Update No. 16 – Back in training 2014: My Atlantic City International Triathlon results

Atlantic City Triathlon logo

Well, I completed the Atlantic City International Triathlon on Sunday (9/14/14) and finished in just a tad more than three hours, which is pretty much what I expected.

Before I get into my exact time and splits, I just want to share my thoughts on my first–and likely my last–international triathlon experience. While the weather–clear and cool at around 60° F–was perfect for such strenuous activity, it was a bit on the windy side for the bike ride with winds out of the north at approximately 17 m.p.h. (with 20 m.p.h. gusts). While the Atlantic City Expressway–where we rode, for the most part–is considered an east-west roadway, the section near Atlantic City has more of a northwest-southeast tilt so we were getting a lot of that wind in our faces for when we were riding away from Atlantic City.

Also, at the second turn of the one-mile swim, I suddenly noticed I was going against a rather strong current. I was about 50 feet away from the turn buoy and it seemed like I had taken several strokes. Each time I came up to sight, the buoy just didn’t seem to be getting all that closer. I swear, it took me at least 3-5 minutes just to cover that 50 feet and get around the buoy. Of course, I was probably going against that current for about 25 minutes at that point, but I hadn’t really noticed it until I realized how long it was taking me to clear that buoy.

Anyway, there was now only about a quarter-mile left in the swim at this point, so I took a minute to recover after struggling to get around the turn buoy when the strangest thing happened.

Normally, during these types of events, staff will offer encouragement along the way…telling you “good job” or “you’re almost there.” Well, in the boat near the turn buoy happened to be the most honest race staff member ever. There I am, floating in the water and trying to recover for the home stretch when the guy says this to me:

“You’ve got a looong way to go, buddy.”

Gee…thanks for the pep talk.

Anyway, I made it back to the dock and finished out the triathlon. Oh, and by the way, in a bit of a last-minute switch, the organizers shortened the international’s run component from a 10K (6.2 miles) to 5 miles. This was due mostly, we were told, to traffic concerns regarding the road closures–especially in a city that was hosting the Miss America Pageant a few hours later. They felt they could get the roads opened 20-40 minutes sooner by shortening the run.

A couple of logistical notes. The triathlon is held in conjunction with Atlantic City Seafood Festival at the long-closed Bader Field airport. That means when you go for packet pick-up and bike drop-off on the Saturday before the Sunday morning race, you have to sit in line for parking with all the festival attendees. If possible, it would be nice if the organizers could arrange for a separate area near the entrance for athletes to park so they don’t have to wait 15 minutes in a line to park like I did Saturday afternoon. Sure, the athletes might wind up farther away from the transition area, but at least they can get out of our vehicles and start walking there sooner.

I can summarize my next criticism in two (sort-of) words: more port-a-Johns. There were roughly 1,300 participants on site and there were a total of approximately 20, maybe 30, portable toilets available to them. Doubling that would be a start.

That being said, the free race photos are a huge plus (I’ll post some here when they’re available) and the tremendous post-race breakfast buffet really hit the spot. And all triathletes got $1 draft beers at the Seafood Festival next door until noon, so most had an hour or so to take advantage of that.

OK, finally…here are my Atlantic City International Triathlon results

  • 1-mile swim:             52:16.80
  • transition 1 (T1):         6:18.20
  • 20-mile bike ride:  1:08:52.80
  • transition 2 (T2):         6:45.20
  • 5-mile run:               50:20.80

TOTAL TIME:                   3:04.33.90

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My T1 time could have been a couple of minutes shorter except I forgot that I put a watch on the outside of my wetsuit and couldn’t get it off my arm until I rolled it back on to take off the watch (I know…stupid). My T2 time was extended because I wear different shoes for the bike and the run, so the switch took some time. The biggest chunk of lost time came during the run…because–TMI ALERT!–I ducked into a men’s room on the Atlantic City boardwalk for a much needed potty break, which would have taken a minute or two except I was wearing a cumbersome transition suit (which, ironically enough, is supposed to reduce transition times).

Strangely enough, I passed a guy later in the run who I had passed on the bike just before the loop near the convention center. I guess he overtook me during my bathroom break, but at least I was able to overcome that and get back in front of him.

Overall, I’m just happy I completed the triathlon. It was something I wanted to prove to myself. I figured I would finish in around three hours and I basically did that. Without a few issues in transition and that in-race bathroom break I took, I might have come in under three hours…but it is what it is.

So, now with both the Atlantic City and Hightstown triathlons behind me, I will focus on my final major event of the year, the Trenton Half-Marathon, on Nov. 8, 2014. As a tune-up for that, I will also be running in the inaugural WXPN 5K Run for Musicians On Call on October 5. WXPN is a radio station close to my heart and I’ve been a member-listener for a few years now, so I figured it would be a nice tune-up run prior to the Trenton Half Marathon. Plus, it benefits WXPN’s Musicians On Call program, which provides live music to thousands of patients in healthcare facilities around the Delaware Valley area.

