As I said earlier, the Charleston Sprint Triathlon Series race number 4 on July, 29 2012 was my first triathlon. I remember crossing the finish line in that race and thinking that I might never walk again…
Fast forward to this year. I wasn’t planning on doing any of the CSTS races this year. I am point chasing in the South Carolina Triathlon Series and, oh yeah, there is also that little thing about having a new baby in the house.
I had not been training as hard as usual during the issues with Sam and I really wasn’t in race ready shape. I really wanted to do this race though. I thought it would be incredible to be able to look at 12 months of work and have numerical indices to compare where I was a year ago and where I am today, athletically speaking. Also, I asked the wife if it would be ok, and she said yes.
I was in!
So this isn’t going to be a normal race recap. Instead it is going to be a comparative. Can that be used as a noun? It can if I say so…And I do.
I was so excited to beat all of last year’s times in this race, but I was still nervous which caused me not to be able to sleep. For this reason I was up and out of the door by 4:30 and on site by 5:00. I was literally the first athlete on site. I’m a rockstar. The good news about being so early is that transition setup is first-come-first-serve and so I got a pretty swilly transition spot.
It is amazing how far I have come in a year. I ACTUALLY know what I am doing when I set up my transition area now!
Eye of the tiger son.
So let us compare.
In 2012 my swim time over a 600 yard distance was 15:36.
This year I swam the same distance in 10:17.
That is a 5 minute and 32 second improvement over 600 yards. I was second in my division in the swim and I am pretty sure that I beat a good portion of the people that started in the wave ahead of me. I’m such a water beast, I sweat salt water. Yeah, I said it.
I knew that I wanted to greatly improve my T1 and the way that the good guys do it is rubberbands and no socks. I got a new pair of bike shoes a few weeks back because of this. They are the Bontrager Hilo RXL triathlon specific shoes. My other shoes were the cheapest pair of bike shoes that the Trek store had when I bought my bike and they didn’t even have heel loops. Silly shoes. These new shoes are specifically designed to be easier to get your foot into on the fly. Here is a little sneak peak as to how that works…
I clipped my shoes in like the pros and went with out socks.
My 2012 T1 time was 2:19. This year my time was 1:15 and that was the second fastest transition in my division.
I had no trouble hopping on the bike, and I had no trouble getting my left foot in my shoe. My RIGHT foot however had some issues. I couldn’t seem to get it to go into its home. At one point I got it in under the front strap, but that was all. I just went with that. I’m pretty sure you can see that in the picture of me on the bike.
I felt great leaving out. I was way ahead of the others in my group and I felt like I was riding hard and dirty. I felt fast, but apparently I wasn’t. My bike time in 2012 over 12 miles was 39:43. My bike time this year was 37:54. I wasn’t very happy with that. I really wanted to be in the 34-35 minute range. Room for improvement again I guess.
Leaving my shoes clipped in to my pedals when I cam off the bike saved me some time in T2 as well. I slipped my feet out and pedaled on top of my shoes for the last 50 yards into the dismount area and then hopped off the bike and scooted into transition. My 2012 T2 time was 1:16 (which in retrospect was pretty darn good for a first race.) This year my T2 was 00:53. I know how to make it even better, but I was pretty happy with my first attempt at the shoes staying on the bike.
And then came the run.
As you all know, the run is my weakest link. In the Greenwood Triathlon I almost DNF’d during the run. Well I thought about it anyway. I HAVE improved though. In 2012 my 5k time off of the bike was 39:24. Pretty miserable time. This year I ran it in 33:59, which while it is a VAST improvement from the previous year, I do not feel I did my best in the run. It is hard to look at a 5 minute improvement over 3.1 miles as a disappointment, but I know I am better. I am having a problem, that I will discuss in another post me thinks, pushing myself to the limit during races.
At least I have fun with it right?
I want to do better. *cue maniacal laughter
So outside of the disappointment with my run and slight annoyance with my bike times, I had a 14 minute improvement over this same race 12 months ago. THAT cannot be discounted. That is something like a 12000% improvement. *Disclaimer: My math skills have not improved over the past 12 months. If this had been my last race ever, then I think the experts at ESPN would praise my athleticism for the next 150 years. But this WASN’T my last race. And the only direction from here is in the direction in which I get better and better. And the compass is telling me it’s forward.
So as I sit here thinking about what else to say in this post the thought strikes me that there are a lot of you out there who are thinking about doing your first triathlon. I remember that thought. And look at me now. Addicted.
I would love to help motivate you to give it a shot. Help dispel your fears of swimming in open water or your concern with pedaling miles an miles only to get off the bike and run miles and miles.
But ask yourself…
Why not? Why not push myself? Why not try something that seems beyond me?
Until I return… Beast Face, out.