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Diamondman Triathlon

Posted by brooklynrunz Sep 14, 2010

I first considered the Diamondman Triathlon when a classmate suggested she wanted to compete in the shorter version of the race. Since they also had a 1/ Ironman option I thought I would extend my triathlon season for another two months. I was up for the challenge. Needless to say, I never imagined that my season would lead me to this point. The point where  I was training for 4-6hrs at a time on hard days. I had to convince myself that such a workout was normal. Sure, EVERYONE bikes for three hours then weightlifts! Training was physically exhausting and required that I get more sleep. Not an easy task for this insomniac. It was mentally exhausting to push myself for hours on end. But I knew it would be worth it. Nonetheless, I was saddened the week prior to my race. Would I ever be able to dedicate this much time towards training? Will I ever revisit this level of conditioning? I think this fear made me even consider extending my season and push myself towards the next level. The future is never promised, but there is a time for everything. A time to build and a time to step back. Whatever I have achieved has been given to me anyway (1 Cor 4:7). I was sure about hanging up my goggles and bike after this race.

-----------------The Race-----

1.2 mile swim:This is the first race i have EVER competed in while it was raining...This is also the first race where I wasn't praying for the swim portion  to be canceled due to a random lightening strike. I had actually gotten to the point where I could consistently swim for oven an hour. I wanted to see how well I would fare during the race. However, I cam across one problem. An IN WATER START. An in water start requires competitors to tread water till the sounding horn. This newbie, however, was not prepared nor capable of such a feat. I considered it a waste of energy and it would leave too much time for me to contemplate the threat of drowning. My strategy was to swim slowly to the starting buoy and continue on from there.

          Sadly this strategy wasn't as effective as I hoped. I swam slowly to the starting buoy and flipped on my back as I began to freak out in the middle of the lake. My plan was to take my time and go at my own pace, but whenever I picked my head up to spot the buoy  I would freak out. 1. The buoys lining the swim course were very far away 2. Unlike the Nautica Triathlon I had to pick my head up more often because it was very easy to swim off-course 3. Imagine how scary it is to find that you are completely off-course and don't know where you are. I guess I was progressing too slowly for the lifeguards because one guy told me I should swim across the lake and wait around a "red buoy" until the next wave of swimmers entered the water. On my way there a lifeguard in a canoe intercepted my path only to inform me that there were tons of red buoys, "which one was I swimming towards?" This is NOT the kind of questioning you want in the middle of a lake. The life guard told me I should let him bring me back to shore for safety reasons. I was too slow and obviously struggling. I admitted defeat.

       As I held on to the end of the lifeguard's canoe for dear life I wondered, "what am I doing here?" Seriously. How had I ended up in the middle of a random lake needing to be towed in. I floated on my back, looked up at the sky and pondered what I would do once I got to shore. What I be disqualified? Could I complete the race? Should I try to finish it? Or would I be considered an imposter? I don't know how far out I was, but it took about seven minutes to get to shore. Once I let go of the canoe people were cheering me on. Had they not seen me holding on to the canoe? Clearly I didn't consider myself to be a competitor. I was confused about what to do. As I wobbled and tried to get my footing another triathlete ran past me as she headed for the transition area where she would start the bike portion. I decided I would follow suit...(Somehow I spent 51minutes in the water and still didn't complete the entire swim)

 

56 mile bike ride: I had put in major work into the bike portion of my race. I was pretty confident about how I would perform. This would be my first time riding in the rain, but I was ready. I wasn't so sure an hour into the bike portion. Large amounts of people were passing me. I wasn't tired. I was putting forth a decent effort, but I think my road bike was heavier than average triathlon bike, which means I was going nowhere fast. My bike broke down 50+ miles into the race. I had to wait for the bike repair van to catch up to  me and make the needed repairs. More than ten precious minutes passed. The local sheriff decided to wait with me. Why? Because I was the last competitor on the bike. Every one else had already passed me. I would have to make up ground during the run....

