Sunday, September 26, 2010

[NECTC] Westchester Olympic 2010

A new, exciting, super competitive race!

1500M SWIM --- 24.6 Mi BIKE --- 6.2 Mi RUN

Hola, welcome to the in-depth analysis of one of my most memorable races of my triathlon experiences thus far…

Here’s the catch for this race. I had been going to regular swim practices for the entire week leading up to this race. What does that entail? Well about 8 swim practices: doubles on M W F, and singles on T Th. I calculated the entire yardage we did that week leading up to the race and it came out to be 42,000 yards.
Luckily Trevor let us opt out of lifting if we wanted to because it would have wrecked my body and thrown it for a loop had I attempted to race after a couple lifting sessions. We also didn’t swim Saturday morning thank goodness because we said we were leaving early to get to Westchester.

My mom came!!! She flew in late on Friday night and then came to me on Saturday morning from the airport in her rental car. Initially when I moved back in to my room at Stevens, she wanted to come back and help me settle in. But I told her it would be more worthwhile for her to spend the same amount of money and come watch one of my triathlons instead of just watching me unpack the first weekend before school started. It turned out to be a great idea and she loved coming out here to watch this race.

So when she came to my apartment on Saturday, we loaded up the car with my bike and my stuff and headed out to good old Westchester. Nick and Nicole’s car were going to leave a little bit after us.
Upon our arrival to the race location, my mom mentioned that this place looked really familiar. As we drove around the corner to the parking lot, she exclaimed, “This park was in the movie Big!!”
And sure enough, Google confirmed that the theme park was indeed in the movie Big when Tom Hanks is looking for the fortune telling machine but the whole carnival has left the park and it’s all empty. In real life the place is called Playland in Rye Town, NY. Later I could really recognize it on the boardwalk where he rides his bike near the water. Very cool! Especially because I used to watch that movie all the time when I was younger and that was probably how Mom recognized it haha.

Anyways, I walked to the Expo area with Mom and went to check in. Originally the collegiate wave was supposed to go off with the pros in the first wave. But when I checked in I was given the swim cap color for the wave with my appropriate age group. This was upsetting because the 18-24 guys were in the first wave and my wave was close to the end! Open road versus a clutter of riders to pass during the entire bike ride.. no fair. Tough luck because I was really expecting to be in the first wave and not worrying about passing.
Nick and Nicole got there with everyone else while mom and I were browsing the shops at the expo. They checked in and it was warm up time. Some people wanted a more serious warmup and they went off and rode hard and swam in the swim start area. Others of us wanted a quick warmup so that we could drive the bike course. I think we were pretty thankful that we drove the course, because it was very technical! Knowing where the turns were, where the steepest up hills were, where to push it and where not to push it was a serious advantage the next day.

Dinner with the team was a huge helping of penne vodka with chicken at a Russian-owned diner near our hotel. We were off to bed and up early the next morning to get to the race.
At races with tons and tons of people, I need to make sure I time my bathroom stop before the race way earlier. I was almost locked out of transition, because the potty lines were ridiculous.
One thing I did time perfectly was warmup. I jumped on the bike early when we got there and got the blood flowing. This was the best decision I made because my legs were so ready to go when I got on bike later. I was able to push the power right from the beginning because I wasn’t stiff coming out of the water.

There were so many people!!!
The tide was low for the start so there were just loads of triathletes hanging out in wetsuits as the sun came up and flashed pink hues across the sky.

We even had time to snap a few photos with the professional photographers. We look so legit, but I wish I had the high-res version of this picture.

The boys were in the first wave, so Jamie, Nicole, and I watched them run into the water a few minutes after the pros. We were so far back in the waves that we even saw some of them run out of the water at the end of the beach!

