I’ll tri anything, once …

So, Kevin is the awesomest brother in the world because he suggested a “fake triathlon” at our grandmother’s house (she lives on Lake Wylie.) This would help to ease my mind regarding any coordination issues that could with 3 sports in one event. Plus, it’d be a great excuse to try out my new tri suit! (Now that I’ve purchased this, that means I have to do it, right?)

(Check out my new goggles too)

So, my grandmother Mia lives on the lake. She’s also on a gravel road that’s quite bumpy in spots – especially after the “end state maintenance” sign. But it’s not a busy road and it’s got some good hills on it – a great practice spot for running and cycling.

Here’s where we were practicing our swim:

We had the hookup. My uncle even has a kayak in which Jeff used to travel beside us and keep us from getting run over by boats. He also was able to use Kevin’s Garmin 310XT in order to keep his eye on the distance. (The 310 loses satellites under water so it’s not accurate when swimming.)

When I got there, Kevin had his “transition area” all set up:

… which I promptly copied with my gear. He loaned me a swim cap, we cleaned the leaves out of the kayak, and we were ready to “tri”!

First reason this was a good idea: I was so glad to have the swim cap to practice. It was hard to get on my head!

The lake is full of shells at the beginning, so I was walking in gingerly, trying to not hurt my feet and also getting used to the cold water. Immediately I saw a dead fish floating by. Ugh, Lake Wylie. It’s a free place to swim it’s a free place to swim it’s a free place to swim.

The cold literally took my breath away, and I never really felt like I caught it, even after we started moving and I wasn’t cold anymore. I had trouble even putting my face in the water because I felt like I never quite got my breath. I practiced freestyle though of course I don’t know what I’m doing. I backstroked a little when I got tired and I felt like that went okay.

We swam halfway out and then turned around to swim back. The swim back was tougher – the “finish line” seemed to never be getting any closer, and we were swimming against the “current” (as much as a lake can have a current). But finally, we made it. I scraped my foot getting up; had no idea how shallow the water was. I felt like I’d already had a great full-body workout. Looked at my watch and realized we’d been in the water less than 10 minutes. What? It felt like we’d been swimming forever!

I definitely see why people prefer the pool swims. The open water was tough. I spent some time at the beginning of the swim scared I’d come across another dead fish or a snake or something. Also, the A to B swim did seem daunting. And Kevin pointed out that you can push off the side of a pool, or take a rest break between laps if necessary.

We walked, not ran, to the transition area. Partially because I didn’t want to step on a rock or a bee, and partially because I wanted to catch my breath! I can see why triathletes are considered so hard-core …

Check out the swim here.

I wiped my feet on a towel, had trouble putting my socks on as my feet were still wet, followed Kevin’s lead on putting on sunglasses (his were open and waiting inside helmet), got a tip from Kev to put on my helmet and snap it before moving my bike to avoid penalty, and I was ready to go! We walked the bikes up to the road to emulate walking out of a transition area during a tri. Got on the road and started moving.

At first, everything was okay. But just okay. I haven’t even been on my bike since December, so after 5 months I’d forgotten even silly basics like how to change the gears to do what I want. On one particularly tough hill, I’m pretty sure I made it harder, not easier. And the road got really bumpy which made me nervous. I started wondering if it was okay on a road bike but Kevin was ahead on his tri bike so I figured it was okay.

Additionally, I was hearing an odd clicking noise, and I was thinking now would be a good time to know my bike a little better than I do …

We took a left off of Mia’s street, onto a busier road that was pretty much all uphill. Then we took a right onto a road that was awesome – wide shoulder that I could ride on, newly paved, hardly any cars. I was loving it! But for some reason I was still going really slowly. First mile took 6 mins 40 seconds. Second mile took 7 minutes and some change. I didn’t do the math to realize it, but that’s very, very slow. I was faster than that even the first time I ever got on a bike.

Kevin kept stopping to wait for me, checking on me. We turned off the next road onto another and he told me to ride ahead of him. That’s when he heard the clicking and told me to pull over.

Turns out, I had a flat tire. Doh! I’d probably ridden at least 2 miles on it (we were up to about 2.6 miles). So, I hung out on the side of the road, surrounded on both sides by horses, as Kevin rode back to the house to get the car to come pick me and my wounded bike up. A flat tire is apparently no big deal … if you have a spare tube and the knowledge to change it. Kevin has the knowledge, but I didn’t have a spare.

Check out the bike here.

So, we rode back to the house, feeling bummed that our ‘tri’ was messed up. I’d ridden less than 3 miles, and we were planning to ride 17. Both of us had cooled down. We weren’t really wet from the swim anymore and it was hot and humid out. We even thought about calling it a day, looking at the time (we had a meeting to get to) but we decided to at least run a couple of miles.

That was tough. I was breathless even at the beginning of the run, partially from the heat and partially from already doing two workouts. The road was really hilly – up and down. I was glad I’d been practicing running in the middle of the day to get acclimitized to the heat (advice I took from reading the Bart Yasso book Elwood gave me for my birthday!), and I was glad I’d been practicing the hill runs. I ran 2.1 miles and averaged 9:43 pace, which I would be very happy with for my first tri.

Check out the run here.

Bottom line: I am going to REI today for a bike fitting and a lesson/supplies to fix a flat. I’m feeling decent about the swim (I won’t be setting any records, but I will be able to complete it). I need more practice on the bike. A lot more. But I’m *almost* ready to make it official. And I absolutely love my new tri suit! No pulling, tugging, discomfort anywhere.

Stay tuned!