Sunday, January 3, 2016

Race recap: Lifetime Indoor Tri

My second-ever triathlon is in the books!  I did the Tri for Hope last summer and really enjoyed it, even though I wasn't 100% healthy at the time.  Training for triathlons agrees with my body--less stress from all of the running, plus it is way more interesting training for three sports than for one!

Lifetime Fitness has been putting on these triathlons nationwide for a few years.  Last year I didn't sign up in time, so this year I made sure that I registered early.  Here is how the triathlon works: the swim is 10 minutes long.  You swim with one other person in your lane and a volunteer counts your laps.  When the the time is up, you have 10 minutes to change clothes and head upstairs for the bike portion.  You get 30 minutes to ride on the spin bikes, and a volunteer logs your total mileage.  Finally you have 5 minutes to transition to the treadmills (which are literally 20 yards away), and you get 20 minutes to run as far as you can on the 'mill; distance is also logged by a volunteer.  Results are calculated by assigning point values based on who goes the furthest distance in each of the three sports, with 100 points going to this person and lower points assigned to everyone else.  Pretty cool concept!

So, about that triathlon training that I mentioned in the first paragraph... I really haven't been training for a triathlon. That's no secret if you're following my blog.  Swimming once every two weeks, and hopping on the bike once in the past few months... yeah, that's not really training.  I figured I'd rely on muscle memory and hope for the best!  Of course, I always set goals.  My three goals were: 600+ yards on the swim, 9+ miles on the bike, and 2.5+ miles on the run.  Spoiler alert: I did achieve all three :)

My friend Allison and I signed up for the race together, and we were assigned to the same "wave", meaning we got to do all three sections together.  We split the lane for the swim, and cycled and ran side-by-side. It was her first-ever triathlon and she did amazing!!!  Truly, doing the tri with her was the best part. She picked me up and we got to the gym at around 7 AM so that we could get our bearings, as neither of us belongs to Lifetime, and also figure out our bike settings ahead of time.  A few friends were in the 7:40 AM wave, and a few others in the 8:00 AM wave with us, so we had plenty of people to chat with while we waited. 

Pre-race selfie in the swanky locker room!
From a logistics standpoint, everything was extremely well-run.  The swim started exactly at 8 AM.  I was able to get in about 150 yards warm-up before we started.  I felt a bit sluggish during my warm-up, but that's typical for me.  I figured I'd feel good once the actual swim got started. Not so much.  
The calm before the storm...
I felt very cramped (the lanes are super skinny, and I kept worrying I was going to accidently hit Allison), and I  just couldn't get into a groove.  In fact, I started to hyperventilate at around 150-200 yards (about 3 minutes into the swim).  I have no clue why... I just felt like I was going to have to stop.  I hate this feeling... I felt it during my open water race and my outdoor tri as well.  I never ever feel this way during practices/training, so I definitely need to figure it out.  Today, the only way I felt I could continue to swim was to alter my pace, so I just slowed down.  I felt so disappointed in myself, but it was the only choice I had.  I also started making silly technical mistakes that I don't typically make (e.g. pulling with my top arm off my flip turns, and breathing my first stroke off the walls).  I figured I was just doing what I needed to do to get through the swim portion.  I did wear my new Garmin for the swim.  My average pace was 1:36/100--about 6 seconds per hundred slower than I anticipated swimming. My 100's were 1:26.3, 1:36.2, 1:41.3, 1:43.3, 1:43.3, 1:40.3, and a half lap that got rounded up for my final total of 25 laps, or 625 yards.  So, yes, I met my goal, but barely, and I seriously felt awful doing it.  I was so freaking happy for that swim to be over so that I could get out of the water!  

Blurry me :)
The transition to the bikes was very smooth.  TMI maybe, but thankfully my friend Tracey was there, as putting on a tight running tank top was NOT easy when you're super wet from a swim!  Allison and I were able to change and get upstairs with a few minutes to spare, which was nice so that we could get our bikes set and warm up a bit on the bike before the cycle section officially started. 

Before the bike section started... being silly with Tracey and Allison!
This part of the race was the hardest part for me, physically. I am definitely NOT in cycling shape right now!  I will say that it was my favorite part when it came to the volunteers--they were extremely attentive and great cheerleaders as well!  I was not in a happy mood on the bike.  I tried to smile and joke with Allison, Tracey and our other friends who were there cheering or volunteering, but I was just not happy. 

Hating life, for sure!
I was working hard and not loving life!  I was able to keep my pace above 20 mph for almost the entire 30 minutes, and ended up with 10.4 miles total.  I was pretty freaking happy with this--actually, out of my three sections, this distance by far surpassed what I hoped to do.  My legs were jelly getting off the bike and I knew the treadmill run would be tough.

Me tri-ing my hardest!
Luckily we didn't have to walk far to get to the treadmills, so I had time once we got over there to stretch out a bit and at least get my legs prepared to run for 20 minutes! 

Honestly not sure when we took this but I love the pic!
It was great once again to have my cheerleader-friends there (especially Jamie and Tracey)--they were also super photographers too ;)  I set the treadmill at a modest 7.1 mph to start (this is around an 8:30/mile pace) and kept it here for the first 5 minutes or so to warm up and get my legs going.

Allison was having waaaay too much fun lol!
I increased the speed every 5 minutes or so after that, and the final bit I pushed it all the way to a 7-minute mile (only for about 90 seconds though!).  I ended up just barely making my goal, going 2.52 miles total (average pace of 7:56/mile).  I can't believe that I actually was able to race a half marathon at a pace much faster than that!  This run showed me I have a lot of work to do, but I'm willing to do exactly that. 

SO happy to be finished!
This recap makes it sound like the race was awful in all respects.  It wasn't, honestly.  What it did do, though, is remind me that triathlons, whether they are indoor or outdoor, are no freaking joke.  It's one thing to do a swim workout.  Or ride the bike for a bit.  Or go on a run.  But combining the three is insanely hard, especially if you want to do it well.  I need to remind myself that I am not in training right now for a triathlon, but for a marathon.  This summer, tri training will happen and I will be ready for my first half-Ironman.  For now, though, it's back to running (with a bit of swimming and cycling on the side for cross training!).

The results for the race won't be available till Tuesday, so I will update with them later :)

Awesome MRTT mamas tri-ing it!
My partner in crime--love her!
Couldn't get this pic to insert in the run section, but I love it too much not to add it in!

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