Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Fun-size triathloning, or Her Gumbyness at your service

I'm laid up today with an ordinary, garden-variety, nasty, virulent cold. While feeling sorry for my congested self and working my way through a box of tissues, and in between library books, I decided it was high time to write my Cold Storage Sprint Tri recap.

I am a terrible blogger and my husband/ superstar cheer team is a terrible photographer*, so there are almost no photos of this tri.

*He's a great photographer when he remembers to take photos.

This is tri number three. I always start with the best of intentions. I did WANT to train for the swim and bike, but life has a funny way of getting out of hand. And my first love is running - obviously. It's just so much easier to train for a run than a tri. But I train with a tri group, and it's hard not to be ever so slightly infected by their enthusiasm. And these things are great fun.

I'd been doing a wee bit of swimming, so the plan was to go somewhat hard on the swim, really easy on the bike, and push pretty hard on the run.

The marathon's really driven home the importance of carbo-loading and, uh, pre-hydration. I don't remember what I ate for dinner on Friday night but I do recall it involved a lot of rice, while Saturday morning involved Cheerios.

On race morning I hauled myself and one very drowsy husband to the start point. In fact I think I left him sleeping in the car while I cycled to the race, which wouldn't start for another hour and a half.

The swim:
Turns out it was more than an hour and a half - the race started a full twenty minutes late. In broiling heat. With transition a good ways away, and no hydration stand at the start point. So I was dehydrated by the time we started.

I have a tiny problem with getting motivated on the swim: in general, when I hit the water all I want to do is roll over and float for a while.

Anyway, from start to end I felt like I couldn't breathe. So much for going out hard. I hauled myself out of the water in 19:04. A bit dismal. Turns out this was my fastest swim split in a tri by about 15 seconds. My primary goal was not to get swum over by the men behind me - mission accomplished! And then it was up a ramp and over a specially constructed, carpeted, mildly slippery, absurd overhead bridge over the bike course, back into transition.

The bike:
We had to do three laps of a 6.6ishkm loop. Don't ask me why 3x6.6 instead of 2x10. I think it's to slow us down with all of those u-turns. I kept getting overtaken by men with frighteningly pointy helmets tipping perilously over in ever-more aero contortions position. As usual, I was happy to not fall off my bike.

There's really not a whole lot to say about the bike course, except that it was narrow in the wrongest places. And that perhaps if I insist on cycling in my trainers I should get some cages for those pedals?

Midway through this I discovered that my front derailleur wouldn't shift and the cable was loose! Fortunately or unfortunately the course was flat enough that I trundled around the whole thing using my big gear the whole way.

When I got back I saw enough of the bike rack still empty that I honestly thought I'd missed a lap, and had a moment of panic. I hope my bike split of 54:17 includes the transitions, because otherwise I was embarrassingly lazy out there.

The run:
I managed to actually stop and dismount instead of simply falling off my bike. Hooray. Popped into transition for a quick water/ Nuun stop before dashing out again. I even had the presence of mind to grab my Clif blocks, a mishmash of singleton leftovers from previous races. (This will be important later.)

Then it was time to scamper back up the ridiculous Green Carpeted Ramp of Doom - seriously, that thing must've possessed a 10-degree incline - and down to the road for the 5km run leg. I might've passed a few gentlemen on the ramp. Maybe. And also at the start of the run. And the rest of the way. I can do 5km in my sleep, I kept telling myself. I can do 5km in my sleep. (I can. I promise you. I have done 5km at the canal on many a morning before I've even woken up properly.)

And that's when I started to cramp.

I drank some of the prooffered 100Plus and fished around in my pocket for the baggie of Clif blocks. Hallelujah - two margarita shot blocks. These got me through the turnaround, as did the privilege of watching Holly crash into a large bush. After I stopped cramping I started doing that thing I always do - pick someone as a rabbit and try to pick them off - and then Holly's cheering and running a bit with me got me through to the finish in 29 minutes flat. Alas, I have no finishing kick; a girl I'd overtaken several minutes earlier blew right by me on the way to the finish.

IMPORTANT NOTE TO RACE ORGANISERS. Please to have drink stations AFTER the turnaround too. And distance markers - of which there were none. How do you have a run leg without distance markers? Some of us are a bit impaired when it comes to gauging distances...

Overall this was actually my fastest tri. I seem to be getting better at something. But what is it? I think the answer is transitions. One's transitions become very fast when there is a nest of large bitey ants underneath one's bike. Just so you know. So next time perhaps there should be piranhas in the water? Just small non-lethal nippy ones, maybe?

Next year I move up an age group, into the very fast and frightening 30-39. I still haven't really decided if I want to buckle down and train properly for these things instead of just winging it like I always do (going into this I swam three times,  rode on the trainer twice, and noodled around fiddling with my tyres and watching CSI once). I do want to do an Olympic-distance (1500m swim, 40km bike, 10km run) tri but I want to race it. Tell me, dear do I do this?
Workouts last week: 
Tuesday: track: 3[2(600 moderate/ 200 easy), 400 hard]
Wednesday: AM - Ran 5 miles (about 8km) with my friend A; every time I felt like giving up I thought to myself, 'I am running with a woman who gave birth six weeks ago and SHE isn't giving up, you wuss.' PM - tempo set at swim.
Friday: AM - Ran about 10K with Holly.
Saturday: Sprint tri!

Workouts this week have been temporarily sidelined due to a head cold. How is my chlorpheniramine not working???


  1. I feel obliged to tell you that Coffee Beans Racing Dreams claims that the bike course was a bit short, although he doesn't give me any actual data to work with.

    However, for what little actual tri-training you did, I'd call the whole thing a success. Plus, I had fun yelling encouraging things at you. :) We should do it again sometime soon!

    1. Are you referring to this? That was a different triathlon, but if it was the exact same bike course I'd be willing to believe it was short...

    2. Duh. I should've realized that "the sprint and olympic distances merged"...I also couldn't figure out why it was marked as read in Feedly, when it was so new. [Answer: Not new. Aug. 23]

      But dang, the photos look like exactly the same course - the swim exit and ride, at least. Anyway, my bad.

      But apparently (I was reading on Cold Storage Tri...errr "Singapore Triathlon" - WHY the naming confusion - Facebook page) - one of the facilities at the end of the park didn't permit the usual 10K bike loop, because it would disrupt traffic in and out of their (aquatics? water sports?) facility. Wonder if the same was true for TriFactor.

  2. You're amazing to do that. It's not something I would ever contemplate because it'd involve swimming (blind without glasses) and cycling (paralysing fear of riding in a group - I need at least a 5m buffer zone). Congratulations and get well soon.

    1. Thanks Char! I too am blind without glasses, and have gone through several swim training sessions pretty much blind, but I wore my contacts for race day and was all 'I can see clearly now'. Which perhaps I shouldn't have; you don't really WANT to see what's in the water off East Coast Park.
      Triathlon bike legs usually have a no-drafting rule so you can't get too close to anyone anyway! Not that this was enforced. There were no race marshals on many parts of the bike.