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<p>I've been doing the NJ State Triathlon (Olympic distance), for 4 years, practically from my first year as a triathlete. I have improved a lot over the years (from 3:24 in the first year to 3:03 in 2009), but I still have get under that elusive 3 hours mark. If you want a PR, the NJ State course is the best place, given the flat bike and run course. This year I haven't trained as hard as in past years, but I had some strong running and swimming PR's, so I was really hoping I'll go under-3. The main hurdle seemed to be the fact that the bike course was almost 2 miles longer this year (it was short before, and the new one is 25.5mi, so longer than the standard distance). Another problem was the heat. We're in the middle of a heat wave, and the day before we hit 102 degrees in the afternoon. It was expected to be scorching hot this day too.<br><br><span style="font-weight:bold;">SWIM</span><br>
In my first Oly, I had a dismal 1h+ time for my 1,500m swim, but that went down to 51 minutes in the 2nd year, and 42 minutes in the third. All these were without a wetsuit (since the Mercer Lake is usually very hot in July). Then, last month at Black Bear (with a wetsuit) I hit an unexpected 36 minutes, even though that was the second day after a sprint triathlon. Honestly, I was secretly hoping to get to 30 minutes, But it was the swim where I was hoping to make up for the 2 extra miles on the bike. The lake was unbelievably hot. 88 degrees, and as I went in to warm up, I had to accommodate to the heat.<br><br><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kPRQW5Jkgso/TFDFYuPJ23I/AAAAAAAAA-s/BulSmCojcOE/s1600/DSC02009.JPG" target="_blank"><img alt="" id="user_BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5499112173538499442" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kPRQW5Jkgso/TFDFYuPJ23I/AAAAAAAAA-s/BulSmCojcOE/s320/DSC02009.JPG" style="border:0px solid;display:block;margin:0px auto 10px;text-align:center;width:320px;height:240px;"></a><br><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kPRQW5Jkgso/TFDFYShMUKI/AAAAAAAAA-k/z8KBsj6pKdI/s1600/DSC02016.JPG" target="_blank"><img alt="" id="user_BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5499112166097965218" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kPRQW5Jkgso/TFDFYShMUKI/AAAAAAAAA-k/z8KBsj6pKdI/s320/DSC02016.JPG" style="border:0px solid;display:block;margin:0px auto 10px;text-align:center;width:320px;height:240px;"></a><br><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kPRQW5Jkgso/TFDFYIFN31I/AAAAAAAAA-c/rcuRu1Ek0CU/s1600/DSC02027.JPG" target="_blank"><img alt="" id="user_BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5499112163296272210" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kPRQW5Jkgso/TFDFYIFN31I/AAAAAAAAA-c/rcuRu1Ek0CU/s320/DSC02027.JPG" style="border:0px solid;display:block;margin:0px auto 10px;text-align:center;width:320px;height:240px;"></a><br><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_kPRQW5Jkgso/TFDFXrf66lI/AAAAAAAAA-U/MgGeWjfqU9w/s1600/DSC02042.JPG" target="_blank"><img alt="" id="user_BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5499112155623647826" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_kPRQW5Jkgso/TFDFXrf66lI/AAAAAAAAA-U/MgGeWjfqU9w/s320/DSC02042.JPG" style="border:0px solid;display:block;margin:0px auto 10px;text-align:center;width:240px;height:320px;"></a><br>
In the water, it felt like the Cayman Islands or Honduras waters that I visited this spring. There was no questions about wetsuits, and I knew this might slow me down a bit. The swim itself felt good. Was getting into a rhythm, never felt too tired, the only problem is that I kept swimming of course so I was pretty much zig-zagging, at least in the first half. I passed some people, and hundreds of other passed me. But however, my time was an extremely super-disappointing 51:29. I'm trying to figure out what went that much wrong, and can't find any explanation. This is slower than 2 years ago. Fifteen minutes slower than the tired race last month. Could the extra distance I swam account for all of this? I'd rather not even think about this anymore... I didn't feel dizzy as I used to be after a long swim. I went through T1 in 4:31, which is pretty good for me (I'm a slow transitioner)... among my better times.<br><br><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kPRQW5Jkgso/TFDFXfPQkcI/AAAAAAAAA-M/gbkJZeryYkk/s1600/DSC02046.JPG" target="_blank"><img alt="" id="user_BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5499112152332538306" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kPRQW5Jkgso/TFDFXfPQkcI/AAAAAAAAA-M/gbkJZeryYkk/s320/DSC02046.JPG" style="border:0px solid;display:block;margin:0px auto 10px;text-align:center;width:320px;height:240px;"></a><br><br><span style="font-weight:bold;">BIKE</span><br>
The NJ State course is almost completely flat. The roads are good, and this year the course seemed almost completely closed (most of the busy roads were closed to traffic, or we had at least one lane coned-off for us). Normally there's no wind, but this time the breeze was quite welcome. Last year I averaged 19.8mph, but this year I knew I wasn't in such a good shape on the bike, and I hoped I can get around 19mph (although it felt like quite a stretch). I felt strong on the bike, I went quite consistent, and tried to think that there's a run afterwards (sometimes I tend to go all-out on the bike, and then crash on the run). I finished the course in 1:22:15, which averages (officially) to 18.6mph. But there's a very long section in and out of transition, over a grassy hill, so that result can't be always accurate. My bike computer showed exactly 19mph for the actual bike ride, so I have to be very happy. My T2 was great. At 2:51 it's my best ever Oly transition, so at least I got one PR on the day!<br><br><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_kPRQW5Jkgso/TFDEuOoEVzI/AAAAAAAAA-E/jxdT938DTuA/s1600/DSC02051.JPG" target="_blank"><img alt="" id="user_BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5499111443498555186" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_kPRQW5Jkgso/TFDEuOoEVzI/AAAAAAAAA-E/jxdT938DTuA/s320/DSC02051.JPG" style="border:0px solid;display:block;margin:0px auto 10px;text-align:center;width:320px;height:240px;"></a><br><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kPRQW5Jkgso/TFDEt762I-I/AAAAAAAAA98/8pNwKe1xP8U/s1600/DSC02053.JPG" target="_blank"><img alt="" id="user_BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5499111438477042658" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kPRQW5Jkgso/TFDEt762I-I/AAAAAAAAA98/8pNwKe1xP8U/s320/DSC02053.JPG" style="border:0px solid;display:block;margin:0px auto 10px;text-align:center;width:320px;height:240px;"></a><br><br><span style="font-weight:bold;">RUN</span><br>
