I finally was able to get in my first triathlon of the year. Shoulders, you have not won!
Who needs sleep?
As seems to be the case, I slept like crap the night before. I felt like I only got a few hours of actual sleep, though my Fitbit disagrees, clocking nearly 6.5 hours of sleep with only 12 periods of restlessness. I can accept that, if you consider that I was still for 3+ hours of that time, looking at the ceiling.
It’s not that I’m nervous. I’m not exactly sure how to put it. I guess I’m just excited and can’t wait to get my tri on.
Will I remember how to swim?
Prior to this morning, I have swum exactly four times in 2015, including two lap swims and two open water swims. The latest swim, done in early July, got me a stern talking to by my shoulder doc. Something about breaking my clavicle plate and ruining my surgery. We agreed to wait until August to try that motion again.
So here we are, two days into August and I have a triathlon for which I have not trained. Childhood swimming, don’t fail me now!
It turns out, I did alright, averaging 1:43/100 over the “400 yard” swim for a total of 7:28, good for 84th out of over a thousand participants. Not bad for a guy with a freshly broken clavicle, scapula and ribs on one side and an impinged rotator cuff and labrum on the other.
The swim was pretty uneventful. I think I passed a handful of people and at least one person ran into, then passed me, in the murky quarry water. The only thing that I didn’t quite understand was the lack of haste the group I exited with showed when entering T1. I was momentarily convinced they were going to have a seat on the side and relax for a bit. I quickly ran by them and started T1.
Speaking of T1, it was a long 1400′ from the swim exit to my bike and out to the bike mount. On the bright side, I only had to push my bike 50 yards or so before doing my first ever “flying mount.”
They say practice makes perfect…
And I need to practice more. While my “flying mount” was definitely faster than running around a tight circle paved with sealed asphalt while wearing plastic-soled bike shoes, it was most likely pretty ugly. To that point, I’m happy to say I did not fall on my ass from slipping on said asphalt, like I did last year.
Notice how, in the second pict, the guy in red is actually “flying” while I just stepped on my left pedal, swung my leg over to the right pedal, and started biking. Though it is worth noting, I was way quicker getting in my shoes once moving, allowing me to quickly pass the guy in red who was fighting to get strapped into his shoes.
As for the ride, the new course is a better setup than the last, with one less 180° turn and much more room to get up to speed.
The bottom half of the course was pretty fast with the wind blowing from the west at a nice clip. Of course, you had to fight it when moving westbound, but the 28mph+ return path to the east made up for it.
As is always the case, the course was a little congested on lap two as more and more triathletes made it through the swim and T1 onto the bike. Thankfully, I only was caught in traffic at one point and made it through without losing too much time.
All this was good for a 34:39 20k, averaging 21.5mph and a 225 watts of normalized power (my Garmin reported a 22.7 mph average over 21.25 km). I’m happy to say this earned me 33rd place overall, meaning that at least all my hard work biking has paid off. My best result of the day.
I still can’t figure out how to run fast.
I just can’t get my feet to move fast and stay that way. Maybe its because I never do intervals when running, though I like to blame my poor run split on my short legs and genetics.
Remember how I was 84th best in swimming and 33rd best in biking? One would think I’d place similar in running. Nope. I was 216th best in running. 216th. Grrrr.
My first mile took me 8:07, which is not too bad considering I just came off the bike and my legs weren’t in running mode yet. Unfortunately, I slowed even more as my calves told me they’d like to take a break during most of mile two. At some point the anger of getting passed by people I had passed on the bike overcame my legs’ pleas for rest and I stepped it up, dropping to the high 6:00’s, low 7:00’s per mile, netting me a reported average of 7:45/mile and 24:02 over the 5k distance. Someday I’ll figure out how to do that the entire time, not just the last half of the run.
All this was good for 12th (of 92) place in my division, and 57th place (of over 1000) overall.
I must say, the Naperville Sprint Triathlon is one of my favorite tris. It is run very well, everyone is friendly, and its relaxed atmosphere ensures you have a fun day, no matter your results. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s a 15 minute drive from my house.
If you’re thinking about getting into triathlons, or just want to try one to see what it’s all about, this is definitely a great place to start. Along with the serious competitors with 5-figure bikes, you have people of all sizes and ages, with moms and dads riding Sunday cruisers alongside their 10-year-old kids.