North Mankato Triathlon

Who ordered a ticket to the gun show?

Ten Things I Learned From Doing A Triathlon:

1. You can never train enough for the swim.
2. Training for the swim in a pool (when the swim is in a lake/pond) is ineffective. Also, see #1.
3. Don’t shift too fast into your big ring on the front lest you have the chain completely fall off your bike.
4. If the hill you’re biking up is too steep, just get off and walk it up. Nobody’s going to penalize you for it. Plus, your legs will thank you.
5. Hydrate hydrate hydrate.
6. Gu packs are your friend.
7. People are willing to shit themselves and keep going rather than stop and not shit themselves. (from observation, not practice – I’m not THAT hardcore!)
8. Planning your race pace ahead of time is useful in making sure you have enough “gas in the tank” once you get to the run.
9. Swimming sucks. It really, really does.
10. That I’ll never do another one ever again.

The sprint triathlon (0.25 mi swim/12 mi bike/3.1mi run) I did on Sunday was my first and will be my last. Why? I hate swimming.

As a kid, I loved to swim. But, in the 30-some years since then, I have fallen out of love with it – especially swimming in a lake. I can’t fathom how much fish poop is floating around in that water and when you’re swimming in a race, there’s a high probability that you’re going to get some in your mouth. ICK!

Anyway, back to the story. Since I don’t like swimming, I made sure that I would train to swim twice the distance non-stop (i.e. 0.5mi) in a lap pool. Aside from the turnarounds (where I didn’t hang on the edge or touch the bottom of the pool), I didn’t stop once. I had a good time split and I felt great. I’m a pretty experienced cyclist and I know what my pace times are for running, so I found a tri pace calculator online to plug in what my finish time would be.

Note: I’m slow. Really slow. I know this. But my goal was to finish and not kill myself.
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Square Lake Triathlon – 9 September 2006

Square Lake Triathlon
9 September 2006

After some interesting driving directions to actually arrive at Square Lake, not to mention the clusterfuck of finding a parking spot (which worked out well, thanks to Tim) and finding my two teammates.

To recap, the race was a 1/2 mile swim, an 18 mile bike and a 5 mile run.

Abby (our swimmer), swam competitively in college. She did her half mile in 13:13 – not too bad. She was one of the fastest swimmers – male OR female – period.

(I’ll let you guess now who the weak link in the triathlon chain was.)

We had a pretty fast transition and I got on the road pretty quickly. This course – more specifically, the distance – was just fine for me, despite the fact that I’ve ridden my road bike only three times this year – and the last time was months ago. If it were a nice, flat road, I would’ve been just fine.

Only it wasn’t a nice flat road – it was what one would call “gently rolling hills”. Well, until the last 4 miles, anyway.

I estimated that it would take me an hour to do the distance – and for most of it, I was making awesome time. Until the last 4 miles.

What was so horrible about the last 4 miles? There was a very long (at least a mile and a half by my estimation) and very steep hill to climb up. For most of the race, I was going anywhere between 17-26mph, depending on whether I was going up or down a hill. But by the midpoint of that long, steep hill, I was slogging away at around 6mph.

Want to know how I made it up the rest of the hill? I cursed everything in the fucking world: gravity, plate tectonics, friction, etc. I also made threats to the hill on the level of “you really think you can beat me?” followed by more swearing. I blush to think of the language rolling through my head during that climb.

Once I cleared the hill, and after a long draw on my water bottle I saw off in the distance a brown sign pointing to where I thought was the end of the race. When I got closer, it was a sign stating that there was 2 more miles to go.


So I trudged along to the finish.

Once I got to the transition area, I had to run from one end to the other (about 20 yards or so) to hand off the ankle timing strap to Angie, our runner. The problem is that I had been on a bike pedaling for over an hour, and my legs were not ready to walk, much less run. However, the time was ticking away, so I ran pushing my bike down to the transition area and running like my legs were asleep and/or having a seizure.

My time for the 18 miles: 1:04:11 (16.8mph average). Not too shabby.

Angie did her 5 miles in 42:38 (8:32 min mile) and our total finish time was 2:01:37.

Guess what?

We finished FIRST in the Female Relay out of 8 teams. We beat the 2nd place team by nearly 3 minutes and totally crushed everyone else.

The funniest thing about that is that I had not been on a bike since June. At all. Can you imagine how blazing I would be with some training? Dude!

So yeah, we were pretty stoked when we found out the results. I may have to do one with them again!