Posts Tagged ‘biking’

T minus 7 days to Trek Women Triathlon

My final and longest triathlon of the season is a week from today. Two weeks ago, I will admit, I was still on the fence about this race, even though I had signed up for it and paid the fee.

I am such a  newbie triathlete, and my first race on August 1, was tough, and shorter than this next one. That one was a 1/4 mile swim, 6 mile bike, 2 mile run. I did ok on the swim and bike, but by the run, I was toast. I finished with a lot of walking breaks, but I finished and I was  proud of that.

The Trek Women triathlon on Sept. 13 is also a 1/4 mile swim, but with a 9-mile bike and 5K (3.1 mile) run. That’s quite a lot longer than the first one. When I signed up for this one (and I swear I wasn’t high on anything), I’m not sure  what came over me. At my level of fitness, I wasn’t sure that six weeks would be enough training time to increase my bike distance and run distance by a third.

But here I am, one week from race day. And I’m feeling confident. More confident perhaps than I did even on August 1. I’ve been training pretty hard these past few weeks, even when I didn’t want to.

Yesterday (oh how I love weekends when I don’t have to peel myself out of bed at 6am), I planned a training brick. I really don’t like bricks (doing two race disciplines consecutively), and I especially am not fond of bike/run bricks. Going from the bike to the run is hard…in the race and in training. My legs feel like jello and don’t want to work when it’s time to run. It can take up to a half mile before they feel somewhat normal again.

Until yesterday, I have been doing shorter bricks (6mile bike, 2 mile run; 8mile bike, 1.5 mile run) and doing the full distances on their own.

Yesterday was the big test. In the morning, I made some adjustments to the bike and made sure the tires were good and filled (by the way, this makes a huge difference) and off I went. I hooked Runkeeper up on my iPhone to track my bike first, but something went wonky and it didn’t track. I’m not sure how long it took, but I rode 9.5 miles, I think in about 40 minutes.

I got off the bike, took  a couple of swigs of water, ate a babybel cheese, had to run downstairs (twice!) to get my iPod and headphones (stairs are the only thing tougher than running after bike training), reset RunKeeper on my iPhone, and took off running. I had planned to run 2 miles, but when I got to the turning point, I felt ok, so I decided to go for the longer run. And I made it! 3.2 miles, running the whole way. I did not stop once to walk and yesterday, it was pretty hot by the time I was running. There were points in the run where it took a lot of self-talk to keep from walking or stopping, but I made it through, It’s amazing how much of this endurance training comes down to mind over matter.

Runkeeper worked (sort of) the second time out, and I managed to finish 3.2 miles in 37 minutes and 40 seconds, which for me, was spectacular after the bike.

It was an exhausting workout but felt great finishing and now I know I’m ready for next Sunday. I know I’m ready because even though I was a little stiff yesterday, I’m not sore today. Today, I feel great and had a really good swim workout this morning.

Next Sunday, my goal again is to finish. And I’m planning on no walking during the run portion. Of course, if I end up having to, I will be kind to myself. I may not be the fastest woman out there on the course, or even close, but I can do this and finish proudly. I just have to remember not to drink half the pool this time. I know hydration is important, but I don’t think chlorinated water counts!

I Am Officially A Triathlete!

I finished! I swam 400 meters, biked 6 miles and ran 2 miles this morning. My first triathlon. I finished!

The swim was great. It was a pool swim where we had to snake up and down 8 lanes in a 50-meter pool. I seeded myself at 10:30 for this based on what I was doing in training and finished the swim in 10:57. I didn’t have anyone passing me and I even passed a couple of people at the lane ends so I felt strong in this leg.  With the confusion at the ends of the lanes and getting into and out of the water, I was happy with my time.

My bike was strong and I managed to shave a minute off my last time, even with all of the bike issues I was having  getting ready for this race. Finished the bike in 23 minutes and change. Splits aren’t up yet, but I got to see them quickly after the race.

The run? The run was not so great. It was hot by the time we were running, I had a stitch in my side from all the water I inhaled in the pool (there was quite a chop with all those people in the water) and I just felt like I had nothing left. I did a lot of walking during the two miles, something I haven’t done in months, even on the hot days. The run took 26 minutes and change, the worst run I’ve had in a long time.

I was disappointed in myself with the run only because I totally let my head get in the way and keep me from doing something I know I can do. I could come up with a dozen excuses as to what happened here, but the bottom line was I let the negative talk in and didn’t push through.

But you know what? It’s over. I’ve done it! I swam, biked and ran, made it through transitions and I’m alive to write about it. And do it again. And I’m really proud of myself.

I learned so much, and while I may have been disappointed in my run, overall I am thrilled. It’s exciting/nerve-racking, I met incredible people, and even if my run wasn’t so hot, I swam a quarter mile, dried off and got on a bike for six miles and then got off the bike and ran for two. I don’t know a whole lot of people who can say they’ve done that so I know it’s an accomplishment.

I’m signing up for Trek Women in September. Same park, same time, different race. And this next time, there will be no walking during the run! I’m just that determined.

I’ll post official splits and pics soon. 🙂

Big thanks to the folks at Event Power LI who produce this event. They do an amazing job, are unbelievably supportive and they make sure everyone has a great time!

Goldilocks and the Three Bikes – A Triathlon Tale

cyclingI have a triathlon coming up in a week. And I have yet to find a bike I am comfortable with. I would be Goldilocks in this tale. I’m blonde, maybe not young, but hey, use your imagination.

My first bike was just too big. And the seat was too hard. And while I rode it in my first race, it freaked me out because my feet didn’t come anywhere near the ground and I felt like I had no control. And the seat hurt my butt…a lot. Gears were smooth and the bike was fast. It was a great bike, but not the right fit.

