Months of training, two-a-day workouts, 3,000 calories a day. Did it all pay off? Well, let me tell you a story about the Lake Wilderness Triathlon.
Leading up to the triathlon I was feeling great, incredible even. I had stuck to a schedule since the middle of January. I was watching what I ate, swimming twice a week, running two to four times a week and biking one or two times a week too. I was lifting five to six days a week and in April, Josh Stancil started training me too. If anything, the only worry on my mind was that I might be in too good of shape. What I mean by that is I had been lifting so much more (both in frequency and weight) that I was afraid that maybe I would be too muscular. Normally when you lift for distance sports you lift light weight high reps. Because I am also training for Miss Washington, Josh and I decided to increase my weight, lifting more for power/aesthetic purposes but to do it carefully.
The middle of May marked the halfway point of training with Josh and we did a mini fit-lab to see where I was at. Before Sasquatch I had gained five pounds. We had met our goal exactly. I was also at 13.5% body fat. That was pretty low. Not too low, but lower than we expected. Women who compete in figure and body building are usually around 11% body fat and that’s after a cut or decrease in calories and fat intake. I was at 13.5% without any sort of cut. I have included some charts so you can see what body fat percentage looks like at different levels.
Day of race I knew something was a little off. I’ve competed in so many races/games matches that I can predict almost to the place how I will perform that day. There were a couple reasons why I felt a little “off.” The night before I went to bed pretty late because of a dinner engagement I had and was happy to go to! But still, it didn’t help that I went to bed pretty late, around 10 p.m. Fun fact about triathlons, they usually start very early in the day so that means you have to get up even earlier to eat. I was staying at my brother’s which was about 45 minutes away too. Combine that with my desire to eat my oatmeal and banana a couple hours before the race and that meant a 4:45 a.m. wake-up call day-of race. I actually prefer to eat three hours before a race and get to the race an hour before the start but I just didn’t have that early of a wake-up in me.
So I was a little tired day of race and then Mother Nature decided to show up. Oh the joys of being a woman. Regardless of that, you could clearly see that I was one of the only amateurs in the race. There were about 90 people racing and all but one woman and one man were in full body triathlon suits. One other woman was in a triathlon bikini and one man was just wearing the tri shorts. What was I wearing? A green and purple sports bra and black spandex shorts. As for my bike, I didn’t have clip-ins for my feet, I didn’t have aero bars and I haven’t been fitted to my bike. The only thing I looked legit in was running and that’s because I have a decent pair of shoes and that’s really all you need to run.
The swim went well. I regret that I was a little timid at the start. I should’ve put myself in the front line, but instead I was back about three of four rows in a very arrow starting point. I got kicked in the face at least four times and had to come to a complete stop a couple times as well. Once things got moving I was able to cut to the outside. For a good chunk I swam alone and was passing people continuously. I had to come to a complete stop at the turn again and got kicked too but at that point I was excited because I knew I had passed a lot of people. It was very hard to see who or what was in front of me and I really thought I might be one of the top 10 finishers. When I got out of the water folks in the crowd seemed surprised to see me and there were so many bikes still on the racks I thought I was right up there. Come to find out I had the 29th fastest swim which is still pretty decent but I know it’ll be easy to improve there.
Next came the bike. My transition was super-fast. Probably because I didn’t have to take off a wetsuit or clip-ins but once I got on my bike it all went downhill. Immediately I was passed by a couple of men. At first that didn’t bother me because I knew cycling was my weakest point and I knew some men would definitely pass me. The problem was my bike wouldn’t shift. I was in a low gear the entire time and I felt like literally everyone had passed me. In reality, around 30 or 40 people passed me which was discouraging to say the least. Those 26 miles drug on forever and I don’t think I’ll ever be more grateful to run.
Even my specialty wasn’t exactly what I wanted it to be. I ended up having the 9th fastest run overall but I probably could’ve been much faster if I hadn’t’ve spent so much time on the bike. After an hour and 45 minutes of riding my quads were so tired. If I had clip-ins it would be the glutes doing all the work but without clip-ins your bike stride has to adjust and you end up using quads instead of the real engine which is your glutes. I was able to pass quite a few people during the run and finished 61st overall. My run was the fastest woman time and my time would’ve won the open 10K (though the winner for that was not very fast). One woman even came up to me after and said “Holy crap you’re fast!” so that made the day better when I was feeling a little discouraged.
This triathlon was just what I wanted it to be. A check-up on my progress. I knew that biking was a weakness but I didn’t know how to deal with something like a broken bike during. I have already gotten some help from more knowledgeable folks on my bike and fixed the shifting issue. Thank heavens because there is no way I could ride 56 miles on a bike in 4th gear.
Even though the tri didn’t go as planned I still had a blast and cannot wait for my next one. The exciting part is that the reason I didn’t hit my goals had nothing to do with my actual level of fitness and more to do with strategy and technical issues. A very humbling and exhausting experience, can’t wait for next time!
As a side note, now I am in my “cutting” phase of prep for Miss Washington so I will be eating 500-800 less calories a day. My cut is pretty short because I didn’t want to start cutting until after my first Tri, pus the week before Miss Washington I will be in Renton doing Miss Washington events and rehearsals and food will be provided for me…and I ain’t one to say no to free food. Still training for my half-Ironman, still getting ready for Miss Washington. I will start posting my meals and workouts again starting tomorrow!