It’s been a fun and hectic week around here. First up: the YMCA Pieathlon, which is a sprint triathlon (400 yard swim, 10 mile bike, 5k run) where you get pie at the end. My wife Julie and I both signed up, trained, and was raring to go on race day. Not to say we weren’t nervous, but that seems totally normal as we feel we never train enough.
We arrived at the YMCA at 5:45 a.m. to set up our transition stations. Even though this is considered a “fun beginner” event, it never hurts to practice so you’re ready for the bigger, more serious races. We chatted with friends until 7am, when we were given our instructions and we started to line up at the pool. The swim is the weakest for me, so I milled toward the back of the line, figuring on a finish of between 9:30-10min. Since we were in our Des Moines Tri-Club gear, people were teasing us that we should be in the front of the line. We chatted and watched the faster swimmers, until suddenly I was told to get in the pool. It was go time!
I started off steady, trying to control my breathing and not going too fast and wearing myself out. I was fine until 300 yards, when I started to feel tired. I told myself, “you’ve only got 100 yards left! You can do it”. I had to let one faster swimmer pass me, but I also passed one swimmer, so that was a draw. Once I pulled myself out of the pool, I hit my watch to start transition. 8:50 was the swim time! I was pretty happy about that!
I ran from the pool area to the outside transition area, threw on my bike shoes, helmet, sunglasses, and headed out of transition. I took off when I was allowed, and was hitting 20-23 mph pretty easily. The issue was passing people on the trail while others were heading back. Then at the turnaround, there was a headwind that slowed me way down, that and being tired. Time on the bike: 32:36 with an 18 mph average.
I ran back to transition, threw off the helmet and bike shoes, and put on my running shoes. I opted to not put on socks, and that was a big mistake. By mile two I could feel the blisters forming on my arches, and by the end it was hurting to run. It also took about a half mile for my legs to feel normal after the bike. Final for the run: 28:59 with a 9:19 mph pace.
I finished in 1:14:03, which is over a minute faster from my previous attempt. Julie finished at 1:26:23. She did great for her first transitional triathlon.
I am continuing my triathlon training, between mentoring running groups, and getting long runs in for marathons. I’m finding it hard to do all the training I need to do in a day. I wish I could have a job where that’s all I did…train. But until then, I do the best I can. We are getting ready for Copper Creek sprint triathlon, which leads to my next topic: my first open water swim.
We started off the Memorial day holiday by going out for a run. My wife stopped at 4.5 miles, while I opted to get one more long run in before my half marathon on Saturday. I ran 10 miles, and while it wasn’t the prettiest or fastest, it felt good to be able to just go that distance. I will need it and then some come Saturday, but I will explain that in a little bit.
After running, we decided to clean up and head to Raccoon River Park and try our hand at open water swimming for the first time. We walked over to the swim area at the lake, and there was tons of people there (it was Memorial Day after all). So we donned our wetsuits, and waded in.
Man, was that water cold!! When I finally dove in, I thought my hands and face would freeze and fall off! But by the time I reached the first part of the rope where you turn, I was warmed up and ready to go. The darkness of the water and not being able to see didn’t bother me, I used it as a tool to sight the buoy rope ahead of me. My wife however, was having issues with the cold and being unable to see. She did make it around to the other end (375 yards) and we talked about it. We started to walk back in the water when she decided to try again. She swam against the current (it was choppy) for a bit and stood up. I asked her how that felt and she replied “better”. We decided to swim the last 75 yards to the buoy rope and the decide what to do. She did that with no problem. The only issue we had was that we were both starving! I think next time I will skip the ten-mile run before swimming. That wore me out.
Saturday is the Dam to Dam, one of the most enjoyable races I have ever run. Even the packet pickup is a blast; with food, beer, a band … it’s just a big party. It is also my No Boundaries group’s graduation run. They will be running the 5k event, while I am signed up for the half marathon. There is a 2:30 window between the start of the half, and the start of the 5k. If I can finish quickly enough, I can meet and run with them on their first 5k race! I have done a half in 2:04, so I think that it’s possible. I want to run with them so badly. It will also ramp up my mileage on running an ultra sometime this year. Yet one more thing to train for. lol
Live healthy, be happy!