 

13.1 miles: A woman I met prior to the Marshall University 1/2 Marathon suggested I train during a rainstorm. To prepare myself to push myself despite wet shoes and socks.Boy, I wish I took her advice! You know what they say about hind-sight, though.  After I racked my bike I  put on rain soaked socks, slabbed on anti-blistering cream on my feet, and  slipped my shoes on. Competitors were finishing there race as I was starting my run. 13.1 miles is a lot of miles to wrap your mind around. Can be a daunting task to even consider completing. I convinced myself that it was normal for me to be here in the rain running for 6+miles. Running 6 miles in one direction. That was all I would think about. The turn around point would come quickly. It took me 4 or 5 miles just to get into my rhythm and to finally adjust to having my feet strike the pavement. I wished those who were on their way to the finish line best wishes as they passed me in the opposite direction. I had a lot of time to think. As usual things are so clear to me as I am in running motion:

 

  • This race was not about the glitz or glamour. Crowd support was scarce, which would leave a competitor to question: Who are you competing for? Who do you compete for when no one is watching? When other competitors are few and far between? You have to want this for yourself. This kind of race is not/cannot be about passing other competitors or about applause. It has to be about the Audience of One. Performing your best for you and God alone.
  • The true heart of a competitor can be seen not when he crosses ahead of the pack, but when he brings in the back. The competitor who goes on even though the crowd has already left and the equipment has been packed up.

 

I was able to have a strong run. I was able to pass several people, which was great considering that I was the last person to start the run. But, the things I contemplated during the run told me it didn't matter. I was completing a mental race. It wasn't about everyone else.

 

When I finally finished I felt a tinge of emptiness. The food and beverages were packed up. There were no massage therapists waiting to ease my pain. There was no celebration or festival. I had to bend over, catch my breath, and keep it pressing. There was no space for a physical collapse. I was alone and  1hr away from home. Nonetheless, I was encouraged by my friends and family who had this to say:

"but you  made it through. your my hero of the day". .."But now you feel you could do anything and that's the biggest reward". I wondered whether I should just stick with running. I was decent at it. This triathlon but on  a humbling experience I wasn't prepared for...but I FINISHED!

I am excited about what the rest of my roadraces/ workouts will look like after this event;)

 

swim1.2 miles:51 minutes

bike 56 miles: 4hrs

run 13.1 miles: 2hrs

227 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: delaware, 1/2, iron, man, diamondman

According to my triathlon training guide I was to log 3hrs 35min on the bike today AND swim for 30 min AND stretch for 30minutes. I got up around 6:20am and didn't actually get on my bike till 6:45. Due to my busy schedule today I was only able to get in a 3hr ride. Mind you, this is my first bike ride over 2hrs... I did THREE HOURS on the bike today!!! (fist pump).

 

After getting some tasks done I figured I would head out on my bike again for an hour and ditch the swim since my legs were done. Well....I got my second flat tire for the week and had to walk my bike a short distance home (at least it was a short distance right!). I guess I will get that stretch in before bed

 

 

I am pretty impressed with my workout this week despite a few hiccups in the schedule but whatever. Since my workout was all on the bike I composed a list of my love hate relationship with cycling for your enjoyment:

 

I love cruising down hill at top speed.

I hate having to climb said hill and feel the weight of an imaginary gorilla on my back.

I love hitting a hill, thinking it must be really steep, only to find that I have a few gears I can shift down to help me go a bit faster.

I hate when people on less advanced bikes pass me.

I hate having to wake up so early so I can get a traffic-free bike ride in for the day.

I love seeing the sun-rise via bike.

I hate getting flat tires (I have yet to master changing a flat w/o putting a hole in the spare tube.lol)

I love exploring my new city on my bike.

264 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: cycling, triathlon, ironman, half, newbie

I guess I should give you some background information on this race and what lead me to register in the first place. I remember seeing the Nautica Triathlon in television and thinking: 1. These people are crazy for doing this 2. How cool would it be to bike in Manhattan and swim in the Hudson...Needless to say I was in awe at what they were able to accomplish.

 

I volunteered to be a medical volunteer for the event in 2006 when I received my EMT certification. Since I wanted to become a sports physician I thought it would be a great opportunity to practice working with athletes. I also volunteered giving race entrants their information packets and t-shirts. It was at that time that I was able to actually interact with these crazy people that call themselves triathletes. I wondered how they were able to get themselves to the physical condition where they could perform such a feat. I wanted to be where they were. I wanted to be able to do the things they had already done and were preparing themselves to do but the path seemed mythical and cropped from a legend. How does one even begin such a journey?! I opted out of performing my medical volunteer duties (I would have to get up WAY too early!) I felt guilty enough about it that I volunteered again in 2009. I hear the best way to learn the ins and outs about a race is to volunteer for the event.Although I was happy to just volunteer, I learned that doing so would also guarantee a spot for the race in 2010. So there I was in 2009 positioned near the swim exit cheering the athletes on as they made their way towards their bikes and the next portion of the race...and I was amazed by all that I saw. People in all different shapes and size came out of the Hudson. Short, chubby, tall, slender, disabled, blind, young, and old. They were all there. I remember thinking to myself, "why wouldn't I be able to do it?" And so my journey towards NYC Tri 2010 began.

