Monday, September 8, 2008

10-hour triathlon

The Girl and I did a relay-type endurance triathlon this weekend. Basivally, we would alternate sprint tris for 10 hours. Together, we came up just short of a collective Ironman.

And, wow, what a fun experience it was.

Swimming was a major break-through for me. I ended up swimming 600m four times. The first time was horrible, very much like my first triathlon. I got flustered, kicked in the head (okay, maybe the shoulder) and lost all composure. I had to stop and tread water for a long time to get back into the groove. I did 50% breast stroke and 50% crawl on that one.

But then the next three times, everything just flowed. I got into a good rhythm, arms wind-milling along, body tilting from side to side. There is a trance-like feel to rolling along in the brown, murky waters. Once, I almost "fell asleep" and actually got pretty far off course.

I passed several swimmers during those legs and only got passed once so my swimming has definitely come along well.

The biking... Well, the biking is make-or-break in triathlons. It takes three times more time than the swim and twice as long as the run. I am decent at biking but after my fourth bike leg, I was getting sore in strange places. Leaning over a tri-bar made me stiffen up more than I thought it would. The route was very flat and fast, which certainly worked against me. I am a "dancer", in that I like to stand up and pedal (most runners feel that way) so this flat, grinding course made me a little stale.

Also, on flat courses, the specialized tri bikes become more important. There were a few plate wheels and aero helmets spotted, even.

Running was great. It was all on trails so lots of changing directions and running up and down. I ended up running about a half-marathon but stayed fresh the whole time. Lots of people were breaking apart on the run. At times it felt almost like cheating, being able to practice my "specialty" during a triathlon. I was definitely the fastest runner out there but, as usual, there wasn't enough trail to catch everyone.

We got fourth in the mixed relay division. It was a close race with the third place team. All day, I was a little faster than the guy on that team and the Girl was a little slower then the woman. I would pass him on the run every time and the Girl would be passed on the bike every time. They slowly gained on us, though, and ended up beating us overall by 4 minutes. They definitely looked like triathletes more than us so we didn't feel too bad.

The Girl had as much fun as me. Like me, she held up decently on the swim. And, like me, she gave up too much time on the bike to faster people on faster bikes. Of course, she was the fastest female runner but, again, the just wasn't enough trail to make up for all the water and the road.

The most fun was probably had off the course. We had a tent set up for all our stuff and to have base to relax in between legs.

We had the Lorax and my daughter along. She was a big help, never getting whiny and always helping out with the practicalities and, most importantly, helping with the Lorax. She actually had a good time, making a lot of friends among the other kids there.

This is one crazy rainbow.

We have both been a little depressed after the race. This is common after endurance events; it doesn't help that I have 8 days of straight work, starting tomorrow, including a whopping 80-hour ER shift (seriously).

In two weeks, we do the North Country 50 mile race. In a larger perspective, I am curious to see how that race compares with the triathlon. Hopefully, it will be as much fun.


Danni said...

Nice!!! Sounds like a lot of fun too.

80 hour shift? Good lord I hope I never have to go to the ER!

Runningdoctor said...

Danni, it's not as bad as it sounds. I do get to sleep once in a while; on some nights, I sleep all night.

It's that feeling of being at work for so long that wears on you. The pager can go off at any minute and, being just months out of residency, there are still definitely things that make me nervous.

SteveQ said...

Sounds like a fun race! I hear the upcoming 50 miler is a good one - wish I could join you, but I've been on the opposite end of emergency room visits lately.

Runningdoctor said...

Steve, we have definitely been looking forward to meeting the man behind your excellent blog.

Maybe one of the ultras next year? Hopefully, you'll be all healed up by then.