Monday, September 14, 2009
Mighty Hamptons Triathlon
Yesterday I did my first triathlon relay. I did the swim leg in the Mighty Hamptons Triathlon, an Olympic distance race in Sag Harbor, New York. My teammates were Rob Hermann (bike) and Harry Hackett (run), who are both fortunate enough to live out in the Hamptons year-round. Rob is an old friend from college with whom I recently reconnected via facebook after about 15 years! Harry is a friend of Rob's and former D-III 5K runner.
Mighty Hamptons might be my favorite Olympic distance triathlon. I did the race in 2006 and 2007. I was emailing with Rob a couple months ago and when I told Rob I'd be in the Hamptons on race weekend for a wedding, he suggested doing the race as a relay. His wife, Susanna, has been doing triathlons for a few years, but he'd never done one. He was psyched to do the bike, but needed a swimmer and a runner. I thought that I wouldn't be ready to race a 10K just two weeks after Canada, but figured I could definitely do the swim.
We met in the transition area before sunrise (that's Rob in the foreground and Susanna on the other side of the bike rack).
Setting up transition for a relay is a hell of a lot easier and less stressful than setting up for an individual race!
My swim went well. The water was fairly warm and calm - I don't think there was much of a current moving in any direction. The relay swimmers started in the last wave of the race, along with the women under 35. My plan was to start at the front, go out hard and try to stay on the feet of the fastest person I could find. When the gun sounded, I went out hard and started looking for feet. There was one guy who was absolutely flying. I tried to stay with him but felt like I was working too hard and didn't think I'd be able to keep up anyway. In retrospect, maybe I should have tried harder to stay with him. After I lost him (or, after HE lost ME), I couldn't find anyone else to draft off. I spent the rest of the swim working by myself, weaving through swimmers from the waves in front of me. I swam hard to the turn-around and was feeling good. I lost a little momentum in the chaos at the turn-around buoy - there was the usual crowding around the buoy, plus it was right about there that I ran into a big pack of swimmers from one of the waves ahead of me. I flagged a little at this point of the swim for a couple hundred meters, but managed to pick it up again to push it through to the finish. I sprinted up the chute to the transition area - without taking off my wetsuit, goggles or swim cap. I got to Rob, gave him the ankle strap with the timing chip and he was off!
I felt like I worked pretty hard during the swim, definitely harder than at Canada. And my time was faster than I swam the same course in 2007 (30:50) or 2006 (30:47). BUT, my 1:45/100m was slower than my 1:41/100m at Canada. WTF?! And I swam 24:24 at Bonelli in June. I know... different courses, different conditions, different times.
One fun thing about doing the relay was getting out of the water. I ran harder to the bike racks than I ever do - or would ever consider doing - if I had to get on the bike. I was utterly out of breath for a few minutes.
After Rob took off, I hung out in transition and cheered the remaining racers coming through T1. I got to see my friend Sebastian come running by on his way to the bike. It felt a little strange not to do the rest of the race, but that was balanced out by the fact that I'd done my workout for the day and got to watch everyone else fight through the rest of the race! Harry and I hung out while we waited for Rob to come in from the bike; we tried counting how many relay teams were ahead of us. It was hard to tell, but we figured we were in the top 5, and knew that if Harry could go 43 or faster, we'd be in contention. Rob rode the bike course a fair amount faster than he'd led us to believe he'd be able to ride. Here Rob celebrates his kick-ass ride!
Harry hoped that he would crack 43 minutes for the 10K run. In his heyday, he was a lot faster than that, but his training has been a little "off" since racing at Boston in April. Here he's cruising in to the finish, channeling his inner "Pre" for a 41:34 run, the second fastest relay run time! Near the end of the run he passed one team whose runner was a little girl, probably no older than 12. After the finish he confirmed that he saw her from a distance and there was no way he was letting her go!
We ended up as the fourth overall relay team, 11 minutes behind the winning team. The second and third place overall teams were co-ed teams, so we ended up the second men's team, good enough for a nice paperweight award.
Here's Rob, his wife Susanna and me after the race.
It was a great race and a ton of fun for my last triathlon of 2009.
Overall time: 2:26:51
Overall Place among all relay teams: 4/34
Place among men-only relay teams: 2/7
Swim place (among all relay teams): 5
Bike place: 14
Run place: 2
Indoor Bike - September 10
Time: 35 minutes
Average heart rate: 115
Run - September 10
Distance: 2.8 miles
Time: 20 minutes
Average heart rate: 144
Course: Local neighborhood
Conditions: Sunny, low 70's
Swim - September 11
Distance: 2,000 yards
Time: 42 minutes
Run - September 12
Distance: 5.3 miles
Time: 42 minutes
Average heart rate: 130
Course: Northwest Woods, East Hampton
Conditions: Overcast, humid, mid-60's
Swim - September 13
Distance: 1,500 meters (1,640 yards)
Mighty Hamptons Triathlon relay