Tuesday, June 05, 2007


It has been suggested to me that I run at least one sprint triathlon prior to attempting the Tinman Half Ironman. It is sage advice from a fairly seasoned multi-sport athlete. So I took the advice and signed up for the first race of the SBR Triathlon Series.

This race would serve as my first opportunity to swim in a wetsuit and as a trial run for Tinman. I could work out the kinks of the swim-to-bike transition as well as the bike-to-run. Finally I was looking forward to this race as a test of fitness - competing against more experienced athletes on the bike and swim.

The race took place on Sunday in New York's Harriman State Park - which is a lovely and picturesque place. Unfortunately the directions I got were poor and I proceeded to get lost. I made it without a moment to spare. I was quite literally the last person to set up my transition area and I had to run to the start at the edge of the lake!

I arrived at the beach to hear the last of the final instructions when thunder could be heard rolling in the distance. Per USA Triathlon rules, thunder is an automatic 20 minute delay. Wetsuits provide great warmth in cold water but are probably weak at preventing electrocution by way of lightning.

The thunder did not cease and the swim portion of my first tri was canceled. I have been told that "something unexpected" happens at every triathlon...

Instead of the swim we did a short beach run and then proceeded into a 16 mile bike and a 3.1 mile run. The beach run's only purpose was to allow for a waved start to spread out the field (and to get sand in every ones shoes).

The beach run was fine but the sand was soft making it a little challenging. My transition was slow but I did manage to get out reasonably quickly because my transition area was near the exit. Fortunately I had no flat tires this time around! I hammered on the bike up rolling and undulating hills.

Then down... Ohhhh, the down! I like the downs. I was doing 40+ miles per hour down twisty backwoods roads and I loved it. The element of danger, the competitors on my back the lead pack up ahead!

The beloved down hill ended abruptly and was replaced by a loooooong, hard climb. Finally at the top it was only a few miles to go to the transition... Happily for me it was mostly flat.

The transition from bike to run went much quicker! I was thinking no problem... just push and take that guy up ahead. We turned the corner and the run course became a trail run and went straight up a hill covered with loose rocks, boulders and tree roots. Hmmmm, well that's "interesting."

I ended up passing one male runner but was totally smoked by some other hyper-fit guy. Seriously, I was going pretty fast but this dude blew by like I was standing still.

At the finish stretch I was cheered on by a former colleague and gave it my final push for a total time of 1 hour, 14 minutes, 47 seconds. Here are the full results.

Finish TimePace
Beach Run

16M Bike
19.4 MPH

3.1M Run21:47


I was able to finish in the top 15 over all and got an award for placing 2nd in my age group which I am pretty geeked about!

Unfortunately, I don't think there will be another opportunity for me to practice swimming with the wetsuit prior to the Half Ironman... Alas, I guess I'll have to improvise come race day.

Now, it's back to training and later a change of scenery. We're headed to Washington D.C. to celebrate Salena's birthday!

"Too much improvisation leaves the mind stupidly void."
-Victor Hugo


Deene said...

this sounds like so much fun once things get rolling. i'm still a bit freaked about the swim part of my upcoming tri in 3 days.
congrats on placing!

Sempre Libera said...

Nice race! Congratulations on placing in your age group, that's really great.

the_ubster said...

You rock Josh!

Yvonne said...

congrats on a great tri! wow, it does seem like you have to prepared for anything in these events.

enjoy DC - it's one of my all-time favourite places to run.

if you get a chance - get up at 5am and run around the momuments - truly amazing. you have the whole place to yourself.

Morrissey said...

congrats josh! way to go!

Uptown Girl said...

Awesome! You were flying!!!

Hope you have a great time in DC:)

JustRun said...

Just getting caught up here-- congratulations! Nice job! Even if you didn't get to swim, it's good to have that under your belt.

Happy Birthday to Selena!

Just12Finish said...

That's an impressive race Josh! 5:40/mile in soft sand - ouch!

I recently learned about uphill trail runs, another ouch!

stephruns said...

Downhills are the best, even running them!!!

Would have been great to run together Josh! But side-by-side, I think I would need to take the bike to keep up with you!!!!!

E-Speed said...

congrats on the tri! Sorry to hear about the lack of a swim portion. But it looks like you made the best of it!