Tri hard, have fun.

Here's a bit of a late update: Last month, I competed in my first Triathlon. As part of the Wolfville Triathlon Festival, they held a Just for Fun triathlon (the fun was un-missable -- it was printed on everything!). I had done some training for the swim portion with K-Bez, a friend, elite cyclist, and eager competitor in everything from running to cycling to swimming (seemed like a no-brainer to go for the Tri, you'd think). Otherwise, I've been pretty un-trained this year, instead taking to being a "recreational" runner and cyclist, going out on lunch hours and getting in the odd weekend run or ride here and there with Ian L (click to read his race report) and Bicycle Boy. 

Owing to the fact that Bicycle Nova Scotia was having a Time Trial event that day and Triathlon Nova Scotia was holding a "real" triathlon in Guysborough that day, the Wolfville Just For Fun Triathlon seemed the perfect event: not too long, not too crowded, and above all, very inexpensive. There were several categories; I entered into the Adult Long course (which wasn't long, but they needed to distinguish it from the reallyreallyreallyshort course): 400m in the pool, 10km ride, 4km run. Of the three, only the swim was of concern to me. I hadn't swum 400m without stopping before, so knew that adrenaline would have to carry me through the panic when it undoubtedly would hit.

I drove up with Bicycle Boy, who was volunteering at the event and would be stationed at the dismount line. We arrived with not much time to spare, so I quickly got changed into my gear and set up the bike and running shoes at Transition. Then on to the pre-race meeting, and down to the pool deck for the 0815 start time. I was in the first of what would turn out to be three heats (we thought there would be two, so some people doubled up in pool lanes, something I'm pretty used to). Ian L and K-Bez weren't in my heat, and it would turn out that they were in separate heats themselves. We received our pool instructions and jumped in, waiting for the start. I found it particularly strange how low-key the event was. When the race director said "ready.... go!", I was oddly calm, possibly too calm to be taking this seriously, Just For Fun moniker notwithstanding.

The swim progressed without major issue. I was able to push through the 400m in mostly OK form, head out of the water a little here and there to stave off the panic and pushing well off the end walls (probably not legal in real triathlons?). I was swimming with David W, a long time friend and avid cyclist, and I had no idea where we were in relation to each other. I thought I was about half a length ahead of him, while he maintains I finished a lap and a half ahead. Seems unlikely, but whatever.

For your benefit, no pictures of me post-swim. You're welcome.

Into transition, I had a devil of a time getting my cycling jersey on, tearing two of the four pins out of my race number. I would endure the bike course with an annoying, flapping number before tearing it off completely on the run and stuffing it in my jersey pocket. I have no idea how long I was in Transition -- my stopwatch wasn't running in the swim, and therefore any splits I attempted to monitor weren't being logged. Silly me.

The bike course was a 2.5km stretch of road through the Town of Wolfville, and the out-and-back was repeated for 10km total. I felt alright on the bike, though my legs were pretty sluggish. I hadn't warmed up at all prior to the swim, a mistake I wouldn't make if I were to compete in a longer, more competitive event. In the end, I would average about 27km/hr, which isn't too bad considering the hairpin turnarounds and one pesky little hill in the middle. I heard Bicycle Boy's cheering each time I came to the turnaround/dismount line, which was very helpful!

Back into Transition again 20 minutes later, the guy I had passed just 100 metres from the dismount line ("Oh, come on!", I would hear him cry out at the time.) streaked past me onto the run course (a 1km out and back, repeated twice for a total of 4km) and I followed about 100m behind him for most of the run. I figure I ran about 6:00 kms for the first couple of kilometres while my legs adjusted to that 'brick' feeling and I pushed through it and found my cardio zone. The second two kilometres I gained a little on my competitor in front, and found enough energy for a little kick at the end. What I didn't know is that the guy ahead of me was in FIRST PLACE in our heat, and would end up finishing two seconds ahead of me. So I finished second in the heat, but middle of the pack overall (9/22). I did definitely have fun, and can see some specific areas for improvement in my next Tri.

We would have to wait for our results until the following day or the day after, and with all the hubbub associated with three heats on the same course, it was really tough to tell how well you did. None of us had timed our splits, so about the best we could do is guess on our run time and read the bike computer for our ride time/pace. Finally, the results came out:

That's me around the middle there: #504. K-Bez would finish first in the event (right up top there, #522), Ian L would finish second (#502), and David W (#508) would finish 14th.  We joked about getting our One-Tenth Ironman tattoos.

I was sure I could have done all the events better and done better in transition. I guess it's good to have goals, eh? At the very least, I should have kicked earlier on the last run and beat out my new nemesis, "Eric". Eric, if you're reading this (you're not), I'm coming for you next year. For more of THE FUN.

Since then, K-Bez and I have been hitting the pool with more regularity and have worked up to 1,500m in the pool in one workout (not continuous, but in under an hour). Next year we'll definitely sign up for the Sprint distance (750m swim), with hopes of someday completing an Olympic Distance Tri (1,500m in the pool, 40km ride, 10km run).
For more pictures from the event, check the Facebook album.

When I put the boys in their first Tri this summer, I briefly considered that I wouldn't get to do one this year, so I'm extremely happy that I got to compete in a Tri and complete it. And I gotta hand it to the organizers: it was fun.

Posted bythemikestand at 10:30 AM  

3 stepped up to the mike:

Ian - TKOS said... 11:16 AM, September 15, 2010  

Yeah sure. You just keep saying that...."Just for Fun"

Megan said... 4:41 PM, September 15, 2010  

Oh, good for you! Wow. Not bad at all.
Re your comment- sure, we'd love to have the boys someday. Do they speak French? :)

sarah doow said... 4:51 PM, September 15, 2010  

You did all that in under an hour? My word. I'd applaud, but I'm too worn out at the mere thought of all that exertion.

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