Saturday, August 11, 2007

Jitters and Reminders

Tomorrow is my first triathlon. I am not worried about any of the distances themselves as it is only a sprint and in almost every work out I do I exceed the distance of the swim, bike or run on a regular basis.

I think I am nervous about silly things.

In the swim I am fretting over the creepy lake bottom that I will have no choice but to touch with my bare feet as I run in and out of the water. I am worried I will swim way off course. I am worried that to prevent such a thing from happening I will lift my head 5000 times during the short quarter mile swim that I will drag my time out to 3 times what it usually takes for me to do in a pool. Oh and Ryan and his brother Patric tried to scare me that I also had to worry about this fish getting me. Creepy fish but that is the least of my concerns.

Sigh, see the sort of support I get from my family?

For the bike my worries are more warranted. I am not speedy on the bike and even though I am not terribly speedy on the swim or the run either I am comfortable and confident of my abilities in those areas. On the bike not so much--and this was even before I clipped in. Don't get me wrong; I love being clipped in. I love how I can power up a hill but I am also very conscious that I am always about 5 seconds away from a potentially embarrassing situation-- or worse, seriously hurting myself. Proof of this would be when I went for my first organized group ride on Thursday and I fell over in the parking lot before we even started the ride and landed on my ass. Ass, as well as my ego, is still bruised. How's that for first impressions?

So yeah my time on the bike for this tri is not looking as promising as I once thought. I think I am capable of hitting the bike in under 40 minutes but I will just be happy if I can do it in 45 minutes. Just ask Steph about my talent on the bike. She is still laughing at me for how much I brake on the downhill. She was, understandably, none too happy when she was behind me on the first big downhill on our group ride that by the time we reached the bottom of the hill we were almost at a complete stop and had to start the uphill with zero momentum. What can I say? I have a serious and well founded fear of road rash.

Oh, and I am also totally worried about mechanical difficulties on the bike. Especially since I have no idea how to remedy them and I think I am just the sort of person who would get her first flat tire during her first race ever with a bike. That is just how I think things work for me. But I am trying to banish the negative thoughts and just think it will not happen to me tomorrow. I am, honestly, visualizing success on the bike. I am willing it to happen.

I am not really worried about the run. My only concern is the heat tomorrow and what effect that will have on my pace. I have been consistently hitting under 22 for a 5k on the treadmill (and in most races) for awhile now. Ideally I'd like to see a sub 21 run but I just don't know. I've been practicing by the doing the 2nd mile at a 6:30 pace in my training runs and then backing off for the final 1.1 mile. If I can maintain a bit faster pace for that last mile then a sub 21 is totally realistic. But then again my fine tuning has been in the air-conditioning on a treadmill and tomorrow morning I think we will be blessed if the temp manages to stay below 90 degrees for the race. This past week of code red and 100+ temperatures isn't making me hopeful though.

So basically I am peeling myself off the ceiling by reminding myself that this is my first triathlon. And just like my first marathon my expectation should be to finish. Arghh, but you see, like my first marathon (where I ran a 25.6 training run and 2 other 21+ training runs) I am more than prepared to finish. So my expectations are a little higher for myself. A month ago though I was eyeing a sub 1:15 finish, but like Steph my super secret time was really a sub 1:10. Now, I think to be fair to myself--so I can finish happy-- I need lower my expectations.

So here are my 3 goals:
To finish.
Under 1:25
Ideal will be anything under 1:20.

You want a further breakdown?

Okay for the swim I just can't imagine it taking me longer than 10 minutes unless I somehow manage to get lost on the course. I think around 8 minutes is pretty realistic and anything under that will be ideal.

The transitions I will let the minutes fall where they may. I honestly have no idea what to expect there. Hopefully I will be quick and my experience with always trying to get 2 kids and myself out the door will help expedite me though transition. We'll just have to see if that experience is applicable or the reverse happens because I often find that when I only have myself to think about I get totally flustered.

Bike time, again, anything under 45 minutes and not busting my ass or getting a flat tire and not dropping my chain I will consider a bang up success. Heck, lets just say that if I finish the bike in one piece I will consider it a success.

The run, as I've said, sub 21 minutes is the ideal. Sub 22 or just around there will be okay too. Anything longer and I will absolutely think of it as a failure.

So there you have my predictions, my worries and my hopes. And I just keep telling myself, reminding myself that most importantly I need to have fun.

And lastly, here is how the rest of this week's workouts ended up:

Thursday: Group ride and run afterwards. The bike got shortened (according to Steph) to 14 miles. It was slow and despite the heat I thought pretty easy as we had lots of rest breaks in waiting to regroup. The run was ridiculously steamy so I took it easy. Steph say that was 3.04 but I went a different way so mine was either that or the full 5k. And I have no idea how long or what the pace was. I was just looking to run.

Friday: 4 mile run on the treadmill in just under 31 minutes. Then I swam for I don't know how many meters--less than 1600 but more than 1000 (I lost count).

Run: 20 miles
Bike: 39 miles
Swim: about a mile (including Sunday's open water practice swim)


  1. For some reason I am nervous about the race too! I think it's because it is my first race back from breaking my leg and I know that everyone is going to slaughter me on the run. It's so hard to have time goals for your first race because you've never done a tri before and don't have anything to judge yourself against. Just relax and have fun and you will do great!

  2. Good Luck tomorrow, and have fun with it! Don't worry about the little stuff!

    Can't wait to hear the race report!!!

  3. Natalie,

    You worry too much. Everything will go well and you will have fun!

    Kick Butt!


  4. Once the triathletes hit the water, the fish are going to head for parts unknown. LOL. The bottom of the lake is very squishy, but that is just incentive to swim more, which is faster anyways. Try to site every 20 strokes are so. Unless you drift uncontrollably or subconciously make sharp turns, you will do fine.

    As far as the bike goes, there are NO steep downhills. Long gentle downhills you can gear up on and pick up speed. They will have your lane closed I believe. I haven't had a flat tire yet (on a ride). You'll be fine.

    Have a great time. Sarah is volunteering. Andy is meeting me there to cheer you, Steph, and Dee Dee on.

    Have a great race!!

  5. Doug said the bike was 14 because he actually remembered to turn his Garmin on. I should have asked him about the pace.

    I was only frustrated on the hill because I knew about the monster hill on the other side (used to go to work that way) and that I would need every ounce of momentum from the downhill to get up it. My hill-climbing is not so great, as you saw.

    You will do 20 mph on the bike, easy, especially if they have the road closed - as long as you don't brake so much on the downhills. : ) I'm still chuckling about that.

  6. delurking to say "how did it go??"

    i did my first at the 'my first tri' at lake lanier in may, and my next is the sept 30th tri....

    i'm sure you were fantastic!

  7. I'm anxious to hear about your very first tri success story!! Hope you had fun too.