Spartan Fenway 11/18/12
Tuff Scramblers 10/13/12
Tough Mudder New England #2 7/15/12
Warrior Dash CT 6/10/12
Reach the Beach Relay 5/18/12 + 5/19/12
Tough Mudder New England #1 5/5/12 + 5/6/12
The Inaugural Frozen Clam 1/1/12
Tough Mudder Tri State 11/12/11
“Do it in the Woods” Tri 10/2/11
Bold R Dash 8/13/11
Save the Bay Swim 7/23/11
Oh My Goddard Sprint 6/26/11
Overall place 59/265
Age group 2/10
Given the circumstances leading up to this race, I’d have to rate it a solid performance! You’ve read it here before – I never train bla, bla, bla…However, this time was literal! Although I had planned to practice swimming, biking, and running; other responsibilities unfortunately took priority. Consequently, the day before the race was the first time I’d ridden my bike and swam since the Block (see below). I had done some running prior to but a nagging foot injury had prevented me from “training.”
Pre-race meal = dinner the night before. I stayed away from coffee and booze for two days prior to hopefully prevent any cramping.
Swim – sans westuit this year but still set out hard and tried to hold onto my pace. I ended up about a minute behind last year’s time - possibly due to equipment but most likely due to lack of pool/pond time. Crazy thing was my transition time was exactly the same even though I didn’t have to strip off a westuit. Maybe because I didn’t have my serious race face on or because I really don’t like biking that much. Speaking of…
Bike – this part of the course was identical to last year. I was riding the same bike (this year with more dust on it). My time was over 4 minutes slower. Enough said! Here’s T2…happy to get off the seat and put the running hat on:
Run – a pleasant surprise! The course changed from last year - a little longer, more trail and less pavement. My time was 4 minutes slower but looking at the other times, this was consistent with the rest of the field. So with an injury that allowed limited exercises for 3-4 months, I maintained my speed from last year. While faster is always better, I’m happy not to be slower!
Overall, a good day. It tempts me to actually put effort into triathlon again but I simply enjoy other ways of exercise more. Adventure racing is more suited my style at the moment. Bold R Dash recap coming soon!
Block Island Sprint 7/31/10
Overall Place 66/371
Age Group 10/24
To sum it up, a not-so-good day on Block Island beats a good day just about anywhere else. I’m definitely disappointed in how the race turned out. It’s not just the overall time, but the fact that I couldn’t perform to the best of my ability due to some serious cramping in my calves and hamstrings, as well as a mean stitch in my side. I’m thankful for my family and friends out there on the course supporting me; had it not been for them, I wouldn’t have even bothered with the run. Anyway, here’s how a race looks with cramps 3/4 of the time:
Swim – before entering the water there is a 60 +/- yd dash along the beach and around a flag to start. I blew through this and was the first in the choppy water. This was the bumpiest ride I’ve ever had in a race. The swells were coming in big and often, and it felt like there were at least 100 people in the chaotic ”school” of swimmers the entire time. Nevertheless, I maintained a relatively straight line at a solid pace and came out of the water feeling good.
Bike – I can usually tell within the first minute on the bike if it’s going to be a good ride or not. Unfortunately, at 1:01 into it I wasn’t feeling too optimistic but had a pretty fast start and was keeping pace with the guy ahead of me in my age group. I held my own while working on my POSE technique and pedaling at a high cadence (100 rpm +/-). Approx 15 minutes into the ride I lost some ground and got passed by my chiropractor who called me out as he cruised by. That was enough motivation for me to pick it up! I closed the gap within a few minutes but then the entire complexion of the race took a turn for the worse - serious “pre-cramps” were knocking in both of my calves. “No (bleepin) way!” I’ve never cramped up on the bike before. This was not a good sign. At 20:00 I took a sip from my coconut water and noticed I had only consumed about 3-4 oz from my water bottle. I was over 1/2 way through the ride and definitely way behind on hydration. This sensation never subsided and unfortunately the rest of the ride was pretty slow and painful (mentally and physically). I always aim for a negative split when doing a loop course. This was far from the case as I did the second half about 3 min. slower (shaking my head writing this) than the first.
