Monday, September 26, 2016

Run Bike Day

Sunday, September 25th, 2016, a few days after the end of the summer season, and I wore long sleeve shirt and gloves to go out jogging. What? How's that possible? The other day I had the air conditioner on in the car and sweating through my office shirt. 

I planned to go for a long run, so I left the house around 4:45 a.m. I was feeling good and full of energy. As I jogged westbound on Sunrise Highway in Rockville Centre, I saluted a couple of cyclists at this holy hour with their LED lights on their handlebars, and they, in turn, saluted me. They must've known that I am, as well,  a cyclist,  besides a runner and swimmer. I kept jogging north on North Village road, and made a right, eastward, on DeMott Avenue. Headed north along Hempstead Avenue, right on Locust Avenue, right again on Long Beach Road southbound. 

At the fork in the road in front of Gino's Pizza in RVC, I took the left side onto Oceanside Road, past Sunrise Highway, and made a left on Brower Avenue. This joined Atlantic Avenue in the Baldwin Harbor area. I headed back home along Grand Avenue northward, left on Merrick Road westward, then home sweet home. I had a bicycle water bottle outside the front steps of my house waiting for me. I ran for close to 10 uninterrupted miles, without breaking or stopping to catch my breath. I had plenty of energy, and reminded myself that I need 3 full days of no sports to fully recover and be able to perform like this morning. I wasn't tired, or cranky, like when I exert myself to this level. 

For the Brooklyn Rock and Roll Half Marathon I should taper the Wednesday of that week if the race is on Saturday. This will be my fourth Half Marathon, and although I haven't been specifically training for this distance, I hope that I still have the residual strength and stamina from the triathlon training. We'll see.. . . . .

Later in the same morning, I went biking from LIU through the hilly roads of Oyster Bay, and back, for approximately 16 miles. I haven’t biked through these roads in quite a while, except for organized events like the Tobay Triathlon or the Nassau-Suffolk Bike Challenge.  It is great to be out there, enjoying the views of the road, breathing hard on the steep hills, and recuperating on the down hills. 

Monday, September 19, 2016

2016 Edition of the Cow Harbor 10 kilometer race - Photos

2016 Edition of the Cow Harbor 10 kilometer race

2016 Edition of the Cow Harbor 10 kilometer race
Saturday, September 17th, 2016
Northport, New York

I have participated in the Cow Harbor Race so many times that I have lost count. But, I haven't forgotten how many bad experiences I've had on this course. I feel like a veteran of the event that at times when I overhear someone ask a question about the event logistics or the course, I answer like a reflex. Most people would be deterred to return to the site of their worst races, but what brings me back is the great support from the people of Northport, the atmosphere, the spirit of the runner in competition. 

In the past, this course had left me soured that I remember going back the following year, with a few weeks in advance, practice running on the hills. I even brought the course map to specifically target these hills. I would be tortured on the hills at (approximate) mile 1.2, and 3.6, to find happiness at the downhills at mile 0.4, 3.4, and of course, at mile marker 5.6 towards the Finish Line at  downtown Northport, facing the view of the harbor. Somehow, these pre-race practice runs didn't seem to help at all. I would still struggle. In most races, as  a Spanish saying goes - Horse's start with a donkey's stop. I would start like a frantic madman, take the first downhill at full throttle, and pay the price at each of the following inclines. For everything that goes down, precedes something that went up. Duh, the road in this case. 

I would frequently commit the runner's sin of walking the uphills to bring the heart rate down to normal, and beat myself later for doing so, and not pacing myself.

Well, in the last two seasons (years)  something strange has happened. I've been cross training for triathlons, which has made running uphills a lot easier without necessarily running the actual hills. I don't know if it's the cycling that has helped, or the swimming with the hills. In these last two Cow Harbors, I have tackled the hills without thinking and without hesitation. I've also, unintentionally been able to set a pace that allows me to conserve energy without getting winded. 

Every year runner's are seeded  or assigned to waves based on their predicted finish time. For this, I always guess, not really keeping track of prior finishing times. This year I predicted that I would finish 10 kilometer in a time of 53 minutes and 30 seconds (yeah, like I really can do this). Somehow, some way, even with a reading at the first mile marker of 9 minutes and 9 seconds, I managed to finish the race at 53 minutes and 27 seconds (3 seconds faster than predicted). And when I crossed the finish line I wasn't dying or felt like throwing up or light headed. 

I finished complete, in control of all my senses. I immediately proceeded to the harbor area to replenish of fluids and goodies. All in all, a great race. In spite of my nature, my personality, my demeanor, I was very grateful and humbled by the kindness from all the runners and spectators along the course, who cheered this human being. Thank you all!!!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

2016 Town of Hempstead (Sprint Distance) Triathlon
3/4 Mile Ocean Swim, 10 Mile Bike, and 5 Mile Run
Start TIme: Saturday, September 10th, 2016, 8:00 a.m.

Weather - Clear, sunny, 70 and rising

Ocean Conditions - Water Temp ~ low 60s. Small to no waves. 
Bike Conditions on course - Wind blowing westward. Some bumps, and wide joints on concrete slab pavement throughout sporadic areas in Point Lookout and Long Beach
Run Conditions - Heat became an issue that I had to walk to bring the heart rate down. Wind was not felt.

Number of participants - Approximately 200 or less. 

