Triathlons are hard

Triathlons are hard.  That’s no secret, and you’d think I would have learned my lesson after the Kirkwood triathlon, but I went for it again this past weekend.  The Kirkwood triathlon was just the second one I’d ever done and it was four years after my first.  Finding time to train was difficult, but I kept telling myself it was short – a sprint triathlon.  I struggled big time during the race.  However, I learned there are several additional sprint triathlons in the St. Louis area, and I do love racing – no matter how hard it is.  I signed up for my second sprint triathlon of the summer, but training didn’t go much better.  In fact, it went worse since school started up again and I literally only had time to train once on the weekends.

Eh, it’s another sprint, I’ll be fine, I kept telling myself.  Well Sunday morning came, my car was packed, and I was ready for the Sunset Hills triathlon.  I set my station up, got my numbers drawn on, and anxiously awaited the start time.

triathlon before

The distances were similar to Kirkwood: 300 yard swim, 11.8 mile bike, 3 mile run.  I was actually really excited for the 300 yard swim compared to the 400 yard swim in Kirkwood.  The swimming really wiped me out last time, so I thought I’d have more energy this time around.  But… I hadn’t swam at all since the last triathlon.  Definitely not ideal.  We were lined up by our numbers which was determined by our swim time that we entered when signing up for the race.  They were very strict in the order which you started since it correlated to your chip start time.

This felt a lot different than Kirkwood.  While we waited to get in the pool at Kirkwood, the race directors were telling us about the course, explaining proper race etiquette, and pumping us up.  This time, it was much more serious though the racers were still friendly.  Racers dropped in the pool every 15 seconds.  It was a serpentine style swim.  I ended up getting passed by three swimmers which was frustrating because I hate getting passed.  (I’m a wee bit competitive, can you tell?)  I finished and trotted toward the transition area to get ready for the bike portion.

The 11.8 mile bike was a three-loop course.  I thought looping twice during Kirkwood wasn’t great, but three times really stunk. I would much rather do one long loop and not know what is coming.  This course was HARD.  It was crazy hilly, both uphills and downhills.  The downhills were so steep that I held on for dear life and hoped I wouldn’t fly off.  Directly after one particularly downhill was an immediate uphill.  You had momentum for the first little bit, but obviously that wore off and then you were in the middle of a very steep hill.  I saw quite a few people fall off their bikes on this part, and several people were walking their bikes up.  My goal was to stay on my bike the whole time which I did.  That was a positive, but the biking was still so tough.  “On your left!” was a phrase I heard way too often.

Then came the run.  My legs were jello and the run, too, was a three-loop course.  Argh.  I tried to get out of my own head and stay positive, but the run was crazy hilly, as well!!  Even the immediate downhill was so steep that you had to exert more energy making sure you didn’t eat the asphalt rather than letting gravity do it’s thing and embracing the downhill.  There were quite a few uphills, in addition.  Sadly, I walked a few times.  My goal for running is never to walk, so that was a major fail.  And I didn’t break my under-30 miunte goal either.  I told you, this triathlon was rough.

As much as I’m complaining about the race, it really was my own fault for not going into it properly trained.  And I didn’t feel like dying as much as I did during the Kirkwood one.  You better believe I was happy and proud to have finished, despite my slow times.  Now I can say I’ve done three triathlons!  That’s an accomplishment!

The after photo:

triathlon after

Still alive.  Still standing.  Still smiling.

Even though I’m not impressed or proud with my times, I’ll share them anyway:

  • Swim Time: 7:50
  • Tran 1: 3:29
  • Bike Time: 1:04:57
  • Tran 2: 2:52
  • Run Time: 30:54
  • Finish Time: 1:50:04

All in all, I was much slower (except for the swim) than Kirkwood, even my transitions.  Hey, at least it gives me a goal to beat next summer!

Have you ever been disappointed / frustrated with your race results?

Tour de Kirkwood Sprint Triathlon 2015

I’ve done lots of races.  Tons of 5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons, mud runs, and even one sprint triathlon in the past.  None were as difficult as the Tour de Kirkwood Sprint Triathlon 2015 that I completed yesterday!  The first time I did this same sprint triathlon was before William was here, so I had all the time in the world to train, and I did.  I worked out six or seven times a week.  Now?  Not so much.  I trained when I could, but in reality, I only got in a few swims, two long bike rides, and several runs.  When people asked how I planned on doing the triathlon without training, I kept saying how short the distances were and I’d be fine.  (400 yard swim, 10 mile bike ride, and 3 mile run)  After all, I ran an entire half marathon without running more than six miles prior.  I’d be fine.

