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Race report - first triathlon (long)



 
 
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  #1  
Old July 13th 04, 04:49 AM
Chris Durkin
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Race report - first triathlon (long)

Hey people,

I've been lurking in these groups for a while now, and I've learned a
lot from reading all of your posts. I don't usually have time to
participate but I just completed my first triathlon so I figure it's
time to give back to the community by entertaining you all with a race
report. I'm sure it will be a lengthy post, so if you're anxious to
get on with whatever the latest flamefest is, feel free to skip it.
g

First, a bit of background. Last October when I quit smoking for the
nth and final time, I decided I needed to set a positive goal that
would give me something to focus on and cement the transition from
self-destructive to healthy lifestyle. Now, one might say that simply
breathing clean air is in itself a worthy goal, but apparently the
concept of that wasn't enough for my stupid mind. It needed to be
expressed in a physical sense. So, I figured, I'm turning 30 next
June. It's about time I stopped with the half-ass "smoking in
moderation" crap. I will complete a triathlon before that year is up.
And so it began.

As it turned out, substituting an unhealthy addiction for a healthy
one worked better than I had even imagined at the time. I highly
recommend this to anyone struggling with something similar. The basic
strategy was - do aerobic exercise at least 5x per week. Any time I
felt the urge to smoke, do more aerobic exercise instead. This worked
out great. The physical exertion was the perfect outlet to get rid of
that twitchy, I-want-to-kill-something nic fit feeling. And the pain
of being out of shape was a great reminder of how stupid I had been
and how far I had left to go. Many was the time when I stopped in the
middle of a run to puke, or by the side of the car before driving home
after a hard swim. Great stuff, I tell you.

A small disclaimer is probably in order at this point. I've never been
overweight and have always been in fairly good shape, kept active with
biking, tennis, etc. Never smoked more than a pack a day, and by the
time I quit I was down to around 5 or 10. So my particular story
shouldn't be taken out of context if you happen to be a 3 pack a day,
100 lbs overweight type of person. Choose the pace that fits your
situation, don't kill yourself. But do suffer. Pain is the feeling of
weakness leaving your body.

OK, enough with the past. You folks probably don't care to hear about
my struggle to change idiotic behaviour patterns anyway. Heheh.
Actually I made all that up to excuse my slow times. Just kidding

A word on my training regimen, or lack thereof. My plan was to focus
initially on swimming, which I had no experience at all in. Mix in
some cycling (mostly commuting to work) and weight training, then
phase in the running starting in January. This pretty much went
according to plan, though I ended up doing most of my biking in the
gym until May. (Pacific NW, rain, laziness...) My primary goal was to
concentrate on becoming a good swimmer, so I wouldn't drown. Biking
and running were things I'd done since I was a kid, at varying levels
of commitment. My bike is a hybrid and I'm not a fast runner, but I
could easily handle the distances that would be involved with the
sprint tri I signed up for. Well, maybe not easily, but I could
certainly finish it, even if at a patheticly slow pace. Or so I
reasoned at the time.

Those first months of swim training were a humbling experience. At
first, I could barely do 50 yds, and would have to rest for a minute
afterwards, gasping and dying. Seems like it took forever before I
could do three lengths in a row. Other notable milestones were my
first sub-minute 50, the first time I seriously tried breathing every
three strokes (asphyxiation, pain), finally mastering breathing every
3 (freedom, balance, relaxation), first 1000, first 1500.

I have to say that the Total Immersion book played a huge role in jump
starting my technique to the point where I could swim without getting
tired. Particularly where body position and balance are concerned,
those drills are invaluable. I'm not sure what I look like when I
swim, but I suspect it's some hybrid of the "TI" and "Larry" styles.
45 degree body rotation, long strokes, arched back, loper. I'm a 6
beat kicker though. No matter how far the swim. Although realistically
it turns into sort of a 2 beat over long distances. (KICK kick kick
KICK kick kick). Kicking for me is a natural, inseparable element of
swimming. Even if I'm not using it for power, it's essential for
balance. Plus it's nice to have in my arsenal when I feel like
sprinting. My ankles are inflexible by nature, so I'm constantly
stretching them to keep the kick propulsive.

Going into the race, my 400 time in the pool was 8:39. Slow, but not
too bad considering it was a really relaxed swim. I figured I could
easily do at least 8:00, probably better, which was well within the
"respectable" range for last years' race results. My favorite workout
is something I call the "pyramid", which consists of 2 50s, 2 100s, 2
200s, 2 100s, 2 50s. On longer days, throw in 2 400s in the middle.
Rest 10 breaths after a 50, 20 after a 100, 30 after a 200. Go faster
on the "descending" slope of the pyramid. I did that one a lot leading
up to the race. Interspersed with the occasional long swim - 1000 or
1500 yds. I also swam a couple hundred yards in lakes maybe four
times, just to get a feel for the navigational and coldness aspects.

In case you haven't noticed, when it comes to swimming I am obsessed.
When I pass a body of water I have an overpowering urge to jump in. I
don't feel right unless I swim 5x a week. I just raced yesterday, and
all day at work I couldn't wait to swim again tonight

As far as cycling goes, that's something I've always done and am
fairly good at. My bike isn't very fast - it's a Trek 7500 hybrid
upgraded with Continental tires. Great commuting machine, which is
mainly what I use it for. An excellent workhorse to handle roads,
trails, curbs, and rain. Not the best device for maintaining say, 20
mph over a 30 mile training ride. Not even within the realm of
possibility. So I contented myself with riding 15 mph, climbing as
many hills as I could find, and building up the engine, so to speak.
Plenty of time in the future to buy some expensive lightweight race
bike.

Running is another area that demands some level of obsession, at least
from a technique perspective. Given that it produces more injuries
than any sport I know of, I figured I had better make sure I was doing
it right before doing it very often. I have high arches and tend
toward underpronation and an outward splay of the feet. Or at least, I
used to. I've trained myself to the point where even when walking I
now keep both feet lined up in a || pattern, almost unconsciously. I'm
also a forefoot striker who enjoys running barefoot. On dirt, that is.
Not sure I ever want to try that on pavement. As with cycling, I run
with a fairly high cadence, and try to focus on increasing stride
length while maintaining cadence when I want to speed up. All of this
technique stuff has recently materialized to the point where I can run
comfortably for 5 miles or so with no lapse in form. I still have a
long way to go as far as speed.

I think my fastest timed mile so far was 7 minutes, and typically I go
around 8 to 8:30 when running outside. In other words, slow.
Borderline jogger. When inside, I do intervals on the treadmill, using
the "pyramid" method - 6 mph, 7 mph, 8 mph, 9 mph, 8 mph, etc. Rest
periods in between are 5 mph. This seems to work pretty well at
keeping me from dying of boredom on the treadmill, on those days when
I need to squeeze a quick run in at the gym. I have yet to really try
a "fast" 5K distance in training, so who knows what I could do if that
were the only thing on the agenda for the day. I plan to find out soon
when I focus more on running.

OK, on to the race description. The triathlon I signed up for was,
aptly named - "My First Triathlon". What a title, eh. It sure looks
cute on the T-shirt too. Luckily there are no fuzzy bunnies or flowers
on there.

I arrived early so I could watch the previous days' race and get a
feel for the course. The lake was beautiful, clear, and cold! Much
colder than the ones around my house that I had practiced in. Not
quite wetsuit temp, but cold enough to cause tingly extremities after
doing a few 100s in there. I went in several times that day and stayed
in around 10 minutes, to try and acclimate.

Saturday's race went in 4 waves of 100 each. The first guy into the
water started breaststroking like mad, taking an early lead. Then he
proceeded to flip over and backstroke for the next half of the swim! I
think he continued on like that for the whole race, alternating
between breast and backstroke. Only a few people caught up to him too,
this guy was an animal. His backstroke was easily faster than my
freestyle. I think he ended up coming in third for the swim. I'm not
sure how he did overall.

Other than the front pack, the race was pure chaos. It looked like
people were getting thrashed, beaten, and kicked everywhere. Based on
this I decided that the next day I would start at the front of the
first wave, just behind the first row of people into the water. I
figured it was better to be up front with the good swimmers, who would
know how to pass me properly. If they wanted to pass, let them work
for it.

Showing up early turned out to be a great idea. Not only did I get to
watch the first days' races, I was able to do a couple of quick swims
in the lake, drive up and down the bike and run courses, and generally
get familiar with the whole deal.

Sunday morning I rose at 6 AM, relieved that the dream about missing
the race was just a dream. I was psyched and ready to go. The 50 cent
hot shower in the state park was a welcome convenience, considering I
slept on the ground in a tent. By 6:30 I was at the local cafe,
getting coffee. 7 AM and I was at the race site, setting up my bike
transition area, guzzling coffee and water, eating biscotti and trail
mix. Spent the next two hours before the race stretching, drinking
water, relaxing. Jumped in the lake around 10 minutes before race time
and splashed around a little. The lake didn't seem as cold that
morning. Maybe my two swims the previous day had worked.

5 minutes to go, and we all started to line up at the shoreline. There
were only around 150 people for Sunday's race, so they were doing us
all in one big wave. Excellent, I thought. Even better that I got my
spot right up front. I positioned myself behind and in between two
people in the first row, both of whom looked slightly younger than me.
They looked confident, like swimmers. The air horn went off, and I
sprinted in between them, dove in, and started stroking furiously.
Turned slightly to the left, and slipped into a nice drafting position
behind some dude wearing bike shorts. There I remained for a while,
until his form deteriorated and he started doing a weird scissor/frog
kick combination. At that point I looked up, and gave chase behind a
woman wearing a purple wetsuit. Settled in behind her for a while,
marveling at how much easier it seemed to swim when you were drafting
someone. I had practiced this before, at the Y when there were 5
people in my lane. This lady was significantly faster than me, but the
combination of draft and race adrenaline motivated me to stay right
with her. I felt people tapping against my feet, probably doing the
same thing, drafting off me. Or maybe they were trying to pass but
couldn't find room. Heheh. Kick harder, make them go around.