My second bike (and by the way these are borrowed bikes while I’m trying to figure out if I like this triathlon thing) is too small and the seat is too…are you ready for this?…soft! This bike is a girl’s bike so my feet do hit the ground, and while the bike is actually the right size, I can’t seem to keep the seat raised, so there is very little leg extension. Makes hills really tough. And the gears are fussy. And the extension between the seat and the handlebars doesn’t put me in the right position for racing. I’m too upright and the resistance is slowing me down (and trust me, I’m not that fast to begin with). Plus, the memory foam seat that I first looked at as a godsend hurts my tailbone. Go figure. I will probably, however, ride this bike in this race if I can get the seat thing figured out, cause I don’t know that I can afford a new one just now.

I need a bike that’s just right. And I will be going out to shop for one this weekend. Not too big, not too small. A soft, but not too soft seat and just the right cycling angle.  After all the right equipment is everything!

And then we can all triathlon happily ever after.

By the way, my bike knowledge is extremely limited so I’m open to suggestions! Nothing too pricey though.

Triathlon Training – Part 2

Now that I’ve completed my first race and signed up for the second one ) for August 1, it’s time to really get training again. The first time out, my only real goal was to finish. I did that. But that’s not good enough for this next time. Now I want to finish respectably.

My goal for next time is to run the entire two miles (and be running a full 3 miles by race day), shave at least 3 minutes off my bike time, and swim the 400 meters (which I didn’t get to do this first time) in 9 minutes or less. Right now, my swim time is about 10 minutes for 400 meters, but I’m in a 25-yard pool which is 20 laps. The race pool is 50-meter lanes, 8 laps. Less turning, less time.

So Saturday, I got my butt back in gear and this is how my week has gone and will go, since it’s only Tuesday:

Saturday: 3.5 mile interval run/walk on treadmill – it was raining

Sunday: 3-mile walk and abs

Monday: Swim 800 meters

Tuesday: Bike 6 miles, Abs

Wednesday: Run 2.5 miles on road

Thursday: Off

Friday: Swim 1000 meters, Abs

Saturday: Bike 3 miles, Run 2 miles on road

Sunday: Off

I need to get more strength training into my routine, and I’ll be working that in as I go.  But I think by posting my workouts each week, I’ll stay more on top of it and be less inclined to roll over and go back to sleep in the morning. And then after August 1, I’ll be able to go back and track my progress.

Note to self: Choose bike days when sanitation trucks are not picking up garbage. That made for a more treacherous bike ride this morning between the trucks that zig-zag on the street and occasional leftover debris.

4 days and counting

So as I mentioned, they changed my race yesterday. It’s no longer a triathlon, it’s a duathlon due to technical difficulties with the pool. And the swimming was my strongest discipline. Oh well.

Anyway, I got up this morning and did the race lengths for my workout: 1 mile run, 6 mile bike, 1 mile run. And it didn’t kill me.

First mile was pretty strong, very little walking. Bike was good too. Second mile was tougher, especially right off the bike, but I completed that one in 13 minutes. And I finished the whole thing in about 54 minutes, transitions and all.

The weather was good this morning. Cloudy, but warmer than it’s been and only a breeze. Hallelujah!

The weather’s supposed to be good on Saturday too. Now that I know I can finish the distances this way, I feel better, and I’m actually looking forward to the race.

I’ve decided to sign up for the June 7 race too. I really want to get this triathlon thing under my belt. That race will be a challenge: 750 meter open water swim, 11-mile bike and a 3.1 mile run. Lots of training in my near future. But that’s a good thing.

I turn 50 in May, and I may just be in the best shape of my life. I still have 20 or so pounds to get rid of, but I’ve already lost 49, and I’m feeling good and strong these days. It’s all good.

From Exercise to Triathlon Training

I’m exercising with a purpose now. I realized that this week. While I’ve been exercising all along with my upcoming triathlon in mind, this is the week I went from “exercising” to “training.”

I get on the bike, the treadmill and into the pool with very specific goals. It’s not just about getting fit and healthy anymore. It’s about digging in and improving my times and my form, and putting together the pieces.

I mean, it dawned on me this week that while I can run/walk 2 miles, I can swim 400 meters and I can bike 6 miles (the distances in my first race in April), that’s not enough. I have to be able to do all three in a row. And I need to do them competitively.

When I swam this week, I didn’t just do 40 laps like I’ve been doing. I dug in the last 10 laps in an effort to get back to racing mode.

I’ve been pushing myself on the treadmill too. I’m still working on Couch 2 5K interval training, but I’m pushing harder, trying to shave little bits off my time each time I get on the treadmill. And when I’m walking, I’m actually raising the incline.

While I’ve really just started taking the bike leg seriously, when I got on the bike this week, I realized, while I can make the six miles, I have to work on that time too.

And then I have to put them all together. They have to be easy on their own so they are doable all at once. I’ve got 2 pieces at a time down….just have to add the third.

While it’s tough to work so hard each time out (lately even when I convince myself to just get to the gym and do a light workout it becomes something more intense), it’s empowering. Two weeks ago, running for 3 minutes almost killed me. Now, it’s the shortest time duration I’m running and it’s not killing me anymore. Five minutes is killing me. But I know if I keep at it, in a couple of weeks five minutes will be doable and 10 minutes will be the killer.

Don’t get me wrong. I still moan and groan and have to bribe myself to get to the gym. But once I’m there, I’m making the most of it. And I feel strong and accomplished when I go home.

I think I like training better than exercise. And I’m pretty sure I’m going to be addicted to racing. 🙂