The second of two races on the weekend of April 19/20th 2008 was the Trideltathon, a sprint triathlon. The Delta Delta Delta sorority hosts the Trideltahon as a fund raiser for their local charity: East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. It’s a Sprint (meaning less than Olympic Distance) Triathlon that is held on the campus of Univesity of Tennessee. It consists of a 400m pool swim, 6 mile bike and 3 mile run. It usually draws a couple hundred participants and this year was no different.
This race was special to me because it fell on the 2nd Anniversary of my biological Dad’s death. I had to fore go the Trideltathon that year but was granted a pass to participate in another series event at a lower cost.
In the past, the swim had been in the indoor pool, but I think because instead of having around 200 participants, they were nearing 400, they moved the swim to the outdoor pool. There is nothing wrong with the outdoor pool except that it was only in the upper 50s while we were waiting. The pool swim is set up basedon anticipated swim times. The faster you are, the sooner you go. Since i had wrote down a 8:50 swim time, I was in the back of the pack. I think i stood outside for about 20 minutes in nothing but my speedo… Oi!
If you read my Ribbon Run 5k Race Report, I had a little bit of equipment malfunction. Today was no different. My swimcap, as i was getting ready to put it on my head, split into two. Oh, well… I just hoped that my long(ish) locks of hair wouldn’t get in the way. I don’t think that speed gained by wearing a swim cap would be all that much for an amateur like me.
I was pretty chilled as I was ‘released’ to get into the pool, but the UT outdoor pool is heated. Ahhh, it felt awesome and I took off.
The plan for the swim was to be consistant. The nice thing about starting near the back is that the traffic isn’t too bad. I found a good rythym and stuck with it. By the 3rd (of 8) lap I was finding that I was passing some of the other swimmers who may not have been as fast as they thought. There is a HUGE difference between lap swimming and swimming in a triathlon.
At lap 5, I came to a point where I had to make a decision. There were two swimmers in the lane as I started Lap 5. I had been very consistant at this point and I was in the zone. As I came up on the two swimmers, both were struggling. I could tell in the water that the swimmer on the left was switching strokes to find something that worked, the swimmer on the right seemed to be doing a slow freestyle. I made an In Situ Race strategy Decision and plowed in between them. I know I kicked one of them, not hard, but I still hit him. This was a race, and I was not going to let him get in my way.
On Lap 8, as I was coming to the steps, I knew that I was doing well. When I saw my watch, it said 6:50 and I was shocked that I was doing THAT well. Later, I checked my watch and there was a 2:00 lap on there that I must have hit.
Official Swim Time: 8:47
I didn’t try to sprint to my bike. I just kept at a light run so that when I got to my bike I could get my stuff on. I had a small towel to dry my feet (I hate wet socks) and get my socks and shoes on. I put on a longsleeved shirt that already had my race number. Put on my Bike Helmet and yellow glasses. While in the transition, you HAVE to walk your bike. So I had to walk my bike out an the mount my bike and take off.
The bike course hadn’t changed since I had last done the race. It’s 6 miles out and back mostly on campus. What this means is that it’s 1 mile downhill, 4 miles rolling hills and then 1 mile uphill. Since I hadn’t been on a bike in a while, I was only trying to survive the bike. I had a stomach bug earlier in the week, so I wasn’t going to jump on a bike on Friday and then Ride again on Sunday. I figured that my biking muscles would still be sore, so I was going for the “Shock and OW” method of performance. I didn’t do terrible in the bike… and I never had to walk the bike up Lake Loudon Drive. I tried to hydrate some as I was on the bike. I did get passed a couple of times, but they were by people with real nice bikes. My bike is a 1986 bike that I am basically “eternally” borrowing. One day, I’ll get a new bike, but this one is good-enough.
Official Bike Time 26:31 (officially contains both Transitions)
Cumulative Time 35:18
Again, you have to dismount and walk your bike to your rack, rack your bike, ditch your helmet and take off. I grabbed a bottle of Gatorade that I think that I would just ditch when I was done. So I was off.
My race strategy here was about the same as the bike, survive. I knew the course pretty well and the back-side is pretty brutal. I like hills, and this one has some big ones. When you get off the bike and go to the run, your legs feel like Jello. You don’t feel like you are running very fast. Some of this is perception and some of this is true.
I was feeling pretty good running. As a runner, this is where you can pass people left and right. Most cyclists who can blow by you on the bike, suck at running. Thus you can make up some time and the longer the race, the greater the advantage. What’s also nice in triathlons is that the put your AGE on your calf. Strategy wise, this is awesome. It makes it so much easier to figure out who you need to worry about and who you don’t.
Given that I had ran the Ribbon Run the day before, I had depleted everything in my reserve. I only had enough juice for about a 20 yard kick at the end. And I finished tired but very very pleased at my performance.
Official Run Time 22:40
Official Cumulative Time : 57:57
My personal goal was to finish in under 1 hour. I accomplished that and really had a decent showing. I think that I’ll be doing the sprint triathlon on Memorial Day and that I will do at least one longer triathlon, but I would love to do an Olympic Distance this year. I’m just not sure if I can get all the training in at this point. That’s not until June/July… so we’ll see.
Overall Place 151st out of 378
Age Group Place 11th out of 23