Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What happens when you decide to race a triathlon the week of the triathlon

Last weekend I was looking through websites to see what triathlon races were coming up since I knew that the season, at least in the northeast, was ending soon. There were two races the next weekend and that was it. There I was with a week to decide if I wanted to race the next weekend. 

Let me take it back to what had happened in the 5 weeks since my last triathlon. I hadn't been swimming at all for a month afterwards. I had crashed on my mountain bike in Vail and banged up my knee pretty bad, not to mention my shoulder and hand sustained some injuries. I had been running long runs on Wednesday and doing speed work on Thursdays with my schools marathon team, I had not been focusing on 5ks off of the bike. Plus I had been been travelling like crazy through Dallas, Colorado and back to Boston then a trip down to DC.

Basically I wasn’t really thinking about racing very much in those five weeks, until I realized that I only had this one weekend of races if I wanted to squeeze in one more. I ate extra clean, got back in the pool, went to spin class and continued running but I had an incredibly busy week so I couldn’t devote that much time to training. I decided then and there that I wouldn’t try to PR or anything, I just wanted to prove to myself that I am maintaining good enough shape to be able to just go run a triathlon on a whim. And that is exactly what I did.

I dragged two friends with me to watch (and be there in case I crashed and I needed someone to drive my car back) and we left for Newport at 5am. Newport, Rhode Island was beautiful even with bad weather and an eerie fog over the water and roads. I registered on site and there were two transition areas so I was a little rushed before the 7:30am start but I made it to the start and organized all my transition gear in time.

The water was cold even with a wetsuit but fairly calm since the rain decided to stop before the race. I wasn’t quite ready for the saltiness of it after swimming in lakes and rivers and pools. But soon I was in the water, swimming, at the turnaround buoy then stepping carefully over rocks to make my way out of the water. The bike ride was beautiful. 16.1 miles along coastlines and old historic homes. A few big hills but I just tried to enjoy it as much as I could. I rolled into the transition to see my friends cheering, changed into my crazy colored shoes and a hat to keep the mist out of my face and started running. My legs were in pain. I had only given them one day to recover from a hard track workout and it wasn’t enough. I was running at a snail’s pace. But it didn’t matter, I didn’t stop, I kept going and made it over the big hill knowing I just had to run down it on the route back. Way off my 5k pace, I got enough in my legs to sprint through the finish line with a smile.

So there you have it. That is what happens when you decide to race a triathlon the week of the triathlon!