8.12.2007

2007 Naperville Sprint Triathlon

SWIM 400 METERS - BIKE 20 KILOMETERS - RUN 5 KILOMETERS

I was back for more. One year ago I competed in my first triathlon, and I hadn't participated in any since. I had been anxiously awaiting a second opportunity to attack this course, and today I got that chance. I was a stronger athlete than the one entering this event a year ago - physically and mentally. On top of that, I had the experience of one triathlon under my belt, plus a new bike. It is a Trek road bike complete with Shimano 105 & Ultegra components, and a Discovery Channel paint job to boot. What a difference between this bike I raced in the one I raced in a year ago! Unfortunately, I still had zero swimming preparation. Once again, I opted to wing it, relying on the fact that I was a stronger and faster athlete than a year ago. Below is the course map:SWIM: 400 meters
Like last year, I ran full speed into the pool while others lollygagged. For some reason, I thought I would be able to swim freestyle. I couldn't. So, the ever-fun "doggie paddle" made an appearance again. As I exited the pool, I looked down at my watch - 8:41. I had shaved nearly a minute off of my swim time from the previous year. It was pure muscle tearing threw the water.

TRANSITION #1
I did not want to replicate last year's disaster transition (race number tearing off of safety pins, etc.). A few weeks earlier, I had invested in a Fuel Belt Race Belt - so much better! On top of that, my new bike was complete with bike shoes, so I would not have to worry about sneaker laces getting caught in my pedals. I was a bit concerned about mounting my bike with the bike shoes as I wasn't fully comfortable clipping in and out yet.

BIKE: 20 kilometers
So much faster than last year! The road bike made all the difference. I felt like I was gliding across the pavement with ease. The result: over six minutes off of my bike time!

TRANSITION #2
I mentioned that I was a bit uncomfortable clipping in and out of my bike shoes. Well I was most nervous about clipping out after the run, and that time was now. With about 40 meters left on the bike course, I stopped pedaling and prepared for dismount. After a quick prayer, I successfully unclipped both shoes and hopped off of my bike smoothly. Running in bike shoes through transition is always awkward, and experiencing that with "brick legs" adds an even more bizarre sensation - quite the unnatural running stride. Once my bike shoes were off and my sneakers were on, I began the run.

RUN: 5 kilometers
The worst cramp of my life set in about three minutes into the run. It was a crippling pain that seriously hindered my performance. I tried to attack the pain, but things were not clicking. Somehow I managed to gain momentum towards the end of the run, but I had already been slowed considerably by the cramp. After the race when I checked my results, I saw that my run time was actually slower than that of the previous year. I was furious with myself.

SUMMARY
I finished my second Naperville Sprint Triathlon in 1:13:43 - seven minutes faster than last year. However, I was not satisfied. The fact that my run time was slower just infuriates me. My goal is always to improve, and here I saw negative results in the portion of the race that I expected to be my strongest. No more time for writing. Time to lace up and hit the pavement.

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