Yesterday I started reveiewing my inaugural triathlon season, starting from the beginning, where everything started (here). In that post I detailed my start and the challenges I had as I embraced and prepared for triathlon. As I was very out of shape I had to work hard to get to a base level of fitness that would allow me to begin training for a triathlon. In this post I would like to look at the point from October 2012 where I started to train specifically for triathlons to my first triathlon and the end of the season.
I Dub Thee ‘Zero’
As I moved into October my running and swimming were improving. The bike leg remained the only missing component to complete my triathlon gear and training, I needed to add cycling to my training and reduce my time on spin bikes. Way back in 1997 I ventured into mountain biking for about a month. Quickly I realized I was too out of shape for riding and my idea of a good time did not include continuous adventures ending with my body being propelled over the handle bars. At the conclusion of that month I sold the bike and took up back packing, vowing to never touching anything relying on my legs and two wheels ever again.
When I embraced the idea of triathlon I realized I would have to overcome my vow. I was assured that road cycling was drastically different by my brother, an avid lover of both types of cycling. By October of 2012 I had finally caved in and committed myself and my money to triathlon by purchasing a good road bike. I named it zero as it was all white and reminded me of the ghost dog from Nightmare Before Christmas (details here). With the bike purchased and money spent on it and all the related gear I was now fully committed to doing something to make the value of the bike equal out.
The first thing I learned riding on my bike was that it was very different than a spin bike. Turns out that all the endurance work I had put into my legs so far was still drastically insufficient. In those early days I eeked out 11 mile per hour rides and often hovered below ten miles. I had a few longer rides of just over ten, but those were rare. Immediately I knew that if I was going to have a good triathlon season I needed to spend more time on the bike and I needed to extend the comfort zone beyond ten miles, I had allot of work to increase my endurance.
Heading Towards Triathlon
October marked the major transformation in my training and the point where I started to keep detailed spreadsheets. At this point I was committed to swim/bike/run three times a week and I was all in. At this point, I believe, is when I truly began my transformation into a triathlete. At first the overall hours for the three disciplines were low mileage, low time with allot of time for recovery peppered in. While I had worked for months to get myself in shape enough to train for a triathlon, I was still severely out of shape, my strength and endurance were lacking and I had not developed the self realization that would come later as I got to know and understand my body from an athletes perspective.
Of course there were times where I pushed too hard or too much and I got injured and recovered. This process formed my understanding I needed of how my body worked that would later benefit me as an athlete. Allot of being an athlete or involved in athletics is being able to listen and interpret your bodies signals. Knowing when it can still go faster and harder and really when its time to give in and hang up the towel. For me this learning curve proved painful at times. I learned from it and added it to my tool box I would need and often use later.
Inaugural Triathlon Season
Winter gave into spring and a new year. I grew eager as April rushed closer, as my first Triathlon was scheduled at the beginning of the month. In the months leading up to the first event I often questioned my ability to finish the race and found myself full of doubt. I continued to train and added brick workouts to my workout mix. By the time my race was two weeks out this doubt suddenly changed into full on self awareness… I knew I would finish this race.
The first triathlon now is a blur. Looking back at my race recap reminds me how little I understood about nutrition and preparation. Additionally it reminds me how much farther my transformation has progressed as the season pushed on. In that first race I had no idea what to do or to expect(details here). Months later as I finished my fourth sprint distance race I felt calm and collected at the start of the race. The swim no longer terrified me and I knew what to do at all stages of the race. I went on to finish at least four sprint events and had a disappointing finish at my first Olympic triathlon(details here) caused due to equipment failure.
As my season progressed I continued to grow both mentally and physically. My confidence and endurance spiked. Looking back now, it is hard to believe that the chatter that began this adventure is the same chatter now. A big example of this could be seen in my September of 2013. I knew in October I had the Amelia Man Olympic and that I wanted one last gusto of Activity. September involved a race every weekend of some variety as well as a full schedule of training (one week a 5k, next a 15k then 48 mile cycling event and finished with a sprint triathlon).
Season Breakdown (April -October)
- 4 Sprint Triathlons
- In my last sprint Triathlon I broke 2 hours for the first time.
- 5 5ks (Number still growing as race season is not over yet) Starting from 45 minutes now just at sub 40 minute.
- 10k running race
- 15k running race
- 38 Mile bike event in tornado winds and rain (Read About It Here)
- 48 Mile bike event in torrential downpour
- DNF Olympic Triathlon with an amazing ocean swim in 34 minutes, but my rear tire kept blowing out.
I have had an amazing first season full of triathlons and running races. I have grown incredibly this year as an athlete and a triathlete. I had difficulty initially accepting myself as an athlete, but with time I have come to realize I have achieved so much in such a short period of time. I am still growing, but now I am aiming for better endurance and speed, I want to be a better me, the best me.
Monday I will continue this post with some reflections on my first seasons numbers and analysis, giving a good numerical overview. Check back then. Til next time.
- AmeliaMan Olympic Triathlon Race Report: Not the End of Season I was Hoping For (chatterdoesfitness.wordpress.com)
- The Second Half: Looking Ahead (chatterdoesfitness.wordpress.com)
- Final Sprint Triathlon Of The Season This Weekend (chatterdoesfitness.wordpress.com)