Saturday, September 19, 2009

the casual triathlete

yes, that's me...

The philosophy is that if one pays the registration fee for an event, there is a certain level of commitment towards staying in shape for said event. While many use the word "hardcore" to describe me in the context of triathlon-doing, I keep the viewpoint that it's just swimming, biking and running. Breaking that down, once you know HOW to swim, then swimming is like riding a bike - you know HOW to do it, so even if it's been a while, your body still remembers what it's supposed to do. Biking, well that IS riding a bike, so there you go. And running, well, running is really just a bouncy walk of sorts - right?

Of course, there's all kinds of obstacles that can get in the way of the theoretical simplicity of a triathlon: flat tire, blazing heat, unforgiving hills, waves, opaque water, lack of aid stations, etc.

I really have lucked out quite a bit with the triathlons I've done over the last couple of years, and with minimal effort in the training department I've accomplished surprising results. We can look back on the Bakersfield Sprint, Las Vegas Olympic and Shaver Lake Sprint for examples.

Anyway, today's event does not rank up there with the others. My colleague, Air Pollution Control (APC), does the Bakersfield and Shaver triathlons annually as part of a relay team. Early this year it was apparent that his swimmer was not going to be able to do it, so he asked if I would swim for the team. No problem, I needed to get in an open water swim anyway to prep for Santa Cruz next weekend. Later it was determined that his runner had cracked his knee cap and would be unable to do the run portion either - so I agreed to do that as well, mostly because the Bakersfield triathlon long course run had been shortened to "10K". The Bakersfield Long Course is renowned for its difficulty because of the run, this is for two reasons: the run includes some of the steepest hills imaginable (a comparable slope can be seen here), and because of the late start to the race, the temperatures are usually pretty horrific.

While our relay team finished 4th in the open mixed category, I can't say that my race times were even remotely worth being proud of. Let's compare them to my Las Vegas Olympic times and throw some gripes and excuses that account for the difference in speed:

SWIM (1.5K): today 37:29, Vegas 24:25. Yikes! Issues - nasty weeds that tangled around me throughout the swim were slightly distracting, sun in my eyes in the direction that I needed to see where I was going was most distressing, opaque water also problematic in being able to see - seeing is not usually a complaint in the swim for me because when you start in a big mob there's lots of people to follow - in the relay event there was no mob :( and in the end, quite frankly, I was just plain SLOW in the water (I am also suspicious about the true length of the course).

RIDE (40K): today 1:26:05, Vegas 1:36:25 - so clearly the best part of the race, but I wasn't riding! That gloriousness was all APC, who, in his modesty, claimed that he "wasn't much help". Pffft! He clearly was responsible for us finishing 4th in the open mixed, I contributed nothing to help there!

RUN (>10K): today 1:30:26, Vegas 1:04:46. Ok, major factors going on here: 1) the 10K was significantly longer than 10K. The race director said "it was more like 11K" - for sure, if not longer! 2) the temperature at the time that I was running was 36 degrees C. Gah! 3) I tripped on a petrified item of clothing that was stuck in the trail and somehow wrapped itself around my toe causing me to do a superman face splat, additionally, my ipod rocketed out of my sport bra and died. This would have been less bad towards the end of the run, but, as my luck has run out, it was within the first 500m. *sigh*

So there we have it, some personal worsts to go on the record, and hopefully next weekend will only be an improvement! Apparently there's a photo or two of me during the race kicking around. If they're not horrendous when sent my way, I'll post them here.

No comments: