Crossing the finish line at the 2012 NYC Triathlon
About a year and a half ago, I realized that I could wear my pants without a belt. Meaning, the pants were tight around my waistline, and they were not in danger of falling on their own. There was no wiggle room. So, I signed up for the NYC Triathlon when the opportunity presented itself a few days after my revelation.
I’m not a person who can just say “I need to lose weight. I’m’ going to the gym.” I don’t like the gym. I don’t like running. I don’t like lifting weights. I like bike riding. But, that alone is not going to get me to my goal weight. I weighed 193lbs when I signed up for the triathlon and I’m 6’ 2”. Not bad, right? Wrong, it wasn’t muscle weight. It was skinny fat. You know, hidden in all the right places so that everyone thinks you’re skinny enough. Everyone thought I was crazy. However, I was just not happy with the tight pants. I didn’t like the idea of just “going on a diet” or just “going to the gym” just to lose weight. I needed a bigger challenge.
Fast forward a bit and I made it through three sprint triathlons (300m swim, 12 mile bike, 3.2 mile run) and the 2011 NYC Triathlon (1 mile swim, 25 mile bike, 6 mile run). My NYC Tri time last year was 3 hours and 16 minutes. I lost twenty pounds. Not too flabby. Whoops. I mean, shabby.
It was time to sign up for the 2012 NYC Triathlon and I decided I was going to do it again. I know I can do it!
This time around something changed. Something happened and I didn’t realize it until race time.
I felt better during my swim down the dirty filthy Hudson River. It was much dirtier this year. Dead fish, planks of wood with nails, branches, logs, and who knows what else lined the river this morning. The guards tried their best to clear the most hazardous material, but they didn’t have enough time to clear it all out. Back to me… I felt good during the swim. Certainly not as tired as I remember being last year. Maybe that’s why I posted a slower time than last year by 2 minutes (25 minutes last year and 27 minutes this year). Hmph. In the sport of triathlons that is not good. You’re supposed to get faster!?!
Ok, out of the swim and into the transition area known as T1. I put on my socks, cycling jersey, helmet and shoes. Out on to the course I go.
Here is a little geeky tech sidebar before I go further about the bike and run portions of my race. I always run and ride with a GPS watch, heart strap, and speed sensors on my bike. I like to record all my data for review later. If I keel over the doctors can later see that my heart spiked up to 200 beats per minute. “Yep, that’s what did him in!”
This year I also added a GPS beacon type app to my iPhone so that my family and friends can track me on the course in REAL TIME! Yep, they could see where I was and what my speed was. It was much better for them than the official app that only told spectators when you crossed certain way points. Often, too late to look for them on the course. The app was called Glympse and it distracted them from their LONG and PAINFUL waits while I was on the course. They could watch me on the map instead of wondering if every single racer coming by was me or not. When they saw I was close enough they would look up and start cheering me on!
Ok, back to the action.
During the bike ride up the West Side Highway towards the Bronx my legs felt tired. It’s rolling hills, but mostly leading up to a elevation gain. You’re going uphill essentially. That really took a lot of energy out of me and I wanted to save my legs for the run. On the way back from the turn around it was mostly downhill with a few rolling hills mixed. Returning to the transition area they play a cruel little joke on you as you have to ride passed the transition area for 20 blocks and then back up. Mentally you think you’re done as you get there, but then you have to keep going. UGH!
Off the bike and on to the run. I decided to change from ankle socks to knee high compression socks. They are not the most attractive things in the world. However, the feeling of blood rushing out of my calves and back into my body felt GREAT! I felt like it gave me a boost of energy. I should have worn these during my bike ride. Anyway, I work my way out of the gate and towards my cheering squad. I love the sound the cowbells, whistles, and boom sticks make. I got such a boost of energy at that moment and smiled for everyone. Sort of the “I’m hurting like hell, but I’m going to grin and bear it so you can take some good photos of me” face.
See what I mean?