Just a reminder…my other accomplishments this year include finishing the 10-mile Broad Street Run on May 4 in 1:36:21 and completing the Hightstown Triathlon on August 17 in 1:34:05.

Note: See the January 18 update and original post below for background information…and please see the Training Tracker below to follow my major training swims, rides and runs.

1/18/2014 UPDATE:
Earlier this month (see original post below), I wrote about training for my first half-marathon, the Trenton (N.J.) Half-Marathon taking place Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, and my other goal of reaching a target weight of 168 pounds.

Well, when I wrote that, I was also eyeing another ridiculously ambitious goal…competing and finishing in the Atlantic City International Triathlon on Sept. 14, 2014. However, I was still waiting to hear back from the organizers regarding a question about my bike. Well, I was given the information I needed and have officially registered for the event, which includes a one-mile swim, a 20-mile bike ride and a 10K (6.2-mile) run.

I’ve never done an official half-marathon before, but at least I’ve run 13.1 miles in training  so I know I can do it. I have completed a swim of around a mile, have ridden 20 miles on a bike many times before and have 6.2 miles several times. However, I am in no way ready to do all of these in sequence at one time, but I’m learning as fast as I can how to get myself trained and conditioned for it.

So I must revise the 2014 fitness goals I listed in the original post. They are now: 1) get weight down to (and stay at/near) 168 pounds, 2) complete the Atlantic City International Triathlon, and 3) complete the Trenton Half-Marathon.

Wow…when you write it all out, it looks daunting. What was I thinking? Oh well, nothing to do now but to get in shape and ready to compete.

At the bottom of each of these posts, you will find a training tracker so you can follow my progress.

Original Post – January 9, 2014:
Last year, I tracked my training for the Trenton 10K, which took place Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013. It was the first organized race I have run other than a 5K. I finished the Trenton 10K with a chip time of 59:46.399, and my goal was to finish in less than an hour…so mission accomplished.

But as I watched the half-marathon runners start their race that morning, I regretted not being more ambitious with my running goals. After finally shaking off a persistent head cold I came down with the day after the race, I mapped out a route and completed a test run of 13.1 miles in 2:27:27—and, admittedly, that included about a half-mile of walking.

Now that I know I can do it, I want to announce here that I have registered for the 2014 Trenton Half-Marathon, taking place Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014.

I also want to use this opportunity to finally get into the proverbial “best shape of my life”— a sports cliché used by so many aging veterans heading into training camp. The holidays and two bouts with colds have basically put me back to square one as far as conditioning is concerned, but next week I’m going to start getting serious about working out everyday and tracking my caloric intake. And, of course, I’ll be tracking my training runs here on the blog.

In addition to training for the half marathon, it is my goal to finally get down to 168 pounds, which means losing about 23 pounds. I had lost 35 pounds back in 2006 after a false heart disease scare, but my weight-loss efforts stalled at 173—leaving me five pounds shy of my goal. Unfortunately, I gained nearly all of the weight I lost back again within the following year and have only been able to lose about 10-15 pounds a couple of times since then.

So…those are my two main goals for 2014: 1) complete the Trenton Half Marathon, 2) get down (and stay at/near) 168 pounds.

