Race weekend for TriRock Asbury Park was a fun adventure for me.  For the purposes of this article, I’m going to focus solely on the race itself.  Since I was in Asbury Park for the entire weekend, and a lot of strange things happened, I’ll detail more things including my Pre-Race in a separate post.


20130825_002435_1More will be written about this in my other article but I ended up doing this race with Raffi, a friend of mine from Seton Hall University.  If you want to read more about how that happened, check out My Adventures of TriRock Race Weekend.  We spent the night before getting our markings done including my leukemia tribute for Brittany, put all our number stickers in place and went to bed (I didn’t necessarily sleep too much because of the huge dance party or something going on outside until 3:00am) to wake up at around 4am.  Instead of driving and paying extra money to park our cars for the race, I consolidated my equipment and managed to get everything organized in a way that we could ride the few blocks down to the race site.

Setting up my transition area came pretty naturally to me from the start.  This time I did it slightly different and left my helmet on the transition mat for speed’s sake.  One negative thing is that apparently the whole bike rack collapsed while I was away.  A bit of my transition area was wet with what I assumed was some of the water I had put in my bucket for T1.  It didn’t look like too much was lost, and I was hoping there was no damage to my bike.

In the last 20 minutes we had before transition closed, I wiggled into my wetsuit and went out to the beach.  There was a pretty good amount of time to do a practice swim and get water inside the wetsuit.  My back cracked a couple times from wearing the wetsuit with the waves hitting me.  It’s like a wearable chiropractor the way the compression keeps your spine straight.  When it was time to start, the announcer pulled someone from the participants to sing the national anthem and he did a fantastic job.

The Swim (500m)

Swim Time: 15:10

Swim Exit

Swim Exit

This race was a beach start – something new for me.  Because it was wetsuit legal, opting t0 wear the wetsuit was also something new for me.  The air was pretty chilly that morning and made the water feel warm, but the wetsuit was still pretty important for comfort, otherwise I would have been freezing coming out of the water.  I went in slowly to prevent rushing my heart rate.  There were some waves here and there going out for the first 100m and we had to then make a right turn around the buoy for the next 300m straightaway.  I got caught behind some slower people who were next to each other and had some difficulty getting around them.  I didn’t really feel tired until about 350m on this swim which was OK.  Because of the wetsuit and salt water, I found it easier to float on my stomach and just watch to wait for them to move so I would be able to get around safely.  The backstroke did come in handy a bit but I didn’t use it as much as my previous races.  The swell in the last 100m was nice but didn’t push me as much as I was hoping.  Bodysurfing isn’t exactly my forte quite yet.  As I cleared the surf I lapped my watch (before the timing mat) and loosened the strap because I couldn’t get my wetsuit off over it and just held onto it with my swim gear until T1.  I was not able to get my wetsuit sleeves off completely before T1 since I found that Body Glide isn’t exactly the best thing to put on the wetsuit itself.  I thought it would help prevent the wetsuit from rubbing when you go to invert the arms.  On top of that, I forgot that it’s easier to just put your goggles in your cap and let it stay in the wetsuit arm for storage.  It was a long run to T1.

What I learned from this: Find a better lubricant for the wetsuit removal, put goggles and noseclip in the swim cap so you can pull the wetsuit arms off and keep them in one of the arms (or at least don’t forget), and if your watch is in the way and you have to hold it, hold it with your teeth as you’re running towards T1 no matter how stupid it looks for the race photographers.

Transition 1

T1 Time: 4:54

A long run is what took most up most of my time for T1.  Once I got into the Transition area I had some trouble getting my other arm out of the wetsuit.  I also had to spend extra time getting as much sand off my feet as possible which took a few extra seconds.  Once I managed to do that I peeled off the bottom and used the trick I learned on youtube to step on it as you’re pulling your legs up to get the legs off.  It worked really well and I threw the wetsuit over the rack, put my helmet and sunglasses on before slipping into the bike shoes.  I also had my LIVESTRONG wristband in there since I didn’t want it getting caught in the wetsuit and further complicating things.  I grabbed my bike off the rack and was on my way to the bike course.  This transition was new to me because of the wetsuit, the problem with my watch being over my wetsuit sleeve, and the challenge of getting the wetsuit off.  I think in the end it was OK, but could have been a little faster.

What I learned from this:  Practice taking the wetsuit off while wet.  Become more aware of what you’re doing and spend less time in a frenzy to organize.  If I held the watch in my mouth and all my swim gear collected in the cap, I would have been able to actually get my arms out before getting to T1.  I don’t want to modify my wetsuit sleeves and screw it up.

The Bike (10 mile)

Bike Time: 30:46

Making an aggressive pass at the start of the bike leg.

Making an aggressive pass at the start of the bike leg.

I started off the bike strong, but in the small chainring, making an immediate aggressive pass of several people right after the first turn that was captured in a series of photos by the photographer in the middle of the road.  For half of the bike course I did my usual fast spin until I decided I was fed up with getting passed by all these other guys in the big chainring.  So I matched my cadence with the next person who passed me on an aero bike on a comparable gear in the big chain ring.  The coolest thing is that I felt good in that combo.  It helped that most of the course, except for a small quarter mile stretch which had a very small grade that was just enough to slow you down a bit, was very flat.  I spent the rest of the bike portion grinding the big gears til the dismount.  I probably should have coasted a bit more near the end of the bike to give my legs a bit of a rest for the run.  Although I was grinding bigger gears I finished the bike a bit slower than I had hoped, but it wasn’t too bad.  I feel like I’m ready to graduate to an aero setup so I can improve my time a bit.

