Category Archives: Triathlon

Kelowna Apple Triathlon 2011

Kelowna marks the last A-race of my first true season of triathlon.  And I’m really quite pleased with how the first year turned out.

I’m an average swimmer, a strong cyclist, and a weak runner.

Swim: 27:56/1500m

One year ago, I didn’t know how to swim.  I could barely scramble 25m, with a level of skill barely suitable for swimming at the cottage.  I worked hard through the winter, starting off with 30 minutes in the pool almost every day, until I learned how to do 100m.  Then 200m.  I consider myself a triathlete more than a swimmer, but swimming is certainly not my weak point.

For Apple, my estimated time for the swim was 30 minutes.  I haven’t been setting stretch goals for the swim, just yet.  All I wanted at Apple was to get through the swim, and post something close to 30 minutes.  I got out of the water with two minutes to spare.

The swim itself went reasonably well.  I probably went off course a little, but that will improve with more open water practice and sighting.  All in due time.  My swim speed will increase with practice and technique improvements, and perhaps learning how to have a productive kick!

Transition 1: 1:50

Is it possible to do this faster?  Probably.  I had a few things sitting in my helmet that I had planned to stuff into my back pockets, and that did take a few seconds.  But I did take advantage of some cool tricks, like leaving my goggles and swim cap inside my wetsuit sleeve, having my shoes pre-clipped to the pedals, and racking over the back of the saddle.

Bike: 1:08:10 (35.2km/h)

This bike course was awesome.  I felt strong and fast.  I was only a few minutes off the #1 position on the bike course, and even so, placing within the top sixth of finishers on the bike course is nothing to sneer at.  I worked on keeping loose, and finding that balance between effort and ease.  I rode according to plan, pushing hard up Knox, then spinning free throughout the rest of the course.

Transition 2: 1:05

This clocking represents mostly the run through transition, from the bike entrance to the run exit.   Once my bike was racked, helmet off, shoes on, I was back out on the course.  The only way I think I could improve this time would be to be a faster runner.  I’m by no means disappointed with this.

Run: 1:00:54 (6:06/km)

Yes, the run is my weakness.  I’ve been battling IT-band issues for the last half of the season, and haven’t really been focussed on improving my run speed.  Though I did maintain my roughly 6:00/km average, and that was my goal.

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Race Report: Subaru Vancouver International Triathlon

Pre-Race

I take a lot more time than I need to in setting up my transition area.  And I seem to underestimate how long it takes to get my wetsuit on, and get a short warm-up swim in.

Swim

I put myself right in the middle of the pack at the swim start.  Just a sprint, so I figured it’d be a good place to learn how to be in a solid mass of swimmers.  It wasn’t nearly as nerve-racking as I expected.  What was nerve racking, however, was that in all the excitement after my warm-up swim, I forgot to bring my goggles back down off my forehead.  Considering this was only my second open-water race (and the first time racing in the ocean), let’s chalk that up to a “beginner” thing.  Moving on…

During the first third of the swim, I had a few spots where I felt a bit panicked.  Partially from having to goggle-up mid-stroke.  Actually, that misstep probably set me back a lot, as there was water in my goggles, and that shot my stress level right up.  So I took a few short breaks to tread water.

I did remember to push “start” on my watch, though.

Transition 1

I had a gel in my back pocket, which I ate heading into T1.  My initial plan was to take some plain water (in a bottle that I had sitting in T1) before heading out onto the bike course, as I was only carrying liquid nutrition on the bike, given the duration and temperature.  I forgot to take that sip of plain water.  Not sure if that worked against me in the long run.

Bike

The bike went about as well as I wanted it to.  I was in my smallest gear (34:25) only for a few short climbs, and spent a lot of time much further down the cassette.  I kind of wished I had an 11-tooth cog on the back for this course, as there are some really nice long downhill sections where I was maxed out in the big ring at 50:12.  I’m kind of thinking I might like to try out an 11-23 cassette.  I won’t deny drafting: I definitely did as much as I could: but only 20 seconds at a time!  Passed a bunch of people on the bike, and a bunch of people passed me.

Transition 2

Reasonably quick transition off the bike.  I ran a few steps past my place on the rack, got in a gel for the run, and a quick sip of that plain water I had left there.  Forgot to pull the elastics on my racing flats, and I ended up running the entire 5k with slightly loose shoes.  They kind of worked well enough without being super-tight.  It was unplanned, but I kind of like the fact that I don’t have to worry about lacing up.

Run

My eternal 28-minute 5k.  It’s about par for the course, for me.  I really should work on improving my run off the bike.  More bricks and speedwork is on my radar.

Finish

Final clock was 1:26:43, which is a sprint PR for me.  Yay!

All in, I was happy with how things went today, and I have a few things to learn from for next time.  Namely:

  • 30 minutes lead time before wave start to get wetsuit on, and get in the warm-up swim, to reduce the stress and likelihood of forgetting something like goggles.
  • If the race plan calls for a sip of plain water in T1, that bottle needs to go inside my upside-down helmet, or somewhere I won’t miss it.
  • Transition towel needs to be sticking out a little further, and also not orange.  The inside of a lot of wetsuits are orange, and that made it blend in.  Also, I was shocked to find an Orbea parked in my spot when I got back from the bike course.

12 minutes left

Uggh, riding on the trainer is super boring. But with the iPad nestled on my aerobars, it’s a perfect opportunity to write a quick blog post about my training. I have 59 days until Oliver, and feel like it’s more of a challenge than I’m ready for. I got to the 1 hour mark on tonight’s ride and thought to give up, but then I remembered something: this feels amazing, to be spinning away, watching movies on the iPad, and sweating up a storm. Tomorrow I swim & run. And now, I only have a few minutes left on tonight’s ride, so it’s time to give it my all. Happy training!

You might be a triathlete if…

I remember reading this post a few months ago, “you might be a triathlete if…”

One of them, “…if you think an Ironman is easier then a Marathon because you don’t have to start by running fast.” is actually beginning to make sense to me.  I used to be a runner, and then I was also a cyclist. Now, I am becoming more comfortable in the water, and more nervous about the bike and run.  Weird.

So I’m going to share a couple of my favourite one-liners, stolen shamelessly from the Internet.  You might be a triathlete if…

  • Your first thought when you wake up is how high your resting heart rate is.
  • When people praising you for being able to run 15 miles you’re feeling insulted.
  • That charming “cologne” you wear to work is chlorine.
  • You have everything needed in your car to be Swimming, Biking or Running with 5 minutes notice.
  • When a co-worker asks if you are racing this weekend, you say “yeah, but I’m just running a 10k, so that is not REALLY a race”.
  • You have a $4000 bike strapped on top of your $2000 car.
  • Your car has at least one Power Bar wrapper and two sets of work out clothes.
  • You feel like you took the day off because all you did was swim 3000m.
  • When non-racer friends tell you they ran/rode you automatically calculate their pace to see if you’re still in better shape.

One hundred twenty three.

This was impossible, only two months ago.  I hadn’t been in the pool for at least a decade, and even then, “freestyle” wasn’t in my vocabulary.

I’m beginning to see that this is now becoming a real possibility. There is nothing preventing me from completing my first tri next spring, and nothing preventing me from giving it my best shot.

In 123 days, I will be able to officially call myself a triathlete.