July 17th – What Have We Learned From The NYC Triathlon: Other Stuff


I’m calling this one: Other Stuff I Learned During the NYC Triathlon. These are quick nuggets / take aways from the training / preparation for my first tri. Off we go…

1) as far as nutrition goes, make sure you treat an Olympic distance triathlon as of you were preparing for a full marathon. Carbs are your friend. The night before a triathlon, it is not a good idea to show your loyalty as a die-hard New Yorker by chowing on 3 with onions from Gray’s Papaya.

2) it’s a really good idea to actually try to get some sleep the night before a tri. It’s NOT a good idea to decide to watch the extended version of Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King the night before.

3) Wine: I was about to say that a couple of glasses the night before a tri is not a good idea. I just cannot get up the testicular fortitude to say it with any conviction at all.

4) Pick small goals on the course. Push hard to that goal / target. As you close in on it, pick the next target in the distance and do it all over again. Break it tri up into manageable pieces and attack the course.

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July 16th – What Have We Learned From The NYC Triathlon – The Run


The transition from the bike to the run was simple, as all I needed to do was throw on a hat and change my shirt. While the transition felt easy to complete, I came off of the bike still fighting some extremely nasty nausea to the point where I simply couldn’t even keep water down.

My legs, as one professional ironman once said, “wouldn’t fire”. Basically this was FUBAR, big time. (FUBAR – Fouled Up Beyond All Recognition for all of you playing the home game). 6.2 miles to go, nothing in my stomach (not even bile – even that made an exit stage North), and sunburnt (because King Dipshit – that’s me – figured that it wouldn’t be necessary). I began walking through the transition area toward 72nd street, in the hope that motion would create emotion and I’d find a way to rally.

I wish I could lie to you and say I charged forward and rolled through the 10k…but I didn’t. I was a complete mess. Three tenths of a mile into the race I saw one of my TFK coaches. She gave me some frozen electrolyte stick that she hoped would bail me out of my current condition. A quick note: we need more people like that. Ones that say “hey – I hardly know you but I see you need help – so here you go”. If you’re on a course and you are cruising but the guy next to you seems….well…FUBAR, do the right thing. Words of encouragement. Give him a GU. Run with him. It only takes a minute to do the right thing.

Although I shot the frozen electrolyte drink down quick, two tenths of a mile later it was already on it’s way back up and out. And, of course, with my perfect timing….that’s exactly the point in the race where my family saw me. I was asked not to continue – but let’s face it: I came this far, and there was no way I wanted to quit on the run. Screw that. Plus: there was no way I was going to let my kid see me fail. Ever. I’d rather be wheeled out on a stretcher then let my daughter see me fold. So I gave her a hug and continued to waddle toward the park.

I took the 6.2 miles very….very….slowly. I walked the uphills and managed to run the downhills. It was miserable. Toward the end, with Cat Hill in sight and the finish a half a mile away, I did pick up a light consistent jog through the finish line.

So what did I learn on the run? Nothing technical to share, really. However, I do have one mental point to mention, and that is: much of the time, your head will tell you to quit before your body does. Those negative thoughts become free-roaming as your blood sugar drops. Your blood sugar drops because you are lacking adequate fuel. This is exactly what happened to me during the run. I had nothing in me. My blood sugar dropped. Then all I could think about was quitting. I just wanted this to be over. Screw finishing what you started. Those thoughts were thicker than I ever dealt with before in any athletic event. Fortunately for me, I was able to rationalize what was going on. Think about what was going on at the time and understand where the negativity was coming from. As a result, I fought off the urge to fold. Looking back on the whole long morning, that was the one victory I could claim. I didn’t perform as well I had hoped during the swim, I was lazy during transitions, and the bike was….say it with me…FUBAR. I couldn’t rally to run, even in front of my kid. But I did chuck one up in the win column by getting to the finish line. And that – quite frankly – allowed me to leave the finishers area with a smile on my face. Why? Because the ability to override your brain’s negativity as the battle rages is a key to becoming an Ironman.

