Friday, September 13, 2013

Try Tri Again

My next triathlon is coming up very soon.  This one will be a short sprint tri, only 300m swim, 10 mile bike, and 2 mile run.  Training for this tri has been interesting, particularly in swimming.  For some reason, it all suddenly "clicked" about a week after the last race.  My 400m time went from 12 minutes all the way down to 9:30 all at once and with no extra effort on my part.  I started working more on technique drills and earlier this week I swam 500m in 11:04 (at 400m, my time was 8:49).  I can't recommend Total Immersion swimming strongly enough for people wanting to get into triathlons that have no swimming background.  I started out floundering through the pool, and finishing 25m totally exhausted and needing a long break, and now after watching the TI videos and reading the book, I've gotten down to about a 2:15/100m pace and no exhaustion.  

Another big change in my swimming is that I no longer feel any need for a nose clip and swimming a mile without breaks feels like no big deal (it's not fast, but it's not exhausting).   My goal this time around was to be able to swim 300m without stopping and I've blown past that, so I need to come up with a time goal.  The swim time I put down on my registration is now significantly slower than I can actually swim so I'm still considering what a feasible time goal will be since I'll probably be having to pass people.  This swim is also in a lazy river (with the jets turned off), so having to actually pay attention to where I'm going will probably slow me down.  I have no open water swim experience yet, I'm only used to going in straight lines with the line on the bottom of the pool to guide me.  A lazy river is a good stepping stone between pool and open water swimming, right?

I was happy with my bike last time, so my goal this time around has been to be able to take care of a flat tire without help.  Josh has extensive road bike racing experience, so he's always spoiled me by being my bike mechanic.  It had been years since I changed a tube on my own and I just knew that while I've lucked out so far, riding longer distances and in more races was going to eventually leave me having to do some sort of work on my bike by myself.  So I asked Josh to talk me through how to change a tube.  Last night, I put new tubes on both wheels all by myself.  Still takes me about 10 minutes to get done, but that's quicker than walking an entire bike course!

And running is miserable with the summer Texas heat, but a few weeks ago, I got in a sub-90 degree run and I was significantly faster than my normal time, so I think just getting into fall temperatures will make a big difference there. I was able to run a sub-10 minute mile for the first time ever (or, at least, I don't remember ever doing it before and it seems like something I'd remember) recently, so I know I'm making progress.  The bike course on this tri is quite hilly, so I think I'm going to stick with a 14 minute/mile goal at the race. 

So I've just been plugging away at my training plan, enjoying the mental health vacation I get by having that bit of alone time most evenings and plotting which races I want to sign up for next year.  I'm definitely still loving the tri training.  Okay, maybe I complain about running when the heat index is over 100, and biking when it's windy.  And maybe the swim team still kicks my rear when I'm swimming laps.  But I love the variety and I feel like the frequent cardio work is keeping my anxiety at bay.  It hasn't been so good for my grocery budget, turns out I'm eating about 3,000 calories a day to keep my weight steady.  And of course, it's not like you can fuel all those miles with cheap junk food.  But the extra food is still cheaper than therapy.

I'm definitely thinking there's a half-ironman in my future.  I see open water swimming as my biggest hurdle to getting there.  After this tri, I need to focus on the marathon I'm signed up for, but the next thing on my radar is an olympic distance triathlon (which is somewhere around 1 mile swim, 25 mile bike and 10K run).  I'd like to do an oly next year.  Some of those have pool swims, but most are open water swim, so I'm going to need to figure out the details of where to do that and find someone willing to join me and help me learn how to stay safe. 

I'm still not quite sure what I was thinking when I signed up for that marathon.  26.2 miles on foot.  That's an awful lot of miles.  I'm hoping it's more appealing when the heat lets up a little bit!!

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