Training Tracker
I’ll be posting updates on my progress here every so often. The table below includes my swim/bike/run distances and times during this training period. Items in bold are personal records or other milestones. Also, I finally reversed the order of the table so that the most recent activity is at top…
Date Swim/Bike/Run Distance Time
9/14/2014 5 miles (run) 50:20.80 – 2014 Atlantic City International Triathlon (results)
9/14/2014 20 miles (bike) 1:08:52.80 – 2014 Atlantic City International Triathlon (results) [Transition 2 time – 6:45.20]
9/14/2014 1.0 mile (swim) 52:16.80 – 2014 Atlantic City International Triathlon (results) [Transition 1 time – 6:18.20]
9/7/2014 6.27 miles (run) 57:08 (56:39 10K time – personal best)
8/30/2014 0.5 mile (swim) Approximately 25 minutes
8/29/2014 3.15 miles (run) 26:14
8/17/2014 3.1 miles (run) 26:01 – 2014 Hightstown Triathlon (results)
8/17/2014 15.3 miles (bike) 50:16 – 2014 Hightstown Triathlon (results)
8/17/2014 0.25 miles (swim) 10:24 – 2014 Hightstown Triathlon (results)
8/9/2014 2.34 miles (run) 19:40
8/9/2014 600 yards/0.34 miles (lake swim) N/A…first time swimming in a lake in a wetsuit…had to “float” frequently during swim and rest for about 15 minutes between the two 300-yard loops.
8/8/2014 3.11 miles (bike) 27:22
8/8/2014 15.55 miles (bike) 52:48
8/6/2014 3.12 miles (run) 27:12
8/6/2014 14.99 miles (bike) 49:32 (in a bit of rain)
8/4/2014 3.11 miles (run) 29:05
8/4/2014 14.42 (bike) 51:19
7/31/2014 19.55 miles (bike) 1:06:54 (tracking was a bit off toward the end of the ride due to device issue)
7/29/2014 3.11 miles (run) 26:17
7/17/2014 3.11 miles (run) 30:42
7/16/2014 3.11 miles (run) 28:36
7/16/2014 20.03 miles (bike) 1:09:05
7/10/2014 3.1 miles (Nike+ recorded 3.19 miles) (run) 26:47.15 (RWJUH Strides for Stroke 5K) / 27:14 (Nike+)
7/10/2014 20.05 miles (bike) 1:09:45
7/8/2014 2.01 miles (run) 18:28
7/8/2014 10.04 miles (bike) 33:59
6/30/2014 5.00 miles (run) 48:02
6/27/2014 6.2 miles (run) 59:51
6/27/2014 20.08 miles (bike) 1:07:31
6/23/2014 3.30 miles (run) 31:15
6/23/2014 20.03 miles (bike) 1:06:44 (20-mile personal best)
6/20/2014 3.12 miles (run) 28:20
6/20/2014 15.01 (bike) 51:08
6/17/2014 3.11 miles (run) 26:09 (included personal-best mile time of 7:33)
6/16/2014 4.06 miles (run) 41:37
6/16/2014 20.28 miles (bike) 1:08:34
6/10/2014 6.22 miles (run) 57:02 (10K-distance personal best)
6/6/2014 3.12 miles (run) 26:43
6/4/2014 4.54 miles (run) 52:46
6/4/2014 20.24 miles (bike) 1:08:27 (20-mile personal best)
5/29/2014 6.21 miles (run) 1:02:37
5/29/2014 16.6 miles (bike) 58:48
5/29/2014 4.67 miles (bike) 17:39
5/27/2014 3.12 miles (run) 27:42
5/25/2014 6.21 miles (run) 58:57 (Brigantine, NJ)
5/23/2014 3.12 miles (run) 27:15
5/20/2014 6.23 miles (run) 57:16
5/19/2014 2.35 miles (run) 20:02
5/12/2014 5.01 miles (run) 46:18 (5-mile personal best)
5/9/2014 3.11 miles (run) 25:58 (5K-distance personal best)
5/4/2014 10.0 miles (Nike+ recorded 10.2 miles) (run) 1:36:21 – Broad Street Run (10-mile personal-best)
5/2/2014 3.1 miles (run) 28:15
5/1/2014 3.1 miles (run) 26:23 (5K-distance personal best)
4/28/2014 4 miles (run) 35:44
4/24/2014 10 miles (run) 1:39:04 (10-mile personal best)
4/22/2014 5.02 miles (run) 50:18
4/21/2014 5.02 miles (run) 46:38 (5-mile personal best)
4/13/2014 3.1 miles (run) 26:57 official chip time – Barnabas Health Lakewood BlueClaws 5K
4/9/2014 3.14 miles (run) 26:52 (26:35 personal best 5K time)
4/2/2014 3.11 miles (run) 26:51
3/27/2014 10 miles (run) 1:45:49
3/21/2014 15.25 mile ride followed by 6.21 mile run 59:25 (bike)/1:05:14 (run)
3/11/2014 18.46 mile ride followed by 3.11 mile run 1:10:09 (bike)/30:40 (run)
3/6/2014 6.21 miles (run) 58:45
2/21/2014 6.21 miles (run) 1:01:34
2/11/2014 3.11 miles (run) 30:55
2/10/2014 1.02 miles (swim) – 72 laps (25-yd pool) approx. 40 minutes
2/6/2014 1.02 miles (swim) – 72 laps (25-yd pool) approx. 40 minutes
2/4/2014 0.57 miles (swim) – 40 laps (25-yd pool) unknown
1/31/2014 1.14 miles (swim) – 80 laps (25-yd pool) approx. 1 hour
1/29/2014 1.02 miles (swim) – 72 laps (25-yd pool) approx. 50 minutes
1/27/2014 0.71 miles (swim) – 50 laps (25-yd pool) approx. 40 minutes
1/24/2014 0.37 miles (swim) – 26 laps (25-yd pool) approx. 30 minutes
12/5/2013 13.12 miles (run) 2:27:27 – longest distance run

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