Monday, August 18, 2014

HTC Training Week 5 & Triathlon Training Week 9


Monday: Rest day, just a couple minutes of planking (total, not continuous)

Tuesday:  TRI Team swim practice 1,500 yards + run 2.0 miles (12:34 pace)

Wednesday: Run 4.20 miles (13:27 pace)

Thursday: Unplanned rest day

Friday: Swim 1,000 yards

Saturday: Bike 11.0 miles, including feeling so great that I decided to try taking a drink of water while moving... followed by a confirmation that no, I'm still not good on the bike, as I crashed into the sidewalk. 

I was able to get the water bottle out just fine, but somehow couldn't line it up to put it back. I probably should have just tossed the bottle to the ground, then stopped to pick it up, but in the moment I panicked and didn't let go of the water bottle which meant I couldn't use my brakes or steer efficiently, and just let myself run into the sidewalk and fall. Riding home for 5 miles with the wind on uncovered, fresh wounds kind of sucks, by the way.

Not too "injured", just scrapes, bruises, and road rash on my right knee and forearm. But it kept me from the midday Saturday open water swim (which I really needed the open water practice, and I'd even gotten around to renting a wetsuit for the weekend!), due to paranoia of flesh-eating bacteria (Abe also concurred I shouldn't go to the swim, though probably not based on quite the same logic). 

Sunday: Unplanned rest day. I really could have at least gone for an easy run, but the idea of the brick that TRI Team was doing, an hour bike and hour run, was not appealing - my knee felt bruised up enough that that much repetitive motion seemed like not a good idea. And I just felt like vegging out and feeling sorry for myself.

Total swimming: 2,500 yards
Total biking: 11.0 miles
Total running: 6.2 miles

Even prior to the Great Bike Crash of August 2014, I was thinking of stepping back from the Olympic distance for the Portland Tri (debating it such that I'm still not registered for it; the plan was to do the sprint distance at Aluminum Man, using it largely as a final brick workout for Portland two weeks later). Looking at last year's results, I seriously might be in the last ten finishers.

And now, I feel like I'm not only too slow to do that distance now, but not competent enough in my skills in swimming or bicycling to even safely do them in a race setting (i.e., pushing myself on pace and trying to fuel appropriately). How can I do a race where the bike portion is going to take almost two hours as it is, and then have to make stops to fuel because I'm not capable of eating or drinking while moving?

I know part of this is missing some key workouts and build-up due to the honeymoon and other things. But even if I'd gotten in every single workout - I'm still slow, I'm still overweight, I'm still new at two of the three sports. Or maybe it's just a lack of confidence, and no matter where I finish it'd be worth the challenge anyway?

How do you tell when you're in over the head, versus just not motivated to put in the necessary work or lack a trust in yourself?


  1. Remind yourself firstly that completing a tri is an amazing, incredible achievement, done by an amazing body. So even if you were last, it would be badass.

    Secondly, think of how far you have come in such a short time. Tis awesome.

    1. Thanks! Yeah, come a long way but still have a long way to go!

  2. I kept reminding myself to come comment here on a desktop after I'd first read this -- I've so been where you are now. Biking is the one sport out of Tris that scares me, but the thing I reminded myself, and would recommend for you, is that it's not like you just came out of the house and decided to do Tris. You're a trained endurance athlete. That counts for something. It's not like our heart and lungs don't work as efficiently if we're in the water, or on a bike.

    Now then, I'm a VERY slow swimmer, and while I am ok at biking, it scares me, so I'm going to be a touch slower. But I got through my Oly, and actually had fun doing it. The only time goal I had in mind was the cut-offs (I don't know what they are for this race), but that's what I suggest your focus on. People cheer plenty for those finishing up, and ultimately, completing the distance is something you're doing to show yourself. You weren't trying to podium, so why push?

    My boss, an older woman, is an avid marathoner, but she's done a few "Iron Girl" tris. She also has difficulty eating/drinking while riding. Hell, I do too. So, you pull over, open a Gu, wash it down, go back to pedaling. That will cost you, at most, two minutes. Two minutes is a LONG time, I'd bet you are back moving faster than you'd expect.

    You're also doing something smart, which is doing a Sprint first. I did 3 Sprints before I did my Oly, and it does wonders for taking the mystery out of things. Your heart will race at times, because it's so new, and you're amped up. That's normal, and you should be prepared for that. Don't let panic take you. Just recognize it for adrenaline, and use it to keep moving (except for the aforementioned breaks to eat/drink).

    Oh! And I did all my Tris on a 15-year-old bike I'd bought during law school. I only went and bought a TT bike later, so be prepared that there's an "arms race" aspect of Tris. Some people can make themselves faster in that sport by spending more money. I know that you're not worried about stuff like that, but realize that some folks who finish ahead of you partially bought their way to the finish.

    Ok, next - coming in last. You know what they call the person who graduates dead last in a medical school class? "Doctor". ;) You know what they call the last place finisher of a Tri? "Finisher." They don't make us wear our AG placings on our shirts (whew!).

    If you find yourself undertrained, or just not trained, don't do it. But don't skip it because you are concerned about coming in last. I would definitely make an effort towards that Sprint at least, because they're pretty harmless to accomplished endurance athletes (which you are!), and it will give you a taste of Tri, so you can decide if you're wanting to go farther.

    Ok, done. I wish I had taken more time to think out my comment, but I just wanted to get it written while I had the time and opportunity. Best of luck in your training!

    1. Thanks for this comment, this is definitely some stuff I needed to hear. With running I think I've gotten used to being slower, and just focusing on racing against myself, even if that means I'm at the back of the pack still. But that's been harder to do with swimming and biking, oddly since I'm newer at them I should be easier on myself, right? Partly I think it's because I'm more of a beginner than most in my "beginners" training group (like, there are people who came with clip-in (clipless? the ones that attach you to the bike) shoes the first group ride), so I'm comparing myself to them, but even that isn't really a fair comparison.

      Also, since I am new at biking and swimming, I'm having a hard time evaluating whether I'm undertrained! Now that I think about it, I think that's the main frustration. I don't have the context to know whether I'm just inexperienced, or actually undertrained (which, since I did miss some workouts while on vacation, seems possible) even for my skill level.

    2. I use clipless pedals myself on my Tri bike. But before I did, I basically spent hours on the trainer, clipping in/out, and simulating "panic" stops to see if I could do it. Of course, last year(?) on Father's Day, when I was out for a lone ride, I of course fell. I think I've fallen one other time, too. So just because someone has clipless pedals doesn't make them a badass. They could be scared to death like I am every time I clip in!

      Also, you definitely hit a good point; if you're new to a sport, how do you know if you're undertrained?! It's really a matter of feel, and it also means that you're naturally going to do those two sports slower, at a more deliberate pace. I like that you kinda talked out why you're having the anxiety. And really, doesn't approaching a problem rationally make it less scary? ;)


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