Tri’d Something New This Weekend – Race Recap: Try Cambridge Tri

This weekend I decided to shake things up with my second ever sprint triathlon, the Try Cambridge Tri.

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Since moving to Madison I have been inundated with Ironman culture, and all of the biking and open water swimming around town made me a little jealous of the triathlon scene. Midway through the summer I decided it was time to make my debut in the Madison Multisport arena and I signed up for this triathlon with my friend Adam, who I did the Madison Mini Marathon with last weekend.

Going into it, my training was sporadic at best. My “plan” was to get in the pool and on the bike at least once a week. I did a few swims that amounted to a mile or more total, so I figured I would be fine there, and I was able to get a few 20+ mile bike rides in. I wouldn’t say I followed a program by any means. For usually being so structured about training, I was honestly pretty willy-nilly about the whole thing.

I think since I didn’t have a baseline for how to compete in a triathlon or how long it should take I wasn’t too concerned with the whole thing. Go out, have fun, “tri” something new.

The night before the race I did some pretty terrible race prep. Carbs were a bottle of wine enjoyed on a boat and sleep was in short supply.

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(Although, to be fair, the sleep was pretty deep because of the wine!)

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The race itself was a blast once I finally made it there and got settled in. I really started to get into it when I got my body markings. I swear, there is just something about having race numbers sharpied on your calf and bicep that gets you pumped up.

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While waiting for instructions on how the race would kick off I started chatting with Bailey, another 20-something gal who was also doing her first triathlon in years. We were definitely rookies compared to some of the other athletes. Bailey and I both agreed that the guys who showed up in wet suits were just WAY too serious for an 8 minute swim at a triathlon located in the middle of the Madison suburbs. (We may have just been saying that out of jealousy though, let’s be real – those guys looked pretty badass.)

BFF for race day!

BFF for race day!

The swim was in Ripley Park Lake and was prefaced by a stunning sunrise.

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Normally I don’t really believe in being at a race before the sun has come up, but I’ll make an exception for this morning!

I hadn’t done any open water swimming leading up to the race and I was admittedly a little worried about that. From my first triathlon in 2011 I remembered open water swimming being chaotic, disorienting, and kind of gross. My wave had a max of maybe 35 people in it though and the swim was a breeze. I veered off course a lot my first triathlon and this time around I found my head bobbing out regularly to check my course. The best part of the swim though – passing Adam. I knew I needed a head start because, as a UW Cyclist, he would pass me in no time on the bike.

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T1 (the swim-to-bike transition) went well. I mean, as well as putting socks on wet feet can go.Then the bike ride went a little something like this:

WHOOOOOOO!
I’m off!

::woosh:: ::woosh::
That’s the sound of people passing me.

HOLY $%!*
Massive hill at mile 3.

“Seeya Goldthorpe!”
Adam screaming past me.

WHOOOOOOO!
Clocking 25 mph on a downhill.

SCCREEAACCHH
As everyone does an abrupt 180 at the halfway mark.

HOLY $%!*
Sudden realization that the second half is uphill, into the wind.

::woosh:: ::woosh::
That’s the sound of MORE people passing me.

WHOOOOOOO!
Going down massive hill from mile 3.

Honestly, 15 miles is the perfect distance for my biking ability right now. Anything more and I probably would have gotten pretty bored/tired. I can already tell if I keep doing triathlons that improving my biking would be a huge help for my time and level of competitiveness at these things.

The 5k run to the finish was interesting. I never run 5ks, so I didn’t have the best pacing strategy. Plus, having legs that felt like bricks and jell-o, simultaneously, made it hard to gauge how fast I was running. I was pleased to see that I was clocking sub 8:30 miles the entire time!

The race ended and I met Adam and his friends and family at the finish, with a personal best! (Gotta love saying that, even if it is because it’s a new event!)

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I’m not ready to say I’m totally hooked on or addicted to triathlons yet, but it was a lot of fun! I think I really like how new I am to it – there is definitely a lot I could learn and a ton of room for improvement. Who knows, maybe once I volunteer at Ironman Wisconsin in a few weeks I’ll really get ambitious. I could easily see myself doing a half Ironman within the year though, that’s for sure.

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Goals for Getting Faster – Making it Happen!

You know how on The Biggest Loser the contestants just get to work out all of the time? (Ok, maybe “get to” is the wrong word.) Well that is how my summer has been, except that I enjoy 100% of it. Now, I haven’t lost any weight because I’ve offset all my activity with avocados, but I have had an amazing time getting my heart rate up and endorphins flowing!