When I woke up at five o’clock in the morning, it was thunderstorming.  Grrrreat.  I did my usual routine to get ready and left my parents’ house (they were watching William) by 6:15.  We were sent an email saying the event was still on, but they would make a decision about the bike at 7:00.  The thunder and lightning stopped, but the rain continued.  The race was postponed til 8:00 (rather than 7:30), but other than that, it was on.

triathlon

The “before” picture.  When I was still smiling.  And standing.

It was a pool swim, serpentine style.  We lined up according to the time we thought we’d get.  I guessed between 10-11 minutes, so I was pretty far back.  I didn’t get in the pool until 8:40.  Waiting at a race for two hours is not the most fun.  I don’t get nervous for races until right before.  Two hours is a long time to have jitters.  I just wanted to begin.

Linking up with Katie and Erin!

I felt good during the swim.  I passed a few swimmers, didn’t stop to take a break, but was definitely tired at the end.  I definitely felt it once I got on my bike.  Biking is probably my weakest sport of the three, and there were looooooong uphills.  Plus, we had to do two loops, so as if the first wasn’t hard enough, we had to do the whole thing again.  Oy.  My quads were on FIRE.

Then came the run.  I felt most confident for the run.  That is… until I started running.  My legs were jello and the beginning of the course was on mulch and through a trail and pretty hilly.  I struggled big time.  I literally couldn’t believe how much trouble I was having.  I mean it was THREE miles.  I could do three miles in my sleep, regardless of how little training I’d done.  Not yesterday.  I was spent.  The run was an out and back and we had to do two laps of the run, as well.  Killer.

How’d I finish?  Two minutes and thirty seconds faster than my last one!  That’s all I wanted – beat my previous time!  I did this race with a friend and was definitely pushed.  Otherwise, no way would I have beat my time.  Here are my results:

  • Swim Time: 10:46
  • Swim Pace: 2:42
  • Tran 1: 2:37
  • Bike Time: 53:17
  • Bike Rate: 11.26
  • Tran 2: 1:40
  • Run Time: 28:43
  • Run Pace: 9:35
  • Finish Time: 1:37:00

See my 2011 results HERE.

Bike was still my slowest and the run, somehow, was my fastest.  Other than that, my numbers were pretty similar to 2011.  Usually I take a million pictures, but I wanted nothing to do with the camera when I finished.  I was exhausted.  This was the most difficult race I’ve ever done.  I do want to do it again… and train a lot better.

For St. Louis friends or people near St. Louis, I highly recommend the Tour de Kirkwood Sprint Triathlon.  It’s a GREAT first race!  This is Big Shark’s 12th year hosting it, and they’ve got it down.  The atmosphere is very supportive, positive, and encouraging.  The race director was giving lots of tips before the race started, sharing proper race etiquette, and explaining parts of the course.  He said this is a great first triathlon to do because you really have to earn it; it’s not an easy race.  He was SO right!

While I kind of thought I was going to die during the race, I’m glad I did it, I’m happy I finished, and I’m definitely proud I cut down my time… even just a little!

Did you race this weekend? Have you ever done a triathlon?  Any desire to?

Triathlon Tips

I had a good weekend starting to train for my triathlon!  It’s a sprint triathlon, so I know I’ll be able to endure the distances. Now I want to work on my speed. Since I don’t always have time to train two sports in one day, sometimes I will choose to train longer distances for one sport.  That’s what I did this weekend.

Seven mile run on Friday…

7 miles

…that was actually really tough! My Garmin shows a 9:55 pace, but I ran on a main road, so I had to pause occasionally when I got stuck at a red light. I’m not going to lie, I welcomed those few short moments!

Linking up with Katie and Erin.

On Saturday, I went for a 15 mile bike ride!  This was my first time biking on the road in a few years, so I went with my friend Andy.  I was reaaaaally slow on the uphills, and will definitely have to work on them.  I kind of hate biking, but am trying to stay positive.

biking

I’m not following a training plan for this race because my training will depend on when I can have William watched. I hope to train each sport at least once a week, along with a BodyPump class or some type of weightlifting. Something I love about the Tour de Kirkwood triathlon is that while they do score and time the event, they don’t have awards in the traditional sense. “Everyone who participates wins.”  They pride themselves on having a positive, safe, athlete friendly environment. That being said, I do still want to improve my time from my last triathlon, so I will do my best with training!

