Saturday, June 26, 2010

Tryin' out my TRI

You know the Principle of Specificity?  Well, I took it to a whole 'nuther level today and did a swim, bike and run on the exact course where my TRI will be in two weeks.  How did that work out for me?  The short answer is "It kicked my booty."  The long answer is much more detailed.

Here's what went poorly:
  • I'm tempted to say "everything," but it wasn't quite that bad.  It took me a really long time to feel good in the water.  There was panic, there was crying; it got ugly.
  • I need different goggles.  Mine fog a lot and it really made sighting difficult.  Swimming in the actual lake in the actual direction I will be swimming at the actual time I will be swimming showed me that I can't see where I'm going!
Here's what went well:
  • I love how buoyant I am in a wetsuit.  At one point when I was trying to calm down, I realized that even if I did absolutely nothing, I would still be sitting right on top of the water.  Good to know.
  • Once I (finally) got going, I got into a really nice rhythm.
The bottom line:
  • Swimming in a pool really does NOT prepare you for swimming in open water.  At all.  I have never worried about Creatures from the Deep while in a nice clean pool.  I have never swum through a school of teeny, tiny fish while in a pool (this was much freakier than you might suspect).  While in a pool, the worst-case scenario is that you have to swim another 90 meters before you can grab onto the edge and catch your breath.  There are no edges in a lake!
  • I need to get in another OWS before race day.

Ready to get in the water...sort of.

Here's what went poorly:
  • Almost nothing.  I felt great on the bike!  The course is non-stop rolling hills, some of them bigger than others and not all of them have a downhill on the other side, so I was pretty tapped out when I was done, but I felt like I stayed strong for the whole ride.
Here's what went well:
  • I ate a Clif Bar Mini Energy Bar before I got on the bike and it went down well and stayed down (always good).
The bottom line:
  • I'm not super worried about the bike portion of this race anymore!  I don't get the chance to ride a lot of hills where I live, so I'm really pleased with how I was able to manage them.
  • Even though my overall speed was a little slow, I might take it easier on race day to make sure I have something left for the run.
Safety first!  Even before shoes apparently.

Here's what went poorly:
  • Umm, pretty much the whole thing!  OMG, the run was really, really, really hard!  Surprisingly hard.  My bike/run bricks have been going so well that I simply couldn't believe how difficult this run was.
  • I was completely out of energy.  I have never bonked like this before.  It brought me to tears about mid-way through the run (yes, I cried twice during today's workout!  I think that's a new record).
Here's what went well:
  • When I finally gathered my wits and just willed myself to run, I was able to get through it.  I was even able to finish pretty strong, which is always a good end to a workout.
The bottom line:
  • I think I need to eat something before the run.

"Are we there yet??"

What sucked:
  • This outfit.  It looks cute in pictures, but it became obvious immediately out of the water that I need actual TRI gear.  Even in today's heat, I was still soaked to the skin at the end of the run.  No bueno.
  • My shoes.  I have become a total convert to Newtons and the Newton way of running, but mine are still pretty new and I didn't want to get them dirty (the run portion of this course is almost all hard-packed dirt), so I wore an older pair of another brand.  I spent the entire run wishing I was wearing better shoes.
  • My Garmin set to "Auto Multisport."  I usually manually change from Bike to Run modes during transition and I think I will take the extra time to do that even on race day.  The Auto Multisport mode didn't show my run pace and I realized today that I really depend on that feedback to keep me motivated.
What worked:
  • I was happy with my hair.  You know this is important!  I have very curly hair and it looks wild after a run, so I knew that adding a swim and bike (hello helmet hair!) wasn't going to do me any favors in the finish line photos.  This is a Nike headband I was trying out for the first time and I think it did the job nicely.

SOOO happy to be done!

All in all, I think today was great training.  I'm super happy that I had the chance to work out some kinks before race day and even though it was MUCH harder than I anticipated, I still think I can hit my goal of a sub-two hour race.  Final stats:  Swim 600 meters (this is 100% conjecture - I swam about 20 minutes but who knows how far that actually got me) @ hope-I'm-not-last-out-of-the-water slow; Bike 16.39 miles @ 17.4 mph; Run 2.24 miles @ 8:57/mi.

I hope you're having a fantastic summer weekend!  I can't wait to read all the race reports!


Average A said...

Wow, great workout!! So inspiring!! (And p/s: i LOVE that headband!!)

I tried going on my first long run post-two marathons, and the heat ended up killing me. I could barely squeak out 5 miles before I called it quits. I don't know if it's the heat or if I'm physically exhausted... but, I love hearing that you are still pushing through! It makes me think that I can get back out there. :)

Whitney said...

Great job today! I like the Aquasphere Kaiman goggles for outdoor and open water swims. I hadn't thought about the Creatures from the Deep before so I'll have you to thank when they come up in my next OWS!

Julie said...

I think you did awesome! You are out there and busting out, not only the runs...but the riding and the challenging swims:) I didn't know that the wetsuit floats. Good to know in case I ever get crazy and brave enough to attempt a Tri!

I also have curly hair! There are some days where it just looks like a big ball of frizz! After I had my last child my hair went straight for a few months. I absolutely hated it:( Now that it is curly again I can still straighten it if I want. I like to have options:) I think that your hair looks great!

Heather said...

Nice job - what a great workout. I agree with you about the for reals tri gear. Wet while running = sucktastic.

Patrick Mahoney said...


- The OWS swims just get easier. Promise.
- Seems you got the bike sorted.
- Newtons clean up easy. I got stuck out of town with just my newtons and pretty muddy trails, and was able to get them clean.

Good luck...

Johann said...

Hi, just found your blog and peeping through it. i respect anyone who even attempts an OWS. Have a great week!

ajh said...

You really thought this through. As you practice more you will get it all sorted out and be very ready! said...

I am SO glad I read this! Doing your brick on the same course was an excellent idea! It sounds like you got some very good information (about not being able to see, needing tri gear, etc.) thank you very much for sharing your experience with us. I know I have definitely learned from it : )