GIVE US A BREAK?

August has gotten onto a great roll. I have mixed rotations in what I am doing and it is welcoming relief. Everything seems to be right on form and the duration, intensity, and continuity of my training (in the heat/humidity) has left me really confident going into the final 2 months of my season. Setting the shower pressure to massage

I represented Polar at the Marcum Corporate Challenge out on Jones Beach on August 3rd. It was a first time event for Polar as we had 20 people attend to tackle a fun 3.5 mile run/walk with over 8000 other people from 100 companies based on Long Island. It was a great evening and the challenge was on myself, Wayne, and the young gun David Thompson to represent as a racing team and try to place in the event. Now the key is to do well, but I made sure I stayed in line with my training and didn’t alter my program for this event. I wanted to keep it fun and cheer everyone on from the company. I aimed to be intense with it, but not to the point of hurting or causing me to change the rest of my week.

There was some tough competition out there, and with Runner’s Edge stacked with their young crew, along with Stoney Brook bringin some cross-country type runners, we had our “work” cut out for us. We got right up front. BAM!! Off it went and just as fast - off it finished.  All I could remember was my heavy breathing from the intensity (and it was hot) but also the cheers from our walkers at the turnaround. I ran hard and was pleased with 8th place. It was a scored event so it mattered where Wayne and David placed. I was really in need of a long cool down to recover from the effort and soon both Wayne and David came in to the finish. We placed 3rd as a team and earned Polar a trophy!! My time of 19:03 made me feel good, but plenty sore. See our results and info at  www.marcumworkplacechallenge.com I downloaded pictures too on the site.
We jogged around as everyone was now euphoric so we cheered on the walkers/runners from the rest of the company until everyone was finished. It was a blast and a great day to spend with the crew. A big thanks to Wayne and Theresa from our human resources for putting it all together. Fun times.

Though I have to get use to the sun now rising after 6am, a quick hit of light helps a great deal. I also have to start getting up early to practice running in the wee hours as I also prepare for Hood to Coast Relay. My running assignments on Team Big Kahunas have me doing 2 very hard 6+ mile runs and a 5 mile flat section, all between 7pm and overnight in our 12 man team rotation. The team is trying to get close to a 21 hr finish time and placing in the Open Division. I was invited by Chris Spano who had the task of surround some of the best runners he knew to race in this event. There a guys from NY, NC, and Florida. I look forward to being a part of this team and helping hammer out some running miles in 2 weeks. The www.hoodtocoast.com is on August 27-28th.

This means I spend almost everyday on my bike in some capacity since I will be only running during those 4 days. I started some longer runs and last weekend scampered from Bellerose into Astoria since we had some errands to do there for the wedding. All good. Recovery solid and sleeping like a rock too. The Ironsherpa has kept her keen eyes and we’ve both been chopping out the list of things to be done for the wedding. Invitations have gone out, meetings with church done, so it’s gonna get busy but we’re excited. Work on both ends have been constant as we haven’t gotten away other than local events since Clearwater. But we decided to at last try with a small triathlon I scheduled in Chester, NY.

The SBR Triathlon series is 2 events – one in June and August in Lake Sebago at Harriman State Park. It consists of a 1/2m swim, 16 mile hilly bike ride, and a 3.1m trail run. Seemed like a good way to simulate some type of getaway, even if it was for one night. Being that the race was on a Saturday and only 2 hrs away, we both got out of work early to drive up and stay in our favorite hotel – Holiday Inn. It was about 20 minutes from the race, but logistically, we didn’t do our usual recon and the Ironsherpa didn’t have a chance to really prep (she forgot to pack some basics but it was all good). All we had were directions. We honestly just wanted to get out of our routine, even if it was brief.

Despite the typical traffic leading up to the GW Bridge (it always amazes us how people can sit in that everyday) we got to the hotel just after 5pm. We checked in and promptly enjoyed our spacious suite (upgrade courtesy of being Priority Club members). The bed was the key. Just chillin on the bed – and if there is anything we’d actually request for our wedding it is one of these Holiday Inn beds – seriously. We got quotes since we almost did it last year but moved so it was scratched. We lounged out and took a quick swim in the pool, then a jacuzzi soak all to ourselves. It was a great feel to relax. The weather was cool, in the 60′s, and was sooooo comfortable. We dined out at Brother Bruno’s Pizza, a walk from the hotel and had enough to bring home leftovers! Yes, we have a big cooler bag, and with a fridge in the room, some ice, brought plenty for home!!! Word.