Swim= 18:40 – 10th overall swim split

This swim start was pretty confusing. I thought I was in a good position running into the water and getting ahead from the beginning. I could have sworn no one got ahead of me. However, the swim was so rough for me because it turned into a head-up swimming passing race as opposed to just flat out swimming my hardest. I had to constantly look up and find the next old guy to get ahead of.
Other than that, the swim was really fun for me because it was the only swim on the east coast I’ve done in the ocean! Even then it was in a bay, but swimming out and around the jetty and making that loop was really fun and I had a blast doing it. Gotta love the taste of salt as you get out on the bike too.
 T1= 1:39

Bike=1:08:33 – 49th overall bike split in the field, 2nd fastest collegiate female bike split
Average power = 192
Average speed = 21.7 mph (for 24.89 miles total)
Average HR = 182

The bike was seriously a roller coaster. To describe it as such is too perfect because it was literally up and down and twisting like crazy. Like I mentioned earlier, I knew what I was doing thanks to the drive-through the day before. I’m convinced that scoping out the course was super beneficial because I knew exactly when I needed to push it and how long the hills were.
The first half of the race is essentially up hill. After the timed steep climb in the business complex, it was all downhill back to the race site and I had to keep telling myself that I needed to crank it out and not sit back and let gravity just take me. This is really difficult if you don’t have a power meter because you think you’re pushing it going downhill, but you realize that you can put so much more effort out downhill and go even faster. I think that ended up being a huge advantage for me because my bike split was pretty gnarly.
 T2= 1:15

Run = 48:06 – 222nd run split in the field, 8th female collegiate female run split
Average Run Heart Rate = 184

What a run! It was probably one of the most interesting race runs I’ve ever done.. and I’ll never forget it. The first few miles of the run were brutal as we wound around the Playland park boardwalk and I just felt like I was getting chased the whole time. I thought the good runners would get on my feet quickly, but I was running a solid pace for the first few miles. My watch is a good motivator.
Because I thought I was in a good position off the swim, I was surprised when I came upon a young blond woman running ahead of me. I caught her on the turn-around with a couple miles left. As I ran by, I yelled, “nice shoes!” because we were wearing the same Brooks. She said thanks and said “good luck, you’re in the lead!.”
Panic attack.
I just passed a lead runner? I’m a swimmer. I’m not supposed to be in the lead at the end of the run. What’s going on here?
I have to pee.
There’s no way I’m going to spring this last mile unless I pee.
… And at that moment in time I sacrificed my dignity to be able to sprint to the finish. I don’t suggest peeing while you’re running, ever. It sprays as your legs swing and it’s not pretty. But I did what I had to do and chuckled at the story I would potentially tell everyone when I finished.

The last half mile was excruciating and I felt like I was blazing. There was this one guy that happened to be running the same pace as me from around mile 2. I stuck with him practically the whole way and asked him to sprint with me through the end but he said he didn’t have the sprint energy. I thanked him profusely after the race because he was the carrot I was chasing the entire run.

The downhill chute finish was priceless and I was hauling so much butt I couldn’t crack a smile for the finish line.

I thought I was going to pass out when I stopped so I had to keep moving. I ran into the Stevens boys and after doing some math and subtracting they were all shocked at how fast I just went. I sheepishly walked away to find my mom and got a little teary-eyed because I couldn’t believe how much I impressed myself. I have never felt that good about a triathlon finish.

I found mom shortly thereafter and we shared a nice moment. I was thinking about her the entire time and I wanted to make her trip worthwhile. I think she was just as surprised as me with my finish and very happy for me.

Overall time = 2:18:12

I ended up with 1st place collegiate female finisher and the 3rd place overall female in the race! Westchester is a pretty competitive race on the east coast and a lot of big names attend, so I really impressed myself with the podium finish! Relatively, I was also within 10 minutes of the female pros that were there.

Very amazing day and I’ll never forget it.
As an added bonus, Westchester was the northeast qualifying race for the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon in June 2011 in San Francisco! And I qualified!!!!
Mom said we’re going to San Francisco in June next year : )

After awards, Mom drove us back to her hotel and we showered and took an awesome nap.
When we got back to Hoboken, Mom had to stop at the Sedona store, and then we got dinner at the delicious Karma Kafe. Beautiful end to the weekend. I loved hanging out with my mom and it was hard to say goodbye again that night. She was going to fly out in the morning.

There’s only one more! I have to conserve energy, yet swim decently at practices this week.
The final race of the NECTC!!! Bring it, Mightyman!