I continued the same pattern throughout the race, mostly drafting
behind people, occasionally changing course when the person in front
of me went off. I had no concept of how fast I was going or whether I
was using good form. All I knew was that not many people were passing
me or the rest of the pack, which I assumed was good. Then we rounded
the final curve and people started trying to make breaks for the
front. I tried a couple of times, but there were too many people
swimming shoulder to shoulder and I figured it wasn't worth going wide
around them. A couple of people slithered past like salmon in a fish
ladder. As we neared the shore and hit 5 ft water, the dude in front
of me dropped and started walk/running. Bad move. I swam faster and
passed him.

The bike transition was pretty uneventful. Since I have a hybrid bike
with platform pedals, I simply slipped on my running shoes (Nike
Scramble, baby! 30 bucks g), hopped on the bike, and was off. My
Orca trisuit was definitely a good investment. It would have been even
better if I had thought to buy a race belt. As it was, I was left with
a stupid paper number, 4 safety pins, and a $140 trisuit. I decided it
wasn't worth swimming with a paper thing hanging off me or risking
damage to the suit, so I pinned the tag to my T-shirt and wore that on
the bike and run. It would have been really nice to be more
aerodynamic on the bike, but such is life. If that turns out to be my
biggest mistake, I thought, then I'm lucky. Besides, the bike is the
easiest part.

And it was. The course was pleasant, scenic, somewhat hilly in a
rolling sort of way. I actually would have preferred some nastier
hills. I kept passing people on the hills and getting passed again on
the flats. Overall I probably conserved more energy on the bike than I
had to, but I was pretty happy with my average speed of 16.5 mph.
That's about the only measurement I have at the moment since I forgot
to use my watch to time the splits, and I am still waiting for the
official results.

After an invigorating bike ride, I cruise down the hill back to the
transition zone, and that's when I start to realize that there is such
a thing as too much hydration. 500 yards into the run, and not only do
I have a lovely cramp going from chest to abdomen, I have to **** like
a racehorse. Apparently I drank too much water on the bike, when I
really didn't need it. I was trying to follow the suggestion of 8
ounces to go with the gel I ate, but combined with the water I drank
before the race, it was just way too much.

I still managed to maintain a semi-normal running pace and pass a few
people. Semi-normal for a slow training run, that is. Nothing like the
steady build up that I had planned. At the turnaround point, I decided
to hell with it and wasted 2 minutes for a bathroom break. Came out
feeling much lighter, still cramped, but glad I had done it. Proceeded
to run what I thought was a 8:30 to 8 minute pace for the rest of the
run. Kicked it up to maybe 7:00 pace at the end. Not bad, but a far
cry from the all-out finishing sprint I had planned. It just seemed
kind of stupid to do that at the time, considering nobody from my age
group was anywhere near me. I'm assuming at this point that that was
probably a bad thing

I forget what the clock said when I finished. Less than 1:30 I think,
which was within my modest target zone. Hopefully they'll post the
official results on the website soon, and I will follow up with the
times. This particular event counts both transitions as part of the
bike, so I won't have those. Should have remembered to tap the old
chrono.

Overall, it was a good race. I finished feeling strong, and didn't
drown. Triathlons are so much fun, I am now thoroughly addicted. I
can't wait to do another one. I'm not sure if I'll do another sprint
this year, but next year I'm definitely doing the "My Next Triathlon",
which is a follow-up to this one, followed by the Black Hills
Triathlon next fall. That one is olympic distance. Hopefully by then
I'll own a better bike and be somewhat competitive. In the meantime, I
plan to enter every 5K I have time for, plus a couple of 10Ks before
next fall. Hopefully some longer open water swims too, if I can find
any.

Thanks to everyone on the newsgroups for all their informative and
inspirational posts, and for taking the time to read this.

Wishing you good health and speed,


Chris
aka "Thrashing Slug"
  #2  
Old July 13th 04, 05:44 AM
dreaded
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Race report - first triathlon (long)

Thanks for the post. I haven't done a tri. yet but would like to and your
story is inspiring. Also: I know it's kind of gross but if you've got to pee
and there's no time I think most runners just let it go. take a shower
later...or jump back in the lake!

"Chris Durkin" wrote in message
om...
Hey people,

I've been lurking in these groups for a while now, and I've learned a
lot from reading all of your posts. I don't usually have time to
participate but I just completed my first triathlon so I figure it's
time to give back to the community by entertaining you all with a race
report. I'm sure it will be a lengthy post, so if you're anxious to
get on with whatever the latest flamefest is, feel free to skip it.
g

First, a bit of background. Last October when I quit smoking for the
nth and final time, I decided I needed to set a positive goal that
would give me something to focus on and cement the transition from
self-destructive to healthy lifestyle. Now, one might say that simply
breathing clean air is in itself a worthy goal, but apparently the
concept of that wasn't enough for my stupid mind. It needed to be
expressed in a physical sense. So, I figured, I'm turning 30 next
June. It's about time I stopped with the half-ass "smoking in
moderation" crap. I will complete a triathlon before that year is up.
And so it began.

As it turned out, substituting an unhealthy addiction for a healthy
one worked better than I had even imagined at the time. I highly
recommend this to anyone struggling with something similar. The basic
strategy was - do aerobic exercise at least 5x per week. Any time I
felt the urge to smoke, do more aerobic exercise instead. This worked
out great. The physical exertion was the perfect outlet to get rid of
that twitchy, I-want-to-kill-something nic fit feeling. And the pain
of being out of shape was a great reminder of how stupid I had been
and how far I had left to go. Many was the time when I stopped in the
middle of a run to puke, or by the side of the car before driving home
after a hard swim. Great stuff, I tell you.

A small disclaimer is probably in order at this point. I've never been
overweight and have always been in fairly good shape, kept active with
biking, tennis, etc. Never smoked more than a pack a day, and by the
time I quit I was down to around 5 or 10. So my particular story
shouldn't be taken out of context if you happen to be a 3 pack a day,
100 lbs overweight type of person. Choose the pace that fits your
situation, don't kill yourself. But do suffer. Pain is the feeling of
weakness leaving your body.

OK, enough with the past. You folks probably don't care to hear about
my struggle to change idiotic behaviour patterns anyway. Heheh.
Actually I made all that up to excuse my slow times. Just kidding

A word on my training regimen, or lack thereof. My plan was to focus
initially on swimming, which I had no experience at all in. Mix in
some cycling (mostly commuting to work) and weight training, then
phase in the running starting in January. This pretty much went
according to plan, though I ended up doing most of my biking in the
gym until May. (Pacific NW, rain, laziness...) My primary goal was to
concentrate on becoming a good swimmer, so I wouldn't drown. Biking
and running were things I'd done since I was a kid, at varying levels
of commitment. My bike is a hybrid and I'm not a fast runner, but I
could easily handle the distances that would be involved with the
sprint tri I signed up for. Well, maybe not easily, but I could
certainly finish it, even if at a patheticly slow pace. Or so I
reasoned at the time.

Those first months of swim training were a humbling experience. At
first, I could barely do 50 yds, and would have to rest for a minute
afterwards, gasping and dying. Seems like it took forever before I
could do three lengths in a row. Other notable milestones were my
first sub-minute 50, the first time I seriously tried breathing every
three strokes (asphyxiation, pain), finally mastering breathing every
3 (freedom, balance, relaxation), first 1000, first 1500.

I have to say that the Total Immersion book played a huge role in jump
starting my technique to the point where I could swim without getting
tired. Particularly where body position and balance are concerned,
those drills are invaluable. I'm not sure what I look like when I
swim, but I suspect it's some hybrid of the "TI" and "Larry" styles.
45 degree body rotation, long strokes, arched back, loper. I'm a 6
beat kicker though. No matter how far the swim. Although realistically
it turns into sort of a 2 beat over long distances. (KICK kick kick
KICK kick kick). Kicking for me is a natural, inseparable element of
swimming. Even if I'm not using it for power, it's essential for
balance. Plus it's nice to have in my arsenal when I feel like
sprinting. My ankles are inflexible by nature, so I'm constantly
stretching them to keep the kick propulsive.

Going into the race, my 400 time in the pool was 8:39. Slow, but not
too bad considering it was a really relaxed swim. I figured I could
easily do at least 8:00, probably better, which was well within the
"respectable" range for last years' race results. My favorite workout
is something I call the "pyramid", which consists of 2 50s, 2 100s, 2
200s, 2 100s, 2 50s. On longer days, throw in 2 400s in the middle.
Rest 10 breaths after a 50, 20 after a 100, 30 after a 200. Go faster
on the "descending" slope of the pyramid. I did that one a lot leading
up to the race. Interspersed with the occasional long swim - 1000 or
1500 yds. I also swam a couple hundred yards in lakes maybe four
times, just to get a feel for the navigational and coldness aspects.

In case you haven't noticed, when it comes to swimming I am obsessed.
When I pass a body of water I have an overpowering urge to jump in. I
don't feel right unless I swim 5x a week. I just raced yesterday, and
all day at work I couldn't wait to swim again tonight

As far as cycling goes, that's something I've always done and am
fairly good at. My bike isn't very fast - it's a Trek 7500 hybrid
upgraded with Continental tires. Great commuting machine, which is
mainly what I use it for. An excellent workhorse to handle roads,
trails, curbs, and rain. Not the best device for maintaining say, 20
mph over a 30 mile training ride. Not even within the realm of
possibility. So I contented myself with riding 15 mph, climbing as
many hills as I could find, and building up the engine, so to speak.
Plenty of time in the future to buy some expensive lightweight race
bike.