I felt pretty good at the beginning of the run. I used to have my legs fried from pushing too hard on the bike, but this time it was all good. But also, it was very hot. It was almost 11:00 and the heat index was supposed to be around 96 at that time. I've done long runs in the heat, or short fast workouts, but never a longer, tempo effort in this kind of heat. I started quite fast, but soon the heat hit me hard. I couldn't breathe (the air was very thick), and while I didn't actually cramp, a lot of muscles seemed to be hurting. Since I knew my time goals are all gone, I had one more goal left. I was doing this race with my friend FLorin, who was at his first ever Olympic tri, and since he's a very good swimmer, he built a huge lead, so he was almost 10 minutes ahead of me when we started the run. But I couldn't let him beat me, after all I've been working at this for 4 years :) So I started in pursuit of him. after about a mile, he was 6 minutes ahead of me. One mile later, the gap was just 4 minutes. So I kept my hopes up. Already, lots of people were walking. Others were stretching on the side of the road. Some were doubled over and throwing up. The only reason I had to stop was to take a piss, since it had bothered me since one minute after getting out of the water (couldn't it have happened just a couple of minutes earlier??).<br><br>
After the first 5k section, we went by the start/finish area and started the second section, and here's where it started getting worse for most competitors, because the second half was all exposed to the sun, with no more tree cover. It was scorching hot, and I'd say 60% of the people were just slowly walking. I'm happy to say I never had to stop (except at the water stops, since I can't really drink while running). I used all the 3 Gu gels on the run. At each water stop, I drank one water, poured another one on my head, and drank 1 or 2 energy drinks (they have Heed... quite bad, but there's carbs and electrolytes in there). Except for the first faster mile, I kept my pace quite consistent (even in its slowness). At the final turn-around, around Mile 4.5, I caught up with Florin, so my objective was accomplished :) They also had ice cold towels at that point, so I put one on my head, under the hat, and that gave me a final wind to push through the rest of the course. I don't remember ever passing so many people in a Oly tri run. My run time was an abysmal 1:03:28 (10:15 pace - my slowest for an Oly), but I'm happy with it in these very hot conditions.<br><br><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kPRQW5Jkgso/TFDEteGQPPI/AAAAAAAAA90/7yY0wBVLX40/s1600/DSC02062.JPG" target="_blank"><img alt="" id="user_BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5499111430471826674" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kPRQW5Jkgso/TFDEteGQPPI/AAAAAAAAA90/7yY0wBVLX40/s320/DSC02062.JPG" style="border:0px solid;display:block;margin:0px auto 10px;text-align:center;width:320px;height:240px;"></a><br><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kPRQW5Jkgso/TFDEtAFjuGI/AAAAAAAAA9s/AlBQvIpMZ3A/s1600/DSC02064.JPG" target="_blank"><img alt="" id="user_BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5499111422415845474" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kPRQW5Jkgso/TFDEtAFjuGI/AAAAAAAAA9s/AlBQvIpMZ3A/s320/DSC02064.JPG" style="border:0px solid;display:block;margin:0px auto 10px;text-align:center;width:240px;height:320px;"></a><br><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kPRQW5Jkgso/TFDEsg_Jo3I/AAAAAAAAA9k/F9hIg721udk/s1600/DSC02065.JPG" target="_blank"><img alt="" id="user_BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5499111414067471218" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kPRQW5Jkgso/TFDEsg_Jo3I/AAAAAAAAA9k/F9hIg721udk/s320/DSC02065.JPG" style="border:0px solid;display:block;margin:0px auto 10px;text-align:center;width:240px;height:320px;"></a><br><br>
As for the final race time, it was a PW (personal worst): 3:24:32. Barely slower than my first one, when the swim took an hour, and I couldn't run at all. Minutes slower than Black Bear, which was the day after a sprint, and it had all those steep hills. But if you ask me, I'm not as disappointed as I should be. I felt like I gave one my best efforts ever. The conditions were grueling, so just finishing seems to be a victory. It's only the swim that bothers me, but I'm sure it was just a glitch. And well, now I need another one to get under that elusive 3 hours mark.<br><br>
There's some better news when I'm looking at the relative ranking. On the bike I was about in the top half... had been much better ranked, but for my current training level, I'm more than happy! And also, top 51% on the run, which I've only been able to do once before in an Olympic race, and I was 7 minutes faster then! So apparently the hot run was hard for everybody, and I didn't just suck. Overall, I was in the top 73%, which pretty much ties my best ranking for this distance. 3:24 now puts me in the same percentile as 3:04 in much cooler weather.<br><br>
The race was again flawlessly organized by Larry and Michele from CGI Racing. Their races are always the best, and they're getting better. And by the way, another nice touch was the misting tunnel at the end, where you could get in and get sprayed with cold water from all the sides, the perfect finish to such a hot race. After eating 4 hotdogs at the Jersey Shore Tri Club tent, we stopped at the Tavern on the Lake in Hightstown, where I had the perfect recovery meal: a huge bacon cheeseburger with fries, and a full pitcher of Sam Adams. And now it's time to put triathlon to the side, and get ready for our first baby!</p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
<p>Forgot to add... just had a chat with my swim coach, after a few WTF's, he said "well, you got 10 minutes for no wetsuit, 10 minutes for hot water, which means I had a 31 min swim". I guess I should ask for my money back. Wait, I never paid him! :)</p>
 

