Monthly Archives: April 2013

The Highs and Lows of Triathlon

It’s been a while since I’ve posted owing partly to a lack of time and partly to a lack of motivation for all things triathlon related. After a long winter of indoor training it was only natural that my motivation would lapse at some point. In fact, I was a little surprised that it lasted as long as it did.

My lapse in motivation was triggered by my first outdoor race of the season – a really short local triathlon in reverse order. It sounded like a fun way to mix things up by having the run at the start and the swim at the finish. Also, given how cold it was in early March it would have been difficult to go outside on a bike after getting out of the pool.

Anyway, the race was an epic disaster for me. Each of the three legs felt quite good, but my transitions in between them were frightfully slow – partly because I wore gloves which made me fumble every piece of equipment I had to touch. Also, the course was really poorly marked, which made it difficult to navigate. I ended up crossing the line in second place, just a few seconds behind the winner.

When I caught this guy I thought I had caught the leader at first, but he was only racing the aquathlon

When I caught this guy I thought I had  the leader at first, but he was from a different race on the same course

However, unbeknownst to me until the award ceremony was about to be held, I had been disqualified for cutting the course. It turns out I had taken a wrong turn on the bike course, which cut out close to half a mile of the course. I was in fourth place at the time of the incident and I was simply following 2nd and 3rd, who were just ahead of me.

It wasn’t a very serious race, but I was certainly taking it seriously, so I felt very dejected about the whole experience. For the following few weeks I trained more out of habit than desire and really struggled to find enjoyment in any of my training sessions. It made me re-evaluate what I was doing and had it not been for Lake Placid and some of the other races I had already entered I may well have just walked away from the sport and gone back to just running.

My next triathlon was part of the Virginia Triathlon Series and scheduled to take place in Lynchburg, Virginia this past weekend. After a few weeks of loathing training I approached the race with a very different attitude. It was a much bigger race but I simply didn’t care about it anymore, so I decided that I would go into it with the sole purpose of enjoying myself. If I floundered like a dead fish in the pool, rode my bike like a circus clown and failed to finish the run that was fine, I just had to feel like I was having fun.

The approach ended up having a huge benefit – I had the best night’s sleep I’ve ever had before a triathlon (I only woke up once and that was because Benjamin was crying!) As I lined up for the start of the race I felt relaxed and in good spirits.

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My No. 1 supporter was in high spirits

After completing the swim in a decent time I had a great transition onto the bike and cycled through and out of the downtown area of Lynchburg (it’s a great city to hold a triathlon because it’s completely dead on a Sunday and they can basically close the whole place down). It was a scenic and hilly course and my hours on the indoor expresso bike came in handy as I was able to cycle down the majority of people who started in front of me.

Another good transition saw me on the run course, which went out of town and onto the Blackwater cycle trail. I past one athlete early and worked slowly on another who I caught at the bottom of a ridiculously steep hill coming back into the city. I managed to pass him, but couldn’t hold him off after burning all my candles on the hill. It didn’t matter anyway, as he had started the race more than five minutes before me.

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Falling apart as the finish line approaches

I ended up finishing second place overall and given the size of the race it was by far the best result I have achieved to date. Best of all I am looking forward to getting back into training tomorrow!

For News Coverage of the Triathlon Click Here

My next event won’t be until May and will be a half iron distance race, which will be a real test. This last race has shown me that I have improved my speed and power in the off-season, but whether my endurance has improved won’t be seen until this next event. It will be a good indication of how my preparation is going for Lake Placid and how much pain I am likely to go through in July.

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Boston Disaster

I’m sure most of you would have heard about the terrible events in Boston today. If I had have run a qualifying time last year I would most likely have been there, so the news strikes very close to home for me. I knew a couple of people that were up there, but they were not in the vicinity of the explosion when it happened. My sincerest sympathies go to the families that have been affected.