Well, it’s been a week, and I am sorry for the delay in the Triathlon post race recap… we had some much needed website maintenance last week that had our website down for a short time, and I wanted to make sure we were up and running before I posted an update.
On the personal side, I won’t get too much into the details, it was a fun event, and for my first actual race in over 3 years, I feel like I did well, but my performance definitely suffered. I did complete my first triathlon, and did better than a lot of others. I’ll definitely do another one, although I will likely wait until next summer. There’s a few events I have my eyes on. Check out the Pole Pedal Paddle… not a real triathlon, but still good times.
The one thing personally that I really need to work on is taking time to train correctly. The whole point of this thing was to prove that I could train for a triathlon with a limited amount of time each week. Although it is possible to train in a short time, to train for good performance will take better management of time, and a more intense training schedule.
So I mentioned personal that I would train a little harder, but I would like to share with you the top 5 tips I would change to the training/event prep that I did (in no particular order). Hopefully these will help you in your training. These will be more specific such as:
1. Swim More Open Water. – I spent a lot of time in the pool, and felt very comfortable swimming there. But a lot of the technique and comfort I had went out the window a week before when I hit the cold water, got dizzy, and had to cut the training short. It was only 3 days before the event that I discovered ear plugs and that they would keep me oriented. Also, swimming in 62 degree water is a lot different than 81 degree water. Everyone says to do more open water swimming, and I simply thought swimming was swimming… not true. Get out in the open water!
2. Get A Better Bike. – There is a point where any bike will do, and honestly, the best cyclists in the country could beat me riding the heaviest Walmart special around. But there is something to be said for a bike that functions well. The clunky gear changes, and unpredictable handling of my $200 Walmart special held me back a bit. It was especially disheartening on the first half of the bike ride which was all uphill… having the chain skip on a gear change really loses a lot of momentum. If I were to do it again, I would probably rent a bike, get a new bike, or at the very least, have my bike professionally tuned and fitted before race day.
3. Practice Transitions More! – There were a lot of different ways to transition, both from swim to bike, and bike to run. Efficiency was my focus through the events, but honestly, I hadn’t put a ton of effort into making my transitions that efficient. In my defense, a lot of people used the transition as a rest time between, so they took a lot longer, but knowing how to lay my shoes, or getting out of my wetsuit quicker, or starting my iPod for the bike. I was in and out of T5 in about 1:45 which didn’t seem bad, but I could have been much faster. (T2 was easy because I had worn my running shoes on the bike.)
4. Get Tri Shorts. – Ok, so this is something I did a few days before the race that ended up being life changing. I was planning to swim with a pair of Speedo style swim trunks and then pull some shorts over them later. In my one attempt at this, I chaffed horribly (I won’t get into details). I finally broke down and bought some Pearl Izumi Tri Shorts for a good sum. But on race day, they worked great under my wetsuit, and dried quickly on the bike, and were very comfortable on the run. I am very happy that I did not forgo this small expense, as I would likely still be walking funny if I had.
5. Focus on Fun. – I’m a pretty competitive person, but in no way did I go into this event thinking I would win it, or be in contention. I wanted to push myself, and perform my best, but I knew there were those in the field that were going to easily win, and no amount of 12 week training plans would put me with them. I put a lot of stress on myself to perform, and at many times, that took a lot of the fun out of it. It was about halfway through the swim when I really put my “fun face” on and had a great time. Being in the “My First Triathlon” wave helped with that a lot as well. It was a very fun wave, and the other athletes were more friendly than many of the more “elite” athletes in attendance. It was a lot of fun to trade training stories, and tips with them before the race, and sit and enjoy post race beers and ice cream with them.
Thanks for sharing and enjoying the journey with me. This will not be my last Tri, and I will definitely be doing more events in the next year than I did the past 3. It does take a lot of balance and work to train fro three events. It was motivating and helpful to see the support and advice I received from many of you reading my reports throughout the process.
There’s a special kind of person that enjoys distance and endurance events. It makes finishing a race an accomplishment, and performance a rush that has to be felt to be understood. If you are considering a Triathlon, go for it. The crowd is fun, the swim isn;t as bad as everyone says (wetsuits float) and the feeling of knowing you’ve done something that many people will never attempt is a great one. I met a woman that was 68 who had done here first triathlon at 65. She loved the feeling knowing that many her age were retired to the couch, and even though she had no chance to be the overall champ, she loved pushing herself to the limit (the age group was’t that saturated either.)
What does it take to be that type of special person that has done a triathlon… simply going out and doing it.
Until next time:
Just Keep Running (& Swimming & Biking)