I have 10 months. 10 months to prepare to take the worst pounding of my life. So I’ll take what I’ve learned, look for wisdom from teammates, coaches, and friends, continue to make myself lighter, and work my ass off daily. 10 months to build myself up in preparation for a race whose goal is to break me down.

Great. 10 months straight of dealing with The Tool. Off we go….

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July 15th – What Have We Learned From The NYC Triathlon: The Bike


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So what did I learn from the NYC Triathlon as it pertains to the bike portion of the race? Where do I begin….

1. When you rack your bike early in the morning before the start of the triathlon, make sure the bike is set to a VERY easy gear. That first hill coming out of transition is steep and technical. I watched someone with clip on shoes slow to a half in front of me…and then simply topple over. Not the way to begin a 25 trek.

2. Practice taking your water bottles out of their holders while biking. If you don’t get used to the feeling of leaning down and grabbing water, you can easily make a mistake and crash. Saw that happen within the first 5 miles of the bike portion of the race.

3. PRACTICE ON HILLS. There isn’t a flat piece of road on the bike course…of so it felt. Lol.

4. Learn how to fix a flat. I counted 8 riders pulled to the side of the road fixing tires during the race. Flats happen. Be prepared.

5. Hydrate! I saw riders pulling over and basically quitting 12 miles in to the race because of the heat and their corresponding looks of exhaustion.

6. My chain de-railed at 13-14 miles into the race. Fortunately I remembered my grandfather’s saying about working on engines – or anything else mechanical: ” slow is smooth and smooth is fast. First think, then act”. I stayed calm and got the chain fixed – but it took me 20 minutes. Nothing like riding 12 miles with bike chain grease all over your hands!

7. About 17-18 miles into the bike, I watched as two riders crashed into each other, both taking nasty falls. It happened approximately 500 yards in front of me, on a rather decent downhill. Myself and another rider pulled over to the side to help them out. Handed out some water to clean the wounds, and made a makeshift bandage for one of the riders before saying our goodbyes and carrying on. Accidents happen in triathlons. They aren’t abundant – but they do happen. It’s not how you fall – but how you get up. From what I understand, both men finished. That’s hard core.

8. Sunblock is pretty important on the bike. I felt like the sun, combined with the lack of fuel and water really screwed me up. By the time I got back to transition to change for the final leg of the race – a 10k run – I was physically and mentally wiped out. My gameplan was flushed down the toilet. And worst of all – I was as close as I have ever been to electing NOT to finish an event….

July 14th – What Have We Learned From The NYC Triathlon: The Swim


Well where do I begin.

I guess I need to begin with the fact that I competed in my first ever triathlon on Sunday, July 14th. It was an Olympic distance event, consisting of a 1 mile swim, followed by a 25 mile bike, and finishing with a 6.2 mile run. I learned A LOT on Sunday morning – so much that I’ll spread out my nuggets of anti-wisdom over the course of the next few days. So let’s begin with the pre-race preparation, and then move on to the swim.

The night before the NYC Triathlon, you have to go over a ton of different items. I learned that one of the keys to a successful triathlon is your attention to detail during pre-race preparation. Here’s what I learned:

1. Practice your transition changes as you pack your transition bag (the bag that holds all of the clothes and other items you need for the day, which is left alongside your bike). Throw each item in the bag that you know you’ll need for the bike and run portions of the race as you practice – this way you know that everything you need is contained in the bag. Also make sure you have enough water packed, as well as fuel.

2. Take the guided tour of the transition area the day before the race. That way, you know where you’ll be able to better understand how you’ll get from the swim to your bike, and also how to return to the transition area when your bike is over in order to transition to the run.

3. Check your bike the night before the race. Make sure everything is in prime working order. Get to the transition area early, and give yourself time to lay out your gear and rack your bike. Avoid the feeling of being rushed. Bring a couple of small plastic bags with you to keep vital parts of your bike dry in case of rain. (Learned that one the hard way. You’ll see in a bit).

Even if you prepare as well as you can the night before the race – and even if you trained well and did all of the work you needed to get to the starting line feeling confident, you can never know what the day holds for you. Just accept what it offers and role with it. (and WHOH, do I ever suck at that).

