Monday, June 8, 2015

Race week random thoughts - first triathlon

This Saturday I will be doing my first triathlon at Welland. Yep. That's a thing I'll be doing.

Some random thoughts that have been bouncing around my head as I lead up to this thing.

You know what happens a lot at my house these days? Laundry. Between me and my husband, there's just SO MUCH activewear laundry.

1. The swim

Well, for starters, this happened.

Wetsuit selfie
Yep, I have a wetsuit now (after a bit of a lengthy ordeal involving an extreme lack of communication from the wetsuit company, although the end result was I got a nicer wetsuit than I paid for, so it all worked out). I've even worn it into an actual lake twice! And it was fun! The process of getting into the suit is kind of hysterically funny - come on out to an open water swim some time and watch 20+ triathletes all squeezing themselves into their suits - like watching people try to put toothpaste back into the tube. Wetsuits are not a flattering look on anyone. Although I did take notes from Sam's experience and didn't put it on backwards.

I swam all around this lake! No action shots because sorry, not quite talented enough to be in two places at once. I'm working on it.
As far as the actual swimming, there was some panicking and at one point a strong to desire to just switch all my race registrations to duathlons because there's this deep lizard part of my brain that reacts to swimming by demanding we NOPE the hell out of there ASAP, but I've learned to shut that bit off. Give me 10 minutes in the water and I'm good. The wetsuit makes a huge difference - so buoyant! So much less effort required than pool swimming! I am never doing a non-wetsuit legal swim, ever!

#proof courtesy my old GPS watch jammed in my swim cap. Who knew that would work. I learn so many interesting things from the Internet.
To think that in December I couldn't swim more than one lap without having to stop and catch my breath! I've got a lot of room for improvement in my swim, but right now I'm just so thrilled with how far I've come. I swam around a lake! Plus I can now pretty easily knock out 2 km in the pool at lane swim. Really happy with the progress in something that is so new to me and so far outside of my comfort zone.

2. The bike

So I did that whole 8 Days in California challenge of pain and suffering in the quest for some rapid bike improvements.

Was it worth it? Um, yeah it was.

Zindine: Round it to 230!
Although now my trainer workouts are just stupidly hard.

But hey, I did the work and I'm seeing the rewards...

Even if I did get an email message a few hours later that someone had already stolen that QOM from me. Damn it. Strava fame and glory is fleeting.

But me and the bike, we're good. I have aero bars now loaned from Zindine (and perhaps more importantly, I can get in and out of them without falling over!), and a quick release mount for my Garmin so I don't have to turn my wrist over to see my cadence/speed/etc (trust me, that move has led to some serious wobbling around the road in the past). I even did a metric century in the pouring rain at the Ride 4 Heart, and dragged some friends on an allegedly 'easy' ride around the countryside (apparently my definition of easy is not necessarily the same as other people's...). So the bike is awesome. And fun. And pretty much my happy place. Anyone want to go for a ride? How do you feel about hills?

My punishment for the hills on that 'easy' bike route? First flat tire of the year. I was hoping it would be my only flat, but then later that week I blew out a tube while swapping my road tire for my trainer tire. #loser

3. The run

Early morning at the track. Fortunately it was unlocked and I didn't have to hop the fence. Such a rebel.
Two weeks back on the Run Less Run Faster plan, and so far I'm pretty much killing the workouts. And they feel really good. I don't have a lot to say about running, except that it's nice to see such serious improvement after kind of floundering around and not getting anywhere last year. This plan just really seems to work well for me - the only drawback, of course, is the lack of easy runs. I do sometimes miss just running for the sake of running and not being a slave to the paces on my watch.

Hurry up, Garmin, we have a tempo run to do!
But that said, I'm very results focused right now and this is giving me those results. My paces are improving, and I just feel so much stronger. Longer runs at faster paces are coming easily. I think I could really kill a half marathon this fall if I'm willing to stick to the training that long. But that's getting ahead of myself. My focus right now is getting into great 10k shape for the run at Goderich.

Running early in the morning means gorgeous sunrises all over the place. Makes the early mornings/passing out in exhaustion at 9 pm a little easier to take...
4. The race

Oh right, that race thing. Which is on Saturday. And involves stringing all three of these sports together, one after another.


This is where goals and pace plans and such would go, but honestly my main goal is to just finish this thing successfully. I have some times and paces in mind but I'm not willing to commit them to paper, (even electronic blog paper!). This is a big enough step into a new sport without putting a lot of pressure on myself to perform to a particular level. I like to be well prepared for this sort of thing, and I feel like I'm not quite there yet, especially with the open water swimming. Going in with only two (or three if my plans for tomorrow work out) swims under my belt is not ideal for me, from a mental standpoint. I know I can do the swim, it's just in a perfect world I'd have done a lot more swim practice.

In addition to the lack of open water practice, I'd have liked to do a few more bricks. I've really only managed 2, just due to scheduling issues. So my transitions are likely to be a bit of a gong show, but hey! All part of the fun and the learning experience. And this tri really is about being a learning experience.

Post-brick, after testing out my tri club top. I did put speed laces in my shoes after this workout (why not before, I don't know - didn't even think about it until I was looking at my shoes after I got off the bike and thought, dang, now I have to tie those).
So I have an idea of what I might be capable of, and I plan to push my limits on both the bike and the run, but my goal for triathlon #1 is to finish with a big smile on my face. The details will take care of themselves.

5. After the race

Yes, there's an addition to my upcoming race schedule up there on the sidebar. If that moves out of the 'tentative' category into the 'holy shit I'm really going to do this' category...well I'll deal with that then. Stay tuned...


  1. Can't wait to hear from your first triathlon! :-) And yes, just enjoy this first one but once you are out of the water, you know what to do! You've been there before! ;-)

  2. So nice to see that the hip issues from last year (if I remember aright what the ongoing injury was last year) are now faded away! You look quite fit and trim as well. All good. I really laughed at the lizard part of your brain, mine was doing that too, still does it from time to time.

  3. Well you are so ready for this!! Good luck, have fun, and can't wait to read all about it!! Woo hoo!! Number 1's are always the best, so enjoy!

  4. Tomorrow looks like awesome weather for this and I can't wait to see how you smash it! WooHoo!