Couples Tri: Racing can actually be fun

I haven’t done a Sprint distance tri (1/2 mile swim, 12 mile bike, 5K run) for almost three years, but this year my friend Dennis offered to team up with me, so I bought in.  A Sprint is half the distance of an Olympic triathlon, roughly a quarter of a half-Ironman, and also roughly 1/8th of an Ironman.   I finished in 1 hour, 22 minutes, which is shorter than the two workouts that I did on Friday and Saturday.  Point being, is that it’s a quick race, but by no means easy.

However, this race was unlike anything I’ve done for a few years:

  1. Distance.  I’ve become stuck in an Olympic distance rut, doing the same two races the last two years on the same course.   Just having a different distance (and it not being longer, but shorter) was great.
  2. Social.  Usually when I cross the finish line, I drown myself with as much water as I can find, then eat like a starving badger, then find Lisa and head home.  Since joining T3 and getting to know more of the Jack & Adams team over the last year, there were 30-40 people I knew, which made it surprisingly “social”.   There’s even a gated beer tent / beer area.  Like a frat party, only at the end of a triathlon people smell better.
  3. Hills.  Despite my early penchant and talent for being a climber on the bike, I have been a flatlander riding out of downtown Austin for five years, and don’t have my climbing mojo anymore.  The Decker Lake course is either going up or down.   Add in a sharp right hand turn at the bottom of a downhill, then an immediate steep climb, and you’re in for good times.
  4. Swamp Run.   The run course at Decker is always soft, but this year the first mile required webbed feet or a passion for wet socks.   The second half of the course dried up enough that the run was just soft.
  5. Fun.  Usually I am really happy at the end of a race, or when I see the finish line, but I actually enjoyed this event during the event.   And I could laugh at myself – when I reached the first transition, my socks were missing from my cycling shoes and I yelled out “some #$%@ stole my socks” only to immediately notice that I had mistakenly put them in my running shoes…
  6. Running on tired legs.  I ran 9.5 miles on Friday morning and rode 50 miles on Saturday, which is usually not how you prepare for a race.  But Ironman Arizona is the big one that I’m training for, and to pause training for a short race like this doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.  I think I still ran the best Sprint time of my life, despite a tough course and the tired body.  So no complaints from yours truly, or yours falsely for that matter.

The actual race report:

  • Nutrition: B+.  Should have had a Gel/Gu before the swim.  Other than that, it felt about right
  • Hydration: A-.  I need to find a way to drink more either during transition or on the bike.  Probably the bike.  But I didn’t really get dehydrated at all.
  • Heart Rate. ???.  Pegged at 165 for the entire race.  Swim, Bike, and Run.  It wasn’t much higher or lower than that.  I have no idea if I should be higher when I’m doing short races.
  • Transitions: A-.  Aside from the missing sock accusation documented above, my transitions were great for me.  I did not sit down.  I did not eat an entire PBJ sandwich (Galveston Half-Ironman)
  • Swim: B-. I took bad lines for the first 300m, but improved over the last 500m.  Sighting was horrible and if I had been swimming solo it would have been a lot slower.  I mostly cheated off everyone in front of me, which is a good idea, but I I should feel more comfortable sighting.  My time wasn’t super (just over 15 minutes), but decent given no wetsuit.
  • Bike: B.  Usually my weakest link in a triathlon, and this wasn’t stellar either, but I felt like my cadence was much improved (higher) and I stayed close to 90 once I could finally focus after the first half mile of swim recovery on the bike.
  • Run. A-.  The first mile was tough, but I was able to pick up my pace in the second mile.  I hit the wall near the half way point in mile 3, but backed off and then rebounded in time for the top of the giant squishy hill that this course is known for.
  • Finish Line: B+.  I’m sick of fist pumping or two hands up.  So I flashed a subtle one handed V-for-victory (if you’re an aggressive military type) or maybe for you it was the peace sign (if you’re a pacifist).  I apologize if you’re an Aussie because I didn’t mean to give you “the forks.”  Not my intention.  I realize that’s not a kind gesture to your people.  Seriously.  I apologize to you and your entire country.  God Bless Australia.

Oh, and this is my first blog post that will be automatically posted on Facebook and Twitter.   That might be a really really bad idea, but we’ll see.

One thought on “Couples Tri: Racing can actually be fun

  1. Pfft…as I recall from my own tri days, all you need is a six pack of beer and a way to keep your cigarettes dry.

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