Thursday, May 17, 2012

And so it begins.

After years of contemplating it and faffing about and entering races and then not doing them, debating the purchase of a bike, buying the wrong size bike, selling it again and buying the right size bike, buying the wrong size wetsuit, selling it, buying the right size wetsuit, starting swimming lessons, stopping swimming lessons, starting swimming lessons again, thinking I can train myself, freaking myself out, hiring a coach - aaaaaaaaaaargh.  Finally.  I did my first tri on Sunday.

I will spare you the full blow-by-blow.  I had actually written it out but it was kind of boring, even to me.  Which would, no doubt, mean it is totally boring to you.

So I will give you some highlights on each element:

  • nerve-wracking.  It was a pool swim where people were set off every 2 minutes, slowest going first.  Coach had told me to go hypoxic and I took this seriously - halfway through I wanted to die / give up / pull out / forget about the whole thing.  Hung on in there though and finished.  10:30 for the swim and the run out of the pool to the transition area (generously will make that a 60 second run so a 9:30 swim.  Not awful).  
  • stressful - I could not  get past the girl in front of me - there were too many people in my lane (5/6) to get long enough to swim past her.  So I eventually swam under her.  She must have been surprised to see me bob up in front of her.  She was on my toes for the rest of the swim as I slowed down a bit... 
  • Thankfully someone had warned me about the start being steep so I had my bike in an easy gear.  This was the course (out and back).  I took it a bit too easy I think - I did the 17.5 km in 39:30.  Overtook people on the uphills, lost them on the downhills.  I must be able to fix that somehow next time.

  • Again, a bit of a bear of a course (the map is a bit short because it is a 5km, run in two loops). 
  • Loved this. The hard bits were over with - this is where I was in my comfort zone.  Yes, it was my first ever 5K but hey - that was always going to be a PB then wasn't it?  The first hill took a bit of doing but I powered up it the second time much more confidently and really enjoyed the downhill.   22:45 overall which I was very happy with as a first 5K time.
Can you see I'm happy?  Happy to be done as well.

Nearly there!

Transitions (apparently known as the fourth discipline in triathlon):
  • took a bit of doing!  An extremely kind and helpful triathlete I had met at the pool in the week prior had emailed me his packing list and a list of everything he does on the day before and before the race to get ready.  Invaluable!  Made me feel much more in control.  
  • A person setting up next to me offered to look over my bike and transition areas and helped me to set it all up a bit more efficiently.  
  • I was a bit inefficient in my transitions - the times were 1:50 and 1:39 and I think I farted about a bit too much... 
  •  2 days prior to the race I went to a local-ish tri shop to buy an all-in-one trisuit (am wearing it above). The trisuit was great once I got over the sensation that I was naked - I kept feeling I was in one of those nightmares where everyone else is dressed and you're not.  On the bike I threw over a long sleeved top (not really necessary though).  The seating area, however, was not so comfy on this short bike ride.  Do you think I could wear a proper pair of cycling shorts over the trisuit in a longer race?  Anyone ever done this? 
  • I also bought a new wetsuit (on account of the fact that I could not squeeze myself into the old one I had) and this was a success insofar as wedging myself into a tight neoprene skin could ever be classed as a success.  There's a lake on the farm where we live so I went out in on Saturday.  Cold. COLD!  But just about manageable in the wetsuit.  My hands and feet were freezing though.  I'll try again this weekend. 

So next it's the Olympic-distance triathlon in 4 weeks.  1500m open water swim - swim coach and overall coach say I can do it.  It will be a very different race from this friendly, fairly casual affair last Sunday - there are a lot of serious age-groupers (like my use of the lingo?) taking part and it's a much bigger, more official affair.  Am happy to lag at the back though - this is all about making it through and figuring it out.  So back to the pool / bike / run again this week!

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

A month of firsts

This has been a month of firsts.  And probably a lot of seconds, thirds etc.  And some things which just seem to happen ALL the time, forever (like not catching up on blogs, failing to tick everything off my to-do list).  But for the purpose of this blog and because you are no doubt bored of my excuses for not being up to do date on your blogs - let's focus on the firsts:

First ever 54 mile bike ride - IN THE BAG! (Can you see that it says on the photo "please do not steal images"? Now I feel guilty.  But not guilty enough to buy it...

It was wet and cold.  My triclub teammates said I was brave for wearing 3/4 length leggings.  I don't have full-length ones or I surely would have worn them.  But no matter - I had invested in a new pair of gloves and I was just psyched.  Before the race I experienced another first:
Yes I had to get that folded up new tire on my back wheel.  Aarggh!
But YouTube is a wonderful thing and I managed to take my back wheel off - I was SO afraid of doing that before AND I managed to replace the inner and the outer tube (a pothole had pushed a stone through both).

The race (or rather a sportive, but when you're not racing why split hairs?) was great.  The hills were a bear, especially for someone who doesn't train on them but in a perverse way I enjoyed them.  When I was climbing I was working SO hard I could not think of anything else - it was almost meditative.  Apart from my very heavy breathing. We took a break after the first 20 miles and then ploughed on for the last 34, eventually all riding on our own at our own pace.  I was happy to complete the ride in just over 4 hours, feeling strong and still in one piece. I even managed a 10 minute brick run afterwards!

The other - HUGE - first, is that I have got off my butt and made myself work at my personal training business.  I've really put some effort in some different directions and while one of them - a franchised group exercise setup - is beginning to look less appealing to me now, I think that the exercise of going through it and figuring out how to do it has proved extremely useful.  And as a result of feeling the fear and doing it anyway, I have my first 3 clients!  I'm on my way.

And this weekend is the final first - for now - my first ever triathlon.  Like with the bike race I'm excited, not scared.  I know I can swim 400m now, I know I can cylce the distance, i know I can run a 5km race (is now a bad time to confess that I've never actually run an official 5k?) - so the question is just how I handle it.  Pacing and strategy is what it's all about, in my mind, and I'm going to see how I manage this.  I have a habit of taking things a bit too easy, so I'm going to push from the outset and see how I go.  And see how I handle the practicalities of the transitions - that bit does make me slightly nervous..

Race report to follow - I'm going back to my to-do list.  If I can do a tri, I can do anything.  And repeat.