Monday, August 22, 2005

Trail Note: The Beaver Lake Triathlon

I really like triathlons. I've been doing about 1 a year the past few years, usually at the end of the summer, and each time I wonder why I don't do more and swear that next summer with be the "summer of the tri."

This year I've been doing a lot of running, a little cycling (commuting 6 miles twice a week to school, which includes a steep climb home), and no swimming. The BLT is a race perfectly designed for my current training, as the swim is only 1/4 mile in a tiny pond, the bike is a hilly 14 miles and the run is 4.3 miles (also hilly).

The swim on Saturday was rough. I didn't feel bad or tired, I just saw the sea of yellow caps (my fellow second-wavers) moving ahead of me, and I knew that I was far back in the pack leaving the water. I felt a little dizzy in the transition area as I slowly put my shoes on (caused, I'm sure, by water in my ears), so knew that I'd have a slow first transition time. Once I clipped into my bike, however, I felt good. I cranked past a few people and started rolling up and down the "gently rolling hills." A few men passed me, but only one woman (whom I later passed at the beginning of the mile 8 climb). I forget how competitive I can get at these things. Rolling hills are my favorite terrain, because while the climbs are tough, they mean that downhills are coming. And the course was really pretty, passing through evergreen trees and farmland.

The best that can be said for the running leg of a triathlon is that it wasn't too bad, and this one wasn't. I didn't have the jelly legs as I started like I've had in the past; I felt pretty strong. I felt really tired, too, however, and I never really felt like I had anything in me to accelerate my pace. I timed my miles (the only part of the race I thought to time), and I was running just under 7 1/2 min miles, which seemed pretty fast, so I felt good about that.

Jeff and I have started keeping a spreadsheet of past race results, and this race was my fastest to date at every event. Unbelievably, even my swim was at a faster pace than previous tri's. My average cycling speed was 18.6 mph and my run was the 7:29 pace that I'd clocked on my watch. Apparently, everyone else is getting faster, too. I finished in the top 21% of my wave as opposed to top 11% in the same race 2 years ago. Sneaky yellow caps.

I think that next year really will be the summer of the tri. Half Ironman, perhaps?


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