Monday, October 25, 2010

Took a trip to the dark side

Monster Sprint Tri 300M Swim, 12.66 Bike, 5K Run

Someone told me they had cookies. They had pancakes and I ate four. Don't judge.

The best thing I did going into this race was not looking at it like a race. My goal was to go have fun and learn. I had never done a tri before. Didn't train for this and never attempted a brick. But I knew I could swim 300M, that's usually a warm up for me. I knew I could muddle through the bike. And the 5K, can do that in my sleep. So why not put it all together.

The day before the race, my dear friend David gave me and Bojana a transition 101 so we wouldn't DQ ourselves!

Saturday, I ran 21 miles. I woke up Sunday morning and my quads were pretty darn tight. A little worried, but I told myself, it's short, you're done in less than 1:30. Just muddle through.

Got to the transition area, racked my bike, set out all my gear like David told me and headed to get my chip. Saw a bunch of my RAW buddies and my colleagues from work.

A few minutes before we had to line up for the swim, I jumped into the pool. I haven't been in the pool for a month. I hit the water and my legs were mad. I decided then to take the swim really easy and go with mostly arms. On a 300M swim, losing 30-45 seconds is nothing.

300M Swim - 6:39

This was pool swim where you snake the lanes. Swimmers are spaced 5 seconds apart. I did ok for the first 100, but being out of the pool for a month started to take it's toll on me. I had to breathe just about every stroke and I was really trying to save my legs for the bike and swim, so I was about 85% arms. The guy behind me passed me on the last 100, but by the last 25, I zipped by him.

Transition 1 - 1:11

Threw my cap and goggles off. Threw on my sunglasses, strapped on my helmet, socks, bike shoes. What the heck? My glasses are fogging. Threw them off, said screw it, I'll deal with wind and sun, grabbed Enrique (my bike) and headed out of the transition area.

Bike 12.66 - 45:41

I had been on the bike maybe a dozen times before this race. I knew this was my weakest link. I was so focused on marathon training that I just didn't have the time to spend on the bike. The course had some hills that I wasn't prepared for. But I made it and my time was respectable. I wanted to take in some fluids on the bike so I had my Gatorade there. I am so new on the bike that I was worried about bending over and grabbing that water bottle. But I was thirsty and knew I better take in something. Got it! Yay! Took a few sips. Oh shit! I have to lean over and put this thing back. I thought about throwing it to the side of the road but then thought I may want it before the run again. So do I gamble and risk a fall or pitch it? I gambled. It was a little rocky and I thought, screw it, I'm not going to do this again. I'll drink at the transition area when I'm off the bike. I did the ride at about a 16.8 MPH pace. Not bad, but I see lots of room for improvement next time.

Transition 2 - 0:59
Remembering what Gail taught me about getting in and out of clips, I unclipped my right foot well before the dismount line so I didn't have to worry about falling and making a fool out of myself. Holy cow, running off the bike into the transition area was a weird feeling. Not only do I have these funny shoes on, my legs feel like Jell-O! Racked my bike, threw on my Kinvaras and off on the run.

5K - 25:38
This was the weirdest feeling ever. I felt like I was running through water and in slow motion. I honestly thought my legs were going to buckle under me. David told me that feeling will go away in about a mile. Come on mile!!! Where are you? I want to feel my legs again. I had my watch set on multi-sport. Had never used it before. I didn't set the screens to see my pace. I had no idea what I was running, but I was sure it was around a 9:30 pace. But here I am passing people.

Up until now, I was pretty uncompetitive. Just enjoying the moment and having fun. But hey, I'm feeling fresh, I'm passing people. The little competitive voice came back into my head, "get that one, easy prey. Oh, he's hurting, chick him. Oh little fairy, how cute, buh bye." I counted 15 roadkill before I stopped counting. I was feeling remarkably good. I looked at my watch and was trying to predict my finish time. I wanted to finish around 1:30. During the run, I knew I would blow that away. Got to the finish line and finished in 1:20:11. Wahoo!!!! My run was a 8:17 pace. Blew me away. When I got home I downloaded my splits: Mile 1 8:27, Mile 2 8:21, Mile 3 8:08, Last .1 7:34. Hot damn! That felt good.

I finished 9th in my AG out of 58 and 186th overall out of 617. Not bad first time out of the gate. One year ago, I ran the Susan G. Komen 5K in 26:40. That was a PR for me. I just ran 21 miles on Sat., swam and biked and I hit a 25:38 5K, two weeks after a marathon. That felt pretty damn good.

If you read my previous blog about Chicago Marathon, you can sense how devastating it was for me. But, I can't even put into words how that marathon impacted me. Only a few people really know because they are the ones who have had to deal with me as I recover (not physically, but emotionally) from that disaster.

Every race has a purpose and there's a reason why you had to have that race. Good or bad, there's a message. I had to fall flat on my back in Chicago to learn how to handle the stress of a big race and my OCD. I had to have this tri to remember this is about fun. This is why you do this, you love it. It's not about a PR every race. It's about learning, having fun and enjoying the journey.

Breathe, relax, have fun. I'm still going to try harder to do better, but I'm not going to let the fear of failure control my race.


  1. Awesome job Suann!! I was totally surprised to see you run 21 miles on Sat after Chicago but you know what you have to do. I'm glad to hear that you went into this tri with the spirit of fun and then kicked it. There is a reason why I follow you-your determination, constant up beat spirit, and your sense to put things back into reality. Congrats again. Keep it going.

  2. Nice blog post. Congrats on a very solid performance. Will we see you in March to see if you can repeat the performance. St. Pats Tri march 13th


  3. Awesome! I'm so happy for you! This post makes me want to get out and start doing tri's. My coach is an Ironman and actually a triathlete coach after all... :) So glad to see you recovering. You rock!