Monday, January 28, 2008

Saturday was the indoor tri event. I've done this now 3 years in a row and probably 7 times total.
Here's my report:
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Taking a cue from Bolder in some of his posts, I thought this was appropriate for this report.
The Good: I did better than last year.
The Bad: I didn't place in my age group. In fact, let it be said here, I was last in the age group. Again.
The Ugly: Timing and/or lap counting mistakes.
I was in the 4th heat of the day with two other people I work with and one of their friends. Originally, we had a 6 person team, had shirts made, etc. One by one, the troops dropped out until there were only 3 of us. Granted, there were a few good reasons why the others dropped out, but Jan and I always shake our heads at the excuses given. The bottom line for the three who bailed was they didn't train. (Remember when I said the one woman said she hadn't trained because after all "its only 45 minutes." Okay, point taken. She didn't show.)
On the swim, we use a pool, obviously. I felt like I was putting in a good effort and felt fairly strong. My arms felt a little heavy the first few laps, but the water was pretty warm, so once I actually got going, they felt fine. This may be why I was a little shorter on laps than last year (1.25 less) or maybe it was wearing a new suit? I don't know if that makes any difference, but until those things get stretched out good (and I had worn it a few times before to accomplish that), it makes me wonder now if my reach is shortened somewhat. I had been swimming really well over the last month, but I did notice my last 2 swims (with the new suit) were a little slower. And I noticed that day that my stroke count was up by 1-2 on each length. Be it what it was, I still had the most laps in my heat. Except my lap counter was apparently too busy talking on his cell phone to keep track and he actually had me less than anyone else! Fortunately I keep track but also knew from what the others did that it was off by more than 2. I had to take that issue up before leaving the pool so really had to hustle to the bike, still with no resolution on the lap issue. And not enough time to put on socks. Or get my wits about me.
For the bike, we use road bikes on wind trainers. I was determined not to make the same mistake I made last year and figure out the gearing right away, but my bike was a Specialized, the same that I have, so I didn't think I would have a problem. But I was still a little flustered about the swim mixup, not being able to get my socks on, needing to fix the bike seat, etc. and I TOTALLY forgot how to shift the bike! There were a lot of gears on when I started, which I expected, but dummy here kept adding gears instead of taking them off until finally one of the volunteers came over and showed me how to use the gear levers. As if I didn't know! But I was thankful, and once again that mistake cost me precious time. This year they posted on a dry erase board the totals from each heat, and all I could focus on was the shortest distance, wondering if I could get past that! I remembered last year, and my somewhat lack of strength. I don't think I made even the lowest total last year. And the bike is not my strong point anyway, so not only was I having gearing issues, but I was not focusing 100% and found myself distracted by those things and not putting my energy into pedaling. And my shoulder was now acting up, so I would have to sit upright about every 2 minutes to relieve that discomfort. I would sit up until my speed started to drop and then go back aero. I had to do this the whole time. All in all though, I did over a mile more than last year.
The run is on an indoor wooden track on the third floor of the Y, above a basketball court. It is 19 laps to a mile. Here again, there was a timing issue, not just for me but for everyone in our heat. The first problem was, after getting off the bike, the same woman I spoke to about the lap issue decided that right then was a good time to discuss resolution of the matter. She said they did decide to give me one more lap (I was still being shorted by 1 and 3/4), but I didn't have time to argue. I just said I was still in dispute with that amount and hurried to the third floor track.
I no sooner get to the track and they are calling 30 seconds to start! Whoa I don't even know which side I need to start on (its a staggered start--3 on one end, 3 on the other). Since I was in the second lane of the swim and second bike, I figured I started with 1 and 3. No sooner had I hit the start line and we were off. I never did catch my breath. I didn't feel good the whole run, but at least my lap counter called out my laps (most of the time) so I knew were were in sync. The next timing issue we had was we didn't start on the proper minute, so I lost track of how much time we were running. They had 2 people calling out time increments (5 minute, 10 minutes, 2 minutes to go, etc.) Neither of them were in sync, however. One would say 5 minutes down and when I passed the next one (50 yards away) he would say half way done! When it got down to the last 5 minutes, again they were off. One said 5 minutes but then the other said "a few minutes to go." What does that mean?? And my shoulder was really hurting now, with the pain radiating down the back of the shoulder and into the front rotator cuff area. I knew it was from not only doing all 3 events together without any real base building, but also from working harder than I am used to in training. I really wanted that run to be done. I did do a few sprint laps, but then had to go to the bathroom so bad I was afraid I would wet my pants so had to slow a little on the next lap. So the fast laps probably got cancelled from the slow one. Anyway, I managed to do 2 laps more than last year and had I not been having a bathroom issue might have gotten 2 more.
Finally we were done. That hour seemed like 2 or more.
So here's my analysis of the whole event:
First, it really is about the bike. Looking over the race results, I saw that I beat 2 out of 6 on the swim, 1 on the run, and none on the bike. :( Close, but no cigars. Had I not messed up on the bike, I would have at least taken 5th out of 6th and would have come closer to the 4th place woman. I beat the woman ahead of me on the swim and the run, but she squeaked by me enough on the bike that she ended up placing ahead of me. (Totals are determined by total yardage.) And only by less than 200 yards.
Second, know your competitors. While I knew and expected at least 5 people in my age group, and knew I would not beat any of them, I didn't know 2 other women and didn't realize one was coming. As it turned out, one woman went to the next age group, and one woman took masters, so that left 6 others in my AG, the largest age group of women.
Third, have a goal. Planning your strategy in a race is something I learned a long time ago. It makes sense. If you want to win, you have to know what you have to do. I didn't do that. I should have looked over last year's results to not only check who the competition would be but also to see what the totals were I would need to surpass last year's totals, mine and anyone else who might be in competition with me. Going hand in hand with knowing your competitors is also knowing what they are capable of. So I failed to plan my strategy. I just got lucky doing better on the bike and run and that was only because of being stronger this year.
My training went well, but before my next event, I will be doing a little more homework.
UPDATE: I did finally check last year's results. I didn't do so bad this year after all! I actually did more swim laps than last year, even with the glitch, and my bike was almost 1.5 miles farther, and the run the same actually. But with the additional bike yardage, that put me at over 3,000 yards more than last year. I still couldn't have caught the age group winners, but I wasn't that far off from the others. Like I said, next time I will do my homework!


