(500m Swim / 10M Bike / 3M Run)
June 14, 2014
Age Group: F30-34, 20/21
Swim: 15:32 Pace: 3:06 Age Group: 18/21 Gender: 87/117 Overall: 309/385
T1: 3:33 Age Group: 20/21 Gender: 103/117 Overall: 348/385
Bike: 41:37 Pace: 14.4 Age Group: 20/21 Gender: 92/117 Overall: 339/385
T2: 2:30 Age Group: 18/21 Gender: 97/117 Overall: 321/385
Run: 25:15 Pace: 8:25 Age Group: 11/21 Gender: 41/117 Overall: 191/385
Gaining a little confidence after the Richmond Sprint Triathlon two weeks prior, I didn’t train that much leading up to the Indy Sprint Tri. Still taking it easy on the running until marathon training starts again, I wanted to just focus on the swim and bike. I only got in one swim session between the Richmond Tri and Indy Tri which definitely hurt me on the swim. The week following the Richmond Tri was a six day work week so I took it easy on training since I knew it would be a long week. So I got caught up on some much needed hot yoga sessions to reboot. Besides I was pleasantly surprised with how well my swim went during Richmond so didn’t feel the need to fine tune….big mistake.
I knew my cycling had a lot to be desired so Tuesday I went to a computrainer session with Bryan. It was a 30 minute warm-up followed by a 20 minute test session. During this 20 minutes I was to go all out trying to keep an even speed and power to determine my functional threshold power (FTP). I finished with an average watt of 131 and speed of 17.9….whomp whomp. It totally kicked my butt making me immediately hooked. I signed up for 5:30 a.m. Thursday morning classes for the next four weeks. It’s the only way I’m going to get stronger on the bike. As for clipping into my pedals, Thursday evening I took my bike out on the monon and I practiced. With a little coaxing from my sister and a few deep breathes, I did it! I clipped in and didn’t fall starting or stopping! I hoped I could recreate this during the Indy tri.
The morning of, I woke up at 5:00 a.m. thinking why why why??? It’s so early, why am I not sleeping in and cuddling with the fur babies? I slowly got out of bed and put all my gear in my tri bag and ate breakfast – slice of ezekial toast w/ almond butter and agave and a bowl of applesauce. We were out the door by six to get there in time for packet pickup and to set up my transition area. I wasn’t nervous about the swim or the run, just the bike.
My parents arrived when I was warming up in the water. Even though I had not swam very much in the past two weeks, I felt fine during the warm-up. I was relaxed and my breathing was okay. The water was warm and was actually warmer than the air temperate which was 58 degrees. After warming up I said hello to my parents and got in line for the swim start. It was a time trial start with athletes jumping in every 2 seconds. My number was 375 meaning I was to start towards the back along with the weaker swimmers. Again I was very relaxed up until I started swimming. My breathing was quick and shallow and I felt like I couldn’t breathe in enough air. I told myself to calm down and take it slow. As I looked up to get my bearings, I noticed all the other swimmers around me were doing the tarzan swim style (swimming with their heads above the water). I tried it for a few seconds but it seemed harder than just swimming naturally. I would swim about ten strokes and then swim breast stroke and then back to freestyle. I alternated on and off to try to get myself to relax. It’s not like I was in full blown panic mode. I wasn’t panicking per say, I just didn’t feel like I was in a groove and my breathing was all over the place. I felt like an asthmatic. Plus the dude swimming backstroke the entire swim leg and swimming into me was definitely making it difficult to get into a rhythm. After the second buoy, there was about 150 or 200m left to swim to shore. I finally started to feel comfortable, but it was a little too late. My swim time was definitely longer than I anticipated and I was mentally kicking myself in the butt for not swimming more leading up to this race.
