Thursday, May 16, 2013

Just Tri (Three Days to Go!)

A year ago I was just beginning to run. I couldn't make it a mile without stopping to walk. Prior to this I had been sedentary. That's a word I hate. Sedentary. It's the kind of word your doctor writes in your medical record and it sounds technical, but really just translates to Lazy. Couch Potato. Slacker.


So I got off the couch and started running. In fact, I started running hills. Not because I was tough as nails and up for a challenge. Simply because they were there. Our neighborhood is hilly. Very hilly. And it was easier to roll off the couch (that sounds pretty, doesn't it?), lace up the shoes, and push up the hills.

Wow. So much can change in a year.

In three short days, I will attempt my first triathlon. People keep telling me the bike course is hilly. And it is. But it isn't bad compared to where I've been training. For me, the swim will be the hill. The mountain to conquer. I am not a swimmer. And in stark contrast to the races I've run, I have not trained long enough to be confident in the swim.

Wish I were as confident in the water as my kiddo!

The thing is, this is a pool swim, and only 225 meters, at that. This is a mini-sprint. A women's only mini-sprint triathlon designed for first-timers like myself. And folks keep saying, "It's only 225!" Which, in my opinion, is like saying, "It's only a 5K." You may know that I hate a 5K but love a half marathon. There is no such thing as "only 3 miles" in my book. With swimming, I feel this even more strongly.

So those mere 225 meters will be my Mountbatten - a massive hill where I run. And when I finish my 7 +/- minutes in the water, it will be all downhill.

I keep telling myself, "7 minutes. Just get through those 7 minutes."

I've also learned in this past year that when nerves set in, it is best to have a goal and a plan. The goal should be attainable and the plan should be reasonable. So here goes:

My goal is to finish in under 1:20. There. You know it. Now I'm accountable.

My plan is a little more involved:
  • First, I'll break the swim into three parts. Three 75s. Once I'm past the first two, it will feel doable. Just like getting past mile 10 in a half. 
  • T1 (Transition one) is all about organization. Dry feet, roll on socks, yanks for shoes, (yep, I'm biking in running shoes 'cause I'm a Runner!), helmet, GO! 
  • Then the ride. GO GO GO. The first part of the course is downhill. Build speed. Then PUSH PUSH PUSH. There isn't a hill on this course that is longer than a 100-count. Oh, yeah. I count when I ride, just like I do when I run. Weird, I know, but it helps with pace and the voices in your head telling you this is too hard, you can't do it. There is nothing you can't do for a 100-count. 
  • T2 is all about simplicity. I'm already in the running shoes. Get the helmet off, the Tri belt / race bib on, grab some water, and go. 
  • Then, the run. A mere 2 miles. I've trained to run on tired, hurting legs. Here is where the counting becomes really important. The first 500-count post-bike feels really awkward. After that, I should have my running legs back and be able to push the last 1.5 miles as fast as possible. 

That's the plan. It feels good to write it down and share. It helps the nerves a bit. I'll be back Sunday to let you know how it goes!

Right: How I'll feel after the Swim. Left: How I'll feel after the Tri.


  1. you've got this! you're gonna rock it. i'm doing my first sprint distance tri in july - 1/4 mile swim, yikes! i realize you won't want to change anything 3 days prior to race, but for future tri's, you may want to check out "total immersion" swimming...

    1. I googled it and found a class in the area. Are you doing it? Were you a swimmer before? I need something before my August Tri! BTW, 1/4 mile sounds long! How many meters is that? Next step you'll be doing Olympic distance or turning into an IronWoman :)