Since I’m still very much a newbie to the sport, I reached out to my fellow FitFluential Ambassadors for some tips.  They cover a wide range of topics:

Looking for something specific? Check out the first two posts as they are broken down into more individualized categories; I’m sure you can find what you’re looking for!

As for William? He’s doing his own training…

For what? I’m not quite sure. But that kid is all over the place. Never stops moving – just like his momma!  Future athlete in the making!

Have you ever done a triathlon? If not, what’s stopping you?! If yes, what’s your #1 tip you can give to a newbie?

Time to Tri Again

Back in 2011, I completed my first and only triathlon.  It was a sprint triathlon meaning the distances were short (and manageable, in my opinion!).  Now, four years later as I have restarted my running journey and upped my game with working out, I’m happy to announce that I’ll be racing this same sprint triathlon again this summer!  For all my St. Louis friends, it’s the 2015 Tour de Kirkwood Triathlon on Sunday, July 26th, and it’s a GREAT race! It’s perfect for first timers and seasoned athletes alike.

Why is this race so great for anybody who wants to tri? The distances and the swim.

The distances are as follows:

  • Swim: 400 yards
  • Bike: 10 miles
  • Run: 3 miles

The swim is in a pool (serpentine style) which is a big deal as most triathlons are in open water which kind of terrifies me. Eventually I would like to get there, but as a triathlon newbie, the pool swim is very appealing!

Big Shark is a local bicycle company and is hosting the triathlon and sponsoring me.  They have four locations in St. Louis and are a wealth of knowledge about all of your biking and triathlon needs. They hold classes and clinics and even have bikes, race wheels, travel cases, and wetsuits available to rent! Big Shark has bicycling and triathlon teams and truly are the go-to spot in St. Louis.

When I trained for this triathlon four years ago, I focused on swimming. I knew I could run and bike the distances, but swimming is one sport where I had never learned proper technique. I took swimming lessons to learn correct stroke and practiced several times a week.  I was the least confident in swimming, but surprised myself with how I did. I dug up some photos from four years ago.

Getting all set up, not really knowing what I was in for!

tri start

Not going to lie, I felt pretty cool getting numbers written on me.  It’s probably comparable to runners getting their first bib. Race official!

I wore a Reebok swim suit; the top was like a sports bra, so all I had to do was throw a tank top on. I’ll need to figure something else out for this year though since I’m post-baby and still nursing… Any race tops, tri suits, or swim suits you recommend?

Waiting in line for the swim:

tri swim

Attractive outfit, eh? 😉 I bought a pair of triathlon shorts which have light padding in the butt for biking, but less bulky than straight biker shorts. They’re really hot.

Since the swim is serpentine style, you line up by what time you think you will finish.  When I first started swimming lessons, I could literally barely make it one length of the pool without stopping. Swimming is HARD! I am proud to say that by the end, I could swim the entire 400 yards without stopping! Serpentine swimming means you swim up one side of the pool, then down the other, and continue moving lanes of the pool until you get to the other end. If you need to pass somebody, you simply touch their ankle and quickly pass.  I passed quite a few people which made me happy since I had underestimated how fast (for me) I would be!

Preparing for the bike portion:

tri bike

Since this was my first triathlon, I took my sweet time in transitions. Transitions are typically a time where you want to move as fast as possible to minimize time, but my goal for the event was merely to finish!  From the swim, I threw on a tank top, socks, shoes, gloves, helmet, and glasses.

Off I go for the final leg of the course, the run:

tri run

Switched shoes and swapped my by helmet for a visor. Finished and I remembered thinking that I would definitely have to do it again.  Four years later, and it’s finally happening!  My goal for this triathlon is to simply meet my times from the first one.

My 2011 Sprint Triathlon Results:

  • Swim Time: 11:16
  • Swim Pace: 2:49
  • Tran 1: (this was left blank – I don’t know why)
  • Bike Time: 53:49
  • Bike Rate: 13.4
  • Tran 2: 2:33
  • Run Time: 31:52
  • Run Pace: 10:38
  • Finish Time: 1:39:30

And I was still smiling at the end…

tri end

Have you ever done a triathlon? If yes, what tips can you give me for improvement? If not, do you have any desire to?