Gearing up for the NYC Trialthlon

I used to be in shape. I used to be an athlete of sorts. Years in front of the computer has sapped my senses and gifted me a nice buddha belly. So what is someone who recently turned 30 to do? Sign up for a triathlon, of course. Last July while scanning the NYT this article caught my attention. Besides the death, what grabbed me was that the hurt involved in the olympic distance triathlon was not as bad as you would have initially thought. Growing up, when I heard "Triathlon" I thought Ironman. As a non existent runner, the thought of running a marathon was beyond the pale.

At one point in my life I had been a swimmer. Even now I'll get in the pool from time to time, do some laps and maybe even play some water polo. For the last few years I've been doing the 6 mile circuit around central park and a 9 mile one way ride down the west side highway on my hardtail Gary Fisher mountain bike (with slicks). What I've never been is a runner. If asked what the worst exercise I could possibly afflict on myself would be, no doubt it would be running. So when researching the "Triathlon" I was pleasantly surprised to learn that they come in different flavors. If a 10k at the olympic distance was a bit out of my reach, perhaps a 5k run was feasible.

And so on October 12th, 2008, with about two months of half assed training under my belt I completed my first sprint triathlon, the Cedar Beach Triathlon, in an abysmal time of 02:46:37.723. The time was shit. Like really shit. Regardless, I didn't DNS (did not show) and I didn't DNF (did not finish) and I didn't finish last . I did exactly what I intended to do - finish. In my defense, the sea was angry that day, my friends. Like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli. Visibility was low due to the high chop, morning sun on the horizon and that I'm nearsighted. I veered off course and ended up hundreds of yards down the beach from the finish area. Compounding this error, turns out the shore of the Long Island Sound is littered with razor blade like demon shells that will cut your feet up. Who knew? I, of course, was cut up something fierce. So for future reference: never, ever, ever swim in the Long Island Sound without swim booties. All this threw my game off and I knew come the run I would be in trouble. Sure enough, I had to walk/jog the 5k. Lets not forget the aforementioned Gary Fisher.

To do:
-upgrade to road bike
-get swim booties
-... train more

With that first race under my belt and my eye towards the olympic distance NYCtri in late July, the decision was made to get up off the couch and start training in ernest. Its been about a month of regular training so far and I must say there is improvement. I wont attach a picture of my broken foot which I broke in late October and was all kinds of gross, but trust me - if you were to see it you would never believe I am actually up and running on it.

As a warm up for the NYCtri and to avenge my lackluster performance at Cedar Beach, I signed up for the Long Island Gold Coast Triathlon, to be held June 13th, 2009, just over two months from now. Lets set some goals... 2:15:00 or bust, 18 mph pace on the bike and 5 mph pace on the run. I'm confident I can shave 30 min off my last attempt. Hitting those goals will shave about 12 min off the bike and 11 min off the run. Combine that with a better, injury free, gps guided swim and I feel a 2:15:00 finish is justified. Let the games begin.

An olympic distance may only be twice the distance of a sprint, nevertheless the difficulty is not linear. This time around I thought it would be best to get some professional help. So I signed up for Team OneFamily. Beyond being a worthy fundraising cause, signing up for the group gains me access to some bona fide coaching to help me through the rough spots but most importantly establish a cogent workout regimen. With dedication to pulling off an olympic distance and a longer time horizon I'm actually delusional enough to think I can pull this off.

Stay tuned.

Cedar Beach Tri, 12 Oct 2008: