I think it was 12 years? Something like that. It’s not a “true” triathlon as you might think – but an indoor one.
For those of you who don’t know, when I talk about doing a triathlon, I’m mostly referring to a SPRINT triathlon. This is typically something like:
- 800m swimming
- 12.2 miles biking
- 3.1 miles running
There are larger events like the Olympic triathlon – which is essentially double a sprint. Then there’s the half ironman, which is double the Olympic. Then there’s the FULL ironman, which is double the Half. So – a sprint is about one eighths the length of a FULL ironman.
For most very competitive people, a sprint triathlon can be done in just over an hour.
So an INDOOR triathlon is a TIMED event, essentially based on one hour of vigorous activity. This is how long it would take a HIGHLY competitive person to do sprint tri.
What this is, is:
- 10 minutes of swimming
- 30 minutes of biking
- 20 minutes of running
I then looked at how I did in all of these, and compared myself with others:
- 10 minutes of swimming – 375 meters, 45th place out of 64 competitors
- 30 minutes of biking – 8.8 miles, 26th out of 64 competitors
- 20 minutes of running – 1.65 miles, 33rd out of 64 competitors
This put me at a total of 201.65 points to place me 35th overall out of 64 competitors.
My goal for this year was to finish “somewhere in the middle of the pack”.
To put it into perspective, when I did this about 12 years ago, I believe I was about 75 pounds heavier. My goal then was to “not finish last” and I finished second to last out of 84 competitors.
This time, it was 35th out of 64. And I’m 12 years older!!
What you’ll see below is some of my efforts that day and how I went balls to the wall!!
What they warn you about with triathlon is that there’s “no such thing as a perfect race”. You go back on it, and “if I had just done this, or done that, I could have done better”. I think this is a good tool of analysis, to try and find where you could be better. For me, a few things happened:
- My back was jacked up for about a month leading into it. You have to understand, this was like tranq darting a rhino down. What happened was I had fallen into the trap of overtraining. I’m fine now, mostly, but I had dialed up my running so much in zone 2 that I was putting on too many miles. My back told me to go fuck myself and calm down. I tried pushing through it. It then told me to play cripple for 3 weeks. So I lost some of my running conditioning. This cost me a good quarter mile. I was maxed out at 12 minute miles. I may have blown myself out with the bike, but I know what my fast pace is. Oh. One other thing. You had to put it at a 1% gradient. I train flat outside and on the treadmill. I was redlining 12 minute miles. I was banking on being able to push a 10:30-11 minute mile.
- With my back, I also was planning on doing a lot more indoor bike sessions. I did one about a month before the event. This also led me to not being able to do any brick workouts. When I went from the bike to the treadmill, I got the rubber legs. My first 2 miles of my run were a little on the slow side as I had to work out the familiar calf and hammy cramping. Then I was fine. The lack of brick workouts cost me maybe .1 mile.
- With swimming, I did a warm up lap and back, then I did a HARD lap down and back also for warm up. I came out of the gate HARD to try and keep up and wow…arms turned to stone and slowed me down. Note – do your race, don’t try and keep up. That may have cost me 1-2 lengths.
- I wasn’t wearing bike shorts. I bought them, but didn’t bring them. Running in bike shorts gives you diaper butt. Not buying a tri suit until July when I’m trim and can pull it off. Thought I would be fine. Nope. My ass was a mess with pain. 30 minutes on that? 15 minutes in I was dying. The biking itself was FUN. I was pushing it. But I had to dial it back from minutes 20-30 due to my ass hurting so bad and trying to adjust. That cost me maybe a quarter to a half mile.
So – while I was 35th out of 64, I would like to try this again next year as a gauge. Next year, I will be 40-45 pounds less and be a mean 185 or so. I’ll be in peak physical shape. I plan on finishing in the top 10-15% next year.
What these metrics also tell me is that I was below average on the swim, above average on the bike, and average on the run. I feel that my bike could have been a smidge better, but my run could have been slightly above average. It was interesting to see my swim at 45th. I think with 40-45 pounds less and a year of training, I will be much faster on this.
The back pain was somewhat of an eye opener. This was almost identical to the back spasm pains I had 2 years before when I was also overtraining then. Here’s the plan:
- I do cardio for fun, not to lose weight. My increased cardio this winter has actually put a nice stall on my weight loss. I need to lose fat in order to get back to my running.
- Take 10 weeks off of running. Let my back heal 100% and use more walking and heavy lifting to stimulate fat loss.
- Increase the weight training to twice a week with some heavier weights. Saturday and Wednesday
- Try walking the dog every day for 1.2 miles. Walking was probably my biggest fat loss secret when it comes to forms of exercise.
- Increase my hiking. As temps start to get a little more reasonable, get outdoors with the jeans and hiking boots. This is a GREAT fat burn when you hike a good 5 miles.
- Bump the carbs a bit once or twice a week. I usually have maybe 30-50 a day, depending on the day. Maybe on HEAVY lift days, bump that to 75-100. This will help refill the glycogen stores. These carbs are NOT sugars. This is leafy greens, veggies, etc.
- Try and swim recovery swims once a week for 30 minutes. Slow pace for fat burn. Use it as my fun.
- When temperatures are more reasonable, get out on the bike for leisurely pace rides. Work on spinning 80-90 RPM while staying under 130 BPM. No intervals.
- I need to get out with the local bike club and do some road riding. On the trails by me, I’m averaging about 11-11.5 mph with significant hill riding. I’ve been more of a “grinder” with the lower spin rates and I’m learning this is a problem. I need to be a “spinner” and build my cardio with this. I ride on gravel with gravel tires – and this is a different resistance than thin tires on pavement. Remember the “coefficient of friction” in physics? I need to not only spin faster but I need to maybe even switch out tires/rims that are thinner and faster on the road. Clip in shoes anyone?
Around May-ish, I will start back up the zone 2 running and do maybe 20-30 minute sessions 2-3 times a week to start and add the 10% or so per week to it with some sprinting. I need to max out maybe around 4 miles. I can use the swim and bike to build my cardio well before I start running.
August is my first sprint triathlon. This is a little different than others:
- 300m swim in the pool
- 15 mi bike
- 3.1 mi run
Unlike the open water swimming, this will deal with an outdoor pool to kick it off. It is shorter on the swim, but longer on the bike. What this tells me:
- If you look at my indoor results, I am somewhat strong on the bike. The vast majority of this race will be bike/run. If I drop 40 pounds between now and then, and have a solid 5 months of bike training, I might score high in bike. I might do ok on the 5k.
- While my swim numbers are not awesome, I can do 300m in about 8 minutes. The best might be doing it in 4-5 minutes. That is a 3-4 minute time I’m down, and I might be able to make that up nicely in the bike early on.
- I need to train with run properly and not over train to then pace myself for a 5k where I’d like to do it in 25-28 minutes. My 5k during Thanksgiving at 235 pounds or so was 36 mins. I think at 185-190 I can take this to 26 or so mins.
In a month or two, I’ll probably post a little more about how the weight loss might be affecting swim/bike. So my TRI series might be a little blah until I start my official tri training in May.