It’s been a while since I’ve posted on the training blog and I’m sure everyone is on pins and needles wondering how my first triathlon went!! JK
I’d say it went pretty well… I finished at least! I wasn’t as competitive as I wish but since it was my first one there is a lot to be said about experience. For example the swimming leg, which I get into below.
First, the stats. This first set is from the official chip system we were sent online and my particular race can be found here.
Official time, 1:15:54. Again, this was a 500 meter swim, 9 mile bike and 2.4 mile run. My average pace per mile was 6:30 and I finished 168th out of 297 overall participates in the short course. I was 18th out of the 31 males in my age group (40-44). I’m happy to say I got out of the water in under 15 minutes, but with almost all newbie triathletes, the swim will be my most room for improvement.
Here’s a breakdown (click image at right to enlarge) of all my juicy stats:
Yes, this is where most people freak out and I can say I was a “little” nervous, but not much. I’d done a lot of swimming lately (and as I mentioned I’ve been working through the Total Immersion program) and was sure I’d at least make it without drowning.
I’d had several people suggest to me that I should just wait back, be patient, and let all the guys who were eager to go fast jump out in front and take it easy. So that’s what I did. Which I’m sure cost me just a couple of minutes right there waiting for everyone to get going. I’m not sure how many exactly where in my heat, but I’d say about 40 or 50, so it wasn’t too bad.
I don’t swim fast by any means, so I waited back until everyone took off and started towards the back. But then it felt like the entire time I was always trying to maneuver around people. Just when I’d get a good rhythm going I’d have to stop and find another path. At one point I even sort of stopped and went horizontally so I could get closer to the inside lane that seemed to be clearer. I did sidestroke and even relax on my back a few times.
But from some of the open swims I’ve done, I realized that even by doing that from time-to-time I can still stay pretty much in pace with some of the guys who are free-stroking slowly the entire time.
My goal for the swim is just to continue practicing. I’ve joined a gym near my work and hired a personal trainer who specialized in triathlon training and she has me setup with a strength program that will also help. My strategy for my next triathlon will be to start on the outside of the pack but at the front.
Or at least towards the front where I can hopefully stay out in front of some of the slower guys and have less people to pass. It just makes sense that if I’m going to be slow anyway, why not make more people have to pass me then me having to pass others if I’m faster… if that makes sense.
The bike course was extremely hilly, and even though I’d rode around it a couple times the week before, I wasn’t prepared for the pounding my legs would take. The bike ride really ate up my legs, but they seemed to still feel OK for the run mostly.
Two days before my race I had a flat on my rear tire and a big bubble in the side-wall. So I purchased a new tire, (Specialized All Condition Elite) and put it on the front and the old front tire on the rear. I put a few miles on it the day before to make sure the new front tire wasn’t too slick. About halfway through my race I heard and felt this odd thumbing and bump on the front of the bike.
It wasn’t really intense but I could tell my tire was a little out-of-round. I remembered that when I put the tire on, I had a little trouble getting it seated properly inside the rim where the valve stem is. Sure enough, the tire was coming out a little right where the stem was and causing a little bump every time it went around.
With top speeds close to 40 MPH on some of the downhill portions, a serious problem with the front tire could be catastrophic. So I pulled over and let a little bit of air out of the tire and it helped a little. Generally I put around 90lbs of pressure in my front and 100lbs in the rear. So having to stop on the bike leg I’m sure costs me at least a minute or two since it takes time to get back up to speed and in rhythm.
The run felt pretty good even though at the start you had to go up a really steep hill, but for the most part the rest of the run was pretty nice. A lot of it was down through some trees around the back of the damn to the lake so it was shady and nice. It’s also good to point out that this was (I think) the hottest day of the year so far. Or at least close to it.
There was a heat advisory out and the high temperature that day was 100 degrees F. So it was HOT. One regret is I realize now how many places up you can move just by taking off a few minutes, I think I could have pushed myself a little harder on the run.
I’d done quite a bit of practice on the transitions so I thought was ready to go on this. The only thing I wasn’t real sure about was my tri top or singlet I was wearing (A specialized tri top singlet). All of these are notoriously hard to get on over a wet torso and I didn’t end up getting a lanyard or bib belt before the race.
Which meant I had to attach my bib to my singlet with the traditional safety pins. The safety pins are hard on the material and it took me a while to get it on over my wet body. It gets all bunched up and took me probably an extra 45 seconds to get it on.
I keep my bike shoes clipped on my bike and use #16 rubber bands hooked through the loop on the back of the shoes and pulled over the back tire axle thingy… (the thing with road and mountain bikes you fold out to remove the tire). I do that with the left shoe and the right shoe I put the rubber band through the same loop on the back of the shoe and then over the doo-hicky where the cable connects to the front derailer.