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<p>Good job under very difficult conditions.  The day before during the sprint, about halfway through the run I thought to myself, "thank God I'm not doing the Olympic distance race tomorrow, it is going to be hell."    On a day like that all you can do is try to survive the best that you can and not expect to come anywhere close to a PR.  I talked to a friend at the pool this morning and he said that people were walking the entire 10k because of the heat.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Way to perservere under hot and humid conditions.  Now rest up for the baby, sleep is going to be at a premium once the little one arrives.</p>
 

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<p>I'm sorry you didn't get the result you were hoping for, but honestly the conditions were not conducive to a PR.  I really think the water temp played a big role in your swim time.  I know how lethargic and slow I was doing my laps and drills in an outdoor pool on Saturday; trying to maintain a tempo pace for 1500m would have been next to impossible.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Think of the positives:</p>
<p>Your bike pace!</p>
<p>Passing so many people on the run</p>
<p>Not walking</p>
<p>FINISHING in such grueling conditions</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Good job!</p>
 

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<p>Well dude, sound like there is not too much to be disappointed about.  Like you said you gave it your best effort and as long as you feel that way, then its a good race.  Conditions, etc., will dictate time so its a bit out of your control.  All you can do is execute and give your best which you did and still placed high percentage wise.  Forget the time..</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Congrats!</p>
 

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<p>Nice job giving your best effort under such hot conditions. Who can swim their best when the water temp is 88???  Way to run the entire 6.2 as well.  Those conditions are tough for most folks but you powered through it!</p>
 

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<p>Nobody knows better than me how humidity can erases month and month of hard training in an instant.  You did really well considering the conditions.  If you'd had those conditions for your first race, I guarantee this would not be your PW and you would not have run through the whole 10K.  You've improved considerably and when you have that clear, dry, 70F day you're going to PR not PW.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Now go be a Dad <img alt="" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/icon_salut.gif" style="width:23px;height:18px;" title=""></p>
 

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<p>I think you're looking at this all wrong man, sorry. You are seriously underestimating the heat. The heat can really suck the life out of you.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Really, instead of comparing against YOUR prior times - in which the heat wasn't anything like this time, you should be comparing against the competition.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>As you said, your bike/run rankings went UP. Your T2 was vastly improved.  People were barfing on the side of the road, but you were running. Um, dude, it really sounds like you had a rock solid race. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>FORGET ABOUT THE TIMES, the relative ranking is more relevant to whether you really did perform reasonably or not and it sounds like you did well, not just "reasonable".</p>
<p> </p>
<p>regarding the swim, the heat is a factor, the wetsuit is a factor, but consider also currents. They change from year to year and you could have just gotten a bad draw this time. Again, look for the relative rankings to see that.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Overall, sounds like a damn good day. Don't beat yourself up.</p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
<p>Thanks for the encouraging messages.</p>
<p>The truth is that in the heat I have a competitive advantage because I train a lot in the heat. But in an Oly I'd be happier to have a faster absolute time, than just relative. I mean... a few minutes faster would make me feel better than a few percentile points.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Now all I have to do is... do other Olys until I go under-3. Same as I did with HIM's until I finally went under-7.</p>
 
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