 

I first got my sister to pay for an adult swim class at a local health club. For those who know my older sister "pimped" is a more appropriate term since she hardly pays for ANYTHING so I had to convince her it would be a wonderful graduate school graduation gift.lol By the end of my swim class I was able to swim one length of the pool without stopping. When it was finally time for me to register for the 2010 race I was able to swim one lap. Let me say that again. In December 2009 I could only swim  ONE LAP. The race would require me to swim SIXTY LAPS! I was really operating on faith here. It would either be a great accomplishment or a great waste of money.

 

Other things I did to prepare for the race: Meet with a few of my classmates who were strong swimmers and get swimming tips from them. Enter a triathlon bootcamp, which improved my confidence in the water and on my bike. Many of you have seen the notes I've written about my other two triathlons and how they went.

 

Despite my training and preparation I wasn't confident about this race, as you can tell from my Hope Floats Note. Yes, I have been training since December. Yes, I have been working on my swimming technique, But, when you freak out about not being able to touch the bottom of whatever body of water you are swimming in...to swim in the Hudson River sounds ridiculous!!! I decided to continue to train for the event after contemplating my options and realizing that I would lose the money I put down for the race if I didn't compete this year. Let's just say enough money was at stake for me to shake off my doubts and to really access what I was capable of doing. I made a few  phone calls and got in touch with triathletes who were really strong swimmers. They both agreed to meet with me and teach me new swimming techniques. I learned how to float on my back, do an elementary backstroke, and doggie paddle. These were techniques that were essential to my swim performance because it would allow me an opportunity to catch my breathe and relax while in the water.

 

I didn't make my decision to actually compete in the race until Thursday, the day that I realized I could swim over 1500meters. Prior to this day I didn't take advantage of many opportunities to see how long I could go without stopping namely because I was battling with swimmer's shoulder. The muscles on my right that allowed me to rotate my body and inhale were extremely tight and fatigued very easily. Needless to say I was unable to swim for long periods of time. I received treatment that Wednesday and decided to put everything on the line on Thursday. Before diving into the Hudson I needed to know what I could do. I know this doesn't sound like a move of faith, but you try diving into a RIVER with masses of people all while not knowing if you can cover the distance. After speaking with my friend Corinth, I removed drowning from the list of possible outcomes. The wetsuit would keep me buoyant. The lifeguards in their kayaks would let me drown (it would be bad publicity after all.lol). So then, what was I afraid of? Not finishing? Big deal. I entered the pool at a local Y, which had a deep end, and tested my ability and newfound mind set. I was pleased when I was able to swim 1750meters (70 laps) without my feet touching the bottom of the pool. Not only was I excited about what I had just accomplished, but I was thrilled because I finally had the confidence necessary to compete in the NYC Triathlon on Sunday.

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------The Race-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1500meter swim: I was scheduled to swim at 6:17am.  Which meant that I had to get up at 3am, drive to Manhattan, find a parking spot, set up the area where I positioned my bike (the transition area), and get ready for my race. The thing about this race is you have to walk from the swim exit to the swim start. This means: 1. It is a point to point swim, there is no turn around. Swimmers move from one point to another, which means I wouldn't have to raise my head too often to figure out if I was off course. 2. You get to walk, see, feel the exact distance you are about to swim. This can either be comforting...or frightening. As I made my way to the swim start with the masses I wondered whether this was a death march. No the possibility of dying hadn't entered my mind. Okay, maybe it did. But the race announcer said the two magical words that put me at ease. WETSUIT LEGAL. Translation: the water was cool enough for me to wear my wetsuit aka my lifesaving flotation device!

The mood at the swim start was light as the announcer and the other athletes cracked jokes. Swimmers were divided by age groups and gender and were allowed to swim 3 minutes after the last group had already been okayed to start

While the other women in my age group dove into the Hudson and held on to a rope (so they wouldn't be led away by the current) I sat on the dock and waited for the starting siren. I didn't want to deal with the masses, but to swim my own race at my own pace. The siren sounded, the other women took off, I made my way into the water, held my breathe, and proceeded down the Hudson.