Running is another area that demands some level of obsession, at least
from a technique perspective. Given that it produces more injuries
than any sport I know of, I figured I had better make sure I was doing
it right before doing it very often. I have high arches and tend
toward underpronation and an outward splay of the feet. Or at least, I
used to. I've trained myself to the point where even when walking I
now keep both feet lined up in a || pattern, almost unconsciously. I'm
also a forefoot striker who enjoys running barefoot. On dirt, that is.
Not sure I ever want to try that on pavement. As with cycling, I run
with a fairly high cadence, and try to focus on increasing stride
length while maintaining cadence when I want to speed up. All of this
technique stuff has recently materialized to the point where I can run
comfortably for 5 miles or so with no lapse in form. I still have a
long way to go as far as speed.

I think my fastest timed mile so far was 7 minutes, and typically I go
around 8 to 8:30 when running outside. In other words, slow.
Borderline jogger. When inside, I do intervals on the treadmill, using
the "pyramid" method - 6 mph, 7 mph, 8 mph, 9 mph, 8 mph, etc. Rest
periods in between are 5 mph. This seems to work pretty well at
keeping me from dying of boredom on the treadmill, on those days when
I need to squeeze a quick run in at the gym. I have yet to really try
a "fast" 5K distance in training, so who knows what I could do if that
were the only thing on the agenda for the day. I plan to find out soon
when I focus more on running.

OK, on to the race description. The triathlon I signed up for was,
aptly named - "My First Triathlon". What a title, eh. It sure looks
cute on the T-shirt too. Luckily there are no fuzzy bunnies or flowers
on there.

I arrived early so I could watch the previous days' race and get a
feel for the course. The lake was beautiful, clear, and cold! Much
colder than the ones around my house that I had practiced in. Not
quite wetsuit temp, but cold enough to cause tingly extremities after
doing a few 100s in there. I went in several times that day and stayed
in around 10 minutes, to try and acclimate.

Saturday's race went in 4 waves of 100 each. The first guy into the
water started breaststroking like mad, taking an early lead. Then he
proceeded to flip over and backstroke for the next half of the swim! I
think he continued on like that for the whole race, alternating
between breast and backstroke. Only a few people caught up to him too,
this guy was an animal. His backstroke was easily faster than my
freestyle. I think he ended up coming in third for the swim. I'm not
sure how he did overall.

Other than the front pack, the race was pure chaos. It looked like
people were getting thrashed, beaten, and kicked everywhere. Based on
this I decided that the next day I would start at the front of the
first wave, just behind the first row of people into the water. I
figured it was better to be up front with the good swimmers, who would
know how to pass me properly. If they wanted to pass, let them work
for it.

Showing up early turned out to be a great idea. Not only did I get to
watch the first days' races, I was able to do a couple of quick swims
in the lake, drive up and down the bike and run courses, and generally
get familiar with the whole deal.

Sunday morning I rose at 6 AM, relieved that the dream about missing
the race was just a dream. I was psyched and ready to go. The 50 cent
hot shower in the state park was a welcome convenience, considering I
slept on the ground in a tent. By 6:30 I was at the local cafe,
getting coffee. 7 AM and I was at the race site, setting up my bike
transition area, guzzling coffee and water, eating biscotti and trail
mix. Spent the next two hours before the race stretching, drinking
water, relaxing. Jumped in the lake around 10 minutes before race time
and splashed around a little. The lake didn't seem as cold that
morning. Maybe my two swims the previous day had worked.

5 minutes to go, and we all started to line up at the shoreline. There
were only around 150 people for Sunday's race, so they were doing us
all in one big wave. Excellent, I thought. Even better that I got my
spot right up front. I positioned myself behind and in between two
people in the first row, both of whom looked slightly younger than me.
They looked confident, like swimmers. The air horn went off, and I
sprinted in between them, dove in, and started stroking furiously.
Turned slightly to the left, and slipped into a nice drafting position
behind some dude wearing bike shorts. There I remained for a while,
until his form deteriorated and he started doing a weird scissor/frog
kick combination. At that point I looked up, and gave chase behind a
woman wearing a purple wetsuit. Settled in behind her for a while,
marveling at how much easier it seemed to swim when you were drafting
someone. I had practiced this before, at the Y when there were 5
people in my lane. This lady was significantly faster than me, but the
combination of draft and race adrenaline motivated me to stay right
with her. I felt people tapping against my feet, probably doing the
same thing, drafting off me. Or maybe they were trying to pass but
couldn't find room. Heheh. Kick harder, make them go around.

I continued the same pattern throughout the race, mostly drafting
behind people, occasionally changing course when the person in front
of me went off. I had no concept of how fast I was going or whether I
was using good form. All I knew was that not many people were passing
me or the rest of the pack, which I assumed was good. Then we rounded
the final curve and people started trying to make breaks for the
front. I tried a couple of times, but there were too many people
swimming shoulder to shoulder and I figured it wasn't worth going wide
around them. A couple of people slithered past like salmon in a fish
ladder. As we neared the shore and hit 5 ft water, the dude in front
of me dropped and started walk/running. Bad move. I swam faster and
passed him.

The bike transition was pretty uneventful. Since I have a hybrid bike
with platform pedals, I simply slipped on my running shoes (Nike
Scramble, baby! 30 bucks g), hopped on the bike, and was off. My
Orca trisuit was definitely a good investment. It would have been even
better if I had thought to buy a race belt. As it was, I was left with
a stupid paper number, 4 safety pins, and a $140 trisuit. I decided it
wasn't worth swimming with a paper thing hanging off me or risking
damage to the suit, so I pinned the tag to my T-shirt and wore that on
the bike and run. It would have been really nice to be more
aerodynamic on the bike, but such is life. If that turns out to be my
biggest mistake, I thought, then I'm lucky. Besides, the bike is the
easiest part.

And it was. The course was pleasant, scenic, somewhat hilly in a
rolling sort of way. I actually would have preferred some nastier
hills. I kept passing people on the hills and getting passed again on
the flats. Overall I probably conserved more energy on the bike than I
had to, but I was pretty happy with my average speed of 16.5 mph.
That's about the only measurement I have at the moment since I forgot
to use my watch to time the splits, and I am still waiting for the
official results.

After an invigorating bike ride, I cruise down the hill back to the
transition zone, and that's when I start to realize that there is such
a thing as too much hydration. 500 yards into the run, and not only do
I have a lovely cramp going from chest to abdomen, I have to **** like
a racehorse. Apparently I drank too much water on the bike, when I
really didn't need it. I was trying to follow the suggestion of 8
ounces to go with the gel I ate, but combined with the water I drank
before the race, it was just way too much.

I still managed to maintain a semi-normal running pace and pass a few
people. Semi-normal for a slow training run, that is. Nothing like the
steady build up that I had planned. At the turnaround point, I decided
to hell with it and wasted 2 minutes for a bathroom break. Came out
feeling much lighter, still cramped, but glad I had done it. Proceeded
to run what I thought was a 8:30 to 8 minute pace for the rest of the
run. Kicked it up to maybe 7:00 pace at the end. Not bad, but a far
cry from the all-out finishing sprint I had planned. It just seemed
kind of stupid to do that at the time, considering nobody from my age
group was anywhere near me. I'm assuming at this point that that was
probably a bad thing

I forget what the clock said when I finished. Less than 1:30 I think,
which was within my modest target zone. Hopefully they'll post the
official results on the website soon, and I will follow up with the
times. This particular event counts both transitions as part of the
bike, so I won't have those. Should have remembered to tap the old
chrono.

Overall, it was a good race. I finished feeling strong, and didn't
drown. Triathlons are so much fun, I am now thoroughly addicted. I
can't wait to do another one. I'm not sure if I'll do another sprint
this year, but next year I'm definitely doing the "My Next Triathlon",
which is a follow-up to this one, followed by the Black Hills
Triathlon next fall. That one is olympic distance. Hopefully by then
I'll own a better bike and be somewhat competitive. In the meantime, I
plan to enter every 5K I have time for, plus a couple of 10Ks before
next fall. Hopefully some longer open water swims too, if I can find
any.

Thanks to everyone on the newsgroups for all their informative and
inspirational posts, and for taking the time to read this.

Wishing you good health and speed,


Chris
aka "Thrashing Slug"



  #3  
Old July 13th 04, 06:36 AM
gentolm
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Race report - first triathlon (long)

great report
plodzilla

Chris Durkin wrote:

Hey people,

I've been lurking in these groups for a while now, and I've learned a
lot from reading all of your posts. I don't usually have time to
participate but I just completed my first triathlon so I figure it's
time to give back to the community by entertaining you all with a race
report. I'm sure it will be a lengthy post, so if you're anxious to
get on with whatever the latest flamefest is, feel free to skip it.
g

First, a bit of background. Last October when I quit smoking for the
nth and final time, I decided I needed to set a positive goal that
would give me something to focus on and cement the transition from
self-destructive to healthy lifestyle. Now, one might say that simply
breathing clean air is in itself a worthy goal, but apparently the
concept of that wasn't enough for my stupid mind. It needed to be
expressed in a physical sense. So, I figured, I'm turning 30 next
June. It's about time I stopped with the half-ass "smoking in
moderation" crap. I will complete a triathlon before that year is up.
And so it began.

As it turned out, substituting an unhealthy addiction for a healthy
one worked better than I had even imagined at the time. I highly
recommend this to anyone struggling with something similar. The basic
strategy was - do aerobic exercise at least 5x per week. Any time I
felt the urge to smoke, do more aerobic exercise instead. This worked
out great. The physical exertion was the perfect outlet to get rid of
that twitchy, I-want-to-kill-something nic fit feeling. And the pain
of being out of shape was a great reminder of how stupid I had been
and how far I had left to go. Many was the time when I stopped in the
middle of a run to puke, or by the side of the car before driving home
after a hard swim. Great stuff, I tell you.

A small disclaimer is probably in order at this point. I've never been
overweight and have always been in fairly good shape, kept active with
biking, tennis, etc. Never smoked more than a pack a day, and by the
time I quit I was down to around 5 or 10. So my particular story
shouldn't be taken out of context if you happen to be a 3 pack a day,
100 lbs overweight type of person. Choose the pace that fits your
situation, don't kill yourself. But do suffer. Pain is the feeling of
weakness leaving your body.