Time Results (Overall Only) -

Second and last triathlon of the year. Sixth sprint triathlon overall. Third time participating in this particular location, Point Lookout, Long Island. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Town of Hempstead TRIATHLON Photos - September 10, 2016

Sunday, September 04, 2016

2016 Tobay (Sprint) Triathlon, August

2016 Tobay (Sprint) Triathlon, August

Highlights -
Weather: Ideal, clear, no winds, between 70 and 80 degrees.
Atmosphere: Jubilant, contagiously energetic.
Volunteers: Very attentive at all times
Course: Calm waters. Hilly for bike and run portions.
Result: Same time as last year.

Morning of -
I had everything for each leg of the event prepared in the same order: swim/bike/run. I woke up a little after 4:00 a.m., made some coffee. Managed to quickly read headlines of the home delivered NYTIMES. I forced myself to eat one slice of whole wheat bread with smooth peanut butter and raspberry jam. I managed to take care of the personal, daily, regular, morning business. I thought I was arriving early enough to park next to the Oyster Bay LIRR track parking lot. To my surpise, I had to park a few blocks away (boo hoo, the poor athlete has to walk - the irony). In the transition area, there was no space on the bike rack or on the floor to place my belongings. I managed to discretly make some space, and settle at the end of my assigned bike rack. I had some time to walk the grounds, see other athletes, and check out the water conditions. I took some "before" photos and some "selfies".

Swim -
Weeks leading into this event, I did laps at Echo Pool, and, recently, in the open waters of Falmouth and Oak Bluffs (Martha's Vineyard). I still can't say that I am comfortable swimming in open water and looking for bouys while trying to stay in course. This year I wasn't out-of-it like last time. I positioned myself to the head of my age group. There were two starting areas for all the swimmers. I figured that I swim the inside track to minimize distance and aim for the buoys better. The announcer did warn the swimmers that at some point in the swim that the sun would be staring into our eyes. And yes, it was blinding. I focused on swimming mechanics, mostly on the pull under water. The swim start was a little chaotic like all triathlons, with bodies clashing against each other, catching feet of one, unintentionally swallowing water. There were times I was able to swim unimpeded and tried to make progress by aiming forward. Three quarters or so, of the swim portion, I kept looking for the last buoys, and I swam and swam, and it felt like I wasn't getting there at all. Eventually, I lifted my head and saw that I was getting closer, I swam until my hand scraped the bottom of the bay. That's when I got up, and made a sprint to the transition area. Without seeing what time had elapsed, I had a feeling that something was not the same as last year. The transition last year was onto the slimy concrete boating ramp. This year the transition area was onto the sandy beach, covered by a burlap mat.

Biking -
My mind was literally running fast, and for a second, I thought I had already finished the biking and was looking for my sneakers. I quickly realized, and I put on my Team Colombia cycling jersey, and put in the back pockets a spare tube and portable pump. I thought of putting on socks, but I didn't want to waste time putting them on. I didn't waste time putting on bike gloves for a short triathlon, although my hands sweat a lot, making the grip of the handlebar a little perilous when hitting bumps on the road. Unlike the pros, I didn't have the bike shoes on the bike pedals. I haven't practiced enough the move of putting in the foot while in motion. I quickly put on the helmet, and belt with the race bib. I made it out of the transition area onto the streets of Oyster Bay. At first there were mild hills, and then one hill made most cyclist disembark. Last year on this same hill, I lost valuable time with mechanical problems that I had to walk the bike to the top of the hill (a cycling cardinal sin). Although this year I didn't have to get off the bike, I had to put the gear on the largest rear chainring, and pedal standing up to propel up the hill 200 pounds of flesh and bones, with my heart literally pounding all the way into the throat. Once I cleared this hill, as with life, the rest of the course was downhill, with some sharp turns. I managed to bring the heart rate down, and rinsed my mouth all the salt water from the bay, and then hydrate for what was coming.

Running -
The last few blocks on the bike before the transition, I drank more to stay hydrated. I placed the bike and helmet on the rack, and decided to run without socks. The Saucony sneakers are extremely comfortable, and I was willing to pay the price if blisters later decided to make a presence. The first half of the run is on a varying course peaking at a hill near the Arboterum State Park. My stride was extremely stiff, and I didn't want to shoot the heart rate up like last year that forced me to walk (another cardinal sin). This year, I managed to keep a slow and steady pace all the way up to the midpoint. Once I've reached the last hill, and it was all of a descent onto the Finish Line, I picked up the pace and was able to get energized, and started to pass other runners. From their markings on their calves, I knew that I was passing athletes that started ahead, based on their age group. This made me feel good, specially if I was passing younger male athletes, as everyday, I feel my body not having the same strength as in the past years. I was passing men 20 years younger than I. Obviously, I don't read too much into this fact, as there are a million of circumstances why a younger person may be slower than I, like perhaps, they just got into sports, or are recovering from an illness. Seeing the Finish Line in the horizon gave me the last boost that I needed, and unleashed all I had left in the proverbial gas tank. I knew better not to grimace or make that awful face when I an suffering. I tried to smile and also, keep a neutral face for the cameras. Total strangers congratulated me, I placed the Finishers medal over my head, and walked around very proud of this physical accomplishment. Then, it was time to hydrate some more, and eat whatever was being provided by the organizers of the event, the Greater Long Island Road Runners Club (GLIRRC).

Let's see what happens next year. Hopefully, stronger, leaner, and faster.

Friday, September 02, 2016

2016 August - Tobay Beach Sprint Distance Triathlon (Thanks to all!)