My First Triathlon – Wasaga Beach Sprint Distance Triathlon 2013

After a thwarted race season I signed up for my first triathlon. I finished writing a MAJOR exam at the beginning of June which took up all spare time and then some during May. After June I was run down and burnt out a bit so I decided to take it easy and slowly started working back in to a full training schedule. My goal was to work my self back in to the shape that I used to be in when I was 18. Okay I’m 31 now but I wanted to try it anyways. The difference is that back then I had good running abilities and I was strong. At the time I was in high school and also in the army reserves doing reconnaissance. I was getting ready for University and I was in the best shape I had ever been in. It didn’t happen over night and it took several years so I figure why not take the same approach.

Fast forward a decade or so and I’ve worked myself back to a decent shape and better than most by a lot of people’s standards but its not good enough for my standards.

I’ve got good cardio, decent speed and I can swim now whereas before I could only recreationally swim. Also, I’m lacking in strength compared to my younger days. I was reading some books on Navy SEALs and a great read is Brandon Webb’s The Red Circle. It got me thinking. After doing some Internet cruising I came across the Canadian special forces unit, JTF2, workup training program.

This thing is intense! Seriously if you’re not in great shape, and I mean great, good won’t cut it, then don’t attempt it. It’s a two-a-days program and is basically a triathlon program with strength training but without the bike. I thought: awesome! I’ll give it a go but replace one or two if the runs with bike sessions. Here is the link

It’s a 100 page comprehensive and detailed program. I think it’s awesome but it’s too much for most people. I started to attempt the workout but found that I needed to take more rest than it prescribed even though there’s two rest days. I also realized that I needed to fuel my activity more so I started on a weight gainer to get in an extra 800 calories per day. Sounds crazy right… a triathlete taking a weight gainer? My diet is pretty clean with lots of fresh fruit and veggies but it couldn’t support that much work.

Here’s where my triathlon season went down the tubes. I was training for about 3 weeks and I went out for a Saturday morning ride on my bike. Nothing too serious in terms of hills and it was supposed to be a calm enjoyable ride. I had 50k planned and was out of the house around 5am. The morning was beautiful, the sun was starting to rise and the warming air was rolling in. It felt great. After about 15k in to the ride that I was enjoying so much I had a slight wobble (no big deal had wobbles before) however my front tire caught an edge and decided to grip on the pavement. Next thing I knew was that I was headed over the handle bars at 25km per hour. I reached out ahead of me to brace my fall and seemed to be okay. The bike was okay too but I figured it was I better stop and check to make sure I was okay. I took inventory of my body and I was still in one piece. Some slight road rash on my right arm, a huge gash on my right wrist and right shin. My left thumb wasn’t moving too well. I looked at it and saw that it was out of the socket. So I put it back in, which helped, and took off my bike gloves. My thumb was sore but working. I took a closer look and saw that it shouldn’t be moving from a bone that was closer to my wrist (turned out to be the first metacarpal). It was definitely broken. I decided to not wake up my wife or call for an ambulance but instead try to ride the 15k to the local hospital. Sore, yes, but thank goodness for aero bars.

Bloody and broken I got to the hospital with a broken thumb and a broken cleat on my shoe. The good thing about 6am Saturday morning at a hospital was that the shenanigans from the night before had cleared out and I got looked at right away.

 

That was four weeks in a cast with minimal exercise and two weeks out of a cast with minimal exercise. I started to introduce some heavier work outs and started doing chin-ups eight weeks after the break.

With the last race that’s somewhat close to me coming up I decided to give it a shot. The race is this weekend at wasaga beach and I’ve only been working out again for about four weeks. I did a bunch of open water swimming this weekend and should be able to complete the sprint distance swim although I think I’ll have to alternate strokes. 750m of front crawl is not likely. While my bike won’t be outstanding I still expect a decide ride. The run however is where I want a great time. For the 5k run I’m aiming for a 20 minute time. I think I can do it.

After running the sprint duathlon last year(check out my race recap here) this is what I took away from it:

Run the transition areas prior to the race and spot turning points so you don’t get lost during the race.
Leave the bike in an easy gear.
Keep the transition area clean.
Make sure your electronics are working.
Hydrate plenty.
Make sure you properly put back your water bottle.
Dress appropriately.
Get to the race site at a MINIMUM of an hour before start.
Don’t leave any effort behind and give it your all.
I say this a lot and I think its my motto: Finish Strong. Meaning work hard until you are complete. That includes the last foot that crosses the finish line.

Most of all: Have fun.

If you want to improve your swimming check out this book Triathletes Swim First. I did about 20 of the lessons starting from the beginning and found that it really improved both my technique and distance. My quote is on the back cover. It can be bought on amazon here.

Happy Training, it’s a taper week for me.

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