Lawn clippings and practice triathlons

I’ve decided to swear off doing yard work ever again.  I did two hours of yard work (got a new weed eater!!  WOOT!) and carried some rocks around to make another planting bed.  My arms are so sore and weak this morning that I can barely lift my coffee cup.  Yup…  No more of that crap…  Brutal.

Oh, by the way, I also completed my final big workout prior to the triathlon.  I did a practice triathlon on my own with a 600 yard swim, 22 mile bike ride and a 4.5 mile run!  This may sound strange, but it didn’t hurt as much as the yard work…

The hardest part of doingsomething like a practice triathlon is there is NO support.  Since it is too cool still to do an open water swim, setting up any kind of transition area is just impractical.  The best you can hope for is that you get a parking place close to the front door so you can get to the car easier after the swim.  This is NOT where you practice your transitions…!

Swim:

The only “split” I took was the swim.  I swam 600 yards in 10:20.  This confirms that I will swim somewhere around 9 minutes for the 450 in the race so that’s where I will stage myself.  I just tried to settle into a rhythm and breathe every third stroke until I got tired.  Then I switched to every two.  I know that is not the most efficient but it’s the best I can do at this point.  I hopped out of the pool feeling good, if a little dizzy, and put on my shoes to trot/walk fast through the lobby and out to the car.  This is NOT the kind of parking lot one walks through barefoot.

Bike:

My “transition” involved pulling my bike out of the back seat of the truck,  putting the front tire back on (making VERY sure to put the brake cable back on!), clumsily stuffing my melon in my lid.  Lesson: check your helmet to make sure it fits as a part of your transition setup ritual.  The head lock on mine had slipped tighter and the helmet no longer fit.  It took me a second to figure out how to adjust it.  I guess it just got bumped in the bag and that’s what moved it.  Anyway, got my shoes on (no socks), locked the truck and took off.

I debated my route all the way up until I was on the bike, but then decided to take a straight shot from the gym to the bike course for the race and ride it.  Round trip was 7 miles to/from the gym and then 15 miles for the course.  The biggest issue I had was the wind.  It slapped me around quite a bit, especially when I was in my aero bars.  Other than that I was comfortable on the bike but still feel very slow.  I know that this will improve when I have time to ride more, but unfortunately I am out of time for this race, so I will just have to take what I can get.  I’m hoping that by the time Club Nationals gets here, biking will be the biggest area of improvement for me.  I’m really going to work hard on it this summer.

As for the rest of the ride, it was pretty uneventful.  Almost hit a woodchuck, but other than that, not much to report.  I debated practicing getting out of my shoes on the bike since I was going into an active parking lot, but finally decided to do it because I need the practice.  I am going to run from the transition to the mount line in my shoes, but when I get back in I am going to step out of my shoes (leaving them clipped in) and run barefoot back to my rack.  I will rack as close to the “bike out” as I can so I don’t have to run barefoot very far.  I just really hate running in bike shoes.  Especially when I’m tired.

I got off the bike, stuffed it back in the truck, almost left my sunglasses sitting on the bed ($130 Oakleys… not good), put on a dry shirt (I will probably have to do this in the race also), stomped into my shoes (still no socks) and headed out for the run.

Run

I had no intention of running 4.5 miles.  The plan called for two miles and I had strategically plotted out a route that was 2.2 miles.  The problem was that this particular route, or at least the part of it that the turn was on, is VERY familiar to me.  I must have mentally checked out when I got onto this part of the run route because I blew right past my turn and didn’t even realize it until I was too far gone to turn around.  Luckily, if I have a strength, it is running so I just laughed it off and kept on going.  The only bad part was it added one big hill at about mile 4 that my legs weren’t happy with.

Since we have been training bike/run quite a bit, and I have tried to get runs in after all of my bike rides as well, I am used to the jelly leg feeling you get trying to run right off the bike.  This time it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, but I could tell I was tired.  This was also the longest bike/run combo I have ever done (22 miles/4.5 miles) so I was expecting to be tired.  I just ran as hard as I could for as long as I could and then cruised home.  I’m sure my splits were in the 8-8:30 range.  Not race pace, but that’s ok.  This was about putting it all together and surviving it more than race training.  This was the first time I have ever done all three legs at once.

Thoughts

I think this was actually harder than the real race.  Not because it was longer, but because it was unsupported.  Unless you are lucky enough to be able to stow your bike at the gym or you have a friend to act as support, you spend most of your time obsessing over things like “Did I lock the car?” or where to put your keys.  It was a challenge but unless I can figure out a way to make it easier for transitions, I’m not sure I will do another one on my own.  Maybe if the group does one I will join in, but not on my own.

I really need to make a checklist of “gotchas” for the race.  Things like front wheels, shoes, brake cables, helmets, etc.  Anything that could go wrong needs to be checked and re-checked.

I also need to visualize my transitions a bit more and get my brain thinking about them BEFORE I get there.  Things like stepping out of my shoes and taking off my goggles/helmet, etc.  are not second nature yet and I need to force myself to THINK the transition through before I get there.  I think it will make the transition smoother, if not faster.

I think I compete better on an emptier stomach and drinking sports drinks than I do with recent food and water.  I don’t do well with food right before a race.  This means I need to be up early and eating on race days to give my stomach time to process.  Otherwise I get hearburn/nausea.

I feel like I’m ready for this.  Even though this is not a long race like a marathon, it still requires almost as much preparation and training.  No, I didn’t run any 25 mile training runs, but I was still on the road and under my own power for 2 hours.  That’s a substantial workout, by any training standard.  In fact, my first half marathon was in just under 2 hours.  I think because I am training less on a single discipline it doesn’t feel like I am training as hard or as long.  But I’m glad to have done this workout to show me that putting it all together equals an endurance event.  I was missing that, somehow.

I’m looking forward to the race now.  It will be fun.  I don’t have any goals other than to push as hard as I can and see what happens.  There are no “PR’s” here for me since this is my first triathlon.  This is my benchmark by which all other races will be measured.  Especially the bike and run portions.  Admittedly (and decadently) I am also looking forward to a light week of training.  I need an easy week.  I’m tired.

Now if I can just stay out of the yard…

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One Response to Lawn clippings and practice triathlons

  1. talipio says:

    Wow, great job. I note that you are writing a lot of things related with Triathlon and will keep watching you 😉

    Nice Training,

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