Try-an-athlon Experiment (4) Finish Line Edition

If you finish 140.6 miles you’ve earned the distinction of Ironman.  If you finish 70.3 miles you are a baller and probably pretty good looking. If you finish 32.1 miles you get a high five and your parents will take you out to dinner. I’m pretty happy with the last one.

The first group went off at 7am and I was at 7:30, that half hour was tough. The sand was freezing so I stayed in the water because it was warmer than the air. Note: Careful of triathlons after Labor Day in the Northeast. I took my time walking into the water near the middle of the pack. The first 100 meters was pure terror if we’re talking mildly. The first 100m I forgot every single thing I worked on. Kept looking forward, breathing erratically, holding breath under water, quick tense stroke. I was struggling. Once we spread out a little I got into my rhythm and honestly the swim was a breeze from there. I stopped to rest twice, but mostly to sight or adjust my goggles. 1500m in 35 minutes. img_0226Out of the water and onto the bike.

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Getting onto the bike wet was terrible. I thought the pre-swim wait was rough, I was a popsicle most of the bike ride. I didn’t realize how frozen I was until I tried to unwrap some gummies and my hand ignored me. I rode the course frequently during training because it’s near the gym and pleasant during the summer time. It’s not pleasant in the Fall. Note: Under no circumstances do a triathlon in the Northeast after Labor Day. Bike: 25 miles 1 hr, 40 min.

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Above is the first mile off the bike. I felt like a cryogenic human coming back to life. I finally loosened up after 2 miles. Walt Disney would’ve been proud. I rolled nice from there and had a good mindset. No headphones allowed while running which I knew would be a problem for me. I had a few songs memorized for the last mile that worked pretty well.

img_0251Finish line and 32.1 miles in the books. 3:30:05 with transitions. Run: 6.2 miles, 55 minutes.

I never ran outside in preparation for this. Here’s my take on how different treadmill vs. outside running. On the treadmill you’re not propelling yourself forward like you are outside. I believe treadmill running stresses the hamstrings a little more with the constant braking against the belt and outdoors I felt a little more stress on the front of my thighs which I think came from having to propel myself forward and up hills, dodge pot holes, etc.

Leading up to this thing I started with no base. I didn’t worry about running x miles x times per week or if I should swim only on  days I run or whatever. I swam, biked, and ran as much as I could. For those of you out there thinking about their first endurance event, just train. Specific programming isn’t as necessary. Expect the runs to take the most recovery, followed by swimming, then biking. Give yourself a mini taper a few days before the race where you maybe just go through the motions then go race.

I gained a huge appetite from the uptick in training and gained 6 pounds overall from 6 weeks ago. I still lift 1-2x/week which is much less than what I used to, but I can maintain decent strength and I focus mostly on the areas important to running, biking, and swimming. I ran then biked. Swam than ran. Biked twice in a day. All sorts of combinations as long as I was continuing to build my base.

My taper was a half hour run 2 days before the race and a light bike ride the day before. That’s it. I don’t have enough fitness to take a week off. A week long taper for me for this race would’ve stolen more fitness than erasing fatigue. A proper taper is that perfect balance between the two.

Final word of advice, sign up for something! Seriously, it is the best motivator.

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