In January I was convinced by Steve Shaw to sign up for the Pacific Crest Olympic Distance Triathlon on June 24th. This weekend was the event. I finished it (as did Steve), we’re still alive and the 1500m swim / 40km bike / 10km run went generally well!
For those not in the know (like me five months ago) here are a few things to know: Distances vary dramatically from event to event. Ironman races are 2.4mi swim, 112mi bike, and then a 26.2 mile marathon run. I did not do that. Surely never will. In the pacific northwest everybody typically wears a full wetsuit for the swim. At Pac Crest the water was 60F and I was wet about an hour. Brrrr. T1 is the transition from swim to bike where you minimally ditch the wetsuit and get your bike and helmet. T2 is the transition from bike to run where you ditch the bike and hopefully trade at least your helmet and bike shoes for running shoes. Noncompetitives probably change a variety of clothes at these points, pick up food/water, etc. Drafting on the bike is not allowed. Besides aid stations in the run, you are on your own…no outside assistance. In the two races I’ve done now the racers all had their bib number on one leg and their age on their right leg. That makes the spectating interesting as some of the (especially much older and younger) athletes are truly amazing to watch. Nudity is not allowed so people wear through the whole event either shorts/tank combo or a onesie with minimal bike padding.
Enough background…How did I do? My timing splits at Pac Crest were:
- 0:41:54 swim (431st of 535; 2’33″ per 100m avg)
- 0:05:25 swim to bike transition
- 1:44:28 bike (378th of 529; lost ~15minutes to flat tire; 16.08mph avg)
- 0:02:09 bike to run transition
- 1:01:31 run (311st of 524; 9’54″ per mile avg)
- 3:35:28 total time (347th of 499; 10th of 18 in group)
If it weren’t for the flat tire I’d have been in under 3.5hrs and in the top half of finish times. My T2 transition was 1second faster than the tenth place overall male and my T1 transition was 1second faster than I did at Blue Lake two weeks earlier. I’d hoped to manage around 10minute miles in the run and did. My swim was in line with my (slow) training swim paces.
My heart rate monitor tallied 3460kcal’s burned during the event! I got to wondering what that amounts to in food or fat and Google says that is pretty much one pound of fat. That’s a bit sad. I weighed as much as 230lbs two years ago, had gotten down close to 200lbs this year and hope the tri training would solidly push me below that mark. I’ve actually gained a bit of total weight while at the same time loosing double digit percent body fat. I’m as fit as I’ve ever been in my adult life. Still I was above the 198lb cut off for the “Clydesdale” bracket here so I entered in that. I definitely fit in there. The “Age Grouper” brackets tend to be much leaner and more athlete-y. Apparently other places the cut-off weight is higher and has been changed for next year, making a lot of people unhappy. I’ll race age group bracket from now on, though I’m still motivated to lower my weight closer toward a more healthy 190-ish direction.
As part of my training, two weeks ago I did the sprint distance (0.5mi swim, 12mi bike, 5km run) triathlon at Blue Lake. There my times were sufficient to get 3rd place in my age/weight bracket:
- 0:20:22 swim (279th of 397; 2’19″ per 100m avg)
- 0:05:26 swim to bike transition
- 0:33:56 bike (35th of 390; 21.22mph avg)
- 0:02:52 bike to run transition
- 0:25:01 run (165th of 388; 8’03″ per mile avg)
- 1:27:39 total time (137th of 383; 3rd of 8 in group)
Originally back in January I went to the library and checked out a stack of books on triathloning. One common suggestion was to log your exercise so you can see that you’re getting the needed progression in frequency and intensity of swim, bike, run and cross training. Looking back at my log, the last five months (including the Blue Lake “long training day” and the actually Oly tri event itself), I’ve logged the following:
- 386 miles / 24 hours across 26 bike rides
- 85 miles / 14 hours across 22 runs
- 25 miles / 26 hours across 30 pool swims
- 6 miles / 7 hours across 12 open water swims
- plus 5 hours on the bike trainer, 4 hours indoor lacrosse, 17 hours indoor soccer, 8 hours yoga, misc. yard work, life, etc.
That’s over 500 miles traveled in over 100 hours training time (not counting lacrosse/soccer run distances)! My goal was to work up to swimming, biking and running each two to three times a week with one to two days per week as rest days. I roughly achieved that. I’d also intended to get to where I could comfortably do as much as 200% of the individual race leg distances without fatigue. I only got up to where I was doing 100% of race distance in a given swim/bike/run, but the cumulative exercising got me fit enough to do a long day putting it all together.
I’m pretty sure I want to continue. I can easily improve my swim, run and transition times with more practice. I can also carry a spare tube and CO_2 cartridge instead of pump, tire levers and patch kit in order to improve my flat tire time. Intra-race nutrition and hydration could use some tuning. And I need to put on sunscreen during the race so I don’t get burned!
And a few pictures:
Pre-race chatting helps settle the pre-race jitters. Steve started in a later wave so didn’t have to change as early. Our friend Nichol was doing the Duathlon:
Leaving T1 with a mouth full of Cliff Bar:
Running bike through T2 to my station:
And out of T2: