August 20, 2006

A Tri Bug is Born

I've decided to try tri. Swim, bike, run. Various distance races are available to beat me down and mortify me. I started with the simplest and most accessible, the sprint triathlon at Mountain Lakes Triathlon. 600y swim, 16 mile bike, and 5k run.

This challenge was presented to me by one of my residents a month prior to the race. It seemed like fun, and I quickly ante'd up to the task. Later, as I was enjoying a corona and plotting the necessary evils required to prepare for the race, I had a what-the-hell-have-I-gotten-myself-into moment. I hate to run... I don't own a road bike... I've never swam a lap in my life... Oh *%@^...

The swim seemed the most daunting of the three. I made the plunge, and started trying to swim. Now, before I got in the pool, I watched the other swimmers for awhile. There was an eclectic group doing laps at the local Y that morning. There was the grandmother-type, maybe even great-grandmother, slowly devouring lap after lap after lap. There was the slightly balding attourney-type, with the muscular back and powerful stroke who occasionally was doing the catch-up drill. And others, all of whom obviously were well-versed in the art of the swim.

"This looks easy enough..." Or so I thought. 25 yards for the 1st lap... No problem. 25 yards back, and I was gasping for air. I managed about 500 yards over 25 minutes on that first day, and I realized I was in for the biggest physical challenge I had ever attempted.

I decided to not spend much time training for the run. I have, over the years, occasionally done the occasional 5k race, never finishing particularly strongly but always finishing. However, I did need a bike. My Stumpjumper wasn't going to work for me on the paved course at Mountain Lakes. I made the rounds to the local bike shops, but couldn't find anything that captured me enough to provide the inspiration for mile after mile after mile of solo riding.

So I turned to ebay and found a late model Cervelo in my price range. I had it overnighted and assembled in time for 1 good 10 mile urban training ride prior to raceday.

And then it was time to race! I surprisingly was not nervous, unlike previous 5k races from years ago when I would make multiple bathroom trips in the hour prior to racetime. The swim, not surprisingly, kicked my arse. Shortly after the 1st buoy on the triangle course, I found myself taking a backfloat rest. This was repeated several times over the 600 yard swim. I don't remember a happier moment in my life than when I stumbled my waterlogged body out of the water to start the bike ride.

Luckily the bike and run were drama-free, and I finished in a respectable 1:32.

I learned 2 things from this race: 1. Don't undertrain!, and 2. I have the tri bug... I will be back, and my next goal is the Music City Tri, a 1.5/40/10.

I eagerly anticipate every bike ride, and I no longer am afraid of the swim. I will conquer the swim. I still hate the run. I am rationalizing that I will concentrate on swim and bike improvement for this next race, then begin to work on the run.

And this time, I will be ready...

1 comment:

Wil said...

I like your writing, and your determination.

And you made me feel quite a bit better today. Thank you.