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Indoor Triathlon Race Report! (with results!)

January 10, 2010 1 comment

Done.  My first ever triathlon.  Thankfully it WAS an indoor, as it was 0 degrees outside with the windchill…brrrrr.  It was a chilly walk to the subway!

As most people know, I’m a runner.  I don’t bike, I don’t swim…ever.  Well I shouldn’t say ever, I’ve gone on about 5 bike rides in the last 3 years.  I used to bike to and from work back in ’04.  In other words, not a lot of training, although I have been using the gym bikes for cross training during the last 4-5 months, so that helps.

Swimming?  I don’t think so 🙂  I swam for 12 minutes last week just to make sure I wouldn’t die in this triathlon.  That is the extent of my swimming in the last 10 years.  I never swam competitively in high school.

Running I was obviously confident about.  I’m in the middle of training for the Boston marathon and still have quite a bit of fitness from the NYC marathon build up.

The tri was based on distance covered during the time allowed.  10 min swim, 30 min bike, 20 min run.

McBurney YMCA

I arrived at the McBurney YMCA at about 10am, 1 hour early.  I had signed up for the 11am wave, knowing I had a restaurant employee annual party to attend the night before, so I knew I wouldn’t be getting to bed early.  The 11 o’clock wave was taken on a tour of the facilities and shown all of the location for each stage.  I wasn’t too nervous, a little anxious to just get started, but I had no expectations except to pace myself in the swim, go hard and even in the bike, and go after it in the run.

I was watching racers in the pool before I had to swim and saw a wide range of ability which was encouraging.  I knew I wouldn’t be the slowest 🙂  But my ultimate goal with these indoor triathlon is to eventually be in the top 3 overall at one of them.  This is already #3 in a series of 5.  The top finishers in each race will qualify to enter the Indoor Tri Championships at Asphalt Green on March 15th.  The next race happens to be at Asphalt Green on Jan 31st, which I plan on doing.

I knew I should warm up a little so I hopped on their indoor track and jogged for about 10 minutes, then did some light stretching.  I don’t really know how to warm up for swimming, but I remembered seeing Michael Phelps doing some arm circles and shoulder stretches, so I did that.

I showered and got to the pool just in time to hear the instructions of the wave before mine.  I overheard some ladies in my wave talking about how unprepared they were for the swim and had planned to train more before, but “December happened”.  That eased my nerves a little.  There were only 4 in my wave; the 2 ladies, one other guy and myself.

So it was 10 minutes, there would be a whistle at 5 minutes to go, 1 minute to go, and the stop whistle.  Jackrabbit Sports puts on the triathlons, so their employees were the officials and would be counting the lengths.  The pool was 25 yards and my goal based on how I struggled in my pool outing a couple weeks ago was 10 laps as a minimum, 15 would be a good effort and 20 would be my max if everything went well.

I spent an hour on Saturday (the day before the tri) studying video of efficient swim and stroke technique and learned some good tips.  The site is called Total Immersion and had a series of 6 videos of a seminar done by Terry Laughlin’s  at the 2009 New England Multisport Expo at MIT.

I picked up valuable energy saving tips like don’t cup your hands and why flutter kicking is unnecessary.  But I didn’t have time to test my new found tips…until race day.  Now, I haven’t swam much during my life, especially lately, but I do have habits in the pool, and they happen to be cupping my hands and flutter kicking.  It took all of my concentration to not do these things, and yet I still caught myself doing them.

I did 1 down and back to warm up and then it was Go Time.  Surprisingly my swim went well.  I felt better than I had at my training session, maybe because of the adreneline.  I was right on goal pace of 30 seconds a length.  At 3 minutes in, I touched for 6 laps.  At 5 minutes, right at 10 laps.  At about 7 minutes I felt like I was getting tired.  It’s hard to explain the fatigue of swimming, totally different from running fatigue.  I guess it is the forced breathing and gasping.  I fell off pace a little and made it to 18.5 laps and got credit for the last lap…19 laps.  Very happy with it.  I was in a lane by myself which was nice, it gave me a little more space.  Since I had the space I tried to backstroke a little to catch my breath, but I think it was worse than regular freestyle, so I flipped back over.  Looking back there is A LOT I can improve on.  I know I was turning my head to far out of the water to breathe for example.  I will take a class soon since I have no idea what I look like swimming and need some help.  But I feel good knowing there is a lot of room for improvement.

