Its time to test myself. The Pumkinman triathlon is 4 weeks away and I have to be able to gauge, if remotely, if I think I can do this. My goal is simple, to complete the entire distance. For this, my first race, time really doesn't matter. So my thought is that I could run my own trio of events, all on the same day, more or less back to back, to see how I do. I figure with 4 weeks I can really try to address any issues I see coming from this test. Here are my thoughts the day before:
I have planned out exactly what I am going to do. I am going to drive to the Whitney Ranch Aquatic Center (approximately 10 minutes from home depending on the timing of the lights) and swim my 800 yards (32 laps). Immediately following that I would drive back home and transition to the bike. This is where some planning still needed to be done as I'm unsure as to whether or not I should wear my tri shorts in the pool (they recommend against training with them in the pool as the chemicals can have a detrimental effect on the fabric). My initial thought was to go ahead and wear them anyway, but that was subject to change.
On the bike I am going to follow my 6.15 mile loop through the neighborhood and beyond. I would do this twice to reach my required distance of about 12.3 miles. Tracking my time on this and the next part should be easy with my Garmin as long as I hit the right buttons. The second loop of this course takes me back to T1 which is also T2 (my house).
I would immediately take off my riding gear (helmet and gloves), put on my hat and start the run. This would be 3 laps around the one mile route in my neighborhood. I would stop my time when I finished the third lap back at the house. My thinking is that while this is basically a much easier course than the pumpkinman, it should begin to give me an idea what I need to work on over the next 4 weeks.
Now I hesitate to put this into writing because I am laying expectations for a specific outcome and making myself accountable for those expectations. Simple because I need to objectively see how I am doing and if I am progressing, I am going to put times to what I think I can do in these events. These are very rough estimates based upon individual event performance and not combining any of the events.
My estimation is to complete the swim in 32 minutes.It should then take 15 minutes to transition back to the house and get on my bike. My two loops around the longer course whould be completed in about 65 minutes. Give me a one minute transition back at the house and the run will be about 55 minutes. All together then I am looking at a total of 168 minutes or 2 hours and 48 minutes.
I am padding the times of the individual events from my best times I have completed them. If I matched those times, I would shave 9 minutes off the total giving me 2 hours and 39 minutes including 16 minutes in transition. Of course I currently don't expect to accomplish that because of the fatigue factor which is why I have padded the times. Tomorrow will tell...
OK, for those who don't like to wait, I did complete all 3 events as planned in 2 hours and 56 minutes including my transitions. If I remove the long transitions, the times are 30:30 for the swim, 54:35 for the bike and 56:29 for the run(walk) for a total time of 2:21:34. As can be seen the transitions were longer than normal for a variety of reasons.
I hit the water at 6:44 am and swam my 32 laps of the pool. I was feeling pretty good about my pace and stamina. Of course then a real swimmer jumped into the next lane and was completing 2 lengths for every one of mine. This showed my how much work I really do need with my swimming technique. I was out of the water and headed to the locker room at 7:14.
It took longer than anticipated to get home, get changed and get on my bike. I had thought the transition would be 15 minutes, but was in truth 28 minutes. As I got rolling on the bike I realized that there were a lot of people out and about just before 8:00 on a Friday morning. Individuals heading to work, kids heading to school. There was certainly a lot more traffic than I was used to when I did my 4:00 am rides. I made a conscious effort to ride strong, but not overly fast when I started the bike remembering the biggest part of the test was to come. Overall the bike felt good. I thought I had kept a decent pace and wasn't killing myself. I had taken the time to put a PowerAde Zero in my water bottle and was grateful for that as I did the ride. Completing the 2 laps - about 12.3 miles in 54:35 was good since the last ride I did for this route was in 57 minutes.
I then rolled into the garage and readied for the run. this was to be a 30 second transition but turned into about 7 minutes. I stopped to get some fluids in me as well as took time to watch the grandkids before heading out. Even though I didn't get enough fluids, what I did get was vital. The first lap went well, but the second became very hard. My back started getting tight about 1.2 miles in, At the 2 mile mark I was just losing all energy and it was getting very difficult to keep going. I realized that I need to pay much more attention to both hydration and nutrition before and during an event. My lap times showed that I was in fact fading fast. Lap 1 - 17:05, lap 2 - 18:00 and lap 3 - 21:23. I did finish. It took 56:29, but I did finish.
I'm very glad I decided I needed to do this as it did give me a glimpse of what I'm going to be going through during the Pumpkinman. Sure I didn't do near the climbing on the bike that I will be doing on that day. This has given me things to look at and train for that I hadn't really comprehended. Having done the 3 stages of my personal triathlon individually, I really had in my mind the thought that it should be a piece of cake to do all 3. Sure I realized that it would be harder, but I didn't realize how hard. I know that I need more training on climbing and on the run and on proper nutrition so that I can be successful on race day.