Monday, August 4, 2014

Noah Plans, God Laughs and Don't Spook Irene at the Riverhead Rocks Triathlon 2014

The ringing buzz from my phone woke me up at 4am for our Riverhead Rocks Olympic Distance triathlon race (1500m swim, 40 km bike and 10k.)  Both Irene and I were competing in it and I rolled over to Irene and said, "Time to go."  Thank God, we pack everything and mounted the bikes on the rack the night before.  In the back of my head don't say anything that will spook her...

She was excited to do this race, as for me I was preoccupied as I reviewed my plan checklist in my head about the different disciplines, especially the transitions of stripping out of my wetsuit, putting on my bike stuff and later on getting my running shoes on...
 
We arrived at the Riverhead Waterfront and I was surprised to find parking, and we found a great spot.  Yippee, not to far from the transition area!  The kids all piled out of the car and we gathered out gear and headed over.

To my surprise, the transition area was unusually smaller than normal and this time only 224 participants showed up.  Probably due to the fact that many years ago, the Peconic River had bad news about the water quality, but the town has been going through a revitalization to improve the town.  The area looks great and growing!

Irene had 142 and I had 141, and we found our bike spots.  There were plenty of Event Power volunteers assisting with directions to find our place easily.  And I am still thinking about what to do next.

We eventually, did our preparations, like visiting the port-a-potties, set up our transition areas (laying out our shoes and stuff), being encased in our wetsuits, listen to the national anthem, walk down the boardwalk to the jump off point for the swim...

We got to the edge of the dock and watched a dozen racers hop off, sink then pop up again and start swimming up the river for 600m, back 600m then 300m more to complete the course.  I had Irene go first so that she would at least have a 10 second head start.  For me I was worried that she would be pulled out of the water.  She was nervous enough about the little hop into the water and might panic.  I watched her jump in, go under, then the volunteer said, "Uh oh." and she popped up and took a few strokes in the right direction.  I was like, "Good!"  I crossed the timing mat and did the same, but as I started, I saw her stop, so I paused and she said, "Go on."

The whole time I was thinking, "Where is she now?  Is she swimming?"  As I approached the turn around, would I see her during the swim.  I was taking it easy, not going too fast to be to tired for the bike and swim.  Just an easy pace, again thinking about what to do next.  A few people ran into me and I had to stop as we looked face to face.  I continued to aim for the next buoy and then the next buoy.  All the way to the finishing dock.  As I put my 2 hands on the dock, I was like, there was no way I was going to push my way on to the dock and hoping someone would pull me out.  One guy grabbed my right arm and I am like this is not going to work until another guy came over and grabbed my left arm.  Up I went on to my knees and then they helped me stand up.  I felt a little disoriented from being horizontal for about 40 minutes to be turned vertical, but I jogged up the ramp where I bunch of my teammates from the Wildwood Warriors cheered for me.  I ran through a sprinkler tent to quickly rinse off, got out of my wetsuit and on to the bike, which I was looking forward to. 

I mounted my bike and started to pedal out of the parking lot.  There was a slight incline up to Main Street, so I shifted to the low gear to make it easier and settled in.  When I was about hit the hammer, my right thumb went to press on the shifter to click it to a higher gear and there was no shifter to be found.  At that point, I was like, "Ok, still do your best."  It was tough not being able to squeeze out some extra speed on the flat parts of the course or down inclines, but I made the best out of it pedaling at much higher cadence than I normally would spin at.  Around the 3 mile mark, 1 biker slipped and biker behind crashed into him.  They both got up and hobbled to the side and got back on to their bikes, both cursing.  I slowed down to check on them and they said they were fine.  I was thinking and hoping that Irene was not pulled into the boat at this time.
During the course, a light rain pelted me as a few friends caught up and passed me during the rain.  Around mile 18, I heard something drop and make a metallic plinking sound.  I began to panic and I looked down at my bike to make sure it was still intact and functional.  Maybe I should have stopped for safety, but I kept pedaling.  Later on, I noticed that one of my CO2 cartridge was missing from my rear mount.  The whole time leading up to the race, I was thinking of fixing a flat tire, not thinking about a broken shifter or missing CO2.