My transition 1 time was really slow, but Bryan told me to take it slow so I wouldn’t freak out on my bike since this would be my first race with clip-less pedals. I ran my bike up to the mounting area and clipped in my left foot and then took off. It took me a few tries to get my right foot in but I didn’t fall! My parents and Bryan were at the bike exit and cheered me on. My goal was to average 15.0mph and to pass at least one person on the bike. I was feeling confident after my computrainer test session, but I forgot to turn on my bike computer and was fumbling with that the first five minutes of the ride. The first part of the bike course is through Eagle Creek Park. It winds, it has a few hills and the road isn’t the smoothest. You definitely have to pay attention to not hit a hole on the road and to not take a turn too quickly. It’s also shaded by the trees so my sunglasses made my computer screen even darker and I could barely see the screen let alone try to turn it on and switch it to distance and mph while trying to maneuver around curves. So my first 5 to 10 minutes were definitely slow. After I got the computer working and I was in the sunlight, I felt more comfortable. I picked up my speed and targeted people to pass. No mind wandering today, I was too busy focusing on my bike. I actually passed about 10 or 15 people. It felt great to finally be the one passing people and not the one getting passed. Of course I was passed by a few people. Every time I looked down at my computer it said between 15 and 18 mph. Woohoo! I was for sure that my average would be around 16ish. I was even shifting a bunch and put one arm into arrow position at a time. Towards the end of the bike course there was one final hill and I forgot to put my front gear into the smaller chain ring in time and I could barely pedal up the hill. I wasn’t pedaling fast enough to change the gear and almost fell over because I was going so slow, but I pushed through it and by the time I was at the top, I was less than a mile away from the finish. I was so excited when I got to the dismount that I forgot I was clipped in and breaked to a stop without unclipping my right foot. This was my second “oh sh*t” moment. My bike and I started to lean to the left and somehow I unclipped my left foot in time to land on it and catch myself from toppling over. When I practiced two days prior, I only practiced landing on my right foot so I definitely wasn’t prepared to land on the other side. I guess it was the universe’s evil way of saying well if you don’t practice on the left side, I’ll make you’ll land on your left side. Fair enough. Apparently, I dismounted too soon because I had to run my bike into T2. Good one Melissa.
Again, my transition time could have been a little faster, but I was a little shaken up from my almost falling disaster that I needed to catch my breath. And I needed water, I’m not that skilled to reach down and grab my water from my bike, so no water for me until I get into transition. I took my gel with me to eat on the run.
As I left T2, I saw my parents and Bryan again. I didn’t have a specific target pace, I was more or less running on feel. But when I looked at my watch it was around 8:20 pace. My legs didn’t feel tired. Again I probably could have pushed it to under 8:00 minute miles, but I reminded myself that my first couple of tri’s this summer are for fun. There was one hill right at the beginning that wasn’t so bad. Majority of the people were walking up it so I used this to my advantage to pass people. the rest of the run course was flat. I took half of my gel at mile 1 with some water and then continued to pick out one person at a time to pass. I took the rest of my gel at mile 2 with water. I didn’t feel tired at all and I felt strong. I didn’t get passed by a single person on the run. My goal was to finish sub 1:30 and I crossed the finish line at 1:28:28. Woohoo! I didn’t fall during the bike and I finished in my goal time. Although, my gps watch said my average pace on the run was 8:15 per mile, my official time reported was 8:25 average….hmmmm maybe the course was longer?
Either way, I was happy with my finish overall. I am a little discouraged at my swim, but I’m to blame for that. I need to get back in the pool 3 days a week like I was in May. Also bummed at my average bike pace. I was for sure that it was at my goal pace but both my watch and official pace said 14.4mph. It must have been those first 5 to 10 minutes when I was trying to figure out my bike computer that got me. But on a positive note, my run keeps getting quicker without me running but once a week. My age group stats are definitely sub par, but I have to remember not to compare myself and that I’ve barely just begun. I can only improve from here on out.
As for my next sprint triathlon at Morse Lake at the end of June, it’s a longer swim and bike course. I definitely need to prepare myself for that by swimming and biking more the next two weeks so I can get comfortable and confident again in the water and on the bike. I don’t really have a time goal since it will be the longest of all my sprint triathlons – maybe sub 1:40. I don’t know if that’s a good goal or if I’m under or overachieving with this time. But I’m hoping for the bike leg to average 15mph this time and to ride in arrow position. I will make it happen. As for the Indy Sprint Tri #2 in July, I’ll be on the same course as tri #1 and am hoping to shave off at least 5 minutes and finish sub 1:25. I just have to put in the work and it will happen.