I run to eat avocado on everything. That and to eat frozen yogurt daily.

I run to eat avocado on everything. That and to eat frozen yogurt daily.

In Madison there is no reason not to be active every day. There are bike paths EVERYWHERE, I am a college student again and have access to a lap pool, and there are tons of opportunities for free workout activities – from yoga to walks in the arboretum.

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Since I have been on FUNemployment for the last six weeks I’ve decided to stay busy bettering my mind and body as much as possible. As I mentioned, I’ve made the move from strictly running to branching out a little more – including biking, swimming, yoga, and also as of recently – weight lifting.

And let me tell you something – it is paying off, big time.

I am getting stronger.

Just had this mind-blowingly kick ass run today! Maybe it was the pre-run coffee or the tunes, but whatever it was it worked!

Just had this mind-blowingly kick ass run today! Maybe it was the pre-run coffee or the tunes, but whatever it was it worked!

I’m getting faster. 

Best run of my life. I didn't even know this was possible.

Best run of my life. I didn’t even know this was possible.

Oh yeah, and I’m getting tanner: BONUS!

And I love it! I love having helmet hair or smelling faintly of chlorine. I love wanting to cry at the sight of stairs after leg day in the gym. (Ok, OK – I’ve done ONE leg day. I’m far from a regular yet.)

I’ve been noticing that my pace is getting quite a bit faster with running. I am not sure if the cross training is to attribute, or I am pushing myself mentally more. Either way, there are no excuses not to keep it up.

So I’m setting some goals.

Next weekend I am doing the Madison Mini-Marathon. My goal is to PR, which I don’t think should be too difficult given the success of my recent runs. My PR pace right now is 8:49/mi. I’d love to get into the 1:53’s with my half marathon time.

  • Goal #1 is to PR
  • Goal #2 is to break 1:54.

That’s a huge jump from the 1:56ish I ran at the Indy Mini-Marathon in May.

My next goal is for the Quad Cities Marathon in September. The last marathon I ran was the Mississippi Blues Marathon way back in January. (Has it been eight months already?!) but my PR was at the Marine Corps Marathon in October where I ran a 4:13:48 or a pace of 9:40/mi.

  • Goal #1 is to PR
  • Goal #2 is to break 4:10 – or roughly a 9:30 min/mi
  • Goal #3 is to break 4:00????!! (Probably wishful thinking for Quad Cities, but I’m writing it down anyway.)

I think goals 1 & 2 are definitely do-able. Again, it is going to be more mental strength than physical strength that will push me toward achieving any of them. I know I can physically handle it – I just need to not whimp out and psych myself out.

I am anxious to see what my workout life is going to be like when grad school starts (less than two weeks away) but until then it’s two-a-day workouts galore!

What has helped your pace improve?
Have you ever had a surprise kick-ass run?
Do you have any goals for the fall season?

While We’re on the Topic of Transitions

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I recently announced my next endeavor, post-packaged meats, pursuing my MBA at the University of Wisconsin. Other things are changing with the move too, and I am done with being just the “runner girl”. Now that I’ve got a place to live and don’t just have hotels to jog around, I’m going to start diversifying. Now, I have decided to flood my friends and family with updates not just about pounding the pavement, but also about swimming AND biking. That’s right – it’s about time to do a triathlon again!

It has been about a month now since I jumped into my first lap pool and things have been going surprisingly well. I mostly used that swim as an excuse to test out that fancy-schmancy Garmin910XT I splurged on at the Indy Mini-Marathon (–LINK–). Sure enough, it’s waterproof and does a great job counting laps. My first workout I did at most 200 yds straight, without stopping. This week – I did my first mile swim! 1,750 yds!

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Admittedly, the segway back into swimming has been a lot easier than biking. Mainly, because I don’t have a bike. Instead, I bought a summer pass for the fitness classes at UW and sucked it up to do my first sinology class since undergrad. It was great, but I felt that was a little like cheating so I decided to test out a real bike.

Madison has a program called B-Cycle all over the city, which allows you to rent bikes for short rides and has docking stations all across town. Tonight I gave one a 12 mile test run, riding past the beautiful Lake Monona and through the UW Arboretum. Sure enough, I knew I needed to get on the real deal – my legs were decidedly more jello-esque after an actual ride than after spin class.

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I haven’t picked out a triathlon for this fall, so if you have any suggestions – let me know! I am excited to be mixing up my workouts again, not relegated to just running like I had been the last year. Who knows, maybe I’ll become a Yogi too while I’m at it!

Also, if you are on GarminConnect I’d love to connect with you! My username is KGold818