So, here is the long version…
Saturday, I spent the day running around, hanging out with my parents, shopping, picking up the packet, and getting the final stuff I needed. I mean, it seems obvious that there is more gear and prep for a swim/bike/run than just a run but dang. There is a lot to think about.
Against my better judgments, and I’ve never done this for a race before, I bought a new shirt to wear on top of my singlet because nothing I have was right and proper for what I was looking for (wicking, not skin tight, and not BLACK to be easier to spot and be cooler). I ended up taking a chance and the shirt worked out well, but I definitely spent a long time looking for something perfect. DON’T TRY THIS ONE AT HOME KIDS. I also knew that worst case I could just peel it off and roll in just my singlet, and it only occurred to me after the race that while I swam in it, I never ran or biked in it. Again, NEVER wear something new. I’m glad it worked out for me.
So, my gear list for the swim:
-swim cap for my heat
-flip flops to run from the water to the transition area
They suggested some anti-fog stuff for goggles, but I just went with new ones. Again, never do this the day before a race. Don’t be me. The swim was so short I knew if the goggles were fubar it wouldn’t be that bad but still…
Bike Gear List:
-running shoes/wicking socks
-shammy to dry my feet
-new shirt with race number pinned to it already
-big heavy ass hybrid bike
-towel to set everything on
-bike rack for car
-special adapter for said heavy ass weird bike so it fit on said car rack
-multicolored lei to tie to the back so I could find
-backpack with emergency tire pump, sport beans (which I didn’t need), and camelback
-patch kit that attaches to my bike
I was one of the only people with a mountain bike. I figured there would be more noobs like me, but I guess most people can at least get their hands on a cheapo road bike. I had never changed a bike tire, and I didn’t give myself enough time to learn, so I just decided worst case scenario, I would walk the damn thing through the course. Thank goodness that didn’t happen. The lei was good to help me find my bike in the racks and racks… definitely stood out in the crowd.
For the run, I just plunked my backpack down and didn’t need any extra gear. Some people have special bike shoes, I of course did not. I mean when I bike I usually wear my OLD broke ass running shoes, but I was able to make an exception this time. Other things I brought – my slippers (I will never go to another distance race without them – it feels SO NICE to slip into them after being on my feet a while… and a change of clothes so I didn’t have to go home in a sweaty singlet.
So, back to the race happs. I ended up not getting to bed that night until 11 (thank the DEAR FLUFFY LORD I had gotten great sleep all week) and the alarm got me up bright and early at about 4:50. I don’t know how you morning peoples (Miz, Mrs. Fatass, etc) do it. Anyhoo, got up, got everything loaded in the car, and took off. Ate a big breakfast bar and spent the whole morning crossing my fingers that I wouldn’t have any tummy problems – the earlier I get up, the more likely I am to be a little queasy. I held it together though.
We got to the spot and it was still dark, and walked my bike and gear through the tall grass. First, I got body marked – both biceps, both quads, and age on calf. It so tickled. I had to contain myself from squirming. Then, I bid Zliten adieu and rolled everything into the transition area and set everything up on my towel. I had to run out to get a few pre-race pics with my number on, but I had plenty of time. Then, I went and got my timing chip (which straps on your ankle, very different from other races) and it was getting close to time, so I went and stood by the water. I put my toe in and thankfully it was NOT as freezy as Barton Springs. I debated between a practice swim or not and decided against it. I’d made peace with open water and didn’t want to be cold when I got out.
Then the pre race briefing started and I started getting NERVOUS! I knew once I completed the swim I was golden but being that it was the FIRST thing and I was in the second wave (glad it wasn’t the first, but still), I didn’t have much time to watch and learn. Good thing that the waves were really small and there was plenty of room. Before I knew it, I had stepped up with the other orange cappers and heard 3,2,1 GO! And I started to swim.
And I found that we were so close to shore for that first leg that I kept running into branches and rocks. D’oh! I started with the freestyle and mostly kept it up to the first buoy, but after that I felt wiped and sort of alternated between breast stroke and freestyle for the rest of it. My only goal was to finish NOT last in my wave, and I came in about the middle of the pack, so I was thrilled.
I got out of the water (they had about 8 people helping us out which was supah nice), put on my flippy floppies and hotfooted my way to the bike transition. I think I made pretty good time – I dried my feet, did my socks and shoes, slipped on my sunglasses, shirt, and helmet, grabbed my bike, and ran it out of transition, mounted and… oh look, let’s start with a hill.
And the hills kept comin’. I’m glad I had practiced outside the last 2 weeks, because my easy 25 mile pedals in the gym were NADA compared to this. And, see my “heavy ass bike” complaints above. I had totally underestimated how important the quality of your bike is. Running races… you have your shoes (very important, but really, about 100 bucks and a good fitting and you’re good to go), your brain, your training, and the road. Biking is a whole ‘nother story. It’s all about a lighter bike. I don’t mean to be mean, but there were people who were obviously in worse shape than I was FLYING past me on the bike course with their racers. I heard “on your left” way too many times. One race volunteer even told me I should get a heavier bike, hehe.
Also, let me say that after making sure I had the camelback full and iced down, when I got on the bike I couldn’t ever reach the damn straw. 1 hour of biking in the hot sun, knowing I had icewater on my back, and not being able to grab it was kinda torture, but I was not about to get off my bike to do it.
I made it through my 2 loops of 12.8 miles and headed back to the transition to dump my bike and bag and chug some water (it was still cold! Score!). I jogged the whole way in and it was a great warmup – I started running and my legs felt GREAT! All the brick work I had done totally paid off. I got major vindication passing up a lot of people on the run who had passed me on the bike. Everyone kept saying – out and back, out and back. So I go out, I go back, the finish line is in sight and then… I get directed AWAY, up a HILL, and told that it’s about one more mile. Bugger! I definitely pouted a bit there and slowed down, but once I got up the hill and rounded the home stretch, I kicked it up a notch and sprinted to the finish.
Woohoo! I am a triathlete! All in all, a GREAT race for a tri-virgin – people were very supportive and I didn’t feel like a jerk for not being an elite athlete. After…there may have been a little too much junk food and ummm, FOUR bottles of champagne split between Zliten and I that day, but I freaking deserved it. I took yesterday off because I figured I’d be dead tired but I felt great. Today, it’s back to business. 10k run today to get back into the business of running longer than 5k, and more fun and games to follow this week.
My biggest desires with the training:
-Be able to do 25 miles bike/10k run OUTSIDE (heat training/accurate conditions)
-Be able to do 5k run/25 mile bike/10k run at the gym (endurance training)
-Be able to swim 1500m in the pool then bike/run (transition training)
-Do a 30 mile bike ride and 10 mile run (more endurance training)
Everything else will just be filler workouts to keep up the calorie burn/cardio. I feel like I could do double distance if I really pushed myself (oddly enough, the BIKE felt like it would be the most troublesome), it’s now just getting more comfortable with 4 hours of constant activity and improving times.
More soon on the specifics. For now, I’m going to enjoy my week and get my head around longer distances. So, my question of the day – what is the one thing you could not live without for races (or workouts), besides the obvious?