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.


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