Saturday, September 26, 2015

Don't pass, don't collect $200

Standing at, yet, another intersection in my life, this time between age and physical strength, denial and acceptance battle. No matter if at this point, I lift weights or not, no new muscle mass will develop. No fast twitching muscles react at an impulse. 
Yesterday morning, in training for my first half marathon, I ran over an hour. I had a quick and light breakfast, and headed out to Cedar Creek Park in Wantagh, with the disassembled Raleigh R700, aluminum frame bike. The goal was to bike, two times, the entire length from Cedar Creek Park to Tobay Beach (along Ocean Parkway),and back. Although the terrain is flat, and main and unpredictable challenge is the wind. Whimsical, and unpredictable, it changes intensity and direction within the span of a breathe. 
I mind my business while I ride, and remain competitive at all times, even when I am weak and tired. I pedal with and against the wind like a work horse. I rarely change the gears at the expense of leaving my knees sore for the next day. I have been doing road biking over 25 years, starting with the Mongoose IBOC mountain bike with slick tires, heavy chro-molly frame, and now the Raleigh R700. I have had two bike accidents that I clearly recall. One was with the Mongoose mountain bike, in Queens, on a downhill, when a livery cab stopped in front of me, and without any recourse, I rear-ended him straight into the trunk. Fortunately, nothing significant happened. Then the second bike accident was this year during the Cedar Beach Triathlon, in which for some bizarre reason, I don't remember the details, other than waking up surrounded by EMT technicians asking me if I wanted to go to the hospital. I politely declined and finished the triathlon. 
I used to do laps inside Central Park, New York City, and passed most cyclists. I always dreamed to ride in the Tour de France or Vuelta de Espana, or Giro D'Italia. There was no greater satisfaction in the spirit of competition than passing other cyclists. Yesterday, like a bull looking for the red cape, I looked for cyclists to pass. However, this time, I was humbled when I was passed, not by a skinny, athletic, cyclist, but two fat men and one woman. I kept saying to myself, as a consolation, perhaps the female cyclist who passed me must be the champion of Uzbekistan.

I should have a sign on the back of my jersey that I don't like being passed.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Town of Hempstead - September 12, 2015: Pre Race Photos

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Town of Hempstead, 2015 Triathlon, Saturday, September 12, 2015, 8 a.m.

Town of Hempstead, 2015 Triathlon, Saturday, September 12, 2015, 8 a.m.
Sprint distance: 0.75 mile swim, 10 mile bike, 5 mile run

Highlights/Observations -

This was the third and last triathlon of the year, after only having done one back in 1999. That happened to be this event, Town of Hempstead. I was glad to swim in the open ocean rather in the Long Island Sound, since the ocean water circulates and it is not stagnant, not even after this week's heavy rain. I was  pleasantly surprised to see the ocean was relatively flat. 

Compared to the first two triathlons that I participated, Cedar Beach in Mount Sinai, and Tobay in Oyster Bay, which were fuller of participants, this was low key. Everyone, all ages, male and female, all started at the same time from the same shore. No one had time bracelets on their ankles, so there was no accurate time splits after each event or in the transitions. Every participant had to provide their own bright color (as per event requirement) swim cap. I was looking forward collecting the third swim cap of the year. 

For the start of the swim leg, all participants walked east by Lido Beach, from Point Lookout. The yellow buoys out in the ocean didn't appear to be tightly anchored. The swim was mostly parallel to the shore from west to east, back to the parking lot facing the Point Lookout station. It was difficult to look out for the buoys facing the sun. Also my goggles were foggy and I didn't want to lose time clearing them in the middle of the ocean. At times I had to swim breast stroke to get back in line, as I was veering outward. This also allowed  me to find the buoy. If I am doing triathlons next year, I have to find a way of training more in the open water, as I struggle navigating and with other swimmers. Perhaps I should start the swim leg in the front and let the faster swimmers go around me. I also should practice more in lifting my head above the surface, which contradicts textbook techniques in swimming efficiently. 

The T1 transition, from swim to bike, was quite rather a long run from the shore through the sand, parking lot and onto the bike rack. I didn't bother putting on a cycling shirt or socks. The weather cooperated as it was not too sunny to burn. The biking was rather short, 10 flat miles, almost no head wind to write of. The only hurdle during the biking was the gaps between the pavement slabs in the streets of Point Lookout. Vehicular traffic was controlled by local police department and volunteers. Total strangers cheered us on. Not many cyclists passed me during the bike portion, and I took that as a good sign. I didn't pass the many, so I realized that a strong swim finish can give you a good head start. Something to consider for the future. 

The T2 transition, bike to run, I quickly changed from cycling shoes to running without socks. I almost paid the price running sockless if I had to run more than 5 miles, as I started to feel some discomfort with the toes. This run was longer than the first triathlons I did before, from 3.1 miles to 5.0 miles. I managed to run at a steady pace without having to stop for air or water. I also didn't drink water, on purpose, other than ocean water during the swim portion. I didn't want to have a repeat of the previous triathlon when I threw up, both, sea and potable water. Not a good mixture inside, or outside. The 5 miles felt long, but I kept a steady cadence, breathing evenly, and at times expanding and contracting my chest. I managed to pass some runners, but nothing that would've many a significant change in the final times. I cross the Finish Line in 1 hour and 20-plus minutes. Not bad for a 52 year old person. As I don't expect to be in the top 3 of my age group, I didn't bother waiting for the Awards ceremony. Anyway, my victory was completing 3 triathlons in one year, especially having falling off the bike on June 6th (strange how I remember this date) in the first triathlon in June. At one point after this, I thought the right shoulder wouldn't heal to withstand the arm rotation and movement during the swimming and cycling. 