This kept my pedals and cranks in a position where my shoes wouldn’t rub on the pavement as I pushed it through the transition area. I then jump on the bike while it’s moving and put my feet on top of my bike shoes and start peddling which causes the rubber bands to break. Once I get up to speed out on the course I reach down on each side (one at a time) and slide my feet in my shoes and Velcro them tight. I then reverse this procedure when getting close to dismounting area, pulling my feet out and placing them on top of the shoes.
As I get closer to transition area I slow down and try to stand up and shake my legs out to get them ready for the run leg. As I slow down I swing one leg over and coast into the dismounting area on one side of the bike and hop off.
For running shoes I use the Pearl Izumi Iso-Transitions. Watch for a full review on these sometime in the future. These are the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn and am addicted to wearing them for everything now. They require no socks and once I started feeling how easy and comfortable it is to work out and run without socks, there’s no going back. I’m telling you, seriously not joke, these things are comfortable and I’ve pretty much already accepted that I’ll probably be buying a pair of these every year.
I got a great deal through my employer with a gym just up the street from where I work. Along with my membership I got a complimentary session with a trainer. (Hi Emily if you’re reading this) My trainer Emily has triathlon experience and has set me up with a nice strength routine to add to my training. It’s pretty simple really, just a little circuit of arms, legs, and some core exercises to do for an hour 2x’s a week.
It was suggested I just fit this in with the rest of my training – which at this point won’t be as “regimented” as my previous triathlon training schedule. My goals is to continue to stay in shape and get better at my swim and short course triathlons. I also want to do most of my training now over my lunch break at work. That will fit better into my living schedule and allow better balance with family and other things (like spending quality time with my wife and granddaughter).
Oh, and I’m currently at 18% body fat and around 174 lbs. My goal is 14% body fat right now. I’ll check back in with my trainer in 6 weeks to see where I’m at on that goal. I was a little frustrated that after training so much for this triathlon that I still have a little gut hanging (which I think looks bad in my tight triathlon top) but my trainer said adding some more strength training will help with that so we’ll see. Obviously I have to continue to eat responsibly (but that’s an entire different topic and post).
As of right now, I plan on doing the Jackson County Triathlon on August 21st. It’s a little longer course, a few meters shorter on the swim but longer ride and run ( .3 mile swim, 11.75 mile bike, 3 mile run).
Here’s what I’ve recorded on my trusty Garmin 305 over the last week or so and also for the triathlon. Since the 305 isn’t really meant for swimming, I didn’t take it on the swim portion of the tri. Although, there are people that place the Garmin 305 under their swim cap so it can record their swim. I did consider doing this, but since it was my first race I really didn’t want the extra distraction and thing to worry about.
So I only used my 305 for the run and bike. I did set it up to use Auto Multi-Sport mode with transitions included (which you switch through by hitting the “lap” button) but I think I screwed it up during my bike to run transition so I’m not sure how accurate it is. I wasn’t really worried about accurately recording the data for the tri since the official time is recorded with an ankle chip but I did want to be able to monitor my heart rate for fun and also watch my pace on the run and know my top bike speed.
So that’s cool to look at. Here are latest workout summaries including the triathlon on 7-10-2011. If you click on any of the details (summary link) at least check out the Triathlon Cycle one, it’s pretty cool. My top speed was 39.1 MPH!!
These aren’t in chronological order… figured I’d put the triathlon ones first since they’re the most interesting:
- Time: 35:56
- Distance: 8.95 mi
- Elevation Gain: 561 ft
- Calories: 669
- Avg. Speed: 14.9 mph
- Max Speed: 39.1 mph
- Avg HR: 172 bpm
- Max HR: 185 bpm
- Avg. Bike Cadence: 85 rpm
- Max Bike Cadence: 123 rpm
- Time: 21:06
- Distance: 2.3 mi
- Elevation Gain: 202 ft
- Calories: 312
- Avg Pace: 9:10 min/mi
- Best Pace: 6:40 min/mi
- Avg HR: 179 bpm
- Max HR: 191 bpm
- Time: 00:35:02
- Distance: 4.00 mi
- Elevation Gain: 122 ft
- Calories: 536 C
- Avg Pace: 08:45 min/mi
- Best Pace: 06:48 min/mi
- Avg HR: 169 bpm
- Max HR: 185 bpm
- Time: 01:10:03
- Distance: 6.71 mi
- Elevation Gain: 325 ft
- Calories: 909 C
- Avg Pace: 10:26 min/mi
- Best Pace: 07:45 min/mi
- Avg HR: 163 bpm
- Max HR: 180 bpm
- Time: 40:28
- Distance: 8.52 mi
- Elevation Gain: 137 ft
- Calories: 558
- Avg Speed: 12.6 mph
- Max Speed: 27.8 mph
- Avg HR: 133 bpm
- Max HR: 166 bpm
- Avg Bike Cadence: 77 rpm
- Max Bike Cadence: 110 pm
Now for some pictures thanks to my wonderful wife Emily. I didn’t realize how much she’d been running around trying to get pictures of me until later. My sister also competed in this event and Emily was running around trying to get photos of both of us. What a trooper!