As some of you know, I’m working toward participating in the inaugural St. Louis Triathlon, taking place just a month from now. At various times, I’ve been exuberant and confident; at others, terrified and cowering under my desk. 🙂 Yesterday, the race director of the event was at the grand opening of the newly moved Swim, Bike, Run shop on Clayton Road, and I thought I’d go meet him. Now, I’d exchanged messages with him a ton on Facebook, and I even became the poster child for the social media impact of this race, which he mentioned in a podcast a little while back (about 21 minutes into the podcast). However, we’d never laid eyes on each other.
I walked up to him, introduced myself, and he told me he already knew who I was. Well, how ’bout that?!
We talked about the event, and he gave me some much needed advice about different parts of it, and even came in SBR to help me shop for goggles for the swim. And as we chatted, it was obvious to me that I needed to string together some events. I can run 5k, and I can cycle 20k — the swimming is still a bit of an unknown! — but I haven’t done them back-to-back.
Knowing I had some training ahead of me, I found a virtual 10k/5k duathlon, and figured I oughta sign up.
This morning, fueled by dreams of a successful triathlon, I headed out on my bike. Now, one big difference between the race course and my neighborhood is flatness. The race course for the triathlon is pretty dang flat. My neighborhood is replete with hills, and I think I found most of ’em. I’d ridden about 7.5km, was passing the house, and thought about just calling it done. Somehow, I squelched that voice, and rode on, putting in a little over 10km in the saddle.
Upon getting back to the house, I transitioned from riding to running, doffing my helmet, getting some fuel for the road, and ensuring I had water. Frankly, I was surprised how easy the first kilometer came. And then the heat started to hit me.
I ambled around the neighborhood, and eventually ended up walking the middle part of my distance, peppered with a little running here and there. Once again, I was at the house, about 3.5km into the run, and once again, the voices in my head were trying to convince me to just be done. I knew, though, that if I did that, I’d regret it all day, and even if it was slow, I could get through it. I plugged along. And just like a dog getting a treat for doing the right thing, I was rewarded with some kind of weird second wind, and I was running the last kilometer, taking me home.
This was probably the hardest race I’ve done since Gasparilla in February. The difference here was that not only did I have to overcome the course, but I had to overcome the noise in my noggin. With me passing by the house, I had the means to bail on the race — something that would’ve harder to do in Tampa — but had to find the gumption not to.
Neither of my times were stunning — about 40mins for the 10km ride, and around 54min for the 5km run. I suspect my splits for the ride in the triathlon will be better due to the flatter course. So, extrapolating, let’s assume 30-40mins for the swim (those are estimates I’ve been given), 70mins for the 20k ride, and about 50min for the 5k run, and that puts me right around 2.5hrs for the triathlon course. Anything under 3hrs is fine with me, and if it’s closer to 2hrs, so much the better.
I only had two real issues. The first was with my Garmin. I set it up for duathlon mode, but there was obvious operator error, and it stopped tracking me after the bike ride. I’ll have to figure that out. The other thing that was a surprise was how sore my hands were from the handlebars. I’ve got nice, new cushioned cycling gloves but I suspect there’s something else afoot — perhaps goofy positioning on the bike.
So color me more convinced that the triathlon in a month’s time is really, really achievable!!!