Sunday, June 26, 2011

Days 12-14: Triathlon Success!

Finally the weekend of the Philadelphia Triathlon was upon me, I thought I was ready but there was still a lot of anxiety.   I've never swam in a wetsuit, will it be difficult?  Did I remember everything?  Did I train enough? Is 2 hours a realistic goal?   Ahhhhhh!!!!


In previous triathlons (I've done 2 before) I always just jumped in the water and tried to start swimming...MISTAKKKKEEEE!   So using that knowledge, I decided to bike the run course (about 3.5 miles) so I can get the blood flowing and my heart rate up.  Then they allowed some practice swimming so I took advantage of that by swimming about 100 yards.  This was my first swim in a wetsuit and it was glorious.  After getting out of the water, I was ready.  There was little nervousness..just a  little uneasiness because of the results of my last triathlon (dead last place in my age group and second to last in males overall).   Let's do this.

Race (pictures coming soon)

I always wonder what other people are thinking as they are going through a race.  In my mind I am all over the place, I will go from crossfit to work to phillies to hoping not to die.  During the swim portion of the race all I could think was "don't quit".  I was doing ok in the swim but the whole not breathing thing just gets to me. (I should note here that the warm up, paid off.  The 0 to 60 was not nearly as much of a shock as it has been in races past)  To be honest, I almost quit twice just because I couldn't remember why I was doing this to myself.  Then I remembered I'm doing it to prove to myself that I'm not getting too old, that I can still push myself to limits that were previously unknown to my body.  I kept chugging along.

Leaving the swim, Karen saw me and cheered fanatically and was with my friend Will who had shown up while I was waiting to start.  Hearing friends and loved ones cheer you on really gives you some extra strength and can be the difference in your time.  So I ran to my bike, threw on my bike shoes, and hopped on.  I averaged 17mph through the bike portion which is a PR for me (far superior to the 14.3 mph at my previous tri).  I learned that I need to attack hills more, rather than just trying to get up them.

Finally, after 55 minutes of biking, I get back to the transition area where I need to get out of my bike shoes and into my running shoes. My legs feel like jello.  My back is hurting from the bike.  I am in pain.  But I know I am less than a half hour from being done with this gruesome test of fitness.  With the exception of stopping for water (about 10 yards) I never stopped running...if you can call a 9 minute mile pace running.  I hear the finish line and I start sprinting, holding back vomit and tears as I cross the finish line.

Post Race

Did I achieve my goal?  Where is Karen?  This was definitely need my wife kind of moment, where I just wanted a hug (I don't care how fruity that sounds).  When I found her and got out of the finish chute I just collapsed, I needed to sit, my legs just didn't want to function, body was physically and mentally exhausted.  After a few minutes on the ground and a bottle of water I feel up to walking and finding some food to get my body needed nutrients.  I have an apple, banana, and some muscle milk for the protein and start to wonder about my time.

Wandering around the ground we finally find the posted times.  I am nervous as I try to get through a number of competitors and look at a sheet of paper with almost 1000 names on it.


The swim that I thought almost killed me was just the opposite..I killed it!  Sub-20 (19:54) minutes on the swim!   The bike I knew I did in about 55 minutes and the run was not great at 28:05.  For a final time of 1 hour 48 minutes and 31 seconds.  Beat my goal by more than 10 minutes!

Even with this completed goal I know I can do better.  Maybe that is the sign of my competitiveness...I will never be completely satisfied with my results.  I'm happy that I beat my goal, but I can go through the race in my head and  identify places where I know I can take another 10 minutes off by next year.  9 minute mile is not great, and my transition times are pretty weak too, throw on that my lack of attacking of the hills and I know I can do a sub 1:40 time.  I found that I am in the bottom half in both the bike and run...that's not very good and MUST be corrected.

In the end, it's always going to be me versus myself....but it's not always a bad thing to think it's me versus the world.

Points for the weekend:

Friday:  15 points
Saturday : -5 (I celebrated with a  few beers)
Sunday:  -10 (no beer, but I kinda splurged at the Phillies game)

Week 2: 80 Points
Week 1: 115 points
Total: 195 points

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