After posting that I would be doing a self supported Half Iron distance triathlon on Facebook a friend of mine, Rahmin, decided to join in. That was immediately going to be double the fun of the event.
The format of the SOLMAN half, would be the usual swim bike run with a twist. The original plan was to bike to the pool using our road bikes which is 2.3 miles from my home, do the swim then bike home to transition to our TT bikes for the remainder of the 56 mile bike. However due to logistics we decided to run to the pool instead. So the day would consist of a run -> swim -> run -> bike -> run.
The weather heading into SOLMAN called for showers on the bike. The severity of the rain fluctuated between 10% precipitation to 90% leading to the morning of our event. Not ideal to bike in the rain, but again we both agreed to move forward with the date as training in the rain is an essential element you must be used to especially the fact that it could also occur during race day.
Run to the Pool – 2.3 miles
The run to the pool was at a very easy pace. The intended workout here is the 1.2 mile swim. In my run bag I carried along: my sleeveless wetsuit, goggles and spare, swim cap and spare, lube for the wetsuit (to prevent chaffing – instant burn if you ever forget to put lube on) We got to the pool about 10 minutes prior to opening. Pool opens at 6am. So I used that time to put my wetsuit halfway on and switched my run shoes to flip flops.
Swim – 1.2 miles
Rahmin is a faster swimmer, so I got an initial 4 minutes swim start on him. Being to the pool at opening made for a great swim as the lanes were not yet crowded. The Flushing Aquatic Pool is not strict on lane usage. So the fast lanes will have occasional breaststrokers just cruising along at a slow pace. Not today it was Rahmin, myself, a friend of mine, Janinie who is doing IRONMAN Lake Placid next weekend and one of those slower swimmers, he was never in the way. The swim was uneventful. I just kept it nice and easy for the first 1000 meters focusing on long smooth strokes. It would be the last 500 meters that I picked my swim pace a notch. We concluded out 80 laps of the 25 meter pool and transitioned back to our run gear.
Run home – 2.3 miles
Again this leg was just a transition tool to get to out TT bikes. I made sure to prepare all that I needed the night before including nutrition, finding stuff in the morning only adds wasted time to an already time-crunched day. One of the goals of the day was to get to the Hilton Club hotel in the city to see Norah participate in the NYC Triathlon baby derby. Anh was slated to get there by 12pm for registration. If I was running later I would without hesitation cut my 13.1 mile run short to get there on time as the baby derby started at 1pm.
Bike – 56 miles
We would undoubtedly encounter rain during the bike leg. The bike route would take us out East to Long Island and the turnaround would be at the 28 mile mark which would be in Woodbury, NY. When we started the rain was just a drizzle, not a big deal. I choose to wear a long sleeve jersey over my tri top because with rain it would be a chilly ride as well. I made sure to pack my phone in a waterproof pouch and a second spare inner tube. The night before I had received my order of fresh tires (Continental Gatorskins) and bought some inner tubes from REI (Qtubes 80 mm for just $6). So I was ready!
Also added to my bike setup was a quick realease for my Garmin 910xt and a Garmin extended out front mount. All those would be ideal to test on the day. Then came the rain. Holy! Yes it was torrential downpours. As heavy as storm rains passing throught my home island of Saint Lucia. It was heavy. I wear contacts so the worse part of the rain was rain entering my eye. I choose to use my Road helmet with clear sunglasses due to the weather. But in retrospect I wonder if my Smith Podium TT Aero helmet with the clear shield would have worked better. Guess I need a next rain day test? On the day I ditched power numbers and just rode moderately hard on perceived rate of exertion (by feel). The test here was to evaluate how I can run off the bike pushing over 75% FTP which on the main segments of this ride I was clearly over glancing on occasion at my Garmin. At one point on the way back I encountered several deep puddles of water, one must have been a foot deep (could have been a good photo moment there). First time riding with Rahmin, despite the heavy rains the ride went on quite well. We took turns pulling from the front and kept mostly at legal race distance of 12 meters apart or so. Thankfully on the day the bike concluded without incident of mechanical.
13.1 miles 8 miles
The initial plan was to run to the NYC Triathlon expo (home of the baby derby) then head to Central Park to add some more miles to make up the 13.1 miles. However due to the fact that I needed to get to Anh and Norah by 12:30pm I decisively reduced the run distance and opted to finish the run at the expo without the additional miles. Rahmin just qualified for the Boston Marathon and is an uber runner, we both decided to run our own pace since. He would turnaround at the city side of the Queeensboro bridge and we would be able to catch each other on his way back. I felt surprisingly good running off the bike. Yes at that point it was only mile 1, but I was able to keep a very fast pace throughout, making sure to play close attention to my run form. I finished off the run averaging 7:41 minute / mile.
It was a great and successful event of swim, bike run today and the inaugural SOLMAN half. I decided to opt for this simulation half distance as opposed to signing up for a race this weekend to save up $$$ for my “A” IRONMAN distance race in Sweden coming up in 5 weeks. In conclusion I would gladly do an event in this format again. Friends you are welcome to join….
Baby Derby report: Norah would follow her brother’s footsteps – no pun intended and stay in position the duration of the race without moving a cm 🙂 Hey she showed up 🙂