Monday, August 18, 2014

I Survived My First Sprint Triathlon Race Report

Last week I completed my first triathlon.  I had nightmares two nights that week, really weird ones that dealt with swimming.  And what happened while I was swimming could possibly be considered a nightmare, but also a comedy.

I arrived to the site nice and early, got body marked and set up my transition area.  I had 3 friends doing the race as well, so it was nice to hang out with them beforehand.  The race started at 7, but you had to be out of transition at 6:45.  Since my insulin pump cannot get wet, I had to leave it in transition.  This caused me great anxiety the week before as well, but my doctor told me I should be fine.  So I left it there and went to get lined up for the swim.

The swim was self-seeded, and my friends chose to start in the middle.  I told them I was going to the back.  They sent 6 people into the water every 15 seconds.  However, it took a long time to get to the back.  I didn't enter the water until 7:38, when the leaders were already on the run.

I get in the water and start to swim, and I'm feeling pretty good.  But, as I swim out to a buoy, I notice that my timing chip around my ankle feels like it is coming loose.  I thought it was strange, because I put it on at 5:30 AM and it was fine.  So I continue out, mentally focusing on my timing chip.  The thoughts "I am not doing this race and not getting timed" went through my head about 5,000 times.

When I finally got to the buoy, it was crowded.  I had to turn and start swimming back to get around the second buoy.  Luckily, a life guard was in the water so I may have stopped for a moment or two to catch my breath.

I finally continued on and sure enough I feel my timing chip come off my leg.   I stopped swimming, turned around and breathed a sigh of relief to see that it had floated to the top of the water.  I grabbed it and had to hold onto it for the rest of the swim.  It may be more accurate to say I had a death grip on it.

By this time, I was tired in the water, so I decided to backstroke.  I was making my way toward the second buoy, but ran into a cement tower that a life guard was standing on and hit my head.  I wasn't even half way through the swim yet and wanted so badly to get out of the water.

Luckily, the rest of the swim was uneventful.  I managed to survive and did some major doggie paddling the second part.

I got to transition, put on my bike shoes and helmet and went out to ride the 12.4 miles.  I didn't track my time for it, and went by feel.  I wanted to give a good effort, but leave some for the run.  The bike course was flat, but had 4 turns where you had to stop in order to make the turn, which was annoying.  But overall, it was great and went by quickly.

The run was where I thought I was going to do the best, and that happened.  We ran through a park and then out to the streets for an out and back course.  I wanted to time my run, telling myself that if I ran anything over 24 minutes it would be a disappointment.  My first mile was a 7:10, and I felt great.  I passed so many people, and even saw 2 of my friends on the run (they were coming back when I was going out).  My second mile was a little slower and then my last mile was faster.  I ran 22:46 (7:21 pace), and was pretty happy with it.

In the results it was very easy to see my strengths and weaknesses:

Swim (400 m) -- 14:08 (71/75 in AG)
T1 - 4:18 (46/75 in AG)
Bike - 38:02/ 19.6 mph (11/75 in AG)
T2 - 2:29 (57/75 in AG)
Run (5k) - 22:46 / 7:21 mile average (3/75 in AG)
Overall 17/75 in AG

What did I learn?  Lots.  It is ok to be slow at something.  Success doesn't mean coming in 1st place, but trying your hardest.  I don't think my results are all that stellar by any means, but I worked so hard to earn them.  I jokingly told my friends that if I came out of the water alive I would consider this race a success.  I completed it to the best of my ability, and am proud of how I did in my first triathlon.  

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Triathlon Talk: I'm Afraid of the Swim

I'm doing my first ever triathlon on Sunday and I'm beyond nervous mainly about the swim, but I have another issue as well.

The swim is its own beast for me.  Growing up, I took swim lessons until I passed the beginner level.  I don't know if they ever taught us how to swim different strokes, but if they did I clearly do not remember.  And teaching yourself swimming strokes as an adult is hard work!  Or, perhaps I am just a really, really slow learner.

I know I won't drown because I can float on my back, but my swimming form can easily be compared to that of a toddler, except I don't wear arm floaties.  There are many times I wish I did, though.  My goal for the race is to survive the swim.  The biking and running part of the race should be fairly easy for me.

In addition to worrying about the swim, I also have this fear that I will be last out of the water and in the race.  I have to remind myself that I am trying something totally new, something I have never done before and I should't expect to place high in my age group.  But, my mind has been trained to think otherwise.  When I first started running, the very first race I ever ran I won.  I'm not super fast or anything, but I usually do fairly well in races.  I am pretty confident I will be able to pass a lot of people on the run, and maybe a few on the bike, but I am deathly afraid of being the last one in the reservoir.

It also probably doesn't help that I am going into the race without taper at all.  So far this week I've ran 27 miles, which averages out to 9 a day.  Fresh legs....what does that feel like?

Let's hope I survive so I can tell you the story of my first triathlon.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

July in Review

Summer is going way too fast. I think I blinked and July, one of my favorite months of the year, was over.  Here's what I did in July:

Miles Run: 183
Miles Biked: 248
Elliptical Miles: 31
Stair Master Miles: 13
Weights: 7 days


I competed in my first triathlon with friends.  I was our biker for a half Ironman race, which motivated me to want to get into triathlons.

I went to southern Iowa to visit my grandma for a few days.  I love spending time with her.

I started doing planks, although I don't think I would consider this a highlight.  They are hard!

Books Read

I read the entire Selection series -- The Selection, The Elite and The One.

I also read Divergent.

Current Excitement: I signed up for my first triathlon.  It is a sprint (400 swim, 11 bike and 5k run) on Sunday.  I'm not concerned about the bike or run, but I am not a good swimmer.  

Current Stress: Swimming/triathloning.  I am quite nervous about the swimming part of the triathlon, not only because I suck at swimming, but because I need to be disconnected from my pump.  I am afraid that with I will be incredibly nervous and it will send my blood sugar very high during the swim.  

Current A1C: 5.1.  I went to the doctor this week and found out.  For the past few times he hasn't told me what my A1C was, so I was a little surprised this time. 

Current Song: Classic by MKTO

Current Drink: Ice water.  

Current Food: Mixed fruit.  It is convenient and delicious.  

Current Wish: That there were more hours in the day.  So much to do, so little time.

Currently Thinking: About my track workout I'm doing by myself today.  Last week I did 16 x 400, which was great (I love 400s), this week I'm going to do a ladder.  

How was your July?