Since the check-in for the race was in the morning, we got to take our time and rest up in the bed. AC humming, blinds shut, and off we drifted. Firm pillow under the head, soft one on the tummy. ZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Sure it was an early wake up – 5am, but manageable since we didn’t rush. I lathered up in Aquaphor as we packed everything up and headed to the lake just as the sun was rising. They had plenty of parking, a beautiful race setup including a picnic area, calm lake and water temps at 80 degrees! No wetsuit needed. It was a really nice area. One certainly to take note and visit again. Other than the geese poop along the water edge. They got about 500 people easy, and since there were no relay teams, everyone from seasoned racers to beginners were in for a fast race individually. The weather – gorgeous.

They packed everyone in 3 starts and I was in the second wave. A few kisses of G and I was ready to rock. I was finishing a good 17 hr week and the test today was simply trying to go fast on a hilly course. Get some open water swimming in too. No time goals other than a fast run and confident bike ride. I felt I could place in top 10. As we lined up, it was going to be a quick beach run into the water. The wave ahead of us had a 3 minute headstart and I got to get right in front of my line. Unfortunately in that position, I also had 200 guys behind me ready to swim over me if faltered. Looking ahead, a lifeguard started to tend to a distressed swimmer right in the middle of the second buoy. Move to the left MC. Move over, choose a different line. But stay in front.

3 deep breaths and the horn sounds. I churn out and get a good lead in front. No contact. Water nice, warm, and certainly different without a wetsuit. Glide, glide, glide. Nice rhythm indeed – kick, kick, kick. I quickly get into the back of the first group. Suddenly just before the turnaround, a stray swimmer “cuts me off”. I promptly “steer” him out of the way with a shove, though I did hear him apologize. I then get a twack in the head at the turn, but expected that as now I was in the thick of the first group. Ahhh, open water swimming! I got back into a nice line and had a direct hit to the beach. Boom! Sweet sailing right in. It was crazy muddy by the shore, but they set up little kiddie pools to rinse off your feet when you exited. Time: around 14 minutes

I hear Gina give a cheer and head to the bike. No wetsuit to take off so it was in and out of transition. The Black Widow and I were off and rolling. And roll we did – up/down, down, then up, and up some more. The gears were definitely moving more than they are use to and with a good high steady heartrate, I had clear opening into the roads in front. Most of what I heard were the blowing of the wind in my ears and the “tha-dump, tha-dump” of the gaps in the roads before they smoothed out. It was a tough ride than expected but manageable as I opted to forgo my racing wheels for my regular ones. I liked it, and the company of a guy in his 40′s urging on as he got ahead, then dropped back as the hills went up and down. “I know you’ll pass me on the run.” he said, but it got me to keep him in sight and cheer each other on. The big 1.5 mile hill was a doozy.

Back into the park as I finish up and all is good. Hydration is in check and I only needed 3 swigs of my mix. Off the bike I hear G again as she had plenty of spectator space to move all around the park area. I actually almost missed my area where my stuff was, but I still had a quick change, removed my CS600 module from the Black Widow to run with and off I was ready to rip the trails. Legs good – bike time:around 45 minutes

Into the trails I went and it was a nice wide area, plenty of gradual up/downs but I was feeling very good. Don’t ask me why but the A-Ha song “Manhattan Skyline” hit the mental ipod and nothing was in my way as I pac-manned everyone in my sight – but there weren’t many. Since there was an out and back, I saw myself just outside the top ten by the half way point. Once I turned around, I cranked it. The trail was easy to navigate and I chased down all I could. I found myself now in 7th overall as I had a clear shot on my own the last half mile. Down the stretch and into the finish with a run time of around 18 minutes as I averaged 5:30 miles and an overall time of 1:22. I placed 7th overall and 2nd in my age group! I went quickly to kiss G and then right into a cool down as it helped flush everything out. I was comfortable and very pleased. A big confident boost. Results can be found on www.sbrshop.com/triathlons

We spent the next hour just re-hashing the event and enjoying the nice breeze. It was a well organized event and it was a great “trip”. We headed straight home, with some more traffic, but had plenty of time for a home-style brunch before tending to some chores. Done and in bed by 10.

Now the focus is on the Hood to Coast event, then next month, thanks to the event director and Wayne at Polar, get a chance to do the Westchester Toughman Half-Ironman on Sept. 13th. Gina and I will do another one of these “getaways” but plan to operate under the same means we did this weekend. Since it is 2.5 weeks from the main Myrtle Beach Nationals event, I plan to get in a good training day while also representing Polar and Sunrise Tri before the big taper for the Oct. 2nd race.

Gotta get a “tux” too.

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