This past weekend I completed my first International Distance Triathlon! This was the longest triathlon I've done to date and the distances completed were:
Swim 1000m / Bike 30K (18.6 miles) / Run 10K (6.2 miles)
Previously I've done sprint distances which were:
Fearless Triathlon: Swim 375, Bike 10K, Run 2.5K (Race Recap)
Tri Club Club Race: Swim 700m, Bike 20K, Run 4miles (Race Recap)
Super Seal Triathlon: Swim 500m, Bike 20K, Run 6K (Race Recap)
For this race I worked out a training plan that mashed triathlon training with marathon training since this race was June 26th and I'm also running the San Francisco Marathon July 31st. If I were just training for a marathon I'd have five running days, and with my combo plan I scheduled five runs, two swims, and two bike rides. If you're doing your math right you should add that up to nine workouts, which meant seven days a week with two double workout days. Bleh! I am a big advocate of rest days and would normally take one or two rest days a week, but with this schedule I just didn't have time, and I figured my Monday swim days were good enough as rest days from running or biking since its mostly upper body and the other two sports are lower body.
Training Plan vs Actual
If I were being graded on sticking to my training plan over the seven weeks I trained between the OC Marathon and the SD International Triathlon, I'm pretty sure I'd pull in a solid C+. Go me! :oP I spent two weeks versus one recovering from the OC Marathon (race recap here), dragged the third week, went on vacation to Paris the fourth week, and then because of one reason or another
I missed workouts here and there the remainder of the weeks. I already knew that I'd be in Paris for a week and Vegas for four days twice throughout my training, and had massaged my schedule accordingly, but I still ended up off by the time race day rolled around.
Over the past seven weeks I swam 9 times out of 15 planned and biked 4 times out of 7 planned. Yes, I only rode my bike 4 times to train. Terrible! For the training plan geeks out there, here is what my training schedule looks like for the tri and marathon combined.
(Click on image to enlarge)
Swimming & Biking
I swam a decent amount to prepare for the race but week after week I missed my scheduled bike rides. Finally my friend Tara convinced me to go out to the 56 bike trail to ride with her and we rode a few times before the race. I'm always amazed by how fatigued my legs feel when I'm biking. I get that its a new sport that I'm a novice at, but I still would have thought my running muscles would help me more!
Miss Mismatch Preparing for a Bike Ride!
Tara also convinced me to join her for one open water swim at Glorietta Bay the Monday before the race. I have mental issues in the open water and haven't been in the ocean since the Super Seal Sprint Triathlon, and figured one dip in the cruddy water would do me good. As usual, all form went out the window as soon as I entered the water and the first piece of seaweed hit me. I managed to flail my way through two 400m loops before giving up.
Tough Girls Swim in the Ocean
As luck (or misfortune) would have it, I was in Vegas for the second time for a tradeshow the week before the race. The tradeshow actually ran through Saturday but I was able to leave early and get home Friday which gave me Saturday to pick up my number, prepare, relax, etc. I spent three days in Vegas and managed to run each day, but wasn't able to do much more to prepare for my two weaker legs of the triathlon, the swim and the bike. Oh well!
Triathlon Gear Laid Out (Dog Not Included)
Transition Bag Packed and Ready!
Luckily for me this race was only about 5 miles from my house and was in the area where I do the majority of my long runs, so I'm familiar with parking. David and I ended finding parking in a dirt lot not too far away from the race start, but somehow we walked over towards the transition area so slowly that by the time we were about 100 yards away I heard the 10 minute warning announcement for the transition area to be closed. Oh no! Rush time!
Long Nails and Wetsuits Don't Mix
I rushed over and managed to squeeze my bike onto the rack, set up my transition area, pulled on my wetsuit, and then ran out to the beach. On a side note - between three back to back trips and being really busy at work during the times I was in the office, I hadn't had my nails done in about FIVE WEEKS. I had talons! Talons + triathlon wetsuit = disaster. I can't believe I didn't rip my wetsuit because I had the worst time trying to get it on without using anything but the pads of my fingers!
This race was different from my other triathlons because it had a "water start". This meant we started from a buoy in the water where we were treading water. In my past races there was a beach start which meant we ran in from the sand. The idea of treading water and spending more time than necessary didn't please me at first, but I ended up finding it a lot calmer for the group to start swimming from a treading position versus everyone trying to run in past each other.