On to the swim portion of the race….

I learned that the most important thing about the swim portion of the triathlon is finding a nice, steady rhythm. One that feels comfortable – almost easy. When I jumped in to the Hudson River, I was not wearing a wetsuit like most other athletes. I had just picked up a new suit, and I didn’t have enough open water swim time in it. So I made the decision to leave my wetsuit in my transition bag and log the mile downstream wearing my tri shorts and top, swim cap and goggles. I didn’t train with the new wetsuit – so I didn’t trust it.

The swim portion of this race is much easier than the average Olympic triathlon, as the athletes swim with a strong current 1600 meters to the exit dock. The race begins at 99th street and the Hudson River, and goes to approximately 79th Street. Without the added buoyancy that a wetsuit provides, I would have a slightly more challenging swim than most other athletes – but it would still be very manageable.

Jumping into the Hudson is an interesting experience. Groups of 15-20 swimmers go off every 30-60 seconds, rapidly filling the New York side of the river with triathletes in the making. The water temperature was 75 degrees – very comfortable for a swimmer without a wetsuit. As I began to make my way down the course, I learned the importance of several things:

1. Every 4-5 strokes look up and make sure you are actually going the right way. The straighter your line to the exit, the quicker you’ll get there. Saw one swimmer run into one of the safety kayaks. Saw another run smack into a parked boat. Saw a third miss the dock and just kept going downstream (his day must have been a mess after that…)

2. If you get kicked / punched / shoved in the water by another athlete – it’s not personal. They didn’t see you and you didn’t see them. Accidents happen. Let it go and keep swimming. There’s no need to look to slug it out with some dude just because he smacked you in the back of the head while swimming alongside you. (Now if someone smacks you in the back of the head during the run – oh it’s ON. That’s another story all together). I watched as two dudes started smacking each other in the water. I am not kidding. It ranked an 8.4 on the Tool Scale. (but I did laugh hysterically, as it happened right in front of me).

3. Never – ever – laugh hysterically while trying to swim a mile in the Hudson. Your buoyancy gets royally screwed.

4. NEVER – EVER – take in any of the water from the Hudson. EVER. The last 200 meters of the swim became a bit congested, and swimmers kicked up a ton of the silt that sits on the bottom of the river. As I got close to the exit dock, I took in several mouthfuls of Chateau Bloomberg (aka The Hudson River water). The result was almost instantaneous nausea that lasted the remainder of the race.

As I exited the Hudson and ran barefoot to my bike transition, I became sick. It was like someone flipped a switched, and my stomach began doing backflips. I tried eating a ClifF bar as I exited transition with my bike…and it stayed in my stomach for all of 3-4 minutes. Not a good sign……

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BY setting some pretty challenging goals for myself, I am trying to generate interest in / donations to The Dream Team Project. This charity’s mission is to raise money for the Make-a-Wish Foundation, helping to grant the wishes of children suffering from life-threatening illnesses. Being s former wish-granter for the New York City Chapter of the Make-a-Wish Foundation, I can tell you first-hand just how much of an impact this organization makes in the lives of children.

If you’d like some information on The Dream Team Project or would like to make a donation to their amazing cause, please stop by the website: http://www.wdwradio.com/the-dream-team-project I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I really believe in what The Dream Team Project stands for. Please consider donating to this worthy cause. Thanks!

…and if you’d like a bit more information on the WDW Radio Running Team, please check out the Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/WDW-Radio-Running-Team/163606410344409

In addition, I am running the 2013 Chicago Marathon in order to raise money to fight cancer. I am running with Team in Training, and if anyone would like any information on this fantastic charity’s work please go to: http://pages.teamintraining.org/nyc/chicago13/jrkolinsky

I am also, once again, running the 2013 ING New York City Marathon in order to raise money to benefit the New York Road Runners Team for Kids (“TFK”). If you’d like to read more about this fantastic charity, please check TFK out at: http://www.runwithtfk.org/Page/About