Hey, everyone! Can you believe it’s almost Friday? And almost time for the 2012 London Olympics!
Yesterday evening at the CNY Triathlon Club training series was a big night—I completed my first (unofficial) sprint triathlon!
CNY Triathlon Club Wednesday Night Training
I still can’t believe I finished a sprint tri! I had a ton of fun, and completing the swim-bike-run progression also served as a valuable learning experience. Here’s the breakdown of how the evening progressed:
Nutrition and transition set-up: Before I left for Jamesville Beach, I encountered a normal triathlon snag—both of my tires needed air, badly. (I later found out there were 20 lbs. of pressure, when 90-125 is ideal.) At the time, I didn’t own a bike pump—I went to Syracuse Bicycle today to pick one up—so I made sure to arrive at the training location with plenty of time to set up and track down a friendly person who brought one. I met Tim, who placed his bike and transition equipment near me, and he talked me through the process of pumping tires. From this five-minute demo, I learned a ton: where on the tires to locate how many pounds of air are ideal, how to work a pump, which kind of pump is ideal, and how often to put air in tires. Thanks a bunch, Tim!
With plenty of air in my tires, I slugged a GU energy gel at 5:45 p.m., about 15 minutes before training officially began. I’ve never noticed this before—maybe I did last night because I was slamming a gel—but I saw the majority of athletes fueling up. Lots of people were taking gels or shot blocks, but there were a few bars and sports beans in the mix.
Swim: Recently, I’ve had trouble with my goggles fogging up, so I did some research online, and most sites recommend either licking and/or spitting in goggles or applying baby shampoo inside the lenses. After submerging my goggles in the lake, I hocked a lugie—sorry, gross, I know—took aim, and fired one in each lens. However, my goggles still fogged up during the swim; maybe I’ll try baby shampoo next time. How do you keep your goggles from fogging up?
Other than the foggy goggle issue, the swim went OK. The water temperature read 81 degrees Fahrenheit, so like last week, we couldn’t wear wetsuits if we wanted to swim multiple laps, so I went without one. I ended up going in the second wave—there were three sections last night—and I settled into a rhythm fairly easily. I practiced sighting, and I even tried drafting—or staying behind another swimmer, which helps you use less energy—but it didn’t work that well. During my handful of attempts, I had to slow down tremendously to prevent myself from hitting their feet. (I actually had to switch to the breaststroke.) The process felt frustrating, so I eventually ended up passing all four swimmers I tried to draft off of. I’m thinking drafting resembles sighting in the sense it’s a skill you need to practice in order for it to feel natural. As usual, I alternated between the front crawl and breaststroke, and overall, I know I could’ve definitely challenged myself more.
As the Fleet Feet Triathlon coaches suggested during their OWS clinic, I swam until the last possible second and exited the water running while simultaneously removing my cap and goggles. The jello-leg feeling brought on by swimming and running still feels weird, but I’m getting used to it.
Transition 1 (T1): Before touching my bike or cycling shoes, I grabbed my sunglasses and snapped on my helmet. (I didn’t have to think about it, which is kind of neat!) As I dried my feet and put on my shoes, I took a quick look at my phone, and it read 6:25 p.m. Now, training technically started at 6 p.m., so I’m hoping the 25 minutes reflect walking down to the lake, listening to the director review the route, and waiting for the first wave to take off; I’m really hoping my time was closer to 18-20 minutes, but as I’ve known all along, the swim will be the most challenging.
Bike: Knowing the swim took longer than I hoped, I hit the bike portion aggressively. Throughout the ride, I maintained a solid cadence (I really need to invest in an odometer) and pushed myself enough to feel efficient, but not tired. I’m also beginning to discover that I’m an OK climber. When I get passed, it’s usually on straight-aways—although I pass other cyclists then, too—but I do the majority of my passing on hills. Since the Cazenovia Triathlon course contains hills, I’m hoping to use this terrain to my advantage.
Transition 2 (T2): After placing my bike back on the rack and removing my helmet, I quickly checked my phone again. Math is not my strong suit, but I think I completed the 10-mile course in 35-40ish minutes. I’m satisfied with that time, but I know the Caz bike course spans an additional four miles, and its hills are definitely more punishing. With this in mind, I hope to finish the Caz course in 45-50 minutes. Anyway, after removing my cycling shoes and putting on my visor and running sneakers, I hit the run course.
Run: The initial 100m or so reminded me of running to T1 after swimming—hello, jello legs! However, my legs felt tired jogging to T1, but they felt surprisingly OK heading out on the run. (Maybe this means I can push it more during the swim and bike?) Although I didn’t plan on reaching my goal-pace immediately—I wanted to assess my body and gradually kick it into gear—I slipped into it seamlessly. I passed a few people on the run out—it was an out-and-back route—and during the loop back, I could feel my legs reaching that “uncomfortable” threshold. (Had I been completing an intermediate/Olympic-distance course, I would’ve slammed another energy gel, and I also would’ve been taking nutrition on the bike as well.) Since I recognized the feeling—the “uncomfortableness” felt very similar to the last five minutes of my tempo runs—I knew I could hold my pace and push through it. Once I made it back to transition, I stretched out and checked my phone: It read 7:22 p.m., which means I completed the sprint course in 1:22! (This math I can handle—my time was around 20-22 minutes.)
Overall, I’m really happy with how the training session went. I stuck to my race-/training plan and executed it relatively well. And although I pushed myself, I never felt like I would run out of steam. My overall time is good, but I don’t want to settle—I know I can complete the swim faster. (At this point, I’m still thinking about my current training plan and whether or not to make any changes. I plan on incorporating more OWS before the Caz Tri, and I might forgo the Jamesville bike course and focus exclusively on the Caz one for now; I haven’t decided yet.)
I’d greatly appreciate any tips or feedback from those with experience. I’m still learning the sport, so any pointers would be great!