OK, enough with the past. You folks probably don't care to hear about
my struggle to change idiotic behaviour patterns anyway. Heheh.
Actually I made all that up to excuse my slow times. Just kidding

A word on my training regimen, or lack thereof. My plan was to focus
initially on swimming, which I had no experience at all in. Mix in
some cycling (mostly commuting to work) and weight training, then
phase in the running starting in January. This pretty much went
according to plan, though I ended up doing most of my biking in the
gym until May. (Pacific NW, rain, laziness...) My primary goal was to
concentrate on becoming a good swimmer, so I wouldn't drown. Biking
and running were things I'd done since I was a kid, at varying levels
of commitment. My bike is a hybrid and I'm not a fast runner, but I
could easily handle the distances that would be involved with the
sprint tri I signed up for. Well, maybe not easily, but I could
certainly finish it, even if at a patheticly slow pace. Or so I
reasoned at the time.

Those first months of swim training were a humbling experience. At
first, I could barely do 50 yds, and would have to rest for a minute
afterwards, gasping and dying. Seems like it took forever before I
could do three lengths in a row. Other notable milestones were my
first sub-minute 50, the first time I seriously tried breathing every
three strokes (asphyxiation, pain), finally mastering breathing every
3 (freedom, balance, relaxation), first 1000, first 1500.

I have to say that the Total Immersion book played a huge role in jump
starting my technique to the point where I could swim without getting
tired. Particularly where body position and balance are concerned,
those drills are invaluable. I'm not sure what I look like when I
swim, but I suspect it's some hybrid of the "TI" and "Larry" styles.
45 degree body rotation, long strokes, arched back, loper. I'm a 6
beat kicker though. No matter how far the swim. Although realistically
it turns into sort of a 2 beat over long distances. (KICK kick kick
KICK kick kick). Kicking for me is a natural, inseparable element of
swimming. Even if I'm not using it for power, it's essential for
balance. Plus it's nice to have in my arsenal when I feel like
sprinting. My ankles are inflexible by nature, so I'm constantly
stretching them to keep the kick propulsive.

Going into the race, my 400 time in the pool was 8:39. Slow, but not
too bad considering it was a really relaxed swim. I figured I could
easily do at least 8:00, probably better, which was well within the
"respectable" range for last years' race results. My favorite workout
is something I call the "pyramid", which consists of 2 50s, 2 100s, 2
200s, 2 100s, 2 50s. On longer days, throw in 2 400s in the middle.
Rest 10 breaths after a 50, 20 after a 100, 30 after a 200. Go faster
on the "descending" slope of the pyramid. I did that one a lot leading
up to the race. Interspersed with the occasional long swim - 1000 or
1500 yds. I also swam a couple hundred yards in lakes maybe four
times, just to get a feel for the navigational and coldness aspects.

In case you haven't noticed, when it comes to swimming I am obsessed.
When I pass a body of water I have an overpowering urge to jump in. I
don't feel right unless I swim 5x a week. I just raced yesterday, and
all day at work I couldn't wait to swim again tonight

As far as cycling goes, that's something I've always done and am
fairly good at. My bike isn't very fast - it's a Trek 7500 hybrid
upgraded with Continental tires. Great commuting machine, which is
mainly what I use it for. An excellent workhorse to handle roads,
trails, curbs, and rain. Not the best device for maintaining say, 20
mph over a 30 mile training ride. Not even within the realm of
possibility. So I contented myself with riding 15 mph, climbing as
many hills as I could find, and building up the engine, so to speak.
Plenty of time in the future to buy some expensive lightweight race
bike.

Running is another area that demands some level of obsession, at least
from a technique perspective. Given that it produces more injuries
than any sport I know of, I figured I had better make sure I was doing
it right before doing it very often. I have high arches and tend
toward underpronation and an outward splay of the feet. Or at least, I
used to. I've trained myself to the point where even when walking I
now keep both feet lined up in a || pattern, almost unconsciously. I'm
also a forefoot striker who enjoys running barefoot. On dirt, that is.
Not sure I ever want to try that on pavement. As with cycling, I run
with a fairly high cadence, and try to focus on increasing stride
length while maintaining cadence when I want to speed up. All of this
technique stuff has recently materialized to the point where I can run
comfortably for 5 miles or so with no lapse in form. I still have a
long way to go as far as speed.

I think my fastest timed mile so far was 7 minutes, and typically I go
around 8 to 8:30 when running outside. In other words, slow.
Borderline jogger. When inside, I do intervals on the treadmill, using
the "pyramid" method - 6 mph, 7 mph, 8 mph, 9 mph, 8 mph, etc. Rest
periods in between are 5 mph. This seems to work pretty well at
keeping me from dying of boredom on the treadmill, on those days when
I need to squeeze a quick run in at the gym. I have yet to really try
a "fast" 5K distance in training, so who knows what I could do if that
were the only thing on the agenda for the day. I plan to find out soon
when I focus more on running.

OK, on to the race description. The triathlon I signed up for was,
aptly named - "My First Triathlon". What a title, eh. It sure looks
cute on the T-shirt too. Luckily there are no fuzzy bunnies or flowers
on there.

I arrived early so I could watch the previous days' race and get a
feel for the course. The lake was beautiful, clear, and cold! Much
colder than the ones around my house that I had practiced in. Not
quite wetsuit temp, but cold enough to cause tingly extremities after
doing a few 100s in there. I went in several times that day and stayed
in around 10 minutes, to try and acclimate.

Saturday's race went in 4 waves of 100 each. The first guy into the
water started breaststroking like mad, taking an early lead. Then he
proceeded to flip over and backstroke for the next half of the swim! I
think he continued on like that for the whole race, alternating
between breast and backstroke. Only a few people caught up to him too,
this guy was an animal. His backstroke was easily faster than my
freestyle. I think he ended up coming in third for the swim. I'm not
sure how he did overall.

Other than the front pack, the race was pure chaos. It looked like
people were getting thrashed, beaten, and kicked everywhere. Based on
this I decided that the next day I would start at the front of the
first wave, just behind the first row of people into the water. I
figured it was better to be up front with the good swimmers, who would
know how to pass me properly. If they wanted to pass, let them work
for it.

Showing up early turned out to be a great idea. Not only did I get to
watch the first days' races, I was able to do a couple of quick swims
in the lake, drive up and down the bike and run courses, and generally
get familiar with the whole deal.

Sunday morning I rose at 6 AM, relieved that the dream about missing
the race was just a dream. I was psyched and ready to go. The 50 cent
hot shower in the state park was a welcome convenience, considering I
slept on the ground in a tent. By 6:30 I was at the local cafe,
getting coffee. 7 AM and I was at the race site, setting up my bike
transition area, guzzling coffee and water, eating biscotti and trail
mix. Spent the next two hours before the race stretching, drinking
water, relaxing. Jumped in the lake around 10 minutes before race time
and splashed around a little. The lake didn't seem as cold that
morning. Maybe my two swims the previous day had worked.

5 minutes to go, and we all started to line up at the shoreline. There
were only around 150 people for Sunday's race, so they were doing us
all in one big wave. Excellent, I thought. Even better that I got my
spot right up front. I positioned myself behind and in between two
people in the first row, both of whom looked slightly younger than me.
They looked confident, like swimmers. The air horn went off, and I
sprinted in between them, dove in, and started stroking furiously.
Turned slightly to the left, and slipped into a nice drafting position
behind some dude wearing bike shorts. There I remained for a while,
until his form deteriorated and he started doing a weird scissor/frog
kick combination. At that point I looked up, and gave chase behind a
woman wearing a purple wetsuit. Settled in behind her for a while,
marveling at how much easier it seemed to swim when you were drafting
someone. I had practiced this before, at the Y when there were 5
people in my lane. This lady was significantly faster than me, but the
combination of draft and race adrenaline motivated me to stay right
with her. I felt people tapping against my feet, probably doing the
same thing, drafting off me. Or maybe they were trying to pass but
couldn't find room. Heheh. Kick harder, make them go around.

I continued the same pattern throughout the race, mostly drafting
behind people, occasionally changing course when the person in front
of me went off. I had no concept of how fast I was going or whether I
was using good form. All I knew was that not many people were passing
me or the rest of the pack, which I assumed was good. Then we rounded
the final curve and people started trying to make breaks for the
front. I tried a couple of times, but there were too many people
swimming shoulder to shoulder and I figured it wasn't worth going wide
around them. A couple of people slithered past like salmon in a fish
ladder. As we neared the shore and hit 5 ft water, the dude in front
of me dropped and started walk/running. Bad move. I swam faster and
passed him.

The bike transition was pretty uneventful. Since I have a hybrid bike
with platform pedals, I simply slipped on my running shoes (Nike
Scramble, baby! 30 bucks g), hopped on the bike, and was off. My
Orca trisuit was definitely a good investment. It would have been even
better if I had thought to buy a race belt. As it was, I was left with
a stupid paper number, 4 safety pins, and a $140 trisuit. I decided it
wasn't worth swimming with a paper thing hanging off me or risking
damage to the suit, so I pinned the tag to my T-shirt and wore that on
the bike and run. It would have been really nice to be more
aerodynamic on the bike, but such is life. If that turns out to be my
biggest mistake, I thought, then I'm lucky. Besides, the bike is the
easiest part.

And it was. The course was pleasant, scenic, somewhat hilly in a
rolling sort of way. I actually would have preferred some nastier
hills. I kept passing people on the hills and getting passed again on
the flats. Overall I probably conserved more energy on the bike than I
had to, but I was pretty happy with my average speed of 16.5 mph.
That's about the only measurement I have at the moment since I forgot
to use my watch to time the splits, and I am still waiting for the
official results.

