Like any new adventure, there is always fear of the unknown. The most common thing new runners say to me before their first race is "I just don't want to be last." Rightfully so. It's the fear of inadequacy that lives in all of us from the early age of grade school. We know we may not be the best, but certainly don't want to be the worst ... or last picked.
My initial goal with the triathlon was simple... Learn to swim. Finish.
Then it became... Don't drown. Don't fall off your bike and please Lord, don't let me be dead last.
And now as the date clicks closer, the competitive athlete in me starts to rear out. You see, there are very few (if any) races that I sign up for to 'just participate'. I enjoy my daily runs and relax my pace to run with friends during training. But when I toe the line on race day, the adrenaline in me says, "Bring it!" It's why I do races... to test myself, to find my best. If I wanted a fun run with friends, I'd save myself the race entry fee and just run my favorite trail. So forgive me friends, I will never be the pal who runs stride for stride with you in a race (unless your name is Anna and I'm trying my best to keep up!). I don't mean that in a bad or judgmental way to those who do races for fun - it's just who I am.
So this competitive nature has driven me to train hard this past week. I had some great brick workouts, combining the three sports of the triathlon...
TESTING THE SWIM.
The swim is no doubt my weakest area. I've never swam before this past January, so it's been a learning process. Swimming is not as easy as the pros make it look. It's extremely exhausting, but I love what it does to my core. I was pretty dedicated to swimming practice January-March and then I got distracted with the marathon... and just lazy every since. This past month, I've gotten my rusty swimsuit back in the pool. Oh-my, it felt like I was starting over.
When I registered for the triathlon, I did sign up for the "slow swimmer" wave, so I'm hoping that will relieve some of my fears of being drown by the mass of people. It is an open water swim in a lake, which I've never done before either. Curiosity got the best of me this week, and I looked up the 2011 results from this event. I literally had no idea what a good time was for a 1/4 mile swim. Amongst the women, it looked like 10-12 minutes was about middle-of-the-pack. This past Friday, I brought my stopwatch to the pool and swam a 1/4 mile time trial. In fact, it was the first time I ever swam that far without stopping for a breather. I did 13.5 consecutive laps (small pool) in just over 11 minutes. I was satisfied with this, knowing that it probably won't make me last out of the water. Of course my competitive mindset immediately thought, "I wonder if I could get it under 10..."
TESTING THE BIKE.
When it comes to the 16 mile bike portion of the triathlon, I'm not entirely worried. I've ridden bike all my life and in recent years, I've spend lots of time training those muscles in Spinning class. Although I'm not entirely comfortable on a road bike since most of my outdoor rides have been on a mountain bike. The wider tires of a mountain bike definitely offer more stability and confidence.
I just bought my first real road bike (as compared to the ten-speed I had when I was 12 years old). On Sunday, I took her out for a 20 mile ride and couldn't be more pleased with how she rides. What a difference! I love this purple beauty and she's all mine! My only concern I still have is riding tight quarters with other bikers. I've never done that before; I always ride solo.
TESTING THE RUN.
Of course I know I can run the 3.1 miles in the sprint triathlon. What I don't know is how fast. How much will my legs have left after the swim and bike? Of course, this is the whole point of doing brick training. On Wednesday after nearly two hours of swimming and Spinning, fellow Sole Sister Karen pushed me in a 3+ mile run. It was so hot and humid outside; my legs were tired and she wouldn't let me slow down (love/hate moment here). The run proved to me that I could run a mid-9 minute/mile pace, despite weak conditions.
|Love this gal, but ready to kill her for making me run so darn fast! haha|
On Sunday after 20 on the bike, I immediately set off to run a 5k. The sensation was so weird in my legs. I couldn't tell how fast/slow I was running (and usually I'm a pretty good gauge of that.) But I was happy to finish the 5k under 30 minutes without really pushing.
Are you a triathlete?
Please share your words of wisdom and advice for this first-timer!
Ready for the Olympics?! Don't forget to sign up for the Virtual Games.