June 4 seemed so far away back in December when I foolishly signed up for the Salem Spring triathlon. I thought there was plenty of time to get in shape for an 800-yard swim, 12-mile bike ride and 5k run. And there was. But life got in the way, not to mention the weather. Strangely enough, I am looking forward to tomorrow. I have my rented wetsuit, the one that makes me look like a baby seal, all fat and black. The swim is actually the leg I feel most confident about. I've swum 900 yards continuous, so I have the distance down. The only thing that worries me is the wetsuit. They are tight and constrict your chest, making it feel like you can't get enough air. Couple that with having your face in the water and being surrounded by a dozen flailing human seals and it makes for a disconcerting experience. My strategy is to start at the back of the wave I'm in, and take it slow, hoping I don't get overtaken by the elite women who will be starting five minutes after me.
The bike should be my friend, but the weather has kept me indoors most of the spring. My longest bike ride outside has been about 14 miles, hardly the stuff to inspire confidence on the bike. My strategy here is a steady, 14 mph pace that will let me finish in about 50 minutes. Then it's on to the run, or in my case, the brisk walk.
For whatever reason, my VO2 max (the rate at which I can utilize oxygen to burn fuel) is low and I hit it almost as soon as I move from a walk to a jog, or even a shuffle. My heart rate zooms up near its max, which is an unsustainable pace for anyone for more than a few hundred yards. So my "run" strategy is a fast walk that keeps my heart rate in the aerobic zone and lets me continue at that pace for the entire 5k. Overall this will be faster than running at 11:00 min/mile for say two minutes and then walking for 3-4 minutes to recover.
Depending on whether all my stars align tomorrow or not, I may finish under two hours. That's my goal, a sub-2 hour sprint triathlon.
Tune in tomorrow for results.
Women of Wisdom
9 months ago