After an invigorating bike ride, I cruise down the hill back to the
transition zone, and that's when I start to realize that there is such
a thing as too much hydration. 500 yards into the run, and not only do
I have a lovely cramp going from chest to abdomen, I have to **** like
a racehorse. Apparently I drank too much water on the bike, when I
really didn't need it. I was trying to follow the suggestion of 8
ounces to go with the gel I ate, but combined with the water I drank
before the race, it was just way too much.

I still managed to maintain a semi-normal running pace and pass a few
people. Semi-normal for a slow training run, that is. Nothing like the
steady build up that I had planned. At the turnaround point, I decided
to hell with it and wasted 2 minutes for a bathroom break. Came out
feeling much lighter, still cramped, but glad I had done it. Proceeded
to run what I thought was a 8:30 to 8 minute pace for the rest of the
run. Kicked it up to maybe 7:00 pace at the end. Not bad, but a far
cry from the all-out finishing sprint I had planned. It just seemed
kind of stupid to do that at the time, considering nobody from my age
group was anywhere near me. I'm assuming at this point that that was
probably a bad thing

I forget what the clock said when I finished. Less than 1:30 I think,
which was within my modest target zone. Hopefully they'll post the
official results on the website soon, and I will follow up with the
times. This particular event counts both transitions as part of the
bike, so I won't have those. Should have remembered to tap the old
chrono.

Overall, it was a good race. I finished feeling strong, and didn't
drown. Triathlons are so much fun, I am now thoroughly addicted. I
can't wait to do another one. I'm not sure if I'll do another sprint
this year, but next year I'm definitely doing the "My Next Triathlon",
which is a follow-up to this one, followed by the Black Hills
Triathlon next fall. That one is olympic distance. Hopefully by then
I'll own a better bike and be somewhat competitive. In the meantime, I
plan to enter every 5K I have time for, plus a couple of 10Ks before
next fall. Hopefully some longer open water swims too, if I can find
any.

Thanks to everyone on the newsgroups for all their informative and
inspirational posts, and for taking the time to read this.

Wishing you good health and speed,

Chris
aka "Thrashing Slug"

  #4  
Old July 13th 04, 06:40 AM
Susan in LA
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Race report - first triathlon (long)

Sounds like a great deal of dedicated, careful preparation paid off in a fun
and satisfying race. Congratulations on a job well done!

Susan

"Chris Durkin" wrote in message
om...
Hey people,

I've been lurking in these groups for a while now, and I've learned a
lot from reading all of your posts. I don't usually have time to
participate but I just completed my first triathlon so I figure it's
time to give back to the community by entertaining you all with a race
report. I'm sure it will be a lengthy post, so if you're anxious to
get on with whatever the latest flamefest is, feel free to skip it.
g

First, a bit of background. Last October when I quit smoking for the
nth and final time, I decided I needed to set a positive goal that
would give me something to focus on and cement the transition from
self-destructive to healthy lifestyle. Now, one might say that simply
breathing clean air is in itself a worthy goal, but apparently the
concept of that wasn't enough for my stupid mind. It needed to be
expressed in a physical sense. So, I figured, I'm turning 30 next
June. It's about time I stopped with the half-ass "smoking in
moderation" crap. I will complete a triathlon before that year is up.
And so it began.

As it turned out, substituting an unhealthy addiction for a healthy
one worked better than I had even imagined at the time. I highly
recommend this to anyone struggling with something similar. The basic
strategy was - do aerobic exercise at least 5x per week. Any time I
felt the urge to smoke, do more aerobic exercise instead. This worked
out great. The physical exertion was the perfect outlet to get rid of
that twitchy, I-want-to-kill-something nic fit feeling. And the pain
of being out of shape was a great reminder of how stupid I had been
and how far I had left to go. Many was the time when I stopped in the
middle of a run to puke, or by the side of the car before driving home
after a hard swim. Great stuff, I tell you.

A small disclaimer is probably in order at this point. I've never been
overweight and have always been in fairly good shape, kept active with
biking, tennis, etc. Never smoked more than a pack a day, and by the
time I quit I was down to around 5 or 10. So my particular story
shouldn't be taken out of context if you happen to be a 3 pack a day,
100 lbs overweight type of person. Choose the pace that fits your
situation, don't kill yourself. But do suffer. Pain is the feeling of
weakness leaving your body.

OK, enough with the past. You folks probably don't care to hear about
my struggle to change idiotic behaviour patterns anyway. Heheh.
Actually I made all that up to excuse my slow times. Just kidding

A word on my training regimen, or lack thereof. My plan was to focus
initially on swimming, which I had no experience at all in. Mix in
some cycling (mostly commuting to work) and weight training, then
phase in the running starting in January. This pretty much went
according to plan, though I ended up doing most of my biking in the
gym until May. (Pacific NW, rain, laziness...) My primary goal was to
concentrate on becoming a good swimmer, so I wouldn't drown. Biking
and running were things I'd done since I was a kid, at varying levels
of commitment. My bike is a hybrid and I'm not a fast runner, but I
could easily handle the distances that would be involved with the
sprint tri I signed up for. Well, maybe not easily, but I could
certainly finish it, even if at a patheticly slow pace. Or so I
reasoned at the time.

Those first months of swim training were a humbling experience. At
first, I could barely do 50 yds, and would have to rest for a minute
afterwards, gasping and dying. Seems like it took forever before I
could do three lengths in a row. Other notable milestones were my
first sub-minute 50, the first time I seriously tried breathing every
three strokes (asphyxiation, pain), finally mastering breathing every
3 (freedom, balance, relaxation), first 1000, first 1500.

I have to say that the Total Immersion book played a huge role in jump
starting my technique to the point where I could swim without getting
tired. Particularly where body position and balance are concerned,
those drills are invaluable. I'm not sure what I look like when I
swim, but I suspect it's some hybrid of the "TI" and "Larry" styles.
45 degree body rotation, long strokes, arched back, loper. I'm a 6
beat kicker though. No matter how far the swim. Although realistically
it turns into sort of a 2 beat over long distances. (KICK kick kick
KICK kick kick). Kicking for me is a natural, inseparable element of
swimming. Even if I'm not using it for power, it's essential for
balance. Plus it's nice to have in my arsenal when I feel like
sprinting. My ankles are inflexible by nature, so I'm constantly
stretching them to keep the kick propulsive.

Going into the race, my 400 time in the pool was 8:39. Slow, but not
too bad considering it was a really relaxed swim. I figured I could
easily do at least 8:00, probably better, which was well within the
"respectable" range for last years' race results. My favorite workout
is something I call the "pyramid", which consists of 2 50s, 2 100s, 2
200s, 2 100s, 2 50s. On longer days, throw in 2 400s in the middle.
Rest 10 breaths after a 50, 20 after a 100, 30 after a 200. Go faster
on the "descending" slope of the pyramid. I did that one a lot leading
up to the race. Interspersed with the occasional long swim - 1000 or
1500 yds. I also swam a couple hundred yards in lakes maybe four
times, just to get a feel for the navigational and coldness aspects.

In case you haven't noticed, when it comes to swimming I am obsessed.
When I pass a body of water I have an overpowering urge to jump in. I
don't feel right unless I swim 5x a week. I just raced yesterday, and
all day at work I couldn't wait to swim again tonight

As far as cycling goes, that's something I've always done and am
fairly good at. My bike isn't very fast - it's a Trek 7500 hybrid
upgraded with Continental tires. Great commuting machine, which is
mainly what I use it for. An excellent workhorse to handle roads,
trails, curbs, and rain. Not the best device for maintaining say, 20
mph over a 30 mile training ride. Not even within the realm of
possibility. So I contented myself with riding 15 mph, climbing as
many hills as I could find, and building up the engine, so to speak.
Plenty of time in the future to buy some expensive lightweight race
bike.

Running is another area that demands some level of obsession, at least
from a technique perspective. Given that it produces more injuries
than any sport I know of, I figured I had better make sure I was doing
it right before doing it very often. I have high arches and tend
toward underpronation and an outward splay of the feet. Or at least, I
used to. I've trained myself to the point where even when walking I
now keep both feet lined up in a || pattern, almost unconsciously. I'm
also a forefoot striker who enjoys running barefoot. On dirt, that is.
Not sure I ever want to try that on pavement. As with cycling, I run
with a fairly high cadence, and try to focus on increasing stride
length while maintaining cadence when I want to speed up. All of this
technique stuff has recently materialized to the point where I can run
comfortably for 5 miles or so with no lapse in form. I still have a
long way to go as far as speed.

I think my fastest timed mile so far was 7 minutes, and typically I go
around 8 to 8:30 when running outside. In other words, slow.
Borderline jogger. When inside, I do intervals on the treadmill, using
the "pyramid" method - 6 mph, 7 mph, 8 mph, 9 mph, 8 mph, etc. Rest
periods in between are 5 mph. This seems to work pretty well at
keeping me from dying of boredom on the treadmill, on those days when
I need to squeeze a quick run in at the gym. I have yet to really try
a "fast" 5K distance in training, so who knows what I could do if that
were the only thing on the agenda for the day. I plan to find out soon
when I focus more on running.

OK, on to the race description. The triathlon I signed up for was,
aptly named - "My First Triathlon". What a title, eh. It sure looks
cute on the T-shirt too. Luckily there are no fuzzy bunnies or flowers
on there.

I arrived early so I could watch the previous days' race and get a
feel for the course. The lake was beautiful, clear, and cold! Much
colder than the ones around my house that I had practiced in. Not
quite wetsuit temp, but cold enough to cause tingly extremities after
doing a few 100s in there. I went in several times that day and stayed
in around 10 minutes, to try and acclimate.

Saturday's race went in 4 waves of 100 each. The first guy into the
water started breaststroking like mad, taking an early lead. Then he
proceeded to flip over and backstroke for the next half of the swim! I
think he continued on like that for the whole race, alternating
between breast and backstroke. Only a few people caught up to him too,
this guy was an animal. His backstroke was easily faster than my
freestyle. I think he ended up coming in third for the swim. I'm not
sure how he did overall.