Monday, September 20, 2010

[NECTC] Buckman Sprint 2010

Finally! A sprint! This is the first repeat race of the NECTC season. The Buckman race was the first one of the season last year. This year, it is the third of the NECTC season. It was fun to repeat a course because you can see how much you’ve improved or where you’ve stayed consistent.

0.50 Mi SWIM --- 17 Mi BIKE --- 3.1 Mi RUN

This race was super thrilling because the Stevens Triathlon Team had its largest showing! We had a record 15 Stevens triathletes come out to race this morning. There were a total of 51 collegiate athletes at the race, so we accounted for almost 30% of the collegiate field! That’s crazy for how small of a school we are.. but we did get lucky because the race was so close to campus.

Now let’s jump into this sprinting domination.

Swim= 11:47 – 4th out of the water behind Luke, Matt, and Nick! Stevens 1,2,3,4!

Well this swim was fantastic!
We thought we were going to be in the first wave like last year, but they had put us in the last wave for some reason.. Later we found out that instead of the quarter mile swim, we were doing two laps of the swim course for a half mile swim! Hooray!! That made the day so much better! Because not only were we swimming a half mile, we were running out of the water and running back in at the end of the first lap! So much fun! It was going to be like an ITU race where they get out and run back in!

Marc was signed up for the age group race, so he was off in the first wave and we all cheered as he ran out of the water in first place!! Adding extra enthusiasm to the air, we all lined up and got ready for a running start into the water. I should not have started so close to the rope because I got shoved over pretty hard and the elbow throwing ensued yet again. Finally out of most of the mess, I freed myself after the buoy and focused on covering ground back up to the swimmers. I saw Matt at the run turn around and stayed close behind til the end of the swim. I came out of the water 4th for a Stevens 1-4 sweep in typical fashion.
Overall it was 20 seconds slower than last year’s swim, but it was a completely different course, so that doesn’t matter too much. It’s similar enough. I was happy with the swim and started to focus on cranking out the short bike.

T1= 1:02

Bike=:49:56 – 8th fastest collegiate bike time!
Average power = 194
Average speed = 20.48 mph

This power was significantly higher than Quakerman.. mostly attributed to the shorter distance, steeper hills, and more rest for my legs. The bike course was the exact same as last year. Luckily I didn’t fall and scrape up my leg like I did last year and everything went smoothly. Can’t say the same for Kim, who scraped her leg up badly after falling on the first turn and subsequently breaking her wheel’s rim. She’s fine now though, it just shook her up a bit and taught her to never pass on the right!
The hills were just as brutal as before, but I was way stronger getting up them. Last year, I remember focusing on the last hill and thinking it was so brutal as I was going through it. This year I floated up it and wondered if that was even the right hill I remembered because it was so much easier!
It was nice to focus on a race that was going to take less than an hour and keep my eye on my Power meter to make sure I was pushing hard all the time.
There’s quite a good improvement here. Last year, I went a 53:46 on the bike. So that’s a good 4 minute drop!
Swim & Bike Average Hear Rate = 182

T2= 0:49

Run = 23:10 – 21st collegiate run time – @ a 7:29 pace!
Average Run Heart Rate = 191

Well this run was brutal. Luckily my legs hadn’t cramped up like they did last weekend. I just ran as fast as I could and moved my arms as fast as possible and made my feet keep up. Getting up the hill was tough, but coming downhill was blazing. I was really just trying to run as fast as my little legs would let me, hence the ridiculous hear rate average.
Last year, I went a 25:54.. so I ran way faster! That’s pretty evident from my crazy heart rate average. The uphill section really made it tiring. This was just a little sprint practice for Westchester 10k next weekend!

Overall time = 1:26:43

I ended up with 1st place Collegiate Female Finisher and the 2nd overall female at the race!
Since every woman in the race besides the collegiate athletes were in the waves ahead of us, that means I passed a majority of the women during this race.

The awards section was fun because Patanella is crazy. He had a lot of stuff to give away, so he was making up weird competitions to give stuff out.

After the awards, we got our stuff out of Transition and went back to the cars. Marc’s car and Nicole’s car went to the closest Wendy’s and then we all went back to Hoboken. Great races always end in a frosty : )

Westchester is going to be a blast next weekend! My mom’s coming to the east side to visit me and watch the race!

