FORGING IRON | WEEK 10

This week was lighter, in preparation for my first triathlon ever. I came down with the Plague the night before the race because I have horrible luck and yet still completed the race. Feels good to have that one done, but now I know where I need to improve.

MONDAY

Strength - Upper Body

Today's session with David was much more focused on hypertrophy, or endurance. That means low weight and high reps. Actually, we didn't even count reps today. It was all about doing as many reps as possible in the time given. So that meant doing as many reps of chest press, cable rows, bicep curls, and tricep extensions as possible in a minute, for 4 sets. And to wrap things up, he had me do a superset of pull-ups, tricep dips, and pushups.

So much pain.

TUESDAY

Strength - Lower Body

I trained legs with Jahmale today, but made sure to request a lighter day. I do NOT want to deal with severe muscle soreness and cramps leading up to or during my race.

I was supposed to meet my swim coach this evening for an hour session but...

Swimming

The swim session got cancelled because of nearby thunder. Have I mentioned how much I hate Florida summers? I really needed this session too, since my race is in a few days. We rescheduled for Thursday and I'm definitely going to have him meet me at an indoor pool.

My Garmin 920xt did come in the mail though, so I'm stoked to try this thing out!

WEDNESDAY

Running

Took my new Garmin watch for a test run today, and it worked great. I got a solid 6 miles of work in, and kept a pretty consistent pace throughout. I forgot to turn on auto-pause, so the Strava data got messed up a little bit. First world problems.

Nothing too exciting to report on this one. I did get cut off by a pickup truck as I was LEGALLY crossing a crosswalk about a mile from the end of my run, so I made sure the driver knew how I felt about him/her with a particular one-fingered salute.

I will get some swimming in tomorrow, so I don't lose my feel for the water. I don't like light training weeks because I feel lazy, but I know I'll thank myself later when I feel fresh right before my race.

THURSDAY

Swimming

I finally got to swim today. The last couple session with my coach have either been cancelled or stopped short because of weather or other situations (like floating puke). I didn't want to take that chance again, so I had my coach meet me at a gym closer to me with a private pool.

Before I met my swim coach, though, I started to feel a little sick. I was dealing with a lot of dust and debris today with the renovation going on at the gym, so I'm hoping it's just allergies acting up. Either way, I didn't want to take a chance, so I made sure to pick up some medicine before my training session.

The session itself went well, with most of the time spent doing 3x100yd splits to find a good pace. My coach wanted me to average 2:10 as an "easy" pace to maintain during my race. But I kept coming in under that time, only getting up to 1:59. I guess it's good that I was swimming faster than my coach was asking for, but at the same time it is proof that I'm not a good judge of my own pacing yet, thus I can't really control my swimming. Need to work on that.

After I got home, I started to feel a little more sick, but nothing too major. I took some Mucinex, so hopefully things feel better tomorrow.

FRIDAY

Oh my god, I feel like death.

I woke up, sneezed, and my face was immediately covered in snot. Yeah, I know that's an attractive image, I'll let you savor that for a second.

Okay, back to my suffering. Both nostrils are basically incapable of being used to breathe, so that could be a problem since my race is TOMORROW.

I'm confining myself to my apartment for as long as possible before I head down to my parent's house, since it's much closer to Siesta Key than my apartment in Tampa is. I will be taking as much Mucinex today as humanly possible, and doing my best to OD on Emergen-C. This isn't happening. I can't get sick like this right before my first triathlon, the race I have been training and writing for months about!

If I feel like I feel right now tomorrow morning, I'll have to skip it.

This sucks.

SATURDAY

Race Day

Pre-Race

I woke up this morning at 4:00am feeling meh. Not totally horrible like yesterday but also not about to rock this race like Ric Flair.

My parents, David, and I all piled into my Jeep and it was time to head to the race. After parking, getting my number and timing chip, and setting up my bike and gear at the transition point, all that was left was to head to the water to start the race.

Swim

Time: 40:32
Pace: 2:24/100yd

The swim went better than expected. The water was extremely calm, though there wasn't enough light yet at that time of the morning to be able to either see the bottom or see the swimmers next to me. I got kicked, punched, and pushed out of the way as the faster swimmers went by me. This was a weird feeling, but then again I did my own kicking and punching on accident so whatever. I made it to the halfway turn-around point, which also happened to be on a sandbar. So I followed everyone else's lead and actually began walking back through the water. I tried to swim because I didn't want to be a quitter, but my hands and feet kept digging into the dirt, since we were in about 2-3 feet of water.

After about 100 meters it got deeper and I was able to swim more comfortably. I was getting really tired at this point, so my pace slowed, but I could see the end. I started swimming past the buoy we first passed on the way out, when I looked behind me and saw the swimmers going a different direction. Shit. I kind of panicked, thinking that I was wrong and if I ended up getting out the water without passing some crucial marker that I would get disqualified. So I swam BACK out into deeper water to follow the rest of the swimmers, and then back to the beach. I cost myself at least a couple minutes on that one.

Bike

Time: 1:22:12
Pace: 18.1 mph

I ran from the beach to the transition, putting on my shirt and shoes and helmet as fast as possible. I stuffed half a Honey Stinger Waffle into my mouth, chugged some electrolytes, and set off on the bike.

I knew I had a LOT of ground to make up with the way the swim went, so I pushed myself on the bike. I was quickly reminded of my cold, however, as snot was running out of my nose through the first 5 miles or so of the bike portion. Gross.

I passed cyclist after cyclist, frantically trying to catch up. Late into the second lap a moderate headwind started up, and dark clouds were visible in the distance. I knew it would storm sometime during the day, but I was really hoping it would hold off until after I was done racing.

The race volunteers moved the sign that signaled the finish line of the bike, so I missed it and had to turn around, costing me another minute or so. Needless to say, I was frustrated by this.

Run

Time: 1:06:39
Pace: 10:50/mi

I spent less than 30 seconds in transition, swapping my bike shoes for some Nike Frees and my helmet for a hat. I ate the second half of that Waffle, and chugged down some Gu and water, and it was time to run.

The first few miles were okay, as I averaged under 9:00/mile. But the fatigue started settling in after that, and my pace slowed. There were a few times I had to take walking breaks, I'm not proud of it. Towards the end I started to compartmentalize more and make small goals, like running to the water station, then the turnaround, etc. Making small goals can really help in endurance races, because it makes a big challenge seem much more manageable.

As I got close to the finish line, I could hear my parents and David yelling and cheering me on. I began to sprint, and finished the race strong.

Overall, I know I didn't do great. But it was my first triathlon ever. I didn't even start off with a Sprint, I went right to the Olympic distance. Plus I was sick. But I don't want to make excuses, I'll get better the more I train. This is a starting point, and it was very humbling.

Can't wait for the next one.

SUNDAY

I took today off because of course I did.

WEEK 10 SUMMARY

My first triathlon is complete, and that experience helped shed more light on what I need to work on. Of course more training is necessary, but I think working more on mental training as well would help. My mantra through the entire race was "Come on." It was repeating over and over in my head, "Come on... come on... come on...", like I was begging my muscles to work harder and push myself faster. It was a mantra of impatience, because I knew I had a lot of time to make up. But maybe that was counter-intuitive because it made my efforts more about the other racers and not about me. If I was focusing more on myself and less on them maybe I could have done better in all of the events.

Or maybe I just need more training.