Other than the front pack, the race was pure chaos. It looked like
people were getting thrashed, beaten, and kicked everywhere. Based on
this I decided that the next day I would start at the front of the
first wave, just behind the first row of people into the water. I
figured it was better to be up front with the good swimmers, who would
know how to pass me properly. If they wanted to pass, let them work
for it.

Showing up early turned out to be a great idea. Not only did I get to
watch the first days' races, I was able to do a couple of quick swims
in the lake, drive up and down the bike and run courses, and generally
get familiar with the whole deal.

Sunday morning I rose at 6 AM, relieved that the dream about missing
the race was just a dream. I was psyched and ready to go. The 50 cent
hot shower in the state park was a welcome convenience, considering I
slept on the ground in a tent. By 6:30 I was at the local cafe,
getting coffee. 7 AM and I was at the race site, setting up my bike
transition area, guzzling coffee and water, eating biscotti and trail
mix. Spent the next two hours before the race stretching, drinking
water, relaxing. Jumped in the lake around 10 minutes before race time
and splashed around a little. The lake didn't seem as cold that
morning. Maybe my two swims the previous day had worked.

5 minutes to go, and we all started to line up at the shoreline. There
were only around 150 people for Sunday's race, so they were doing us
all in one big wave. Excellent, I thought. Even better that I got my
spot right up front. I positioned myself behind and in between two
people in the first row, both of whom looked slightly younger than me.
They looked confident, like swimmers. The air horn went off, and I
sprinted in between them, dove in, and started stroking furiously.
Turned slightly to the left, and slipped into a nice drafting position
behind some dude wearing bike shorts. There I remained for a while,
until his form deteriorated and he started doing a weird scissor/frog
kick combination. At that point I looked up, and gave chase behind a
woman wearing a purple wetsuit. Settled in behind her for a while,
marveling at how much easier it seemed to swim when you were drafting
someone. I had practiced this before, at the Y when there were 5
people in my lane. This lady was significantly faster than me, but the
combination of draft and race adrenaline motivated me to stay right
with her. I felt people tapping against my feet, probably doing the
same thing, drafting off me. Or maybe they were trying to pass but
couldn't find room. Heheh. Kick harder, make them go around.

I continued the same pattern throughout the race, mostly drafting
behind people, occasionally changing course when the person in front
of me went off. I had no concept of how fast I was going or whether I
was using good form. All I knew was that not many people were passing
me or the rest of the pack, which I assumed was good. Then we rounded
the final curve and people started trying to make breaks for the
front. I tried a couple of times, but there were too many people
swimming shoulder to shoulder and I figured it wasn't worth going wide
around them. A couple of people slithered past like salmon in a fish
ladder. As we neared the shore and hit 5 ft water, the dude in front
of me dropped and started walk/running. Bad move. I swam faster and
passed him.

The bike transition was pretty uneventful. Since I have a hybrid bike
with platform pedals, I simply slipped on my running shoes (Nike
Scramble, baby! 30 bucks g), hopped on the bike, and was off. My
Orca trisuit was definitely a good investment. It would have been even
better if I had thought to buy a race belt. As it was, I was left with
a stupid paper number, 4 safety pins, and a $140 trisuit. I decided it
wasn't worth swimming with a paper thing hanging off me or risking
damage to the suit, so I pinned the tag to my T-shirt and wore that on
the bike and run. It would have been really nice to be more
aerodynamic on the bike, but such is life. If that turns out to be my
biggest mistake, I thought, then I'm lucky. Besides, the bike is the
easiest part.

And it was. The course was pleasant, scenic, somewhat hilly in a
rolling sort of way. I actually would have preferred some nastier
hills. I kept passing people on the hills and getting passed again on
the flats. Overall I probably conserved more energy on the bike than I
had to, but I was pretty happy with my average speed of 16.5 mph.
That's about the only measurement I have at the moment since I forgot
to use my watch to time the splits, and I am still waiting for the
official results.

After an invigorating bike ride, I cruise down the hill back to the
transition zone, and that's when I start to realize that there is such
a thing as too much hydration. 500 yards into the run, and not only do
I have a lovely cramp going from chest to abdomen, I have to **** like
a racehorse. Apparently I drank too much water on the bike, when I
really didn't need it. I was trying to follow the suggestion of 8
ounces to go with the gel I ate, but combined with the water I drank
before the race, it was just way too much.

I still managed to maintain a semi-normal running pace and pass a few
people. Semi-normal for a slow training run, that is. Nothing like the
steady build up that I had planned. At the turnaround point, I decided
to hell with it and wasted 2 minutes for a bathroom break. Came out
feeling much lighter, still cramped, but glad I had done it. Proceeded
to run what I thought was a 8:30 to 8 minute pace for the rest of the
run. Kicked it up to maybe 7:00 pace at the end. Not bad, but a far
cry from the all-out finishing sprint I had planned. It just seemed
kind of stupid to do that at the time, considering nobody from my age
group was anywhere near me. I'm assuming at this point that that was
probably a bad thing

I forget what the clock said when I finished. Less than 1:30 I think,
which was within my modest target zone. Hopefully they'll post the
official results on the website soon, and I will follow up with the
times. This particular event counts both transitions as part of the
bike, so I won't have those. Should have remembered to tap the old
chrono.

Overall, it was a good race. I finished feeling strong, and didn't
drown. Triathlons are so much fun, I am now thoroughly addicted. I
can't wait to do another one. I'm not sure if I'll do another sprint
this year, but next year I'm definitely doing the "My Next Triathlon",
which is a follow-up to this one, followed by the Black Hills
Triathlon next fall. That one is olympic distance. Hopefully by then
I'll own a better bike and be somewhat competitive. In the meantime, I
plan to enter every 5K I have time for, plus a couple of 10Ks before
next fall. Hopefully some longer open water swims too, if I can find
any.

Thanks to everyone on the newsgroups for all their informative and
inspirational posts, and for taking the time to read this.

Wishing you good health and speed,


Chris
aka "Thrashing Slug"



  #5  
Old July 13th 04, 12:04 PM
Badger_South
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Race report - first triathlon (long)

On 12 Jul 2004 19:49:23 -0700, (Chris Durkin)
wrote:

In case you haven't noticed, when it comes to swimming I am obsessed.
When I pass a body of water I have an overpowering urge to jump in. I
don't feel right unless I swim 5x a week. I just raced yesterday, and
all day at work I couldn't wait to swim again tonight

As far as cycling goes, that's something I've always done and am
fairly good at. My bike isn't very fast - it's a Trek 7500 hybrid
upgraded with Continental tires. Great commuting machine, which is
mainly what I use it for. An excellent workhorse to handle roads,
trails, curbs, and rain. Not the best device for maintaining say, 20
mph over a 30 mile training ride. Not even within the realm of
possibility. So I contented myself with riding 15 mph, climbing as
many hills as I could find, and building up the engine,


Hi Chris - Great report as others have said. I think most of the ppl
who are into the swim-bike-run thing have experienced many of the
things you related. I did nearly the same thing back in the 80s and
being a swimmer and former lifeguard, and a pretty decent middle of
the back biker back then, running was my trouble sport.

All of your training regimes seem familiar, and the pyramiding in
swimming is interesting. Most ppl tend to do a bit less kicking, and
rely on the stroke and form to do the pulling - the kick is pretty
much used not to propel that much, but to keep the drag low by not
letting the lower body sink too much below the surface - but whatever
works for you - I liked the drafting techinque you used. Be
interesting to hear your race times and positions and age group
snippets.

For the running may I suggest fast downhill repeats to help you bring
your running speed up a bit.

What I did was find a 4 mile stretch that was basically a slight down
hill the whole way and have my wife help me out. I'd do some focussing
on this x days a week for about a month leading up to a race. The idea
was simple. Start out with a couple mile warm up jog usually out and
back or on a track, which in my case was near the trial downhill,
luckily. Then do a timed run down the hill and have your driver pick
you up and take you back to the top. I worked up from a 7:30 run/jog
pace to running sub 6:00 on this downhill portion. This helped
immensely in my running and pacing and getting used to running 'at
speed' and moved my jog/run pace to sub 7:00 in about a month. Of
course you have to have a fitness base and a running base - I had
about 30-40 miles of lsd and fartlek a week for the previous year.
Anyway, adapt as needed. Just be aware that you don't want a steep
downhill, just gradual, almost so you don't notice that it's downhill
- just enough to aid you almost like a tail wind on a bike. I'd do 3-4
repeats of this 2-3 times per week in the final 6 week period, with a
good 1 week taper of all events (staggered) leading up to the race.
That's the other thing I wanted to mention. Be sure and taper all your
events wisely. Best tapering is to switch to like 75% or less daily
pace and for the more intense activities, depending on your
background, just maybe do a quick taper or take the last couple days
off, just doing a bit of lazy jogging to stay loose and keep the
proprioception. I posted a long message with some tips from Mark Allen
in this ng - google on it from last year I think. It's a list of 4 or
5 tips on areas that can be neglected.

Get back and let us know the rest of the story.

Best,

-Badger
  #6  
Old July 14th 04, 04:09 PM
Tony
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Race report - first triathlon (long)

Well done Chris, your gradual approach is smart. As for the hybrid bike -
its refreshing to see someone willing to wait until upgrading to a sleeker
machine. I see so many people around here who get a little into biking and
suddenly buy a trek 5500 or a top-of-the-line time trial machine when
they're out of shape and 15 pounds (or much more) overweight. The money is
wasted on them IMO. I've never done a tri, but I've done biathlons, and you
can get pretty far with a mid-range racing bike with aero bars...