Monday, September 13, 2010

[NECTC] Quakerman Olympic+ 2010

Race number two of the NECTC season!

This was the second (not-so) Olympic race of the season. The third and final one will be Westchester in two weekends.
The reason I say this race was not really an Olympic is because it really wasn’t.

0.60 Mi SWIM --- 38.2 Mi BIKE --- 6.2 Mi RUN

It ended up being probably a 0.8 mile swim, 39 mile bike, and a 10k. And based on my powertap, closer to 40 miles for the bike. It was a brutal race, but a kickass one as well.

Eight out of the 12 Stevens kids racing made their way to Nick’s house on Friday night at 7pm. Nick’s car had Nick, Aaron Perelman, and Jamie. Nicole’s car had Nicole, Gabby, Luke, and Matt. The other four (Isaac, Orlando, Will, and Aaron) had gone to Isaac’s house earlier in the day. We ate some food and tinkered with bikes until bed time. Nick’s parents were very nice in letting us stay at their house for the night.
6am wakeup! Breakfast. Isaac’s car arrived to join us. Load the bikes. Go!
Isaac can’t open the car door!... they’re locked out, no joke. And I was getting blamed for it, but it wasn’t me! When I opened the car door to mess with Will, I never hit a button, the doors just locked. But we will never know what happened. All that mattered was that Isaac got the door open with a coat hanger.
And we’re off to Nockamixon State Park!

We had ample time to set up for this race and warm up. The Half went off at 8am and we weren’t taking off until 9:30am. This was the first race I have ever warmed up on my bike beforehand and I think it helped me tremendously. My legs were ready to go.
Transition set. NECTC photo taken. Wetsuit on. Goggles on. Jump in the lake to warm up.

The race date was September 11th, 2010. 9 years after one of the most important days in our generation’s lives. The Star Spangled Banner was especially meaningful this morning. Never forget.

Swim= 16:45 – 3rd out of the water behind Matt and Nick! Stevens 1,2,3!

I need to get better at being aggressive and not being timid at the start of the swim. It’s so annoying because I always end up surrounded by huge douche bags who think they’re good swimmers and who think it’s okay to do anything in their power to get ahead. I know I’m good at open water swimming, but if I can’t get ahead from the beginning, I’m screwed. Like during this race, for example, some guy grabbed my shoulders, pushed me underwater, and swam over me. I thought I was going to drown for a split second.. then the adrenaline kicked in and I hauled but past people and wound up swimming next to Luke all the way to the first buoy. I also had quite a few leg grabs, and elbows all over. Another stupid swim start.. those college kids are ruthless.
Once around the 1st buoy, it was Matt Smith up front, Nick behind him, and me right there. The three of us just swam a fast pace for the rest of the way til the exit. As we neared the shore, I saw Nick get up and try and walk on the rocks.. but he failed miserably and ended up face diving back into the water and swimming further until it was safer to run out. After I saw Nick attempt to stand, I started to stand as well, and also failed miserably as we both crashed and burned at the same time. There is photo evidence of this, and proof that Matt somehow tiptoed over the surface tension of the water and out way ahead of us magically lol.

T1= 1:23

Bike= 1:55:45 – 14th fastest collegiate bike time!
Average power = 178
Average power lap 1 = 184
Average power lap 2 = 171
Average speed = 20.8 mph
Average HR (swim & bike) = 179

Very very very very very very happy with the bike!!! It was sooooooooo much fun. I just had a blast the entire time I was riding. I loved the fact that it was two laps because I was able to pace myself much better.
Interesting point to note though, although my average power was much higher on the first lap, the second lap had the higher average speed. This was because in order to get out from the Marina park area to the main road, you had to go up. And then at the end of the second lap, everything was downhill back to the transition area. Makes sense.
The shoulder was wide, there wasn’t much traffic, it wasn’t too windy, everything went well.
The most hysterical moment, however, was the moment I saw THE WALL. There was a super fast downhill that ended at the base of a huge steep hill and coming down the hill, my face must have been priceless. I’ve never seen such a straight line uphill like that, it was just a wall in the distance that I had to make my way up. Granted, my speed heading down the hill into it was reaching 40mph to get momentum. Doing that twice was super fun!
So, very fun bike course. Only got passed by 2 guys, Colin and the Northeastern kid.
I felt like this course was a much better display of the power I have right now. My average power was higher than the Cranberry for 40 miles! Rest does my body good. Let’s just keep it up for these next few races, legs.

