Thursday, September 12, 2013

Trying a Tri

I'm 2 days out from RACE DAY.

I'm just trying to accept that there is nothing else I can do to prepare for my first triathlon.

My good friend PJ started riding a few years ago and got into triathlons. He's gone from sprint distance, local races, to multiple races in one weekend, including a 1/2 Ironman. He's hardcore and totally inspiring.

He finally talked me into a local race, a sprint distance in my home town.

When I started looking into the race, I did what every slow poke does, I looked at last year's results to see if I would finish last this year. With my expected times for the swim, bike, run, and transitions, I would finish DEAD LAST. By like 20 minutes. It took several conversations with friends and family to convince me to sign up even though I knew I will most likely come in last. It was a had pill to swallow, but I decided the experience of the race was more important than where I placed.

I put off signing up for several weeks after I started telling people I would do it. I was still scared, hoping I'd get an easy way out, the race filled up, the town was swallowed by a sink hole, I broke my leg. Anything to get me out of it. One of the final nails in the coffin was that I really wanted to include a triathlon in my 30 While 30 list and thought I might as well get it out of the way two weeks after my birthday. 

There have been a lot of factors since signing up that have encouraged me that everyone won't be waiting for me to finish before they can pack up and leave. I think my bike time will be about 10-15 mins faster than anticipated, my run time will be 3-5 mins faster and the transitions will be a couple of minutes faster. Pair this with the fact the swim is in a pool and will be starting one person at a time, I will probably be done with the swim and on my bike before the last swimmer has even jumped in the pool, giving me a 15 minute head start on at least that person.

I've done several longer distance running events that had me following a 12 week training schedule. So when I debated signing up for the triathlon, I made my nice little Excel training schedule, full of swims, rides, runs, and brick (swim/ride, ride/run) workouts.

That was the last time I saw that Excel sheet. Whoops.

SWIM - 400M - I'm pretty confident in my swimming, I swam on a year round team growing up and in high school and continued to swim for workouts in college. I was never fast, but I could keep up in practice and was more of an endurance swimmer. I'm not too worried about the 400M swim.

I've swam exactly 3 times since signing up for the race.

BIKE - 15Miles - This is the leg of the race that makes me the most nervous. I've been going to spin class 3-4 times a week for the past two months. I recently switched from flat pedals to clipless pedals on my bike. This means I'm wearing the velcro shoes that clip into your pedals and I'm stuck in there. I completely fell over the first time trying to clip in, right in my driveway, so embarrassing.The biggest concern is coming to a complete stop, luckily there will be police stopping traffic at all of the road crossings, so hopefully I won't have to stop.

I've done a couple rides outside with the pedals, my biggest concern is that the race is on a bike trail and that at some point, all the fast people are going to have already made it to the turn around point and will approach me in a pack. I'm terrified of being run right off the trail and being clipped in.

Fingers crossed I don't wipe out.


RUN - 5k - I did a 10 mile race in April. I have run twice since then, once was last week when I went outside to run a 5k to remember how far that distance is. YIKES.

However, I'm not too too concerned about this leg of the race either. I know I can stick to my run/walk intervals and will be able to at least finish. On top of spin classes, I've also been doing Body Step classes several times a week, my endurance has DEFINITELY improved.

Now the trick is stringing all three together....

GEAR: Man, this first triathlon has gotten expensive. There were race fees (my mom gifted the entry fee for my birthday, THANKS MOM!!!!!), pedals, shoes, shorts, misc bike gear.

After doing spin classes for several months with my sneakers in the cage on the bike, riding without my feet attached to the bike was so much harder. I was missing out on half of the muscles used to pedal, I was only pushing and not getting any benefit of pulling back up. This convinced me to get the shoes and pedals.

I wanted to simulate as much as I could for race day in my workouts. After one (of three) swims, I went into the locker room and immediately tried to put on my bike gear. I was planning on wearing capris and a tshirt over my swim suit. Well, even after several minutes of drying off, it was almost impossible to get my capris on. Cue me buying tri shorts. I needed shorts I could swim in and just jump on my bike in. Now after the swim I just have socks, shoes, a shirt, gloves, and a helmet to wrangle onto my wet body.

I've had several sleepless nights fretting about race day. I'm mostly nervous just because it is uncharted territory. I've never done a triathlon before and don't know entirely what to expect. Chances are I'm blowing it all way out of proportion, but I won't know until I'm done. Here goes nothin......

Have you done anything lately that absolutely terrifies you? 

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