too condition-dependent to be meaningful and runs occur in the heat (producing the same reality), a PB bike leg may be the best objective measure of how hard you worked. AND although I don't think equipment is irrelevant, I also don't think equipment makes you fast on its own.

    So many congrats.