FIRST OLYMPIC TRIATHLON
My first Olympic+ race. Lessons learned.
I was going to publish this as a Race Report,
but I figured that if I changed its twist a little, a lot of people could
benefit from most of the things I was going to write. At least I hope.
On Saturday June 26th I ran my first Olympic+ race triathlon. I say plus
(+), because the bike ride is longer than that of a standard Olympic race.
Here are the distances: 1.5K swim, 29.5mile bike (or 30mile?), 10K run. It
was the Loveland Lake to Lake Triathlon - the Rocky Mountain USA Triathlon
Regional Championship. My result are: 2:37:30 divided as follow:
27:30 for swim (including ¼ mile run to transition), 1:24:53 bike, 42:14 run
+ about 2:40 in T1+T2. 20th in Age Group, 83 overall. If you look at the
results posted it reads 2:39:30 (102nd overall). Why?
Lesson #1 - Watch out
for drafting penalties!
I discovered today that I was penalized 2 minutes for drafting. I did not
notice I drafted ever, but I think I know how it happened…so here is the first
lesson I learned. If you race in a USAT race, watch out for the race
officials: just a mile out of the transition area, I was riding in a group
with 4 other people, we had ½ a lane to share. How do you avoid drafting in
such a situation?
Lesson #2 - Open water swim practice.
I swim open water regularly during the summer
but it is always in the designated swim area at the local lake. I go back
and forth until I am “dizzy”. When I got to the race start and saw the buoys
way out there, I started panicking: “That is far! I am not sure I can make
it all that way out there”. After about 100 to 200yards, I relaxed and started
swimming normally. So if you can and if you are scared of the water like me,
try to simulate open water race conditions as close as possible during
training. (But swim with a friend when you do open water or a support
boat/canoe. It is safer.)
Lesson #3 - Hydration!
You will drink more than you think during your
race. Even though I had ridden 30 “milers” before Saturday with only one
water bottle, during the race I ran out of liquids 5 miles to the end. This
surely affected me during the initial part of the run. Next time I will not
give up my second bottle trying to save some weight.
Lesson #4 - More Bricks.
You never do enough long bricks! I am used to
run sub 40’ 10Ks pretty easily. Still, I did not realize that 30 miles on
the bike would pay their toll. I have done quite a few bricks during my last
few months of training, but only a couple as long as the race and probably
only one at race pace. I paid the price during my last 2 ½ miles of the run.
Even if I can run sub 6minute mile repeats on the track, I still need a lot
of brick work.
Lesson #5 - More Aero bar time.
The racecourse was flatter than most of my
long rides. I probably stayed on my aero bars for 20 miles or more. This
usually never happens during training as I live right next to the
mountains. My body was not ready for this. My back ached for the first
couple of miles during the run. So, next time I will spend more time doing
strengthening exercises and hopefully riding the race course so I know what
Overall my experience was very positive. My runner’s ego was a little
crushed by the run result but I am grateful to God who gave me a body able
to accomplish something that most people will never even tackle. It may not
be an Ironman, but it is worth celebrating, before my dedicated body and
mind starts thinking and preparing for the next race.
Until next time…
Enrico in CO
Triathlete and ACE Certified
information in this article is provided freely with the only goal of educating
athletes accessing the beginnertriathlete.com website. The article/workouts
above are not meant to be exercise and/or personal recommendations, but only
examples of workouts that I and/or other athletes have completed in the past.
Enrico Contolini will not be responsible or liable for any injury, illness or
death resulting from the use of the information contained in this article.
Please, always remember to consult your physician before starting any exercise