Saturday, March 9, 2013

Tri the Deid

I Tri’d the Deid!  Which sounds worse than it actually is.

Last weekend I competed in the Tri the Deid Sprint Triathlon.  It was a modified sprint tri with 500 yard swim, ~11 mile bike ride and a 5k run.  The swim took place in an indoor 25 yard pool, thus the unusual distance.  The bike ride was 4 loops around the living and sustainment area of the air base with mostly borrowed mountain bikes.  There were a few teams and units that managed to smuggle and ship over their fancy carbon fiber road bikes, but for the most part we all rode on rickety mtb’s.

Let me go ahead and put this out first so there are no surprises or misconceptions.  I didn’t win.  I know, a surprise.

But I did get swim a personal best in the pool, and I rocked it pretty hard on the bike ride. 

The most intimidating image before a triathlon for me is the empty pool waiting to suck the life right out of me.

As everyone knows, I’m not much of a swimmer.  In my first ever triathlon in September ’12, I swam over 15 minutes for 400m to be the second slowest swimmer on Fort Bliss.  This time I was a little farther up the list with 13:15 for 500 yards.  All the time in the pool finally paid off.  I actually swam faster for a longer distance.  Just have to brag for a minute even though I was one of the slowest swimmers overall.  But this time, I was farther from the bottom than before.
I came close to being lapped, but was proud of my time nonetheless.

My bike ride was pretty awesome, for being on a fat tired mountain bike in the wind.  I pulled a 42 minute ride, the fastest guy on a carbon fiber rode a 27 minute time.  Most averaged in the upper 30 miuntes and most of those were on road bikes.  So, I beat almost all the mountain bikers.  And, believe me, there is nothing better than passing guys on road bikes like they’re sitting still.  Wimps.

Trying to ride a fat tire mountain bike into the wind.

My run was nothing to brag about.  After swimming and biking, my legs were trashed.  I came off the bike and could barely pick them up and put them down.  I ran a 24:52, almost a minute slower than I had anticipated.  On the return leg of the out and back course, the headwind was really frustrating.  Luckily, I had a friend in a fellow Captain that had just finished running for our battalion’s team (and scored the fastest 5K of the day) and came back to run with me for the last half mile. 

Check out my sexy shorts at the end of the 5K.  Also, that's CPT Akremi who came back after his 5K to motivate me.

Lesson learned this time around is that training pays off.  I’ve spent a lot of hours in the pool working myself to death to improve my atrocious swim form.  Also, even without the cycling amenities I have back home, indoor cycling and spin classes do pay off.

Best decision of the day was to keep my swim jammers on for both the bike and run portions of the tri.  The Army PT shorts I was supposed to switch into after the swim would have bunched up on the bike ride, especially in the wind, and would have chafed during the run.  Riding and running in a pair of TYR swim shorts (long “speedo” style) was a good decision that paid off in time saved and skin unmarred.  I may have looked funny, but I felt great.  Coincidentally, I had just ordered a triathlon short and top set that will be waiting for me when I redeploy.

Overall, it was an amazing race and great affirmation of all the time I’ve spent working out over here.  It filled me with the confidence to keep training for more triathlons.

We rarely achieve anything alone.  At times, we must all rely on someone to pass us a water or motivate us to finish.