bunnygirl said...

Well, I think the indoor tri sounds kind of fun and not anything to get too competitive over. Something to liven up a winter day, right? :-)

But 19 laps to a mile? OMG. You have a brain made of iron, woman! I'd go completely bonkers!

Flo said...

Yeah, 19 laps to a mile?!?!?! That would absolutely drive me insane!!

You're right, you have to have a goal. Even if I have no hopes of placing in my AG, I always have a goal in mind so I'm striving for something.

Good job though!!!

Sunshine said...

The lap counter was on a CELL PHONE!!?? I think you deserve the "valiant group" award.
And difficulty with shifting doesn't sound like an athletic event.
Your patience and cheer regarding the whole thing seems amazing to me. You are an athlete and a winner.

Anonymous said...

Wow, and indoor tri sure sounds different, but lots of fun during the winter.

I think you did really well!!! Congratulations on doing better than last year!

Marcy said...


Wow, a lot of those terms went over my head LOL BUT an indoor tri sounds really neat and it seems like a fantastic thing to do (especially for us seasonal folks)! Awesome job!! ;D ;D

Lisa - Slow & Steady said...

It sounds fun and frustrating all rolled into one!

I agree that it's all about the bike. I have found that that my bike performance is pretty pathetic and is the limiter for my overall results. And we're on teh bike longer than anything.

But all things aside, I think you should be REALLY PROUD of what you accomplished this weekend. YOU ROCK!

jahowie said...

Even though the timing was off it still sounds like fun. You did very well to improve on last years race. I hope that shoulder doesn't continue to give you problems. I'm very proud of you!! :-)

Non-Runner Nancy said...

This sounds great. Not sure I understood the race format, but it does sound interesting. Great work!!

WADDLER26.2 said...

What an experience. the most important part is that you came out learning something. Good job.

bill carter said...

Congrats on a great race. i know we can get caught up in the results and it is certainly a bummer when you have people shorting you on laps, but it sounds like your performance was great. I still can't imagine training and racing in 3 different disciplines.

See Zanne Run said...

you did better than last year - awesome! loved that part about doing your homework - i ALWAYS check the previous years' times, just so i have it in my head. that way i can know if i have a shot at placing, or if there's no chance in hell. just nice to have that info in the back of your head!

i can't believe the lap counter was on a cell phone!