Today I competed in the Sharon Triathlon and am very happy with my top 1/3 result. It’s hard for me to believe that just over three months ago I did my first triathlon, when I compare how that first one went and this one. While that other one wasn’t awful, it was much different than I had expected. This one, by contrast, was even more awesome than I had expected.
Here I am. Lisa got up very, very early with me to get there very, very early. She’s a peach.
Since the previous triathlon—where I swam a quarter-mile in 12:30—I’ve really worked at improving my open-water swimming skills. It occurred to me this morning while waiting for the start that I probably should have signed up as a normal “age grouper” instead of as a newbie. But I signed up back in the day when I wasn’t quite so comfortable, and what’s done is done. The swim was actually quite good: 17:00-or-so for a half-mile. Well, okay . . . it was difficult. Unlike my open-water swim practice, the water this morning was rather choppy. Was that because of the breeze over the lake or the dozens of other swimmers around me? At any rate, it was difficult because I still need better technique to go with the confidence and speed that I’ve been developing. Nevertheless, I enjoyed catching swimmers who started five, ten, and even fifteen minutes before me.
After my good-enough swim there was the first of the two parts I was actually dreading: transition. I actually contemplated calling this post “Lost in Transition,” but I didn’t want you to think (incorrectly) that I was displeased with my race before you even got to the first paragraph. My transition times—well, there’s nothing to do but be blunt—sucked. Somewhere between flopping about in the shallow water while taking off my wetsuit, actually getting lost on the way back to my bike, having trouble with my blood glucose meter, and trying to put on my shoes without getting sand in my socks, I frittered away about seven or eight minutes of time to everyone else’s three or four. Clearly, that’s something to work on.
The bike was really good. Like last time, I did all of the passing. (Well, technically I did get passed by two riders who were drafting off each other, but they turned left when the course turned right, so I say that doesn’t count.) The course was quite flat, and I was hoping to average around 20 mph. With the roads wet from the light drizzle that had been falling all morning, I was very happy with the fact that I almost made it.
And finally, the run. Unlike my first tri, I wasn’t coming off training for a half-marathon. In fact, I had kinda let my running slip a bit over the last couple months, and I was starting to notice it in the trouble I’d had hitting my times during my quality workouts. Plus, I had also been cramping a bit at the end of a couple swims, which I chalked up to the fact that the back of my body from my lower-back to my calves had been really tight the last week, almost to the point of pain a couple days. So I was a little nervous about pushing a hard run after an hour of swimming and biking, but it went well. I never really get the typical “brick” legs after switching from the bike to the run (*touch wood*) and today they felt good, too. My goal was to find a mildly uncomfortable pace and go with that; which I did. 7:53/mile isn’t much to write home about, but it was good enough today.
So there we have it. Swim=good. Bike=good. Run=good. Transitions=room for improvement. I’m digging this whole triathlon thing, and I want to do more of it. I have thoughts about where I want to go with it, but I’m keeping my cards close to my vest because I don’t know how much time I can actually devote and how I can balance it with everything else in my life. We’ll see.
Of course, there’s still that issue of diabetes. I had hoped that I could cobble together the things that were individually working for me in the morning. The swim that starts near 150 mg/dL and ends at 100. The bike ride that starts at 120 and ends in the same vicinity. And the run that starts at 150 and ends slightly higher. But enough was different that when I started around 150 before the swim, I ended it near 350. Ugh. And then I went up a bit more during the bike. As a result, my ability to take on extra carbs was severely limited, so I pretty much did the whole tri after only eating a pre-swim granola bar and a banana. Next time. Next time.
And there will be a next time, because I feel like I can keep getting better, and I’m having a lot of fun.