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.
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
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.
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!.”
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!