Monday, April 23, 2007

Tr(i)aining for my first Triathlon

Now the swim leg of my first upcoming Triathalon should be easy, that is if I had been a good boy at Sunday School done all the right things and had God as my father. Because Saturday week will see me lining up on the Shores of the Sea of Galilee to compete in my first triathlon, now JC could just run the swim leg being that it is in the plaace where legend has it he walked on water.

But I am no saint and short of a miraculous appirition of the Virgin Mark in sweat on the back of my tri suit, I doubt that I will ever walk on water. So Saturday morning I headed up for a tri training session with fellow Tri'ers, Andrea and Margret.

Not that we got off to a flying start after loading the bikes onto the back of armored car, i started to drive away but somehow managed to roll backwards into the car behind me, luckily there was no damage to the bikes and since it was dark and 4:30 in the morning, the car behind me might of picked up a typical Israeli car park scratch.

The Sea of Galilee is about an hour and half North of my place and we arrived just after dawn, managed to find a coffee shop open to help pacify my nerves and also a clean toliet. Anyone who has ever trained for any morning sporting event like running or triathalons knows what I mean about the necessity of a toilet, I mean we even have cryptic codes to assess who of us has been and we all get jealous if another person has suceeded whilst you have managed only.

The aim of the training day was to do the three disciplines on the course, so at 7.30 we lined up on the shores of the Galilee and took the plunge. It was about 250m out and back to a buoy, now swimming in open water has now concern for me as it beats the black line fever you get swimming in a pool. Margret and Andrea managed it but still do not seem happy in the open water, so hopefully they will relax and be able to enjoy the swim.

Out of the water and get the bikes ready, split into three groups depending on whether you are doing the Half Ironman, Olympic or Sprint distances. I am opting for the Olympic distance as much as I am tempted to go for the Half Ironman, the thought of riding 90km then running a half marathon is just a bit to daunting as my training is not up to that level yet and it would as they say be a long day at the office.

The Olympic distance are 1500m swim, 40 km bike ride and a 10km run.

The Coach let our group know that we would be riding for a while to get warmed up then do two 20km time trials as in race preparation on the actual course. The warmup is always much easier as you ride in a group and can draft meaning that you are only expending about 30% of the effort to ride at that speed alone, for those doubters it really does make a massive difference to be in a peloton.

The time trials are a different out there alone no drafting so you are really working hard an example is that in the peloton my heart rate sat around 90 - 100 bpm, out on the time trial i was never below 130 bpm.

I pushed hard and managed a negative split for the second half of the time trial, Margret had a puncture which sucked and Andrea somehow has a bike that weighs more than she does and was still suffering from the effects of the cold water from the swim and when I passed her on the way back she had more coats and tops hanging off her than a trolley lady in East LA.

Running after biking is one of the hardest things to do as all of a sudden you are using totally different muscles in the same limbs and the first few strides feel like your legs are going around not in front of you. But we all pushed out for a solid thirty minute run covered 6km's which given that it was my first true brick session was more than happy with what we had all done.

As a post note, Sunday night we decided to get together for a while and practise fixing punctures, yes in the training schedule we now have fixing punctures, decided not wear my heart rate monitor for that session.

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