Well, I earned a nice t-shirt, and the bragging right that I completed a triathlon.

Monday, September 07, 2015

(Training for) Brooklyn Half Marathon, October 10, 2015

(Training for) Brooklyn Half Marathon, October 10, 2015

Monday, September 7th, 2015, I woke up before the sun rays made an arrival on the horizon. I asked my mind and body, if this morning was a good time to start training for the upcoming Brooklyn Half Marathon. To date, the longest distance I have participated in an organized event was this year at the Kings Park 15 km, with hills and a cold rain, both ideal factors to keep me grounded. I tend to race like a jack rabbit, which is start fast and end up sputtering at the finish line. For whatever reason, I don't seem to have patience for "long" distance running events. I mean, I do enjoy running, but at the same time, I want to get it over and done.  This is probably embedded in my mental wiring from the swimming days when I participated in 25 meter races, and were done in less than 20 seconds.

I left the house a little after 5:00 a.m., and the streets were empty. Not even the LIRR Commuter parking lot had cars. But today being Labor Day, nobody, well almost, was laboring. I wanted to see how long I could jog using a "conversational breathing pace". In other words, pretend that I was talking to someone while I jogged without getting winded. With the current physical conditioning for triathlons, my body, at competition pace, can last about 90 minutes.
It would be interesting to establish an organized running event through the various neighborhoods that I ran this morning: Baldwin, Freeport, Uniondale, Rockville Centre and Oceanside.
The temperature in the morning was in the low 70's. As a person who sweats profusely, I had to take off my glasses. As I progressed, I surpassed the usual running distances 5 km and 10 km, and began to wonder if I was approaching anything close to a half marathon distance, 13.1 miles. I connected the different routes around the neighborhood to create one continuous loop. I  kept going, sweating so much that my orange flourescent shirt was soaked, and my sneakers were getting heavier and sloshy. I tried to keep a steady stride, maintaining proper technique and body mechanics. I was feeling a minor muscular tinge in the right knee cap area. Probable related to the worn out heel of the right sneaker.

I was very satisfied with this morning's run. I went to Google Map and traced the route I just completed, and measured 10.5 miles. Not bad, with a month to go before the Brooklyn Half Marathon on the horizon.

Friday, September 04, 2015

Tobay Sprint Triathlon - Highlights

Observations from the Sunday, August 31, 2015, Runner's Edge, Tobay Sprint Triathlon

The night before, I had all the gear packed and ready to go in the morning. I even tested the gears on the bike to make sure that I could use the smaller front chain ring. I brought with me, two tubes in case of a flat tire. I also used the bike-route description on a map, to have an idea of the streets/neighborhood that I would be riding in.

In the morning, I  had a cup of coffee with brown sugar, and two slices of  wheat bread with peanut butter and jelly. Being familiar with Oyster Bay, I arrived and parked on the street a few feet away from the park entrance. Although I was physically ready for the triathlon, my mind was shutting and affecting my psyche. It didn't help that I started on the 7th of 7 waves, with 5 minutes apart between waves. I wasn't enjoying the atmosphere at all, even though the water was so flat like a swimming pool. I  didn't enjoy being in the water when it was my turn to begin. The water smelled clammy, and the bottom of the bay was very slippery.

I wanted to stop swimming and not even complete the triathlon. I wanted to get one of the kayaks to bring me to shore. And I got more frustrated when I seeded behind a wall of slow swimmers, which is not easy to pass. I  swam breast stroke to see where I could pass the slow swimmers. Swimming breast stroke, which is my slow stroke, was as fast as the slow pokes swimming freestyle.

The T1 transition from the water to the bike corral was very distant, which in a way helped me stabilize any dormant legs. Swimming breast stroke helped to eliminate the light headness I had in my June 6th, Cedar Beach Triathlon, June 6th. I didn't expect to have any problems cycling, but I was wrong. I was holding the handlebar with sweaty hands, which I held steady as to not let go everytime I hit a bump. The handle the first hill without any problems. It was the second hill, which I will have to look up the street name. that the chain got stuck at the worst possible moment, right on the hill. Three times I got the chain loose, and three times it got stuck. It wasn't easy to get momentum on the uphill, while trying to click on the cleats, and other riders passing you. Riders that I passed earlier, only to be left in the dust. I had to walk the bike up to the top of the hill, losing valuable time. Somehow, there were many downhills thereafter, which I took advantage to jet down, and make up for some lost time.

The T2 transition was uneventful. I didn't bother putting on socks, and was willing to take a chance. The running wasn't difficult if running was the only leg I was doing, like some the relay teams I passed. There was one hill towards the Arboterum Planting Fields, in which I had to walk just to dissipate the pain in my kidney. Closer to the finish line, I decided to go for bust. That's when everything had digested, meaning, sea water and bottle water, decided to make an exit. Right as I was crossing the Finish Line. I usually have a painful looking face crossing the Finish Line, but throwing up with cameras aiming at me, was something new.

Lessons learned -

  1. The mind is powerful. 
  2. Don't swallow too much sea water next time. 
  3. Switch gears manually by lifting rear wheel. 
  4. Conditioning, conditioning, conditioning. 

Next Sprint Triathlon - Town of Hempstead, Point Lookout, September 12, 2015

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Tobay Sprint Distance TRIATHLON, August 30, 2015