Monday, May 26, 2008

The Meat is Rotten But the Vodka Is Good

When I was taking computer science classes in college, we read about a language translation program that had been developed. To test it, they ran some standard phrases through different languages and then back to English, and the results were hysterical. One that I still remember is that the phrase "The flesh is weak but the spirit is strong", which got translated into "The meat is rotten but the vodka is good." All humor aside, the original phrase could easily describe my triathlon yesterday.

Yep, I definitively proved that you really can't train to do an Olympic triathlon well on only about 5 hours a week. If you only swim once a week, have only done one bike ride over 25 miles this season, and have only a couple of 6 mile runs under your belt, guess what? An Olympic tri is going to hurt like hell. Interestingly enough, since I do a lot of other sports like karate and volleyball, and actually train about 15 hours a week total, my cardiovascular system was just fine. My heartrate never moved out of the aerobic zone, but my sports-specific muscles just couldn't respond the way they would've if I had been training properly.

Even the swim hurt. Now that's a new one on me! Usually I love the swim, it feels great to be out there in the lake and I just cruise along having a good time. But with coaching Team in Training taking up my other pool night and my Saturday morning Master's swim time, I've only been swimming Monday nights. Obviously. Not. Enough. The bike ride was gorgeous, but plainly just hurt. And people passed me on the bike who never pass me on the bike, {sigh}. My feet, still frozen from the 60 degree water and chilly morning bike ride were completely numb as I started running. I had to walk much of the first mile to let them thaw, because I was running oddly and my injured ankle started really hurting.

Now the good news is that this race, The Duck Bill Thrill is really a lovely little early season Olympic distance here in the Pacific Northwest. It was mostly local athletes with a few driving down from Portland. The field was overall quite fast, with mostly experienced athletes (the kind who get out and train in our lousy spring weather) making their early season appearances. The course was just gorgeous. The bike ride is rolling, with bubbling creeks, lake views, and even a ride through one of the area's many covered bridges. The run is also rolling, after a straight section right across the reservoir's dam. It's pretty and forested and I think ordinarily this would be a great course for me, rolling hills usually make for a strong race for me when I'm in decent condition for it.

All told, my time was relatively terrible: 2:49, when my end-of-season Oly last year was 2:28, yikes! But I didn't do too badly overall - 2nd in my age group and something like 12th or 13th woman. So this course is definitely not a super fast one, especially this early in the season and being wet on the hills and corners meant the bike course was slower than it could've been. The swim course was definitely marked long, and I think the run course was a little long too.

So overall, a lovely race, a gorgeous course, and one I should definitely put the time in to train for next year. I think I could really enjoy this race instead of having it, in the words of the John Cougar Mellencamp song which was, not surprisingly running through my head during the race, hurt so bad.


j. said...

2:49, 2nd in your age group, with only 5ish hours / week of training - and you call that "terrible"?!

congrats on what sounds like a wonderful (if not painful) race.


kristin said...

Yeah, I wouldn't complain too hard about that race, Robin (note that I have corrected my mental spelling of your name!)

Excellent work. I have been feeling undertrained for my upcoming race in a couple of weeks, but at least I know I'm in good company!