The current behind me was strong. I had read in many reviews that it was better for athletes to conserve their energy during the swim. I didn't have to be told twice. That was exactly what I did. I took my time. Since I am comfortable breathing only on my left side, the side facing the spectators, I focused on them. The water was salty and surprisingly allowed decent visibility. I steered clear of the other swimmers and took my time in the water. I must say I was surprised by how relaxed. After swimming for what felt to be a long time I saw a sign indicating 300meters. Had I only swam 300meters or did I have 300meters to go? Usually this uncertainty would cause me to stop in my tracks and freak out. Because  I was now able to do the backstroke, I knew I could rest from my freestyle whenever I wanted. I swam at this relaxing pace making sure not to kick too much with my legs until I came closer to the swim exit. At that point I picked my pace up and swam until a race volunteer grabbed my hand to pull me out of the water. I hit the deck and immediately started running and pulling off my wetsuit. I had to run roughly 400 yards to my bike. During this time I ran past a mass of spectators and the exact spot I stood last year. I couldn't believe I just finished the swim!!!

 

24mile bike ride: For sure the swim was the easiest part. This bike ride was TOUGH! Bikers rode on the Westside Highway towards the Bronx. I was warned about the prospect of having a flat tire. Though I've had a flat before, who wants one during a race? I also wasn't completely confident in my capacity to change a tire. Needless to say, I was praying I wouldn't have the misfortune of having a flat. Crazy hills, a beautiful view of the Hudson,  and wonderful downhills at top speed all comprised the bike portion of the race. Because bikers could only pass on the left hand side to hear the words "on your left" let you know you were being passed up. Someone with a faster cadence than you was about to leave you in the dust. Having the opportunity to say those words were fun...but to hear them again and again was frustrating.

I had no idea how much nutrition I would need while riding because I had never swam the distance I just covered and continued with another workout. You see, the bike is the best part of the race to eat and drink. I certainly can't do much of either while running or swimming. Although my bike was loaded with two water bottles and taped down with a granola bar, I didn't have enough coordination to partake of either without losing balance or momentum. Sure I had practiced grabbing my water bottle while riding, but this was race time and the bike path was riddled with potholes. My water bottle fell on one rare occasion where I took a sip. Other bikers had dropped their own bottles and proceeded on with the race. Me? All I could think about was, I had just brought this bottle and I sure wasn't leaving it on the floor. I dropped my bike to the floor and went to go pick it up. Its a recession mah, its a recession.lol

It was in this portion of the race that I got a shout out by my bestie Marissa. She had come out to cheer me on!! It means so much to me to have that verbal encouragement;)

 

6.2mile run: After racking my bike I ran out across 72nd street to meet the tons of people who were there to cheer all the athletes on. It was amazing. I couldn't help but feel as though I was in the process of doing something great. I was already armed with the knowledge that this run would be difficult. The hills on Central Park would be there to meet my already fatigued legs. I had not done any adequate hill training. I had only covered 6 miles in my own running training that past Monday. I wasn't concerned. I HAD just swam the Hudson River after all, right? I treated the run as I did the bike portion, I changed my cadence on the hills. I kept my knees high and removed stopping from my list of options. There were portions of the race where the sun was there to beat down on us all, but thankfully the large majority of the race was in the shade. The best part of the run? Entering the area near the finish line, which was ridiculously long. You could hear and see the crowd, but the end wasn't readily apparent, but I still had some left in the tank to make a sprint to the end thanks to another person who came out to support me. Thanks J!

 

The end: Not drinking enough electrolytes and making that mad dash to the finish line....had me hobbling over to the medical tent to get a massage for my poor hamstrings. Three massages, two bananas, and 2 bottles of Cytomax later I was still hobbling. I may have been "damaged goods" for the rest of the day, but I had just completed my Olympic Distance Triathlon!!!

 

Results:

1500M swim 30 min 50 sec

24mile bike: 1hr 50min

6.2 mile run: 56min 31 sec (9min 6 sec a mile!)

Overall: 3:27:22 (far better than the 3:30 goal I had set for myself!)

 

Thank you all for you support. Many of you that I spoke with didn't give in to my fear, but continued to encourage me. I appreciate you all!!