Before the final turn, I saw a bunch of Warriors, my kids and brother-in-law, Ray cheering me on.   Cheers during the race help so much.   When I got back to the transition, I looked for Irene's bike and it was gone.  That was a relief but I was not sure if they took her timing chip.  I placed my bike on the rack, swapped my bike shoes for my running shoes and left the transition area.  I stopped at the nearest port-a-potty to pee and as I came out, Jeff Reynolds, yells out, "You can't stop at the port-a-potty!" and zoomed ahead.
 
My first 3 mile loop, I took it nice and steady to make sure my troubled Achilles was good.  It did not give me any troubles with dialing back the running and treatment from Champion Sports Performance.  However  my legs were not use to running and my left quad was cramping up.  So during the second loop, I ended up running and walking, because I did not want to re-injure my Achilles. Then Zachary runs out and yells at me to sprint to the finish.  I ended up with a 10:37 pace (no potty break, a little quicker).  Much faster than when I first started running 6 years ago :) 

I walked back to where the kids camped out.  On the way, I saw a Teammates and my Coach, we chatted about what happened.  A few of them like John Graziano, Jason Cohen, Mike Irizarry, Susan Roman and Jose are Ironman from Lake Placid  It is so nice to see them cheering us on!  Coach Danielle Sullivan, our coach from Ironfit Endurance, waited anxiously for Irene to finish.

I then walked over to the kids and Ray and asked if they took Mom's timing chip.  They said that she still had it, and a few moments later, we saw her running with a someone who had a Team for Kids Singlet.  They both passed though downtown on their way to the second loop with a volunteer biker to follow them as they were the last male and female on the course. 
Based on her past running pace, I knew we had some time to collect my gear, load it up and return to the finish line to see her cross.  About 36 minutes later, she was smiling as she heading down the chute.  Our friends the Leibowitz's stayed around as well and that was so cool of them to watch her finish as well.  I can see Irene tear up as this was her first Olympic Distance Triathlon.  The kids greeted her.  Because of all the craziness at the finish line, the Event Power Staff asked her to run through the finish line tape again.  I thought that was so nice of them to have her do that!  Jennifer Ross then asked us to take a family picture under the finish line as well.

Super Proud of Irene! She never gave up!



Learning lessons, the whole time I was thinking on the course, I wasn't present to what was going on and enjoying the race and being lucky to do something like this.  Setting up the transition area, making sure my bike is ready, making sure my hydration is filled, my food is packed, wetsuit is packed, what am I going to wear, fixing bike tires, no extra gears to pedal, kids have snacks and make sure they are not fighting...For the next race which is Timberman 70.3 which is a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile run on a hilly course.  I will get the planning out of the way well before and enjoy my time up in New Hampshire, as I think Noah Plans, God Laughs on my way to Ironman Arizona!




Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions... Cancel my 2014 NYC Marathon and do it in 2015 or Crush Ironman Arizona

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Ironman Training - Feeling Alone on the Bike and Am I Really Helping

After stripping off my wetsuit and prepped my bike for my 3 hour ride, I kissed Irene good bye.  I peddled away to join the Bike Pack for a ride around town.  A few more people joined the morning swim crew and we headed out.  After a few short minutes, the lead pack was at least a 1/4 mile down Route 51.  I was in a group with John, Susan, Jason, Mike and Kurt.  I did my best to keep up with my Coach's lead group.  After a few rights and lefts, eventually all of us either peeled off or pedaled away and I was left alone.  I did my best during the first loop and stayed with them for the most part.  The second half of my ride, I sort of got lost.  We all have different abilities and we want to do our best each time.  That is different for each of us.  It's not unusual to be left alone, as I train alone most of the time. 

