As soon as I heard our YMCA was going to be having an indoor triathlon, I knew I'd sign up. Such a perfect way to get me warmed up for the spring and summer racing season, and I've always wanted to do an indoor event like that. I had actually looked for one the year I wanted to do my first triathlon, but wasn't able to find one nearby. But even though I've now got a few sprints under my belt, I still thought an indoor event would be a fun and different kind of challenge.
One thing it definitely was was a lot simpler! No bike helmet or Garmin required. And although the spin bikes we rode on can be used with clip-in bike shoes, I opted to just wear my running sneakers. So my list of things to bring was very short. But it did include one bonus item that I can't ever bring to my August sprint - my iPod!
I was signed up for the 2pm heat, so I got there just before 1:30, and saw the first wave of swimmers just hitting the water. I was quickly signed in, and ready to go, and was standing on the pool deck chatting with a friend (who was doing this as her first tri ever - and she did awesome!!!!), when I realized that my goggles were nearly broken! The plastic right in the middle was almost completely separated. They might very well have made it through the swim, but I didn't want to take any chances. Thank god I had an extra pair in my backpack. It was a really old pair, but they were intact, so I quickly got them adjusted and put them on.
Since the swim portion was only 15 minutes, it wasn't long before it was our turn to get in. I picked a lane and swam a quick 50 meters, just to test the goggles out. There were a few instructions, and a few more minutes of waiting, then the whistle blew and we were off!
Not much to write about the swim, since it was in the pool, and swimming in the pool is pretty uneventful. There were two people in each lane, though, and the guy who was in my lane with me kept kicking me, so it did kind of feel like a 'real' triathlon : )
I felt good, though, and just swam my usual pace. I wasn't racing anyone - just took a peek at the clock once in a while as I paused at the wall in between lengths. I had hoped to get in about 25 lengths, and although I counted 26, the woman who was counting for me counted 24, and I wasn't about to make a big stink over it, so I just took my clipboard (on which all of our totals would be recorded) and headed into the locker room to change.
We had ten minutes for T1. Yes, TEN luxurious minutes! I got changed, made my way to the spin bikes, and got my bike adjusted with about 2 minutes to spare. The bike was the only part I was dreading. I loathe any kind of stationary bike. No matter what I do (reading, TV, spin class, music), I just cannot stand pedaling and pedaling and going nowhere.
I hoped being able to have my iPod would help a little, and it did, but it still felt like a very long 20 minutes. My quads were not very happy for the first few minutes, either - probably because I haven't been on a bike of any sort since October of last year! But once I had warmed up a bit, they felt better, and I pedaled away, just wanting to get it over with.
I ended up riding 9.3 km, which seeemed fine to me. I wasn't expecting to do fabulous on the bike, due to my total lack of bike riding. I was just glad that part was done.
There were 5 minutes for T2, and since all I had to do was walk down the hallway to the fitness room and get on a treadmill, that was also a luxurious amount of time. The treadmills had all been in sleep mode before we got on, and we weren't allowed to turn them on until the whistle blew, and when you turn a treadmill on after it's been in sleep mode, it takes a minute to get going. So the whistle blew, someone shouted "Go!" and you heard a bunch of little beeps, and then everyone just stood there. Kind of like it is at the starting line of a huge race : )
Once my belt started moving, I couldn't press the increase speed button fast enough. I knew this is where I'd do my best, and I wanted to give it my all. I got right up to an 8:00 pace, and stayed there for half a mile. I wanted to give my legs a chance to ease into it, and I'm glad I did. But the 8:00 pace felt too easy, so I was quickly increasing it to 7:47. I stuck with that for a while, and it felt like work, but I knew I could push it a little more, so I went up to 7:40.
I'm not sure exactly how far I went in between those increases, but it was a pretty gradual process, so I was feeling really good. As the time kept ticking by, I made one final increase, to a 7:30 pace, and that's where I kept it for a while. I was pretty thrilled to be running at that pace after having already swum for 15 minutes and biked for 20 minutes (and not having done a single brick workout or any real race preparations).
As the end of the 25 minutes drew closer, I pushed the increase button a few more times, finally getting up to a 6:58 pace for the last few minutes! I may have been on a treadmill, but I was definitely racing!
When the whistle blew, I had completed 3.35 miles, and I was tired, but I felt good.
There wasn't a lot to do afterward - I congratulated my friend, who was now officially a triathlete - so happy for her! And I went to talk to another friend who was in the last heat, and was just getting ready to get on the bike. Then I grabbed my bag and headed home to eat. I was starving!
The results were posted over the weekend, and even though this was just a tiny little race, I was pretty excited to see my name listed as the Top Female Runner! And in actuality, I was the top runner overall, beating out the top male runner by over a quarter mile. Woohoo!
My swim and bike times, as always, could use some improvement, but I did well overall, coming in 6th out of 24 participants. Not bad, considering I hadn't really trained at all.
A fun little event, and I'm hoping they do it again this winter. It would be nice to have something like that in the dead of winter, when there's no outdoor races to keep you motivated. It definitely forced me to get my butt back in the pool and do some swimming!
So, the final stats -
15 minute swim - 24 lengths - 600m
20 minute bike - 9.3 km
25 minute run - 3.35 miles (7:32 pace)
Top runner, and 6th overall.
As I posted on Facebook today - I'm now two-for-two: two weekends, two races, two wins. And with a 5K coming up this Saturday, I'm wondering if I can make it a three-fer?