In about 3 weeks I think it is, I am competing in my first triathlon. I’m using the word ‘competing’ very loosely here, I have an entry, will pitch, will finish.There is no rhyme or reason for entering it besides I want to and I can.
I started training for it a few weeks ago. And typically me, not the conventional way. As you know from talking to me, reading my blog etc. I do Crossfit. Its come to be such a integral part of my life. Yes, I’m addicted, but its more than just a physical reaction….so much more.
Training for endurance sport and crossfit is a lot on the body. When I realized this I asked Neil (coach at Ballistix Crossfit) how I could programme it into my current activities. Neil pointed me towards Crossfit Endurance website.
“CrossFit Endurance is an endurance sports training program dedicated to improving performance, fitness and endurance sports potential. We focus on eliminating unnecessary volume of training while increasing intensity. Our programming is structured, sport-specific and seamlessly integrated with Olympic lifts, powerlifting, gymnastics movements, explosive activity and mobility-based support.”
This kind of programming was perfect, as it was the mere time and planning long runs, cycles etc that I was stumped on. Try running 15km and then do a couple of kettlebell swings and box jumps the next day. Your body will hate you!
So I was well on my way. CFE programming is 3 x interval sessions (swim+bike+run), 3 – 4 Crossfit workouts and 1 long session (swim/bike/run) a week. At first it was hard, I was tired, worn out, my arms hurt from swimming when I did my version of pull ups etc. And then the flippin ITB struck again – my own fault really – cause there is mos never time for mobility. I took a step back – my body wanted Crossfit and swimming and thats what I did. I ran 2 x 10 km races which had good and bad results…I saw spurts of strength and definitely an improvement in pace, but I also experienced the most horrendous cramps.
Its been a few days since then, I’ve made an effort on mobility, had massages and increased my vitamins, minerals and added something other than protein and sweet potato to my supper routine. This weekend I saw the gains in that.
This past weekend I did a simulation on my triathlon distance. I entered the sprint distance which is 600m swim, 20km cycle and 5km run. I decided to do it from Strand pool where I swam the 600m in one go a few Sundays back and did it in 17m30s. I asked my friend Zuriah to accompany me, for some reason I didn’t want to do it alone. And what a blessing she was, we joked around, she took a video clip of my swim (ungraceful is an understatement) and was just there for me while I undertook the longest training session ever.
I decided to do it from Strand Pool, since its 50m lengths it would be over soon. But as we drove up to the pool parking lot it was uncharacteristically full for a Saturday morning. Thats when I realized there was a swim meet on. Z just shook her head – “you didn’t check ahead?” rolling her eyes at me. I am the Unlikely Athlete, things are never that well planned. Seat of the pants is the motto here!
So we drove to Virgin active, my heart sinking a little at the prospect of swimming 600m with 25m length. Yoh! the tediousness I was in no mood for. Z determined that it was 24 times. 24 times!!! My head wanted to explode. Then she said she’ll stay by the pool and count it down for me and thats what she did. At some point I got a little tired, a little bored and its at that exact time she started walking up and down the pool alongside as I was splashing away. Seeing her image kinda spurred me on. Thanks my friend. In no time I was on 18 lengths and nearing the end. I finished in just over 20 minutes not as fast as I’d hoped but I was happy with it.
Next up was the bike leg. The night before I asked my triathlete she-ro @Beanker about outfit changes during transition, she pretty much said you cycle in swim gear. Me being me…had thoughts of chafing, itching etc and was going to do my own thing and change from swimsuit to bib-shorts. Gha! Thats what I thought. Getting to my bag I realized I’d left my towel at home. I rinsed off the chlorine and tried to get into that bib-shorts with a dripping wet body. This took about 15 minutes, nearly as long as my swim.Oh my goodness! I guess if you don’t listen you must feel.
Finally we left gym, I got PeggySue from the car and I was on my way. Z waiting in the car for me armed with a book. It was a windy day in the village where I live but it wasn’t cold, so I could cycle in good weather gear. I went up the road towards Firgrove, turned left onto the Strand road, turned just before the bridge and pedalled back towards Eersterivier, turning again at those new developments. When I got to 15km I stopped and sent Z an update (to which she later chirped “why did you message me – you must cycle”. (I knew then why I wanted her along). My cycle was strong, my pace remaining the same on inclines but the wind was a bugger. Again I was happy with my ride….but realized this is the section that I need to sharpen in the time that’s left before race day….I dawdled in the beginning a little.
By the time I got back to the car I was feeling guilty to have my friend sit there and insisted dropping her off at the flat before my run. This is when Z discovered that I didn’t really have a cycle route or run route planned ahead. Uhhhh duh….read note above. Seat. Of. Pants.
I changed to running gear in a shot and we headed home, I left from the parking lot while Z made herself at home in the flat. It was warmer by then but I was strong….I started running at a good pace from outside the gate and kept that up for most of the way – it was just 5km afterall. On the way back I could feel the strength still in me, but also the heat and a bit of tiredness set in and slowed down my pace and it was 7 minutes longer than I wanted.
I did this simulation for 2 reasons. To show my body that for once my spirit wrote a cheque it can cash and also to look for kinks and here they are.
1. I must cycle and run in swim gear and running pants just changing shirts for bike and run. Yes you get tri-shorts. No I’m not throwing anymore money at the problem. I’ll test it out beforehand.
2. I will never ever forget a towel again – from now on its the first thing in the bag
3. Planning the route may not be a bad idea
4. My gear plan will shave 30 minutes off my time
5. I need some bike intervals and bric sessions in the 3 weeks
6. I did that session after 2 days of Crossfit training – imagine what difference a few rest days before race day will do
Things that went well and that I’m continually chuffed with is my nutrition. 32Gi is the best fuel ever. This time I added a sachet of Rehidrat into my bottle for the bike. On race day I’ll take my Camelbak along as well. I also took the Endure Tabs, which I just kept in my mouth till they dissolve, much better than the chews.
So what now. Now I focus on getting my mind right. I’ve had some discouragement the last week or so that made me doubt and invalidate how far I have come and what I’ve achieved so far. Maybe it was a blessing cause it made me face myself and dig deep in finding my own validation for this physical path I am on and its made me even more determined. Everyday….I get faster, stronger, slimmer. Someday I wont be slow anymore, my body weight exercises will kick ass cause I’ve had my chubby folds to help me get there. This is my journey and it needs no validation from anyone but me.
Also I’ll focus on visualizing the course. Not that I can cause I haven’t been there but I will do my best to use my experience in the simulation to do that. I know where I need more internal support. I also need a freaking safe phrase if I freak out in the dam water, I’m a silent panicker which in this case is another blessing. In a way during my swims I’ve almost tried to induce panic to see how I react. I’ve just got to face the fear and do it anyway. Oddly its not the water I fear but the squishy mush below. Eeeeuuuuw!
Lastly this race is not a watershed kind of a thing for me like how some of my first races were. Its just something I want to do. I know I can and I will.