Sunday, July 14, 2013

Couples Tri: The yearly trial.

Ever since I started bike racing, moving away from triathlons I have still done one triathlon a year. For the last three years that has been the Couples Tri, which I have done with my mom in the Parent/Child division. Couples Tri is a race where two people compete as a team, do the whole race, add the two times together and then rank. 2 year running we had won the division. I'm going to ruin that story line right from the start (because it isn't about both of us, it is about trying to do a triathlon with 0 specific training), we didn't win this year, we got second. Still not half bad. So onto the story of racing without any specific tri training.

The Swim
Swimming is a large part of why I stopped doing triathlon, I really really really don't like it. I've never been fast, and I find training for it dead boring. In previous years I have jumped in the pool a couple of times before whatever race we were going to do in order to prove to my mom that I wouldn't drown. After pulling off a 2.4 miles swim with near enough 0 training last year, my mom decided I could make it 800m and didn't bother me about it too much this year. I was actually a little faster this year, felt better overall than usual. 18:49 for an 800m swim (despite never swimming I continue to become a faster swimmer, weird to me at least). My puny wonderfully weak cycling arms made it, in the top half of those who made it too. Woo hoo!!!!

The Bike
Obviously I was better prepared for this than any of the others. My mom will make fun of me cause I took the time to put on socks in transition, but whatever. I held back a bit on the bike, knowing too well what it feels like to come into the run way overcooked. I was probably at around 95% of threshold for most of the ride. (I haven't looked at the data yet) Triathlons do have a peculuarity though, passing people who aren't very comfortable on the bike. Lucky me, I was in the second to last wave to start. This means I had the priviledge of being on course with the majority of people. I spent just about every minute yelling at people to leave less space when passing, to stay to the right, that I was passing them. It kinda sucked, had a couple people yell at me for being rude. Sorry, I was going fast (progress) and you were drastically impeding my progress. I made sure not to spook people in corners, but otherwise I notified and flew past. I ultimately got the 2nd fastest bike split of the day: 6 seconds off the fastest, averaging 24.4mph for the 11.2mi reasonably hilly course. I'm very happy with that, especially given my troubles with having seemingly everyone on course on their hybrid, passing each other with 10 bike widths between them and riding 2/3 of the way into the lane. 

The Run
I was so glad I saved something for the run. When I first got off the bike, my first thought was: "Man I forgot how funny running feels after that bike." I quickly found my groove though. About a mile in someone came up to pass me, we ran together talked, I asked what our pace was (he had a garmin on, we were doing 7 min/mi) and then I decided to pick it up. Up to that point I had mostly been gliding on, whatever felt like a good natural pace. I was pretty amazed I felt so good. Coming into mile 2 there was a water stop, a guy from the wave behind me had just passed me. Coming through from about 50 yards out I yelled for water. as I came in I made sure they heard me again. 1 water, 1 water. Perhaps I said it too many times. Meanwhile the lady walking in front of me took all 3 waters out of the volunteer handing out waters hands. When I ran past her I said "I guess not" she yelled "You could be polite! Grab your own." Fair point, I was trying to keep a good pace, I had someone I was keeping in sights and I could hear someone coming up from behind, it is a race, I wanted water and I wasn't going to slow for it. I'm really not that sorry, although I hope I didn't hurt the volunteers feelings at all, after all without here there wouldn't have been water. Anyways there is a nice hill around mile 2.75 on the decker course, on that is where I started to really feel my legs. Holy cow, muscular fatigue. I haven't run in a long time. I finished up at 21:14 for the 5k, 6:49 min/mi. The craziest thing about this, is that even when I was doing track and cross country in high school, I never did my runs this fast. Maybe I was in better shape off the bike but I honestly think it is all about having that aerobic engine. 35th ranked run on the day

The funny thing is, even though I have trained less for both the swim and run in this yearly experiment than I ever have, I went faster in every discipline than I have in previous years. I think that just being in better shape aerobically makes a lot of difference (certainly helps that I do know how to run with some efficiency from cross country). At the same time though as is frequently the case here, I can't help but wonder if I would be faster in triathlons if I were to train for them than I am in cycling training for it. Who knows, I like riding my bike more.