Well another triathlon under my belt. Sunday was the final Triathlon of the '06 season. Interesting how far I've come. In January of this year when I started thinking and reading about Triathlons, I made a goal of competing in the Milkman Sprint Triathlon in June of '07. I figured I needed a good year to get ready for something like that. After reading "Slow Fat Triathlete" by Jayne Williams and "When Big Boys Tri" by Michael Pate. I started flirting with the idea of moving my goal up a year. I created a training plan, and called the first four weeks of the plan my "unofficial" training. I made a deal with myself, if I did okay during this month of unofficial training, then maybe, just maybe I'll start officially training. My first "unofficial" brick session was scheduled for the last day of those 4 weeks. Bike 20 minutes followed by a 15 minute run. It was hard. My heart rate was so high, and I may have run all of a half mile in those 15 minutes, but I did it.
Week 5 became my official week 1 and my goal changed - race and finish the Milkman Sprint Tri in June. Towards the end of May, I started flirting with the idea of doing two triathlons this year - working one in while visiting my sister in Colorado. Anyway here it is now October and I've competed in and finished 5 sprint triathlons.
The Stealth is another reverse tri. 5k run, 30k bike, 400m swim. The official results are not posted, all I have is what I recorded on my watch. I know I beat 4 people. This is also my first race with out my support crew, and though I didn't have any of those guilt feelings I've mentioned before - I did miss them - I really could have used their cheers between the bike and swim.
The run - I worked really hard not to blow up too fast like I did last time. So as the crowd pulled away I started talking to myself. "This is not a race against them but against yourself. The goal is to try and better your own times." I was dead last and had a good gap between me and the next person. I watched my heart rate like a hawk determined to keep my competitiveness under control at least until I got on my bike. Ahead of me was an older athena, a younger athena and a young clydesdale. The clyde started walking and the younger athena passed him, and the older athena started gaining. I passed older athena and walking clyde. Set younger athena in my sights (wait I'm not supposed to be competing here - if you believe that...) It was an out and back run, so somewhere between the 1/4 and the 1/2 waypoint the fast people started zooming by us. It can be disheartening if you let it, the goal is not to let it. I passed young athena just before the turn around and started putting space between me and those three. Then somewhere between the 1/2 and the 3/4 point this older man came out of no where heading toward the turn around. He looked like he was in good shape so first I thought maybe he was the run leg portion of a team and needed to cool off for another 5 k. Later when I saw him on his bike, I was still stunned because he didn't look like a back of the packer, so I'm convinced he started late (really late). Finished the run in about 34:56 (11.2 minute/mile pace) pretty good for me.
The Bike - Got on the bike and started peddling like crazy. I allow myself to be competitive here, especially in these reverse tri's because you don't need much legs during the swim, but you do need lungs and I'm thinking that maybe I'm going a little too hard because I'm pretty spent during the swim - more on that later. So I peddled and peddled and peddled. Good thing they marked the route with little red flags because I was all by myself for almost the first half of the out and back bike route. It was mostly flat with a little wind. Have I mentioned that I peddled? Finally the front packers started whizzing by. Interestingly enough I'm curious how closely the no drafting rules where enforced because there were a lot of tight packs in the groups returning after the turn around. I was feeling real confident at the 7.5 mile mark as I started meeting the middle of the packers on their return. I figured that they were only 3.5 miles ahead of me - I had made up for a lot of slow running. Unfortunately later I realized that the supposedly 18.6 mile course was more like 20 miles, so at that jubilant mile 7.5 the middle was actually 5 miles ahead of me. I was so busy peddling that it took most of the last 10 miles to compute that in my head, so it wasn't a total let down. After the turn around, walking clyde passed my on a downhill and just kept going - and I thought I was peddling hard. Ahead of me was two women that I was determined to pass. First was backwards helmet girl. I swear she had her helmet on backwards. As I was catching up to her, I thought about mentioning it to her. Does she already know? If not will it be devastatingly embarrassing. Would this be courteous or devious on my part if I mentioned it? Just ahead of her was another young woman on what looked like a three speed with a "girl's" frame. I'm sure it was at least a 10 speed as she was fighting to stay ahead of backwards helmet girl on the only two real hills of the route. They were definitely racing during those hills. I passed them both on the last hill and refused to look back. I did venture a casual look back on the turns and backwards helmet girl finally dropped pedal pusher girl, but I had a good lead and was putting some serious space between us. 20 miles at an average of 15 mph... I was so ready to get off the bike, my hands were beyond numb, my feet hurt, my calves were threatening to cramp (calves?). I so love coming into transition area after the majority of competitors are finished with the race. Standing around and packing up their gear. It tends to be bit disheartening. It was here as I was racking my bike stripping my gear off that those around me casually mentioned to me that the water was cold. Oh Goodie!
The swim - Cold is an understatement. It was literally breath taking. In fact I really never got my breath back. The first 50 I could not put my face in the water. I breast-stroked with my head up, I back stroked, side stroked, cussed a bit... At the end of the first 50 I had to dunk to go under the lane line. OMG! I backstroked the next 50. The next 300 I did whatever it took to get finished. I was so cold. My swim basically bit the big one. The biggest factor was the cold, but I think I was pretty spent from the bike anyway. Swim time was 12min (I can probably subtract 5-10 seconds from that because I was a bit disoriented and didn't hit the button on my watch until I was out of the water). Overall pretty lousy swim time and I'm pretty sure backwards helmet girl passed me in the pool too.
Overall the weather was great, hydration was good, run was good, bike was good, swim not so good. Post race headache - yes - 2:00 on the dot. What is up with this? Drop in blood sugar, low salts, drop in hormones, body's cruel revenge?
Next race planned is the Polar Bear Sprint Triathlon in December. This is technically the first race in the '07 season. Goals for off season training, work on swimming and running, build core strength. Hope stronger core will assist in alleviating hand numbness on the bike.