I have an exciting race season planned for 2015 and the first race of the year, designed to get my feet wet and remind me what triathlons are like, was last Sunday.
I signed up for the Portland Indoor Triathlon a while ago. It’s the i55 – so named because it’s 55 minutes of…let’s go with fun.
Instead of being distance focused, it’s time focused. There’s a ten minute pool swim, a thirty minute bike (you bring your own bike and it’s set up for you on a pool side bike trainer) and then a 15 minute run.
I was a little nervous going into it because it was my first triathlon since 2012 (when I DNF’d due to a panic attack during the OWS portion) and then my body decided it would be super awesome to just hold off on that special lady time a few days so that I could start the day before my race. I spent Saturday curled up with some of the worst cramps in recent memories cursing my tri coach who’d told me that I was not allowed to have a bottle of wine. (Kidding, CC! I did not curse you. Much.)
I got my ass out of bed Sunday morning and remembered that I have a really hard time eating the morning before a race and wished that I had some Clif bars handy. I drank coffee, loaded my sexy MF into my car, and headed to Beaverton.
Once there, I went to the locker room to do my necessary pre-race business and then headed to the pool deck. Since I was in wave B, I got to set up my bike right away (they had room for two waves of bikes to be set up at once). They couldn’t get my bike in their trainer and had to switch out my spindle. I got my transition set up and then waited.
The first wave hopped in the pool, I ate a shot blok, and then before I knew it, the first wave was out of the pool and it was time to jump in. We had ten minutes in the pool before our wave started. However, there was only one person doing all the starts and stops for all the waves, so he was (understandably) a wee bit decapitated poultry-esque and tried to start us too soon. I did one lap and then waited to get going.
I started out a bit too fast on the swim, but I knew that it was going to be the strongest portion of my race and wanted to go hard. Alas! My early push meant I was running out of steam by the end and the fact that the swim center had been broken into the night before meant that we were listening for some guy’s voice to tell us when we finished and not a horn, so I was checking the clock every lap instead of just swimming my ass off. If I’d swam more consistently and not been checking the clock, I could’ve done at least one, probably two more laps. Doesnae matter (that’s my motto for this race).
Swim: 450 yards (.256 miles)
Next it was a five-minute transition and then on to the bike. That was plenty of time to pull my bike shorts on and get my socks and shoes on, as well as take a sip of my water (fortunately I’d brought water; a lot of people didn’t because we’d thought there would be water available during the race, but there wasn’t) and another Shot Blok.
The bike sucked. The trainers weren’t so great and my back wheel kept slipping. I put in a LOT of effort. A lot. The bike is definitely my weakest sport, but I was working really, really hard for what I was getting. And what I was getting was not much.
At the end of the thirty minutes, the bike computer showed that I’d logged 5.27 miles. That is…not much. Just for fun, this morning on my own bike trainer I did an easy spin. I didn’t push too hard, just kept up a nice easy casual pace after doing a 15 minute warm up of body-weight exercises. I wanted to see how long it would take me to get to 5.27 miles with minimal effort. 26 minutes. I know it sounds like excuses, but I’m having a hard time believing that with race-fueled adrenaline and huge amounts of effort, I only went 5.27 miles in 30 minutes. (I heard other people complaining about their bike set ups, too, so it wasn’t just me. Of course, one guy did go 11.1 miles in the 30 minutes, so he obviously was fine.
Bike total: 5.27 miles of suckage (10.54 mph)
The run course was outside, which I thought really made the whole “indoor tri” false advertising. It was raining, and the course looked like this:
The run was on rough, mossy asphalt. You ran up one side of a little cone fence, turned around and ran back down the other, and then did that over and over and over. Forty-six times if you were me. Seventy-eight if you were the winner. It was a bit mind numbing.
I’d worked so hard for so little in the bike portion that my legs were not pleased by this time so my run was slower than I would’ve liked. I was passed a lot by the other people in my wave, but by this time we were all friends, so it was kind of nice. There was one person in my wave that I lapped several times, and a few people who were pretty close to the same pace.
Run: 1.31 miles (11:29 pace)
Total mileage: 6.83 miles
Overall Rank: 52/66
Gender Rank: 22/31
Age Group Place: 2
That’s right – I actually got an age group place. I think I get a certificate. Hopefully they’ll mail that to me.
Also, I completely crushed the 9 & under age group.
I exchanged texts with my coach after and was bitching a bit about my problems with the bike. She observed that it sounded like a rough morning, and parts of it were, but I countered with this happy selfie.
I actually had a great time and am so glad I did it. It was not my favorite race of all time and I probably wouldn’t do it again, but it was good to get my feet wet in a controlled environment. Plus, I got a medal.
I know what I’ll do differently next time (besides never do that kind of triathlon again).
- Make sure to have something I can eat on hand for pre-race fueling.
- Attach my bottle cages to my bike so that I can reach my water while peddling.
- Get a tri suit that fits to eliminate as much changing time as possible.
- Spend as much time in the saddle as I can between now and my goal races later this year. The swimming and running will come easily, but the bike? Not so much.
This morning, I got started on that last point.