First Olympic Triathlon at Riverhead Rocks

I am healthy this season, I feel good and I’ve been “in the gym workin’ on my fitness”. So I decided to throw in a last minute race, which would wind up to be my very first Olympic Triathlon.

Confident with both bike and running mileage behind my belt, I truly thought that if I could just get through the swim alive, I would be golden. This is my third season of swimming and the mile distance was a concern. Pool work at Bryan Krut’s Open Water Swim helped me with speed and endurance, but I like to consider swimming in the open water “survival”. You need to be comfortable, calm, think quick, be agile and have a strategy. Lots to think about.

Luckily, all that came together on race day

Riverhead Rocks 2013 Swim

Riverhead Rocks 2013 Swim

I made it, At least now I have a base and know I need to work on speed for my September Mighty Hamptons Olympic. But again, I made it!

After three seasons of Sprint triathlons and cycling consistently throughout the Winter and Spring including finishing my very first century, I was determined to kill it on the bike. I was mentally strong, I was hydrating with water and water with NUUN, had a few nibbles of a Luna bar and I ate a few Chomps. I was more confident on my downhills and kept a good cadence on my flats and uphills. I looked out for bumps and potholes and wasn’t really feeling the effects of the high humidity. I was happy with my performance, although again set a benchmark for myself. I now know to work on power and speed. {Insert Sea Cliff hill repeats with Ironman and cycling instructor Tripp Doherty in 100 degree weather}

Riverhead Rocks 2013 Bike

Riverhead Rocks 2013 Bike

I knew I was going to learn a lot from this course and from the athletes around me. The small field were experienced and intense. I remember looking around during announcements saying to myself I was out of my league. But I knew it was the perfect time to take advantage of the greatness around me. Team Tri Global Assistant Coach Rich cannonballed himself into the water at the start, showing off his playfulness and relaxed state. Swimmers sighted well and took advantage of the calm waters. So when it was time for the run, it was the shock of my life and the biggest learning experience when I hit a brick wall.

Riverhead Rocks 2013 Run

Riverhead Rocks 2013 Run

The humidity was off the charts and my legs were dead, I felt like I was barely moving and I couldn’t quench my thirst throughout the entire 10K distance. I stopped at every water stop, even took a jug with me on the way when one stop ran out of cups. I didn’t take the supplemented water with Hammer Heed as I never trained with it. I didn’t know what it would do to me, and I didn’t want to face worse unchartered territory. So I suffered through the run at a terrible pace and finally broke the ribbon at 3:15.

Riverhead Rocks 2013 Finish

Riverhead Rocks 2013 Finish

This open season race was not one of regrets, but a huge learning experience. I am now training with Heed and trying various supplements. I am practicing longer lengths and time in the Open Water and plan on increasing my BRICK workouts. It’s the heart of training season and it’s a balancing act of training in all three disciplines, keeping the muscle strength, staying flexible, stretching, staying well hydrated and finding supplements to tolerate.

They say they might not have this race next year because it draws too small of a field. I encourage those of you out there that are pushing yourselves to the next distance level after sprint, to schedule this one on your calendar. I am so glad I fought off the negative thoughts in my head saying I wasn’t ready and jumped in that river on that humid June day. What a training log of events I have to reflect on and to improve upon.

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