Monday, September 8, 2008

Practice does not necessarily make perfect...

On Saturday, See Jane Run put on a practice triathlon to get us ready for the real thing in 3 weeks. It was meant to be just a training day, no pressure, just to get us used to the course and to practice our transitions. It was going to be an early day but I was really excited to get some practice on the course, try out the swim, and test my transitions.

WARNING: This is going to be a long post. Mostly so I have record of all my notes and thoughts. If you're not interested in reading all the boring details about something you would never do anyway, just scroll down to see the pictures. Those are always my favorites to see!

According to the email they sent out it was supposed to be 1/4 mile swim, 8 mile bike, and 2 mile run. My friend Carrie and I got there and set up our transition area. Hers was much more organized than mine but it totally worked for me.

After setting up our transitions we hit the beach for a motivational talk from some training coaches and LUNA Pro Triathlete, Linda Gallo. With 100 degree temperatures looming in the near future, they finally started the practice, 30 minutes late.


As you've probably read in the past, I have a real problem with swimming in the lake. I'm trying to talk myself out of it, trying to have some positive conversations with myself but so far it's not really working.

The lake water is REALLY low right now and the See Jane Run people apparently didn't tell the Regional Park we were even coming so there were no bouys. Instead of the 1/4 mile swim we were told to swim one length of the lap lane which I think is 140 yards. The water there is only chest high. This is good because if anyone panicked they could just stand up, hard though because then you're tempted to stand up instead of actually swimming it.

I'm assuming I was feeling a mixture of anxiety about the lake and adrenaline from doing the practice but I could NOT catch my breath once I hit the water. The funny thing about swimming is you actually have to hold your breath in order to swim properly. When you can't catch your breath, you can't hold your breath, and you can't swim! I probably only did about 3 strokes of freestyle the whole way. It was all breast stroke and side stroke. Anything to get me through it!

Everything else went pretty smoothly. I passed 3 riders on the first hill out of the park which is huge for me. I don't pass anyone! And this was evident in the rest of the bike ride (which ended up being about 8.2 miles) where I was getting passed up like I was standing still! I just kept telling myself "I'm saving myself for the run. All these women are going to die on the run because they're putting it all out there on the bike." I'm not sure that was actually the case but it helped me mentally.

The run started and my calves were a little sore and throughout I had a side ache (which I've only ever had when I'm trying to run too fast.) I've never had sore calves after getting off the bike but maybe I was pushing it a little harder than I thought I was. I also didn't have a lot of fuel in my body. I had only eaten one egg and a corn tortilla for breakfast and no snacks along the course (it just didn't sound good to eat at any point but now I know that was probably a mistake).
The run (which ended up being about 2.67 miles) included a lot more hills than I expected and it was HOT. It ended up being about 101 that day but I'm not sure what the temperature was at this time. No water was provided on the course and I didn't bring any with me so I tried to just take it easy and go as fast as I could without hurting myself. There was a lot of walking and I saw Carrie once during this portion so that was fun and a motivator to keep going. Here we are after the run.
In the end it was fun and a little bit hard but mostly scary to think that I have to do 3x the length of that swim on race day. I know I can complete the swim. I do it twice a week, just not in the lake! I need to figure out how to get the adrenaline out of my system, or at least in check, before I start the swim. I think that will help a lot. I'm so thankful that I have friends to do this with. There's no way I would be able to push myself to do it alone. Friends are a great thing aren't they?!

13 comments:

Michelle said...

"I'm assuming I was feeling a mixture of anxiety about the lake and adrenaline from doing the practice but I could NOT catch my breath once I hit the water." This happened to me too on my first tri. I just made myself slow way down, doing careful, even strokes. I also think chanting to yourself helps, finding something to say that keeps you in a good rhythm. That serves to motivate and distract me some. Work on your thoughts too, only say positive things to yourself about lake swimming. No negative statements allowed! What park is this? Thanks for visiting my blog and for all your support!!

Michelle said...

Wait, I know the park! Silly me...it's not like I did my own tri there or anything :)

gina said...

Go Steph- you rock! Just for doing it. :)

Auntie said...

Wow, Steph, you are the BOMB!!!
You are such a motivation, just getting through your trial run. I am so very proud of you!
Love, Auntie

pve design said...

Wishing you a swimmingly good time on race day!
A dear friend did a swim like that and we were all there cheering her on.... Can you hear me clapping and whistling! Yoo hoo -- go! You can do it!

Ann said...

I am proud of you, Stephanie. I could only imagine doing a triathlon. Keep Persevering. Remember Mind over Matter! You will do great on the Big Day!

Emily said...

Amazing! I could never do something like this! I can't wait to read about the big day!

Carlie said...

Way to go girl! What a great accomplishment! I would love for you to come to LA with us! That would be so fun! I hope you were serious. We will be there Oct. 24 and 25th. Let me know!

Kim said...

You are one brave women!!

Kelsey said...

You are totally awesome, congratulations!

Amanda K said...

You are so awesome! I would have been crawling! Way to go!! CONGRATS!!

Anonymous said...

You need to change the colour of the font. Neon yellow on white is difficult to read.

Dan said...

for your next triathlon (or for training) include a Chawel.

Quick dry towel that also makes for faster transition changes (if you choose to change out of wet bathing suits)

or more likely, when changing in parking lots after training rides/runs/swims

www.chawel.com