Triathlon

Hooray! If you’re reading this, then I’ve completed my second Chicago Triathlon Sprint! For those of you who don’t know, it entails a 750 meter (0.47 mi) swim, 20 kilometer (12 mi) biking and 5 kilometer (3.1 mi) run. I did it last year for the first time after being inspired by my friend Fuzzy back in 2010. Last year was an attempt to do it as dirty/barebones as possible and this year was my chance to try an improve on my time and determine if I’d be able to attempt the International Olympic distance next year. Last year, I did the swim in board shorts, the ride on my wonderful John Deere cruiser, and the run with my trusty Vibram finger shoes. This year, I did the swim in jammers, the ride on a nicer bike graciously loaned to me by Fuzzy and I did the run again in my Vibrams because I love them so much. Anyway! My results!

Distance Short
Clock Time 01:40:12
Overall Place 768 / 2272
Gender Place 566 / 1248
Division Place 107 / 211
Swim 00:17:34
Trans1 00:05:48
Bike 00:44:35
Trans2 00:03:34
Run 00:28:38
Swimrank 310
Bikerank 819
Mph 18.4
Runrank 919
Pace 00:09:14

The craziness doesn’t really make sense unless you see my results from last year though!

Distance Short
Clock Time 02:09:14
Overall Place 1483 / 1889
Gender Place 878 / 1024
Division Place 138 / 151
Swim 00:25:17
Trans1 00:05:45
Bike 01:04:10
Trans2 00:05:10
Run 00:28:49
Swimrank 1080
Bikerank 1761
Mph 12.8
Runrank 909
Pace 00:09:18

I beat my previous time by almost a full 30 minutes! That kind of improvement is completely insane to me and I’m super happy about it, especially given that I’ve spent way more time training and training right for the event this year. Also interesting is that with all of the training I’ve put in this year, I only managed to improve on my run time from last year by 10 seconds. All of the improvement was on the swim and the ride. Even so, I managed to really climb up in the rankings versus last year and now I’m really thinking that I want to go for the Olympic distance next year. The only hesitation I have is because of the running.

I’ve never been much of a runner, which is funny because I spent 8 years playing defense on various soccer teams. It’s not like I didn’t train enough, because this year I really did, but I just can’t seem to run more than about 4 or 5 miles without having problems with my left knee, which is probably a direct result from all the soccer I used to play. I’m not quite sure to do about it other than possibly trying out a different pair of running shoes even though I love the ones I have. I’m considering it, but I don’t really know where to start, so I’ll likely have to start doing some research.

It was a really good experience this year though. Last year I had a panic attack at the beginning of the swim and had to stop to hang onto the wall a couple of times and this year, I got in there and was almost immediately annoyed because the people in front of me were going too slow. I think the major improvement to be made for a potential Olympic distance attempt next year would be looking into a tri suit as well as a wet suit. I really don’t want to have to need one, but the boyancy factor could be really helpful and could potentially make the rest of the race easier. We’ll see though, I really don’t have to make any decisions for a while.

The ride was an interesting experience this year as well. Last year on the John Deere, I was able to push hard and maintain a 14 mph speed on average. I still managed to pass people for some reason, but not at the rate that I did this year. For the first half of the ride, with the wind at my back, I was able to generally push past 22 mph with no problems. That slowed down to between 18-20 mph for the second half, but even that was enough that I could usually keep passing all but the crazy fancypants people out there with the fancypants bikes. I think the only way to improve next year is to borrow more of a road bike with perhaps a higher gear ratio so I could get going even faster. I may have a friend who may be able to help me out in that regard, but I don’t want to really worry about it till at least April as I don’t want to have a road bike sitting around that I can’t ride around during the winter.

The run was basically like last year; about the only thing different is that I felt less like I was going to die at the end of the run. Like I said above, about the only thing I think I can think of short of serious training for running over the next year is looking into a different kind of shoe. I feel like I can push forward with swimming and biking, but I really do feel like I’ve hit a wall with the running. I’m a bit worried about it but it’s really too early to say that I can’t find some way to figure it out and push past the wall.

All in all though, I’m happy with how today went. I think I’m going to take it easy till after the wedding is over. Then I’ll probably pick up and start working towards next year. There’s something comforting in just working toward making sure that next year is going to happen. If nothing else, the workouts are good for keeping in pretty decent shape.

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