Date: October 22, 2017
Location: Central Park, New York City
Weather: 57 Degrees and Sunny
Distance: 2 Mile Run / 12 Mile Bike / 2 Mile Run
Finish Time: 1:01:02 Overall: 8th out of 290 Age Group: 1st out of 35
In the weeks leading up to this race, I’ve been focusing on increasing my running volume (40 – 50 miles per week) for the Philadelphia Marathon next month. To that extent, my performance in this race is strong evidence that the increased mileage is generating dividends. I believe that my current running fitness is at its highest level ever. This is great news for my goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon because I’ll need to shave 13 minutes off my marathon PR of 3:18 in order to run it in 3:05 or better to qualify. Last year during marathon training, I only averaged 30 miles per week, so I added more mileage to help increase my long-term endurance.
The race start time was 8:00 am, which meant that I could sleep in until 5:30 am, instead of my usual race day wakeup time of 4:00 am or earlier! Immediately upon waking, I guzzled 16 oz. of beet juice.
Beets are a great source of inorganic nitrate, which the body converts to nitric oxide. Nitric oxide widens and dilutes the blood vessels, which increases blood flow to the muscles. In short, it lowers the oxygen cost because it improves the efficiency of muscles to convert energy into fuel. For non-endurance athletes, it’s also a great natural remedy for lowering blood pressure. The only side effect of beet juice is that it turns your bowel and urine movements red, which is scary, but fun and harmless.
Next, I ate a Honey Stinger Waffle and a banana. Typically, I try to consume my pre-race meal 2 hours before the race to allow time for digestion. Some of the additional supplements I take are Cordyceps, BCAAs, Beta Alanine and Creatine. All of these are natural supplements. I often wonder how many athletes are using illegal performance enhancing drugs. I’m sure there are at least a few. Unfortunately, there are never any drug tests before these races and I wish they did random checks. They should at least test the winners after the race.
Finally, I did some light stretching with a foam roller and applied Muscle Tonic, which is formulated with all-natural, skin-nourishing and performance-enhancing ingredients, along with aromatics like peppermint, lemon and rosemary. Muscle Tonic is my secret weapon on race day. Click here to learn more about it.
This was my first duathlon (run->bike->run) event. It was nice not having to stress out about swimming. Most of the races start at different time waves depending on age group, but this was a mass start, which I didn’t like because it was hard getting into position. Additionally, the first 300 meters was uphill, which made for a challenging start. After the initial climb, I felt strong and decided to hold 6:00/mile pace, even though my target was 6:15/mile. The turnaround point came fast and I maintained 5:55/mile for Mile 2, which was much faster than goal pace.
My transition to the bike went relatively smooth. I was able to lock my cleats into the pedals right away and I had the gears setup properly for an easy launch. Yet, the first few miles were quite difficult because my heart rate was still very elevated from the run. Typically, an athlete’s average heart rate during a bike segment is 10 bpm lower than a running segment and even lower for a swimming segment. In hindsight, maybe I should have started the bike leg more slowly to give my heart rate time to adjust. The course was two full loops (6 miles each) of Central Park. The park wasn’t closed to the public, so it was difficult and dangerous navigating around pedestrians, runners, dogs, cyclists, etc. My second loop was actually faster than my first loop because my heart rate finally started dropping to the target bike zone. I finished the bike segment with an average speed of 22.7mph, which I was happy with because I haven’t been training on the bike that much lately.
The second run segment was brutal because my legs felt like jelly from the bike course and we had to run up the same hill again. Nevertheless, after conquering the initial hill, I felt incredibly strong and upped the pace. I saw several runners ahead of me and that gave me a much needed boost. I passed several of them enroute to the finish line, while maintaining a <6:00/mile pace, which was extraordinary because I didn’t know that I was capable of running that fast, especially after already running 3 miles and biking 12 – plus a negative split on the last mile.
The only disappointing and irritating thing that happened is that in the final 20 meters, someone ran past me. If I had seen him coming, I would have been able to fend him off. Clearly, he was waiting until the very end to pass me so that I didn’t have time to catch him, which is unethical and bush league to do something like that. It’s okay, I had the last laugh - after he crossed the finish line 2 seconds ahead of me, he began getting sick. Meanwhile, I walked off cool, calm and strong, while snickering in his direction. Haha serves him right!
I was elated to find out that I finished 8th overall and 1st in my Age Group. It was my first time standing on a podium, which was so cool. It was a great event – the staff were amazing and everything was organized. They even had pumpkin and apple cider donuts at the end of the race, along with the usual refreshments.
Later that night, I took a relaxing bath with ¼ cup of Muscle Wash, which is just what my body needed after a hard race. Click here to learn more about Muscle Wash.
One month until my last race of the season, the Philadelphia Marathon!