Race Recap: 2014 New Jersey Devilman Half-Lite Triathlon

Hello and happy Monday!  I'm going out of the usual order today because I had a big race yesterday and I want to share that first.  The IMLP training recap will go up later this week.

Yesterday was my first tri of the year: the New Jersey Devilman Triathlon in Cedarville, NJ, which is the town next to my hometown in South Jersey.  I was really pumped about this race: I wanted to beat my time from last year and was especially excited to see how I would do in the swim.  I did the "half lite" distance: .8 mile swim, 41 mile bike, 8.8 mile run -- it's essentially 1/3 of a full Ironman and is a great long distance early season race.  My coach called the day before the race with my race plan (which was the exact same plan Amy and Bill had):

  • treat the race like a training day with the focus on the bike;
  • enjoy the swim
  • really hammer the bike: treat it like a time trial.  Go all out;
  • take your time in both transitions: dry off, get comfortable, walk out of transition;
  • survive the run: you should not feel great on the run if you've biked according to plan.

OK. I could do this.  Here is our team before the race - ray to go!

Conditions were absolutely perfect.  It was warm with a bit of a breeze (the breeze later turned to wind, but luckily only by the time I was almost done the bike), sunny for all of the swim and bike, and sunny for half of the run and cloudy for the other half.

I finished in 4:07:48, which was good enough for a third place in my age group.  What the what?  The blingy medal was nice, but more than that, I was thrilled with my swim and with my bike.  And also thrilled to beat last year's time of 4:27:44 by a solid 20 minutes.  

And as the incomparable group En Vogue once said: now it's time for a break down:

Swim:  23:30 [last year's time: 31:51]

Hello good swim.  This lake isn't the best.  It is actually the worst.  It's dark and murky and small, and the bottom feels like it's covered in gelatinous hair.  But the temperature wasn't bad especially with a wetsuit.  September was the last time I was in the open water, and even though I have been in the pool about twice a week since November, it's not the same.  So the day before the race, I went to the race site and swam in the lake, which they opened up for warm-ups. I'm so glad I did this.  I swam in the water for about 15 minutes and it was the confidence builder that I needed.  

This swim is a .8 mile swim.  If you do the half lite distance, you go twice around the buoys.  The lake is small -- more of a pond really -- so body contact with other swimmers is a given.  Plus, the men start their wave about 5 minutes before the women, so you know the faster men will meet up with you when you're on that first loop.  

The swim was great!  The women entered the water around 8:30 and the guy yelled, "GO GO GO!" around 8:35.  I started my watch, put my face in and just started swimming and singing ABBA. It worked.  I didn't freak out, my heart rate was nice and comfortable and I just swam like a boss.  I looked up after what seemed like 10 seconds and was at the first buoy!  There was a point around the first and second buoy when I felt a little dizzy, but I think it was the choppiness of the water.  

I swam shoulder to shoulder with another woman for most of the race.  We collided a couple of times but it wasn't a big deal.  I also got hit hard by a man on his second lap and on my first. I was glad to start my second loop because I knew the men wouldn't be behind me anymore.  The water was so dark that it was just impossible to see in front of you.  I got out of the water and my watch said 21:30 or so ... awesome.  The 23 minute official time is because of the placement of the timing chip.  

I actually found myself really enjoying the swim.  I tried to appreciate being outside and being at a point in my training when the open water was something I really loved versus something I had to survive.  This swim alone was a true high point of the race. 

T1: 2:43 [last year's time: 3:10]

Nothing special here. I took my coach's advice and took my time.  Last year my time was slower because it was colder and I put on arm warmers.  This race that wasn't necessary.  I just took off my wetsuit, dried off my feet, put on socks and bike shoes, put on helmet and glasses, grabbed one of my little peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and went to bike.  Gotta say I was psyched to see so many bikes still racked and to have a lot of company in transition.  That meant my swim was a good one.  

