Sunday, August 26, 2007

A bit disappointing!

Raced in The Lakes Country Triathlon today up in Baxter, MN. As much as I try not to be, I am a bit disappointed in my performance. But not for the obvious reasons.

Yes, I placed terribly and my time compared to my first triathlon didn't improve one bit! I can get over that! But, lets go over the race before I explain more!

The Swim (other wise known as the doggie paddle)!

Well, O.K. I didn't revert to the doggie paddle but I might as well of. About 2 weeks ago I went to Gear West and with incredible help I bought a wet suit (QR HydroJohn). Unfortunately, I didn't have a chance to practice in it. I suppose I could have inside but I have been warned about that being too hot!

So there are seven waves to this race and I am in the third. I had no idea what to expect. Ready, Set, Go! I run, I dive, I start swimming and what I felt was amazing. Now, I have been in wet suits before, in the early 80's when I surfed back on the east coast.
There have been some changes! I practically felt that someone was holding me up by the hips so I wouldn't sink. I have listened to you guys about how the wetsuits help but I just wasn't expecting that much flotation. "This is going to be easy, I'm going to kick some triathlon butt today".

But then, what seemed pretty sudden to me, I just couldn't breathe. No, I was breathing too much, close to hyperventilating it seemed. And with that there was no way to be in the freestyle position to swim. I tried just slowly swimming, some backstroke, side stroke, whatever stroke.
Nothing worked. I had to have been essentially been having a panic attack. Regardless, it may as well have been! For a while, I felt that the wetsuit was restricting me from breathing. Part of that may be true, but only because I was breathing so fast that I was using accessory muscles which include the motion of lifting the shoulders.

I really don't know what else to say right now. I had a terrible, difficult swim.
0.5 mile - 19:38, 2:14 per 100yd
The good news is that I didn't have to worry about drinking water for a while ;-)

The Bike!

I did OK on the bike. Averaged 17.0 miles again, but this course had more frequent and longer hills than Lifetime. I am also happy with the time considering that I had an awful swim that took a lot of energy and I had to start with a chain coming off. Then (yes, I am making excuses), there is the fact that my bike is 31 pounds and not really for racing!

A guy that I talked at the LBS said that we can add skinnier tires and a new handlebar with aerobars and that it alone would add 1.5-2.0 miles per hour. Is that believable? He wasn't talking expensive equipment, @250 total. I am hoping that I can afford a new bike sometime next year, so I am holding out on changes.

The Run!

Do you think I'm a little bigger than the female next to me above? BTW, I am down to less than 222 lbs for the first time in over 10 years.

I Ran (now I have Flock of Seagulls in my head) and I kept running. Unlike my first race, I didn't stop except to down water twice and one hammer gel. The problem I had is that my lower shins were very painful. I have always felt that I can handle pain. Technically I did, because I kept running, but this was a pain that didn't allow me ignore. I tried to run faster, and they just screamed! Now, I have had really bad shin splints before but they were always higher on my leg. I didn't know what to make of it.
But I thought of you bloggers, I thought of the "do you have the heart" post I read on Friday, I thought of my family waiting for me on the finish line and I thought of a emotionally draining as well as rewarding 62 year old female patient, family and friends that I was the nurse of this past week, who now is in heaven.

So I kept running.

After 2 miles the pain went away. I can only conclude that my bike positioning and my technique on the bike is to blame. If the pain was due to running, wouldn't it just get worse? Since the pain was gone, I picked up the pace a little bit. But only a little bit. I was spent.

I don't want to even talk about the poor sleep and loud hotel the night before.

3.8 miles - 40:52, 10:46 pace.

And that is what is disappointing to me. Saturday, I ran a 6 minute mile on the treadmill. This is amazing, when I think of how I couldn't jog 2 tenths of a mile without some pretty incredible wheezing! I had also been working on intervals as well as distance. Yet, my run time doesn't show how much I have improved. When the shin pain was gone my legs felt like they could go all day. I just couldn't get them to move faster.

It was my improvement in the run that I wanted to show to those of you that visit this site. After the race, I wished that I didn't blog! (only for a few minutes)

If any of you think I am down, don't. I'm not! Just disappointed like I have said. It's like doing something that nobody notices. You do it for yourself but its still nice to show others and get positive feedback on it.

I do have a chance to show if I really have improved my run!

Here is my plan.

1) I have a race in October. the TC10 mile run, which is part of the Twin Cities Marathon. If I really have improved on the run, I can really show it due to no swimming and no biking.
Also, I plan on visiting my mom in Scottsdale, AZ and running in the Rock-n-Roll marathon.
Should I do the half or full? I need to decide by 9/14.

2) Either a new bike or adjustments to this bike with a fitting.

3) I think with swimming, I need to start with the KISS method. Keeping it simple, tells me that I have no aerobic capacity with my upper body. I have been so focused on technique and trying to learn how to breathe that I haven't developed any capacity. I am going to get a snorkel and those hand fin thingies? so that some of my swimming practice is on aerobic capacity rather than just technique.

Well, its just a start but I feel much better having a plan that I think actually makes sense.


  1. I did the San Diego Rock and Roll Marathon back in 2000. It was a lot of fun...except I had stomach cramps half-way and vomitted over and over and had to walk a lot. My first marathon..boy did I learn a lot!

    My vote for you is the 1/2 marathon. That way you can still enjoy your race. The 26.2 is whole other monster to conquer. And if you're training for tri's right now, I'm not sure if you want to be haunted with such mileage right now.

  2. Hi Cari,

    1/2 marathon it is!

    I can commit to only preparing for the marathon now that I won't be racing a triathlon til next May! However, I just looked at the R-N-R website and see that I can upgrade to marathon if I want.

    So I will train for a full marathon. If it goes well and I think I'm ready, I'll just upgrade.

    I suppose you have made changes in your marathon plans now?

  3. Nice post ... and thanks for stopping by my blog.

    17MPH on that bike. Holy crap. You could fly on a real road or tri bike.

    Here's my 2 cents:

    1) Do the half. Focus on 1 mile repeats and 5k's for speedwork. And 5-8 mile tempo runs + your weekly long run of 10-15 miles. You'll CRUSH the half.

    2) hold out and spend the money on a decent road or tri bike. If you can do 17 mph on a commuter bike you will be a serious threat on the bike.

    3) Keep focusing on technique in the water. The wetsuit kills the drag factor. The water kills the weight factor. It is all about efficiency - getting more meters per stroke. You get that from a perfect stroke not strength or weight loss (though that helps). technique. technique. technique. efficiency. efficiency. efficiency in the water.

  4. What? You avg 17 on a 31 lb city bike???
    That is smokin'!
    Hey, email me if you are available Sunday morning- I just posted a ride at 7a.m. on the 1st from my house - Should be back in time to get ready for the 11 o'clock service...

  5. Yeah, my plans have changed. I did just read some stories in Runners World about people running during chemo, but literally, it's like going around the block...a little at a time. But once this is all said and done, I'll be back out there again, slowing slumping my way through my 5th marathon.