- Tony

Chris Durkin wrote in message ...
Hey people,

I've been lurking in these groups for a while now, and I've learned a
lot from reading all of your posts. I don't usually have time to
participate but I just completed my first triathlon so I figure it's
time to give back to the community by entertaining you all with a race
report. I'm sure it will be a lengthy post, so if you're anxious to
get on with whatever the latest flamefest is, feel free to skip it.
g

First, a bit of background. Last October when I quit smoking for the
nth and final time, I decided I needed to set a positive goal that
would give me something to focus on and cement the transition from
self-destructive to healthy lifestyle. Now, one might say that simply
breathing clean air is in itself a worthy goal, but apparently the
concept of that wasn't enough for my stupid mind. It needed to be
expressed in a physical sense. So, I figured, I'm turning 30 next
June. It's about time I stopped with the half-ass "smoking in
moderation" crap. I will complete a triathlon before that year is up.
And so it began.

As it turned out, substituting an unhealthy addiction for a healthy
one worked better than I had even imagined at the time. I highly
recommend this to anyone struggling with something similar. The basic
strategy was - do aerobic exercise at least 5x per week. Any time I
felt the urge to smoke, do more aerobic exercise instead. This worked
out great. The physical exertion was the perfect outlet to get rid of
that twitchy, I-want-to-kill-something nic fit feeling. And the pain
of being out of shape was a great reminder of how stupid I had been
and how far I had left to go. Many was the time when I stopped in the
middle of a run to puke, or by the side of the car before driving home
after a hard swim. Great stuff, I tell you.

A small disclaimer is probably in order at this point. I've never been
overweight and have always been in fairly good shape, kept active with
biking, tennis, etc. Never smoked more than a pack a day, and by the
time I quit I was down to around 5 or 10. So my particular story
shouldn't be taken out of context if you happen to be a 3 pack a day,
100 lbs overweight type of person. Choose the pace that fits your
situation, don't kill yourself. But do suffer. Pain is the feeling of
weakness leaving your body.

OK, enough with the past. You folks probably don't care to hear about
my struggle to change idiotic behaviour patterns anyway. Heheh.
Actually I made all that up to excuse my slow times. Just kidding

A word on my training regimen, or lack thereof. My plan was to focus
initially on swimming, which I had no experience at all in. Mix in
some cycling (mostly commuting to work) and weight training, then
phase in the running starting in January. This pretty much went
according to plan, though I ended up doing most of my biking in the
gym until May. (Pacific NW, rain, laziness...) My primary goal was to
concentrate on becoming a good swimmer, so I wouldn't drown. Biking
and running were things I'd done since I was a kid, at varying levels
of commitment. My bike is a hybrid and I'm not a fast runner, but I
could easily handle the distances that would be involved with the
sprint tri I signed up for. Well, maybe not easily, but I could
certainly finish it, even if at a patheticly slow pace. Or so I
reasoned at the time.

Those first months of swim training were a humbling experience. At
first, I could barely do 50 yds, and would have to rest for a minute
afterwards, gasping and dying. Seems like it took forever before I
could do three lengths in a row. Other notable milestones were my
first sub-minute 50, the first time I seriously tried breathing every
three strokes (asphyxiation, pain), finally mastering breathing every
3 (freedom, balance, relaxation), first 1000, first 1500.

I have to say that the Total Immersion book played a huge role in jump
starting my technique to the point where I could swim without getting
tired. Particularly where body position and balance are concerned,
those drills are invaluable. I'm not sure what I look like when I
swim, but I suspect it's some hybrid of the "TI" and "Larry" styles.
45 degree body rotation, long strokes, arched back, loper. I'm a 6
beat kicker though. No matter how far the swim. Although realistically
it turns into sort of a 2 beat over long distances. (KICK kick kick
KICK kick kick). Kicking for me is a natural, inseparable element of
swimming. Even if I'm not using it for power, it's essential for
balance. Plus it's nice to have in my arsenal when I feel like
sprinting. My ankles are inflexible by nature, so I'm constantly
stretching them to keep the kick propulsive.

Going into the race, my 400 time in the pool was 8:39. Slow, but not
too bad considering it was a really relaxed swim. I figured I could
easily do at least 8:00, probably better, which was well within the
"respectable" range for last years' race results. My favorite workout
is something I call the "pyramid", which consists of 2 50s, 2 100s, 2
200s, 2 100s, 2 50s. On longer days, throw in 2 400s in the middle.
Rest 10 breaths after a 50, 20 after a 100, 30 after a 200. Go faster
on the "descending" slope of the pyramid. I did that one a lot leading
up to the race. Interspersed with the occasional long swim - 1000 or
1500 yds. I also swam a couple hundred yards in lakes maybe four
times, just to get a feel for the navigational and coldness aspects.

In case you haven't noticed, when it comes to swimming I am obsessed.
When I pass a body of water I have an overpowering urge to jump in. I
don't feel right unless I swim 5x a week. I just raced yesterday, and
all day at work I couldn't wait to swim again tonight

As far as cycling goes, that's something I've always done and am
fairly good at. My bike isn't very fast - it's a Trek 7500 hybrid
upgraded with Continental tires. Great commuting machine, which is
mainly what I use it for. An excellent workhorse to handle roads,
trails, curbs, and rain. Not the best device for maintaining say, 20
mph over a 30 mile training ride. Not even within the realm of
possibility. So I contented myself with riding 15 mph, climbing as
many hills as I could find, and building up the engine, so to speak.
Plenty of time in the future to buy some expensive lightweight race
bike.

Running is another area that demands some level of obsession, at least
from a technique perspective. Given that it produces more injuries
than any sport I know of, I figured I had better make sure I was doing
it right before doing it very often. I have high arches and tend
toward underpronation and an outward splay of the feet. Or at least, I
used to. I've trained myself to the point where even when walking I
now keep both feet lined up in a || pattern, almost unconsciously. I'm
also a forefoot striker who enjoys running barefoot. On dirt, that is.
Not sure I ever want to try that on pavement. As with cycling, I run
with a fairly high cadence, and try to focus on increasing stride
length while maintaining cadence when I want to speed up. All of this
technique stuff has recently materialized to the point where I can run
comfortably for 5 miles or so with no lapse in form. I still have a
long way to go as far as speed.

I think my fastest timed mile so far was 7 minutes, and typically I go
around 8 to 8:30 when running outside. In other words, slow.
Borderline jogger. When inside, I do intervals on the treadmill, using
the "pyramid" method - 6 mph, 7 mph, 8 mph, 9 mph, 8 mph, etc. Rest
periods in between are 5 mph. This seems to work pretty well at
keeping me from dying of boredom on the treadmill, on those days when
I need to squeeze a quick run in at the gym. I have yet to really try
a "fast" 5K distance in training, so who knows what I could do if that
were the only thing on the agenda for the day. I plan to find out soon
when I focus more on running.

OK, on to the race description. The triathlon I signed up for was,
aptly named - "My First Triathlon". What a title, eh. It sure looks
cute on the T-shirt too. Luckily there are no fuzzy bunnies or flowers
on there.

I arrived early so I could watch the previous days' race and get a
feel for the course. The lake was beautiful, clear, and cold! Much
colder than the ones around my house that I had practiced in. Not
quite wetsuit temp, but cold enough to cause tingly extremities after
doing a few 100s in there. I went in several times that day and stayed
in around 10 minutes, to try and acclimate.

Saturday's race went in 4 waves of 100 each. The first guy into the
water started breaststroking like mad, taking an early lead. Then he
proceeded to flip over and backstroke for the next half of the swim! I
think he continued on like that for the whole race, alternating
between breast and backstroke. Only a few people caught up to him too,
this guy was an animal. His backstroke was easily faster than my
freestyle. I think he ended up coming in third for the swim. I'm not
sure how he did overall.

Other than the front pack, the race was pure chaos. It looked like
people were getting thrashed, beaten, and kicked everywhere. Based on
this I decided that the next day I would start at the front of the
first wave, just behind the first row of people into the water. I
figured it was better to be up front with the good swimmers, who would
know how to pass me properly. If they wanted to pass, let them work
for it.

Showing up early turned out to be a great idea. Not only did I get to
watch the first days' races, I was able to do a couple of quick swims
in the lake, drive up and down the bike and run courses, and generally
get familiar with the whole deal.

Sunday morning I rose at 6 AM, relieved that the dream about missing
the race was just a dream. I was psyched and ready to go. The 50 cent
hot shower in the state park was a welcome convenience, considering I
slept on the ground in a tent. By 6:30 I was at the local cafe,
getting coffee. 7 AM and I was at the race site, setting up my bike
transition area, guzzling coffee and water, eating biscotti and trail
mix. Spent the next two hours before the race stretching, drinking
water, relaxing. Jumped in the lake around 10 minutes before race time
and splashed around a little. The lake didn't seem as cold that
morning. Maybe my two swims the previous day had worked.

5 minutes to go, and we all started to line up at the shoreline. There
were only around 150 people for Sunday's race, so they were doing us
all in one big wave. Excellent, I thought. Even better that I got my
spot right up front. I positioned myself behind and in between two
people in the first row, both of whom looked slightly younger than me.
They looked confident, like swimmers. The air horn went off, and I
sprinted in between them, dove in, and started stroking furiously.
Turned slightly to the left, and slipped into a nice drafting position
behind some dude wearing bike shorts. There I remained for a while,
until his form deteriorated and he started doing a weird scissor/frog
kick combination. At that point I looked up, and gave chase behind a
woman wearing a purple wetsuit. Settled in behind her for a while,
marveling at how much easier it seemed to swim when you were drafting
someone. I had practiced this before, at the Y when there were 5
people in my lane. This lady was significantly faster than me, but the
combination of draft and race adrenaline motivated me to stay right
with her. I felt people tapping against my feet, probably doing the
same thing, drafting off me. Or maybe they were trying to pass but
couldn't find room. Heheh. Kick harder, make them go around.

