1 triathlon down, 4 more to go!….Maybe 5, depending how the summer goes 😉
Even though the race was just 3.5 weeks ago, it feels like it was aaaages! I know I’m not the only one who feels like time is getting faster and faster by the second. If it could slow down for just a second, I’d appreciate it!
This year’s triathlon season is hugely different from the past two years, the main difference being that I’m doing more than one triathlon! I typically only do one tri per year, but when my coach suggested she likes to have her athletes race as much as possible, I apparently took that to heart!
The UBC TriDu (triathlon & duathlon) was meant to be a warm up and to get me back in the feeling of racing, and it was AWESOME! Being March in Vancouver and all an open water swim was out of the question, so I was really interested to see how a pool triathlon would go!
I was doing the sprint and my wave wasn’t scheduled to start until 10:30. 10:30! The option to have a sleep-in was nice, but I opted to head to the pool early anyway to watch those participating in the Olympic and Short distances to see what this pool triathlon thing was all about.
What a difference from the chaos of open water swims! Everything was orderly with a 10-second break between each swimmer heading into the pool. Passing one another in the middle of the lane was discouraged – a big change from getting kicked and punched and swam over in the ocean. While I don’t think my pre-race jitters will ever fully go away, heading to the pool early and getting and understanding of what to expect made me much less nervous.
It was so inspiring to see swimmers of all shapes, sizes, ages, and abilities. There were people who couldn’t even swim! They would walk along the shallow parts and dog paddle their way through the deep end. I was so happy for them to be out there and doing it! The open water triathlons I’ve done have really helped to thicken my skin, but I can’t help but think what a less-scary option this would have been for my first triathlon 😉
We had to wait on the pool deck for about an hour before heading into the water, and this is usually where I start to get really nervous. I think of all the things that could go wrong – “What if I lose my goggles?” “What if I can’t breathe?” “What if I drown?” So to shut myself up inside, I looked for some people who looked like they might be waiting to start their first triathlon.
It’s amazing how much more calm and collected you can become when you help someone else calm down! I had a really fun time talking to people about what got them into the sport, and shared some of my own horror stories in the ocean to assure them that this couldn’t be nearly as bad.
After waiting, chatting, and more waiting, it was time to go in! We were supposed to line ourselves up according to how fast we thought we were, and since I ended up putting myself in a slower heat I went near the front of the line. Then one by one, we walked up to the edge of the pool and hopped in.
I wasn’t really sure how the swim would go, because for the last couple of months I’d had an issue with breathing – I was never able to make it to the end of the pool without feeling like I was going to suffocate. Not fun. But surprisingly, once I was in the water I felt calm and was able to maintain a steady breathe through the whole 750m! I was third into the water and seventh out which I was pretty happy with.
Before heading into T1 I had to change. I was a little wary of how things would go, but the volunteers were super organized and had our wet bags ready for us as soon as we got out of the pool. I ran outside to a tent, tried to dry myself enough to pull on dry clothes, and then walked to T1 because I didn’t want to stub my toe on the cement 😛 It was a much different transition experience than what I’m used to, but it was way too cold to cycle and run in a wet tri suit!
The bike was a relatively flat double loop that bypassed my nemesis hill going up to UBC. In my race plan, my coach had written she wanted me to finish the bike leg in 18-19 minutes.For a 20km ride I was going to have to hit less than 1 minute per km, while in training I’d been hovering between 1:50-2:30 depending on the terrain. I was A) confused and B) worried I had botched something in my training, but I gunned it anyway.
I felt pretty strong on the bike – stronger than I’d felt in awhile, because as of late my body had been saying “NOPE you’re not getting an easy ride today”. I was still nowhere near my prescribed finish time of 18-19 minutes, and crossed the line just past 40 minutes. (A few days later my coach realized she had said 18-19 minutes instead of 38-39…whoops!)
The run was a mixed-terrain 5k that went through the campus and on a few trails. It was a nice route and wasn’t too crowded, and there were lots of friendly volunteers along the way. I pushed the pace faster than what I had been doing in training but still kept it fairly conservative because of my IT band. As I took fewer walk breaks towards the end I started to feel that twinge on the outside of my knee, but I was close enough to the finish that I just pushed through it.
While my run was nowhere near a PR with a 32-minute finish, overall I finished with a 17-minute PR over my last sprint, with a swim course that was 250m longer and a wet clothing change! SUPER STOKED. With the exception of a bit of tightness in my legs, I felt pretty fantastic afterwards and went for my usual post-race feast with my parents and my boy.
This is a race I’ll definitely be including in my calendar next year! It was really well-organized, the volunteers were super friendly and helpful, and all-in-all it was just a lot of fun!
If you’re in the Vancouver area and have been thinking about dabbling in the world of triathlon, I’d STRONGLY encourage you to check the UBC TriDu out! It’s a course that’s great for beginners, and gives those who are more advanced an opportunity to get a speedy finish!
How are your races going this year? Have you ever tried a pool triathlon?