We had a solid 10 minutes to get out of pool, go change into bike/run outfit and make out way to the spin bike room.  I was able to change fairly quickly and got to the spin room with plenty of time to adjust the bike (which I had also researched…the proper adjustment of a spin bike).  With me I brought a water bottle, a bottle of Accelerade and a pack of Clif Bar Shot Bloks.  The bike had toe clips to slide our shoes into, bringing your own pedals was not allowed.  Not that I have any, but I guess some people do.  There was not extra bonus for having resistance on the bike, so everyone turned to resistance to minimum.

I had done a trial of the spin bike after my swim at Chelsea Piers last weekend and discovered 2 things, spin bikes can be pedaled very fast, much faster than a traditional exercise bike AND I needed to purchase some padded cycling shorts 🙂

I wore my cycling shorts over my compression running shorts, since the next transition was faster, only 5 minutes allowed to go from spin room, upstairs to the treadmills.  I got my bike set up and warmed up a little.  All the bikes had an electronic display showing mph and total miles.  At Chelsea Piers I managed to go 16.6 miles in 30 minutes, that was with a little resistance because it felt to weird to pedal without it.  When we got the tour the wave that was spinning were going so fast and frantic I thought a few of them might actually achieve lift off like a space shuttle.

We got the 5 second countdown, and we were off…pedaling like mad.  I quickly got the bike up to 35mph, a little quicker than my training session, but it felt good.  Spinning like this didn’t really get my heart rate up very fast and it seemed easy.  The struggle was to be coordinated enough to pedal so fast, it reminds me of boxers who workout on the speed bag.

At the halfway point (15 min) I was at 9.55 miles, 19 mile pace.  Nice!  I actually hit 40mph a few times, but settled in around 35-36.  My right foot started feeling sore at the halfway point, I think the clip was too tight.  I started sweating a lot at 15 minutes and finished all of my accelerade and half of my Shot Bloks.

I started to fatigue a little in the 2nd half and really focused on maintaining.  As I looked at others in the room, I felt like I was faster than most, just based on the cadence I was seeing.  I finished up with 18.3 miles and I can’t see how I could have gone much faster, but after getting home and looking at past race winners, I saw that one person got to 22 miles!!  It really becomes a leg quickness test rather than strength, I think.

Spin Fest

The bike being done, I got off and assessed the damage…a little soreness in the inner thighs, and some calf soreness, but overall, not bad.  My wave headed upstairs to the treadmill run portion.  We got there in about 90 seconds and had to wait a few more minutes for treadmills to open from the previous wave.  This gave me a little time to stretch and shake out my legs.  I glanced around at the other competitors to get a gauge of what pace they had set their treadmills to, I saw a 6.0 and a 7.5, which equate to 10 min/mile and 8 min/mile.

A treadmill opened up and I jumped on it.  I immediately cranked it up to 9.0 (6:40 pace).  There is no bonus for using incline so I kept it at 0.0.  Those of you who run on treadmills know that no incline almost feels like running downhill.  9.0 felt to easy so I went to 9.5 (6:13 pace) and then to 10 (6 min pace), I came through 1 mile in about 6:16.  I didn’t want to crash and burn on the treadmill and have to slow the pace down, but it really felt easy, so I went to 10.3 (5:50 pace) and hung out there for a while.  2 mile split was 12:01.

I had heard some guys from an earlier wave talking about the bike portion in the locker room and one guy said, he usually does 3.2 miles on the run portion but, didn’t get there today.  So based on that, I wanted to at least beat 3.2.  During the last 8 minutes a gradually increased to pace until I was at 10.9 (5:30 pace) for the last 1:30.  My final distance was 3.42 miles, the recording lady told me it was the best of the day 🙂  Hopefully it held for the last few heats after me.  Lord knows I needed to make up points after my swim…

So that was it.  I was proud of myself.  Especially of the run.  It was really exciting to have 3 different challenges…I think I have found a new event to attack.

I will know the results of the race tomorrow (hopefully) and will post as soon as I get them.

Here is JackRabbit’s blog about various news, including past results of their Indoor Tri Series

Treadmill Pace Conversions

My Tri Results

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