Swim, Bike, Run, Whine

Ugh.  That was tough.  I literally started to cry around mile 4 of the run as I thought…I’m doing this for fun.  But this? Is not fun. 

But then I was like, Mel, get it together and stop crying.  Mostly because it was making my chest and abs sort of clench in a way that was making my already aching body feel worse.

I know.  Sad sack!  Sorry.  On to the recap.

I was super nervous all morning.  We didn’t have to be there until noon but I woke up at 7.  Meaning I had four hours until it was even time to leave to pace and fret.  I had a headache and my ankle was hurting.  I wasn’t hungry but I made myself eat two bagels over the morning and I drank an Ensure and sipped some gatorade.

Once we actually got to the reservoir I felt a lot better.  I was happy to be doing things (lathering up with sunscreen, setting up transition) instead of just sitting around waiting.

The other two triathlons I’ve done were a pool swim and a time trial start, so I hadn’t been in “the washing machine” before.  Once we took off, I tried to stay to the outside of the pack.  It felt more like being in bumper boats than anything else.  Once I realized that not getting kicked was more about not swimming into someone’s feet than anything else, I relaxed.

I felt really good during the swim, and my time was pretty middle of the pack for the women.  I’m not fast, but I think for a lot of people the swim is the just-get-through-it leg, where for me it’s actually my favorite part.

Swim: 41:55 Not quite my goal but I was happy with how I did and that I pushed hard and didn’t hold anything back.

I swam until my hands touched the bottom and then a few more stokes (standing up too soon slows you down) and I ran up the beach.  I took my wetsuit off in the grass and then went to the transition area.  Socks, shoes, and helmet on. Padded gloves and sunglasses, sprayed some sunscreen and grabbed a clif bar to eat.

T1: 3:01 I’m not super into transition times, but there you go.

The bike started out with a short, sharp uphill climb that sent my heart rate skyrocketing.  From there it was six miles of gradual uphill.  So gradual it looked flat, and I was like, is there something wrong with my bike?  Why am I going so slow?  I knew this part was uphill but I still stopped and checked my tires and made sure my brake pads weren’t rubbing.  Nope.  Just slow.

This bike ride dragged on forever.  And I’m a girl who likes to ride her bike,  But mile 3 and I was already like, 23 more?! Really?  The whole time I was staring at the garmin and wishing for miles to go by.  I got passed a lot.  Unlike previous races, I didn’t see anyone plugging along on a cruiser or mountain bike. These people were serious.

There were some fun downhill parts, and only on one downhill did I feel like I needed to hit the brakes a bit as I hit 30 miles per hour.  But there were almost no straight flats, and even though I was mashing down on the pedals like my life depended on it, I just couldn’t gain any speed.  I watched the time tick by and realized I wasn’t going to hit my stretch goal.  Or my realistic goal.  Or even my safety goal.

Bike: 1:57:48 (13.4 mph) Gross.  All that effort for a measly 13 mph? I felt like I pushed really hard and got nothing out of this.

I finally finished the bike (after one more super steep hill at the end, just for a kick in the pants).  Racked my bike, grabbed a pack of Powerbar chews and took off!  Annnnd then I realized I was still wearing my bike helmet, so I went back and put it down.  And then I took off!

T2: 2:02

And then it was time for the run.  Always my least favorite. And just as I took off, I heard the announcer say, “preliminary Olympic results are now posted.”  Ugh.  I just started running.  Shut up, announcer-dude!

My legs didn’t feel too “bricked” but I was just out of gas.  I had set my garmin to beep at me if I went slower than an 11:30 pace, and I kept that up for not even a mile and then I just started to slow down.  If I went any faster my heart started shooting out of my chest.  I turned off the infernal thing because it was beeping every 30 seconds, and I was like, I KNOW, geeeeez.  The course was 1.55 miles out and then back, so the Sprinters did one out and back for 3.1 miles and Olympic racers did two laps.  I was like, okay, I’m just going to take a minute and walk, to rest, and then back to the plan.

But I never felt good.  It was over an hour of omgthisblows.  By the time I started my second lap, the course had gone from a steady stream of runners to just a trickle, and I started to have a little meltdown pity party.  I’d trained for months, skipped happy hours in favor of the gym, spent every weekend all summer doing long bricks, and I was coming in dead frigging last. 

When I rounded the turnaround the and started my second lap, it was clear the race was pretty much over.  The aid stations were packing up.  The photographer was gone.  There was a stretch where I couldn’t even see anyone.  I walked/ran as best I could, but my legs were aching.  The last bit was downhills so I went as fast as I could and finally finished.

Run: 1:22:55 (13:18 pace)

I didn’t even do well at taking a finish line photo.  Arms up but head down?  This is not cute.

Of course, the one race where I totally bombed was the one where I guilted my friends into coming to watch me, so I had a bit of a cheering section as I finished.  Which was great since it means there were more people to see me burst into tears and blubber on about how everyone had already gone home and I didn’t hit any of my goals.

