It’s not a bad idea to train for a triathlon before participating in one. Even if it’s a sprint triathlon and even if you’re in decent shape.
Just a little training – nothing crazy. Maybe hop on a bike and go swimming a few times before the race. A bare minimum would be something like my training for the Siesta Key Tri in October 2012.
I’ve done some running lately, but not as much as usual, and I haven’t been on a bike since the Siesta Key Tri 7 months ago. I swam 1/4 mile last weekend, but that was the extent of my swim training.
The Madeira Beach Triathlon was 1/2 mile swim, 10 mile bike, and 3.1 mile run. Not a problem when it comes to finishing. More of a problem when it comes to finishing with a decent time and not leaving my body screaming in pain.
I began the swim in the 5th wave (out of 6). I had anticipated a swim start, but for some reason they switched it to a beach start this year. During my first tri (Siesta Key), I began the swim in the back of the group, but I ended up having to pass a lot of people, so I decided to start closer to the front this time. Big mistake. Next time, if I can’t get to the front of my wave, I’m starting in the back. The herd of people kicking, punching, grabbing, and pulling me as we were corralled to a relatively narrow swim course was not what I signed up for. I was exhausted before I hit the first buoy and I was actually thinking that I may not be able to finish the swim, but it opened up after a while and I got into my groove for the remainder of the swim portion.
I dragged myself to the transition area and took my time because I was tired. I biked the Siesta Key Tri on my mountain bike, which turned out to be a lot of work with little speed reward. So, I borrowed a road bike this time. One thing to keep in mind – I’m not at all comfortable on bikes, particularly bikes that are not my own. I learned that the handlebars and brakes on road bikes are positioned much less conveniently than they are on mountain bikes. I was a bit nervous about taking the bike for a 10-mile spin, having only ridden it around the block the day before.
Maybe I should have read the course map more thoroughly because I didn’t realize that there would be two bridges (read bridges as big hills – after all, we’re in Florida). I figured my safest bet was to leave the gears exactly where they were, since I hadn’t looked into how to shift gears during my ride around the block the day before.
The road bike turned out to be much more comfortable for 10 miles than my mountain bike. The Siesta Key bike portion felt like it would never end and I couldn’t pass anyone. Although I didn’t go significantly faster this time around, it definitely felt more comfortable.
I wasn’t any less tired after the 1/2 mile swim + 10 mile bike, so I took my time again in the transition area, walking my bike back and walking to the start of the run portion. The sand was nice and loose, making the runners work for that 5K finish. I prefer running on the beach to running on pavement, but my feet were not moving as quickly as my brain wanted them to go. We ran 1.5 miles south, turned around, and returned to finally hit the finish line.
I enjoyed the course and the race was well-organized, although I would have preferred a swim start, which I know they did last year, and maybe a wider course for the swimmers. The bike was fun, but there were several accidents that required ambulatory services on the grated portion of the bridges. I love running on the beach and they did a great job keeping us hydrated. Post-race food included Rita’s italian ice, so they scored big in my book with that choice.
Another great thing about the course was that Eric could meet me at all of the sections leading into the transition area, so I got to see him before the swim, between the swim and bike, between the bike and run, and at the Finish line!
I would love to see what happens if I train for one of these because they are SO FUN, but I feel like I was hit by a truck!!
My stats from the Madeira Beach Triathlon on June 2, 2013 (.5 mile swim, 10 mile bike, 3.1 mile run):
Swim – 7th place out of 20 (in my age group) at 14:47
Transition 1 – 3:54
Bike – 15th place out of 20 (in my age group) at 37:42 (road bike)
Transition 2 – 1:31
Run – 12th place out of 20 (in my age group) at 30:54 (beach run)
Total Time – 1:28:49
Females in my age group: 13/20
Place overall 339/427
Full race results can be found here.
Hmmm…I did better this time with less than minimal training. Go figure!
2012 Siesta Key Triathlon
I never finished writing my 2012 Siesta Key Triathlon race recap from 10/7/12, so my times were as follows (.5 mile swim, 13 mile bike, 3.1 mile run):
Swim – 8th place out of 17 (in my age group) at 17:40
Transition 1 – 4:02
Bike – 16th place out of 17 (in my age group) at 51:38 (mountain bike with hybrid tires)
Transition 2 – 1:23
Run – 13th place out of 17 (in my age group) at 31:43 (beach run)
Total Time – 1:46:25
Females in my age group: 15/17
Place overall 273/324
Full race results can be found here.
Not particularly exciting, but when “training” for the triathlon included 3 trips to a pool, two bike outings, and relying on being in decent shape from other sports, it could have been worse!