Thursday, June 27, 2013

First Triathlons- Leading up to Ironman 70.3 San Juan- This was not as easy as I thought it should be

Again, many of these reports are going to be WAY overdue, but I wanted the chance to talk about them because the experiences have been so amazing/interesting in one way or another.  In this post, I will talk about the experience leading up to a Ironman 70.3 San Juan.

As mentioned in my previous post, I decided to become a triathlete about 9 months ago, because I simply got bored of just running and lifting and wanted a new challenge.  I signed up for my first two triathlons on back to back weekends in September 2012.  They were very interesting experiences to say the least.

1. Tri the Illini- Champaign, Illinois

This being my first triathlon ever; I had a very fun and interesting experience.  Not having much swimming practice before the race, I chose this because it was in a 50 meter pool and figured that if I started drowning that a lifeguard could rescue me.  I looked up how to set up a transition online with pictures, brought WAAAYYY to much stuff, and probably looked like the biggest moron ever trying to set up my towel.  However, since triathletes are all a bit off anyways, I soon felt right at home.

I won't go into too much detail about the race to save time and anyone who reads this their boredom.  The temperature was 45 degrees at the start of the race(it was an outdoor pool).  I thus spent 5 minutes in transition putting on an under armour because I couldn't feel anything.  Here are the times and splits for the sprint triathlon.  I post these mostly for myself in order to laugh at how far you can come in a year.  You are free to laugh as well.

1:138Nicholas Rizzo383M2508:21.62:4703:06.248:44.017.800:55.619:23.86:1501:20:31.2

Needless to say, this was a learning experience.  Look at that swim time and bike split for a 14 mile course.  Pretty confident that I would have been lapped at a youth swim practice.  

But I digress.

2. J-Hawk Latebird Triathlon(Whitewater, Wisconsin)

This being my second triathlon in two weekends; I was able to take some of what I learned in the last weekend.  That by no means meant that it went any better, but I was not as clueless about what a triathlon actually entails.

On this triathlon, my mom decided to join me because she is awesome and will always be there to support me in whatever I decide to do(even if it is really dumb at times).  One great thing about having her there is that she is about as comfortable in the water as I am.  We were both freaking out about the POOL swim ha. We arrived to the event and got checked in.  There were actually a decent number of good athletes there for it being a smaller event.

The swim occurred at their indoor pool(Thank GOD).  The bike course was through rural areas that were well blocked by the local support.  And the run took you through a wooded area on some very questionable grounds and Bridges?  Overall, it was a fun race.  

However, it would not be a triathlon for a newbie without a few things to go wrong due to improper planning.  

Issue Numero Uno-  After the swim, which actually went much better than the previous week's, I ran to the bikes.  Uh Oh.  Where did my Bike go?  I swear I put it here, no there, no there...  Well it took me about 4 minutes to find my bike and get on it.  If I were anywhere close to finishing at the top, this would have really upset me.  However, such is life, and you learn to roll with it.

Issue Numero Dos-  At this point in my triathlon career, I was riding a road bike from like 1970.  It seemed pretty reliable and I was learning how to bike at the time, so it was more than enough.  However, during this race, the shifter decided that it didn't want to get out of the big gear.  Needless to say, climbing became somewhat difficult; especially, the big hill leading up to the second transition which left my legs feeling like lead for the first half mile of the run.

Here are the results from this race...
27.    98Nicholas Rizzo25M6510:544:524845:1018.60:40219:446:22271:21:1827
Another fun race.  And despite the sub-par result, I was hooked.

When we got home that night, I started looking at triathlon stuff online.  I looked up Ironman and what that race entailed.  I decided that a full distance would be way too much at this point with my poor swimming background; however, a half seemed reasonable if I trained hard enough for it.  I began looking for races and saw that there was one in San Juan, Puerto Rico where my mom had worked for 2 years when I was in school.  

I turned to her while we were both on the couch and said
"Hey mom, I am going to sign up for a Ironman in San Juan.  Want to come with?" (I was joking).  
Being the awesome mom that she is replied, "Sure.  When is it?"  

"March 17th.  Are you serious?" 

"Ya sure.  I'll look up flights."
"You better not be kidding, because I am signing up right now."

"Do it.  It will be fun."

That is the story of how I got into long-distance triathlon.  Next post will be the training and race report of San Juan.

P.S.  I promise that I do improve over the next few months.

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