I’ve been training with a group from work on completing a triathlon for the past 2 months.
My first attempt happened this past Saturday at the 2nd Annual Tour de Scott tri. The day did not start out well. I was nervous all the night before and had about 4 hours of restless sleep. The week at work was hectic and stressful so I wasn’t able to do anything before or after work except for a training session on Wednesday. I trained that day with Victoria’s bike because my inner tube replacement had not arrived. That bike ride was a bad thing in retrospect because it really tore down my legs. I was riding on a mountain bike versus my hybrid with smaller tires. Her bike is 2 inches shorted than mine and that was not fun. Plus, I forgot to air up the tires and rode the 10 miles on semi-flat tires. I thought it would be good to push my legs, but I think as always that I overdid the pushing.
So, onto the day of the race:
The swim is my hardest part and I was 3rd to last getting out of the pond. I should be grateful that I only swallowed about 3 mouthfuls of water. Pool swimming is a big difference from open water swimming. Pond should have been in between, but I was disoriented trying to swim “normally” without being able to see in the water. So I did like many others and swam with my head out of the water either freestyling or breast stroking about half of the time. This wore me out so I would turn over on my back to catch my breath and try to relax. My whole body was tense as there was only one paddle boat on the water and the water was deep. I did finally make it back to shore, tired, exhausted, and somewhat depressed.
I transitioned to my bike (a $260 Academy purchase) which has been giving me trouble for the past 2 weeks. I get my gear on and walk my bike through the transition area. The brand new pedals with cages were put on the bike less than 24 hours before the race and only used once. This was a bad thing and the first mistake of the day. I tried for about 2 minutes to get my right foot into the cage but it wasn’t cooperating. So I pushed off determined to fix it while riding. This was my second mistake of the race. After crossing the overpass, I was able to get my left foot into it’s cage. I tried bending down to fix the right foot but it wasn’t cooperating. Every time I tried to fix it my bike would wobble and I was worried about heading into oncoming traffic. So, I decided to just keep going with 1 foot in and 1 foot out of the cage. This was my third mistake of the race. About 1 mile into the race, my right foot (the one not in a cage) was starting to cramp from trying to stay on the pedal (not a normal pedal, but the underside of the cage) and not having much luck. The cramp started as a soreness on the ball and arch of my right foot. I’ve had cramps before in my legs while running and I can usually fix it on the fly. I tried flexing and wiggling my toes and foot to try to release the tension but every time I did that I slowed down even more. Around 2 miles into the race, I was passed up by one of my teammates who started the race with a flat tire. He zoomed by on a Trek road bike. The last race I saw him run was a run-bike-run duathlon on a mountain bike. He was obviously struggling then, but was going much faster on this new road bike. That’s when I noticed that I was the last biker on the road, because there was a cop car and rescue squad truck behind me. By mile 3 I was still slowing, the cramp was getting worse and more painful. I admit it, I gave up! I’m still depressed over giving up, but I didn’t see a way of completing the rest of the bike, much less running or walking on a cramped foot for 3+ miles.
The cramp finally went away around 8pm that night. Right now, I feel like a quitter and I’m trying hard to talk myself into completing the triathlon that I am signed up for 1 week from this one. The next tri is a smaller race and is really the one I’ve been training for. It’s a 200 meter pool swim, followed by an 8 mile bike, and a 2 mile run. Our training sessions have been for 200 meters in the pool and 9-10 mile bike rides. I really like the idea of doing all three legs of a race and I’ve never been one to care about coming in first. But I think my bike is going to be a problem and have told myself that if I continue to do these things, I definitely need to find a used road bike that will help but not be too much money. So, I’m putting this down on the blog so I can refer back to it when I’m either running or biking in the future.
Time to go shopping for healthy food since the cupboard is bare today.