Subaru Triathlon Series–Niagara Try A Tri

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So yesterday happened. And it was AWESOME!!

17 minute PR, 6 minute PR on the bike leg, and I crossed the finish line grinning like a fool.

But let’s start at the beginning, where all good stories should start.

The Try A Tri started at 1:15pm, which is the latest I have ever had to be at a race start, but meant we didn’t have to be on the road until about 9:30.  I’m a bit obsessive about being early to things, and wanted time to park and figure out registration before having to rack my bike and set up transition.

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We got to Nelles Beach Park just before 11:30, and parking was easy to find and close to the transition area.  As with both of the Subaru Triathlon Series tris I have been to, registration was easy, simple, and so organized.  It took less than 5 minutes to fill out my waiver, get my numbers and my shirt and be on my way.  I staked out a spot on a rack in my age group, set up transition, and then waited for 1:15.

This time it was a lot easier to figure out the run up from the swim/bike out and bike in/run out areas.  The swim was a point-to-point, and started 375m down the beach from the transition area.  At about 10 to 1 Shawn and I started the trek down the beach towards the swim start.

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Swim 10:27

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This was my first time swimming in Lake Ontario, and that fact in and of itself really creeped me out, but I tried not to think about it (or swallow any water, either).  The water temp was cool, but more refreshing than frigid, and it was nice to see that I was in the majority with my lack of wetsuit.
The swim was along the shoreline, and shallow enough that I could touch the bottom at any point.  This was both good and bad, because as I started swimming I kept running into people that would suddenly put the breaks on and stand up, or people that were walking.  The good part was that this time, instead of hanging onto a kayak for a break, I could just get out of the way and stand for a bit.  I know that this is what saved me a lot of time on the swim.

Bike 26:46

Transition went smoothly, and then it was time to bike!  The bike had been my happy place in my first tri, and I expected it to be the same this time. Yeah, no.
It felt like my back brakes were on the entire ride– the whole bike portion was a struggle.  Also the description “flat as a pancake” was most definitely not accurate.
Near the 5km turnaround I started to play the “who can I pass” game.  Not only did it help me mentally, but I think in the end it helped me push harder (and ultimately go faster) as I picked people off on the way back to transition.

Run 19:18

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Run was uphill for the first 1km, on trails in the woods for 500m, then downhill for the last 1km.  This is where I sucked – slower than last time, but my legs were completely trashed from the swim and bike. I got the same weird cramp at the top of my left calf as I did on the bike previously, and basically I have no real excuse for why my run was crap.

I finished in 1:00:26, a freaking 17 minute improvement over my first Try A Tri. 

What I Learned

So let me preface this section by saying that I really didn’t do that much training for this race.  I did not ride my bike any distances since June 16 (only did some bike handling with the tri club) but I credit my improvement to the horrific magic that is the prowler.  I did some open water swims, and some pool swims, but clearly not enough.  It’s ironic that the part I trained most for, the run, is the one I sucked the most on.  But running is all mental for me, and I can talk myself out of running SO easily.  I need to get over that. So:

- I need to take swim lessons and spend way more time in the pool
- I need to practice running off the bike so that I’m used to running on tired legs (or just run more after doing 100000 deadlifts?)
- I need to get OUT OF MY OWN HEAD on the run and just RUN.
- Bike shorts are a must. Non negotiable. I will be buying these ASAP
- New bike before next year’s season starts

All in all, this race was a success.  I got over my fear of open water swimming, I kicked my own ass on the bike, and I actually PR’d by 10 minutes more than I expected.  I can’t believe it took me this long to find triathlons, and I’m looking forward to training over the winter for next season!

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5 thoughts on “Subaru Triathlon Series–Niagara Try A Tri

  1. Congrats!!! I just completed my first Tri this past weekend, too and my story is VERY similar to yours. The swim (which I feared, and therefore trained for the most) was the easiest for me, the bike (which I ride a lot but not as much as I should have) was difficult with a STRONG headwind each way and the run (I run ALL the time so therefore should have been the easiest for me) was definitely the hardest and by far my worst time. But, I finished (1hr 16min) and that was my ultimate goal for my first Tri. Next year I hope to PR with a finish of at least 1 hr 5 min since that was the best time in my age group. I will train harder ;) Good luck with all of your future tri’s!

    Ps… Check out my blog and a vlog about my first Tri at http://www.spotonwellness.com

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