Well, I'm sort of sad that the summer is coming to an end. I love the fall but am already missing the tri season. I realize there are still some races but in this part of the world (WI and MN) the pickin's are getting slim and the water is getting cooler! Yeah, I know Ironman
Wisconsin is around the corner but that will be a few years off for me......but it will happen.
I decided in May that I'd enter headlong into this sport and jumped in feet first (or credit card first). I scheduled two sprint races for the end of the summer to give myself plenty of time to beat myself up...er...uh...I mean train for these races. It has been a great journey.
My first race was a few weeks ago. Sort of a "Swim baptism by fire". I wrote a race report several weeks ago for that event. I had a blast. Had fair bike and run but got wasted in the swim. Despite spending a ton of time in the pool working on endurance and technique and even taking a few lake swims, I freaked. My first tri swim was a personal disaster.
I was cool for about 100 yards then it got ugly.
Spent most of the time on my back getting hit by waves. Swallowed a ton of lake that day.
Did the 750m swim in just under 30 minutes. Ugh. Ok, it gave me something to work on.
I can do the distance, no prob, I just started hyperventilating. Game over.
This past weekend I had my second race. My goal was to SWIM the entire swim course.
No matter how slow I went, I was going to do it with purpose. Not on my back. No treading water. Strokes and sighting and breaths.
Started in a big wave. Stayed near the back. Gun went off, I hit the start button on my watch and waded in behind the mob. Oh, there is an opening....and I was off. Hey, I'm swimming! Got bumped and did some bumping. Sighting, breathing, stroking. Passing some people. Feeling good. Working on balance and minimal kicking. Feeling good. Made the turn. Swim exit right in the sun. Pick some trees on the horizon and try not to get sun blind. Passing a few more folks from the previous wave. Hands hit sand, feet hit sand, up and running (more like drunken jogging to be techinical). Goggles off, cap off, finding my feet. Try to smile. Hey, there's my mom and girlfriend. They look surprised. Glance at my watch. The 1/3 mile swim took me just under 10 minutes. Cool. Not super fast but I'm still in the race. (to be honest, it didn't seem like a full 1/3 mile....oh well) That time is a Major improvement over the flailing from a few weeks ago. The day is already a victory.
Find bike. Get sand off feet. Scarf a GU. Mind still foggy. Water in eyes. On comes race belt, shades, helmet and shoes. Run for the bike start. Click..click...click....click....It's a good thing extra cleats are cheap. Cross over the mat, hear chip beep. On bike, headed out. Feeling good. Pass a few folks right away. They are going pretty slow. Maybe swam too hard? Ok. Find a gear and focus on spinning. Passing a few more folks. Short bike course. Ten miles in total. Out and back. Cool windy course. I used to trout fish near this
road. I didn't think then that I'm be trying to stay about 24mph on a bike while going over these bridges. Last mile out is all up hill. Gear down and focus on cadence. Come up off the aerobars and onto the hoods. Some folks are walking, some folks have flats. The riders that have made the turn are screaming by in the other lane on their way down. Hard to describe the noise made by a tucked rider speeding by at 50 mph. Not much time for any doppler effect. Stand on pedals to get around some folks. Get passed by a few older folks that stared behind me. Up the final hill. Sharp turn around. Lots of folks bottled up. Try to stay balanced. Almost come to a complete stop, decide to keep feet clipped in. Ok, the turn and down. Shift, shift, shift. Tuck. Pedal. Enjoy the sensation of the wind in my face.
Feel the lake water as its blown out of my tri-suit. One SCARY corner. Take it slow. Inside pedal up, off the brakes and glide through. Back onto the aerobars and hammering. Back into town. This is all going by too fast. I don't really want this to end. Stand and hammer up the final rise and stay tucked as much as possible. Get feet out of shoes and on top of them. (been working on this for a few weeks. feels smooth) Tuck for last 1/4 mile with feet out of shoes. Brake for transition, feet hit the ground, cross the mat and hear the chip beep. Running through transition with bike. Have that strange leg feeling that everyone gets when first off the bike. I find I run almost too fast and on my tiptoes. I'm actually glad I'm holding on to my bike becuase I have to hit the bike brakes to slow my running down. Ok, bike on rack. Helmet off. Running cap on. Quick drink of cytomax. On come the shoes. I really truly love my YANKZ. They are awesome. Head for run exit.
I'm running too fast but can't help it. My quads are running the show. Over the mat. Smile at my cheering section. The run starts. Only 4 miles. ONLY???
After about 200 yard, my quads relinquish control to the other muscle groups. I'm still running too fast and breathing too hard (sort of like the start of every run that I have...whether in training or in a race...par for the course I guess). Got to slow down.
The velcro on the timing chip strap is starting to poke and rub. I'll just ignore that and worry about the blister for the next week or so. Slow way down. Ugh. Feel a cramp coming on under my ribs. Try to focus on keeping cadence up and getting breathing steady.
Get passed by a woman that is just flying. Run with a group of three for a the first half mile or so. Starting to loosen up. Ok. Down a short hill. Use gravity to burn my current running partners. Get passed by a few more folks. They look so damn fresh! Ok, there goes the race leader in the other direction. He's got competition hot on his heels. Trying to push it a bit now that I'm hit a comfort zone (or a discomfort zone that I can live with). There is the turn around. Grab some water. Try to drink. I can't get the hang of drinking on the run. Lots of bubbling and gasping and spitting. Two mile left. Course is full now in both directions. Start to look for folks to pass. Focus on staying just under anaerobic threshold.
Velcro is becoming my achilles heel (hehe....get it? achilles...ok, nevermind). Pass the gal who flew by me two miles ago. hehe. I guess that makes me the tortoise. One mile left. Kick it a bit. Have been sort of dueling with a few folks for the last two miles. Try to lose them. Seems to work....OH, no...maybe not. There they go. Can I stay with 'em? I'll try. Come on legs, don't fail me now. I can hear the announcer. He'll butcher my last name but I don't care. Pick up the pace and go as fast as I can. People shouting and smiling. I don't want this to be over. Yes I do. No I don't. Yes I do. Up the finish shoot and DONE. What a great feeling. Look at watch... One hour seventeen minutes. I wanted to break an hour and a half. Feeling good. Feeling happy. Off comes the velcro. Is that my blood? Yup.
If you ever run out of sandpaper, velcro and sand make an acceptable substitute. I know.
Hey, there are my people. I love them. I'll have one of those cold waters please. Thanks.
Guess what? The post race chow is roasted pork (roasted on site, by the way). Let's see
swim, bike, run and then eat pork? I'm not hungry right now but give me 45 seconds and I'm sure that will change. Great race! I want more.
I hope everyone had a great season and if you have races still coming up, kick some butt!
This site really is one of my training tools.
Half marathon in a week!