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Swimming Sucks. . . The Rest, Not So Much

Posted Apr 23 2009 5:23pm
Saturday started like most Saturday's, meeting at Centennial Park for the weekly Team In Training run. I planned on just four miles with the indoor triathlon on the schedule for later in the day. It was a chilly day, for sure with temps in the low 20's. Another great turnout for the group, especially considering the chill in the air.

After the run I headed home to get prepped for the tri. As I packed my bag, the first thing I realized is how much crap I was taking. Well, not really crap, I guess, all important stuff. My inventory: tri shorts for the swim, a rash guard shirt for the swim (you know, to help me glide through the water, Michael Phelps style,) goggles, pool sandals, cycling shorts, shoes and socks for the cycle, tech t-shirt, running shorts and shoes, a couple of sweat bands. Okay, that's a lot of crap.

Bryan picked me up at 11:30, plenty of time to get there and check out the layout for our 12:40 post time. The format of this event is a 10 minute swim, 10 minute transition, 30 minute stationary bike ride, 5 minute transition, finishing with a 20 minute treadmill run. Terry met us there a bit before the start and served as our official photographer and cheerleader.

As for the swim, well I really wasn't looking forward to it. I wouldn't say I was stressing about it, more just looking forward to it being done. I spent absolutely no time in a pool since last summer and I haven't had a lesson since summer camp. . . in 1979! I probably should have at least done some research, but I went in cold, so the sooner it would be over, the better. I was also concerned that pushing the swim could hurt the bike. Not to mention the impact of the 4 miler in the morning on the day's events.

At precisely 12:40, the head judge blew the whistle and we were off. The first two laps felt pretty good. I wouldn't say fast, but not too slow. Since I was sharing a lane, I could judge how I was doing by the other guy in my lane. We started at opposite ends of the pool and by the second time down, we seemed pretty close. That was pretty short lived. On my third lap, I was feeling my heart rate going up and struggled a bit on that breathing thing. From then on, I felt like I was swimming in quicksand. After an hour, I heard the judge yell out "4 minutes to go." Are you kidding me! Another hour passed and finally, mercifully, I had completed 14 laps and could get out of the pool. Not a second too soon. Two friggin hours to swim 10 minutes. Bryan was in one of the middle lanes and belted out 21 laps. Kicked my ass.

That's me -- not sinking!

After a quick dry off and change, we were on to the spin bikes. Bryan and I had spots in the middle of the group of seven for our wave. The official explained what to do and what not to do and we were off. It was wierd to actually see speeds on a spin bike, since they are not usually outfitted with speedometers or odometers. I quickly got into a 24-25 mph range, which was comfortable, but I didn't know how long I could sustain it. There was virtually no tension on the bike, which is pretty unusual. This was a totally different experience than a spin class where you're in and out of the saddle and tension is pretty important. At 10 minutes, I was just over 4 miles. As a group, we started sharing our progress and I was pretty well ahead of the pack. I was able to keep the pace and with a few minutes to go, pushed it even harder. When the whistle blew, the odometer read 12.58 miles. Seemed like most of the others reported 6-9 miles. Wow, after the ass kicking I felt in the pool, it was good to kick some ass on the bike.

Me, right, Bryan, left, enjoying our ride to nowhere.

5 minute transition. This is quick. Run to the locker room, shorts and shoes off, shorts and shoes on, get to the treadmill. But there's that walking part. OMG, my legs felt like Jell-O! Would I be walking for 20 minutes on the treadmill?
They were waiting for me when I got there. I pushed that transition to the limit. Put the treadmill on 1% incline and go! I was hoping to get in 2 miles. I knew the fast paced bike would hurt here, and it did. Starting out at 5.7 mph, I'd need to get strong to make up lost time in the second mile. Normally I don't have a problem pushing the last mile of a run, but this would be a test. I struggled just to get to 6.0, the pace I'd need to average to get in 2 miles, but I did and really pushed the second mile, checking my heart rate in at 160+. At the end, I was credited with 2.10 miles and was officially whooped.

How about them calves (and ass, too!)

Bryan and I got packed up and headed out to the car. . . slowly. This was the first tri for both of us and it was a great experience. The Tri to Help folks were great, the club was great and we felt like this was a good intro to multi-sport.
Has the bug bit me? Well, no, not yet at least. I really liked the indoor experience. As much as I hated the swim, reading about others talk about the open water swims, getting kicked in the face, etc, just doesn't do anything for me. For this day, though, I truly enjoyed the experience.
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