#39: Things a little out of focus for the right reasons…..Redemption Tour pulls into Mercerville

The goal coming off of last week’s 5k in Teterboro was to go easy so as not to totally burn my legs prior to the NJ State Triathlon today.  This was to be my measuring stick as my first triathlon with “historical data”.  Just about everything was going to be the same, including the insanely hot weather.

Well, unfortunately, the best laid plans don’t always work out:

  • On Sunday I got in the water for a good swim……part recovery, part needing to get in the water (more on that in a bit)
  • On Monday, I did my last “hard” workout (or so I thought), a 30:30 brick in very hot conditions
  • On Tuesday I just did a little spinning to stretch the legs, very short, 20 minutes
  • Wednesday I was able to get in about 45 minutes of easy riding
  • Thursday I was part of a “test group” for a bootcamp workout that Pro-Activity is considering offering (having not done much besides endurance in a straight line, I was more sore than I’d like to admit from lots of body-weight squats, push-ups, etc)
I don’t think it was quite this hot in Lebanon
on Friday….. Haven’t seen this yet….
almost afraid that if I watch I might
want to try it…..maybe not.
  • Friday I ran on a treadmill in the blazing (as in peaking at 106 deg F) for about 2.5 hours.  Truly not the typical pre-race prep chosen by most, but it was bigger than that.  As mentioned in Nick’s Blog our group signed on to support a few folks who are near and dear to us as they attempt to raise money for Breast Cancer Awareness/Research as they step up to do the 3-day Komen Walk for the Cure (60 miles).  We said we’d run 30 minutes for every $80 raised and that put me up for an hour & 45 shift in the AM and a second 45 min shift in the afternoon.
  • Saturday I stretched my sore legs by doing an easy preview ride (we did a single loop of the 25 mi course) w/PACER Teammate Chris Bush and then later that night, literally stretched my legs.
In general, I was confident that I was up to the race and that given all of the base-training work I had put in for Ironman, I would be able to show some improvement.  I was hoping to shave (up to) 30 minutes off of last year’s time.


Let’s just say, as astutely pointed out by Eric, that my perspective has changed……last year this was my first triathlon and I trained relatively hard for it.  Was in the pool at least 2-3x/week leading up to it and was on a very specific training plan.  This year, mostly due to work-demands, I was averaging a swim about every 7-10 days and was just taking whatever time I had and loosely applying training principles to it.  I hadn’t even looked at the race packet until last night (as in hours before the race).

Last year I had my race strategy thought through forward, backward and sideways…..this year, I literally wrote it down at 9P as I started to find my gear.

Last year I was in bed early, tapered appropriately the week before…….well, 2.5 hours of running in 100 degree heat can’t really qualify as taper and I starting my race strategizing at 9P didn’t really lend itself to an early night to bed.

So, whereas I wouldn’t trade the experience gained (and therefore the far less stressed pre-race week), I need to find some balance if I’m going to really live up to what I think my potential as a racer is.


The bad news is, not being in the pool hurt me worse than I thought it would. I actually did WORSE on the swim by about 2 minutes.  OUCH!!  Well, the gurus would appear right, someone of “novice” swim ability should probably be in the pool, even if for short sessions 3-4 times per week…..but as mentioned above, and, since this is one of my least favorite excuses……I’ll phrase it like this……I just didn’t make the time.

The good news is that the Tri-Gurus are right about more than just the need to swim if you want to be good at swimming – a solid base will carry you through.  I shaved around 22 minutes off last year’s debut and jumped from #450 out of 926 last year, to #211 of 944 this year.  I also went from +/- middle of the pack last year (#50 of 87 age and 340 of 626 gender) to the top quartile (#27 of 108 age and around 180 of around 700 gender)……which of course only makes me want to kick my own butt……see “didn’t have the time” excuse above.

The even better news is that there is probably some low hanging fruit that I can work on….spelled T-R-A-N-S-I-T-I-O-N

The best transition-ers spent a TOTAL of 2 minutes in transition today……I spent, 6 minutes and 10 seconds…….let’s just do a little “for fun” math here…..if I could transition like the speedsters and saved 4 minutes, I would have jumped an additional 50 places……Heck, if I had just shaved 2 minutes off here, I would have jumped 30 slots…..ok, so it might be time to have a transition strategy and start practicing it…..it’s a give-away.

Sidenote: World Triathlon Corp changed the
IM St George run course eliminating Red Cliffs Parkway….
I feel a little better about it now.
Bottom line is – the swim was a dud (432nd place), the bike was solid (averaged 22 mph, 2.4 mph faster than last year, putting me at 116th place) and the run was still not where I think I can be but a leap in the right direction (2:15/mile faster than last year’s heat-related beat down, putting me at 225th place)…..

My heavy focus for the next 6-12 weeks has to be on the run…..with a late summer 1/2 and fall-full marathon(s) coming into view…..the next 2 stops on the redemption tour……perhaps I’ll use the pool as recovery.

But……although I’m sooooo glad I didn’t try to be ready for it…..as I sit here typing while in the background Mike Reilly’s voice continues to tell people “You are an Ironman” on the web-stream of IronMan Lake Placid I find myself itching to get serious again…..

Focus Mike……FOCUS.


Big CONGRATS in Order:

1st to teammate Chris Bush – who had a GREAT race today at NJ State Oly Tri.  Top third in his age group.

Next to professional colleague (and go to guy for tips & tricks) Bill Capune – who is an animal……not only did he win his age group today at NJ State Oly Tri…..he came in 14th overall…..to put in perspective there were 17th elite males today…..he beat about 1/2 of them.

Big KEEP GOING KEEP GOING goes out to:

James Armstrong of Soliders Race Team, Randy Latza (who Linds went to HS with) and the 10 or so Carmichael compadres I met who are on the run somewhere (or finished as I suspect in some cases) in Lake Placid, NY.

Now…..some sleep.

MIke E.