T2= 0:48

Run = 49:31 – 31st collegiate run time – @ a 7:59 pace!!! Scooooooore!
Average HR = 183

And I was excited two weeks ago with a 52 something. Scratch that PR, I went my best Olympic 10k in this race!!! Under 50 minutes!!!!
But it wasn’t all fun and games. There was a moment of fear when I thought I wasn’t going to finish the race. The first 2 miles was a false uphill run that curved and winded, so you couldn’t really tell it was consistently going up. I guess I didn’t drink enough right before the run because I cramped so painfully a little after a mile. It was on the two inner thighs and then once I stopped, the hamstring of my right leg. It was horrendous. Stopping was a terrible idea because I just seized up, and then collapsed to the ground in a squat position trying not to die. I was doing anything to get control of my legs. Three people passed me, I thought this was the end. I sat there for probably 30 seconds to a minute. But I grit my teeth, stood up, and ran about 40 of the most painful steps of my life and slammed a mini Cliff bar down my throat. Almost instantly after the Cliff bar was down and I was nearing the top of the hill near the first aid station my legs loosened up. I stopped and drank a cup of Gatorade and a cup of Water. The legs seemed to say thanks as I sped up and powered on. Instantly I felt amazing because not only was I finishing, I knew I was going fast.
At the turnaround, I drank another Gatorade and water and told myself to just sprint this 5k home. I saw Luke not too far away and I yelled at him to catch me… big mistake. After flying down a couple hills and booking it as fast as my legs could go, Luke finally caught me with about .2 miles left and ended up finishing 17 seconds ahead of me because I had zero burst energy left. Damn him.. so close. But it was okay, I really couldn’t complain because I blazed through my fastest 10k ever. I would have been happy with that time without having swum nearly a mile and biking 40 miles beforehand, so I’m pretty stoked about it. Bring on the 5k next weekend and let’s do some serious running!

Overall time = 3:04:12.25

Awesome for the Olympic PLUS race! My goal was actually 3:05 because I looked up the fastest female time from last year and that was it. So I got the goal and won, I’ll take it : )
What a killer day.
Top 3 guys and the top 2 girls from the race.
Stevens did amazing overall as well! Out of the 36 guys, Nick came in 7th, Luke 12th, Aaron Perelman 17th, Aaron Williams 27th, Isaac Spingarn 30th, Will Gerboth 31st, Orlando Martinez 33rd, and Matt Smith 34th (with 2 flat tires). Out of the 14 girls, Gabby came in 4th, Jamie came in some place shortly after, but she wasn’t placed in the collegiate category on accident, and Nicole was 12th.
Extremely excited about our huge and awesome team.. it’s so much fun. It reminds me of the swim team I loved my freshman year: smaller and more personable.

Final post-race note: I was stung by a bee for the second time in my life, and the second time this year. bee stings suck. After the race we ate some grub at Nick’s house. His parents were very generous again. And then we went back to Stevens. Solid day. I like races on Saturday because it leaves Saturday night all free for fun and Sunday for school work

7 days to the Buckman Sprint!!!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

[NECTC] Cranberry Olympic 2010

I’m back on the East Coast!!! I got here on August 25th. Had to come back for some Peer Mentor stuff with the new freshmen and took advantage of my ability to move in a couple days early. Unfortunately the fact that the Cranberry was only a few days after moving back in sucked because I was exhausted and spent from moving. I have a lot of crap to move around.

School starts on August 30th, but NECTC triathlons start on August 29th!!!

I’m so excited for our team this year!!!!!!!!! We’re huge!!!! And we’re representing Stevens awesomely.

