Giving it a Tri

A new year means something different to everyone. For me it means time to reassess goals, priorities and maybe just do something that intimidates me. While I have a list of goals/aspirations for 2015, my first opportunity to do something that I’ve never done was presented just a few days into the year.

Lifetime Fitness held a weekend full of events to get people off on the right foot. One such event was an indoor triathlon. Josh and some of my other friends have been encouraging me to do a triathlon. I swam in high school and having running down. While I know how to ride a bike, it’s not my strong suit. I figured an indoor event would be perfect, especially because I don’t even own a bike.

The very beginner friendly event was arranged by time rather than distance. 10 minute swim (10 minute transition time), 30 minute bicycle (five minute transition) and 20 minute run. I did a few brick workouts and tried to swim once a week in order to prepare myself for the ‘race.’

Come race day I was ready. I checked in and prepared for my swim.

I was none too excited that I had a nasty head cold. With the heat in front of us complete, I hopped in for a quick warm-up. I was so glad I did because the water was freezing! When the whistle blew, I swam as fast as my breathe would allow me. I had to switch from freestyle to breaststroke a few times because I needed the break to catch my breathe. I swam 450 yards.

As I changed into my biking/running gear I chatted up another woman who was a seasoned triathlete. She recommended a local women-only tri that is great for first timers. Noted, we headed to the spin studio.

One of the Lifetime employees helped me adjust my bike and off I went. They had a DJ playing music which was really nice. I was just in my own zone but could see out of the corner of my eye the woman next to me continuously checking my computer to see how far I’d ridden. My legs were starting to fatigue towards the end and I adjusted the resistance down a bit. Total distance: 9.6 miles

One more event to go and I was feeling good. I was enjoying the change of pace to hours of running. I went up the stairs, picked a treadmill and waited to get the green light to start. I wasn’t really sure what speed to go for. I started at about a 8 min/mile pace and tried to pick it up every quarter mile. The 20 minutes flew by and before I knew it, I was done. Total distance: 2.55 miles

When I was done, I went over to stretch a bit and finish my Nuuns which tasted so good. The ending was pretty unceremonious. They just said, you’re done, have a good day. Not that I was expecting much, but something more like a refreshment table or something would have been nice.

Not that they really mattered, but I was curious as to how I stacked up against the other participants. I was 46th overall of 86 and 13th in women’s open of 36.

There is another indoor tri sometime in March or April. I think I’ll participate again and hopefully see improvements. I’m stilling thinking about an outdoor triathlon this summer, but with fall marathon plans, we’ll see how training shapes up.

Swim, bike, run – Getting my feet wet

About a month ago I got an email from Lifetime Fitness about its Commitment Day Festival. It starts with a New Year’s Day 5k and concludes with an indoor triathlon. Knowing we’d likely already be out of pocket for New Year’s Day I decided to register for the indoor triathlon. I’ve never done one, but decided that the start of the a new year was the perfect time to try it out.

This is a very beginner friendly event. Rather that prescribed distance for each portion of the race, it’s done by time. We start with a 10 minute swim, followed by 30 minutes on a bike and 20 minutes running. Between each portion there are allotted transition times which is nice. No need to feel super rushed.

While I have not been following any sort of official training plan, I’ve been incorporating swimming and biking into my weekly routine in addition to my three runs. Over the past several couple of weeks my weeks have looked something like this:

Monday – Swim/Bike

Tuesday – Run

Wednesday – Group class/Bike

Thursday – Bike/Run

Friday – Group class or off

Saturday – Long Run

Sunday – Swim

Not all weeks go as planned but I’ve been pretty good at swimming and biking at least two days per week.

Here’s what I’ve learned about my fitness level for an event like this.

1. Being in running shape and swimming shape are not the same at all. Getting back into swimming has been challenging. Each week I see improvements in my fitness. For example, two weeks ago in 30 minutes I only swam 900 yards alternating between freestyle and breaststroke. Today I swam 1200 yards in the same amount of time, still alternating strokes.

2. Stationary bikes are way more comfortable than Spin bikes. We will be on spinning bikes for the event so I’ve been going into the cycling room when there is not a class. Those seats hurt after more than 15 minutes. I need some padded shorts.

3. My legs are jello when I start to running after biking. It’s such a different motion, my legs are confused about what is going on.

I did a trial triathlon this morning just to see how my body did. I made it a bit longer than the one I’ll be doing just to see how it went, plus 10 minutes in the pool is hardly worth getting wet.

In 90 minutes I completed a 1200 yd swim, rode 6.9 miles and ran 3.5 miles. It felt really good and surprisingly less difficult than I anticipated. That was a relief. I’m excited for the 4th!

We’ll see, I may just like this triathlon thing and register for the outdoor one this summer at the lake across the street from my house.