Wednesday, May 26, 2010

My Own “Tri Kids” and the Power Sprint

One day last January my daughter told me she and her husband were thinking about training for a triathlon, which their fitness center in Maryland was sponsoring. The event was to be held indoors in April, and the participants had to swim in the pool, ride a stationary bike, and run on a treadmill for ten minutes at each station. Winners were determined by the distance accrued in each segment, and F took first place. After that experience C and F decided to try a “real” triathlon and signed up for the Power Sprint at the Shady Grove YMCA on May 23. Not to be left out, I registered for the AquaBike.

Saturday afternoon we checked out new bikes and gear at 3 Sports after we picked up our packets. F found his dream bike, and I saw one I could learn to like, but ever-practical C herded us out of the store before we spent $$$$. Saturday night we listened to the rain while C and I packed our transition bags and F cleaned and tuned his bike, a 30-year-old relic he bought with his first paycheck from his first job.

By Sunday morning the skies were clearing. We arrived at Shady Grove about 6 a.m. and found a great parking place behind the pool area. We unloaded our bikes and headed to the transition area to set up our spaces. C carefully arranged her helmet, shoes, and run number/race belt on her towel beside her bike – a model example of how to set up (and one she did not learn from her mother). We got our timing chips and body markings and then returned to the car for breakfast. A few minutes before transition closed, C noticed F was wearing his run number. We sent him scurrying back to leave it in transition.

Our predicted swim times were within a minute of each other. C was worried I’d overtake her on the bike since my start time was only several minutes behind hers. F swam faster than he’d thought he would and was finished before I got in the water. C’s time was exactly what she’d predicted. Mine was 30 seconds slower, but even so, I set a PR for that distance.

I set a different kind of PR in T1, as it was maybe my longest time in transition – ever, nearly as long as my swim time. I couldn’t get my helmet fastened. After struggling for several minutes, I heard a male voice behind me say, “Ma’am, you have you helmet on backwards.” I thanked him, turned the helmet around, and still couldn’t fasten it. Eventually, the straps snapped into place and I took off on the bike course.

While I was on my bike, I thought I was having a great ride. I maintained a decent speed – faster than my training rides around my neighborhood – and I even passed a rider who had passed me. When I saw my official time, though, I was disappointed not to have been faster.

I never saw C or F on the bike course – they were too far ahead. In fact, F completed the run as I came in on my bike. And his time would have been better if he hadn’t had to return to T2 for his race number, which he’d forgotten to put on. C crossed the finish line about 25 minutes later. They both enjoyed the race and are planning to do another tri at the end of June in Maryland. I plan to be there, too – have to keep this sport in the family!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Getting Reacquainted With My Bike

The transition from indoor to outdoor cycling is difficult for me, as I much prefer riding my bike on a stationary trainer than on the real road, but triathlons are generally not done indoors, so … after a month of no biking at all, I’ve gotten my bike out of my garage and onto the street. Since Saturday, I’ve ridden three times around my neighborhood – a total of 20 miles, but since I didn’t fall once, and by ride no. 3, actually began to enjoy myself, I consider the ventures successful. Of course, I still have to master clipping both feet into the pedals, but even if that doesn’t happen, I’m feeling friendlier toward my bike.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

A Lost Month

My training log for April shows a dearth of activity – some strength training sessions, a few swims, one short run, and no cycling. I have a sort of excuse, I suppose, as for much of the month, I was out of town for work or out of state visiting family, but I fear I’ve lingered too long in “Slugville,” and it’s good to turn the page on April.