Total Time: 4:07:15 30 minutes past my goal!  Lame.

I walked a little with my friend, whined about my time, chugged a Gatorade, and then stretched while drinking half a free beer.  We went to Boulder Beer and I inhaled a veggie burger and then we drove back to Denver and I went to sleep.

I actually think I have a lot more to say about this race, but one, this is already too long, and two, Chris is acting like he might wake up soon and I want to go to brunch since I didn’t have to get up early to swim today!


My next race is today!  In about 6 hours.  Eeek.  It’s an Olympic Distance—my first.I don’t really know what to expect time-wise.  This race is more than twice the distance of the other two triathlons I have done.  I have definitely trained a lot (my dailymile stats got pretty epic there for a while) but I’m aiming for a 3:30-3:45 finish.  That is a lonnnng time to be in race mode.

Swim-1500 meters

I have gone swimming in Bowles reservoir I think 7 times, and it’s pretty consistently taken me about 42-44 minutes to swim a mile around the buoys in open water.  (Closer to 40 minutes in the pool.)  1500 meters is just shy of a mile, so I’m hoping to be sub-40.  The race adrenaline may make me a bit faster on the one hand, but on the other, I’m going to be dodging feet, and my time doesn’t actually stop until I run up the beach and cross the timing mat.

Stretch goal: 38 minutes

Realistic goal: 40 minutes

I’ll still be happy with: 44 minutes

Bike-26.4 miles

Le sigh.  Stupid rolling hills.  I live in Denver!  It’s very flat here.  But I want to focus on the bike because it’s the place it’s easiest to gain or lose a lot of time.

Stretch goal: Sub 1:40 (16 mph)

Realistic goal: 1:45 (15 mph)

I’ll still be happy with: 1:50 (14 mph)

Run-6.2 miles

One thing I fear is getting to the run and just straight up running out of gas.  Just being pooped and ending up walking a lot.  On the other hand, maybe I’ll feel amazing and the wind will be at my back and I will just kick ass.

Stretch goal: 1:08 (11 minute pace)

Realistic goal: 1:12 (11:30 pace)

I’ll still be happy with: 1:15 (12 minute pace)

Figuring 5 minutes for both transitions, that puts me here:

Stretch: 3:29

Realistic: 3:37

I’ll still be happy with: 3:49

It makes me mad that the bike is 26.4 miles.  The regular distance for an Olympic is 24.8.  It’s only 1.6 miles, but that’s another 6 or 7 minutes, and it makes my Olympic time look slower than others. Oh, well.  The medal will be just as shiney.


I already had a list of reasons to be nervous about my next triathlon, and now I come to realize there’s one more: It starts at 2 pm.  What?  Grrr.  It didn’t occur to me to check what time it started since, you know, 99.999999997% of triathlons are in the morning.  The only reason I was looking at the time was to be sure it started really early (like, 7 am) instead of later (8 am) so I’d be avoiding the heat.

But no.  I’ll be wrapping up my race after 5 pm. WTF? 

Looking on the brightside, at least I can sleep in and don’t have to get up at 4:30 am.

But on the much broader dark side, what am I supposed to do all morning?  Sit around and be nervous? Drink Gatorade?  It’s just weird.

I emailed the race officials to suggest they make the time more apparent, and they replied, “It’s on the main race page Mel… not sure how we could highlight better.”

I’m sorry.  If it’s not above the fold, I don’t think you can say it’s “on the main race page.”  If you have to scroll down past the transition maps, hotel information, pictures of the t-shirt, sample training plans, and three charts of pricing, I’m not sure how you’re not sure how you could highlight better.  How about in the nice white space under the date and location…the time?

It’s just making me feel even more over it and ready to start reallocating my free time from the gym to the couch.

22 Days until the next race!

My next race is the Boulder Sunset Olympic triathlon.  I am nervous about this race for a few reasons:

  1. It is the longest tri I have done.  And the longest race I have ever done.  And just the longest workout I’ve ever done.  My goal time is 3:30-3:45.  Even my long workouts usually top out at 2:00-2:30.
  2. I swam in the Boulder Reservoir for the first time a few weeks ago.  The water was a lot choppier than the calm Bowles Lake I was used to.  Did not like! 
  3. The swim start will be in waves.  I haven’t done that before.  The first tri I did was in a pool, and you just swam in your own lane until you were done.  The second was a time trial start, so we went one at a time into the lake at about five second intervals.  I’m a bit worried about getting kicked in the face.
  4. The bike looks insane.  Above is the elevation profile.  The downhill is as scary as the uphill, if not more.  Above is from the website.  But this is what I see:

So, the next 22 days will be all about bike hills!  Well, who am I kidding.  The next 22 days will be all about swimming (because I love it) and spending time worrying about hills.