I did it! I did it! I did it!
- Swim 1500m 38:33
- T1 4:10
- Bike 45 km 1:51:45
- T2 1:45
- Run 10 km 1:05:28
- Total: 3:41:39
A solid back-of-the-pack performance!
Three weeks ago during my first open-water tri – the sprint distance at Shawnigan Lake – there were several achievements I left “locked” for next time. I think I did well in learning those lessons this time around, during the Subaru Victoria Triathlon.
Lesson #1: relax and trust your training
Achievement already unlocked 🙂
Yep – I got this one down. I was more excited than nervous going into this race, and having the Sprint under my belt helped. Also helped that the weather couldn’t have been more perfect for Sunday’s race: warm but not too warm and no wind with a few clouds.
I got butterflies the day before the race when I took my bike out to set up in transition area overnight, but those went away once I got in the water for our 10-10-10 pre-race workout (10 minutes each sport, just to shake out any nerves and warm up the muscles).
The swim wasn’t as fast as I would have liked (I was hoping for 36 minutes) but I think I went wide trying to avoid all the bodies in the water. Swimming over and through a bunch of other people is something I’ve practiced with the team, but am not comfortable with quite yet. I didn’t find anyone to draft.
Here’s the best part about the swim: no nausea, no dizziness, no confusion at T1. I attribute this to earplugs. I had scoured the triathlete discussion boards and found I am definitely not the only person who gets dizzy in open water, and this was the #1 tip. (My friend Erin also told me that during Ironman races she takes a quarter of a Gravol pill to cut her nausea. If I ever do a Half or full Iron distance I’ll try a training swim with gravol if needed.)
Lesson #2: be redundantly, excruciatingly early to set up transition area
Achievement unlocked 🙂
I was up at 5, out of the house by 5:30 and set up in transition area by 6:15, a full hour before I had to line up on shore. Being relaxed and ready is so much better than being panicked.
Lesson #3: know your strengths
Achievement still unlocked 🙁
Is this one ever really achieved for any of us? I know I have so much potential deep down, but I still found myself during the first half of the bike saying things to myself like:
- Why the hell am I doing this?
- This is hard.
- Legs tired already; maybe I’ll just finish this stupid bike course and not do the run.
- You know, I can just quit.
- I could just do this race and never do an Olympic distance again.
Obviously I talked myself out of it. This was all during the first 15-20K of a tough bike course with lots of hills at the start. Also, this was not the time to be discovering that Shot Blocks make my tummy sore, and I can’t chew waffles while I’m breathing hard. Thanks be to awesome triathlon race organizers who had two aid stations with PowerGels available. After the first gel kicked in I was saying things to myself like:
- Well geez louise, this is a RACE, it’s SUPPOSED to feel like I’m working my ass off!
- This is one of the most beautiful bike courses in triathlon. Enjoy the day.
- I know the humiliation of just quitting would last forever. Even if I get two flats and/or have to walk the run course, I know I’m going to finish this race, because that’s just how I roll.
- Shut up legs!
By the time the course flattened out, at the airport, I was fine. I spent much of the last half of the bike in my drops (no triathlon bike for me just yet) trying to make up time. Once again, the bike turned out to be my strongest of the three sports and the part I enjoyed most about the day.
Lesson #4: make it so you don’t have to think at transition area
Achievement unlocked 🙂
My transition times could use some improvement, but in general I didn’t think about it, I just switched from one sport to the next without second-guessing my choices or looking around for gear. I’ve also mastered the art of getting my wetsuit off while still standing. Practice makes perfect!
Lesson #5: Bricks are your friend.
Achievement unlocked 🙂
I felt great on the run pretty much right from the start. No side stitches, no legs feeling like they were someone else’s. I was tired, for sure, but that was because I had already been exercising for 2.5 hours by the time I got to the run. It didn’t stop me from pulling off a respectable (for me) 1:05 for the 10k run. Astonishing considering how little I’ve been running lately, compared to when I was marathon and half marathon training.
I can’t wait for the next race. I’m not sure when it will be, but I know I want to do the Banff Subaru triathlon in September. No definite plans yet. Stay tuned!
*Note: This post has been edited from its original version as of May 2015.