Sunday, June 10, 2007

NEO Clay's Park Triathlon: TRI try Again!!! (500yd swim, 13 mile Bike, 5K run)

What a PERFECT day to kick my own ass!!! Today was the NEO Triathlon kickoff that I and the Walrus had signed up for. The drive was about an hour away down at Clay's Park in N. Lawrence and the sun was out with little humidity. We arrived around 7am and checked our gear. I double checked my my tires and the air was low. I had brought my tire pump, but it blew up and the HeadMaster let me borrow his thankfully, but another mishap - I busted the valve stem. CRAP!!! Well, I was just going to have go with my tires a little low and hope for the best. I racked my gear and walked down to the water hoping it would not be cold. Aaahhh, it was not bad at all.

The Swim - Out to the left and back (basically 3/4 of a rectangle). There was some funky green/blue dye in the water so it was impossible to see anything, but since I wear contacts I needed my goggles. The men up to age 39 started first, followed by the 40 and older men 5 minutes later and then all the women at once.
Some of the men were so good about 10 or so were out of the water before we even got started. I was hoping the Walrus was at the front of the pack but there were a bunch of guys in black spandex and no tops coming out of the water. I told some friends good luck and we were off. I waded in fairly deep before I started my stroke. I was trying to pretend like I was in the pool, swimming at a relaxed pace for 20 up and backs. Yeah, I am not very good at lying to myself. I just couldn't relax and find my rythm. I made it to the first yellow buoy and thought, "how the hell am I going to make it through the next 4 buoys when I am already in distress." I flipped on my back and said screw it. I made it to the next buoy and realized I could stand up. I took the opportunity to run through the water and give my arms a break. I even managed to pass 2-3 girls who were still stroking away. I made the turn to come back and again had to flip on my back half way back to the shore. I thought about swimming to one of the kayaks and throwing in the towel, but what would have been the fun in that, so I kicked it out and finally made it to where I could run to the short and up to transition. Time: 12:42, not too bad. Goal was to be out before 15 minutes, but I was so so so not relaxed or refreshed as I had planned I knew the road ahead was going to be a rough one.
The Bike - I patiently hurried through transition making sure I did not forget to put on a sock as I had in the last tri. We had put our bikes on the front rack so I could walk right out onto the course, but I was redirected to the exit one over, so I had to make a big U to get out to the road where I could mount and clip-in. SIDE NOTE: I just got my clip-ins this week and am actually fairly decent at clipping in and out already. I clipped in fairly easily and grabbed my gatorade in hopes of making a decent time on the bike. Mile 1 had loose stone everywhere so we were instructed to be very cautious, of course it went right into a climb on the left as soon as you make the turn. Here we go.... The walrus and I had viewed the course pics earlier in the week so we new there was this HUGE hill called Manga G'Langa. I pedaled up the first one and thought, well that can't be it. The next mile was up and down and then.... there it was. I saw the first cyclists coming back up the hill. I was on the down. I was glad it was that way. I knew what I was in for now and I also had more time to recover from the swim provided there were no more killer hills. I started counting riders and then there he was. The rookie Walrus was 11th. Hot damn, my boyfriend is like a frickin' SuperHero. He looked comfortable and relaxed. I knew he was tired, but I knew he had not yet even come close to tapping the reserves yet. The next 3 miles were fairly flat and I did pass a couple people men and women. Another new toy for my bike this year was a computer, a TREK Incite 11i. It has a trip meter and I was really close to 6 miles. I kept looking ahead for the turnaround. It finally came in the form of a guy in the street waving a flag "saying nice and easy go around me." I laughed to myself. This is cake doing a U-turn on a bicycle, thinking back to when I had to do it on a motorcycle a few years ago for my license. I was starting to feel better and finally hit my rythm. The next 3 mile flew by and I kept my pace around 18-19mph. I made the turn back to Manga G'Langa and thought. Just get up the hill and your home free. ANOTHER SIDE NOTE: I have learned I am not a good climber and I need work, but I have learned I can run up a hill and push a bike faster than trying to pedal it at times and it allows me to stretch my legs. I made a snap decision. I know it said 13 mile bike but no one would know I ran less than 100 meters, so I unclipped and started hoofing it. I did get passed on the hill, but it was okay I was just enjoying the experience. I was back on the bike and went up and down a few hills and crested the final hill back to the transition area. I jumped off my bike excited I was almost done with my first sprint. Time - 52:37. I wanted to be a little faster, but with all the hills I couldn't complain.
The Run - I jogged through transition to drop off my cycling gear and spotted the Walrus talking to someone. They had both already finished and I still had the run ahead of me. I was a little envious. I racked my bike and switched shoes. This time I did not have to make a U-turn to leave transition. I was about 10 feet from the transition exit. I hit the run with legs of lead. Uuuuugggghhhh!! Well, just give it some time they usually loosen up. The sun was hot and bright by now. I was almost wishing I had taken off my tri top and run in my sports bra. Too late for that now. I saw the HeadMaster about a 1/4 mile into the run and yelled a few words of encouragement to him. The run was through the campgrounds on and off the roads and trails. There was some shade and I hit my first mile at 9:17. Not really a good pace, but it could be worse and maybe I will be able to pick it up a little the next mile. I took some water at about 1.25 miles and thanked the boy kind enough to pass them out and ran up a little hill to the turnaround. I was feeling tired, but excited I was almost there. I saw the Walrus and HeadMaster with a little less than a mile to go and they yelled at me to keep going. I finally made the turn back to the finsih and saw the clock. I picked it up for about 200 meters. My legs were really heavy, but I crossed the finish. Time - 28:22. YEAH!!! I did it. Unofficial time 1:37:36. The Walrus took 3rd in his age group in his first Tri. I am so proud of him. I am definately up for improving a lot on my time.

The Walrus and I got home around 11:45am and sat outside in the sun and discussed the morning events over a few cold beers. We both hated the water, struggled up the hills on the bike and ran with legs that seemed to be filled with lead. It was FUN. We are both looking forward to doing our next one. But first I needed a huge powernap.
Sprint Tri Goal: Sub 1:30.

1 - Relax in H2O
2- Keep rythm in H2O with freestyle stroke
3 - Many more power intervals and hill work on cycle
4 - Decrease time in T1 and T2 (specifically T1)
5 - Increase anaerobic threshold (long runs, tempos, speedwork)

If that doesn't work other possibilities...
blood doping
sub motorcycle for bicycle
take chip from the Walrus right before his finish

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