Being in the 30-34 age group we were placed in the first wave “pink swim cap”. I was able to test out the water before race start which gave me a feel for water temperature. As per the race director, Joe Pantenella, the water was 63 degrees. So perfect wetsuit conditions. The “Pancake” marked my first open water tri race. The swim was held at South Beach, Staten Island. My first triathlon last year was held in a 50m pool. I decided to move to the rear at the last minute. Felt more comfortable swimming from the back, especially given my lack of experience. We were allowed to have a water start, so we all gathered in the water for the horn. At about 8am we were off. I felt relaxed throughout the swim. However my left arm felt rather stiff in my Xterra Vortex 3 fullsuit. I may have to experiment with a sleeveless in the future. Subconsciously I may have drafted for a bit too long on this swim. At about 300m in I decided to get out of the draft and have my own swim. As per last year’s overall results of other athletes, their swim times were about 2-4 minutes faster. This may be due to the current being much stronger this year……oops….better luck next year I guess. Approaching the swim today I was hoping for at least 9 minutes. However I will settle for 13:34. Enough with my complaining. I really pushed through strong on my last 50-100m. Swam towards shore until I felt the seabed and hopped through the water to shore onto T1 (transition 1). Wetsuit was halfway down before exiting the beach. Bike was located 3 racks from shore, made my way through transition. Suit off, helmet on, road shoes on and made my way to the bike out area for the start of my bike leg.
Bummer! Looking down at my Garmin 310xt I realized that it was difficult reading the screen. What could it be? Oh no. It’s the screeen. It’s cracked. I cracked the screen while removing my bike from the rack at T1. Mentally I’m going….it’s ok. Could be worse. Can always be worse. Let’s defer this mishap for later. Keep enjoying the rest of the race. I begin to hammer. The bike course was 12 miles (3 loops, 4 mile each) 2 miles out and 2 miles back. Going out to the 2 mile turnaround was a slight incline. I may have been complacent coming in thinking “flat as a pancake” no incline whatsoever…anyway it was not too bad at all. I tried to keep my speed at 17-19mph on that part of the course not trying to compromise my legs whatsoever for the run. The course was very bumpy. A fact that we were warned about during the 7:30am race meeting. During the entire bike leg I was riding super cautiously, just not to get any flat tire on such a short course. Averaged 22mph coming back from the turnarounds. At the end I finished the bike leg in 35 minutes. Dismount and off to T2. Helmet off, road shoes off. Race belt on, Nike Lunaracer+ on and I’m off.
Legs felt a bit heavy. Fortunately from previous bricks I know I’m running much faster that I may think. At this point I am just running knowing I am at least doing a 7 mile pace. At mile 1, Garmin which still works shows 7:05. I continue running to hold that pace while trying to push a bit harder. I met a fellow triathlete running about the same pace as myself. Kept pace with him for about 0.5 miles. Chatted a bit, then hammered away to the finish. Finished the 5k in PR fashion. 21:11 (6:50/mile).
Swim (400m open water – ocean) 13:34
Bike (12 miles) 35
Run (5k) 21:12
Overall Finish Time: 1:13:45 (81/577 triathletes)
2009 Results (showing swim times of athletes last year)
Enjoyed the post race pancakes with Anh my #1 fan and our friends. Andy who told me about this race also recorded a great performance in his first tri. Joe (race director), did not leave us disappointed as far as the pancakes were concerned and post-race activities. Even won a “HEED” electrolyte formula. I would sign up for this race again in a second.
Thoughts on improvements
More open water workouts throughout the summer
Train in Zone 4-5 at least once a week. Never got out of my Aerobic zone on the bike and still managed 20mph average speed.
Continue following my current training program which has only ripped great performances.