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Everything I needed to know about tri, I learned at the Zoo

July 31, 2013 by Carly Johann in Triathlon with 0 responses

Not every race will go as planned, and I’ve learned that many can be very surprising. Endurance races hold both good and bad surprises, but ones I can learn from all the same. And really, any time I can be healthy and outside, racing until it hurts, it’s a good day. Any any time I have an excuse to visit a new city, it’s a great trip. Any time I can discover delightful craft beer in the midwest, I can count myself a winner. After seeing Muncie by water, bike, foot, and bar, I moved onto Indianapolis for a trip to the zoo. And there I learned the secrets of triathlon.

IM 70.3 Muncie Slow Swim

I’m not really sure what’s been going on with my swimming recently. My times in the pool have been holding steady, and my race times have been getting steadily slower. My swim in Muncie was in the calmest water of any race so far this season, but my time was still 32 and change. I realized when I was watching the penguins at the Indy Zoo, maybe I’m not enjoying the water enough. I tend to dread swim practice, I swim by myself a lot, and I make excuses to cut swims short. If I can learn to enjoy the water like penguins, and swim with friends at the TriFit Masters classes, I would probably swim closer to what is necessary to get faster, and have swim times like the normal people with big goals.

The Shiv-ulous bike

As usual, I came away from the race with most positive feelings associated with the bike ride. I rode 2:28, which I think was one of the faster bike times overall for women. It was a personal best in the distance. The course and wind were in my favor, as the cross winds just caught the disc nicely and helped propel me along (Thanks Dusty! and thanks Shiv!). The course was also one of the flattest I’ve ever done. My power was about 15 watts lower on average than the rest of the 70.3s I’ve done this year, but the time was 2 minutes faster than my previous best. I thought that would set me up for a good run, and a PR at the race distance. It did not. I figured out why at the zoo when I saw the elephants. With thighs like those, I couldn’t expect to run well! But really, I did notice how efficiently they were cooling themselves in the 90 degree heat, and I wondered if I could have managed my cooling and nutrition better to set myself up for a better run. And their strong thighs probably would help riding bicycles.

The GOrun run

My traditional struggles on the run continue. I had been running better in both training and races recently, so I actually thought I had turned a corner. But I realized almost as soon as I set off that I could be in trouble. My quads were cramping, and I felt pretty flat. The hills that seemed minor during my ride the day before were suddenly mountains. I chalked it up to accumulated fatigue from racing more 70.3s in a shorter time period than I am used to. But I tried to play mind games, yelling at myself to suck it up, pain don’t hurt, pain is temporary, it’s all in my mind, etc. It would work for short periods of time, then I would slow back into a plod. I know I still have plenty to work on. The sport is never dull, because something always needs attention. Visiting the butterfly house at the zoo reminded me to float like a butterfly when running, and to try not to get stung by a bee. That would slow me down even more.

All I ever needed to know about triathlon, I learned at the zoo.

Stats for Muncie:

4:47:19, 2nd Age Group, 7th Overall Amateur, 19th Overall Female. Oh, so much work to do. But I’m looking forward to it, and I welcome the challenge. The best is yet to come. Thanks for helping with the journey Skechers, Pur Pak, Fortius Coaching, Cynergy Cycles, Bonk Breakers, Balanced Strength, Specialized, and as always, Triple C!