Triathlon Chronicles (Season 2): How Not to Train for a Tri

February 20, 2013

Howell Parks and Rec held their annual Splash & Dash indoor triathlon on Sunday, and here are a few things you should NOT do before competing in this event:

1. Do NOT go out six of the seven nights prior to the event (OK, 3 of the 6 were unavoidable social/spouse-work-related obligations, but it was still a bad plan).

2. Do NOT stay out until 1 AM, on a weeknight, three nights before said event (hey, I had Maroon 5 tickets!), and then past midnight the next night (hey, we had Red Wings tickets!).

3. Do NOT wait three days wondering why your ear hurts, and whether it's related to the water you got in your ear during a swim the week before, before heading to the doctor two days before your event.

4. Do NOT assume that because you have never had intestinal issues with amoxicillin, you never will.

Yeah, it was ugly. Item #4 meant that I did the tri on a breakfast of yogurt and half a banana. That wasn't good either.

I participated in this event with Goddess #1 last year (see previous Triathlon posts for information on the Goddesses) and it is a great way to experience triathlon if you are a beginner, and for experienced triathletes to check their training status. And for those of us who fall somewhere in-between, it's another crazy fitness goal.

The indoor tri is set up in 20-minute segments - 20 minute run, 20 minute swim, 20 minute bike. Volunteers keep track of your run and swim laps for you, and record your bike miles - it's a well-run (ha.) and organized event. With the focus on time, and not distance, this is definitely a go-at-your-own-pace deal.

Our event order was run-swim-bike (compared to a regular tri order of swim-bike-run). The run portion takes place in the gym - 11 laps equals one of the most boring miles ever invented, and just to make it even worse (if possible), there was no music. Even the young volunteer lap-counters (best line: "We can remember who you are because we're the smartest kids in the school!" Bonus points for modesty!) were complaining about the lack of tunes.

Twenty minutes and 19 laps later (about 1.7 miles), and it was time to move on to the swim portion of the program. Supposedly, we had 10 minutes to change and get to the pool, but our run must have started and ended late - we were barely wiggling into our suits when we got the two-minute-warning. Let me tell you, pulling the running gear off and pulling the swim gear on, over, everything... it just can't be done in 10 minutes.  Not if you, everything... stowed properly.

Twenty minutes and 31 laps later (just one lap short of a 1/2 mile)...I am not too proud to admit I staggered up the handicap ramp out of the pool.

Next up - biking. A small room, with maybe a dozen spinning cycles set up - it was cramped and hot, but it was rockin' out. Tunes were cranked up and the gentleman in charge - Jim Young from Runnin' Gear, I believe! - was an amiable drill sergeant. His constant cheerleading/coaching ranged from nice ("Can I get you some water?") to encouraging ("You can do it, you are triathletes!") to demanding ("Are you slowing down? No slowing down!"). Big shout-out to Jim for keeping us all pumpin'!

Twenty minutes and 6.65 miles later (results may vary) and we are all A) dripping, B) exhausted, C) in pain, D) glad it's finally over, or E) all of the above.

And the Rookie Goddesses are no longer rookies! We were all in different age groups. Goddess #4 came in 6th in her age group, I came in 3rd in mine and Goddess #5 took home the gold in her division! Yes, Goddess #5 - middle-aged rookie - scored a gold medal on her first time out. And no, she wasn't the only one in her age group. I know you all were thinking that, so just stop.

The best thing, as usual, is that there were all shapes, sizes, ages and levels of fitness at this event. People walked the run. They even walked in the pool. One woman was there with her 70+ year-old dad, and how cool is that? Yeah, I think he was the only guy in his division. I hope they gave him all the medals!

As for me - after a celebratory breakfast (I've never eaten an entire order of French Toast before, have you? Another goal accomplished!), I went home and embarked on the now-standard post-triathlon 1.5 hour napping marathon, with usual napping partner, pictured here.