In short: I got the
race I trained and prepared for.
The long version: it
begins with context. I registered for a
race called Leadman last December. The
race has a long swim (5K, 3.1 miles), a long bike (223K, 139 miles), and a
short run (22K, 14 miles), and it’s on September 20th in Bend,
OR. While I’ve getting a good amount of
strong cycling in this summer, I haven’t been able to get really focused on the
other disciplines of triathlon:
swimming, running, diet, and transition.
So, a few weeks ago I decided to sign up for IM Lake Stevens 70.3 to get
some race experience under my belt and transition from cyclist to triathlete.
The race was a great reminder of things not to do and a
wake-up for things I need to do in the next few weeks to prep for Leadman. Some learnings / reminders:
- Practice with your gear before the race: I had ridden my tri bike exactly one time
this summer, for a 7 mile round trip commute last week. I set up my hydration system the day before
the race and put the bento box on the bike in transition. I found I couldn’t get suction on the straw
of the hydration system and it wasn’t until after I futzed with it for many
miles on the bike that I finally accidentally ripped off the rubber bite valve
and it started working (I’d been mentally trying to figure out how I’d drink if
it never started working). The bento
kept bouncing around until I finally decided to stop on the side of the road to
secure it (watching many people I’d just passed ride by).
- Practice transitions: any experienced triathletes would have
been appalled watching me in transition.
Just stupid things, like forgetting my number when I headed out on the
run and taking too much time trying to put my hat on. This was really just a matter of not spending
some time mentally rehearsing the day before.
- Practice taking on water on the bike: I almost crashed a few times in years past
trying to grab fluids on the bike, so Sunday I stopped completely to get
water. Wouldn’t have slowed me down too
much, but I’d forgotten how to fill my quick-fill bottle and spent too much
time filling up.
Practice peeing on the bike: nope; not planning on being “pro” on this one
any time soon.
- Be realistic about your goals: I claimed not to have any time goals for the
race, and found myself disappointed by my swim and pushing to meet an arbitrary
time on the bike.
- Recognize what support system you have and what
you need. Late spring / early summer, I
lost two big training supports. The pool
where I’d been swimming closed, and with it went my training partners and
masters workout. I have had a hard time
getting motivated to get in the water
since then and haven’t been able to push myself on pace or distance the
same way. I have a friend I was running
with every week who had to stop running due to injury in May. Without that motivation to get up early and
run, I’ve been pushing things later and compromising distance and core work
that I used to do regularly.
All this said, my race turned out pretty well. My swim was slow, but I finished the bike in
under 3 hours and the run under 2 with a total time only 5 minutes off of my
best time on the same course 2 years ago.
I really enjoyed spending time with Elly over the weekend and it was
great having Allison, Chuck, Dawn, and Jeff there to support us. I also saw many other tri-friends on the
course and the sidelines, which made for a very fun day.