Thursday, June 23, 2011

Race Report: Gold Coast Triathlon

Sunday marked the beginning of my 2011 triathlon season. For better or worse, it also took place on a super busy weekend. My comedy group had a show that evening, so last week was almost nonstop comedy rehearsals. This makes finding time to run and work out much more difficult. There's always my streak run, of course, but if I do the minimum mile or close to it, it's not much help. Saturday started off with breakfast with Shashi, a train ride, and a work softball tournament in Stamford, CT. The tournament itself went very poorly and we lost by mercy rule in the fourth inning of our first game. After that, I headed home and took a nap once I got there because I hadn't gotten that much sleep after going out the night before. Once I woke up I remembered we had a comedy meeting! I rushed down to the Lower East Side in time for the last half of the meeting, which was surprisingly productive, all things considered.

After getting home around 10, I had to get all my stuff ready for the tri. I practiced putting on and taking off my wetsuit, collected everything I would need, and made sure my bike tires were pumped. I finally went to sleep around 1am, knowing I'd have to be up a mere 3 hours later. I wasn't that bothered about it, just concerned that I wouldn't wake up in time!

Fortunately, though, I was able to and I got up and stuffed everything into my backpack, rode down to Penn Station and bought a ticket and bike permit for the 5:19 Long Island Railroad train to Port Washington. I'm normally a logistical and planning nightmare, so I was concerned that something would go wrong and I'd miss the train or not get a ticket in time, etc. Luckily, nothing like that happened and I made it onto the train in plenty of time. There were a bunch of triathletes on the same train. Seeing other runners or triathletes on the train always comforts me because I know I'm on the right track and, worst case, I can follow those people to the right place.

After a sleepy train ride, we arrived at Port Washington, where I followed another group of triathletes as they got on their bikes and began the nearly 3 mile ride to Hempstead Park. It was not a bad ride but did have a couple of hills, which I obviously have not been preparing for. After arriving at the park, I set up all my things and began to get a little concerned about the swim, since I hadn't done any swimming in the wetsuit up to that point. Plus, I forgot Body Glide! I saw everyone around me applying it and I began to have visions of chafing and blisters all over my neck, wrists and ankles. Again, though, my concerns were unfounded and I had none of these issues. I waited until the last possible minute to put on the wetsuit because it was hot. And once I did have it on, I jumped right into the water and was immediately grateful to be wearing it because the water was cold! I heard someone say it was 70 degrees but it definitely felt colder. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the wetsuit wasn't nearly as restrictive as I anticipated. Not only that, but I'm pretty sure it made the swim easier because of the added buoyancy.

The first heat began their swim promptly at 7:30 and my heat started 4 minutes after. The swim wasn't too bad, all things considered. What did suck was that my goggles are tinted yellow and the buoys we were supposed to be swimming around were also yellow. To add to this visual nightmare, the morning light and sand made the horizon one big yellow blur and sighting the buoys was very difficult. I think I made a humongous arc around the path I should have been following. I also took the typical kicks and punches that come in a mad scramble in the water. These are especially bad at the beginning and as racers round the buoys. It's easy to get distracted just trying to protect your face from other people's limbs.

After the swim I did my best to run quickly up to the transition area, tearing my wetsuit half off before I got to my bike in order to make my transition faster. Once I got there, I peeled off the bottom half of the suit, yanked on my bike shoes, and grabbed my helmet before running my bike out to the bike start. The bike course was very short and pretty easy but I had an issue which I did NOT anticipate. My bike seat was loose and so it kept tilting up! If you want an idea of how this felt, look at your own (hopefully level) bike seat and imagine that it's tilted at a 45 degree angle and you have to ride it that way. Yeah. It was bad. That was the biggest thing I had to deal with on the bike. I'm 90% certain my time would have been better without this issue, but again, the whole thing was a big learning experience.

The run went much better than it has in the past. I think I ran it in 27 minutes and change, which works out to a little more than a 9 minute mile. Not bad, considering it was after the swim and bike. Part of the run was even on a trail, which made it more difficult than usual.

Overall, I'm glad I was able to race this one. The sooner I was able to get into the season, the better. Now I'm eager to get back into training so that I can keep improving throughout the season.

No comments:

Post a Comment