Fine Tuning for my First Sprint Triathlon


The past week has been getting increasingly hot, I believe the highest temperature so far was 37°C (99°F). I have been taking advantage of my recovery week status and have been running less, 3 runs of 10-13 km (6-8 mi.), and swimming more - 4 times over the week. I also rode my bike to work on Friday, which is 21.5 km (13.5 mi.) one way.

With my sprint triathlon this coming Sunday I will continue running shorter runs so I can concentrate on swimming and cycling. The triathlon consists of 500 meters swimming, 20 km cycling and 5 km running - I believe the swimming distance is a bit less than some "sprint" distances.

The swim takes place in the village of Blankenloch (Town of Stutensee) in a Baggersee, or quarry pond. The pond is quite small, the swim course consists of 2 loops around the middle. Here is an overview cut out from Google Earth:


The water temperature in the pond was still around 16°C (61°F) just a week or two ago, but the hot days we have been having have done their work, the pond is warm enough to swim without a wetsuit (or so I'm told).

Here is picture from last year, right before the start:


The first transition area is to the north of the first picture, roughly 100 meters from the pond, in a large parking lot. The 20 km cycling course begins on the street in front and turns onto a county highway, whereas we will complete 3 rounds, finally ending near the front of the sports hall on the other side of Blankenloch. The 5 km run portion is 2 rounds heading south out of Blankenloch towards the next town and back on the same path.

For experienced Tri freaks this event is a joke, but for a totally new swimmer, cycling newbie, I'm terrified. My only goal for the Triathlon is to finish it. A year ago, when I was setting personal bests for almost every ultra distance that I ran, I probably could have done pretty well with the running and cycling. This year as a result of back problems and a leg injury I have only one speed, slow! I will of course try to be competitive, that's just how I am. At least my swimming has improved a little, the only question remaining is whether I will panic or not when attacked by the fast runners on their second loop.

Some might think why I even want to do this when I seem to be so woefully unprepared. Based on all common reasoning I should probably stay home and train another year. Being an ultrarunner, my reasoning left the realm of "common" some years ago.

I actually considered not starting several times over the last few weeks, but then I thought about the times that I dropped in a race and regretted it. Then I asked myself the question that I always ask myself now when I am having a hard time during a race "If you drop now will you be able to live with the decision in the morning?" The answer is simply "no"! There is no reason that I can't complete the triathlon, and if I am so slow that I finish in last place, so be it. I think the experience that I will gather during this first attempt will be invaluable.

In any case I have a few more days to train...


You and unprepared? Get out of it! There will be half the field being less prepared than you are!

When I did my first tri, just a few weeks ago, I was on the brink of chickening out at least a dozen times. I'm glad I stuck to it, and so will you.

Jack, this will be less than 2 hours of exercise. Two. Hours. I suspect you've been in meetings that are longer than that, and I know for sure that you've had "short" runs that have gone on for more time than that.

When you've finished your tenth Olympic / Standard Tri, and are making noise about PR's and the like, then back / leg / old age issues may come more into play. But for a first tri, and a spring at that, you are more than ready. Moooooooooore than ready. Enjoy it, have fun, bring your digital along for the ride and run!

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This page contains a single entry by Jack published on July 5, 2010 1:08 PM.

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