Every morning of a race - be it a fun 5K or a full-fledged Sprint Triathlon...I always wake up wondering why I am doing what I'm doing - getting up at ridiculous hours....putting on my sporting gear...eating my nutrituous breakfast (ie. tasteless)...trudging to the race venue half-asleep...trying to compete for parking with all the other hundreds of participants..etc..etc...
And the next thing I know...I am at the race start...the gun shot goes off...then I go off!...And that's when all the fun really begins....once the race starts...you forget everything...and your mind begins to just focus on one thing....getting to the finish line!...And when you are doing a triathlon....you are focusing on getting to not just one..but THREE finish lines!!.....
I did the Couples Tri yesterday morning with Amit...we signed up just 2 weeks ago on an impulse....I completed my first ever Sprint Tri almost 5 weeks ago (Danskin) and had not gotten on a bike or into the pool since then!....My only real training before the race was a 5mile bike last Friday and a 800m swim at Deep Eddy's last Thursday....the only thing I have been doing consistently is my running....and ironically...my timings for both my swimming and biking improved in this race whereas my running absolutely showed no improvement....a result I am extremely bitter about (maybe that's why I called this a post-mortem improper bostonian? :) ) But the one thing the running did help is give me the stamina to finish this race with almost no training...so thank god for that!
The Swim course was slightly different from Danksin - but was in the same lake. The water temperature was also almost the same. This swim was slightly more comfortable than Danskin, just because there was less people in the water (Note: Danskin has close to 2600 participants - compared to the 700 participants at Couples). I improved by 26 seconds which I am quite pleased about considering I hadn't really done any swim training since Danksin. I also managed to get in more freestyle this time, which I'm also pretty happy about. Overall felt good about the swim.
My Transition 1 time was also much better for the Couples. I attribute it mainly to the fact that the transition area itself was a lot smaller than Danskin, and it was much easier to find my bike amongst all the hundreds of bikes. As for the actual transition activities (dry myself..put on my shoes...bike helmet..gloves)...I still feel that I can become more efficient and this is something I want to work on before I do my next Tri.
The Bike...12 miles
The Bike course was almost exactly the same as Danskin (including the 2 nasty nasty hills)...and although I could have done much better considering that I was now familiar with the route and knew when to anticipate the tough portions of the bike course, the lack of training really played its part here. I had a slightly better timing overall but it was still as tough as Danskin was and my legs during this course started to show signs of becoming tired!
Once again, a slightly better transition than Danskin - and once again attributing this to the smaller size of the transition area and also to the fact that I knew exactly where to go to start the run...I was a little lost during Danksin! Efficiency-wise, not sure I could have done anything better - I thought I was pretty quick in taking off my biking gear...putting on my run cap...and well really...that was it!
The Run...3.1 miles
Now this is the leg of the race that I am truly upset about...yes I did improve by a grand total of 11 seconds...but it's not something to boast about considering all the running I have been doing since Danskin as part of my marathon training. I was hoping to complete my running in at least less than 40 mins! Even my half-marathon pace was MUCH better!!!...I was thinking about it all day yesterday...and I figured the way I train for a marathon is completely different from say how I would train for a 5k - for the former, my key focus is on endurance - whereas for the latter, it is more on speed. I did finish the run without feeling like I was going to die, which is always good...but I was still slow...some of it probably due to my legs hurting after the biking...but a lot of it mostly due to the fact that I "felt" so tired mentally...I believe that there is still a lot of room for improvement in this leg of the race...I'll defn need to do more bricks (bike+run training together)...focus a little more on speed and trying to push myself even though my mind is telling me to do otherwise... and try to achieve an overall more powerful finish!
All said and done, it was still a fun race and I felt really good afterwards....The awesome post-race massage I got also helped (I wish I could have taken this guy home!!!! ;) ) It was also neat being in a race with my coaches!! And also even more neat to have been in a race with some top-class ironmen triathletes!!....
And last but certainly not least of course....this was the Couples Tri after all....and I couldn't have done it without Amit Bhai!!....He was extremely supportive throughout....gave me tons of good tips for the bike leg...was there cheering me on at the finish line (he finished waaaaay ahead of me!!).....and although we could have had a much better ranking overall if I had gotten some better results...he never once worried about that and instead focused more on our individual improvements!! Thanks Amit!! You're the best!!
And these are all the reasons I guess I keep wanting to race again and again!! :)
Next Race: Thinking of doing the August 26th Skeese Greet's Women's Tri with Sharanya...Let's see!