On Saturday the 28th we started the drive to Massachusetts. Nick’s car included Nick, Aaron Williams, Kim McCaffrey, and myself. Nicole’s car included Nicole, Aaron Perelman, Jamie Brabston, and Gabby Czernik. After some traffic leaving NY and one Subway lunch stop, we finally got to the race site in MA around mid-afternoon.

We had to check in, and then we planned on doing some warm-up stuff around the race site. They had messed up my name for some reason during registration, so I had to change my name from Amanda Allison to Amanda Nauman. Later, I realized, they had spelled my last name wrong after changing it on the name change form! I ended up on the results as Amanda Nanman. Idiots.

Sidenote on the goodie bag: the new “Cool Mint” cliff bar flavor is awesome. Another new tekwik shirt as well.

Once we were all checked in, time for a swim in the Pond!! There was confusion about whether it’d be wetsuit legal because it had been so warm for the previous few weeks and the temperature was right on the cusp of being wetsuit illegal. We went in with just our swim suits for warm-up and it was beautiful. I hate large bodies of fresh water, it’s just one of those weird things about me. So the first few minutes included me freaking out, but once I got used to it I loved it. I would love to have a pond/lake to swim in like that near my house when I’m older. Perfect for open water swimming.

Quick bike with the noobs.. some fast/easy stuff on some random offshoot rode from the main road in front of the park. Nick and I realized that we were going to have to work on some technique stuff with the team. After that, I ran around for less than 5 minutes with a few of the girls, we were really just scoping out the transition ins and outs and jogging from point to point.

After finally being familiarized with the area, we headed off to the Hotel. Dinner was at an Olive Garden and we were carbo loaded very well. The rest of the night we tinkered with bikes and got ready for an early morning race!

Morning of the race went smoothly. It was great to be back in the NECTC season because I love showing up to races with tons of college kids around.. it makes for a great atmosphere! The anticipation was high as we all got ready for the race. Luckily we squeezed in a “Before” team picture.
And here we go! Kim's first Olympic! woohoo!!!!
Swim= 19:21 – 5th fastest swim in the entire race!!!!

There was only one guy ahead of me for the whole swim. I had one of the worst starts when Aaron Williams jumped on top of me and I got squished and thrown around until I finally was able to pull away and stay ahead. I passed Nick before the 2nd buoy and from there I just followed the guy in front. Luckily he was there, because the sun was shining brightly and the buoys were hard to see around corners of the pond. I felt really good about the swim though, and I was very happy I made the decision to wear the wetsuit.

T1= 2:34

Bike= 1:14.25 – 105th fastest bike in the entire race

Average power = 176.
Average HR = 179
The bike was not as powerful as I had hoped. All the moving in the previous days and all the hard/fast workouts I was doing at home just a few days previously killed my body. I knew I wasn’t rested whatsoever, so I was just trying to crank it out as best as possible. I focused on working the flats because I had zero legs for the tiny uphills. It’s a good thing that this course was relatively very flat with only small rolling hills because my legs were not happy.

T2= 1:49

Run = 52:12
Average HR = 184
I was reeeeeeeeally excited about that. Somehow I had some good legs following that bike split of 21.31mph. The usual suspects starting annoying me about a mile into the run, the inner quad muscles. They do not like running fast after biking hard and fast. So they started to seize up, but luckily it wasn’t a terrible cramping sensation. It just made it really hard to turn over and sprint. I had apparently drank a good amount before the run because my stomach was sloshing a little bit. At the same time I was thirsty, so I need to time things better and get a good pee in before the swim next time.
Overall I got a little discouraged on the run because I was in 2nd and dropped to 5th when 2 army girls and an MIT girl passed me. They were running soooooooooo fast. The first army girl ended up running under 40 and the other two in the mid 40s. that’s so fast! Yuck, I couldn’t keep up and I was pissed.
But I powered it home and was happy with my fastest Olympic 10k split!!!

Overall time = 2:30.19

Nationals last year was a 2:26, but that was with a half mile swim. And Lobsterman last year was a 2:32.10. So it’s my fastest official Olympic time! Woohoo!
At the end of the day, I was happy. But I knew it wasn’t my best and I have a lot of room for improvement. I need to rest up for a few days and see if I can get my legs back and ready to go.

Here is the “After” team picture!
Two weeks to the Quakerman!