Monday, April 20, 2015

Transition Clinic: Flats and Fast Swims

A week ago Saturday I had a very good lesson in not giving up.

It was my club's annual transition clinic. I missed last year's so I was really looking forward to it even though I'm already pretty good at transitions. The video from last year looked like fun and I thought it would be a good idea to brush up on this stuff before my first race.

So I arrived early, set up my transition area and settled in. The coaches went through how they set up their transitions and two of them have seats! I have to say that this does not sit well with me. I have always gone by the adage "never sit in transition." I think this is the difference between being a young pro and an older coach. I suspect at some point I'll have to have a bucket or stool too as I won't be able to bend over without falling down. But until that point comes... never sit in transition!

Anyway, after the talk, we got into our wetsuits and headed over to the pool. The water was definitely warmer than when we swim at 5:30am! We warmed up a bit and then did a timed 100. I almost fainted on the spot when I finished mine in 1:53! I have never, ever been that fast!

I didn't really believe it. I figured there had to be some sort of mistake. A wetsuit is supposed to make you 5 to 10 seconds faster per 100 and the fastest 100 I'd done in the pool was a 2:07 but usually I'm slower than that, around 2:17.

Then we got a demonstration of how to take off the wetsuit. I thought I knew how but I realized I wasn't pushing down the suit far enough. If you get the suit down to your ankles and not the thighs, you can just walk right out of it. I had done that before when my suit was new but lately my ankles had gotten caught in it and I had to take extra time to get out of it.

Then, did a little swim and ran to T1. I practiced the new wetsuit exit technique and it worked great! Jumped into my shoes, put on sunglasses and helmet, un-racked my bike and was off.

Except I was barely out of the parking lot when I heard and felt thump-a-thump-a-thump-a. I had a flat tire! I almost gave up right then and there. I figured by the time I changed my flat, everyone would be completely done with the bike and I'd just be starting. I seriously thought about just wheeling my bike back to the transition area and waiting for the run, but I inspected the tire and it looked like the valve just wasn't closed from when I topped off my tires before the clinic.

I got out the CO2 gun and started pumping it up. I was about to take off when I realized that the tire had come unseated from the rim and now I had to deflate it, reseat it, and fill it back up again. The whole time people I had beat out of transition were whizzing by me saying "is everything alright?"

It felt like an eternity, but as I was pulling away, the last biker came up behind me. I wasn't in last place! Well, not for a while. Right now I have fitness but not a lot of endurance and as we came to the end of the first lap, I got passed. I thought about only doing one lap but when I got to the end, someone said "it's two laps!" and I couldn't not do the second one.

I was the last one in but I was fast enough getting into my run gear that I caught up to the gal who passed me on the bike. We both passed another runner and ran together for a while. Eventually she did leave me in the dust but I was able to hold off the other runner so I wasn't even last back into transition!

So, you see... I wanted to give up just because the day wasn't going the way I'd planned. But I didn't and I ended up doing okay after all.

The second time around, we swum without wetsuits. This time my 100 time was 2:02!

I have no idea where all this swim speed is coming from. The last time I was this fast, I wasn't even this fast. And I was working a lot harder. I was swimming in the pool 1.5 hours and then doing an open water swim for 2-3 miles ever week. Now I swim in the pool two times a week for a little over an hour each time and am as fast as I ever was.

I think it might be the strength training I've been doing, because I seem to have dramatically gotten faster in just a few weeks and I've been doing BodyPump for two weeks. Nothing else has changed and strength training always makes me faster in running so why not swimming?

Anyway, this time through I didn't do the run as the first run was not kind to my sciatica. I didn't leave the watch on the bike like I did the first time either, so that's good.

All in all, it was a productive day and I got to learn a new thing and get some of the kinks out of my transition routine without screwing up in a triathlon.

I think it's going to be a good year!
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