Usually during long training sessions, it's nice to have your thoughts to yourself.  No customer questions or kids yelling at each other.  I usually end up thinking about Irene, the kids, finishing my races, Irene finishing her races, business, my friends, what's happening in my life, or something like why do I have so many socks that do not match.  Once and a while, I would pay attention to my watch to let me know to hit the gas or take it easy.  Avoiding the road kill of some animal, usually wakens me from my deep thoughts.

Even though I feel like I am riding "alone", I have a team that supports me.  My family team, work team, and even my triathlon team.  Which is important to accomplish the amazing.

This time, I thought about how it would feel if I came home with an empty stomach and went to bed hungry.  I thought about the 100,000 plus kids who go hungry every night.  Even my son, helped out in several food drives for Island Harvest this year standing outside of Shop and Stop or King Kullen doing food drives and collected close to 27,000 pounds.  Very proud of him!

When I first learned about Hunger On Long Island over 7 years ago, I was surprised that it even existed.  I felt ashamed for being ignorant.  There is so much more we can do! Several years ago, people who use to support Island Harvest are now going to Food Banks and Pantries to assistance.  This needs to end, and I have some ideas to make that happen for a few people!

By dedicating my Ironman Race, I believe my goal of raising $25,000 is just the beginning.  As I ended my ride, I thought about what else can I do. 

For now, what would be helpful is for you to visit http://bit.ly/CrowdriseIronmanHunger

That kid that you will feed today will be Ironman Grateful!

Ironman Training - Swam the Ironman Half Distance in Under an Hour

This morning Irene and I arrived in 2 separate cars, since she had to go to work after our swim at Wildwood Lake.  As I parked the truck, I noticed the mist hovering above the lake waiting to be disturbed by us triathletes.  The lake was peaceful as a lake should be at 6am.  No fisherman or drunk people were to be found at the beach where we normally enter into the water.

A handful of us entered the water and started swimming to the left the sun and its reflection.  Irene was still a little nervous and got to the halfway point.  She was about 25 yards behind me.  Then I noticed Coach, Danielle start swimming towards Irene to check in on her.  I finally got to the other side and Deepak was treading water and waited for me, which I really appreciated.  He completed Ironman Syracuse 70.3 a couple of weeks ago and this was his first time at the lake.

The both of us headed towards the far side of the lake which I never have been before.  I aimed for the house and some kind of floating thing.  We both finally made to be greeted by John, Jose and Shane.  As soon as we arrived, it was time to head back and get on our bikes.  John pointed to the light pole, like he was Babe Ruth pointing to where we was going hit his homerun.  Technically this is John's tapering week before he does his first Ironman at Lake Placid, but I am not sure if he is quite tapering...  That is another story, and he looks strong for his race!

About 25 minutes later, I finally stood up and Irene was waiting for me and Deepak said his Garmin showed 1.32 miles.  I thought perfect, because my watch did not pick up 0.23 miles and showed that I did 1.09 in 58.55, which means I should be good for Timberman 70.3 next month.  A little more training and I should be faster.  Never thought I would be able to swim that far ever. Note, Ironman Swim Distance is 2.4 miles.

On to the bike!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Ironman Training - I Can Power 3 Light Bulbs!



Today, I got to see my starting point in terms of how much power I can produce during my bike ride.  It sort of like how many light bulbs can I light up.  So my average was 204 and my Functional Threshold Power was 193 based on my Age and Weight.  Based on that I can light 3 light bulbs!

To get those numbers, I rode my bike around the loop at Hecksher State Park.  It about a 4 mile loop which is fairly flat, however the wind coming off the bad can be very wild.  And it was that day!

So the Power Meter that I opted for was the Stages Power Meter. The one that fit my bike was the FSA left side crank.  It fit budget and I wanted to swap out my wheels at any time.  The drawback is that I don't have numbers for each leg.  Stages uses an average of the legs.

The great thing is that the Meter is compatible with my Garmin 910XT Training Watch.

I am so excited to see how my perceived power compares to my actual power.  Stay tune for those numbers to increase!