Run – If there is one positive I can take away from this race, I learned my threshold for pain was higher than expected. From the first steps both calves were screamin (yo wtf!). I dialed back my strides significantly hoping they would recover. After roughly 1 mile they felt a little better and I was just dealing with a stitch. I think this is why my run time wasn’t terrible because for about 1/2 the time I was at least close to where I wanted to be pace-wise. Also, I think receiving water from my father (completely illegal - I should’ve been DQ’d) and my straw hat from Mrs. Jenn Newman (again DQ worthy) lifted my spirits for a while. (Video below – my feet should almost be hitting my ass (like in the Goddard videos above). This isn’t as bad as the next video. All courtesy of Shawn “Zorro” Newman)
For the last mile the cramping calves rejoined the party and brought along a verging lock-you-up-and-drop-you hamstring cramp. I’ve experienced this once before during a race and it was absolutely excruciating and demoralizing. So my long-shot hopes of putting on a show and at least finishing strong were vanquished, and I did the Frankenstein shuffle to the finish line. (In this video I feel like a cross between Frankenstein, the Tin Man, and the guy who bonks in the Gatorade commercial. Picking up the feet here would’ve led to an embarrassing cramp/scream/tumble sequence. Nice work by #42 showing me how to finish off a race.):
Overall a tough time but being around family and friends in a beautiful setting definitely eased the pain. I can take away the following as lessons learned for future races:
- Don’t adjust your bike within 2 weeks of a race. I moved my seat forward 1″ and never had a real ride on it before the race. Basically that’s breaking the most basic rule I learned in my first tri workshop: never do anything new on race day!
- Make sure to include some electrolytes in the hydration plan a few days before racing. I suspect I may have drank too much water and may have had a mild case of hyponatremia entering the race. Not sure, but it’s possible.
- Be more dilligent with on-course hydration! This is a rookie mistake! For sprint races on a hot day I’ll try to take a sip on the 5 min marks. As great as the primal way is, it does not lend itself to this sort of practice. It’s something I’ll just have to keep in mind next time.
Oh My Goddard Sprint – 6/27/10
Overall place 23/223
Age group 4/5
A solid performance overall! Racing always exposes strengths and weaknesses and provides opportunities to evaluate where/how to get better. I learned that I don’t need to worry about swimming, biking, or running the set distances leading up to race day. I also learned that I need to get stronger on the bike and better at POSE running. Ok, time for the recap:
Pre-race meal = dinner the night before. I used to wake up 3 hrs before racing to have a smoothie or the classic bagel with peanut butter and banana but those day are long gone. I was not waking up at 4 am and I already had sufficient fuel in the tank. Drank some iced coffee then coconut water before the gun went off.
Swim – lined up on the inside of the pack and just blasted out. Started strong and kept my form and breathing in check. Not too much to report here other than I did better than expected given it was my second open water swim of the year and the first time I swam in almost a full month.
Bike – this has always been my weakest of the three. Unfortunately it is the most significant time-wise. I kept the cadence between 90-100 but couldn’t keep up with a couple of people in my age group who passed me. I’m going to make quad strength and pedaling technique my points of emphasis leading up to the Block Island tri. Riding fuel was 12 oz coconut water.
Run – a pleasant surprise. I was nervous at the beginning because I was on the verge of cramping up in my right calf. I ran cautiously for the first 5 min +/- until it settled down. Unfortunately it never went away completely but I was lucky it held off especially because half of the run was on the horse trails which is tougher on the calves than pavement. First video is the very beginning of the run. My form is OK but I need to reach less with the front foot and pickup the support foot quicker. Shout out to the guy in Vibrams. We’re in perfect stride together from 0:06-0:07 . Second video is the same hill just the easier way down on the way to the finish line. Again I’m reaching just a little and doing too much dorsiflexion but have a pretty good POSE going.
Overall a respectable performance while training true to the primal way!