One thing I’d like to point out that disappointed me was that a lot of people were riding on the left side of the road, which is against USAT rules.  I don’t know if there were any officials on the bike course like there were at NJ State Tri, but there were a few handfuls of people who did not follow the ride-on-the-right rule.  At first I wasn’t sure if I should pass them on the right, but many were just hanging there and I was not going to let that slow down my race.

What I learned from this: Don’t be afraid of the big gears.  They’ll help you go faster.

Transition 2

T2 Time: 1:32

Transition 2 wasn’t too bad.  I tried to reduce the time I spent in there.  Since I didn’t have my yellow running bottle (the cap is missing!) I just took a couple extra swigs of HEED from my bike bottle, threw off the helmet, switched shoes, put on my hat and race belt and headed off for the run.  My time was faster than NJ State Tri but slower than Doc & Sok.

What I learned from this: Nothing went wrong.  Could just be a little faster though.  Probably could have foregone the extra drink.

The Run (5K/3.1mi)

Run Time: 26:18 * PR

735901-1013-0032sThe run, although I think it should be the easiest, is always the most agonizing to start out.  We started out going away from the boardwalk.  There was a turnaround that then sent you towards the Asbury Park boardwalk where the halfway point and remainder of the run was.  My calves and hamstrings did not want to cooperate for the first half mile.  As they started to calm down, I experienced abdominal cramps.  I have no idea what could have triggered them.  Maybe I’m drinking too much before the run?  I figure you’re supposed to go through 1 bottle every hour, and since the ride was 30 minutes and change, that I would have been right on target having only had half the bottle.  That aside, I alternated between a fast jog and walking for the first quarter of the run.  After the halfway turnaround, this one guy who I was pretty much with the whole time said to me, “Come on man, you’ve been pacing me for half the run already, you can do this.”  After a couple minutes I said to myself out loud, “I guess it’s time to turn on the afterburners,” and picked up my pace a bit.  After the second music\aid station my stomach felt a bit uncomfortable since I had a little to drink both times and was getting full.  For the last aid station I just threw water on me.  I don’t know why I decided to do that, It was just over 80 degrees and I didn’t feel very hot at all.  Perhaps I just got caught up in the moment.  


Putting in a hard effort approaching the finish line.

Anyways, in the last 100 or so yards of the run when I realized I was actually staring at the finish line, since it was basically a straightaway for the remainder of the run, I attempted to sprint as fast as I could.  It felt very awkward, like my legs weren’t moving like they normally would.  That was probably just the fatigue affecting my body mechanics.  You can see how hard I was going by look on my face and the air I was catching in the red carpet photos nearing the finish line, one of which is on the right.  This run time is a new 5K personal record.

What I learned from this: Cramps are going to happen.  Just run through them if you can and they will eventually subside (or adrenaline will make you feel like they have, even if they haven’t).

Post-Race and Other Thoughts

finishmedalI hung around waiting for Raffi to finish but missed him cross the line.  We chatted with the announcer, then ate some food (it was mostly breakfast foods like bagels and muffins – nothing too special) and listened to the DJ.  REI had this cool Triathlete magazine photo shoot thing and we took some photos invidually and one together then rode our bikes back to the hotel.  One thing I was hoping for when I registered is that the TriRock website mentioned admission to the “Post Race Headliner Concert” of which there was none.  There was an event at The Stone Pony Summer Stage that night but nothing was said to us in any information packets or pre-race meetings about any concert or even the free beach admission.  I ended up purchasing a beach pass before I found out that participating triathletes got free access to the beach.  Overall it was a good race.  I think it was a little too expensive and that being in Asbury Park, with a race called TriRock, that there was no reason they couldn’t get someone like Glen Burtnik or some other local musicians (and there are many!) to perform something.  Either way I enjoyed myself for the weekend and next year I’ll make sure to register earlier so it doesn’t cost so much.  One very nice thing about this race was the amount of photographers on the course and around the finish after the race.  There must have been at least a dozen photographers, which meant a lot of good photos.

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Individual Results
Name: Paul Lasko Division: Male 20 to 24 City, State:  
Bib: 238 Division Place: 11 Total Division: 21
Age: 24 Gender: M Gender Place: 123
Sprint Distance Place: 297 Chip Time: 1:18:43 Pace:  
Swim Rank: 199 Swim Time: 15:10 Swim Pace: 3:02/M
T1 Rank: 255 T1 Time: 4:54 T1 Pace:  
Bike Rank: 118 Bike Time: 30:46:00 Bike Pace: 19.5mph
T2 Rank: 259 T2 Time: 1:32 T2 Pace:  
Run Rank: 178 Run Time: 26:18:00 Run Pace: 8:29/M

In Memory Of
Brittany Conwell

Photo: Tributes.com

Photo: Tributes.com