Monday, August 24, 2009
Tri or not to Tri…That is the Question!
Well, leading up to my first Triathlon there are a few things I have learned to do and a many things I have learned not to do. The excitement and physical preparation has been awesome. The mental thoughts have taken my mind on a roller coaster of exhaustion. That part I actually like. The emotional high and lows build characteristics that I know will prepare me for many, many challenges outside of the athletic arena in my life.
I did not prepare the way many Tri athletes prepare. I have simply been riding my MTB on trails. A few fun 5k races, a handful of MTB races here and there…a little single speed riding at the Ruby Trail Project and I completed a 6 hour event at Pando the week prior on the single speed. Sure, I have done a few road rides with a set of slicks on the ol’ mtb, but overall the majority of my riding has been on the dirt. My swimming is something less than spectacular and running has been a training tool of simple recovery days to keep the legs loose. I had planned to use whatever I had in the tank and A LOT of GRIT to muscle through the race. I wanted to just experience the challenge.
The event I entered was only a Sprint Triathlon, but still a 500m open water swim, 20k road ride, and then finish up with a 5k run can take its toll on anyone.
I had a goal of 1hour 10minutes going into the event. I thought I could hang on with a 13min swim. Rock 35mins on the bike and kill the run with a 20min 5k. Add 2 minutes of transitions and bam…1hour 10mins, right?
The swim started off okay and I doggie paddled, floated, back stroked and splashed like a kid in a pool. However, when I excited the water I could still see the pack in front of me and I smiled. I got through the 1st transition and was pumped about the bike. I started off and was blazing. I picked off a few guys in my AG, and then about mile 3 into the ride my hamstrings decided today was not the day to push so hard. Cramps set in and I downshifted to spin an easier gear to maintain my position for a few hundred yards. The cramps never seemed to go away and I had no power at all. My mental game was on and ready to rock, but no delivery from my chicken legs…spent, son! I knew at this point it was going to be all survival mode which makes for a long ride and a longer 5k run coming home. When I made it back to the 2nd transition I pitted my bike slipped into my running shoes and out of the gate I went. I started to run and nothing, I mean nothing! My legs had enough and said “Um, sorry mister not today!” This was a huge blow because just the previous Monday night I did a 5k in about 19:40 and was pumped about laying it down at the tri. Instead I jogged the course and decided to take it all in. I began to think about the ENTIRE race, the ENTIRE preparation, and the ENTIRE journey!
I had a few teammates and many friends competing and cheering. Paul Seely, Brian Seely, Ben Miller, Pat Ward from TSB and many other pals from JUST FINISH competed. Lee Tremp, Jason Schneider, Kevin Green and many, many other friends and family hung out for the event. Thanks to all of them for the support.
I have decided that I will attempt another tri and I will work on a few transition drills and tips, do a few specific training “brick” workouts for the body to be ready for the different disciplines and I know I will be even more competitive next time.
Although, I have not seen the final results online my time posted on the prelims was 1hour 19mins. I think I took 30th overall out of about 190 entrants and 8th in my class. Congrats to all the finishers who took the challenge!
Getting after something new can be challenging and rewarding no matter what the final results are. I’m glad I have attempted a new event and I’m very happy that my family; Renee, Reese, and Rayna where there to share the personal experience with me.