Getting Ready to Enter the Water
I was worried about my swim since I had never swam 1000m in the ocean before and my practice swim in Glorietta Bay hadn't gone so well. Amazingly, the swim went fine! I counted my breathing and focused on my stroke, and the swim just chugged along.
Swim Course in Orange
A few times when I was sighting I'd look out for the turnaround buoy and think REALLY?! Its still that far away? Ugh! And then I'd put my head back in the water and go back to my counting and swimming. I felt a huge sense of victory as I passed the turnaround buoys, and all I could think about was getting back to shore as quickly as possible.
Red Swim Cap Wave Starting
On dry land David was probably more worried than I was. He spotted a swimmer at the back of the pack who seemed to be struggling and was being left behind and who was alternating between swimming and treading, and floating on her back. David thought "oh no, I hope that isn't Monika". He was watching 'alter-me' with concern for a while ... and then real-me jumped out of the water and was done with the swim! Yay!
SO Happy Post Swim
My transition between the swim and bike was pretty poor. I changed shirts which wasted time because I had so much trouble getting it over my wet sports bra. I struggled putting my bike gloves on because I'm a pansy with baby hands who didn't want to race without them, I wasted time putting on my Garmin watch, etc etc. After 4+ minutes (my better transitions have been 1:30-2:30) I finally ran out of the bike area and was ready to ride.
Biking Slow but with a Smile
Remember how I said I had never swam 1000m in open water before? Well I had never ridden as far as 30K on my bike either. What is wrong with me? Worst trained triathlete ever! The course was up a long gradual hill with a looped area at the top, and then back down. I was really worried about dying on the hill since I hadn't even biked that far on flat ground before!
30K Bike Course and Beginning Elevation
I felt okay going into the bike ride and as I started to make my way up the hill I felt better and better. I was doing it! I was riding my bike! Up a hill! Whoo hooo! I wasn't going fast by any means, but I felt good, and I was happy. The ride down was glorious and fun. Wheeeeeee! Sooner than I expected, it was time to return to the transition area, change one more time, and finish up the race with my favorite sport - the run!
My second transition was better but not spectacular. I was looking forward to the run since it was "only" 6.2 miles, but was a bit concerned because headphones aren't allowed and I *always* run with music.
10K Run Course
Um, before I even got to the first mile marker I was bored to tears! The next five miles seemed to drag on for an eternity! I noticed that I was keeping around a 7:30-8:00 pace which dipped into 8:30 towards the end, and I started to think oh wow, I wonder if I'm going to get a 10K PR .. at the end of a triathlon!
Starting Out on the Run
In the end I came across the finish line at 49:58 which is 49 seconds slower than my 10K PR from 5 1/2 years ago! Its actually such an old, stale PR that I think this one should count as my thirties PR right? haha
My official finish time and splits are:
Swim 1000m 20:44 (36/47 AG) <-- need to work on my swimming
T1 4:15 Dawdler!
Bike 30K 1:05:07 (35/47 AG) <-- need to work on my biking
T2 2:32 Could be better
Run 10K 49:58 (16/47 AG) <-- really happy with my run time!
Overall 2:22:36 (32/47 AG)
So what's next? Well, I am running a 10K this weekend up near Sonoma while I'm up north visiting friends and family, and then I have the SAN FRANCISCO MARATHON July 31st! Eek! I am not quite on track with my long runs for the marathon, but hopefully this weekend I can get back on track and finish my last month of training with some solid runs. I plan to still swim on my recovery days and might bike once a week or so, but my main focus will be running. I've started going to Tuesday night track workouts with the Tri Club again and I'm hoping that this helps.
Post Race with Tara and Ben
I am not currently registered for any more tris right now and I'm deciding between the She Rox Sprint Triathlon and the San Diego Triathlon Classic. I'm leaning towards the She Rox Sprint so that I can work on my tri basics over short distances, and not just try to drag through the longer distances without knowing that I'm properly trained yet. And next year ... I still have my eye on Barb's Race! A woman's 70.3 aka a half Ironman! I don't want to commit to a long race though until I know I'm committed to sticking to a training plan. We'll see how that goes over the next few months!