I continued the same pattern throughout the race, mostly drafting
behind people, occasionally changing course when the person in front
of me went off. I had no concept of how fast I was going or whether I
was using good form. All I knew was that not many people were passing
me or the rest of the pack, which I assumed was good. Then we rounded
the final curve and people started trying to make breaks for the
front. I tried a couple of times, but there were too many people
swimming shoulder to shoulder and I figured it wasn't worth going wide
around them. A couple of people slithered past like salmon in a fish
ladder. As we neared the shore and hit 5 ft water, the dude in front
of me dropped and started walk/running. Bad move. I swam faster and
passed him.

The bike transition was pretty uneventful. Since I have a hybrid bike
with platform pedals, I simply slipped on my running shoes (Nike
Scramble, baby! 30 bucks g), hopped on the bike, and was off. My
Orca trisuit was definitely a good investment. It would have been even
better if I had thought to buy a race belt. As it was, I was left with
a stupid paper number, 4 safety pins, and a $140 trisuit. I decided it
wasn't worth swimming with a paper thing hanging off me or risking
damage to the suit, so I pinned the tag to my T-shirt and wore that on
the bike and run. It would have been really nice to be more
aerodynamic on the bike, but such is life. If that turns out to be my
biggest mistake, I thought, then I'm lucky. Besides, the bike is the
easiest part.

And it was. The course was pleasant, scenic, somewhat hilly in a
rolling sort of way. I actually would have preferred some nastier
hills. I kept passing people on the hills and getting passed again on
the flats. Overall I probably conserved more energy on the bike than I
had to, but I was pretty happy with my average speed of 16.5 mph.
That's about the only measurement I have at the moment since I forgot
to use my watch to time the splits, and I am still waiting for the
official results.

After an invigorating bike ride, I cruise down the hill back to the
transition zone, and that's when I start to realize that there is such
a thing as too much hydration. 500 yards into the run, and not only do
I have a lovely cramp going from chest to abdomen, I have to **** like
a racehorse. Apparently I drank too much water on the bike, when I
really didn't need it. I was trying to follow the suggestion of 8
ounces to go with the gel I ate, but combined with the water I drank
before the race, it was just way too much.

I still managed to maintain a semi-normal running pace and pass a few
people. Semi-normal for a slow training run, that is. Nothing like the
steady build up that I had planned. At the turnaround point, I decided
to hell with it and wasted 2 minutes for a bathroom break. Came out
feeling much lighter, still cramped, but glad I had done it. Proceeded
to run what I thought was a 8:30 to 8 minute pace for the rest of the
run. Kicked it up to maybe 7:00 pace at the end. Not bad, but a far
cry from the all-out finishing sprint I had planned. It just seemed
kind of stupid to do that at the time, considering nobody from my age
group was anywhere near me. I'm assuming at this point that that was
probably a bad thing

I forget what the clock said when I finished. Less than 1:30 I think,
which was within my modest target zone. Hopefully they'll post the
official results on the website soon, and I will follow up with the
times. This particular event counts both transitions as part of the
bike, so I won't have those. Should have remembered to tap the old
chrono.

Overall, it was a good race. I finished feeling strong, and didn't
drown. Triathlons are so much fun, I am now thoroughly addicted. I
can't wait to do another one. I'm not sure if I'll do another sprint
this year, but next year I'm definitely doing the "My Next Triathlon",
which is a follow-up to this one, followed by the Black Hills
Triathlon next fall. That one is olympic distance. Hopefully by then
I'll own a better bike and be somewhat competitive. In the meantime, I
plan to enter every 5K I have time for, plus a couple of 10Ks before
next fall. Hopefully some longer open water swims too, if I can find
any.

Thanks to everyone on the newsgroups for all their informative and
inspirational posts, and for taking the time to read this.

Wishing you good health and speed,


Chris
aka "Thrashing Slug"



  #7  
Old July 14th 04, 05:02 PM
Madelaine
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Race report - first triathlon (long) OT: biathlon

Tony wrote:

Well done Chris, your gradual approach is smart. As for the hybrid bike -
its refreshing to see someone willing to wait until upgrading to a sleeker
machine. I see so many people around here who get a little into biking and
suddenly buy a trek 5500 or a top-of-the-line time trial machine when
they're out of shape and 15 pounds (or much more) overweight. The money is
wasted on them IMO. I've never done a tri, but I've done biathlons, and you
can get pretty far with a mid-range racing bike with aero bars...

- Tony


Tony,
What is a "biathlon" in this context? Is it bike + swim or is it bike +
run? I thought a biathlon was cross country skiing + marksmanship. I'm
curious because I can't run but can bike and am looking for something to
shoot for.
Madelaine
P.S. the obvious obsence definitions have occured to me, so don't bother.
  #8  
Old July 14th 04, 05:55 PM
Dot
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Race report - first triathlon (long) OT: biathlon

Madelaine wrote:

Tony,
What is a "biathlon" in this context? Is it bike + swim or is it bike +
run? I thought a biathlon was cross country skiing + marksmanship. I'm
curious because I can't run but can bike and am looking for something to
shoot for.
Madelaine
P.S. the obvious obsence definitions have occured to me, so don't bother.


"Biathlon" is generally used for xc skiing and rifle sharpshooting
(dictionary def, albeit an old dict). However, I've noticed several
people use "biathlon" for bike-run competitions. In Alaska, there's
seldom any ambiguity that biathlon refers to ski-shooting competitions
since we've had some top-notch biathletes come out of the state in
the past and we tend to be a snow-oriented state (as we're dreaming of
it now).

"Duathlon" is usually used to refer to run and bike competitions, but it
can refer to a competition with any 2 disciplines. I think I've seen xc
skiiers refer to duathlons with classic and skate components. As Harold
said, check what is involved in the race - disciplines, order,
distances, terrain (flat, hilly, on/off road), etc.

That said, I've done 1 hilly trail duathlon twice (fit my schedule), and
really enjoyed it. Mt bike portion was challenging but not technical;
others might be more technical. Ours was run-bike, but more usually
they're run-bike-run. I'll probably do more in the future, but it
depends on race dates and lack of conflict with trail races.

Yea, a run-bike duathlon would be a good first running goal Enjoy!

Dot
(reader didn't like multiple ng so had to clip some)

--
"Success is different things to different people"
-Bernd Heinrich in Racing the Antelope

  #9  
Old July 15th 04, 06:20 AM
Tony
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Race report - first triathlon (long) OT: biathlon

Yes it was "Duathlon". In the ones I did (same one 2 times) it was a 5k
run, 20k bike, then another 5k run. LoL actually it was called the
"Y-athlon" because the YMCA here sponsored it. I would do it again this
year but I think they stopped it.

- Tony

Dot wrote in message ...
Madelaine wrote:

Tony,
What is a "biathlon" in this context? Is it bike + swim or is it bike +
run? I thought a biathlon was cross country skiing + marksmanship. I'm
curious because I can't run but can bike and am looking for something to
shoot for.
Madelaine
P.S. the obvious obsence definitions have occured to me, so don't bother.


"Biathlon" is generally used for xc skiing and rifle sharpshooting
(dictionary def, albeit an old dict). However, I've noticed several
people use "biathlon" for bike-run competitions. In Alaska, there's
seldom any ambiguity that biathlon refers to ski-shooting competitions
since we've had some top-notch biathletes come out of the state in
the past and we tend to be a snow-oriented state (as we're dreaming of
it now).

"Duathlon" is usually used to refer to run and bike competitions, but it
can refer to a competition with any 2 disciplines. I think I've seen xc
skiiers refer to duathlons with classic and skate components. As Harold
said, check what is involved in the race - disciplines, order,
distances, terrain (flat, hilly, on/off road), etc.

That said, I've done 1 hilly trail duathlon twice (fit my schedule), and
really enjoyed it. Mt bike portion was challenging but not technical;
others might be more technical. Ours was run-bike, but more usually
they're run-bike-run. I'll probably do more in the future, but it
depends on race dates and lack of conflict with trail races.

Yea, a run-bike duathlon would be a good first running goal Enjoy!

Dot
(reader didn't like multiple ng so had to clip some)

--
"Success is different things to different people"
-Bernd Heinrich in Racing the Antelope



  #10  
Old July 15th 04, 02:58 PM
onemarathon
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Default Race report - first triathlon (long)

In article ,
(Chris Durkin) wrote:

Overall, it was a good race. I finished feeling strong, and didn't
drown. Triathlons are so much fun, I am now thoroughly addicted. I
can't wait to do another one. I'm not sure if I'll do another sprint
this year, but next year I'm definitely doing the "My Next Triathlon",
which is a follow-up to this one, followed by the Black Hills
Triathlon next fall. That one is olympic distance. Hopefully by then
I'll own a better bike and be somewhat competitive. In the meantime, I
plan to enter every 5K I have time for, plus a couple of 10Ks before
next fall. Hopefully some longer open water swims too, if I can find
any.

Thanks to everyone on the newsgroups for all their informative and
inspirational posts, and for taking the time to read this.

Wishing you good health and speed,


Chris
aka "Thrashing Slug"



congrats, Chris, on your first tri! loads of fun, eh? reading your
report, i almost felt like i was reading my own first race report. i,
too, am just getting into tri (did my third race this summer), and
started out much the same way you did. i came from a non-swimmer
background and concentrated on that mostly in training. i, too, used a
clunky hybrid bike, but posted a decent time mostly through plain hard
work. i do come from a bit of a running background (4 years of
experience before my first tri last year), so that wasn't a worry for
me.

a tip, in case anyone else didn't mention it: get yourself a race bib
belt. you can attach your race number bib to it pre-race, and in T1,
you'd just clip the belt around your waist (with the number on the
back), then at T2, just turn the belt around with the number on the
front for the run. easy!

yeah, must take it easy on water, etc during the bike. must remember
that the run will slosh around whatever is in your gut at the time. i
made the mistake of eating part of a banana in T1 once (i was
famished!), and by the time i got to the run, my stomach was starting to
cramp.

anyway, great race, and welcome to tri!

Cam
 




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