The run course through central park is rolling hills all the way to the finish line. I make it through with a sort of run, “oh my legs are going to cramp”, walk, run, “oh my legs are going to cramp”, walk routine. Not the best for setting personal records. I save some energy so I can run across the finish line with that “I’m hurting like hell, but I’m going to…” you get the picture.
High Five! Smile! Fist pumps! Ice cold towel around my neck. Find a bench. Massage legs. Slump over in relief. It’s over!
I finished nine minutes slower overall. I quit the sport of triathlon, again. At least until the next sprint triathlon in August. Then, I’ll quit again until the sign-up for the 2013 NYC Triathlon. Welcome to the life of an amateur triathlete.
I have to say thank you to my wife, Melissa, and my friends who supported me either via facebook or in person (Jon and Henry). It takes a lot of time to train for something like this. I probably should have trained more than I did, but ultimately I always just want to finish. In one piece.
Until next time…
Thanks to my buddy Jerry for forwarding the quote below.
“All life demands struggle. Those who have everything given to them become lazy, selfish, and insensitive to the real values of life. The very striving and hard work that we so constantly try to avoid is the major building block in the person we are today.”
- Pope Paul VI
Last year was my first year participating in triathlons. Since October of last I have been training and participating in run events off and on in order to keep in some kind of shape. Well, I finished a brick last night and am now taking off to rest for my next triathlon in two days.
It’s in Wyckoff, NJ at the Indian Trail Club, and run by the Wyckoff YMCA. I just learned that it was the oldest running triathlon in NJ.
Half-mile swim, 17 mile bike, 5 mile run
Wish me luck.
Each and every work day for the last 15 years I have commuted to NYC from NJ. I have driven to the office, taken the bus to the subway, and driven to the bus then walked half a mile each way. The latter routine has been in place for a few years with a slight variation. I just recently started driving to the park and ride.
I digress. The point of my post is to talk about how I use this commute to get in some training. Think about it…you have ten minutes to make it from 48th and 6th to 40th and 9th. That’s about .62 miles! And to get there in ten minutes or under is a real hustle when you consider the obstacles of Times Square and Broadway Theaters. Bobbing and weaving takes on a whole new meaning on Matinee Wednesday!
So the next time you feel guilty about not working out, don’t. Just give yourself a little less time to make your train or bus and RUN! You’re burning calories, doing some intervals between walking and running, and cross training as you twist and turn through the streets and double step it up the staircase!
I have a triathlon coming up on June 16. Roughly 3 weeks away and I just
realized something that sent me into shock. The course length is longer
than I thought it was! For some reason I thought it was a sprint course.
You know, short! It’s not as short as I thought.
*Swim* 880 yards *Bike* 17 miles *Run* 5 miles
Oh, well. Anyone have the cliff notes to training?
Lucky for me I didn’t totally do nothing this winter. I did some workouts
and gym work. But I lacked in the swim department.
Here I go!
Today I was chased by two zombie groups and picked up 22 items for my base camp. The total mileage from the plane crash to base camp was 3.6 miles.
You read that right. I was running today and zombies chased me using my new ZOMBIES RUN! game on the iphone. It’s in beta right now and meant to jazz up the not so jazzy long runs. It can get quite boring, you know?
The introduction was pretty slow but then as I slowed down I was alerted to a zombie group chasing me. “Run FASTER!” So I bumped it up a little. Successful mission.
On my next run I get a “lay of the land” and check out the base camp. Check out the game here: https://www.zombiesrungame.com/
This weekend I got out of bed, while sick, for my third installment of triathlon training with Jerry Yoo of Maven Sports Medicine. Jerry is kind enough to kick our butts every weekend and send us words of encouragement and homework throughout the week. He doesn’t have to. But, he wants to. He enjoys bossing us around.
Here is my first podcast interview. I think Jerry is a fitting first interview as he explains how he got into this sport, why he does it, and why he trains us.
Training for a race is like riding a roller coaster — you experience highs and lows, ups and downs, and more peaks and troughs than the New York Stock Exchange.
Two weeks before I raced at the World Ironman Championships in Kona, Hawaii, last year, I had a bad bike crash. I won the race, not on physical prowess, but on grit, willpower, determination and mental strength.