What's Next: It's so tempting to do another Olympic Distance Tri. Once you've been at the peak, you want to stay there. I am going back to my first love, running, for a while and doing the Half-Crazy Half Marathon tour. But first, I'll be nursing my poor hamstring and taking it light for a bit;)

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Hope Floats

Posted by brooklynrunz Jul 11, 2010
I entered my second triathlon today in Vincentown, NJ. It was an impromptu race meant to help prepare me for my premiere event: The NY Nautica Triathlon. You see it’s a shorter distance than the Nautica Triathlon so...you could call it a test run of upcoming attractions.

 

However, I haven't been as diligent in my training as I should have been. I didn't train during the 7 days while I was in Haiti. I also didn't have apartment to move into when I came back into the states. Sure, these sound like excuses, but they really did have a great impact on my training schedule. Needless to say the past two weeks prior to this second race was spent trying to catch up to and exceed the level of conditioning that I had before my life became so hectic. 26 mile bike rides, brick workouts (ride the bike hard for 10-15 minutes, sprint 1/4 mile, repeat as needed) to get my legs accustomed to feeling tired, swim workouts, 5 mile runs. I was intent of putting up a decent performance during the Nautica triathlon.
Somehow my goal for this triathlon was to survive. Despite all this time and effort I had placed into training for an event twice as long as the Jersey triathlon...I was focused on just being able to cross the finish line. It started with the swim. The water temperature was roughly 80 degrees, which meant that swimmers had the option of swimming without their wet-suits. This wasn't an option for me, however, because the wetsuit adds buoyancy. I NEEDED to be buoyant. I played with the idea of swimming without the wetsuit because it can be restricting at times and can tire me out quicker than if I didn't wear it. I opted to wear the suit because I realized that I didn't have the mental fortitude to know that if I got tired and developed a poor swimming technique..I'd be at the bottom of that Jersey lake! Needless to say, I wasn't confident enough in my swimming abilities.lol
I was set to go in the third wave of swimmers. This was a great because this position allowed me to see how the other swimmers fared prior to my own entry into the dark and murky water. I was relieved to find that some of the men were actually able to stand up in the water. When it was my turn to swim I stayed calm and went with the crowd. I eventually got tired and decided to stand up, catch my breath and commence my swimming stroke. Again, I got tired and decided to stand up. You have no idea how it felt to realize that my feet could not touch the lake floor. Right in the middle of the water, I started to freak out. Air came in quick gasps as my throat started to constrict. I knew I needed to move or I would be in trouble. I swam for a few more yards before testing to see if I could stand up in another section of the lake. When I found that it was safe to stand I stood there for a good minute to catch my breath and to calm myself down. I was shaken and I was only half way done! I eventually made my way to the shoreline, but in my head I knew. I knew that this race that was supposed to somewhat of a breeze just revealed that I would not be able to handle the Nautica Triathlon and its 0.9 mile swim. I was frustrated at my performance but I had to focus on the 15 mile bike ride ahead of me.
15miles goes by slowly when you realize that the majority of the other racers are almost finished just as you are about to start. Riders with more experience and better bikes just whizzed past me as if the churning of my legs and sweat coming off my brow were all for show. Sure, I’ve ran road races where faster runners have passed me, but there was something more to this triathlon thing that made me frustratingly hungry. I was starving for a better outcome for the time, effort, and money I put into training. I’m a novice to this whole triathlon business… but when I crossed that finish line after having a great 5k run I knew I could have done better. I wanted more. I wanted to train while having a goal that exceeded survival. I was left in want. So much so that I stayed for the award ceremony. I wanted to be among those who were able to conquer this sport. I can only hope that it will be me some day!

 

In the end, I will defer my entry to the Nautica Triathlon so that I can race next year. The next triathlon race I enter will find me racing as a better, more confident swimmer, with a quicker bike, and a stellar run (as usual
Final words: I swear, I’ve entered races where I THOUGHT I was going to die, (shortness of breath, chest pain, and killer charley horses) but never have I entered a race where death looked like an actual possibility. Triathlons are not for the feeble of heart

 

Results
Swim (1/4mile):13 min 28 sec
Bike (15miles) 1hr 2min
Run (3.1 miles): 28 min 20 sec
Overall time: 1hr 46min 44 sec
179 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: running, swimming, triathlon, water, open, sprint, newbie


brooklynrunz

brooklynrunz

Member since: Apr 14, 2010

Running is my passion...but I have a thing for triathlons and boxing

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