Bike: 2:13:23 (18.5 mph!!) [last year's time: 2:28:44 - 16.7 mph]

Dudes.  Do you see that?  18.5 mph average?  I feel the need to SHOUT IT THAT I BIKED AN AVERAGE OF EIGHTEEN POINT FIVE MILES PER HOUR.  That is huge.  I decided that I would allow no one to pass me on the bike.  I was going to pass people.  I got in my aerobars immediately and decided to bike like a boss and give it 100%.  It was hard work.  The Devilman course is very flat, so you are constantly pedaling for 41 miles.  I focused on staying in aero, eating and drinking and passing people.  Happily, I made my goal of not letting anyone pass me.  I played leap frog with a few people but ultimately didn't see them after my last pass.  

I was so psyched to see my friend from high school had worked with another high school friend who happened to live on the course and set up a huge cheering section for me.  As soon as I saw "golden goddess" I knew my friend Angie did it.  It was a great boost and made me cry.  

Biking that fast was really fun.  And also really, really hard and totally not sustainable for me.  At the end of the bike, as per usual, I was ready to get off the bike.  However, unlike most bikes I do, I was worried about the run.  I had pushed super hard on the bike, just like my coach told me to do.  I wasn't sure how I was going to run 8.8 miles.  Eek. 

T2:  2:12 [last year's time: 1:35]

I again took my time in transition.  I racked my bike, changed shoes, took my helmet off and put my visor on, drank some water, put water on my shoulders and head and then walked out of transition (another directive of my coach).  

Run: 1:25:58 [last year's time: 1:22:22]

And the wheels came off.  I did not run like a boss.  My coach said I should be cursing him for the first mile, which I did.  I also cursed him for the remaining 7.8 miles.  Wow - that run was a battle.  I decided to do a run/walk combo  like we've been doing in training and would run to each water station and walk through those while drinking water or sports drink.  My legs were absolutely shot and it was a real effort to run.  My paces for the first few miles was decent: low 9s.

The run is flat and there is very little shade.  It's honestly a kind of boring run (especially without music).  One thing I loved was there was a ton of houses with lilac bushes, which were in full bloom and smelled amazing.  

Around mile 2, Amy came up behind me and the two of us ran together for a good chunk of the run, which was great and took my mind off of the pain.  With about 3.5 miles to go, I needed a walk break and I could tell she was having a really good, sustainable strong run (I could tell this as soon as we started running together!), so I told her to go ahead.  She made sure I was OK, I was, so she ran ahead.  From that point on, I vowed I would keep her in my sight. I knew I couldn't catch up with her, but I could make sure I saw her.  I did, which was good.  I started playing leap frog with a woman in my age group.  She was also doing the walk/run combo.  Once I hit the last water station, I passed her and promised myself I would not let her pass me again.  I picked up the pace and hammered the final mile.  I didn't know it at the time, but that was the difference between 3rd and 4th place!  This picture that my mom took pretty much summarizes the entire run ... I was pushing hard and exhausted and I had no idea how close behind me that other woman in my age group was.  I imagined she was on my heels, but she was about a minute back:

HA.   Even though my run was a good 3.5 minutes slower than last year, I am pretty happy with it.  I biked so much faster and harder this year, so that I could still have a respectable run after that shows me my fitness has improved a lot with all this training.  It was also a great, palpable reminder of what happens on the run if you hammer too much on the bike!  I do not want to feel like that at IMLP ... so being smart on the bike is super important. 

I love this picture of Amy and Bill at the finish.  So cool.  Amy finished in 4:06:13 and Bill finished in 3:34:12.  Team Awesome. 

And here are the three of us after a hard fought race!

It was a great day.  I'm sore today (and was rewarded by my coach with a rest day - yeah!!), but I'm truly thrilled with the race.  Here's hoping the weather is this spectacular at Lake Placid in a few months! 

See you swoon,

1 comment:

  1. Damn girl...20 minutes!! Nice job!! And a podium to boot! Awesome! Congrats!