If you've read the previous post you know that I floundered my way through my first open water swim and wobbled into the transition area at something less than a sauntering stroll of a pace.
My head and vision were starting to clear as I plunked myself down to get on my shoes. The bike is usually my strongest leg...I'm typically in the top third of all participants pace wise on the bike...so this is where I usually can make up some time. But I forgot one of the key training lessons of triathlon: "Live in the moment". I was definitely NOT in the moment as I rode out onto the course. I was still flabbergasted over the swim.
The Rattlesnake bike course is VERY hilly with a net rise in elevation of over 750 ft. That means you do get some downhills but they all seem to slope in to the middle of the course so that you up to the turn around and up to the finish. I spent most of the bike leg trying to keep the contents of my stomach inside of me. I wound up with a decent time but my pace was about what I would normally do just riding around town.
I came in to transition glad to know I had only a 5k left to go. Of course, the run is usually what I am worst at...
With one seriously bad knee and a long recovery time after my race back in June I hadn't been able to do any run training for nearly two months. My plan going in to this run was to keep a brisk walking pace...which for me is between an 11 and 12 minute mile...and jog a bit on the downhills. The plan seemed to work ok on the outbound part of the run. Sure I was being regularly passed by people but I was passing occasionally too. At the 1.5 mile turn around point I was feeling like maybe I hadn't pushed myself hard enough...then I started thing about the swim AGAIN and had to work on stomach content maintenance for a few hundred yards.
With about a half mile to go I came up on the two ladies from CWW triathlon club with whom I had shared bike rack in the transition area. This normally would have felt pretty good since they started in the water at least 15 - 20 minutes ahead of me...but they had both run the olympic distance tri the day before. I thanked them for waiting for me and told them they could go ahead and finish if they liked. We wound up jockeying back and forth...them passing me when I walked me getting them back when I jogged...until I heard them coming up behind me one last time with an intent to run through the finish.
Up until that moment I was pretty sure I was wiped out enough the my male ego had sunk to the bottom of the lake somewhere. Apparently it found me out at the end of the run course and I managed to run through the last quarter mile..."run" being a very relative term at that point.
At the end of the day my time was a 1:37:53...not impressive by any stretch but not one to complain about really. My pace for the swim and run were close to what I had hoped for even if the bike was a little slow. But I DID learn a crucial lesson or two:
1. Don't try something entirely new for the first time in competition.
Open water swimming + wet suit combined for a harrowing mental experience
2. "Live in the moment" means forgetting what you just did and focusing on what you're doing.
That would have helped in both the bike AND run.
3. "Live in the moment" also means focusing your mind on truth.
I knew what to do but let my mind wander to "oh my gosh's" and "what if's"
Yes, I will try an open water swim tri again someday.
Somehow though I think those three lessons apply beyond just doing triathlons.